Best Launch Monitor Under $500: Flightscope Mevo vs. Rapsodo
Updated March 2023 to reflect new product updates and new pricing.
If you’ve been trying to find the best golf launch monitor under $500, there are probably two names that keep popping up: the Flightscope Mevo and the Rapsodo MLM.
There’s a reason for this.
When it comes to launch monitors at the $500 price point, these two are the very best we’ve seen.
They’re the most full-featured, enjoyable to use, and accurate.
I’ve used both the Rapsodo and Mevo extensively, and honestly? They’re both great.
So if you’re worried about investing in the wrong one, let me put your mind at ease: there is no bad choice.
Both are great devices.
But let’s be real, you’re likely not going to buy both of them – so you’re probably trying to figure out which one is the best for you.
And that’s what this article is for.
On the surface, you might think these two devices are basically the same. Both of these launch monitors tell you how far you hit the golf ball, but are portable and easy to use at the range. However outside of that, they each approach these tasks in different ways – and the feature sets of each are surprisingly different from one another.
So, are you ready to figure out if you should buy the Flightscope Mevo or the Rapsodo MLM?
Great, let’s do this.
Note: I want to point out that I’m an affiliate for both Rapsodo and Flightscope, so if you click on one of my links and buy the product, I’ll get a small commission. That being said, all opinions are my own and this doesn’t reflect this review. And in terms of full transparency, I get a similar commission from each company, so it doesn’t really matter to me which one you go with 🙂
Also, it might be helpful to read my full review of each product before reading this comparison. If so you can find them both here:
Presentation: Which Device Looks Better?
Before we jump into how each of the products work, let’s talk about the look and the packaging of each.
The packaging on both products looks and feels high-end.
Out of the box they include everything you need to get going right away, and are both good looking devices.
The FlightScope Mevo looks like a miniaturized version of their more professional launch monitors – and when I say mini, I mean it. This thing is tiny.
I love this, because it’s easy to toss in your bag, and have it handy whenever you need it for a range session.
The MLM comes with a higher-quality canvas carrying case similar to what you would find with a typical rangefinder. The FlightScope simply comes with a small nylon bag to put it in.
The MLM has the sturdier case, but is enough bigger that I’d leave it in my locker or car when not using it. The Mevo I wouldn’t worry about just leaving in my golf bag.
The Rapsodo MLM takes a different approach in how it functions compared to the Mevo. It’s designed to be a dock, that your phone actually sits in – and then the app does the heavy lifting in terms of display while you’re using it.
It works well regardless of whether you’re using an iPhone or an iPad, and having a built-in way to hold your phone is nice.
The downside to this is if you’re someone who wants to spend a lot of time in the app while you’re using the product. As going over and bending down or removing the phone from the dock repeatedly can get annoying.
You won’t have this problem on the FlightScope, but you will have the opposite issue of figuring out where to put it. You still need to find a spot where you can see it, or prop it up to capture your swing with the camera.
They have an adapter for $30 that works like a tripod, to help make using the app easier.
Verdict: Tie. I like the look and form factor of the Mevo better, but the Rapsodo gets extra points for the higher-quality carrying case. Either way both look and feel like high-end devices both in terms of the packaging as well as the devices themselves.
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Ease of Use
I’ve found with any golf Bluetooth tech device, there’s usually 10 or 15 minutes of a learning curve as you’re getting going.
Inevitably something won’t connect, or you’ll have missed something in the setup process causing your new toy (ahem, training aid) not to work properly.
I experienced some of this with the Rapsodo MLM.
The initial setup process is easy. It pairs right away via Bluetooth, you tell it what clubs are in your bag (if you haven’t already done so), and you orient the map to your exact spot on the range.
The first time I used it, I did all of this, but then didn’t get any readings. It worked after finally resetting the device.
Now it usually gets going without a hitch, but I’ll occasionally have trouble getting it to automatically register what club I’m using (a feature we’ll talk more about in a minute). Or occasionally, it won’t quite be positioned correctly and will need adjustments to give the most accurate results.
These issues don’t happen all the time, but they happen enough that it’s worth mentioning.
The FlightScope Mevo on the other hand might be the most seamless golf tech product I’ve ever used. It connected immediately when I fired it up, I stuck it behind me on the range, and from the jump it was giving me great results.
