The GolfBuddy LR5 laser rangefinder retains all the functions of the previous LR4 but in an updated form.
As you can see, the colour scheme has changed from white to grey, which goes with the blue accents but is fairly conservative. Compared to the previous model the LR5 has been down the gym and on a diet to create a slimmer body that is 40g lighter at 192 grams.
This not only makes it easier to fit in your hand, but also easier to snuggle in next to your eye when you are looking through it. Part of this is due to moving the battery compartment from the side to the back of the LR5 so that the CR2 battery is in line with, rather than across the body.
The compartment still features the flip up flap to unscrew the cap so you can replace the battery, which was one of the big upgrades on the last model, so it is great to see it retained.
The 6x magnification diopter eyepiece can be adjusted to suit your lack of vision and the display shows the distance to your target, current mode and battery indicator in decent sized black text.
The 'M' Mode button is now on top of the LR5 rather than on the back so it is under one of your fingers and easier to use with just one hand. It controls the switching between yards and metres and also between the Standard, Scan and Pin modes.
Scan mode will continuously scan for 10 seconds to show distances to multiple targets, whereas Pin mode will do the same thing, but show the distance to the nearest object, hopefully the pin.
The technical specifications and display are the same as the LR4 so there is no performance gain on the LR5 and it is still accurate to +/- 1 yard. I use GolfBuddy lasers a lot and one of the key reasons is that it is better than most at picking up flags over 200 yards and the LR5 is no different.
It is just point and click the B button to bring up the crosshairs and then another click to get the square box around the crosshairs whilst the LR5 calculates in the distance. This is does pretty quickly and I managed to pick up objects up over 600 yards away, not that I can hit it that far.
The font size of the numbers on the screen seems bigger and placed more centrally than on the LR4 which makes it easier to read. When you start it up it shows four dashes implying it can see into the 1000s of yards, but I think that it optimistic unless you are trying to find the distance to something very large like the clubhouse bar.
There is a softer click sound as you press the button to activate the LR5, but I probably prefer the louder click on the LR4 as it gave a more audible confirmation that the device was engaged.
The right side features a rubber pad that fits under your hand as you use it and the other touch points have these sections too for better grip.
The rest of the body is pretty strong plastic which is probably not going to bounce very well if dropped. GolfBuddy are slowly upping the amount of protection on their devices, but we are someway from it being full body armour.
With the smaller device you also get a smaller carry case that does look sexier than the previous version. Thankfully they have done away with the double flap magnetic opening and gone for a zip and bungee cord mechanism to provide temporary and permanent closure.
The case is much more rigid and will therefore provide a lot more protection than before. I have seen more robust karabiners in my time and you can use this or the large strap loop to secure the case to the outside of your bag and it should still be there at the end of the round.
Whilst the LR4 was an improvement on the LR3 it had to bulk up to take on board the welcome features like the new battery compartment.
Thankfully now we have the best of both worlds with the GolfBuddy LR5 as it is thinner than the LR3 and improves on the ergonomics of the LR4. Add that to excellent all round performance and you have one of the best value for money lasers in the market today.