Cheap v Expensive Laser Rangefinder Test: We pit the Inesis 900 up against the Bushnell Tour V5 Shift

Neil Tappin puts the entry level Inesis 900 rangefinder up against the feature-packed Bushnell Tour V5 Shift

Cheap v Expensive Laser Rangefinder Test
(Image credit: Future)

Cheap v Expensive Laser Rangefinder Test

A laser rangefinder can be one of the most expensive investments you make in your golf equipment. The best laser rangefinder models will often cost a few hundred pounds but does this need to be the case? There are high quality lasers, as well as golf watches (opens in new tab) out there that don't need to break the bank, and in this piece Neil Tappin has tested out a less expensive laser to see how it performs against a more premium option.

The Inesis 900 Golf laser costs just $200 and comes with slope compensation, which should help you find all the key yardages you need on the golf course. But how well does it work in practice? 

Conversely, the Bushnell Tour V5 Shift laser rangefinder comes in at around double the price and isn't even the most expensive laser Bushnell makes - that crown goes to the Pro XE laser rangefinder, which is right at the top of the price spectrum in the latest Bushnell golf rangefinder range.

inesis 900 v bushnell tour v5 shift cases

(Image credit: Future)

Unboxing

Before heading to the course we wanted to show you what you get when you order the Inesis 900 laser. Inside the box you get a very sturdy case which is really nicely made. You also get some instructions, a cloth for cleaning the lens of the rangefinder, a CR2 battery and a clip that allows you to attach the laser to your bag.

The Inesis inside its box

Accuracy Test

Accuracy and ease of use are huge components for laser rangefinders and all golf GPS devices (opens in new tab). In our test the Bushnell delivered in both aspects and we had no problem in totally trusting the yardage given at any time.

In terms of the Inesis, it was giving pretty much the same yardage and it took no longer as well. Both rangefinders gave a very good yardage, took a matter of seconds to use and we felt totally confident in both models.

Neil Tappin testing the Inesis 900 laser

Features

Let's look at some of the features of the Inesis 900. The first thing to notice is that despite the modest price tag it also has slope functionality which can be hugely beneficial to players in practice rounds because it gives a yardage taking into account whether you are playing uphill or downhill. On the Inesis, slope functionality is easy to turn on by pulling out a small yellow ring where the eye piece is but remember to turn this off during competition!

Getting a yardage is simple with the Inesis. If you have a very clear view of the flag, then you can simply press the yellow button on the top of the laser to get a number.

Inesis 900 laser lying on the ground

Whereas if your view is not clear, if you have trees behind the flag for example, we recommend holding this yellow button down and scanning the horizon. This will give a series of yardages to the trees and then you will eventually hit the flag which will mean a totally different number will pop up. It also has a vibration functionality however this was not as good as the Bushnell because it buzzes whenever you get any yardage.

Some other features to mention include a 6x magnification so you get a very clear view through the viewfinder. You can also set it up in metres or yards and finally it comes with a 2-year guarantee. When you add all of this together, you are getting quite a lot for your money, hence it's inclusion in our best budget rangefinders (opens in new tab) guide. 

Slope Test

bushnell tour v5 shift slim laser rangefinder in hand

(Image credit: Future)

Both the Bushnell and Inesis gave pretty much the same yardage when testing each models slope function. The Inesis also performed excellently in a long-range test too as it was providing the right yardages time after time in a variety of scenarios. For more models that come with this feature, check out our guide on the best golf rangefinders with slope (opens in new tab)

Verdict

The Bushnell is a confidence inspiring product that you can trust every time on the course there is no doubt about that. One thing it does has over the Inesis is that in the display it gives you the battery life which is important. The display was also a touch sharper and clearer, but not drastically different to the Inesis 900.

Initially, we were hesitant with some of the yardages given by the Inesis purely because of the price of the rangefinder. But in the test against the Bushnell it delivered time after time.

It is really nicely made, sits well in the hand, it's easy to operate and it has the right weight to it. Only time will tell if it has the durability golfers expect but all in all, it offers excellent value for money for those people who want a rangefinder that isn't going to set them back hundreds of pounds.

In terms of practical and tangible differences between the two models, they were negligible - especially when considering the factors golfers look for from a laser - speed, ease of use, functionality and accuracy.

Sam Tremlett
Senior Staff Writer

A golfer for most of his life, Sam is a Senior Staff Writer for Golf Monthly. 

Working with golf gear and equipment over the last five years, Sam has quickly built outstanding knowledge and expertise on golf products ranging from drivers, to balls, to shoes. 

He also loves to test golf apparel especially if it a piece that can be used just about anywhere!

As a result he has always been the one family and friends come to for buying advice and tips.

He is a graduate of Swansea University where he studied History and American Studies, and he has been a part of the Golf Monthly team since December 2017. He also previously worked for World Soccer and Rugby World magazines.

Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website. He also oversees all Tour player content as well. 

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five.