Garmin S12 Vs Garmin S42 Comparison And Review 2021

New Golf GPS watches come out every year and when the manufacturer is Garmin, people will do well to stand up and take note.

The Garmin S12 is the entry level watch for Garmin which is the upgrade on the S10. It has a black and white face with high resolution and an almost never ending battery life.

The Garmin S42 was released in S42 as the Mid Level premium golf watch from Garmin which replaces the S40 which was only released in 2020.

Garmin S12 Overview

 With all the advanced features of the more premium watches, it comes as no surprise that there is a substantial market too for a more stripped down watch that costs less and performs the basic functions just as well.

That is exactly what you get with the Garmin S12. It as a smaller .9″ x .09″ black and white screen and shows distances to the front/middle and back of the green as well as offering a green views for more exact distances.

There is no fancy features or advanced fitness tracking but the battery will last 20 hours in GPS mode or around 6 rounds. There is nothing worse than running out of battery mid round on a premium watch.

You get the full array of 42,000 courses, expected from Garmin and this watch is as fast and accurate as any on the market.

You get auto shot distance tracking, a digital scorecard and a free subscription to the very useful Garmin App which tracks your progress over time.

The looks too have got a good upgrade from the S10 and you can wear this watch all the time or just for golf if that suits better.

Perfect for a budget option or less tech savy players who dont want all the extra features and consider them excessive.

Garmin S42 Overview

Garmin raised more than a few eyebrows in 2021 when they brought out the successor to the S40 which itself, only came out in 2020.

Even more bizarre about the S42 is that it is almost the exact same watch as the S40 and even comes in 1 less color.

The S42 does improve on the S40 in that the design is a little bit more rugged, the glass is sturdier and the battery life has been extended to 15 hours, in line with the Garmin S62, the heavyweight king of golf Gps watches that is unmatched in the market.

The S42 boasts a 1.2″ x 1.2″ color touchscreen which shows any distance on the hole you are playing.

There is green view with manual pin positioning as well as distances to hazards and dog legs.

If you were waiting for a heart monitor, you will be disappointed, it is still only available in the S62.

You get Tru swing, a handicap based scorecard, step counters and compatibility with the CT10 sensors.

Overall, very similar to the S40 and if you can get the S42 for the same price it is worth the cost for the extra battery life. The S12 is a quality investment and the S62 is the best on the market. the S42 falls somewhere in the middle for us.

Garmin S42 Golf GPS Watch

In 20 Words Or Less

The S42 was released as a mid range replacement to the S40, designed to sit between the S12 and the S62. An excellent color touch screen watch.

Garmin S12 Golf GPS Watch

In 20 Words Or Less

An entry level golf gps watch with unbeatable speed and accuracy. With a never ending battery life of 30 hours in Gps, this is the king of entry level watches.

Garmin S42 Golf GPS Watch – First Impressions

It is immediately apparent that the S42 is a beautifully designed color touchscreen golf gps watch that can be worn at all worn at all times, not just for golf.

The watch is less bulky than the S62 and as such will look better at a nice restaurant than the premium S60 or S62.

The watch comes in White, Grey and Black with downloadable interfaces and quick change bands which allows you to have a completely different looking watch to suit your clothing or any occasion.

Key Features:

This watch has 42,000 courses around the world and when you pull up to the course, it loads quickly. Usually minutes faster than their competition.

The watch will give distances to the front middle and the back of the green but also distance to any hazards with layup options included which can be excellent on dog legs and longer holes.

You get green view with the watch and manual pin position to get the exact distance you need for the  pin hunters among us.

There is no slope or plays like feature with the watch, making it completely legal for tournament play which is handy and a selling point for many golfers.

Tru swing is included to iron out any swing problems you may have. The watch connects to the Garmin App to track your shots and build up your stats. You can take this to the next level by attaching the CT10 sensors to the golf clubs to track your performance in detail with each club.

