Tennis Warehouse: Sony Sensor Playtest!!!

g4driver

Legend
Tennis experience/background: 30+ years playing, 4.0 USTA Rating playing both 18 & 40+

Describe your playing style: Nearly equal mix of Singles and Doubles in USTA and local 4.0 ladder held four times per year, as an all-court player. I prefer the baseline in singles and net at doubles. I don’t have a big serve but place it very well enough with a great degree of accuracy to get aces vs 4.0 and 4.5 men both wide and down the T on both sides. I consider my footwork and mental game to my greatest assets. I hit my 2HBH harder than my forehand, but I get more winners with my forehand as it is my biggest weapon.

Current racquet/string/device: Wilson Steam 99S / Volkl Cyclone Tour 16g / Apple iPhone 6

How many hours did you play with the Sony Sensor? 7.5 hours or 450 minutes recorded time. (Unfortunately all of it right in the heart of our Mixed Doubles Leagues and I am on two 7.0 and two 8.0 mixed teams. My 8 week Single and Doubles Ladders start next week, with our Combo Leagues starting June 30th, so this playtest is a little early for me, but I will continue to update this review as I get more time with the Sensor. It was hard to get guys to play singles with so much mixed doubles going on. Most of my friends play mixed also with many of them on 7.0/8.0 teams so it limited my guy/guy singles with this playtest.

Was the device easy to attach to the racquet? Yes, very easy to attach to the frame. I had to remove my old Wilson Steam 99S Buttcap and replaced it with the Wilson Sony Smart Sensor Butt Cap, before I received the Sony Smart Sensor.

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Wil...t_Caps_non-ProStaff/descpageWILSON-WSSBC.html

Just pop out the Wilson Red logo and install the base of the Sony Smart Sensor into your frame and it is ready for the Sony Sensor.

Given it’s location on the racquet, was the sensor a hindrance? For 95% of the players, I doubt they will notice it at all. So no, it was not a much hindrance at all. When I am hitting my forehand, I leave my right pinky finger almost off the buttcap, so I do feel the Sensor, but I get use to it after a few minutes. Same thing for my backhand. But when I am volleying, I move my hand up my handle to make the frame more secure versus harder balls. (Yes, you can make the racquet more secure in your hand my not holding it like I do when I hit forehands.) The Sony Sensor is nothing like the cumbersome 18 gram Zepp Sensor which seems like an epic fail from what seems like a non-tennis player who came up with the Zepp Design.

FYI: Some guys are complaining about the 8 grams at the end of the buttcap, and for me, it is more mental than physical. I have five Wilson Steam 99S frames all custom ordered and matched by TW's Paul Reed. When I add the Sony Sensor and it's 8 grams at the end of the frame, it makes my frame slightly more headlight, and I mean slightly. I could switch between a frame without the Sensor and the one with the sensor and it didn't bother me.

How easy was it to upload and view the data on the app?

The bluetooth connection works very well. Every time I turned on the bluetooth it would connect with the phone within 2 seconds. The only problem I had was seeing the blue light in very bright sun (even while standing in the shade). I solved this by putting the handle of my racquet in the bottom of my unzipped and very dark tennis bag, so I could see the blue light. So I could connect the Sensor to my iPhone once at the court.

What did you like about the app?

I like the layout and interface of the app on the iPhone / iPad but the icon “… “ should say “Menu” because if you click on the “…” in the top right corner you get the “Menu”

The “How to Use” is written very well. I would love to get more time with the live/video feature. But this the portion of the app I got to use the least as the courts are so crowded right now with mixed doubles leagues and having my tripod on the top of the bench table didn’t work out. It keep getting hit by players on the other courts, when they switched sides and reached for water bottles and grab towels on a table portion of a shared doubled bench. And mounting my iPhone on the back fence against 4.0 guys is something that gives me pause to wonder. Pretty sure a direct hit by a line drive would bust an iPhone.

What did you dislike about the app? This is what I would like to see updated the most. This is very nitpicky, but I don’t understand the baseline for any shot with a +/- . Example, my average forehand is a +5.1 on a scale from -9 to +9, but what does that really mean? 0 is completely flat, but is + 9 4500 RPM? Or 3600 RPM, or 2700 RPM? I think Sony could make the scale more useful by giving an upper limit and lower limit value and then the math could easily be solved. E.g. if the upper limit for Topspin Forehand were 4500, each integer would have a value of 500 RPMs. It would make the -9 to +9 scale more useful IMO.

Was there anything you thought was missing? I wish the Sony Sensor came in different colors. Lol I hate orange and I got a lot of comments about a “nipple” on the end of my frame. Maybe this is Sony’s way of getting attention. Because a bright orange “nipple” was noticeable by other players.


