Introducing the New Leica Disto X3 and Disto X4 Laser Distance Measures
Leica was the original laser distance measure and they continue to develop the technology in an attempt to keep ahead of their competition. Both build quality and reliability have always been exceptional. Here I’m going to look at the New Disto X3 and Disto X4 models.
The Disto X3 is a replacement for the X310 model and continuing with the X prefix indicating a more durable, watertight and drop tested device. The big addition to the X3 in features over the X310 is the inclusion of Bluetooth for transferring data and interacting with the Leica Disto apps.
The Disto X4 is effectively a replacement for the D410 and to a certain extent the D510. Again being an “X” model it is also watertight and drop tested and as with the X3 includes Bluetooth. The X4’s features match and in some aspects surpass that of the D510, although the screen display is much larger on the D510 and I prefer its build quality. The X3 and X4 have the same maximum range of 150m with an accuracy of 1.5mm.
With the introduction of these two new models, all the current range of Leica Disto’s have Bluetooth connectivity.
The first thing you notice when looking at these two models is that they look almost identical, with basically the same housing and button configuration. Both units feel comfortable in the hand and are very light but still, seem reasonably well built. The screens have a crisp and clear display with an easy to follow menu system. Both are powered by 2x “AA” batteries which are located behind the multi-function end piece on the rear. Opening the battery cover can be a bit of a trial, first, you need to pivot the end piece out by moving to one side then twisting. Then you need strong fingernails or a coin to leaver down the locking switch, the cover can now be pulled away from the Disto.
As with all Disto models they come with a 3-year manufacturers warranty, makes sure though, that you register within 8 weeks otherwise it drops to 2 years. You can register online or through the Leica Disto Plan app which is available for iOS and Android.
Features of the X3 and X4
Both models have the core features you would expect with simple measurement, surface area, volume, min/max, stake out and indirect measurement utilising Pythagoras. They also feature an electronic level/inclinometer used for more in-depth indirect measurements. The X4 has an additional Indirect Height function allowing measurements of heights of objects that you cannot reflect the laser from such as power lines or trees. One note on this X4 only function is that it was not available when first using the unit. The instructions indicated that you may need to update the software, which is done using the Disto Plan App. I did this but still did not get this function, I’m guessing that this will be added on a future update. When I get more information I’ll update this post.
Functions are accessed by the function button and the screen is navigated with the arrows on the keypad. A handy feature of these Distos is that if you are not sure what an icon indicates, simply press the button below the question mark on the screen and it will tell you.
Recalling previous measurements is achieved in slightly different ways on each model. For the X3 it is the up arrow button on the keypad and on the X4 it is located on the second function screen.
Comparing the Disto X3 and X4 models
Now its time to pick out the main difference between the two models. The X3 is essentially an indoor or short distance outdoor model. Targeting the device is done by seeing where the laser dot is, over long distances outside in full sun you will not be able to see the dot. So the X3 is predominantly for indoor use. The X4, however, features a video targeting system with a 4x zoom. With the X4 simply aim the Disto, look at the screen and where thecross-hairr lines are is where you are measuring to. This makes the X4 truly an indoor & Outdoor laser distance measure.
DST360 Kit Optional Extra for Point to Point Measurement
The Disto X3 and X4 models can utilise an optional kit called the DST360 which consists of a holder base and tripod. This optional kit provides extra point to point measurement functions for these two Disto models.
Point to Point measurements is where you need to measure something by taking various measurement from one position. An example is working out a roof surface area from on the ground. This is achieved by the holder unit also measuring degrees of rotation and transmitting that to the X3/X4 which can then combine that measurement with the tilt degrees and distance to calculate a final figure. This is very much the same as the Disto S910 top of the range unit. The DST360, however, is rather expensive but considering the extra measurements it can achieve and the fact that the S910 is even more expensive then makes it an option. Bear in mind the S910 provides a much bigger display screen, Li-ion battery power plus a few extra features.
Even though the DST360 does operate with both the X3 and X4 I would only really consider it to go with the X4. I say this as these point to point type measurement are generally required outdoors over large ranges. Therefore, you really need the video targeting that the X4 includes.
Leica has a number of Disto apps available but the latest one I would recommend for both Android and ios Apple is the “Disto Plan” app. This is the latest app and is compatible with the X3 and X4 models. I tried the X4 on the older “Disto Sketch” app but had difficulty getting measurements to transfer from the Disto to the app, even though the Bluetooth was connecting.
With the new Disto Plan app, which includes most features of the Disto Sketch app plus some extras, it connected the first time and transferred measurements without any issues. The Disto Plan app also includes the ability to register your Disto. In addition, you have the ability to update the software/ firmware on the Disto itself for the latest features. One further note is that the software/ firmware shipped with both the X3 and X4 would not work correctly with the Disto Plan app. Updating the software/ firmware on your X3 and X4 is essential for the app to work correctly. This may change as the models I tested were the first build as of June 2018.
My recommendation is if you’re having any problems using the app update the firmware on the device. One further observation is that the update option on the app located in devices/info was greyed out. I had to disconnect and re-connect the device within the app to get a pop up prompting to update. I also had some issues with the app on a couple of Android devices. One issue was it would not connect until the keyboard setting was changed and the other on a Samsung tablet was that lines in the sketch part of the app would not display. Over the next few months, I’m sure some of these glitches will be addressed.
Video from Leica
These new models by Leica together with the D2 are going to make up the vast majority of sales in my view. The D510, D810 and S910 being the more specialised in the range.
So which one to buy? First of all, you need to ask the question are you likely to be using it outdoors over more than a handful of meters. If the answer is yes then model to choose is the X4, without a question. For Indoors only then the D2 or X3 is probably the answer with the X3 having the greater durability and including the tilt sensor.
See review on the Leica Disto D2 HERE
When you purchase one of these models the first thing I would recommend is to register the warranty, before you forget. I would also get the Disto Plan App in order to upgrade the software as it becomes available. The app also includes a number of useful floor plan and other measuring features. Some of these features are free and some which you will need to purchase.
A final point to mention is that it is worth purchasing a unit from your country. This will make life a whole lot easier if you do need to make a warranty claim down the line.
Alternative to the Leica Brand
I have done a review on the Huepar LM90C LM200C laser distance measures which compete very well with these Leica Disto Models. you can check out my review HERE
I have some links below for purchase which you may want to follow. In the spirit of full disclosure if you do follow one of the links and you do purchase then I may receive a small commission.