One of the best things about doing reviews is providing honest all around feedback in an understandable and tactful way. However, feedback is not just important to us golfers. Most companies want to hear it too. In fact, some take it to heart and use it to improve the product at hand based on all of that feedback. Such a desire to evolve and improve is the exact reason I was excited to be doing an “update” review on the SwingTip device/app from Mobiplex, which I initially reviewed in November. I wanted to see first-hand after two updates to the app/device just what had been addressed and how it had evolved.
In order to put more emphasis on the specific updates and changes that have been made to the SwingTip device/app, rather than re-hashing every aspect of the initial review, the full review can be read by clicking here. Inclusion of the initial review serves to provide a starting point for those new to the device as well as a reference point for others.
From the Company:
- Visually examine and compare a photo-exact animation of your swing from three angles alongside club head impact metrics
- Auto-record a video of your swing so you can examine your setup, body posture, arms, grip and final stance
- See instructor-style power and plane analysis that pinpoints strengths and flaws on nine swing aspects
- Learn and improve with instruction tips and videos and track your progress with scorecards and MySwingTIP.com
3D Swing – Impact Metrics
- Visually examine a photo-exact animation of your swing from three angles (target, front, top
- Star best swings as a reference swing (one for each club-type)
- See club head impact metrics: club head speed, swing path, club face angle, impact zone, and swing tempo
- Review tips and practice drill videos from Golf Teacher Ray Leach
- Track and share your progress with electronic scorecards
- Wirelessly sync data to a free MySwingTIP.com account to see performance and trend reports
- With every swing, SwingTIP activates your mobile device’s video recorder
- Record video of your swing from any angle or position to examine body posture, arms and grip
- Smart capture setup tools assist with proper angle and distance
- Auto-truncates video to capture only necessary footage of the swing from setup to follow-through
- Forward and reverse playback allows you to easily examine all aspects of the swing
- Easily share a video with a friend or coach
Power and Plane Analysis
- Instructor-style assessment of swing power and plane across five checkpoints: address, takeaway, top of swing, halfway through downswing and impact
- Pinpoints strengths and flaws across nine swing aspects: lie angle at address, takeaway, top of backswing plane, downswing plane, power load/backswing length, power store/release point, power at impact, transition and arc of swing
- Review tips and practice drill videos from Golf Teacher Jeff Ritter
As with any device, the initial review showed that were a few minor hiccups here and there for the SwingTip (not being able to delete swing data for example), but with the ability to do app updates these things can be addressed. Not only have areas of concern from users and reviewers alike been addressed, but new features were added as well. To better serve going over the major changes that Mobiplex brought to the SwingTip with updates 2.0 and 2.1 it will be easiest to break it all down in different categories below:
- Improved metrics
One of the most impressive initial features about the SwingTip was the polished presentation of the metrics it provides the user and their accessibility. There have been a couple of changes here through the different updates, but for me the swing tempo change stands out the most. Originally the app showed tempo as total time elapsed, however it can now be shown as backswing to downswing ratio as well by simply tapping on the metric. This is something I particularly like because I battle an overly quick/aggressive tempo constantly. Most studies show that a proper swing tempo is 3:1 backswing to downswing, so being able to see a tempo ratio is much more efficient. This is definitely a small change, but it is a handy one.
- Delete-able Data
The SwingTip offers a TON of data, both through the recorded swings in-app as well as when synced with MySwingTIP.com. The amounts of both swing by swing and long term data has always been staggering, however in the initial release the lack of an ability to delete swings could in many ways skew the data. It is very encouraging to see that this area of somewhat critical initial feedback was addressed and has been included seamlessly into the device/app by Mobiplex with the updates.
- Power/Plane Analysis and Jeff Ritter
One of the biggest changes to the SwingTip is in the ability to actually make sense and apply the data you are presented with in order to improve your swing. In order to accomplish this Mobiplex added what they refer to as the Power/Plane Analysis tool. Simply, it is accessed by tapping on the “Analysis” button at the bottom of a recorded swing.
