When it comes to launch monitors we have typically had the choice of photometric and doppler radar products. Doppler radars are the best for measuring speed data. Camera-based devices deliver pinpoint spin and direction data.
Ernest Sports have gone one step further by creating a hybrid device that functions with doppler radar and photometric technology. In this post, we are testing the ES16 vs SkyTrak launch monitor. The aim is to see if a hybrid device is more accurate than a photometric launch monitor.
ES16 vs SkyTrak Review
- The device uses quad doppler radar and dual photometric camera technology to enhance speed and spin data
- Connects to the Ernest Sports app to display ball flight, analyze your practice sessions, and view distance averages per club
- It is a portable device weighing 3 lbs
- Compatible with The Golf Club, Perfect Parallel, and e6 golf simulators
- The ES16 app is only compatible with Windows 10
- The LCD on the device is small and situated on the top of the device
The ES16 is the first hybrid launch monitor to hit the shelves of golf stores around the world. They have employed Doppler radar and photometric technology to provide accurate speed, spin, and direction readings. The quad doppler radar helps to provide you with accurate speed data, while the dual photometric camera ensures accuracy when it comes to spin, and direction.
The technology in the ES16 allows it to measure a variety of data points, that you would expect to enjoy from a premium product like the Trackman or GCQuad.
ES16 Features and Benefits
The construction of the ES16 enables it to analyze various club and ball data, to provide you with in-depth insight into your shots. These are the data points that the launch monitor measures:
- Launch Angle
- Launch Direction Angle
- Ball Speed
- Spin Rate
- Spin Axis
- Hang Time
- Landing Angle
- Carry Distance
- Roll Distance
- Total Distance
- Clubhead Speed
- Smash Factor
- Angle Of Attack
- Spin Loft
- Face Angle
- Club Path
- Dynamic Loft
The quantity of data points that the ES16 analyzes, is impressive. The level of detail and analysis is impressive, even for professionals and golf coaches. This is the kind of performance you would expect from a GCQuad or Trackman, but it is substantially more affordable for the average golfer.
I would only recommend acquiring a device like this if you are a low handicap who needs millimetric accuracy to knock a few more strokes off of your handicap.
Quad Radar System
The ES16 is equipped with a quad doppler radar which enhances the launch monitor’s ability to measure the speed of elements in the strike zone. Instead of only one Doppler radar that other launch monitors have, this is equipped with a multi-faceted radar, able to analyze more data in relation to speed than a single Doppler radar.
Dual Photometric Cameras
Dual photometric cameras were added to the ES16 to more accurately measure distance and direction. They are commonly used in astronomy to provide amplified luminosity. If you are like Bryson DeChambeau and enjoy your science, you can read more about the composition of these cameras in this Princeton Revenue.
Free ES16 Windows 10 App
One of the downsides of the ES16 is that its app is only compatible with Windows 10. If you have a Windows operated laptop or PC, then you are safe. However, this launch monitor may be disqualified as an option, if you are an iOS or macOS user.
Since most of us run on an iOS or Android smartphone, it rules out enjoying this feature on the range or the course. Personally, I do not want to be lugging my laptop around the course to view statistics and live ball tracking.
The ES16 is a light device weighing 3 lbs. This makes it portable and easy to carry for a round of 18.
The ES16 launch monitor is a mid-range product when it comes to the price of launch monitors. If this is the device you are after, then you can expect to pay double that of the SkyTrak. But almost half of the GCQuad or GC2 launch monitor.
- Affordable product
- Accuracy in line with premium launch monitors
- The SkyTrak launch monitor weighs 1.7 pounds making it conveniently portable
- It allows you to set the launch monitor to various weather and course conditions, enabling you to practice in a variety of environments
- SkyTrak offers interest-free loans if you pay off the device in a 6 or 12-month period.
- Accuracy on longer shots is off, in comparison to premium data.
- There is a delay of a few seconds in providing results on your shot
- It detects data points better from a slower swing
- You need to renew your software subscription on an annual basis.
The popularity of the SkyTrak has skyrocketed in the last year. They offer the average golfer the chance to own a launch monitor for significantly less than the premium products our coaches and tour pros use.
Furthermore, the software is designed to improve your game by setting you various challenges to overcome. The SkyTrak uses photometric technology to measure the activity in the strike zone at impact.
Typically photometric technology is more efficient at measuring distance and direction than speed. As a result, some of my ball speed reading with the longer irons were well off the mark.
