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Gear review: ES12 and Swingbyte

Gear review: ES12 Digital Assistant and Swingbyte

The scoop: For years if you wanted key figures on your swing you turned to one of two high-end devices, either a Trackman or a Flightscope. Trackman costs can exceed $20,000, so this isn’t for home use. But over the past

The Swingbyte: Vital swing stats in a small package.

year a bunch of devices have started popping up that do parts of what Trackman does, just at a fraction of the cost. I’m looking at two of the devices here: Ernest Sports’ Es12, which is sort of a mini-Trackman, and Swingbyte, a small blue tooth device that connects to your smart phone and provides all sorts of details on your swing. Both are relatively inexpensive, with the ES12 at $249 and the Swingbyte at $149.

How they work: While the products do similar things, they accomplish it in very different ways. The Swingbyte is the size of an in-ear Blue Tooth device and connects directly onto the shaft of your club. From there it connects to your smart phone and gives you a lot of detail on your swing — a detailed path, the face to path, lie angle and clubhead speed, as well as tempo. This data is sent immediately to your phone.

The ES12 is a standalone device that sits on the ground near where you are striking the ball. It also connects with your phone. The Es12 essentially acts like a mini Trackman, providing you with velocity and distance by connecting with your phone.

Ernest Sports’ ES12

Birdies: 

  • The Swingbyte is simple to use and easy to set up. You basically clip it appropriately to the shaft of your club, sync it with your phone and start swinging. It is simple and easy. The only issue I had in this regards was running down the battery on your phone or on the device.
  • The ES12 is a little more of a challenge to set up (see bogeys), but once I had it working it presented very similar numbers to the FlightsScope I had tracking my shots at the same time. The numbers seemed relatively accurate — usually off by a few yards from the FlightScope, but strong enough to get an overall sense of velocity and distance.

Bogeys:

  • I really like the Swingbyte, but I find the device does change the swingweight of your club. You’re certainly aware of it — and I wonder what impact that has on the results.
  • The ES12 could be finicky in picking up shots. Once it was working it was great, but I struggled occasionally to get it to pick up the ball. That was frustrating as it seemed like it should be simple and straight-forward.

 

Overall: Both devices really accomplish a lot and provide an awful lot of info for a relatively low price. If you’re trying to practice something and get it ingrained in your swing, both devices can do a lot for you. I wonder over time what kind of pressure these sorts of smart phone-linked devices will put on FlightScope and Trackman. Despite the drawbacks, both devices are fascinating, though I suspect for the hardcore practicing golfer, the Swingbyte might prove more useful.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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