This feature actually breaks down the swing data into nine different focal areas including address lie angle, takeaway, backswing plane, downswing plane, backswing length, release, speed at impact, acceleration point, and swing arc. Each point of information is presented on screen via highlighted numbers illustrated on the ACTUAL swing path for that swing and it uses all three views (top, target, and front). I honestly believe that this not only provides a user of ANY skill level an effective way to break down the information, it does so in an incredibly clean and streamlined manner. As impressive as the presentation that the Power/Plane Analysis feature offers is, even more useful (and just flat out cool) in my opinion is the integrations of instructor Jeff Ritter.
On each of the nine analysis areas displayed you get a short explanation of what is happening, whether it is good or bad. From there, you have the ability to tap “more” for further explanation and also short video explanation from Jeff Ritter. All of these videos are in-app and they are very easy to understand and put into practice. In fact, I have found myself stopping to go into the more info of each section just to watch the videos, even if I was being told I was going fine at that point in the swing. All told, this is the most useful and understandable breakdown of information and a path to improvement that I have seen in any swing device out there.
- Video Capture
The area showing the most innovation and evolution within the SwingTip honestly might be the ability to record your actual swings within the app itself. I will openly admit that this was the feature that I was the most pessimistic about heading into the update. In my head there just seemed to be too many variables and that it could easily end up being too complicated to make regular use of. Turns out, there is a reason that I don’t design things. Essentially, Mobiplex has found a way to utilize both the data recorded by the SwingTip device as well as the video/audio functions of the iPhone in what they are referring to as “Smart Capture”. There is no doubt it is nice to see the swing path data, but it is equally nice to be able to see your ACTUAL swing in order to analyze position/posture/setup and that is exactly what the video capture does. While there are still a couple of variables in my opinion, it is pretty dang neat.
The “Smart Capture” portion of the app utilizes the microphone and face camera on the iPhone/iPad in order to record your swing from ANY angle. The reason that the frontal camera is used is the ability to glance at the screen and make sure you are aligned properly and use the on-screen instructions to get you the proper distance from the device for recording. It is not something I really thought about initially, but does make it much easier to use, especially if you are by yourself. It is worth noting though that since it does utilize the front camera of the iPhone/iPad it can be a bit tedious to set it up. Obviously if you have a cradle for your phone then it is a non issue, but I actually ended up balancing it on the golf cart or my bag in order to use it.
A very cool aspect is that rather than having to press record before each swing it is actually auto triggered and trimmed by the SwingTip, since the device already recognizes when a swing starts and stops. This is much handier than basic video apps I have used before because there is no excess footage. The video can also be recorded from any angle, which is advantageous if you are working on a specific area which is better seen from a certain angle. The recorded video can also be played back in three different speeds which is a nice little feature that makes analyzing what you are seeing much easier.
The ability to be able to go back and forth from the traditional swing path animation of the SwingTip and actual video of your swing is something that, for me, was incredibly useful to break down my own swing. However, it is really forward thinking that Mobiplex included the ability for the user to share both the data and the video via either email or Facebook. I cannot help but think that being able to send this to your personal instructor could be an invaluable tool if you are taking lessons. This, like any new feature, will undoubtedly undergo some fine tuning with future updates (like expanding it to Android users) but it has already put my initial pessimism to bed.
There is no doubt that Mobiplex has shown a dedication to the continued improvement of the SwingTip. They have clearly listened to and taken the feedback from users and reviewers alike to heart and it shows. Although a mobile device like this may never be perfect, it does not mean that it cannot strive for constant improvement and evolution. With the 2.0 and 2.1 update Mobiplex has not only fixed various issues, but they have brought with them some even bigger ideas to improve the device. Everything that is packed into the SwingTip makes it incredibly useful and also an effective competitor in the mobile swing device market, which we are seeing grow at a feverish pace right before our eyes.
MSRP for the SwingTIP is $129.99 and can be purchased directly from the company or via other retailers. Please visit www.swingtip.com for more information.