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Going to the range and whacking ball after ball is fun and all but it does get a bit boring after a while. Bringing a launch monitor to the range can give you a lot more info as well as make practice more fun, and in this post, we’ll be talking about the Rapsodo MLM.
|The price is reasonable||Not available on Android (right now)|
|It’s easy to switch clubs||Phone can overheat in the sun|
|More features than most||Doesn’t tell you spin rates|
|Easy to share videos|
Key Takeaways: Compared to other launch monitors at this price point, the MLM has the most features, a pretty good battery life, and also comes with game modes. It won’t be as accurate as the high-end simulators, but for the price, it’s very tough to beat and is our favorite under $500.
Who Should Buy: The MLM is perfect for golfers who practice a lot and want to fine-tune their game with swing data and video analysis. The price is quite high overall and is why I probably wouldn’t recommend it for the weekend golfer who’s only out once or twice per month.
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Out Of Bounds Golf Rating: ★★★★☆
My Rapsodo MLM (Mobile Launch Monitor) came with a sturdy protective case, a type “C” charging cable, and a quick start guide.
The actual MLM unit itself is about the same size as a range finder but thinner, and fits easily in one of my golf bag’s pockets. I like the fact that it’s small and portable.
They do have a more detailed online manual that is very handy. I keep it on my phone for reference, since there are so many features for this launch monitor you may not remember them all.
Pro Tip: I wouldn’t use the included carabiner to attach the MLM to the outside of my golf bag, but that’s just me. I read a story about a guy that lost his new MLM on a course because he had clipped it to his bag, the carabiner broke, and he lost his launch monitor. Ouch!
Setting the MLM up was pretty easy.
- Charge the MLM (mine had a decent charge at 50% YMMV)
- Download the app from the Apple store
- Set up an account with your email address
- Sign in and click “connect”
- No calibration is needed
There was only so much I could do while inside and not at the range. The initial setup was quick, about 10 minutes, and I figured I had enough charge for a quick session so I hightailed it to the range. Once at the range, I found that setting up was very easy!
Pro Tip: If you want to loan the MLM out to your friends they can register their own account and record their own data. The data is stored on the phone so it doesn’t affect different users.
How To Use
- First, you’ll want to turn the MLM on, the LED will glow red
- Start the app on your phone, go to Profile, and press Connect Device. Your phone should automatically find the MLM. Once connected the LED on the MLM will turn blue and the app will display “connected”
- Press Practice, choose hitting into a net or outdoors
- Confirm your location on the satellite map (the MLM uses Apple Maps)
- Orient your shot direction within the satellite map
- Place the MLM approximately 8 feet behind you facing your shot direction
- Prop your iPhone (or tablet) on the support built into the MLM and make any necessary final adjustments
Rapsodo has made an update that makes setting up the video overlay easy. On the lower left of the screen is a settings selection. Go to these settings and select “Alignment”.
Center the alignment line with your intended ball target, not the ball, and make sure you can see both the ball and your body on either side of the line. The unit works equally well for right or left-handed players.
Once you start the session the MLM assumes you’re using a driver, but a really nice feature is Smart Club Recognition. Simply wave your club face in front of your phone’s camera and it will automatically choose that club for your shot.
I have had some issues with the auto club detector, but you can always manually enter a new club if necessary. I think sunlight on the phone camera may impact this occasionally.
Now, line up your shot and give it a whack! After your shot is recorded a voice will announce your distance, ball speed, and launch angle. The voice feedback can be muted so as not to disturb other golfers. Also, you can use an earpiece to hear the announced shots.
After your session, you can review the video of your shot to see how your swing looks. The shot tracer video display can only be described as awesome! It also shows your distance, ball speed, and launch angle.
The app is required to operate this unit since the MLM doesn’t have a screen like the Swing Caddie sc300. Instead, it uses either an Apple phone or tablet.
One of the highlights of the MLM is the app records a video of every shot during your session, while applying a shot tracer of the ball flight. A very exciting feature indeed. These videos can easily be shared directly from the app with a few clicks.
You get a table of data for every session displayed on your app. Within the data, there is the ability to change the metrics of the data that was recorded. Listed below are the different data types you can view for each shot.
As well as recording up to 100 videos of your swing (free app version), it also has an impressive list of data points:
- Accuracy (Dispersion- both lateral and distance)
- Shot Shape
- Carry and total distances as well as side carry
- Club and ball speed
- Smash factor
- Launch direction, angle, and shot type
Some other features of note are
- Club gapping
- Satellite view of shots
- Session insights
Like everything else nowadays there is an optional “Premium App” version available for the MLM. A $99 yearly subscription gives you 10k cloud storage for practice sessions and extra “insight” data. The free version records a video of your last 100 shots.
I might sign up later, but for now, I have plenty of data to go over. In my opinion, the free app has all the features that 90% of us will ever use.
Rapsodo is continually updating the app based on user feedback and improvements they come up with. I have to say they are very receptive to feedback and have done a great job with new improvements via updates.
The Rapsodo MLM has lots of cool features to keep you from getting bored. I have only used the practice mode so far, but below are some descriptions of what is available.
- Practice mode
- Game mode
You will probably use practice mode the most. With this you can tune your game through the feedback you get with your shots. I personally like looking through my sessions to see my launch angle and shot dispersion.
A great feature in Practice Mode is Coach Connect. With this, you can share your shot videos with a coach to analyze and then give you tips. Coach Connect does require the Premium app version and there is also an additional cost through the coach for these lessons.
Looking at the available coaches I found some among the Top 50 Golf Digest Best coaches. These are coaches that you most likely would never have access to. You can also add your own coach, they just have to contact Rapsodo to set up an account.
