Originally Posted by myusername
Get the Star, Don't get the lite, unless you are too weak to lift 45 pounds. It's less battery life. I know you are thinking that 2 hours should be enough. But that might be an average battery life per session. Cranking up the MPHs and having the oscillator going my heavy duty battery doesn't last the 4- 6 as advertised. The 2 button remote is worth it. I bought 1.5 years ago and it seems prices have gone up a bit with the improving economy, but when I did my research silent partner had the most features for the least money. Treeton X Balls are the best practice balls all the others feel like you are hitting rocks.
Love my ball machine and I love my one handed back hand since I got my ball machine.
I have the lite. It's the cheapest thing available, and it's definitely a good machine. It will send you just as good a feed as anything out there. The difference between the SP lite and the more expensive machines is features (some of which I'll admit would be nice to have).
I actually consider the smaller battery to be an asset. I tend to use the machine on public courts, which means I have to haul it around a lot. You can buy replacement batteries for about $30, and only the smaller batteries can be replaced without opening up the machine. This means you can buy an extra battery or two and charge them up externally if you think you occasionally want more hitting time, but keep the machine light if you're only going for a short hit. This works for me, but wouldn't for everyone - if you usually need a longer battery life, though, you'll want the heavy duty version.
The remote would be nice, but the real feature that distinguishes the expensive ball machines from the sp lite is "vertical oscillation." With the sp lite, you tilt the machine to the angle you want, then set the spin and pace (which can be impressive with this machine). Beyond that, your options are "horizontal oscillation" (ie., the machine goes back and forth shooting balls to different sides of the court) or no oscillation (ie., the machine doesn't move and shoots to the same spot over and over). "Vertical oscillation" (which the sp lite doesn't have) means that the machine can feed short and long as well, as well as (for the high end machines) varying the spin. Obviously, this opens up more options for practice.
A machine with "vertical oscillation" and the ability to randomly change spin puts you into a completely different price range and will run you a couple of grand or more, from what I've seen. I'd like them, but it's a lot of dough. Even without it, my SP Lite has definitely helped my game, I'd recommend it if you're looking for a relatively inexpensive ball machine.