Garmin Approach S20 vs X40 : Which is best for me?

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A golf GPS watch is a great piece of kit to have on the course and can improve your handicap once you’ve dialed in your distances but with so many different GPS watches on the market, it’s difficult to know which one to choose. To give you a helping hand I’m putting two of the best sellers up against each other. In this article, I’m going to take a look at two of the best Garmin golf GPS watches. I’ll look at the pros and cons of each and I’ll recommend which one you should be putting at the top of your list for your next golf outing.

Let’s take a look at the Garmin Approach S20 vs Garmin Approach X20 and see which one comes out on top.

Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch

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This watch was designed before the Garmin Approach X40. However, it is still seen as among the newest golf watches available today. The S20 provides yardage to all portions of the green just like the other new model’s golf watches. The main feature that makes the S20 stand out is its super long battery life.

The Garmin Approach golf watch gives you the yardage to all layup positions on the course, including the doglegs, bunkers, lakes and other hazards.  The watch also comes preinstalled with around 40,000 different golf courses. The S20 doesn’t require any subscriptions or fees. It also features free course updates. It has a green view display that provides shape and contours of the green on every golf hole. The S20 also allows for activity tracking.


  • Excellent battery
  • No membership or subscription requirement
  • Heart rate monitor
  • TruSwing technology
  • Precise pin locations
  • Digital scorecard feature
  • Waterproof
  • Bluetooth connectivity


  • Expensive
  • No touchscreen
  • Must buy other Garmin accessories to take advantage of the Truswing feature

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The Garmin S20 golf watch is the best option for a golfer looking for a GPS that can last multiple rounds. The S20 is accurate, and has solid features and is easily compatible with Garmin’s bets golf technology.

Garmin Approach X40 GPS Golf Band

Garmin Approach X40, GPS Golf Band and Activity Tracker with Heart Rate Monitoring, Black

The Garmin Approach X40 is originally a fitness tracker Fitbit style watch with golf GPS capabilities. It is probably the best GPS watch available for both golf and other physical activities.  The X40 has a round analyzer that measures shot distances with auto-recording for post-round analysis on the Garmin Connect account. It has a good battery life that is capable of handling two to three rounds of golf on a single charge.

The Garmin Approach X40 has smart notifications for incoming calls, texts, and other alerts. The X40 has a wrist-based heart rate technology that measures the heart rate at the wrist 24/7. This gives you the freedom to exercise with no additional heart rates strap.


  • Excellent battery life
  • Auto shot detection
  • Nice compact design similar to a FitBit
  • Garmin Connect analysis
  • Offers day-to-day fitness tracking


  • Distances to hazards can seem confusing
  • No color screen
  • Sometimes picks up practice swings as shots

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The Garmin Approach X40 is ideal for anyone who is looking for a solid golf GPS watch with other fitness tracking capabilities rather than golf. The Garmin Approach X40 is good for on and off the golf course.



Final Verdict

Both of these golf GPS watches have a lot to offer after all both are made by Garmin so you know you’re getting a quality product. Both also have excellent user feedback, are stylish and come at a reasonable mid price point. Whilst the X40 is the newer of the two I’d say that the Garmin Approach S20 is probably the best GPS watch of 2018 which in my view comes out on top out of these two very good GSP watches. In saying that If your after a multi purpose watch in the style, look and operating like a fitBit then I’d say go for the X40, you get the best of both worlds in its capability of fitness tracking and a golf GPS device in one. It would mean you don’t need to buy both a fitBit and golf GPS watch, saving you some money to boot.

However if you after a pure quality golf GPS watch then it has to be the S20. It has excellent battery life, over 40,000 golf courses with a free update and no membership subscriptions and fees. Also, the S20 has an auto-shot round analyzer measure, auto-records shot distances and also features Truswing technology. Get the S20 and you won’t be wondering how far it is to the pin any longer and I bet it will improve your game and handicap.

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1 Response

  1. Gord says:

    I just bought the S20 but haven’t opened it yet. I don’t believe the S20 does heart rate monitoring. This article didn’t mention that with both watches, you can connect to your phone and get alerts for calls, text messages, etc. which is really handy.

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