It’s time for a shootout!
If you’ve followed anything having to do with golf technology over the past year, you’ve undoubtedly come across both the Rapsodo MLM2PRO and the Swing Caddie SC4. They are two of the hottest products on today’s market, especially in the under-$1,000 golf launch monitor category.
I’ve reviewed the MLM2PRO and the SC4 individually, putting each unit to the test indoors, outdoors, at the range, on the course, as a launch monitor, and as a simulator. I’ve tried to explore every possible angle to give you the exhaustive lowdown on each one of these products.
And I found both of them to be great. In fact, I think each one is absolutely awesome.
But until now, we haven’t talked about which one is better. Or, more importantly, which one is right for you. That’s what we’re getting into today.
Here’s what I’ve cooked up for you: I’m going to give you my head-to-head thoughts on what I think are the 10 most important points of consideration when choosing a golf launch monitor and simulator. And to make it even easier to understand, I’m going to give you a 0 through 5 score, with 5 being the best, for each product for each point of consideration.
We’ll add ‘em up at the end to see how things shake out.
But here’s something to remember: What’s most important to me might not be what’s most important to you. That’s why I’m including 10 different points of consideration. You’ll need to sift through to decide what matters most to you. For example, if you plan to set your launch monitor up in your simulator studio and never move it, then why should you care about portability? In that case, you should ignore that section and its score.
So, even though we’ll have a total score at the end, you’re probably best off paying closest attention to the categories that specifically speak to your intended use cases.
That’s enough of the ground rules. Let’s get to the good stuff and figure out which one of these best golf launch monitors you should buy.
Golf Launch Monitor Price
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 3; Swing Caddie SC4 = 5
Let’s get this out of the way, because when it comes to price, this isn’t a total apples-to-apples comparison. That’s because the MLM2PRO, at $699.99, costs $150 more than the $549.99 SC4.
And that’s before you factor in subscriptions. We’ll talk more about this as its own category later. But just understand that with the Rapsodo, you’re almost for sure going to want to pony up the $199 per year for the subscription (the first year is free). I would go ahead and factor it into the overall lifetime price of ownership. You won’t have that expense with the Swing Caddie. So, if you owned the MLM2PRO for five years and you opted for the subscription, you’d pay $1,495.99 (remember, the first year’s subscription is free). The SC4 would cost you $549.99 for that same five-year period. That’s a very significant difference.
So, is the Rapsodo worth that much more than the Swing Caddie? Keep reading!
First Impressions Upon Unboxing
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 5; Swing Caddie SC4 = 3
While packaging alone isn’t reason enough to make a decision when choosing the best golf launch monitor, it’s undeniable that it can leave a lasting impression. And with the Rapsodo MLM2PRO, that lasting impression for me is class and sophistication. This product feels quality from the moment you open the box. Luxury is too strong a word, but the MLM2PRO conveys a sense of gravitas.
The Swing Caddie SC4’s packaging strikes a nice balance between functionality and minimalism. I’m not scoring it as high as the Rapsodo because it doesn’t feel quite as professional and classy. But, for my taste, it does the job completely adequately.
Now, upon unboxing the SC4, there was one key thing missing, and it’s pretty significant. We’ll get to that below.
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 4; Swing Caddie SC4 = 5
Both of these devices are super simple to get operational. It’s one of the very best things about each. How good do we have it?! Not only do we now have multiple choices for great affordable golf launch monitors, but they’re all so damn easy to use. We may take it for granted sometimes, but today’s golf technology is unbelievable!
So, yes, both the MLM2PRO and SC4 are brain-dead simple to use. But I’m giving that slight edge to the Swing Caddie because you don’t even need to pair it with an app if you’d rather not. I mean, with this thing, you can literally pull it out of the box, turn it on, start hitting shots and see data. It’s the only golf launch monitor in this class that has a built-in display. So you can get your numbers right off of the unit itself. I mean, I’m not sure how it could get any simpler than that.
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 4; Swing Caddie SC4 = 2
What’s funny is the scores for this category should be flopped.
The Rapsodo MLM2PRO comes in two pieces that require (an albeit simple) assembly before each use, it sits a bit tall and awkward-looking, and it’s got a bit of heft to it.
The Swing Caddie SC4, on the other hand, is one piece, it’s super light and it should easily be the more portable of these two units.