Because SkyTrak uses photometric technology, it does not measure clubhead speed, which may explain why the results were skewed. However, I was impressed with the overall setup of this launch monitor.
Here is a list of the device’s features to see if they will be of any benefit to your game.
The SkyTrak launch monitor comes with three different software options, each designed to improve your performance and lower your handicap. I have provided information about each option to see if it matches what you are looking for.
SkyTrak Basic Practice Range Plan
The SkyTrak Basic Practice Range plan is the entry-level software from SkyTrak golf. Download the free app for iOS or Android, and start viewing the results of your shots and comparing your performance over time.
The Basic Practice range plan allows you to view data on your launch angle, shot trajectory, spin rpm, ball speed, and total distance.
The next step up after the Practice Range plan is the Game Improvement Package. This package, actively assigns you challenges to improve the consistency of your strikes and distance control. If you want the Game Improvement Package, be prepared to fork out a few hundred dollars more.
If your friends spend most of their time at your house, or you have a golfing crazy family, it is worth the extra money. You can actively compete against friends and family in a variety of challenges.
The Game Improvement Package includes the following:
- A SkyTrak Launch Monitor
- Protective Metal Case
- All Feature In The Basic Practice Range Plan
- Play and Improve plan
- Skills Assessment
- 12-month subscription to the Game Improvement Plan
The Game Improvement Package includes a one-year subscription to the Game Improvement Plan, so you will need to cough up an annual fee for continued use. You can save yourself a few bucks if you decide to pay for a 3-year subscription instead of a year at a time.
SkyTrak Tee Off Package
The top of the range software package from SkyTrak is the Tee Off offer. The Tee Off Package is similar to the ES16 Tour Plus, in that they only work on one form of software or device. The ES16 only works with Windows 10, and the Tee Off package only functions on an iPad. So, for those of you with an Android, this package may be a pointless endeavor.
Other than the iPad challenge, this package offers some excellent features, that I have listed below.
- All The Features Included In The Game Improvement Package
- Twelve Month Subscription to the WGT Play and Improve Plan
- Play 11 Of The Worlds Most Famous Courses, Virtually
- Closest To Hole Challenge
If you are unable to book a tee time for the weekend, the Tee Off package has you covered. Play one of the 11 famous courses featured in the software, all from the comfort of your own home.
SkyTrak uses photometric technology, enabling the device to accurately measure distance and direction. The launch monitor is equipped with five cameras to deliver optimal imagery at impact. Unlike the ES16, the SkyTrak does not measure clubhead speed, which can lead to distorted data in certain circumstances.
However, I have listed the data points that the launch monitor is able to measure:
- Ball Speed
- Backspin RPM
- Launch Angle
- Side Spin
- Side Angle
As you can see, the SkyTrak is capable of measuring far less data than the ES16, which makes me curious to see what results it throws out during testing.
The SkyTrak is a launch monitor that is light enough in stature to carry around the course. It weighs only 1,7 pounds.
Launch monitors are not the cheapest training aides for the average golfers. While you can find basic products for a few hundred dollars, premium launch monitors will run you, in excess of $20.000. The SkyTrak is an affordable option in comparison with prices starting at under $2000 and running upwards of $4000.
ES16 vs SkyTrak Launch Monitor – Benefits
Both the ES16 and SkyTrak launch monitors are high tech products designed for amateur golfers to gain deeper insight into their golf game. The ES16 dominates when it comes to data features and benefits, based on the number of data points the device can analyze. However, the SkyTrak launch monitor helps golfers improve their game with specially designed software.
The two devices are also relatively light and portable, making it convenient to carry them with you for 18 holes.
If you want detailed data, then I believe the ES16 will have the most benefit for you. But, if you are looking for a device designed to improve your game, the SkyTrak may be more suitable for you.
I feel that the ES16 offers golfers the most benefit, given the level of details the device is capable to analyze. Having a deep understanding of your ball striking will enable you to make minor changes to your swing, which will go a long way in knocking a few shots off of your handicap.
ES16 vs SkyTrak Launch Monitor – Data and Accuracy
Ball Speed Data
ES16 Ball Speed MPH
- Driver – 156 mph
- 7-iron – 122 mph
- Sand Wedge – 89mph
I was happy with the ball speed data from the ES16, as this is about what I would expect in terms of ball speed throughout the bag.
