Back in the days of 2013, Golf Digest remarked that the original Swingbyte Analyzer was “one of the 12 coolest items” at the PGA Show. Glowing praise indeed, while the Chicago Innovation Award in 2014 was no mean feat either.
Since then, version 2.0 of the device has come along, and subsequently undergone a series of updates – most recently in 2016 where some Retailers include the Anker wall charge adapter as part of the package (please check on this prior to purchasing!) – along with a few other tweaks and modifications.
So with a reputation preceding it, a fairly sizable price tag and a new-and-improved model, we were expecting to be utterly wowed. It didn’t necessarily pan out that way though…
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We’d read up on the Swingbyte 2 fairly extensively beforehand, and battery life – among others - had been a common complaint among consumers with the previous version. The latest update was intended to take care of that, while the addition of the fairly snazzy looking wall charge adapter offers an added solution. The early round of released products also had their share of platform connectivity and software issues, which this newer version didn’t seem to have. Also a slight increase of $20 in price compared with the old package. These are things you’d expect to be remedied anyway if Swingbyte wish to keep pace with their competitors, and the added value just doesn’t seem to tie in appropriately with the now relatively high price tag. Undoubtedly, this has a very slick-looking user dashboard, and an impressive set of features and analytics. It’s all easy to navigate your way around the interface, while, in terms of ease of calibration, this thing is literally unrivalled. We also liked the video instruction, which ties in nicely with the stored data. But really, they should have found a way to completely steady the device itself on the club – it’s inexcusable that it can shift about that much. Why didn’t they opt for a grip attachment instead? We also have concerns about durability in terms of the device, although only time can really tell on that one. All in all, we’d describe this as a mid-range device in terms of quality, which is priced in the mid-to-upper echelons of the market. So you can work out why we aren’t going to shout from the rooftops about it.
Pros and Cons
- We were impressed with the accuracy and consistency of the data churned out
- Rechargeable with a USB port
- Very professional, smart-looking dashboard, and has plenty of features to offer
- Great video capture. You can really feel your swing in the intuitive, instant imagery
- The clasp shifts after a lot of shots – highly annoying
- The increased price of this latest version doesn’t seem justified
Build Quality & Features
Let’s start with the bad news. The clip, although sturdier than it once was, is not up to scratch in our book. Granted, we put it through its paces by ‘deliberately’ hitting shots fat, but almost every time club hit ground first, the device shifted or twisted. Depending on your irritation levels on the day, it could be a source of great annoyance.
Although the USB charge is a great idea and a nice selling point, the actual cap where the access point is looks pretty flimsy. In summary, the build quality of the hardware is borderline sub-standard.
However, that was offset to a large extent by some decent software, a glut of good features, and a brilliantly-designed app. Whatever gremlins may have plagued the Swingbyte 2 in the past weren’t noticeable when we gave it a run. The mobile app really looks the part, and on tablet it looks even better. Everything is where you’d want it to be, and we’d go as far as to say that this is arguably the best app we’ve sampled in terms of UX.
As for the features, there’s ample to work with. Like many others, you can get a 360-degree view of your swing path and 3D video capture. It’s offers a rich set of metrics too such as tempo, speed, shaft lean, plane, acceleration clubface angle (at address and during swing) and a split screen with the excellent Compare Swings feature. There’s plenty of data available, and every single swing you’ve ever made will be stored in your swing history.
The Virtual Coach is a good function which allows you to properly digest quantifiable and meaningful analytics in real time. The data is also very consistent, and we had full trust in the wide repertoire of numbers that were thrown at us.
The dashboard isn’t necessarily as eye-catching as some, but, on both mobile and tablet, we found it to be concise and well designed. It works pretty well with the putter too (and all the clubs in your bag really). In summary, a fair amount of redemption after a slow start in this category!
Ease of Use
No bones about the user experience on this one. Like most analyzers, you’ll need to enter some basic information into the app (lie angle, loft, flex etc) for each club. But this is quick and easy to do. You pair it up via Bluetooth, and that’s about it.
The menu gives you two sections: namely the Virtual Coach and Practice Mode sections, and it is the former which really impressed us. With literally 3 clicks (well, taps) you can do a nice split screen with any of your previous swings, or that of a pro, and there’s an abundance of data points which means you get clear references, and can easily gauge your progress.
You also get ‘badges’, which is a nice little feature that effectively does the number crunching for you, and focuses you on fixing specific things in your swing.
The Bluetooth on/off lights are hard to see in daylight, which is a bit annoying. But other than that, the Swingbyte 2 is easy to operate, and even easier to interpret the datasets. Definitely an enjoyable user experience.
Value for Money
Clearly the Swingbyte 2 is a marked upgrade on its predecessor, and you can understand why that’s equated to a higher price. Obviously you don’t need to purchase the Anker wall adapter too, but, under the assumption that you would, we just don’t really understand why this addition, coupled with the latest update and modifications, should equate to the vast escalation in price that we’ve seen recently.
A lot of finer nuances come down to personal preference, so you may well be enchanted by what this thing has to offer. But, in our opinion, you can probably do better for this amount of money with something like the Click for Prices, Reviews and Pics