We have now spent time with the Diamond Kinetics Sensor, Zepp Labs Swing Analytics and the Blast Motion sensor. (We cover the general overview in our Baseball Swing analyzer summary.) Our most recent experience with the Diamond Kinetics sensor also included some conversations with DK’s home office, a demonstration of the product at a trade show and at least four hours of using the device on real hitters during live hitting. On the whole, we would recommend the Diamond Kinetics sensor to the player looking for unique insight on their swing.
We references a number of sources in this article that you may find helpful, too. We list them here:
The Diamond Kinetics sensor is a swing analyzer gyroscope that fits on the end of your baseball or softball bat and delivers swing data, via bluetooth, to a smart phone app. That data is then aggregated and presented through a number of visual charts, graphs and numbers, reporting metrics on your swing. Those metrics are stored and aggregated over time to show progress and consistency in swing tendencies.
Players and parents often find the data fascinating. These metrics, like swing speed, attack angle and time to contact, were heretofore unknowable, by even the best of hitting facilities. Today, for less than $200, any player from T-Ball to the MLB, have these points at their fingertips, literally.
While parents and players find it fascinating, many have yet to find it truly useful. Sure, swing speed and attack angle are interesting numbers to know, but it does not take a $150 gadget to tell whether they got on base or struck out.
Companies that make these sensors, and DK is not the only one, have developed apps and websites with more than just the ability to capture swing data. Although improving with every update, the ability to analyze the data and give hitting suggestions is a serious push by each of the companies in the market. Diamond Kinetics is as good as any of the bunch.
What DK does better than the rest is aggregate data across devices onto a single app for a coach or hitting instructor to view via the cloud. That is, a single player on vacation in another country can hit soft toss, and through the magic of the internet, blue tooth and wifi, those swing metrics and counts can show up on a hitting instructor’s phone in a matter of seconds.
The question as to whether you got your swings in this week no longer requires a polygraph test.
Through our experience, we found the DK Swing Tracker a useful tool that any serious ball player should have on their very short list of training items. It delivers metrics on, and keeps track of swings like no human or player can ever really do. It also delivers those data points in very useful metrics on an app that may be the smoothest of the three major swing sensors (Zepp 2, Blast Motion and Diamond Kinetics).
Although we may prefer Zepp’s training insights via John Mallee and the Pro hitting videos better, we like the fast, smooth functionality of DK’s Swing Tracker, light battery use and the ability to function across multiple players on a team or via a hitting instructor better. The ability to capture the data on the cloud and analyze it further is a big deal. Blast Motion does a decent job aggregating the data and presenting it well enough, but it lacks some of the reports we found on DK’s app.
If you were only using a swing tracker for baseball and/or softball, then we can only think of reasons the Diamond Kinetics SHOULD be your choice. Especially if you may use or need the data aggregated across multiple devices via the cloud. On the other hand, if you need a device for multiple sports, or would like side by side video’s of the pros and some insight by John Mallee, then Zepp or Blast will be your answer.
If none of those reasons seem overly compelling, then it is likely you’ll find the same amount of benefit in any of the three major swing analyzers.
At a high level, it would difficult to make the case that either the Zepp 2 or the Diamond Kinetics sensor is remarkably more useful than the other. On the whole, both keep track of swing counts and a number of metrics on your swing that were heretofore impossible to gather. Both use a bluetooth connection to your smartphone via an app. Both have resources on hitting and the ability to keep your data and track it over time to show improvements.
If there were any differences, we would argue that Diamond Kinetics has a great focus on the coach keeping track of multiple players and accounts on his app, while the Zepp 2 has more focus on the individual, and specifically, more advice on how to fix the swing.
Diamond Kinetics’ ability for a coach to keep track of multiple players across several devices via the cloud makes it unique. That is, Jose Shmose’ can hit into a net while on vacation in Florida and Mr. Coach can read his data points real time in Seattle via the cloud. That process could occur for several players at once all around the world and connected to the internet. Additionally, Mr. Coach could be simultaneously capturing data via bluetooth for his player in a cage right in front of him.
Do note, however, those additional spots on Mr. Coach’s device do come with a monthly service price. But, those spots are optional and the bluetooth connection for the hitter’s connected directly to the device can be free for the basic information.
Zepp labs makes some attempt at similar functionality, but it just is not as smooth and does not work with the cloud.
If we were looking for a team app and a coach, at any level, wanted to keep track of his team remotely and among several different sensors, then the Diamond Kinetics would be our choice.
One of our favorite things to do on the Zepp 2 is compare our player’s swing to pro ball players in a side by side video. The Zepp 2 (and Zepp 1) make this easy. We find those insights helpful and our players find them very interesting. The ability to watch how your swing matches up with Altuve’s or Trout’s is an engaging experience.
As well, we think the John Mallee hitting instruction videos directly on Zepp’s app are quite good. John, you may recall, is the hitting coach for the Cubs.
Diamond Kinetics definitely has some legit training instructions based on your deficient metrics. In application they are likely to be as good as Zepp’s. But for us, there is something about hearing from John Mallee and seeing side by side videos of pros and our hitter that is compelling.
If we were an individual looking for the most direct training from our swing trainer, the ever so slight edge would go to the Zepp 2.
Zepp offers a full program for their golf swing analytics via the same exact sensor you use for baseball. That is, you simply need to buy a different mount, download the golf app and you are off to the races. DK’s only focus is baseball.
In terms of the metrics provided by both the Diamond Kinetics sensor and the Blast Motions sensor, there are not many differences in the free version of the Diamond Kinetics reports and the Blast Motion reports. When considering the Diamond Club, (the inexpensive service DK offers), there really is no comparison between the two. DK’s ability to sync data among devices to a specific device via the cloud may be, for the right coach and team, the perfect and only option.
Blast Motion has a connection to Easton and as such, we are simply guessing here, have become the “Official Sensor of the MLB”. We are not sure what that means exactly, but there it is. However, if we were buying a sensor purely for a baseball or softball use, we would lean toward the DK sensor because the Diamond Club experience is something we would like to be a part of or might want to be a part of in the future.
Blast’s focus, at least according to a few conversations with them and a serious Blast Motion review we did, has a focus on non-baseball and softball sports as much as it does baseball and softball. They have some use with this sensor in basketball, track and field as well as golf. If we were wanted a sensor to track details in each of those other sports, then the Blast and Zepp would be on our short list.
DK does not offer anything but baseball and softball. If you want it for other sports then it is a good reason to cross this one off your list. But, we should note, the sole focus on baseball and softball really allows the company to dive into the market. Hence, the focus on the cloud team aspect of gathering swing metrics.
Some may consider replacing their hitting coach with a sensor. Or rather, getting a sensor instead of investing in a hitting coach. Our caution would be to emphasize that the best swing analyzer for you is not the same as a good hitting coach. Instead, you should consider a swing analyzer in the same bucket as a swing training aid like a Hurricane or BowNet, not, as many mistakenly do, as a substitute for good hitting instruction. In fact, many good hitting instructors use a swing sensor to gather and demonstrate information for analysis. We discuss this issue in detail in our Baseball Swing Analyzer article.