A premium looking and performing laser rangefinder without the punchy price. The user experience was near faultless with the display showing accurate distances quickly. A new brand that is a serious contender in the category.
- Exceptional clarity and speed
- Premium aesthetics
- Excellent value for money
- Magnetic strap on case often comes loose
A laser rangefinder that is packed with functionality and comes in at a very competitive price. While the main button functionality could do with some finessing, the speed and accuracy of this device make it a major player in the category.
- Detailed slope functionality
- Fast target acquisition
- Excellent value for money
- Buttons could be more tactile
Blue Tees Series 3 Max vs Zoom Focus S Rangefinder
As technology within golf continues to grow and become more advanced, it is crucial that you have some form of distance measuring device in your bag to give you the most accurate yardages. Using a rangefinder is one of the best ways to get quick and accurate distances to the flag while the best golf watches and best golf GPS devices provide overhead hole maps and front, middle and back distances.
Two models we've really enjoyed testing this year within this very congested category are the Blue Tees Series 3 Max and Zoom Focus S, which are also included in our Editor's Choice Awards for 2022. This is because they both offer a host of useful features while coming in at a reasonable price point. We pit them against each other in this head-to-head test to see which model might be right for you.
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There are a number of factors that need to be considered when it comes to the design of the rangefinder. Arguably, you want a rangefinder that needs to be comfortable to hold, you don't want to be struggling to pick up the yardage to the flag whilst there are groups behind waiting to hit their shot.
Weight-wise, the Blue Tees comes in 50-grams heavier than the Zoom Focus, with the latter weighing 170 grams. This may not sound a lot, but the weight does make a difference, as the heavier setup means you can hold it more securely in windier and more extreme conditions.
That's not to say that the Zoom is badly designed, far from it in fact. We saw this in the shape, which is noticeably ergonomic, fitting perfectly in the hand. Arguably, it looks a little more futuristic or industrial, but the textured sections assist with grip and it comes in two colour options. As for the Blue Tees S3, it’s a little more substantial, but the shape is spot on and we loved the chrome detailing at the front. What's more, it comes in three color options versus the two available on the Zoom.
Along with the design, the rangefinder's display is one of the most important aspects when it comes to making your choice. You want something that offers a clear, vivid view of what lies ahead which makes it easier to pick out targets while the graphics need to present the information in a format that is easy to interpret.
Both models perform superbly here, displaying the target clearly. Starting with the Blue Tees, the display is very clear and bright, no matter how dim the conditions are that you are playing in. The clear looks are thanks to the auto ambient display, with the Blue Tees also showing the degree of elevation change in slope mode, perfect for practice and social rounds with your friends. Such is the performance, it ranks as one of the best budget golf rangefinders on the market.
The Zoom Focus S offers a wide field of view which captures the scene with clarity. The view is crystal clear and, despite changes in the light conditions, there is little or no effect on the visibility of small objects like distant flags or small trees. Another feature is that it has the battery level in the display for peace of mind and clearly shows you what mode you’re in.
Ease of Use
Using the Zoom Focus S, the distance appears almost instantaneously with a reassuring vibration upon picking out the flag. The only slight negative is that the main button could be a touch more responsive - it's hard to know if it has been pressed because there is no click or feeling of the button being engaged. However, that is made up for with the Zoom's Scan mode, which comes into its own off the tee to assess the horizon. What's more, the micro USB charging feature means it’s arguably easier to keep the Focus S topped up.
Like the Zoom, the Blue Tees's ease of use is superb. When in use, the flag is picked out very quickly with a minimum of fuss and you also get the vibration to reassure you but, to be honest, it wasn’t really needed - such was the effectiveness of the Flag Lock feature. The Slope feature is also easily disabled using the button on the side, which is what you want as it can't be used in competition play.
The vivid display of the Blue Tees Series 3 Max is arguably this laser’s standout feature. It also has a built-in magnet, which allows you to attach it to the buggy frame for added convenience. Compared to the Zoom, it does have a slightly longer range and you also get two extra CR2 batteries included in the box. The carry case looks smart but the magnetic clasp often comes loose and metal that covers it easily scratches, which is disappointing.
As mentioned, Slope mode is easy to switch off for competitions on the Zoom, and you do that by using the toggle on the side. What's more, the focus can be easily adjusted, although, once done initially, you shouldn’t need to touch it again. From a full charge, users will get around 50 rounds of usage.
Both of these rangefinders are superb performers and would be an excellent addition to the side of your bag. The Blue Tees is a cool, functional device that won't break the bank. The variety of features will be enough for all levels of golfers to get the information they need in a quick, convenient manner.
The Zoom Focus is a fantastic performer that we believe is a step up from the Zoom Focus Tour. What's more, it is less expensive than the prior model. Many will prefer the micro USB charging feature of the Zoom and find the Scan mode more helpful off the tee.
Which One Should You Choose?
Choose the Blue Tees Series 3 Max Rangefinder if…
- You want a weighty, more substantial feel when trying to pick out the flag
- You want the option to attach it magnetically to a cart frame
- You want a wide choice of colors
Choose the Zoom Focus S Rangefinder if...
- You prefer a lightweight feel to your rangefinder
- You want the added convenience of micro usb charging
- You want a scan mode to employ off the tee
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Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.
One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.
Joel's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9°
Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15°
Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18°
Irons: Ping i230 4-UW
Putter: Evnroll ER2V
Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x
- Matt CradockStaff Writer
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