How did you use the data you received from the app? First of all, I looked at the total number of shots I was taking in each match. Then I looked the time on the court and looked at total shot count. I then looked at the number of groundstrokes vs volleys I hit in matches that weren’t challenging, vs groundstrokes I hit in matches that were closer. I get that the opponents were tougher when I hit less volleys, but the data seemed to reinforce my net game won more matches quicker than my groundstrokes. As a guy who hits singles and doubles in nearly equal amounts in the spring and fall, I tend to get too comfortable on the baseline in doubles, when trading groundstrokes with 4.0 and 4.5 guys.I know I am more disruptive and a bigger threat at the net, and this data confirmed that I need to come in more in doubles.

Other notes: I would like to see a plug to fill the open hole when the Sony Sensor is not attached to the frame. I only had the Sensor come off one time accidentally, and that was when it was in my bag as I probably never got it on securely.

Thanks to both TW and Sony for this opportunity. I think the price is a little high at $199, but I think this product is far superior to the Zepp Sensor and I showed the app and the Sensor to a lot of people who noticed it and were asking questions about it. The feedback was positive from the folks looking at the data, and I told them I was play-testing it for Tennis Warehouse getting a plug in for TW, since you were so gracious to let me try this device and even more gracious to let me keep it.
 
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dode

Rookie
Tennis experience/background: High school varsity and college club team player. Took over a decade off and got back in about 3 years ago at age 35. Currently a very strong 4.0 moving my way up the ladder playing 4.0 and 4.5 this summer.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): Mainly play doubles these days but I am a power baseline player that prefers to hang back until I get something to attack and move forward. I am larger than the average tennis player at 6'4" 275 lbs and power is definitely my game.

Current racquet/string: Yonex VCore SI98

How many hours did you play with the Sony Sensor? Approximately 10 Hours (outdoor play time has been a little hard to come by this year due to all the rain)

Was the device easy to attach to the racquet? This device was very easy to attach to the racquet. Remove the trap door, insert the adapter, and lock in the sensor. You couldn’t ask for more in regards to this. If you break a string, you can swap it to a different frame in less than a minute.

Given its location on the racquet, was the sensor a hindrance? For me, the sensor being mounted on the end of the frame was not a big deal at all. I am not 100% on this but I think I may have inadvertently turned off the sensor while I was playing a couple of times though. I also liked the extra added 8 grams of weight that it added to the handle. The SI98 is a little lighter than the Tour 97 I had been playing with, and I really preferred playing with the sensor on as opposed to having it removed.

How easy was it to upload and view the data on the app? I am a relative newbie when it comes to phones and tablets. I have had an Android tablet for a couple of years, but I just got my first smart phone about the time I received the sensor. It is an Android based phone (Motorola Droid Turbo), and I had absolutely no issues connecting the device. I used it both in memory mode as well as live mode, and it had no issues either way. The range on the blue tooth connection was very good and it never seemed to lose connection even from the opposite side of the court. Data itself was very easy to view. Others stated that it was hard to see the video but maybe my phone is large enough that it wasn’t a big deal for me.

What did you like about the app? The app was easy and straight forward to use. I am a data junkie so this is right up my alley. The app was simple to navigate where you didn’t have to drill down through many levels of menus to see what you wanted to see. I like how you can see the data in a variety of ways such as by the day or month or by shot type. I really like the heat zones showing where I hit the ball. I think it is quite telling of a few things that I do. I really like the video portion of the app. I think that is what can take this app to another level compared to other similar devices including Zepp. I didn’t get to use it a ton yet because I didn’t have a good way to hold my phone on the court. I built a crude mount for my tripod to try it out a couple of times, but I have on my list to find a dedicated tripod to use with my phone to take full advantage of this feature.

What did you dislike about the app? There are a few things that I didn’t care for or questioned, but they are minor really. One thing I found a little odd is that in my profile, it asked me to put in what shoes I wear. Why would it ask that? That seems a little odd. I also found a little bug in the app I think. On the main page where it lists each day, it shows a summary at the end of the month of what you did. However after the data points for May, it titled the summary April 2015. Obviously I haven’t seen the summary for the month of June yet, but I am guessing it will show it as being May. No big deal really and I’m sure can be fixed in an update. I don’t know how they came up with the calories burned, but I am guessing it seems that it is strictly dependent on time. I don’t know if it comes up with a number based upon the time and the physical attributes that I typed in, but my rate seems to be at just over 15 calories per minute. That doesn’t seem to vary if I am standing at the net hitting volleys or running the baseline playing singles. That seems a little high.

Just like other sensors, it does struggle from time to time picking up exactly what shot I hit. Some of these numbers can really skew the data. For instance, I had a few times where it said I had like 86 mph swing speeds on volleys. I will say that it seems to do a very good job (compared to the zepp) of recognizing forehands and backhands (no holding the racquet a certain way or calibrating it), but it seems to mix up serve, smash, forehand, and forehand volley sometimes. It isn’t a lot, and I wouldn’t expect it to be 100% as that would be nearly impossible but with video it is easy to tell when it does miss one.

