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Lobster Sports Elite 2 Portable Tennis Ball Machine (21x14 x 20- Inch)
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- Designed for maximum durability, its 44-pound ergonomic design and oversized-wheels allow for easy transport, even with a full hopper of 150 balls. A 4- to 8-hour battery helps ensure plenty of court time between recharges.
- While almost all machines sweep randomly left to right, the Elite Model 2 simulates match play with left, right, short, and deep shots in a random pattern.
- Oscillation: Random, Horizontal, Vertical, Horizontal & Vertical Speed: 20 to 80 mph Ball capacity: 150 Feed rate: 2-10 secconds Power: battery Court time: 4-8 hours
- Includes Basic Battery Charger
- Optional Accessories Available: 2-Function Wireless Remote Control 1-Amp Fast Charger 3-Amp Premium Fast Charger Storage Cover External Battery Pack
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Equipped with all of the standard Elite One battery-operated features, the Elite Two's advanced triple oscillation takes match play to the next level at a minimal cost increase over the Elite One. While almost all machines sweep randomly left to right horizontally, the Elite Two also oscillates vertically, giving you short and deep shots in a random pattern to provide a better physical workout. Or choose your shot placement vertically only and horizontally only. Want more action? Simulate match play by combining both vertical and horizontal oscillation functions to throw balls throughout the entire court-left, right, short, and deep. This tennis ball machine will challenge all of your strokes, not just your forehand and backhand. You'll also improve your reaction time while you advance your foot speed agility. In addition to triple oscillation, the Elite Two will confront you with up to 50 degree lobs to practice your overheads - a feature not available on any other ball machine, speeds of up to 80 miles per hour to challenge your ability to react with thinking, and heavy top and back spin choices to perfect your ability to return whatever comes your way.Elevation: electronic 0-50 degrees Weight: 44 lbs. Spin: top, back Remote: optional Fast charger: optional Warranty: 2 years
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1. The handles: the one it has and the one it's missing. The folding handle it has is the cheapest implementation imaginable; a thin and flimsy aluminum rail with the same button-lock folding mechanism you'll find on Walmart patio furniture. Difficult to fold, easy to break. The handle it DOESN'T have is a major oversight. There is no easy way to pick this thing up and lift it out of your car -- the procedure is to reach under the machine, 2-3" past the housing (which won't support its weight) to find some unwieldy purchase on the frame that will allow you to lift it without breaking it. The ergonomics are awful. If you have any sort of lower back injury, don't buy this machine; there is no way you can lift it off the ground and into your car safely.
2. The charger. Get this - you can't leave this machine on its charger between uses, because it will destroy the battery. Why? Because the charger it comes with omits the inexpensive trickle-charge circuitry that you'll find in every other rechargeable device manufactured since the Reagan administration. HOWEVER, Lobster does offer an upgraded charger for $100 that won't destroy the battery it's charging.
Think about that for a moment. Imagine buying a microwave oven that heats your food evenly and predictably, then sprays it with plutonium. But if eating plutonium isn't your bag for some reason, you can also buy the $100 plutonium sprayer cap. I mean, we're not talking about advanced electrical engineering here; we're talking about circuitry present in every charger you own, from children's toys to electric toothbrushes.
3. The control dials. Evidently the machine resets the unit scale these dials employ each time they are used. Today a microscopic adjustment to the topspin dial will send balls from the net tape to the back fence, but tomorrow that same dial can be cranked a quarter turn before you notice an effect. Yes, when adjusted in isolation with no other changes. It's baffling. Plan on running 20-30 balls through it and making adjustments prior to each session.
The machine does require some fiddling of the adjustments to achieve the type of balls you want to hit and still keep it in the court and over the net. I assume you get better at this with time, but I usually waste about 10 balls fiddling with adjustments until I get it right. Once I get it right, I usually power down the machine and restart it so I can get the 25 second delay to get across the court. I wish they had a delay button you can push once you get it right, but not really that important, as the power button works pretty well at creating this delay.
I was surprised that I would be using much of the top ranges of the speed of the balls, ie 50 to 70 mph. I think this is b/c that when you put in top spin or bottom spin, you actually slow down the ball somewhat. I was also surprised that I tended to use the lower range of the feed rate, ie around 10 to 12 seconds, but I really think the feed rate is much faster than what is on the dial. If you have the vertical and horizontal controls to on, you are really running around the court and I find it hard to get back to center unless you have the rate turned fairly low.....I guess really making it feel that you are in a fast paced match. Full out vertical and horizontal controls will keep you worn out.
I found it reasonably consistent at reproducing a single shot, but you can tell that even with using the same type of balls (gamma balls), you had some significant enough variation, that you were needing to make some adjustments of where you were going to hit that ball. To some extent I liked that variation, as it forced me to rethink my footwork and swing on the fly with each shot to make the subtle changes necessary, while still practicing a similar shot over and over.
The one think that I find particularly irritating, is that on a machine of this expense, that their is no automatic shutoff for recharging, so you can damage the device by overcharging it. I think on one of the upgrades, you can have that fixed, but they do charge you a small fortune for that feature. I decided to just buy a countdown timer electrical outlet device to limit charge time. Much cheaper than the upgrades for the charger.
I really believe that this device helps improve consistency and confidence with certain shots and in particular power serves that seem some what overwhelming can be somewhat reproduced by this device. If they just created better handles for the device, it would be a 5 star device.