Big Name, Small Package. Can the Leupold GX-3i Find the Pin?
This digital laser rangefinder is perfect for golf and sets a high standard for optics, precision and features. Leupold has a fantastic reputation in the industry and their products are top quality.
Should the GX-3i be your next rangefinder? Let’s take a closer look.
Leupold GX-3i: Quick Features
– Compact design
– Digital Enhanced Accuracy (DNA)
– Clicking diopter adjustment
– 5 – 800 Yard range
– Finds pin up to 450 yards
– 6x Magnification
– Prism Lock technology
– Tournament legal
– 3 Selectable aiming reticles
– Scan mode / Fog mode
– Accurate to 1/10 yard
– Cordura case
There’s nothing amazing about the appearance of the the Leupold GX-3i. Mostly black with silver accents around the front and back, this is still a good looking unit. The battery inserts just below the eyepiece with an easy twist-open / twist-close door.
The mode button is comfortably situated at the side for thumb operation, with the main button on top. Its powered by a CR2 lithium battery. Not a popular format, but easy enough to get hold of for around $5. At 7.8 ounces this is light and compact (3.7″L x 2.9″H x 1.3″W), but feels solidly built with a sturdy aluminum shell. Very easy to take wherever you want to go. A handy little case is included.
To activate the Quick Set Menu on the device, simply hold down the Mode button for a second. You then use the Mode button again to move to a function, which you then activate with the Power button. To exit the menu again, just hold down Mode for at least a second again. Operating the GX-3i rangefinder is very easy and intuitive.
The OLED display is a bright red, easy to read in all conditions (except perhaps when you have the sun right against you on the horizon). You can choose between three aiming reticles (Plus Point, Bracket Circle and Bracket Circle Duplex).
The GX-3i’s display is crystal clear, definitely a step up from the Bushnell Tour V2/3 models. It does have a slight blue tint though, which some people don’t like, but you may find it helps reduce glare on very bright days.
The display is one of the biggest selling points of this rangefinder, and often the single feature that makes people choose the Leupold GX-3i over other competing models like Leupold’s GX-1 or the Bushnell range.
This is a blisteringly fast rangefinder. Aim, press, release and you have your reading virtually instantly.
The Prism Lock feature will let you know that you’ve locked on to the pin prism (if present on the course) with an audible beep (optional) and a lock bracket around the reticle.
Pinhunter is Leupold’s technology for accurately ranging the pin against other background objects. The unit does a fine job of locking on to the pin up to 300 yards, with perfect performance time and again below 200. It is rated up to 450 yards for pin finding, but you’ll need a very steady hand to pull that off.
The Scan mode is handy for checking distances to various objects on the course, like bunkers and water hazards, in a continuous sweep.
Funny enough, one concern with the GX-3i is that it may be too small for people with really big hands. This doesn’t influence the performance of the unit though, it’s more of a “it would have been nice if it was…” type of side note and won’t be much of an issue for most people.
Value for Money
Selling in the $350-$400 range at major online retailers like Amazon, this is not a cheap rangefinder. However, you don’t get cheap performance either.
It’s a step up from the Bushnell Tour V2/V3 and Leupold GX-1 ($300 range) in speed and optics. Its most direct competition is probably the Bushnell Tour Z6 which sells in the same price range, and truth be told there’s little to choose between the two models.
Here are some comments from forum discussion of owners of the Leupold GX-3i:
“The really cool thing though is that if you hold down the button and move it back and forth over the pin you we see the distance every time it passes over the pin because it is so freaking fast at registering distances.” – Bumpandrun, Mygolfspy.com forums
“Absolutely outstanding. Love this thing. Extremely well made, small, easy to use (click button one to activate, click again to show yardage). Just love it. I know have an exact yardage for any shot.” – Danatthetrock, Thesandtrap.com forums
“The Leupold GX-3i proved to be reliable, easy to use, and feature-rich, in a size that is convenient without being overly small. Features like continuous scan were an upgrade from my old rangefinder, and attention to detail such as the selectable reticles really showcase the advanced designs Leupold is capable of. The aluminum body gave it a quality feel, and its weather-proof construction should provide years of reliable use beyond the two year warranty.” Michael White, Golfdiscussions.com
Critical Golf: 91/100
Leupold GX-3i Review Summary
You can’t really fault this product. It is well-built, accurate, fast and has all the legal features you need in a rangefinder. The display is clear and easy to read and the pin-finding technologies do a fine job. Yes, it is USGA approved. You can’t ask for much more in a golfing rangefinder.