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Review: Ubersense SwingReader Video App

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It is often said that feel and reality don’t always agree.  People also say pictures are worth a thousand words. By that logic, video, especially as it relates to something as complicated as a golf swing, must be worth its weight in gold. Many of us GolfWRX members already use video apps in our everyday practice and improvement plans. Some of us use them on our own and some with our instructors. I’m currently working to improve my game without direct instruction and video has proven to be a vital piece of equipment. There are many good video apps out there, such V1 Golf, which I’ve used for a couple years.  However, with additional funding raised late last year, Ubersense has stepped up its game and the latest version of SwingReader has emerged as my go-to video app.

The speedy video processing and easy-to-use interface are the features that give SwingReader an edge over other video apps. If you’ve used the app in the past and haven’t recently, I’d recommend giving it a try again. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can download the free universal app from the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running 6.0 and higher.  And if you already use it everyday, that’s great, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

Pros

Fast video processing.
Simple and intuitive user interface.
Ability to record a video review.
Lots of support on its website.
It’s free — for now.

Cons

It’s only available for iOS at this time (but Android is in the works).
The lineup of pro golfers isn’t very robust at this time.
Yeah, that is pretty much it.

Video Recording and Ease of Use

I believe the best apps are created by people who are trying to solve a problem in their own life. They have a passion that comes out in the products they build. SwingReader was developed by golfers for golfers and it shows in every aspect of this app, starting with video recording. A big red button is waiting for you on the main screen, tap it and you’re almost instantly ready to record. You have easy access to recording options such as a countdown timer, trim options, the ability to switch cameras and import videos from your camera roll. As I said above, the real power is in the video processing. Once you tap the record button to stop recording video, it’s processed, saved and ready to go. Even importing videos is lighting fast. Unlike other apps that seem to take a long time to process the video, SwingReader does it in an instant. When I’m on the range and working on something, I want the instant feedback video provides, but I don’t want to get out of a rhythm. Speed is one of the main reasons I’ve switched to SwingReader.

But speed isn’t the only reason SwingReader is a great app. The entire interface is well thought out starting with the timeline view. Borrowing from other popular social apps, the latest update of SwingReader categorizes your swings by club and golfer, but once you dig into a specific club, your swings are laid out in a simple timeline view. This relatively simple concept is a huge time saver allowing you to instantly see your progress as you scan through your timeline in reverse chronological order.

Drawing Tools and Side-By-Side Comparison

SwingReader Drawing ToolsAnalyzing our swings (or your student’s swings if you’re an instructor) is one of the main reasons we download video apps and SwingReader has all our favorite tools laid out and ready for us. When it designed the tools, SwingReader paid close attention to things like the “fat finger rule” which means it made the buttons large enough to actually accommodate fingers. This is great when you’re on the range with a club in one hand and a phone in the other. You can scan through the video quickly and easily by swiping the right side of the screen or play the video at full speed or slowed all the way down to one-eighth speed.

When it comes to annotating and analyzing your swing, the drawing tools are easily accessible and organized at the top of the screen. All your favorite tools are included allowing you to draw free form, straight lines, circles and even angles. You can clear all the annotations with the click of a button or delete them individually. The lines even come in three different colors.

At first, all side-by-side comparison features appear the same as in other apps. But once you start using this feature, you’ll quickly see it’s very different than some of the other popular apps. This feature works best on the larger screen of the iPad but is still handy on the iPhone. As you expect, you can select other videos of yourself or someone else and they stack side-by-side. You can still use the drawing tools and overlay the videos, but the big difference with SwingReader is you can hit play and both videos will play simultaneously. This is helpful for a number of reasons and works really well when you overlay the videos.

Video Reviews

We’ve all seen the slow-motion analysis of professional swings on TV. Unlike some of the other apps that require you to pay a premium for this feature, SwingReader includes the ability to record your own slow-motion video analysis of any swing. Once you hit the microphone icon at the top of the video screen, you can record your interactions with the video. You can play the swing, back it up, add and remove annotations and at the same time, have anything you say picked up by the microphone and added to the review. If you are using SwingReader on your own, you can use the video review feature to keep notes about your swing, what you are working on, where you need to improve, and include key details about the swing such as ball flight and contact.

As an instructor, you know how important video analysis is to helping your students improve and are probably using a variety of apps already. Without requiring a large monthly or yearly fee, SwingReader gives you the ability for your students to hear and see your instruction, tips and advice for their swings all within the same video. This turns static comments into dynamic content that will help your students learn and improve faster.

Sharing Swings

SwingReader OpenAs with other features, it is relatively simple to share your swings with yourself, your instructor or anyone else. You can share via Facebook, YouTube, email, SMS and online at swingreader.com. You can also place your swings on Dropbox or Google Drive and save them to your camera roll. In another smart feature, you can easily open any acceptable video format directly into SwingReader from messages. No more saving videos to your Camera Roll first and then going into the app to import the swing, it’s automatic.

