Below we discuss our Blast Motion baseball review as it compares to the Zepp Labs and other options in the space. The Blast Motion Sensor for baseball, softball and t-ball is meant to attach to the bottom of your bat with a rubber mount and sends, via Bluetooth to your smartphone, data points that capture the performance of your swing. There are at least three other gadgets which attempt to perform the similar task of real time objective analytical feedback, includung Diamond Kenetics and Zepp Labs (our review), which are sensors that attach to the knob, and a SmartBat from RIP-IT which is still in production.
If you’ve yet to swing a bat with an attached sensor that gathers objective analytics, we are confident you will be impressed with the Blast Motion which is distributed from Easton. We do like its ease of use and the exceptionally quick manner in which it delivers the most helpful metrics: bat speed and attack angle. However, after 20 hours of use, we’ve decided the Blast Motion would not be our favorite choice in the space due, at least in part, to its lack of side by side video with pros, difficulty in transferring from one bat to another, and skimpy training section for ideas on improvement.
We’ve spent at least 20 hours in the cage with the Blast Motion sensor—and we’ve spent at least another 50 with other sensors like Zepp. Those who have yet to enter the bat sensor market should be impressed with the Blast Motion—which is distributed by Easton Sports.
We like a few things from this sensor over other sensors. First, it quickly syncs to your phone—after you’ve downloaded the app—and starts sending interesting metrics to your device directly after the first swing. Other products didn’t feel to be nearly as seamless–taking a little more time to sync and log in before sending data.
Second, these metrics were easily navigable and record-able. Items like bat speed, attack angle and time to contact which where heretofore impossible to gather and record before this sensor phenomenon hit the market now stream to your phone in mesmerizing fashion with the Blast Motion sensor. Additionally, the Blast Motion app and sensor delivers a few esoteric metrics that at first glance might not mean much, but aggregated, attempt to deliver a numeric score for your entire swing. These metrics (Blast Factor, Efficiency Index and Power Index) appear to give a decent general feel, in numeric form, as to how good the swing was. More about these factors in included in the app.
Third, the metrics on the app are displayed as well, if not better, than any sensor on the market. They are clear, direct and easily navigable.
As a final note, the app also lets you record video of the swing in slow motion—this is built directly into the app and simply uses your smart phone’s camera. The swing is then captured with its accompanying metrics and stored within the app to review later or share with others. Not necessarily unique to the Blast Motion sensor, but a useful feature for sure, that any user will appreciate.
There are three areas where we thought the Blast Motion fell short.
First, unlike other sensors, the rubber cap in which the sensor fits and attaches to the bat is housed around the sensor, not underneath it. This design requires you to remove the entire rubber mount to change the sensor from one bat to another. Not an issue if you are only gathering the metrics of one particular player and that player happens to be sure he only wants to use one bat.
While it isn’t the end of the world to take the mount off of the bat and change it to another, it does take extra time and, we surmise based on how hard you need to dig at the mount to get it off, that it lowers the mount’s useful life.
Second, compared to the Zepp Labs sensor, the app itself lacks in instructional video on how to fix any particular issue the sensor is capturing. If you have slow bat speed, for example, there aren’t any ideas on how to fix it. If your bat is late to the ball with a poor attack angle, there doesn’t appear to be any help on how to fix it other than telling you it’s slow. Compared to the Zepp, it’s nearly a fatal flaw.
Within in that same vein of instruction, the Zepp Labs slo-mo, side-by-side comparison of professional players’ swings to your recorded swing is a mic-dropping feature the Blast Motion simply doesn’t have.
Third, while the Blast Motion does excel in the use of aggregated metrics like the ‘Blast Factor’—which attempts to relay the effectiveness of the swing into a single number—it fails by not giving a visual representation of the swing. The bat path in a 3D animated video is another lock out spec of the Zepp Labs sensor. The Blast Motion feedback simply lacks that visual awareness teaching moment of the bat path—and it’s hard to make that same impact with only a numeric “Blast Factor” or “Power Index”.
Sensors gathering data on your swing’s performance have come to the market so quickly, and apps can be updated so easily, that it’s hard to say which sensors on the market may be the best long term play. As of today, we’d buy the Zepp Labs in a heartbeat when compared to the Blast Motion for its side by side comparison to pro swings alone. The 3D visiualization of the bat path as well as the easy transfer between bats is also a plus and the training information built into the Zepp Labs app is helpful.
But we don’t think that will be our answer forever. Zepp has had at least a year head start on the Blast Motion and we wouldn’t be surprised to see an app update on the Blast here shortly. Aside from the mount’s lack of transfer, an update on the Blast Motion app could be all it takes to make it the market leader.