It’s important to keep in mind though that the Mevo doesn’t have quite the feature-set that the MLM has. This is what makes deciding between the two a trickier proposition.
Verdict: FlightScope Mevo. One of the easiest to use golf tech products I’ve ever used.
What Statistics do FlightScope Mevo and Rapsodo MLM Give You?
This is where the real meat of this comparison comes in, the features.
Because if I’m being candid, there’s a lot that I personally like about the FlightScope. For some reason to me, it feels more high-end. And the user experience has been so seamless and positive that I often find myself thinking I prefer it over the Rapsodo.
Or at least, I do until I use the MLM again and realize just how feature-heavy it is.
I’m not going to go into all of the features that each have in this comparison review, but I’ll focus on a couple of the big ones that stick out for me.
Both devices will tell you how far you hit it, both have them will save your stats for future analysis, and both of them shoot video allowing you to playback your shots frame by frame.
But the single biggest drawback of the FlightScope Mevo? There’s no lateral data.
So it might show that you hit your driver 276 yards, but it doesn’t give you any data as to whether you hit it straight or not.
As someone who has a notoriously bad slice, this is information that I rely on as I’m working to improve my game.
The Rapsodo does have this data, and frankly, they do a really good job of displaying it through the app. Because the app finds the range your on, and has you pinpoint where you are on the range, it can overlay each of your shots on top of it, which is phenomenal for visually recognizing where you’re hitting the ball.
But the Rapsodo isn’t perfect. While they have valuable lateral data, they don’t have height statistics* or spin rate: the Mevo does.
So this is going to be a big decision point for you, what’s more useful between lateral data and spin data?
If one is significantly more valuable for your training goals, then the decision of which one to buy becomes a bit easier.
Verdict: Rapsodo MLM. The lack of lateral data on the FlightScope is just such a negative for me, that the Rapsodo wins this one pretty easily.
*The Rapsodo does have height data if you purchase their “Pro” membership. I’ll talk about that more below.
Other Features of Each Device
When it comes to other features, the Rapsodo is the star of the show here.
It does a better job of visually representing your shots, helping you figure out club gapping and more.
Being able to see shot dispersion get better (hopefully) over time, over an aerial view of your range is super useful.
They also have built-in games you can play, and online competitions through the app to make practice a bit more fun.
The Rapsodo MLM has a nice feature where it will automatically recognize what club you’re using. You simply hold your club in front of your phone while it’s in the dock, and in a couple of seconds it will recognize it and update.
In practice, I’ve found this works 75% of the time. I’ve run into some issues where it didn’t recognize it right away, so I had to go down and tell it manually what club I was using. Not a big deal, but it hasn’t always been the most reliable feature.
One area where the FlightScope has a big advantage over the MLM however is in it’s compatibility with the Apple Watch.
I just happened to be wearing my Apple Watch when I went out with the Mevo for the first time and realized there was a Watch App. Getting all of my numbers and data on my watch was incredibly convenient – much more so than I expected.
Both apps can give announce your distances, but if you’re on a crowded range you’re likely to turn this off. So the watch is a great way to get all the data you need quickly and easily, without having to turn to your phone after every shot.
Verdict: Rapsodo MLM. There’s just more to do with the app. Whether you’re looking for additional data, additional charts, or additional ways to make your practice more interesting, the Rapsodo is simply more feature-heavy. The caveat to this is if you’re an Apple Watch user. I found this one feature alone with FlightScope to outweigh nearly all of the extra stuff within the MLM.
User Interface of the App
There are two ways to look at this one: how does it look, and how is it to use.
Quite simply, the Rapsodo app looks better. It feels more modern, fonts and shot information look better, and the GPS range data and graphs look great.
But it can be clunky at times. I’ve often found myself fumbling through the Rapsodo app, and the user experience isn’t always great. It gets easier as you spend more time with it, but I’ve always struggled with it a bit.
The FlightScope app on the other hand doesn’t look great. It feels outdated and less modern when compared to the Mevo. The menus also aren’t labeled all that well, so it can take some guesswork to figure out what does what when you’re first using it.
But and this is a big but, it just works. It works incredibly well. It’s easy to use, and you have all the information you need. The only slightly confusing part is in customizing which statistic information you want it to display after each shot. But even that is pretty quick to figure out.
Verdict: Tie. One looks better, one is easier to use. But both get the job done.
