UNBOXED: Reviewing the Wilson X Connected Football
It’s been quite some time since I got together with the other kids in the neighborhood and hastily organized a game of two-hand-rough-touch, but if I still were one of the cool kids I certainly would want to have my hands on the Wilson X Connected Football.
This $149.99 football looks pretty basic on the outside, but has a sensor embedded inside the product that makes it one of the most advanced footballs on the market. When connected to the Wilson X app, the football can register speed thrown, rotations per minute, distance covered, and spiral efficiency. Per session, it also tracks how many times the ball has been thrown; and it keeps a running total (and average) of all statistics.
Though the price tag might seem a little high, understanding just how in depth the user experience with the Wilson X Connected Football is makes it way more than worth it—especially if you’re someone who cares about how you throw a football like, say, a young and developing quarterback.
To preserve the true-to-life design of a football, Wilson didn’t include any way to charge the sensor, but the ball will last for around 500 hours of connected usage or up to 200,000 throws. In other words, by the time you’re ready to replace this thing, you’ll have a football that’s not worth throwing anymore anyway. When it does run out, though, you can still use the Wilson X like a normal, unconnected football.
Get in the Game
The football itself is cool to talk about, but what makes the experience with the Wilson X a truly connected one is the Wilson X football app (for iOS and Android). It essentially turns the football into a real life video game. You wake the football up and connect it to the app by holding it up and down for two seconds and then rotating it 180-degrees—a process that frustratingly didn’t as quickly as we’d like—and from there your good to go.
You can select from five different game modes: QB Warm Up, Precision, Elimination, Gametime, and Final Drive. Warm Up and Precision are really ways to measure different elements of your pass and track improvement over time. The rest are simulated in-game experiences that let you call plays and act as if your part of a real NFL game. The QB can select different plays that display different route patters, and, because the ball can accurately (as far as we could tell) read distance thrown, it will recognize catches and allow you to “march down the field” against your opponent. Adding to the reality of the NFL experience, the app has a play clock that will run out and flag you for delaying the game…
To add to the experience, Wilson includes a QB wristband that can hold the user’s phone, allowing you to keep your device secure and near you at all times. It looks like the play charts that young QBs will wear on their wrists to help them quickly get play calls into the huddle.
If you can get past the sometimes-clunky in-app experience and the occasional missed throw, the Wilson X Connected Football is one of the coolest connected sports products out there.