On the outside, the Wilson X is, by all accounts, a normal football. It comes in regulation NFL or Junior (age 10-12) sizes, and still wobbles like a duck when its misthrown. The inside of the pigskin, however, is packed with sensors that provide both an NFL Combine-esque assessment of a thrower as well as a number of next-level training games intended to up the fun of playing catch.
Inside the ball are an accelerometer and gyrometer that sync via Bluetooth to a smartphone (worn like a QB playcalling wristband). They record velocity, spin rate, spiral efficiency, and distance ⏤ from low, to average, to high ⏤ and also track whether a pass was caught or dropped. That way you can gauge your kid’s progress — or whether they need to throw 200 more passes at a garbage can lid before they’re allowed to eat dinner. 10,000 hours, kid.
In addition to just tallying boring old numbers, the app also bridges the world of real and virtual play. And it’s much more fun than collecting Pokémon. It offers a variety of game and practice modes that track stats and pit users against a virtual squad of competitors. In fact, two players can even “run a full game of virtual football against an AI NFL opponent and the game’s difficulty level determined by how good the NFL team is in real life. So, bring on the Jets?
Unfortunately, the ball has a non-chargeable (and non-replaceable) battery that’s good for 500 hours or roughly 200,000 throws. Which is a lot sure, but it’d be nice to be able to charge it. It does, however, use a sleep mode to save juice when not in use. That’s something. When it finally does die, all’s not lost. It just turns back into a normal football that wobbles like a duck when you throw it ⏤ you know, because of that hurt finger and all.