If you’re in the market for a launch monitor under $2,000 there are two standout products to choose from: SkyTrak and FlightScope’s Mevo Plus. Put simply, these are the best affordable launch monitors the money can buy.
SkyTrak is a tried and proven launch monitor that has been around since 2014, while the Mevo Plus is a newer launch monitor released in 2020.
Both these launch monitors can improve your game with a realistic and real-time golf practice and play system. However, there are significant differences in the way they play, how they work and where they work best.
Which should you buy, given they’re both the same price?
This guide will provide clarity to help you decide. Read on and we’ll help you decide if the Skytrak or Mevo Plus is the right launch monitor for you.
Jump To Section
SkyTrak vs Mevo Plus – In summary
Both the SkyTrak and Mevo Plus are excellent launch monitors, and they’re both priced at $2,000 at most online golf shops. Perfect to practice outdoors, or as part of a golf simulator setup.
You really won’t tell the difference in accuracy between them, so which you should buy comes down to the amount of space you have available and where you’ll be playing.
The advantage of the Skytrak is it’s designed for indoor play with small space requirements. The disadvantage is it’s only suitable for indoor play. Pick the SkyTrak launch monitor for indoor golf and as part of a golf simulator.
The advantage of the Mevo Plus is it can be used indoors and outdoors on mats and grass. The disadvantage is it requires significantly more space. Pick the Mevo Plus launch monitor for outdoor golf.
All things being equal, you can’t go wrong with either the SkyTrak or Mevo Plus. Both provide a first-class golfing experience.
Photometric vs Doppler technology
The most significant difference between the SkyTrak and Mevo Plus is the technology they use (i.e. the systems they use to track and compile data). The SkyTrak is a photometric system while the Mevo Plus is a doppler system.
A doppler system tracks how your ball flies and where it lands and then calculates why it went there. A photometric system measures what the ball is doing immediately after impact with high-speed cameras, and then calculates flight path and distance.
As far as performance goes, both provide quality results and overall accuracy. However, there are several quirks to both technologies, such as photometric technology requiring less space but doppler technology working better outdoors.
Speaking of indoors and outdoors…
Skytrak & Mevo Plus: Indoors vs outdoors
To cut a long story short, SkyTrak’s photometric technology is better for indoor use while Mevo Plus’s doppler technology is better for outdoor use.
Here’s what you need to know:
Photometric technology (SkyTrak)
In the SkyTrak’s photometric system, tracking cameras take at least 2 pictures of the ball during the first 12-18 inches of ball flight. You can stand as close to the net as you like so long as 12-18 inches of ball flight can be read.
The SkyTrak is better for indoor use because:
- The accuracy of the system is better indoors
- You only need a limited amount of space (enough space to swing a club)
Doppler technology (Mevo Plus)
In the Mevo Plus’s doppler system, a 3D radar measures ball flight over a longer distance. You need at least 16 feet between the screen and launch monitor. It requires more space, but it also collects a richer set of data overall.
The Mevo Plus is better for outdoor use because:
- The space requirements allow for a richer set of data to be collected
- The technology works on mats and grass
- There are no cameras to suffer from glare or anything else on the range
- It’s around a third of the size and weight of the Mevo Plus (easily fits in a golf bag)
Pro tip: If you have lots of indoor space, you can use the Mevo Plus indoors or outdoors, but we wouldn’t take the SkyTrak outdoors – the photometric system is less reliable outdoors and borderline unusable in direct sunlight due to glare.
Space and placement requirements
The SkyTrak requires a placement around 12 inches away from the ball. The ball needs to be placed within an inch of a laser dot and the ball logo should face the unit. This compact set up means you only need space to swing a club to use the SkyTrak. So, it’s perfect for a DIY home golf simulator.
The Mevo Plus requires at least 15-16 feet of depth. A common setup is 7-8 feet from screen to ball and 8 feet from ball to monitor. Balls need to be on a target line, and they need silver dots so that the radar system can read spin numbers.
The Mevo Plus also has a Short Indoor Mode and a Regular Indoor mode. The only difference between these modes is that they allow the Mevo Plus to select the correct area to monitor based on depth (Regular Mode is for 20-feet plus).
Data sets and tracking capabilities
If you’re in the market for a launch monitor, then it stands to reason you’re dead set on improving your game. The good news is both the SkyTrak and Mevo Plus track lots of data, although the Mevo Plus tracks a little more.
Both the SkyTrak and Mevo Plus collect the following data:
- Carry distance
- Clubhead speed
- Apex height
- Flight time
- Ball speed
- Descent angle
- Launch angle
- Horizontal launch angle
- Lateral landing
- Total distance
- Roll distance
- Spin axis
- Shot shape
The Mevo Plus also tracks the following additional data sets:
- Smash factor
- Angle of attack/descent
- Spin loft
This makes the Mevo Plus a superior launch monitor in terms of data collected. Angle of attack/descent and spin loft are particularly useful metrics – spin loft is a three-dimensional angle between the dynamic loft and attack angle.
