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On the cutting edge of basketball technology is the uprising of sensor embedded basketballs that allow you to track your shooting accuracy and improve your shooting game overall. The newest edition to this budding technology is the Wilson X Connected Basketball. A clear response to the successful 94Fifty Basketball, Wilson has used its brand recognition to jump in and release and product to directly compete.
The goal of the Wilson X Connected Basketball is to track your shooting accuracy and to allow you to become better at handling pressure situations, like at the end of a game. For example, let’s say you you want to be ready to take that game winning shot, the Wilson X will mimic this type of game time environment so that you can confidence in your ability.
The Wilson X comes with a Bluetooth sensor and is activated simply by spinning the basketball a few times. One strength compared to the 94Fifty is that the Wilson X Connected Basketball does not require charging. This will keep you on the court and not worrying when the ball might run low on battery power.
As far as the quality of the basketball, the Wilson X Connected Basketball does have some of the typical characteristics that we’ve come to expect from Wilson. Ultra deep channels allow for solid grip, however, the cover is not as cushioned or soft as the Wilson Evolution. Overall, this basketball is meant to be used as a training tool and not a game basketball. Pick up a solid indoor basketball if that if you are looking for a game ball.
The features of the Wilson X Connected Basketball are impressive. The basketball comes with four main modes:
- Free Range – Take shots from anywhere on the court and the Wilson X will track your makes and misses
- Free Throws- Same as free range, but you only shoot free throws
- Buzzer Beater- Clock counts down and you have to get a shot off before the clock hits zero to see if you can hit game winners. Master pressure situations with this mode.
- Game Time- Compete against the CPU by scoring more points in a timed environment.
Unfortunately, this focus on countdowns and competitions against yourself is where the Wilson X Connected Basketball falls short, because unlike the 94 Fifty the Wilson X has no emphasis on teaching you correct shooting mechanics through real time data. This is a disappointment and we feel that Wilson should really focus on how to maximize this technology to not only count how many baskets you make, but to teach you how to make more baskets overall.
One of the biggest strengths of the Wilson X is that it can count your makes and misses of any shot that is outside of seven feet. We love that you can get real time tracking this way so that you can see if you are becoming a better shooter over many practice sessions. However, Wilson seems to have not perfected this technology as many reviewers and users alike have demonstrated that this feature is not all that accurate. We’ve seen the basketball only count around two thirds of shots taken. When spending upwards of $200 on a product this is not going to make many customers happy.
There is little doubt that integrating wireless technology into a basketball to improve training is the wave of the future. I would not be surprised at all if we were to see similar products in regard to footballs, baseballs, hockey pucks, tennis balls, golf balls, etc. But there is obviously so bugs to be worked out in this arena and the Wilson X Connected Basketball has its far share. With that said it is a useful tool to use to get a general idea of your shooting percentage as well as offers a more engaging experience when practicing compared to your standard shooting session. If we could be inclined to make a few suggestions to Wilson when coming out with future versions of the X Connected it would be to perfect the makes and misses counter, give the basketball a better outer cover, and to put greater focus into how to use analytics to teach users how to properly shoot the basketball. Do these things and you’ll have lines of aspiring pros jumping at the opportunity to buy your product.