They’ve also included a couple of games you can play. They can be played by yourself or with multiple people, locally and remote.
- Closest to the Pin
- Long Drive
I haven’t used either of these features that much but if you want to compete with friends you may find them fun. You set them up while at the range and your data is recorded after the session.
Similar to the game feature, Rapsodo sets up monthly competitions throughout the year, and they’re available to all users. They even reward prizes to the winners! The competitions are the same as in Game mode, closest to the pin and long drive. Your data is sent to enter.
There are instructions, leaderboards, and rules for each competition, and the prizes have varied. Since I’ve had my MLM I’ve seen hats and premium subscriptions offered as prizes.
This is probably the most important aspect of this unit. Rapsodo claims it is within 2% of the Trackman. From what I can tell they’re spot on. Check this video out for an accuracy comparison.
I think range balls give different results than course balls. Rapsodo has said that this should not affect the data, but I thought differently, at first. I don’t hit the “rock flight” balls at my range the same as when I am on the course.
So I came up with an idea. I used “found” balls at the range for comparison. Luckily enough my range keeps up with their balls and they play the same as my “found” balls. The results have been close enough to back up Rapsodo’s claims.
If you have access to an actual course you will find that the MLM satellite map view will line up perfectly. This is a huge benefit as you can record some nice real-time results.
With that in mind, I like to hit my own balls at a 3 hole (short course) practice range near me. I can retrieve my balls and get decent data. It worked out great and I got some awesome feedback on my game.
To further help my swing data I came up with a simple idea. I draw a map of the range I am practicing at.
I simply mark down each shot and a note or two about my swing. I number them for each shot and the club type. When I was done I compared my mapped shots to my recorded shots. It worked like a charm! The notes I enter also go with me on the course for easy reference.
Bottom line concerning the MLM’s accuracy, I am very pleased with the results I have seen with the MLM. For the price, I think Rapsodo put out a very advanced product at a reasonable price.
Pro Tip: Use a notebook and write some notes on each shot you take. You can then go back and review your sessions of the saved videos of your shots as well as the metrics the MLM recorded.
Rapsodo claims a battery life of 8 hours on a full charge. A full charge takes approximately 6 hours.
Personally, I’ve never used it for more than 2 hours. I end up charging it once every other range trip just to make sure it’s topped off. You can always open the app to see what the remaining battery life is, if you have to know.
I was surprised it came with a charging cable, but no power adapter. It seems like more companies are doing this lately. But any standard USB wall charger will work with the MLM so it’s no biggie.
Rapsodo vs Competition
You may hesitate before dishing out $500 for something that may be just another gimmick. But, I think this monitor is priced well and at the cost of a new driver, a bargain. Compared to the Trackman, it is a great bargain.
Comparing the Rapsodo to other launch monitors at a similar price, like the Flightscope Mevo and the Garmin G80, it was close. But the MLM has more features I thought I may use.
I think what sold me at first was the shot tracer and video technology. But since then I have come to appreciate the dispersion data and gapping information. I also may use Coach Connect at some point.
I don’t think it’s fair to compare the Rapsodo to more expensive units like the Trackman, G80, or the Mevo+. You should be looking at how it compares to other units at the same price point.
Rapsodo MLM vs Swing Caddie SC300i: Both of these units have apps (I think the Rapsodo is a bit better), game modes, and can be used to track club stats. The SC300i does have a longer battery life (not a big deal) but the Rapsodo will be able to show you the launch direction.
Rapsodo MLM vs Flightscope Mevo: Both of these units have apps and allow you to track club stats. The Rapsodo has a better battery life and also comes with game modes (the Mevo doesn’t). The one advantage of the Mevo is that it gives you spin rates.
What I Like
Rapsodo has done a great job developing an accurate device providing great feedback. Big features at an affordable price.
I like the fact that I now have a shareable video for review to see how I can improve my swing. If you know someone that can help, you could always show them the video to get some advice, or use Coach Connect for professional feedback.
The Smart Club Recognition feature is seriously cool as well. Just wave your club face in front of the camera and it registers that club for your next shot.
Rapsodo has great product support. You can join their Facebook group and post any questions, improvements, or issues and they respond quickly. They also have many YouTube videos to watch.
What Could Be Better
Concerning improvements for this unit, for the price, I think it’s an exceptional value. With that said, there are a few things that bother me.
At this time the Rapsodo MLM app only supports Apple products. My iPhone 8 Plus work phone worked fine as well as my buddy’s newer iPhone 12 (check the online manual for the different phones/tablets that are supported before you buy).
Rapsodo has said they MAY support Android in the future, but from what I’ve heard programming for Android is much harder than for Apple products. I’m not holding my breath so make sure you have an Apple product that is compatible before buying.
Users have complained about overheating on the Rapsodo MLM Facebook group. Facing the sun my phone’s screen did get hot and dimmed so it was hard to see. It was still recording fine, but I couldn’t see the screen easily. Rapsodo does have some advice on this.
Should You Buy The MLM?
Bottom line, I am very happy with the Rapsodo MLM. It provides great swing feedback, shareable videos, and tons of features. Yes, it’s a little pricey. But for the cost of a few lessons or a new driver, you too can own a personal launch monitor. To me, that’s worth it.
Compared to other units at this price point, the MLM is our favorite. It has a great combination of features and battery life. That being said, if you really want to know your spin rates, the Flightscope Mevo will be a better choice.
With all that being said, don’t count on a device like this improving your game overnight. It’s only going to make a difference if you use it on a regular basis and actually analyze the data to see where you need to improve the most.
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