I'm a data junkie. I love being able to see huge amounts of data about myself recorded on a tracker, and analyzing that data to improve my life or make me a better athlete. But not everyone is like this, and some people may not be comfortable with self-coaching.
That's where the new Zepp multisport tracker comes in.
The Zepp is a small sensor you attach to your golf glove, or baseball or softball bat. It has two accelerometers and two gyroscopes that are used to measure metrics such as swing speed, vertical angle, backswing and more. All that information is then transmitted over Bluetooth to your Android or iOS device, where you can analyze the data, view a 3D 360-degree visualization of your swing and receive personalized coaching to help improve your game.
This is Zepp's second tracker. The original model was slightly larger and could track golf, baseball, softball and tennis, with the latter missing this time. The new model is also smaller than the original, and adds an additional gyroscope for improved tracking and upgraded Bluetooth Low Energy for better connectivity and battery life. The company has said the tracker should last up to 8 hours.
The new Zepp sensor is being offered as part of a kit for either golf or baseball costing $150, £130 or AU$250. The sensor itself will work with either sport, although you will have to purchase a special $10 mount accessory to switch from one to the other.
I had a chance to test the sensor at Chelsea Piers in New York last week. I'm not a golfer and I haven't played baseball in years, but I was impressed. The tracker registered all of my swings with both a baseball bat and a golf club, and within seconds the data was visible in the Zepp app on my Android phone.
For golf, I could see information on my swing speed, tempo, backswing position, club plane and head plane. Most of these terms really didn't mean that much to me, but the app actually helped. Not only did it provide detailed descriptions of each data point, it also highlighted the areas that needed the most work. In this case that was my swing speed, tempo and backswing.
I then viewed 360-degree images of my swing and noticed my form was off. I checked out one of the app's Smart Coaching videos to see how my swing should look, and wouldn't you know it, within the hour my form and overall golf game had improved greatly. My backswing went from 98 degrees to 226 degrees, and my swing speed increased from 48 mph to 70 mph. While the Zepp worked, it didn't hurt that I had an actual golf instructor next to me to help with the demo.
While I didn't spend that much time with the Zepp, it has me intrigued. I've always wanted to learn how to play golf, but I haven't been taught the basics. The Zepp isn't cheap, but it's certainly more affordable than hiring a personal coach. And it's not just for beginners. The Zepp could be appealing to anyone who wants to improve their golf game or at-bat stats, especially those who like to geek out over heaps of data.