The original Voice Caddie - SC100 Swing Caddie we reviewed 2 years ago wowed us.
It was the first true "pocket sized launch monitor" to give golfers enough of the data they crave at an affordable price ($250). Fast forward to 2016 and Voice Caddie has introduced version 2.0 into the mix, the SC200, claiming more features and, yes, you guessed it; more money... about one hundred dollars more.
The secret to a good sequel is recognizing what worked well with the original and building on it. Take everything that people loved, tighten it up, fix a couple of the headaches, and then throw in a bunch of new wow factors.
For Voice Caddie that means don’t overthink it. You caught lightning in a bottle, no need to change the formula. Just give golfers more, maybe plenty more.
So does a bit more cost correlate with improved product? Or Voice Caddie changed too much of a good thing?
OUT OF THE BOX
INSIDE THE BOX:
- 4 batteries (thank you)
- Carry pouch
Including batteries is a nice touch, so thank you Voice Caddie. There’s nothing worse than getting your new toy, and rushing out to use it only to discover you need to make one more stop at the store. Am I right?
The unit itself has a very sturdy feel. You shouldn't have any fears keeping the SC200 in your bag. Don't sweat the occasional bump at the range.
Voice Caddie has once again kept things pretty simple, so getting up and running is a breeze. On the sides you’ll find all the buttons you need to toggle through the settings and features, which includes modes, club selection, and volume up/down.
The remote is designed to make life simple. Every feature available on the unit has a matching button. Want to change clubs? Push a button. Tweak a loft? Push another button. There's no real learning curve at all, it's just that easy to use.
Putting it to actual use is just as simple... place the SC200 down somewhere between 40 and 60 inches behind the ball and within 6 inches to the right or left and it's good to go. Staying within these parameters should pick up most, if not all, of your shots.
Once powered up, the high-res screen is easy to read, and reading in bright conditions shouldn't be an issue.
The Swing Caddie SC200 retains all the great features of the 100 and adds a few additions of its own.
Core features carried-over:
- Doppler radar sensor
- Toggle between imperial and metric units
- Practice mode - track carry distance, swing speed, ball speed and smash factor
- Target mode - set a distance and try and hit it for a score
- Approach modes - same as target, random distances
- Daily and all-time statistics per club
- Voice output (Yup, it talks) - Hit a shot and it audibly reads out the distance. It's adjustable to five volume levels (0-5), but anything above 3 may annoy the stall next to you.
- Barometric Pressure Sensor - The folks at Voice Caddie say that the unit tries to estimate distance while taking weather into account. With each boot it displays the current temperature and a hectopascal (hPa) or atmospheric pressure measurement.
- Total Distance (toggle between Total Distance and Carry Distance) - It's quite a nice feature to have for driver distance junkies who like to show off. These new features add to the SC200’s value, making it feel just that much more improved over the original.
Let's just get to it, the Swing Caddie SC200 performs admirably. The features work exactly as described and the device rarely make a mistake. As with any launch monitor, be it $300 or $30,000, there will always be a missed shot or two, but on the whole the SC200 works consistently well.
For additional precision, the SC200 allows you to input the exact lofts of your clubs. This is important since the unit has default lofts programmed in, and if your lofts are +/- 2 degrees or more off those defaults, your carry yardage will be off as much as five yards.
For instance, say you have a 33 degree 7-iron and really smack one. If the SC200 is programmed for a 35 degree 7-iron, your carry distance will read about 5 yards short.
We quickly fell in love with the target and approach modes. What started out one evening as a scoring challenge between friends at the range quickly turned into a revelation. The target modes really make you step away and focus on each shot, helping you to hone in on your distances.
Yes, the launch monitor that doubles as a training tool. How often have you slightly miss-hit a shot at the range and just scoffed that it only cost you a few yards. In comes the SC200 for a reality check: that shot cost you 10 yards.
Battery life has been very solid. After a month of testing we're still seeing full bars on the meter.
SC200 (vs) SC100
The primary difference between the two units is the loft adjustment feature. The SC200 simply does a better job with yardages when you dial in your specific lofts.
Carry Distance is pretty much spot on between the two units when you're within a degree or two of the SC100’S stock lofts. The other numbers tend to be different and most likely VC has update its algorithms in its newer model. This would make sense because the VC 200 is going the extra mile and giving you Total Distance as well. With that said, if Carry Distance is really all you care about, then it is hard to justify the extra $100.
First we looked at the SC200’s SW setting which we adjusted to our 54° wedges loft. The SC100 was set to AW as it is hard coded to 53 degrees. Time and time again the two units were spot on only displaying on occasion a 1-2 yards difference.
Switching to a 7 iron we witnessed more of the same and reinforced the 2° difference. With the SC200 tweaked to our 33° club and the SC100 at its default 35° shots with 7 irons were generally spot on.
SC200 (vs) TRACKMAN
The SC200 did an exceptional job keeping up with industry standard TrackMan, especially when you consider the astronomical price differential. One can only expect so much when you look at the two on paper, but in the real world the SC200 holds its own quite well.
Normally the Voice Caddie’s recorded swing speed is 1 or 2 MPH higher than TrackMan. The SC200’s higher swing speed would explain generally lower smash factor numbers, as higher SS tends to reduce that number.
The only anomalies we saw occurred when the user hit a drive with a lot of spin, up in the 3000 RPM range. The SC200 would still register a carry of 275, whereas Trackman would show a more realistic 245 yards. An end user with any experience could quickly visually assess the shot and write it off as a pop-up and move on.
At the end of the day we really like the SC200 and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone in the market for this type of product.
Compared to its predecessor, the SC100, the new Swing Caddie retains the core of what made the original unit so great, but has more than enough new goodies, such as tweak-able lofts, total carry, and vocal readouts to more than justify the $100 premium.
When head to head with Trackman, the SC200 definitely holds its own. Comparing feature for feature the two units spit out pretty much the same results. People will still chime in about Trackman’s ability to chart spin, dynamic loft and so on. This is unquestionably true, but let's face reality: if you want that kind of information, you might have to sell your car in order to buy it.
The original Voice Caddie SC100 set the bar for what a pocket sized launch monitor should be. The SC200 sets that bar a little higher. Voice Caddie has kept everything we loved prior and given us a much more action packed sequel. If straight Carry Distance is all you need and if the SC100’s stock lofts match your needs we can't see shelling out the extra $100. But that's not too say that the SC200 isn't a great value for the additional dollars. We think the added features such as loft adjustment and the voice output alone are enough to justify the extra expense.