Using the SkyTrak and Mevo Plus back to back reveals them to be equal in terms of accuracy. It’s impossible to pick between them in terms of accuracy, although the extra data provided by the Mevo Plus may sway you to that system.
Put simply, both the Skytrak and Flightscope Mevo Plus offer you a chance to get a quality launch monitor for under $2,000. Pretty impressive, given something like the GCQuad is $18k (with software), and the price of the average Trackman for sale is $25k+!
System speed and performance
Out of the two launch monitors, the Mevo Plus is the faster system.
With the SkyTrak, there’s a 2-4 second shot delay from strike to seeing the ball flight.
The way the delay occurs can be somewhat annoying with the SkyTrak. After striking the ball, your screen will show the course until the launch monitor has crunched the data. It is nowhere near being a real-time response.
The reason the SkyTrak has a 2-4 second delay is that the photometric system measures what the ball is doing immediately after impact and then calculates flight path and distance – this process takes a few seconds to complete.
With the Mevo Plus, there’s only about a half-second delay from strike to seeing the ball flight. This is much better. The delay is barely noticeable. By the time you have completed your follow-through, the ball flight is viewable.
Practice and play
Both the SkyTrak and Mevo Plus are excellent for practice and play. The significant differences between them include graphics, adjustment for lefties and righties and the software they use. Both systems are a pleasure to use.
The graphics of the Mevo Plus are slightly better than the SkyTrak on account of it being a newer system, but we’d only say they are a 5% improvement. The SkyTrak graphics are still competitive and appear as realistic as you’d expect.
We actually prefer the graphical representation of the range and ball flight in the SkyTrak software, but this is subjective.
The main gameplay snag with SkyTrak is the shot delay described above. You do get used to it, but it’s noticeably slower than the Mevo Plus.
The Mevo Plus also has an advantage for lefties and righties because it requires no unit adjustment so long as you’re hitting from the same spot on the mat. The SkyTrak needs to be moved to accommodate the person hitting the ball.
Courses and software
Both launchers come with software out-of-the-box. At first glance, SkyTrak’s offerings are basic (you only get a practice range) but an annual subscription unlocks significantly more features that make it one of the best in the business.
The Mevo Plus has more apps, and therefore more to offer, but none of them are available on PC. You need to use a phone or tablet.
Here’s what you need to know:
SkyTrak comes with a basic range app for PC, iOS and Android. This only has 1 practice range. However, the range app is feature-rich, graphically excellent and can be enhanced with Challenges, Skills Assessment, Distance Randomizer, Wedge Matrix, and Bag Mapping with the annual Game Improvement plan.
We recommend the Game Improvement plan because it gives you more data, including session history, target practice, multiple camera angles and multi-colour shot traces. It only costs $99.95/year (as of 12.05.2021).
The SkyTrak range app allows adjustment of all environment variables, including humidity, elevation, temperature and more. You can adjust conditions on the fly and replay shots quickly to see how the environment affects your play.
SkyTrak’s basic range app and other software work on PC, iOS and Android, so it projects perfectly across all devices. Overall, the Skytrak software is outstanding, considering it’s like 80% cheaper than a Trackman or GCQuad.
Mevo Plus software
The Mevo Plus is available with the following apps: FS Golf for iOS and Android, FS Skills for iOS and Android, and E6 Connect for iOS. These offer access to 5 simulated golf courses on iOS and 17 feature-packed practice ranges. FS Golf is a standard practice range app, E6 connect is a golf simulator app, and FS Skills lets you work on targets.
When in use outdoors, the Mevo Plus uses your device’s geolocation to measure elevation and weather conditions automatically.
It’s important to note that the FS Golf, FS Skills, and E6 Connect apps included are not available on PC (Windows or Mac). This means you need to use a tablet or smartphone, which makes sense since it’s designed for outdoor use and a PC would be impractical. If you want to use a PC, you need to pay for FlightScope Software.
Overall, the software is excellent. It loads quickly and it feels faster than SkyTrak’s software due to the reduced delay from strike to seeing the ball flight.
Overall – which should you choose?
If you intend to use your launch monitor indoors, choose the SkyTrak.
If you intend to use your launch monitor outdoors, choose the Mevo Plus.
The Mevo Plus can crossover as an indoor and outdoor launch monitor, but it requires a lot of space, which limits where it can be used indoors.
The SkyTrak can theoretically be used outdoors, but the performance suffers due to the photometric based system (the camera suffers from glare, and it can be tricked by grass and dirt spray, resulting in misreads and no-reads).
If all things were equal and we had to choose one launch monitor over another, our preference would be the Mevo Plus. There are several reasons for this:
- You don’t need to reposition the unit for lefties and righties
- It collects more data, including spin loft and angle of attack/descent
- It isn’t affected by sunlight or divots
- It can be used with a mat and on grass
- There is a significantly shorter delay from strike to seeing the ball flight
- It can be used indoors and outdoors