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Wilson X Connected Football review: $200 for a smart football might be worth it

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The elimination game can be played with up to eight friends. You can set it for a specific metric -- velocity, distance, spin rate, spiral efficiency -- or it can select one randomly. You then toss the ball to each other with player one (the guy with the phone and wrist sleeve) telling you your score and when to throw. You will be eliminated if you don't reach the goal set by the challenge. Last person standing wins. The elimination challenge was fun for me (the guy wearing the phone), but my buddies said it would have been better if they could also see the stats.

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Ariel Nunez/CNET

The game day and final drive modes are pretty self-explanatory. One simulates a full game, and the other throws you into the final drive down the field. Wilson's partnership with the NFL is what makes these two modes even more exciting. You can pick a real NFL team to compete against, and play out a rivalry.

Both modes have you pick a play, snap the ball (this is done by holding it still and then slapping it) and throw it to your buddy. You repeat this until you gain a first down or touchdown. Each team you play against has a different rating for offense and defense. You could be sacked if you hold onto the ball too long. The other team could also intercept the ball or virtually knock it down for an incomplete pass.

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It can get confusing, though, because even if your friend catches it, it could still be an incomplete pass. It all depends on the defense you are playing against. For example, the Denver Broncos are known for a strong defense. If I throw the ball and my buddy drops it, there is a higher percentage it will be an interception than if I was playing against Tampa Bay.

Game day and final drive were interesting to test, but not nearly as fun as the elimination and precision modes. It was also annoying to have to constantly look down at my phone to check the countdown sack timer.

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Should you buy it?

I had a blast using the Wilson X Connected Football. It's fun to compete against others and see stats in real time. My buddies also enjoyed the elimination challenge, although it's definitely more exciting for the person wearing the smartphone arm sleeve.

The $200 price tag can be hard to swallow, but this is a premium football and I think the added smarts make it worth the money. Overall, the football is a good buy for ordinary people who just want to see their stats and have some fun, and if you have the cash it could be heck of a show-off tailgating toy.

Wilson's smart basketball was designed to help improve your game, but the company has said the football is designed to be more of a game than an actual training tool. I still think young quarterbacks, however, could benefit from the stats measured by the ball. For younger kids, at least, it could be the next best thing to training camp.

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