The Nikon Coolshot 20 is the entry-level laser rangefinder from Nikon. Out of all the laser rangefinders that Nikon makes, the Coolshot 20 is a fairly new update and targets golfers who don’t want to shell out a lot. It’s compact and branded as “pocked-sized”, thus differing slightly from higher-end rangefinders.
It’s also a huge update over the Nikon Coolshot, which is larger (but more range-effective). Though it draws its design from its predecessor quite shamelessly.
The selling point of the Coolshot 20 is that it’s entry-level and more focused on casual games. Professionals might not prefer one of these unless they’re going to a fairly easy golf course.
Nikon Coolshot 20 Review Features
The Coolshot 20 comes with a 500-600 yards measurement range.
However, the official spec reads 600-800 yards, which might be true in more ideal scenarios – but who hits that far? Perhaps Superman won’t find it up to the mark on a Kryptonian golf course.
The good things:
- It’s rainproof (but not fog proof). The Coolshot 20 comes with an IPX4 rating (JIS/IEC Class 4 Protection).
- The viewfinder is clear. Coolshot 20 uses a 6x multilayer-coated monocular that’s not the best rangefinder in the industry but gets the job done fairly effectively.
- Being pocket-friendly means that you can use the Coolshot 20 with fewer hassles than traditional lasers. For example, you won’t have to reach out to your bag before every shot because you can keep it in your trouser pocket. It’s less than 0.3 lbs. or 130 g.
- The Coolshot 20 also comes with added comfort for golfers who wear glasses by offering a long eye relief design. At the same time, if you choose to use it without your glasses on, you can adjust the focus to compensate for short- or long-sightedness.
- Battery backup is great, in case it’s relevant to you. The standard CR-2 battery can run for several weeks on end without requiring to be charged.
The poor things:
- It doesn’t have angle compensation. It simply measures the actual distance between you and your target, given both of them are on the same plane.
- The response time is more than half a second, which can be a hassle if you’re used to faster rangefinders or GPS rangefinders.
- Nikon laser rangefinders genuinely struggle beyond 200 yards and take longer to respond with the distance. You might need focusing for or waiting longer.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE WITH ITS SIBLINGS?
The current lineage is made up of the Coolshot 40, 40i, and the Pro Stabilized, besides the 20. The Coolshot 20 offers the least flagstick distance measurement guide of all: 300 yards. It doesn’t have the green-circle “locked-on” feature, neither does it come with Nikon’s Stabilized tech.
Unlike its siblings, the 20 doesn’t come with slope measurement either, as I pointed out earlier.
It offers the long-press feature for continuous measurement but takes the same amount of time as the other models: approximately 8 seconds.
MORE ADVANCED FACTORS ABOUT HOW TO USE COOLSHOT 20
Nikon’s first target priority mode helps you eliminate accidental measuring of background objects
Unlike SIG SAUER KILO 850, Coolshot 20 comes with “first target priority mode”.
What this means is, essentially, when you’re measuring distances of targets that overlap, you only get the distance to the closest one. This helps when you have obstacles, large objects, or trees right behind or around the pin.
An ideal example would be: Suppose your viewfinder frame has a flagstick and lots of trees in it. With the Coolshot 20, no matter where you focus, you’ll get the distance to the flagstick.
But it doesn’t hurt to focus on the flagstick itself, just in case.
Continuous measurement for increased efficiency makes sure you don’t get a reading failure
It’s not rare when you find yourself getting no reading at all from your rangefinder. It might happen due to several reasons like unsteady hands or technical limitations of the pulse reception component.
So, if the measurement fails, Coolshot 20 will automatically increase its measurement duration up to four seconds. If you still can’t get a reading and there’s apparently nothing wrong with the target or the device, then you can long-press the button.
It will enable continuous measurement of up to eight seconds.
USABILITY INSIGHT FROM FIELD PERFORMANCE
The Coolshot 20 is fairly easy to use and is pretty versatile.
For example, while wearing our reviewing and testing pants, one thing where we couldn’t tell apart the technical performance of the Coolshot 20 from a high-end $1,000 Leica 7×24 Rangemaster was during skipping hazards or bunkers (in case you’re wondering, bunkers are no more classified as hazards in the Rules of Golf).
When the green starts right next to a pond or a bunker, you need the perfect distance to the edge of the green so that you can plan your shot accordingly. Usually, there’s a lot of fine-tuning that goes into the decision-making process in situations like these and you simply cannot accept any inaccuracy.
And that’s when we could easily and effortlessly rely on the Coolshot 20.
Obvious note: Surely, the Coolshot 20 is not in the same ballpark as the Rangemaster in terms of performance, design, features, display, or the general capacity and reliability by a very long, Superman-style shot.
If you prefer simplicity, then having a friendly Coolshot 20 is the right choice for you.
- The Coolshot 20 provides effective reliability in the form of 6x magnification, rain-proofing, and pocket-friendliness (of both, the literal and figurative kinds).
- It only has two buttons: one for power and the other to switch between yards and meters.
- After eight seconds, it automatically turns off to conserve battery.
- The display shows the bare basics only: the black crosshair, the range, and the battery level indication.
Simplicity aside, the Nikon Coolshot 20 is one of the best cheap laser rangefinders for golfers right now. You don’t need to shell a lot if you don’t want to. Keep it simple and go cool with the Coolshot 20.
Written by Scott Ferguson
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