In 2023, two golf launch monitors grabbed most of the headlines: the SkyTrak+ and the Rapsodo MLM2PRO. These products were universally reviewed and rated as the two most significant golf tech developments of the year.
And now it’s time to see how they stack up against each other.
I’ve used both the SkyTrak+ and the Rapsodo MLM2PRO extensively. You could say exhaustively. I’ve hit hundreds of shots indoors and outdoors with both devices. I’ve played simulated rounds, worked through practice sessions, hit off grass and mats, brought these units onto the golf course… You name it, I’ve tried it with both of these launch monitors. Tough work, I know.
Let me get this out of the way right from the start: both the SkyTrak+ and MLM2PRO are amazing. These were my two personal favorites of the many launch monitors I tested and reviewed this year.
These are two very different products. And the reason that’s important to note is that comparing them head to head isn’t exactly simple. They are not necessarily intended for the same type of user.
So the trick here is to figure out which type of user you are. Think about how you plan to use a golf launch monitor most of the time. Is it outdoors at the range? Indoors as a simulator? Is budget your biggest concern? Or is space the most important factor?
Once you develop a clear vision for how you plan to use a golf launch monitor, the below comparisons should make it obvious which of these two devices is the right pick for you.
I’ve rated each unit on a scale from 0 through 5 in 10 different categories. I think I’ve covered the most relevant points of comparison to help you see clearly where each launch monitor excels and where there are some limitations. You’ll find the most value by focusing on the scores and explanations for each individual category rather than the total tally because, again, this isn’t an entirely apples-to-apples product comparison.
Are you ready to find the golf launch monitor that’s going to make you the envy of all your golfing friends? I wasn’t kidding when I said both of these products were amazing. Let’s figure out which one is right for you.
Golf Launch Monitor Price
SkyTrak+ = 3; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 3
So, the Rapsodo MLM2PRO retails for $699.99 and the SkyTrak+ retails for $2,995. That’s a big price difference. And you might be wondering how I could rate them both the same. The reason is that this is how I see the pricing relative to other competing products.
In the case of the MLM2PRO, it’s competing primarily with the Garmin Approach R10 and the Swing Caddie SC4 for the best affordable golf launch monitor crown. And at $699.99, comparing all that the MLM2PRO does against the features of those other two products, I think the Rapsodo pricing is middle of the road. In other words, I think it’s very fair.
Same goes with the price of the SkyTrak+. It’s competing with the likes of the FlightScope Mevo+ and the Bushnell Launch Pro for the best home launch monitor and simulator. And at $2,995, I think it’s priced just about exactly where it should be.
So, I don’t rate either of these prices as a steal of a bargain relative to the competition. But I do think both prices are fair and offer a lot of value.
I can’t help but to remind everyone that it was only a few years ago that technology like this would have cost all of us several times more than what it does today. Hallelujah!
First Impressions Upon Unboxing
SkyTrak+ = 5; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 5
Does it sound weird to say it was love at first sight for me when I opened each of these products? Well, then call me weird.
If you love golf and you love golf tech, prepare to be smitten.
Both the SkyTrak+ and Rapsodo MLM2PRO make very strong first impressions. Each package presents the star of the show — the launch monitor itself — front and center. And both of them do it in a very minimalist, stylistic, modern type of way, kind of like the feeling you get when you open an Apple product.
First impressions upon unboxing isn’t a real reason to buy either device, but I’ve got to say that it’s confidence-inspiring to like what you see when you open the box. It's like a compelling movie trailer. And trust me, the show with both of these launch monitors is going to be very good.
Ease of Setup
SkyTrak+ = 3; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 4
One of the truly great things about today’s golf launch monitors is that almost all of them are so simple to set up. The standard has gotten to the point where you generally expect to be able to be operational literally within a handful of minutes of unboxing.
And that was the problem for me with the SkyTrak+. Was it overly difficult to set up? No, it wasn’t. But it also wasn’t overly simple. I hit a few snags when it came to syncing the device to the computer. It was a one-time issue. And after I got everything working smoothly, setup for each subsequent session was a breeze. But the initial hangups, coupled with the expectations that today you should be able to be operational almost immediately, was enough for me to dock the SkyTrak Plus just a hair.
The Rapsodo MLM2PRO is very simple to set up. You charge the device, download an app, pair the app and the device, set the launch monitor down about eight feet behind the ball, and grip it and rip it. The only reason the MLM2PRO doesn’t get a five here is because one of its direct competitors, the Swing Caddie SC4, is even easier to get operational if you can believe that.