Accuracy of the FlightScope Mevo and Rapsodo MLM
All of this doesn’t mean much if these devices aren’t accurate.
Generally, yes both devices are accurate enough to be true practice aids that you can rely on.
That said, they aren’t perfect.
Between the two, I’ve always trusted the data out of the FlightScope Mevo more. It’s always seemed pretty dead on.
I trust most of the data I get out of the Rapsodo MLM.
In my original review, I had someone who works there message me to say that it looked like my device wasn’t properly located behind the ball in a couple of my photos.
I’ve made adjustments in subsequent sessions that seem to have helped, but also it should be pretty self-explanatory where to put the MLM. And where I had it originally, shouldn’t have been so far off that it gave me bad data.
I also had an issue where the range I was on, didn’t have a ton of flat space directly behind the mat I was hitting on – so positioning was a bit of a challenge.
With both of them there will be occasional outliers, but you’ll see this on any launch monitor at times.
It can be particularly pronounced on the MLM because it adds a shot tracer to the videos. Every once in a while it might show a draw when you know you hit a fade – so when you see that you question the accuracy.
But the vast majority of the time both devices really feel pretty dead on, which is pretty remarkable given their price point.
Verdict: Flightscope Mevo. I know there are people who have done more scientific tests than me, that say accuracy is pretty similar. I’m just speaking from my personal use, that the FlightScope has felt more accurate for me. So take that with a grain of salt.
Using the FlightScope Mevo and Rapsodo MLM Inside
Fortunately, both of these launch monitors now work indoors. The MLM got an update since launch that unlocked this capability.
Unfortunately, last time I tried to create an indoor setup to test golf products, I put a hole in my ceiling.
I haven’t had a chance to get back out to where I review indoor products since this update was made, so I haven’t tested either of these out indoors yet.
I do know the FlightScope provides little silver stickers you put on the ball that is supposed to help with accuracy.
However, I can’t yet speak to how well this works for either the Mevo or MLM. I’ll update when I can.
A Quick Note on “Rapsodo Pro”
So unlike FlightScope, Rapsodo offers a $99.99/year “Pro” account which adds additional features to your device, specifically three things:
- Gives you cloud storage for up to 10k videos
- Gives you height/Apex data
- Gives you slow-motion video replay
It’s up to you if you think this is worth it, but here are my thoughts.
I personally don’t need 10k videos of my ugly golf swing. If I have a particularly good swing, I’ll save a few from each session, that’s it. I believe the standard app lets you save up to 100 videos without paying extra – for me this is fine. But saving thousands of videos per user on your servers costs money, so I get they need to charge for this.
I don’t think you should have to pay extra for height data, however. It’s kind of a random metric to hold locked away for the subscription. The device can obviously do it, so it kind of feels like they said “We need one more feature to add to the Pro account, what should it be? Height, yeah, let’s go with that.”
It’s included with the Mevo for no extra cost.
And as for slow-motion video, you can scrub your videos frame by frame in the app as is, so that works fine for me when it comes to assessing my swing.
But this may be an important feature for you depending on how you use it.
At $100 a year, it’s not like it totally breaks the bank, but it still feels steep for what you’re getting – especially considering it feels like the height and slo-mo should be built into the device you’re already paying nearly $500 for.
Who Should Buy the FlightScope Mevo
Despite both of these launch monitors doing the same thing, tracking how far you hit the ball, chances are one will be better for you than the other.
First, let’s look at who should buy the FlightScope Mevo.
The Mevo is for you, if:
- You don’t care as much about lateral data on your launch monitor. This is still the biggest drawback of the Mevo. If this isn’t a problem for you, you’ll likely love the device.
- Spin rate is one of the key metrics you look at. The MLM doesn’t have this, so if you want spin rate, get the Mevo.
- You want the easiest and fastest app-based launch monitor under $500. It isn’t as sexy, but the app works better and gets you distances faster.
- Portability is really important to you. Both devices are portable, but the Mevo is tiny.
- You’re an Android user. The MLM is Apple only at the moment.
- You don’t care about gamification on the range. You won’t find any of that in the FlightScope app.
- You think you might later upgrade to a higher-end FlightScope model. If you later think you might upgrade to the Mevo+ or a more professional FlightScope solution, having all the data already could be helpful.
- You have an Apple Watch. This integration works better and is more useful than I expected.
Buy the FlightScope Mevo on their website here. Use code breakingeighty for 15% off.
