With each new update on a product, the question will often arise, what is the difference between the old and the new? The new Kestrel 5700 series brings several new features over the 4500 series and splits the units into two models. An entry level Sportsman version, and the one that you really want – the Elite with Applied Ballistics. Let’s have a quick look at the two.
The 4500 and 5700 series, at a fundamental, sensor level, remain very similar – you can expect the same accuracy out of the environment readings on both units. Temperature, pressure, altitude (and resulting density altitude), wind, humidity, all on par with each other.
A small, but significant change – the face of the unit gets another button – if you have used the old units, it will take a little adjustment – but once you have you will realise the speed something as simple as an additional button gives you.
One challenge of the previous models has always been compass calibration. The new Kestrel 5700 unit has a flat base, making it a pinch to sit the unit on top of a wooden table, spin it three times and have the compass correctly setup. This is a fundamental and critical aspect of the unit’s setup, so anything to make it easier is welcomed.
Also tying into the compass calibration – a new battery compartment replaces the two AAA batteries with one AA – and locks the battery in place, meaning the magnetic field, and therefore the compass calibration isn’t going to get thrown out of whack. You will still need to reconfigure the compass after replacing the batteries, but that little plastic do-dickey that used to get lost is now gone!
LiNK – next-gen Bluetooth
LiNK – this is the biggie. It means low power use Bluetooth (i.e. longer battery life) but more importantly, it is the beginning of a new age of interconnected devices. First pairing is the Bushnell CONX rangefinder – meaning you can now read your distance in the rangefinder and get the enhanced solution back from the Kestrel 5700, including full atmospheric allowances.
Finally, the screen is brighter with more contrast – no more struggling to read the screen under the sun!
Kestrel 5700 – Worth it?
Of course, the answer isn’t going to be cut and dry. Certainly, the improvements are all welcome – and anyone buying new is highly advised to go with the latest model, rather than a second-hand unit.
However, is it worth updating an existing unit?
Well, if you already have a rangefinder, maybe not. But if that is also on the shopping list, the new generation of interconnected units coming out (and more are on their way) are going to make the speed of getting your ballistic solution much, much quicker.
The screen itself – that is also, to me, a significant change. There is nothing worse than having to break position because you are struggling to see the screen on your unit, and for some people who have struggled with the compass calibration – the new battery compartment and base could be a godsend.
Originally published: August 4, 2016
Lasted updated: June 20, 2018
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