But… the SC4 doesn’t come with a carrying case! I think it’s an insane oversight. You’ve got this beautiful built-in display (the only one in this product class) and in order to transport the damn thing you’ve gotta risk scratching it. They do sell an after-market case, but it’s $49.99! Feels like adding insult to injury. So frustrating.
The MLM2PRO comes with not only a carrying case but my favorite one of any golf launch monitor I’ve tried. That easily wins it this category.
Golf Launch Monitor Data
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 5; Swing Caddie SC4 = 3
The MLM2PRO is hands down the best under-$1,000 golf launch monitor and simulator when it comes to data delivery. You get 13 data metrics, comprising pretty much every piece of information you would want to learn about your golf swing. And because the MLM2PRO uses a dual camera system combined with Doppler radar (the only device in this product class that includes both camera and radar), it is measuring seven of those 13 data points. The other six are calculated using an algorithm. Believe it or not, a sub-$1,000 launch monitor that can actually measure seven data points is remarkable and makes it the leader of the pack.
The SC4 only gives you eight data points. Maybe you just want to know basics like carry distance, ball speed, and launch direction. In that case, the SC4 will do just fine. But most users at least want the option of having more data to interpret. And the SC4 just falls short of the MLM2PRO in this category.
Of course, the numbers only matter if they are accurate. And that’s another reason the Rapsodo is our winner here. I found that launch monitor to be incredibly accurate, even compared to the much pricier Foresight Sports GC3. Now, granted, in order to get accurate spin numbers, you do have to use the special Callaway RPT golf balls. But they do give you a three pack of those otherwise expensive balls with your purchase.
The Swing Caddie is impressively accurate given its price, but it can’t match the MLM2PRO. I found the Swing Caddie’s accuracy to be a bit shaky as I got up to the longer clubs in my bag. By the time I got to the driver, some of the numbers this thing was spitting out were totally unbelievable and useless.
Outdoor Golf Launch Monitor Use
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 5; Swing Caddie SC4 = 4
We talked about ease of setup being a big plus for both of these units, and to me, that really shines when it comes to using them outdoors at the driving range. I love how quickly and simply I can be set up and recording data.
The Swing Caddie scores a 4 here despite being short on the data points it delivers. But because of how its built-in screen makes things so convenient when you’re at the range, I can’t help but give it the second-to-highest rating.
But the top score is reserved for the Rapsodo. This thing just works so impressively. It’s portable. It’s accurate. It’s simple to use. All of the things you’d want in an outdoor golf launch monitor.
Plus, and we’ll get into this more in the features section, being able to see your full swing and impact video replays after each shot is totally awesome.
Indoor Golf Launch Monitor and Simulator Use
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 4; Swing Caddie SC4 = 3
Both of these devices take one step down from their outdoor use scores. In the case of the Swing Caddie, its accuracy issues with the longer clubs combined with its relatively limited data metrics offerings become too much to overlook. It also (and we’ll get into this below) has simulator limitations. But the SC4 hangs on with a middle-of-the-road 3 in large part because it requires 2 feet less room depth than competitors like the MLM2PRO. That 2 feet can make all the difference if space is tight. So, this unit will have its place as an indoor option for a lot of people.
The Rapsodo does its thing and does it well indoors, but I’m knocking it down a peg because of the requirement of a special, expensive ball to get accurate spin numbers. I’m not a big fan of having to use a special golf ball. Yes, you get three of them for free with the MLM2PRO, but those aren’t going to last forever. And when it’s time to re-up, they cost $70 a dozen. Ouch! Sorry, Rapsodo, but that’s enough for me to hold back on my highest rating.
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 5; Swing Caddie SC4 = 5
Our first tie! And the highest scores for each of these devices are well deserved. Both offer things that no other golf launch monitor or simulator can do.
In the case of the MLM2PRO, it’s the two cameras. After each shot you hit, you get an automatic video replay of your swing with a shot-tracer line showing your ball flight. And you can set the replay video speed to 0.25x, 0.5x, 0.75x, or 1x in case you want to see things in slow motion. As if that weren’t cool enough, you can also toggle over a screen and see a closeup of when your club impacts the ball. I find these features to be absolutely incredible. Yes, there are other units like the Garmin Approach R10 that can interface with the camera on your phone, but that means you’ve got to set up your phone to record your swing. The Rapsodo does it automatically. And no other unit includes that Impact Vision option. So freaking cool!