I am also not sure how the ball speed to racquet speed correlation works (I more look at the racquet speed) but it seems odd that even though I don’t think I am a huge spin player, my ball speeds are all significantly less than my racquet speeds, even on flat serves. Obviously there is a hole there in that it doesn’t know what string type or tension you are playing with, but it was just something I thought I would point out. I am looking at trends so I really don’t care about “ball speed” so to me it isn’t a big deal.

Was there anything you thought was missing? The #1 way to improve this app would be a way to make multiple data files for one day. If I want to say hit with two different racquets with the way the data is saved, there is no way to separate the two data sets. Also, I wish there was a way to easily export or share the data. I think that would be very good to have.

How did you use the data you received from the app? I think I mainly covered this above, but one great thing about this app is to be able to see some numbers on a shot and see it on video paired with it. That really helps to reaffirm both when you do things well and when you do things no so well. It’s also a good tool to see how fitness plays into hitting and seeing how consistent you can be over time and not have wild jumps all over the graphs.

Overall this is a great product. The Zepp was a fun toy to play with (I think it is a way better baseball tool than tennis), but this is about 4 steps forward in my mind. The video tool really puts it over the top, and I think with a few tweaks that it could help just about any player to improve.

Thanks for the opportunity to playtest this product.

John
 

YarikA99

Rookie
Tennis experience/background: Been playing since I was about 10. About 4.5 or 5.0

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): All court player trying to incorporate more serve and volley

Current racquet/string: Yonex ai 98/ Volkl Cyclone strung with jet at 42

How many hours did you play with the Sony Sensor? About 23 hours.

Was the device easy to attach to the racquet? Very easy to attach to buttcap and also to remove the trap door. Takes under 30 seconds for everything.

Given it’s location on the racquet, was the sensor a hindrance? No, I hold the racquet really low with my pinky almost falling of the racuqet and I did feel the sensor, but it didn't bother me at all. The weight did bother me a lot and I am sure that it wont bother most beginners but for any advanced player the weight is definently going to be a little bit troublesome.

How easy was it to upload and view the data on the app? It was easy to upload the data and view it, the upload didn't take too long, but it also wasn't the fastest.

What did you like about the app? I liked how it was mostly accurate in speed and hitting placement on strings. The live video mode was also a great tool. It was easy to attach upload and use.

What did you dislike about the app? It wasn't the most accurate,I got two backhand slices at 99 mph and 97 mph. Some of my forehands got registered as backhands for some reason and I am also really confused by what it registers as smashes. A couple of my serves and high volleys got registered as smashes and when I was doing live video mode one of my backhands got registered as a smash, but I swung high to low on it and also when I was picking up the balls and lightly hitting the ball underhand to try to hit the basket, they got registered as smashes. I also couldn't get the Motion Shot Image thing to work.

Was there anything you thought was missing? I really didn't like how you couldn't export video from the app to the computer or phone.

How did you use the data you received from the app? I used the live video mode to see how different techniques produced different shots and also how I improved over time or to see if I met my goals fo each session.
 
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mrc

Rookie
I purchased the Sony Sensor for my Prince Textreme Tour 100T about 3 weeks ago. Mine is weighted to 11.4 ounces strung.

I have to say that I felt the Sony Smart Sensor was pretty accurate.

I am a 4.5/5.0 lefty all court player and with my knowledge of tennis these statistics seem to be right on point.

Forehand Top Speed 80 with spin around 5.6-6.0
Serve Hardest 106 and spin around 4.9 to 5.0 Slice Serve about 85 and Kick about 70 mph with most spin.
Two Handed Backhand Fastest 70 mph and spin a bit lower...

All the numbers look pretty accurarte and it records most of my shots and does a nice job syncing.

I don't really notice the sensor on the bottom when playing. I got used to it quickly.

The battery life is much better if you don't do LIVE MODE...Just turn it on and make sure its blinking red and you can play much longer. I had over 1000 shots one day.

All in all, I am very happy. I do not think I am going to use it everyday but will use it to gradually improve my spin and power.
 

jonestim

Hall of Fame
Bump.

Anyone still playing theirs long term? Mine fell out of my bag last fall and I am thinking about picking up a new one. Haven't seen a whole lot of chatter on the boards about them lately.
 

v-verb

Hall of Fame
Bump.

Anyone still playing theirs long term? Mine fell out of my bag last fall and I am thinking about picking up a new one. Haven't seen a whole lot of chatter on the boards about them lately.

Yep love mine. Got a busted Android phone and a Motorola Moto smartwatch so I can get immediate feedback on each shot. Lots of fun!
 

kimguroo

Legend
Bump.

Anyone still playing theirs long term? Mine fell out of my bag last fall and I am thinking about picking up a new one. Haven't seen a whole lot of chatter on the boards about them lately.
I have not used it for a while but updates are nice such as side by side comparison etc...
Glad see that Sony continues to add new features.
 
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