Even with the emphasis on sports and physical fitness in our culture, people sometimes overlook the value of basketball. We feel that to get into shape we need to spend miserable hours in the gym or going on boring and exhausting runs. However, the simple act of shooting hoops is a tremendous plyometric workout that keeps you entertained while you work your heart and break a nice, healthy sweat. If you get your friends and family involved for a nice friendly game, you can burn calories at a rate the gym and running cannot match. In this Wilson X basketball review, we'll discuss the best basketballs available for fitness and fun.
The Wilson X Basketball Review
The Wilson X Basketball is a basketball equipped with an internal sensor that allows you to track your shots with the help of a smartphone app. Note that Wilson has phased out the original X app, but there are other apps available online that can be synched with this ball. There are a variety of different features you can find depending on the app you choose, but the basic function of this ball is to allow you a more technological and scientific way of evaluating your shots.
The Wilson X is available in intermediate and official sizing. The size for the intermediate is 28.5 inches, and the size for the official ball is 29.5 inches. Both sizes feature a good gripping surface like you would expect from any Wilson ball. The ball bounces well, and the air socket is effective at holding pressure.
The prices in our Wilson X basketball review ranged from $80 to $200. The more expensive models featured more durable sensors with better recharging capabilities and superior technological readouts.
How It Compares
For our Wilson X basketball review, we compared the Wilson X to several other smart basketballs and smart training products. We tested each of these items on price, size, and weight of the ball, and the effectiveness of the app. The other smart basketball training products that we examined were:
Wilson X Connected Smart Basketball
Ease of Use ****
As a basketball, the item works exactly as you would expect. It is easy to handle, shoot, and dribble. There is no perceivable extra weight because of the sensor. The only difficulty with using this ball comes with the app. This is because the original Wilson X basketball app has been phased out by the company. It is still possible to connect the sensor of this ball with ShotTracker.
Design Quality ****
As a basketball, our Wilson X basketball review found that this is a fantastic product. However, the smart connectivity adds considerable expense to the purchase price. The idea of a smart basketball is unique, but this is a relatively early installment into that kind of technology and not all the kinks have been worked out yet. This basketball works great, but it's our guess updated models available in the near future will have superior performance.
Wilson basketballs come with a limited one-year warranty. However, take note that you might disqualify for the warranty if you purchase this ball from a third party seller. Because of the sensor and the technological elements of this ball, and also the elevated purchase price, it's important to have the assurance you qualify for the warranty before you purchase.
DribbleUp Smart Basketball
The DribbleUp Smart basketball is an official size, 29.5-inch basketball. The durable construction features a microfiber composite skin, so this ball is suitable both for indoor and outdoor use. The embedded optical marker is durable enough to take a beating and capable of tracking complex ball movement. You can sync your ball up to the phone app and track your progress as a ball handler. At the regulation size and weight, the DribbleUp is the perfect ball to perfect your court skills.
Ease of Use ***
The app is available online for free. You have to download the app and sync the ball. We found that the DribbleUp was prone to some connectivity issues. It was slow to connect and occasionally it dropped service. Also, this is a dribbling only app, so you don't collect any data for shots.
Design Quality ****
The ball is the perfect size and weight and handles well. You can use this ball for a pick-up game of basketball without using the tracking app. The tracking app gives you fun data to interpret after every use. We only wish that the app also tracked shots.
The DribbleUp comes with a limited 90-day warranty.
Blast Basketball Jump Shot, Layup and Dunk Analyzer
The Blast is an interesting entry to the world of smart basketball training tools. This system does not come with a ball, but instead, uses sensors that attach to your waistband. The sensors connect to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. The sensors work very well with no power buttons or cumbersome controls. The app allows you to capture video movements so you can analyze your technique or post your best moves online. The Blast is compatible with most iPhone and Android cellphones. The purchase price also includes a wireless charger. Note that the replay feature is Apple only.
Ease of Use ***
The clip sensor has its advantages and disadvantages. The sensor tracks your body movement instead of the ball. Although body movement is equally important and provides a lot of useful data, it's an indirect data collection method. You are not able to track the flight of the ball or the impact of dribbling. The sensor is also exposed, and this system isn't as useful for game use.
Design Quality ***
The Blast is effective at motivating kids to put down their cell phone and pick up a basketball, but this unit is more for entertainment than true coaching or developmental purposes. The design picks up a lot of useful information, but overall the sensor is too vulnerable, and the quality of recorded data is of limited effectiveness.
Blast Motion guarantees all its products with a limited one-year warranty.
The 94Fifty sensor basketball is the official smart basketball of the national association of basketball coaches. The ball connects to a very well designed app that has drills for both shooting and dribbling. The app can be programmed to set reminders and works as a virtual coach when the athlete is on his or her own. The battery has a wireless charger and works for eight continuous hours between charges. The ball also has a sleep mode that activates after five minutes of inactivity. Made from weather-resistant synthetic leather and built to regulation size and weight, the 94Fifty is a great choice for a smart basketball.
Ease of Use ****
The basketball handles well and syncs up easily to the free app. We found the imitation leather to be a little stiff, and there was a break-in period before the ball really felt as if it bounced and shot well.
Design Quality ****
The ball felt good but was not as nice to hold or shoot as the Wilson X. We really enjoyed the app. The features of the app went beyond tracking shots and dribbling because it had very good coaching features and drills. Since young people always walk around with their heads plugged into their smartphones, the 94Fifty is a great option to distract kids from social media and get them learning court skills with a very nice basketball.
The 94Fifty comes with a limited one-year warranty.
Smart basketballs are still a new product. However, it's not hard to imagine a very near future in which every high school, college, and professional game of basketball uses smart balls. Statistical analysis is not just for coaches. Everybody likes to see how accurately the best players can shoot and the force they create with passes, shots, and dribbles. Smart basketball technology is new, but incorporating it into your training today gives you a tremendous advantage over the competition.
Our Wilson X basketball review found that the Wilson X is one of the best smart basketballs on the market. Wilson is updating its app, but this ball can be synced with other apps that provide very useful data. The ball is the correct size and weight and handles just like any official basketball, and the sensor is effective and durable. The Wilson X is a great choice for coaches and players that want a technological resource to help improve their basketball skills.
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