JOOLA iPong Pro Training Robot Review
Ping Pong robot Review: 3.8 stars out of 5
The JOOLA iPong Pro is an plug-in table tennis training robot. It's intended for beginning to intermediate players that are looking to improve their game - particularly for those that want to improve their ability to handle top and back spin. The iPong Pro can give fairly consistent, repeatable spin and its oscillating head adds to the challenge by placing the ball on different parts of the table, forcing you to return with backhand and forehand shots.
- Includes iPong Pro, remote control, A/C adapter and instruction manual
- Assembles in under one minute
- Compatible Accessories: 40mm and 40+ balls, iPong ball catch net, iPong ball pickup net, iPong tilt stand, iPong targets
- Features advanced strokes with topspin and underspin settings
- Oscillation feature can shoot balls side-to-side for agility practice
- Holds up to 110 balls and shoots balls at an adjustable frequency (12 to 70 balls per minute)
The iPong Pro performs very well for an entry-level training robot. The robot can hold up to 110 ping pong balls and features a wired remote that lets you adjust a multitude of settings. The remote lets you adjust the pace of the ball which is ideal for beginners. You can actually set the iPong to everything from a slow easy-to-return shot to an extremely hard high-spin slam without even leaving your end of the table. You can also adjust the frequency, spin and level of oscillation from the convenient wired remote control.
The customizability of the practice experience is really what sets the iPong Pro from other similar training robots. You can tailor the playing experience to your skill level and specifically target the shots you want to practice the most.
The fact that you can get adjust the frequency at which shots are made lets you really practice your ability to play at a fast pace. The frequency can be set anywhere between 12 to 70 balls per minute - meaning that you can play as slow as one ball every 5 seconds or as fast as more than one ball per second! For an extra challenge, you can also combine this with the oscillation feature so that balls are dispatched quickly at both sides of the table letting you practice your agility.
To add an even more challenging layer on top of that, you can put topspin or backspin into this rapid barrage of shots. This way you can practice your ability to handle spin, placement and speed all together to give you a practice environment that is very close to real tournament play. You can set up the Joola iPong Pro to give you a pretty good practice session for beginner to intermediate-level players.
The assembly process of the iPong Pro really couldn't be easier. You can honestly assemble the entire robot in under a minute. It comes in three interlocking pieces that you can easily fit together without any need for tools. Once stacked up and locked into place, all you need is to plug in the power, add ping pong balls, and you are ready-to-go!
The biggest complaint with this training robot is that the ball feed mechanism tends to jam. This can either cause the balls to not be fed into the launcher at all or, possibly worse, cause multiple balls to be shot out at once. This is a minor annoyance that can be corrected most times by loading the iPong Pro a certain way. When you load it, you want to make sure that the bottom hole of the loading disc is not aligned with the hole for the feeding mechanism. This can lead to the jams and avoiding this should prevent this from happening.
The second major issue is that the last 8 or 9 balls in the hopper won't drop into the feeding mechanism and will just spin around the loading disc. This is because there are not other balls to push the last few down. Fortunately, there are some good workarounds that involve simply taping something to the plastic loading enclosure that will force the remaining balls down into the chamber. This is a pretty major oversight by Joola but it's good that there's an easy 5-minute fix for it that anyone can easily do.
The JOOLA iPong Pro is an affordable table tennis training robot designed with the beginner to intermediate-level player in mind. It's definitely not a high-end robot intended to deliver a tournament-quality practice session, but it does deliver a decent playing experience for the price. The fact that you can tailor your playing experience specifically to you and the skills you want to work on is a great feature. You can use the remote control to adjust the ball frequency, spin control, and oscillation all without leaving your side of the table which is a huge convenience.
This training robot is definitely not without its problems and surely will not give you the consistency and accuracy of a high-end practice partner, but it does deliver a pretty good experience for the price.