Why You Should Buy the Rapsodo MLM
There are a lot of compelling reasons to choose the FlightScope Mevo, but fortunately, there are an equal number of reasons to go for the Rapsodo MLM. Here are the big ones:
- Lateral data is important to you. The Mevo doesn’t have it, so if you want it? Get the MLM.
- You want the most data you can possibly get. Despite not having spin rate, the MLM has more features and more data.
- You like seeing the ball flight with shot tracer. MLM has a built-in shot tracer.
- You want a social aspect to your practice. There are both games you can play against yourself, and social competitions with other users through the app. FlightScope doesn’t have this.
- You don’t want to buy a separate cell phone holder or tripod. You don’t need to do this with the FlightScope, but if you want to use it for video it would be very handy. Not an issue with the MLM
- You’re a visual person. Simply put the graphs, scatter plots, and visuals of the MLM are much better than the FlightScope
- You don’t think you’ll ever want to upgrade to a higher-end model. There isn’t another model with the MLM.
- You’re cool rolling with the occasional app hiccup or user experience issue. Most sessions I’ve had at least a minor issue with the MLM, but usually, it’s nothing major and only takes a minute to sort. As long as you’re cool with working through these kinks, this will be a great product for you.
- You’re an Apple user. If you have an iPhone you get your choice between the two, but since MLM doesn’t support Android yet, you’ll want to look elsewhere unless you have an iPad you would use.
Buy the Rapsodo MLM on their website.
Final Thoughts on the Best Launch Monitors for Under $500
Honestly, the fact either of these exists for under $500 is pretty remarkable. It’s a testament to just how far technology has come over the last few years.
To get this kind of data, at this price point, in a product that easily fits inside your golf bag is pretty impressive.
I’ve used both of these launch monitors extensively, and honestly? They’re both great.
Are they as good as a Trackman or a FlightScope X3? Of course not, but they’re likely good enough for you.
With both these devices you can usually find discounts to get them for around $50 off, so keep an eye out for those. If buying the FlightScope Mevo you can use the code breakingeighty15 to snag you that deal.
So which device is the best? Both of them.
It truly just depends on what your needs and goals are, so take a look at the section above for help figuring out which one is right for you.
Because at this point anyone who decides to buy either of these launch monitors is about to take their game, and enjoyment on the range, to a whole new level.
March 2023 Update: Price Drop Galore!
It’s been a couple years since I originally did this comparison review, and guess what?
Both of these devices are still around, and both are still excellent entry-level launch monitors.
BUT they’ve both gotten even better in the last few months.
Rapsodo recently announced the MLM Pro 2, which will be a more “prosumer” device coming in at $699. The good news is that they’re still going to support and keep updating the original MLM.
The better news? They dropped the MSRP from $499 to $299. At $299 this becomes a no-brainer for someone wanting to explore a personal launch monitor.
But that’s not all!
The Mevo has also seen a price drop and we’ve gotten a bump from 10 to 15% on our Mevo coupon code.
So the price currently on their website is $425. When you use the code “BREAKINGEIGHTY” you’ll save $63.75 bringing the total price down to $361.25.
Also a fantastic deal.
Which one is better? As we discussed during the rest of the review, it’s really a toss up.
I trust the accuracy of the FlightScope a bit more, but the Rapsodo is way more feature heavy. So it’s kind of up to you to decide what you value more. Either way, you’re going to get a solid device that will make practice more effective and more enjoyable.
Buy the Rapsodo MLM:
Buy the FlightScope Mevo:
- On their website. Use code breakingeighty for 15% off!
- On Amazon
Want More Related Content to Check Out Next?
- FlightScope Mevo Review – A more in-depth look at this device.
- Rapsodo MLM Review – All the details about using the Rapsodo and how it works.
- Best Golf Rangefinders – Looking for the latest on more golf gadgets? Here are our favorite rangefinders.
- Best Golf Gifts – Looking for a gift for the golf lover in your life? Look no further than this list.
I've spent hundreds of hours reviewing golf launch monitors. Take my quick 30 second quiz and I'll tell you which one is right for you!
Very helpful and good review. Thanks for all the work! FYI, I bought the Raspodo, I am as you mentioned a visual player, and i love it. to be honest I wish I could lock the phone to the device to easily use if I’m, playing an actual round of golf. It works fine, but is cumbersome to setup for each shot.