Tips and Drills

SwingReader is lacking in this area right now – within the app. It does provide tips and drills on its blog (see below). I expect they will likely continue to build out their library of professional swings in addition to tips and drills. Given that every golfer’s swing is different, I mostly rely on an instructor’s recommendation for tips and drills or my own research specific to what I’m working on, so this weakness isn’t a big factor for me personally.

Blog and Support

You can find a lot of great content on the Ubersense blog. The site contains everything from drills and analysis of professional swings, to instructional blog posts describing how to use key features of SwingReader. One thing I look for from companies is whether or not they keep their blog content fresh and SwingReader is doing a good job here. The team posted an analysis of Brandt Snedeker’s swing the day after his win at Pebble (check out his WITB here).

Bottom Line

I’ve used and recommended other video apps in the past, but I’ve almost exclusively switched to SwingReader. All the major video applications have side-by-side comparisons, tips & drills and swings of professional golfers. What truly sets SwingReader apart, is the the fast video processing and smooth user experience that gives you the freedom to spend more time making and reviewing swings and less time waiting around. If you haven’t already, I would recommend downloading and giving it a try while it’s still free.

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When he is not obsessing about his golf game, Kane heads up an innovation lab responsible for driving innovative digital product development for Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of RoundShout and creator of Ranger GPS, the free iOS GPS app for the driving range. On a quest to become a scratch golfer, Kane writes about his progress (for better or worse) at kanecochran.com and contributes golf technology-focused articles on GolfWRX.com.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Robbo

    Mar 7, 2014 at 7:20 am

    I have been using swing reader. Today it has cleared all my saved swings and does not work. Cant find it on itune apps. Uber works on ios 7 not ios 6.1.
    End of an enjoyable experience, unless i fork out for a new iphone.

  2. Pingback: Use the Golf Slot Machine while doing a ‘selfie’ video!

  3. winnaing

    Dec 18, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Thank you

  4. john lee

    Feb 26, 2013 at 9:47 am

    i use swing reader….it sense ur swing all you do is hit record and as soon as you start swinging it records and stop by itself. it even put the line for you….u dont have to press the stop button just keep on swinging

  5. Jeremy

    Feb 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    So there is SwingReader Pro and Ubersense Golf SwingReader

    • Kane Cochran

      Feb 20, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Hey Jeremy – It is a bit confusing. But this review covers the Ubersense Golf SwingReader app.

  6. pablo

    Feb 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    sounds great, can’t wait for the android version!

  7. Troy Vayanos

    Feb 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    You’re right Kane ,the Swing Reader is a useful application. I’ve used the older version quite a bit and learnt a lot about my golf swing with it.

    With upgrade to the newer version soon.

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app

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An 18-hole round of golf averages out to just under five miles of walking, which on its own is a good workout. Once you throw in some potential uphill trekking you get some serious cardio too, but if you all looking for a quick workout between rounds of golf look no further than Crossrope.

Crossrope – The details

Crossrope is a system of the weighted jump rope that allows you to quickly switch the weight of the ropes you are using to boost your workout—they range from 1/4 lbs all the way up to 2 lbs depending on the kit you start out with. There is an accompanying app that helps you go through multiple workout routines and is available free, or you can upgrade to the entire library of workout routines along with more workout tracking options.

This is NOT your middle school jump rope

The handles are heavy duty and feature precision bearings to allow the rope to move smoothly around as you go through a routine. They are also ergonomic and fit into your hand naturally, which making gripping easy, something that is really nice when you’re swinging a 2 lbs coated steel cable around. The handles also come with a fast clip system to make changing cables depending on your selected workout easier too.

The ropes themselves are made from braided steel and are almost impossible to tangle, allowing them to be easily transported and stored when not in use. All in you are getting a premium piece of workout equipment that is effective and easy to store—hard to same the same thing about a treadmill.

When it comes to a workout, skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, and with Crossrope, you can get both cardio and low impact weight training when using the heaviest ropes, and follow along with the guided workouts.

As someone that hadn’t used a jump rope in over a decade, starting out lighter was a nice way to ease in before moving up, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun some of the workouts in the app were. If you are looking for a fun way to add something to your workouts, or you just want to try something new to get you into golf course walking shape, this could be right up your alley. To learn more check out crossrope.com

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.

So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.

These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.

Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims

The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. Custom comfort that lasts all day

These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.

Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.

On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.

After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.

Verdict

I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.

 

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII

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Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.

Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.

Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII

First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.

In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.

Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.

Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.

Review

The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.

The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.

Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.

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