Golf Launch Monitor Portability
SkyTrak+ = 3; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 4
The SkyTrak+ is nice and light and overall fairly portable. But it’s a bit too large to fit into most golf bags easily. And I wish it had a handle — something like what you find on the Bushnell Launch Pro or Foresight Sports GC3 — that would make transporting it a lot easier.
I think that most SkyTrak+ use cases will be indoors where you’ll likely set the unit up and rarely move it. For that reason, portability limitations may not mean a thing for many people.
The Rapsodo MLM2PRO’s portability is excellent. Yes, once set up it’s a bit tall and awkward-looking, and the unit does have a bit of heft to it. But everything fits into a flat, sleek, totally functional case that’s my favorite of any of the golf launch monitors. There’s no wasted space and it fits in my golf bag easily.
Golf Launch Monitor Data
SkyTrak+ = 5; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 5
Each of these products is an absolute standout when it comes to data.
The SkyTrak+ combines photometric and dual-Doppler radar technology to deliver:
- Ball speed
- Clubhead speed
- Carry and total distances
- Distance offline
- Smash factor
- Side spin
- Club path
- Face to path
- Face to target
- Launch angle
- Angle of descent
And the MLM2PRO uses a dual camera system combined with Doppler radar to give you:
- Carry distance
- Total distance
- Side carry
- Club speed
- Smash factor
- Launch direction
- Launch angle
- Spin rate
- Descent angle
- Spin axis
- Shot type
We’ll get into some features below that differentiate these two launch monitors. But when it comes to data, they both deliver about the same amount of information, and neither device lacks for anything.
Both of these devices are impressively accurate. But one thing to note is that to get accurate spin data with the Rapsodo MLM2PRO, you’ll need to use special (and expensive!) golf balls. But you do get three of them with the purchase of the unit.
Outdoor Golf Launch Monitor Use
SkyTrak+ = 3; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 5
This is where the differences between these two products really start to come into focus. As we’ll get to below, the SkyTrak+ presents a lot of indoor-use advantages. But outdoors, the MLM2PRO steals the show.
The biggest reason that the Rapsodo is a better outdoor option than the SkyTrak is that with the Rapsodo you can get data while hitting off of natural turf. With the SkyTrak, unless you’re hitting off of artificial turf mats, the data is unreliable and oftentimes the device won’t even record the shot. SkyTrak suggests using a tee when hitting off grass to get reliable results, but I find that to be way too big of a limitation. We’re on the range to prepare for the golf course. And we can only hit off a tee on the tee box. To be limited to only practicing those shots just isn’t a viable option.
Another outdoor issue with the SkyTrak+ is that ball placement is dictated by a red laser that projects from the unit onto the hitting surface. But with the glare of the sun outdoors, it can be really tough to find the red dot on the ground so that you know where to place the ball. And it’s even tougher to see the dot on the uneven surface of natural grass.
The Rapsodo MLM2PRO, on the other hand, works flawlessly outdoors. As mentioned, it’s totally portable, simple to set up, and it’s accurate. The only real limitation is that you can’t reliably get accurate spin data with the MLM2PRO outdoors. Remember, it requires those special golf balls to accurately read spin. And, of course, you’re not going to hit those expensive balls on a range where you can’t retrieve them.
I will say that, when hitting off of mats, the outdoor accuracy of the SkyTrak+ was quite impressive. But I just can’t score it any higher here because of those noteworthy limitations.
SkyTrak+ = 5; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 4
This is where the SkyTrak+ really shines. And I think it’s indoors where most golfers will plan to primarily use their SkyTrak. One reason for that is the simulator software compatibility, which we’ll cover below. But another reason is for the space-saving benefits of the SkyTrak+.
The Rapsodo MLM2PRO has to be set up behind the golf ball. In fact, you’ll ideally want at least 16 feet of total room depth between the Rapsodo and your net or impact screen. That’s a lot of space. Not everybody has that kind of room.
Because the SkyTrak+ sits to the side of the golf ball, you’ll need about 8 feet less in room depth. For some setups, that’s the difference between being able to pull off an indoor studio and not having enough space.
On the other hand, if you’re playing with both righty and lefty golfers, having a launch monitor that sets up from behind rather than from the side means that you won’t have to constantly change your setup to accommodate golfers standing on opposite sides of the ball.
Another reason that I give the nod to the SkyTrak+ for indoor use is that the accompanying software experience is the best and most fun of any of the launch monitors I’ve tried. And it really is at its best indoors, when you’ve got everything set up and in place rather than outdoors where you’re operating more on the fly.
Golf Launch Monitor and Simulator Features
SkyTrak+ = 5; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 5
Both the SkyTrak+ and Rapsodo MLM2PRO are loaded with features and options that no other golf launch monitor and simulator can do. This is a big part of why these two products got so much love in 2023.
