The Ernest Sports ESB1 golf launch monitor came out in 2020 as a successor to the ES14. Ernest Sports made some significant changes, most notably that with the ESB1 you now must place the unit behind the ball, versus directly next to it as you address the ball.
I was intrigued when I came across the Ernest Sports ESB1 Launch Monitor. In this review, I’ll share my personal experiences with the ESB1, dive into its key features, and discuss whether it’s worth the investment for golfers looking to up their game.
The ESB1 is noticeably larger and bulkier than other launch monitors in the $300-600 space, measuring 5 x 8 inches. By comparison, the Mevo is about the size of two golf balls. Even though it’s on the larger size, it’s fairly lightweight. The size of it just conveys some confidence that there’s actually a solid Doppler radar inside that will do its job.
It connects to an app on your phone via Bluetooth and has a decent battery life that Ernest Sports rates at 20 hours of usage. It’s enough to last through multiple practice sessions on a single charge.
The device is compatible with both iOS and Android, so I had no issues using it with my phone. It also comes with a protective bag and a one-year warranty, which is always a plus. The bag is slightly padded but certainly doesn’t provide the protectiveness that a hard case would.
Features and Benefits
One of the main reasons I was drawn to the ESB1 is the range of metrics it measures:
- Ball Speed
- Club Speed
- Distance (Total/Carry)
- Smash Factor
- Spin Rate
- Launch Angle
It does not measure lateral data, which in my opinion, holds it back from other competitors such as the Rapsodo MLM and Garmin R10. It does tell you straight, left, and right, but not how many yards.
The device shows the data points after each swing, but it cycles through two different screens every couple of seconds to fit all the information. You can also connect to the app and view the data on your phone.
One nice feature is that you don’t need the app in order to use it, similar to the Swing Caddie products like the SC200 Plus and SC300i. There are some launch monitors on the market that don’t have an integrated screen, like the Garmin R10, Mevo, SkyTrak, among others, so you must use the app with those.
Setting up the ESB1 was a breeze. I just had to connect it to my phone and set up the device. Ernest Sports recommends you place it 4 feet behind your ball with at least 8 feet of space between the ball and a net (if indoors). The unit also works very well outdoors, although my testing was done indoors into a net.
The ESB1 uses proprietary technology and algorithms to measure these metrics, and I was impressed with the accuracy and consistency of the data when testing it against the Swing Caddie SC300i, Rapsodo MLM, Mevo, and Garmin G80.
The device consistently provided pretty reliable data. The accuracy wasn’t quite on par with a multi-thousand dollar launch monitor, but what more can you expect for a fraction of the cost, It was more than sufficient for my needs as an amateur golfer.
The ESB1’s data helped me identify areas where I could improve my swing and make better equipment choices. For example, I discovered that my launch angle was too low with my driver, so I made adjustments to my setup and swing, which led to better results on the course. Additionally, the spin rate data allowed me to fine-tune my wedge game and optimize my ball flight for more control around the greens.
I also had a chance to chat with a few other golfers and professionals who have used the ESB1. Overall, they shared similar positive experiences, praising its portability, ease of use, and valuable insights.
The Ernest Sports Range mobile app connects directly with the device. It collects all your session data and saves the sessions so you can go back to view historical data.
It’s a much better display on the app than the device itself, as you can see all the data together. It’s also easier to navigate the device settings and switch clubs or game modes.
I will say that the design and UX of the app needs improvement. It’s not very visually appealing and the session data could be laid out better. It also doesn’t give you average data by club which is a big gummer – But, it does the job.
It offers a standard practice mode, capture the flag, five shot and skills challenges.
The app also shows a shot tracer on your ball flight, which is a nice feature, similar to what the Rapsodo MLM does.
You can video record your swing and the app overlays the data points so you can go back to view different swings and get some great feedback.
I’ve tried several other launch monitors in a similar price range, FlightScope Mevo, Swing Caddie SC200 Plus and SC300i, Garmin R10, Garmin G80, and Rapsodo MLM. While each device has its pros and cons, I felt the ESB1 held its own in terms of features, accuracy, and overall performance.
Accuracy was directly on par with other launch monitors in the $300-600 price range, all falling within 3-4 yards of each other. It’s very important that you set up the device in the right spot and I found myself even having to move it a bit to get it to read properly. All value launch monitors are finicky like this.
Its app is not as great as the Rapsodo or Swing Caddie, but it does get the job done. I think if Ernest Sporst invested a bit into the UX it would be a tremendous improvement.
A great personal launch monitor for $500. Accurate, easy to use and gets the job done.
- Portable, solid data points, app, and device screen display
- Easy to set up and get practing right away.
- Data points are displayed directly on the screen.
- You don’t need the app to use it (however, I recommend it)
- App is not the best design and could use improvement
- Bigger than other launch monitors in its price range
- Does not measure lateral data.
- Priced a bit higher than other comparable launch monitors
Pricing and Availability
The price of the ESB1 is $499 brand new, but you can also find some decent used ones on eBay. Be sure to shop around.
After spending some quality time with the Ernest Sports ESB1 Launch Monitor, I can confidently say that it’s a good launch monitor for the average golfer looking to improve their performance. With its comprehensive metrics, companion app, and solid performance in various conditions, the ESB1 offers great value for money.
It’s particularly well-suited for amateur golfers and instructors who want a portable and easy-to-use solution for tracking and analyzing swing and ball flight data.
If you’re considering investing in a launch monitor to up your game, I highly recommend giving the ESB1 a try.
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