SkyTrak Ball Speed MPH
- Driver – 170 mph
- 7-iron – 136 mph
- Sand Wedge – 88mph
The SkyTrak launch monitor provided accurate ball speed readings for my 56-degree wedge shots. But, not so much on longer shots. The ball speed readings were considerably higher than they should have been on the SkyTrak.
Launch Angle Data
ES16 Launch Angle
- Driver – 12,6 degrees
- 7-iron – 18,7 degrees
- Sand Wedge – 30,9 degrees
Launch angle readings from this Ernest Sports launch monitor were about what I would expect, from my driver, 7-iron, and sand wedge.
SkyTrak Launch Angle
- Driver – 14 degrees
- 7-iron – 18 degrees
- Sand Wedge – 30,2 degrees
The launch angle readings on the SkyTrak were pretty accurate with my 7-iron and sand wedge strikes. However, it was showing my driver as launching a degree more than usual.
Backspin RPM Data
ES16 Backspin RPM
- Driver – 2600 rpm
- 7-iron – 6500 rpm
- Sand Wedge – 10.900 rpm
I felt that my driver and 7-iron spin were a few RPMs higher than normal, but it was still in the same ballpark.
SkyTrak Backspin RPM
- Driver – 2900 rpm
- 7-iron – 5100 rpm
- 56 Degree Wedge – 11.000 rpm
The backspin rpm on my drives was higher than normal, by about 400, which is not significant but can still impact the result of your shot. The 7-iron backspin was low in comparison to where it should be. The SkyTrak reflected 5100 rpm, which is around my average with a 5-iron in hand. It is safe to say that was off. However, my wedge shots were clocking in at the rate I would expect with the open face.
Carry Distance Data
ES16 Carry Distance
- Driver – 284 yards
- 7-iron – 177 yards
- Sand Wedge – 100 yards
Once again, I was happy with the results from the ES16 when it came to carry. These measurements certainly hover around my averages.
SkyTrak Carry Distance
- Driver – 304 yards
- 7-iron – 195 yards
- Sand Wedge – 99 yards
There is no doubt that the carry distance for my drives and 7-iron shots were inaccurate. As much as I would enjoy it if my drives carried 304 yards, that is just not the truth. Furthermore, my 7-iron shots average 190 yards total, so a 195 yards carry is hard for me to accept.
Once more, the sand wedge shots delivered accurate readings on the SkyTrak. 99 – 100 yards is my average carry with a sand wedge in my hand.
Total Distance Data
ES16 Total Distance
- Driver – 302 yards
- 7-iron – 188 yards
- Sand Wedge – 100 yards
I have no complaints about the total distance readings by the ES16. From driver to wedge, these measurements are in line with my historic averages.
SkyTrak Total Distance
- Driver – 320 yards
- 7-iron – 205 yards
- Sand Wedge – 99 yards
As we have seen from the other data points, SkyTrak’s accuracy struggles with longer shots. My drives averaged 320 yards, which is 15 – 20 yards more than I average.
It appears the total distance on my 7-iron shots is inflated by about 15 – 20 yards as well. However, the sand wedge performed well and gave me an average measurement that I would expect to see from the 56 degrees.
It is evident, from the test of the ES16 vs SkyTrak, that the Ernest Sports launch monitor offers superior accuracy. The hybrid composition of the ES16 enables it to analyze far more data points than the SkyTrak, thereby providing more accurate results.
Therefore, the ES16 wins this round on data and accuracy.
ES16 vs SkyTrak Launch Monitor – Price
When we talk about the price of launch monitors, we need to put it into context. If you saw the price of the SkyTrak, you may think it is wildly priced. However, when you start comparing it to other devices in the market, you will see that it is one of the more affordable options.
The ES Tour Plus price is four times more affordable than the Trackman and half the price of a GCQuad. But, depending on which software option you select, the ES16 is double the cost of a SkyTrak device.
Usually, I would give this round to a more affordable device. Although, considering how accurate the ES16 is and the features it offers, it is the Ernest Sports launch monitor that takes this round.
After reviewing the ES16 and SkyTrak launch monitors, it is clear that medium-range products can perform to the level of premium devices. Given its level of accuracy and detail, the ES16 is my clear winner. This is a machine that can help low handicappers score even lower, and aid higher handicappers with understanding their golf game better.
If you are looking for an affordable device that gives you the level of insight that you get from a premium product, you can check out the ES16 here.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.