[Visit PluggedInGolf.com to see Matt Meeker's full review]
Quick, accurate, and easy to use, the Vibe SL600 rangefinder by Scoreband offers not only slope compensation, but also an amazing price tag.
Like so many categories in golf, rangefinders are a crowded space. How can a relative newcomer like Scorebandcompete? Price. “All the features you need. At the right price” proclaims their website. Sounds great, but can they deliver with the Vibe SL600 without sacrificing quality or performance? Let’s find out.
Instructions for the Scoreband Vibe SL600 setup are simple and clear. Insert the battery, press the green button, and you’re operational. The unit starts off in the Flag-Lock + Slope + Vibe mode and in yards, which for me, is the mode of choice. To be USGA tournament legal, you can pick the Flag-Lock + Vibe mode to turn off slope (another great example of how golf is the only sport where you, the player, are responsible for your own rules enforcement). The third mode is General + Slope. You can switch between the three modes by pressing the black button on top. Press and hold the black button to switch between meters and yards.
To determine yardage, simply press the green button, which powers up the unit. While looking at your target through the viewfinder, press and hold the green button. Yardage to the target in the crosshairs is displayed prominently under the crosshairs. If you’re in a Flag-Lock mode, you’ll also get a small vibration and the little flag icon in the viewfinder will flash confirming the unit has zeroed in on one target. If you are in the General mode, holding down the green button provides continuous yardage readouts as you scan various targets.
In either of the modes with Slope, the slope angle is displayed at the top of the viewfinder and adjusted yardage at the bottom. I did find that when using the unit with sunglasses on, the slope values aren’t in my direct line of sight. I have to move my head up or down slightly to see the values. Without sunglasses on I can get the unit closer to my eye, and the entire field of view is easily seen.
Along those same lines, the eyepiece has adjustable focus – a nice feature for personal setup.
Published accuracy is +/- 1 yard, which is pretty much standard in today’s market. I tested the Scoreband Vibe SL600 against a couple of other brands on course, and they were all within a yard every time for line of sight readings. It’s worth noting that the Vibe SL600 displays in whole numbers. If your game requires precision to one tenth of a yard, you’ll need opt for something like the Leupold GX-2i2. You might also be in desperate need of a reality check.
It’s very flat here in Central Florida, so I can’t offer much commentary on the slope compensation other than the readouts seemed logical, and I trust that the algorithms produce accurate adjusted values. While watching the PGA tour pros playing in Hawaii, I can sure see how having slope adjusted yardage could be invaluable.
The Vibe SL600 has a 600 yard range, which is more than adequate for the average golfer. The speed of providing distance is impressive. Even getting the Flag-Lock vibe only takes a second. And even though it’s called Flag-Lock, the unit delivers the same feedback when it’s locked on any target. Like any tool, it’s good to apply a little common sense while using. If there’s some miscellaneous trees behind the green and you get a quick 225 yard reading to the flag while standing close to the 150 marker, try again.
Price is the differentiator stated in the introduction, and at $210, the Scoreband Vibe SL600 is an outstanding value. You can find other quality brands in that price range, but none that have the slope feature. Overall, the unit has a solid feel, fits well in my average size hand, and has stood up well with a month’s worth of tossing around in golf carts.
“Improve your game. Don’t break the bank.” I like Scoreband’s message. There’s something about knowing the exact yardage to a pin or hazard that instills confidence. Providing that information quickly and accurately, the Vibe SL600 should be a consideration for anyone buying a rangefinder.
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“It’s great to see a partner bring products such as these to my home market, giving players at all levels access to golf tech,” DeLaet said in a press release. “Plus, it’s also exciting for me to be able to say that I have my own namesake rangefinder.”