Full Disclosure: I was offered a prototype unit for testing prior to the official release, so the hardware itself may be different from the actual production unit. I also tested the final firmware prior to release so there could be an update to further refine ball flight algorithm. Since I was given this unit for testing, I am hereby to only compare the data difference I saw and not express my personal opinion to promote the product, to objectively show the data differences only.
The new Mobile Launch Monitor (or MLM) created by Rapsodo – an inventor of Skytrak – is released in the industry for a lower price segment. The price point is to compete against units such as Swing Caddie or Mevo. I thoroughly compared the data output difference between the top end model such as Trackman 4 and GCQuad before the release to test and help fine-tune its measurement. I was exposed with a few beta firmware and my comparison is the result of the final beta firmware ready to be released (although they can be updated over the air in the future at any time).
This unit is meant to operate outdoors due to the ball needing to fly a certain distance and you would need a smartphone or a tablet along with the unit itself, for a ball tracer feature. This unit works on either grass or mat and utilizes an integrated doppler radar as well as the optical front camera. I used range balls during the testing, hit about a few hundreds of balls, used various clubs and compared the data parameters MLM output against both Trackman 4 and GCQuad. Since MLM outputs normalized data just like GCQuad, I also put Trackman data into normalized mode for equality.
Data Comparison and Result
MLM outputs 5 different data parameters: Carry, Ball Speed, Launch Angle, Launch Direction, Club Head Speed and Smash Factor. All of them are measured except Carry distance. Since it needs a certain distance, I tried using it indoor and wasn’t able to reproduce the same result indoor (I have 13ft from ball to screen): While some data such as Ball Speed and Club Head Speed would come out, others would not. Another thing to note is even when outdoors, there may be times where MLM wasn’t able to measure Launch Angle or Launch Direction. In that case, they will show as 0. I will rather get 0 than arbitrary numbers so that’s a good initiative on Rapsodo’s part (kind of like Trackman in that sense). Non-read rate was approximately less than 3% on my testing so the capture rate seemed pretty good too (at 97%).
Carry: Depending on the clubs, the variance was anywhere from 0.3 yds to 8.4yds. On average it was about 2-3 yds with the deviation of around 4 yds on average which is pretty good. Just like the top end launch monitors, it also tended to mis-read carry on some mis-hits. Something to take note of.
Ball Speed: Very impressive part of MLM, is that ball speed was extremely consistent. On average the maximum difference was 1.7 mph with an average of 0.8 mph which is less than a mph at all times.
Launch Angle: Even more impressive than ball speed was launch angle. The difference against both launch monitors was less than a degree with deviation being even lower than ball speed.
Club Speed: Due to Trackman and GCQuad measuring club speed slightly differently, although MLM measures that the result seemed to be more close to GCQuad, which is on the faster side. Within GCQuad, the difference was about 0.4 mph with the highest difference being 2mph. However, the deviation was both around 1.6 mph between both devices, meaning how MLM measures the club speed is consistent and wouldn’t see questionable speed from time to time compared to other cheaper units.
Launch Direction: I only eyeballed the alignment with this device but as you can see in below data, the difference was less than a degree versus both launch monitors. This was also very consistent.
At a $500 price range, it measures comparable data within 8yds in carry, 2mph in ball speed or 1deg in launch angle at worst case versus the $20,000 models. The most part I liked about testing MLM is that there was a consistency in measuring various data points with numerous shots especially the ones that were directly measured by MLM, which seems to be the main differentiator. The carry seemed to be slightly on the higher side at times but it was still within 4-8 yds and fairly consistent which was impressive, moreover the carry parameter can always be updated in the future at any point in time (which they seemed to be on top of it).