I am not sure if in the spiritual world that a Phantom is a higher level than a Ghost, but Bushnell seem to thinks so as that is what their new handheld square GPS is called.
They have also dropped the Neo prefix from the product matrix of the Neo Ghost GPS successor in order to distinguish the Bushnell Phantom further, although in a lot of ways the two devices share a lot of the same DNA.
The screen size is the same even though the Phantom is a little larger and deeper.
This is due principally to the Bite magnet that is now embedded in the rear of the Phantom and replaces the plastic clip that was on the Ghost.
The Bite magnet connects either to something metal on your bag, trolley or cart and also to a metal clip that comes with the Phantom so you can wear it on your belt, hat or wherever else you want to put it.
It is a pretty powerful magnet, yet it is easy to detach from the clip so you can see the yardages on the screen, which is especially useful if you are attaching it to your bag. It also allows you to orientate the screen whichever way suits you on the clip which makes it much more user friendly if attaching to a cart back.
On the downside, it can get knocked off if you brush past it by accident and then you will have to go looking for it, which happened to me once, so be aware of this and place the Phantom in a position where it is unlikely to get knocked.
The other main difference is that the Phantom now also comes with Bluetooth so you can pair it with the Bushnell app in order to get software and course updates.
Once you have registered your device you will also get access to full screen GPS maps on your phone, which will be good for seeing where hazards are visually as the Phantom only has numbers.
It does seem a bit odd to have a GPS app for a GPS device, but it is a free added extra for those who have already bought a Bushnell device. However it is only for updates so there is no facility for scoring or tracking club usage at present.
The app can only pair with one Bushnell device at a time, so if you have devices already set up then you will need to un-pair the old one first. The pairing procedure was not the slickest I have ever encountered, but we got there in the end.
Using the Phantom is very easy. Just turn it on and within about 30 seconds it has found the courses near to you and then you just select the correct one.
From there you get the middle of the green yardage in nice big numbers and then the front and back distances below it. It is one of the clearest and uncluttered displays out there and one of its big selling points.
Pushing the middle ‘Select’ button on the left brings up yardages to the nearest hazards two at a time.
It doesn’t give you a front and back distance for the hazard and you will have to learn what all the abbreviations mean. So LGB means Left Green Bunker, RFB means Right Fairway Bunker, so it is fairly self-explanatory even if they call a stream a creek or CRK.
There is also a shot measurement option for those who want to measure their drives or approaches, which is helped by the fact that you can put the Phantom in your pocket after you have walked on to a green to mark the end point of your approach.
The Phantom comes with its own mini USB cable for recharging which takes a couple of hours and should last several rounds. There is an auto-off feature in the settings that is worth using to save power in case you forget to switch your Phantom off.
The Phantom is a stylish little thing and is available in a choice of 4 colours to match your mood or golf bag.
Overall the Phantom is a fine evolution of one of the best value for money GPS devices on the market. It’s portable, easy to fit in your pocket, has a clear display and the addition of the Bite magnet adds to its versatility of use and placement on your golf kit, even if you will have to be more wary about knocking it off.
Combined with one of Bushnell’s excellent lasers like the Tour V4 slope then you should be on the mark for all the distance information you need.