I think the SkyTrak+ may make practice more fun than any other launch monitor. You’ve got some really interesting options, including challenge modes, skills assessment, shot optimizer, practice randomizer, bag mapping, and a wedge matrix. And the SkyTrak Plus app organizes all of this information in a clean, modern way that just makes it really easy and enjoyable to use.
With the MLM2PRO, to me it’s the two cameras that are the real show-stoppers. To be able to get an automatic video replay of your swing after each shot you hit AND to have the option to also see a close-up, slow-motion replay of the moment your club impacts the ball is not only incredibly cool, it’s also really useful for game improvement opportunities. Other launch monitors interface with the camera on your phone to record swing video, but the Rapsodo does it automatically without you having to go through the extra fuss of setting up your phone to record your swing.
Another really cool feature with the MLM2PRO is the Combines practice setting (available if you buy the premium subscription). It’s a really useful way to gamify your practice. You take 24 swings using three different clubs, setting the target distances however you want. After your session, you’ll get a full breakdown in the app, including a handicap with each club and tips for improvement.
Golf Simulator Use
SkyTrak+ = 5; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 4
First off, the Rapsodo MLM2PRO does not read putts whereas the SkyTrak+ does. We know that putting is, overall, one of the least realistic parts of simulated golf, but it’s still nice to be able to actually hit every shot in a simulated round.
Both of these launch monitors offer excellent compatibility with multiple third-party simulator software providers, but the SkyTrak+ goes above and beyond. With this unit, you can link to six different software packages, including TruGolf E6 Connect, the Golf Club 2019, WGT by TopGolf, Creative Golf, Fitness Golf and ProTee Play. That gives you endless golf course and game options.
With the MLM2PRO, you’ll have compatibility with E6 Connect and Awesome Golf. Great options, for sure, but not quite the same versatility as with the SkyTrak+.
SkyTrak+ = 3; Rapsodo MLM2PRO = 2
Subscriptions are just a reality for using most of today’s golf launch monitors. You can always expect to have to pay a bit more than the actual retail price of these products. At least if you want to access most of the features that make them special.
With the SkyTrak+, you’ve got three software options:
- Basic Software. This is what’s included out of the box with no extra fee. You get a fully functional practice range and the ability to store your shot history data.
- Game Improvement. For $129.95, you get a more advanced practice range that includes bag mapping, skills assessment, wedge matrix, shot optimizer, and practice randomizer plus the ability to use your SkyTrak+ with the aforementioned third-party simulator software options. Also, IOS users get WGT by TopGolf’s Closest-to-the-Hole Challenge on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.
- Play & Improve. To fully unlock all that your SkyTrak+ can do, you’ll need to pay $249.95 annually. You get everything in the Game Improvement plan plus a 15-course pack from TruGolf E6 Connect and 15 courses on WGT by TopGolf plus the WGT by TopGolf Closest-to-theHole Challenge on six different courses.
With the Rapsodo MLM2PRO, unless you just want to use the basic driving range functionality, you’re going to need to pay $199 per year for the premium subscription. The first year is free. If you want to use this product as a simulator, if you want to use the cool Combines practice mode, if you want the Impact Vision after each shot, all of those things require the premium subscription. If you plan to buy this product, I think you should budget for the premium subscription because I think you’re going to want all that it unlocks.
Adding up the Scores: Which Is the Best Golf Launch Monitor and Simulator for You?
Our total score after adding up the 10 categories:
Rapsodo MLM2PRO: 41
Wow, is that close! Here’s the thing: it all comes down to how you want to use your golf launch monitor. I think the individual category scores in this comparison are more important than the total.
If you want a serious indoor setup that’s going to give you an almost limitless amount of simulator golf courses, buy the SkyTrak+. I promise you won’t regret it.
But if you want a portable golf launch monitor that you can take to the range, use while hitting off of natural grass, that’s affordable, AND that also gives you very good simulator options, get the Rapsodo MLM2PRO. Once again, you’re not going to be disappointed.
The SkyTrak Plus and Rapsodo MLM2PRO are two of the very best pieces of golf technology available today. Until you try them for yourself, you really can’t believe just how much fun these things are to use.
To get much more detail about each of these products, check out our complete reviews.
About PlayBetter Golf Reviewer Marc Sheforgen
Marc Sheforgen is a golf writer whose passion for the game far exceeds his ability to play it well. Marc covers all things golf, from product reviews and equipment recommendations to event coverage and tournament analysis. When he’s not playing, watching, or writing about golf, he enjoys traveling (often golf-related), youth sports coaching, volunteering, and record collecting.