The MLM2PRO also includes a Combines practice feature (if you buy the premium subscription), which is really useful. This allows you to gamify your practice. You take 24 swings using three different clubs, setting the target distances however you want. The system will show you the dispersion pattern of all your shots, assign a handicap score for each club you hit, and offer targeted advice on areas for improvement. It’s a feature that has real game-improvement potential.
The SC4 is also uniquely special. The built-in screen makes it the only golf launch monitor in this price range that shows you your data without having to interface with an app. For simplicity and ease of use, it can’t be beat. Yes, you can pair the device with an app, and that experience is great. But for just getting numbers fast and easy, the SC4 is the best there is.
Also, the SC4 comes with a handy, lightweight remote control. It’s so light that you can put it in your pocket and not even feel it while you’re swinging. Then, when you want to change clubs, you just point and click without having to bend over or mess with an app. It makes using the SC4 so convenient.
Golf Simulator Use
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 4; Swing Caddie SC4 = 2
First of all, neither of these golf simulators read putts. That’s pretty much standard for this price point, but it’s worth noting. When you play simulated rounds using either the MLM2PRO or SC4, you’ll have to auto-set the putting.
The Rapsodo (again, with the premium subscription) includes a video-game-like simulated rounds experience called Rapsodo Courses. It includes pretty much every golf course in the world. It’s similar to the Home Tee Hero feature with the Garmin Approach R10.
For more life-like simulator rounds, the Rapsodo is compatible with E6 Connect and Awesome Golf. Those are both fantastic simulator software options. And with the purchase of the MLM2PRO, you get five free E6 Connect courses.
The Swing Caddie is only compatible with E6 Connect. And while that is one of the best software solutions, the SC4 allows for the least flexibility of all of the under-$1,000 golf simulators. Also, whereas with the Rapsodo you get five free E6 courses, with the Swing Caddie, you only get one.
Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 2; Swing Caddie SC4 = 5
Awarding Swing Caddie the highest rating here is a no-brainer. That’s because they don’t have any kind of subscriptions. Yes, you read that right: A piece of golf technology in the year 2023 that does not require a subscription. Hallelujah!
The Rapsodo is kind of the complete opposite. Basically to fully use this device, you’re going to need the spring for the $199 per year premium subscription. The first year is free. But if you want to use this as a simulator, if you want to use the cool Combines practice mode that I talked about, if you want to see that awesome Impact Vision after each shot… all of those things require the premium subscription.
Now, I gave the Rapsodo a 2 instead of a 0 or 1 because I do think you get a ton of value for $199 per year. For example, remember that with that subscription, you get five free E6 courses. The SC4, with no subscription, gives you just one. So, there’s some give and take here.
I personally don’t like that Rapsodo hides all of its coolest features behind a subscription wall. It feels a bit bait-and-switchy to me. But what are you gonna do?
As I said before, I do think that if you buy the MLM2PRO, you’re going to want the premium subscription. So my advice is to build that into your budget from the start.
The Final Tally: Which Golf Launch Monitor Should You Buy?
Alright, our final count is: Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 41 and Swing Caddie SC4 = 37.
I think this final score is pretty representative of my overall feelings on which one of these devices is better. To me, the superior product is the Rapsodo MLM2PRO.
But… The Swing Caddie SC4 is a lot less expensive once you factor in the whole subscription situation.
I see it like this: If you want an incredibly accurate, totally portable golf launch monitor that’s also compatible with the best simulator software and that delivers more data metrics than any product in its class plus includes not one but two built in cameras, get the MLM2PRO. If any of those things that I just listed is important to you, just buy the Rapsodo. You will not regret it. The thing is incredible. And considering how much more money you’d have to spend to get only incrementally better than what the Rapsodo can do, I think it’s actually an incredible value.
But if you just want something that’s going to give you the basic numbers in a way that is as convenient as possible and that costs only $549.99, grab the SC4. You’re not going to get all of the bells and whistles or the utmost accuracy as you would with other devices, but maybe you don’t need those things.
There you have it: the Rapsodo MLM2PRO is our winner. But if ultimate convenience and cost are your biggest concerns, the Swing Caddie SC4 is a fantastic option.
To learn much more about each of these great products, read our complete reviews.
So, which one are you going to get?