The watch also hooks up to your phone via bluetooth to display any message and calls you receive although it drains the battery a bit quicker.

The Garmin pay feature on the watch is also excellent, you can pay in the clubhouse or in your local shop when wearing the watch which is easily stylish enough to wear at all times.

Garmin S12 Golf GPS Watch – First Impressions

The first thing to notice about the golf gps watch is that the watch is slim and sleek with black and white .9″ x .9″ screen.

The watch is easy to use with 4 buttons, 2 on either side and the watch comes with either white or black straps.

The features are stripped down on this so it is perfect for anyone who just wants fast and accurate distances to the front middle and back of the green, hazards and lay up options.

Key Features:

The watch comes with 42,000 courses worldwide and we have noticed that Garmin loads the courses much faster than most of the competition.

You get all the basic features of the Garmin watch without any of the extra bells and whistles which might be distracting, unneeded and even troublesome for some less tech savvy players.

You do get green view which allows you to attack the pin more aggressively, autoshot which tracks the distance you struck the ball and a digital scorecard which asks for the amount of putts you had before auto progressing to the next hole

There is no advanced fitness features and this could be used just for golf or perfectly in conjunction with a golf rangefinder as you navigate the course.

The watch can hook up to your phone via bluetooth and display calls and messages but one of the key selling points with this one is that the battery lasts 30 hours in GPS mode.

A very nice upgrade on the S10 with incredible performance and a competitive price tag.

Garmin S42 Golf GPS Watch – Selling Points

  • Sharp, Durable Color Touch Screen 1.2″ x 1.2″
  • 42,000 Courses Load Automatically
  • Distances To Front Middle And Back Of Green
  • Distances To Hazards And Dog Leg Lay Ups
  • Manual Pin Position & Greenview
  • Free Garmin App And CT10 Sensors
  • Quick Change Watch Bands & Downloadable Interfaces

Garmin S12 Golf GPS Watch – Selling Points

  • Sharp Black & White Screen .9″ x .9″
  • 30 Hours Battery Life In GPS Mode
  • 42,000 Courses Load Automatically
  • Fast Loading And Accurate
  • Green View And Distances To Front Middle And Back Of The Green
  • Free Garmin App And CT10 Sensors Compatible
  • Bluetooth Connection To Your Phone

Who Are The Garmin S42 Watches For

The S42 is mid level watch, perfect for any body who wants the best looking watch with advanced features but without the heaviest of price tags.

The S42 is less bulky than the S60 or the S62 and it doesn’t have slope, making it legal for tournaments and easier to navigate.

This one is also for those who want the maximum style and is probably not for those who want a simply watch to get the distances on a budget.

Garmin S42 Pros And Cons


  • 1.2″ Sharp And Durable Color Touchscreen
  • Fast, Accurate And Effective
  • Sleekest and Nicest Looking Garmin Watch
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • Fitness Tracking For Many Sport Profiles
  • Bluetooth And CT10 compatible
  • Connection To Excellent Garmin App
  • Quick Change Bands & Faces


  • Expensive
  • Almost Identical To The Now Cheaper S60

Overall Score: 93/100

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Who Are The Garmin S12 Watches For

The Garmin S12 is for anybody who wants the best entry level golf watch and perhaps anybody who doesn’t want to spend a fortune on their watch.

The watch has everything you need to lower your strokes on the course without packing in any unnessasary features that can distract you from your game. This will be perfect for senior players.

This is perfect for someone who just wants the basic features and accuracy without spending a fortune.

Garmin S12 Pros And Cons


  • .9″ x. .9″ Black And White, High Res screen
  • Distances And Length Of Any Hazards
  • Fast, Accurate And Effective
  • Easy To Navigate Interface
  • Free Connection To Excellent Garmin App
  • Incredible Battery Life


  • Perfect For Technophobes
  • Could Be Cheaper, Look Out For Future Deals

Overall Score: 95/100

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