Callaway says “whoops”…. voluntarily withdraws the uPro MX from market

by Derek on August 3, 2011

in Equipment

I was really excited when I first learned about the uPro MX back at the PGA show in January.  It seemed like a great GPS device at an extremely competitive price.  Unfortunately, as a quick check of any golf forum can show you, the uPro MX launch didn’t exactly go smoothly.  The problems have been so bad that Callaway is pulling all existing stock from retailers and offering customers a refund.

Sometimes it’s hard to gauge the extent of a problem simply because the internet tends to make things like this seem larger and more widespread than they really are.  But in this case, the problems must have been extremely severe in order to cause Callaway to pull the product from the market rather than continue to push out firmware updates.  It suggests to me that the problems many customers have been experiencing may be due to faulty hardware, rather than just buggy software/firmware.

Originally I was supposed to be receiving an early unit to review, but then Callaway basically went silent on the uPro MX.  It wasn’t long before I realized it was because they were too busy putting out fires.

I knew they were launching a new website alongside the new unit, but they missed the date.  At first it seemed like they would have the new website up within a few days, but it ultimately took over a month before they had it up and running, leaving customers unable to download Promode courses (the ones with the aerial views) during that time.

Callaway offered a bundle of free Promode courses to early adopters as compensation, but more and more reports emerged of units freezing during during use and randomly rebooting.  Some people were going through 2 or 3 replacement units.  Ultimately it looks like Callaway decided the problems were too significant to fix out in the marketplace and decided to initiate this withdrawal/refund program in order to give themselves a chance to fix everything and relaunch once they know they have a 100% functional unit.

Tim Buckman, Callaway Golf’s Senior Director of Global Communications, told Golf Digest:

Our voluntary withdrawal [of uPro MX] ensures that once we have made the appropriate software update, we can return the product to market and deliver the high quality experience that customers expect from Callaway.  Our commitment to delivering best in class products and services is the guiding principle behind this decision and we will continue to do whatever it takes to earn the trust of our customers. UPro MX and the callawayuxplore platform represent an important area of focus within Callaway and we are confident that our use of innovative technologies will advance the category.”

I have to give Callaway credit for at least doing their best to get out in front of this mess.  Yes, they screwed up the release, but they’ve done as good a job with damage control as I think anybody could expect.  When they do re-launch the uPro MX, I certainly look forward to taking a look at it.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan December 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I had an original uPro and loved it. Aside from occasionally crashing (maybe 8-10 times in hundreds of rounds) and needing to reboot, it was easy to use and very helpful. It finally died and wouldn’t power up. Callaway had me return it for evaluation. They concluded it could not be fixed and sent me a replacement, but it is a uPro MX. Having attempted to use this attractive paperweight several times, I’m ready to throw it in the creek and look at other rangefinders.

It is without question the WORST “improvement” of a useful device I’ve ever experienced. •The touchscreen is inappropriate on a device this small, in my opinion, in part because my fingers are simply too large to use it accurately, and I only wear a Large golf glove.
•Some onscreen buttons respond to a very light touch, while others require squeezing the unit tightly between thumb and forefinger.
•I often can’t get it out of Preview mode, which means all the navigation and rangefinder functions are disabled. When I do get my course and a “Play” button instead of a “Preview” button, it jumps to a club-selection screen. If I return to the “Play” screen and touch it again, it starts stacking up windows of my course without ever going into play mode.
•I have yet to be able to get the “state-of-the-art” touchpad button to do ANYTHING to the display.

I could go on, but the foregoing describes a useless device. I bought the original uPro after exhaustive online research into the various brands and models, paying a premium price for one of the first units. Now, when that trusty unit died, then send me this piece of garbage without telling me that they RECALLED the MX and offered refunds. In my opinion, if they want to salvage a reputation as a purveyor of rangefinders, they should knock off the smartphone bells and whistles profusion of “technology” and bring back the original. It was a model of intuitive usability and proved to be quite durable. It had simple mechanical controls instead of the crappy touchscreen interface. The battery did start failing to take and hold a full charge, but I got a spare through eBay for $15.

The uPro MX is a terrible rangefinder bedeviled by problems that Callaway apparently cannot solve. I’m insulted that they sent me one shortly after recalling the entire model, somehow expecting that this one might work?


Jose January 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Thanks for the info Dan, I was looking at one of these units on Ebay, looks like you saved me $149 !


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