Every once in a while, we get something a little different to review here at Techaeris. Technology is everywhere, including in sports where it is used to not only keep track of stats but also to help athletes improve their game.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Our SIQ Basketball review looks at a basketball with sensors inside that help basketball players track their shooting data and shows them where they can improve. Read on for our full review!
Table of contents
The SIQ Basketball we reviewed has the following features and specifications:
- The SIQ Basketball has embedded 9D sensor technology and provides a comprehensive analysis of your shooting sessions and tracks 192 data points per shot, including shooting sessions, makes/misses, shooter identification, multi-ball support, shot situation.
- With just your smartphone and the SIQ Smart Basketball, you can turn any standard hoop into an automated shot tracking powerhouse. That means improving your shooting skills anywhere, anytime.
- Shooting Form: SIQ provides you not only critical shooting form data, but how that is improving over time. On your driveway, at the court or game day. Get feedback on every shot. Become a shot maker, not shot taker.
- Consistency: Your form should be repeatable, and the SIQ app will tell you via “consistency” whether or not you maintain your form throughout your session. Only good practice makes perfect.
- Accuracy: The ball automatically tracks your makes and misses. But we didn’t stop there. The SIQ ball is smart enough to know if a shot is a swish. Great shooters track swishes and “clean makes,” and we instantly track that info.
- Game Shooting: SIQ AI determines your accuracy off the pass, dribble or relaxed. Heat maps let you know how you are doing at every point on the court. Advanced skills like release speed, “shooters touch” and defender clearance are tracked. Premium pro ball can be used for practice or games.
- Families and Teams: The SIQ ball is so smart that it knows who is shooting it! Friends and family can use the same ball and have their own stats tracked via a unique “fingerprint”. This fingerprint is created automatically using artificial intelligence after only 500 shots.
- Ball style: Indoor (orange) or Outdoor (black)
- Ball size: Size 7 (29.5″ (Men’s)), Size 6 (28.5″ (Women’s/Youth)), Size 5 (27.5″ (Youth))
What’s in the box
- SIQ Basketball
- Quick start sheet
If you’ve seen or used a basketball before, you’ll already be familiar with the SIQ Basketball. We opted for the outdoor version for playing at home in the driveway and at the local outdoor court, so ours was black in colour. The SIQ logo with the orange “S” silver outline is present on opposite sides of the ball. On the section below it, the slogan “Shoot with Purpose” is embossed into the basketball. On the next section under one side is a WiFi symbol while the same section on the other side has your pinhole air receptacle with some information printed in silver on the ball. There is an indoor version as well which comes in the traditional orange with black striping.
Our review sample was also the Size 7 (men’s) version. As such, it measures 29.5″ around. Really, there’s not much to say here as it looks and feels like an official basketball, and is even suitable for use in an actual game. The weight feels the same, as does the finishing texture, as a regulation use basketball (and it is FIBA approved for game use).
Ease of Use
The SIQ Basketball is pretty easy to use. You will have to download and install the SIQ Basketball app in order to use the ball and track your shots. Once installed and running, all you have to do is toss the ball up in the air with a backspin and it should register with the app. There were a couple of times we had to toggle the Bluetooth on our smartphone before the ball would register, but most of the time it registered after a couple of tosses with no issues.
Once activated/paired with the phone, simply pick a mode on the app and start shooting! The company also has a short TikTok video explaining the setup process.
As mentioned above, you need the SIQ Basketball app (available for Android and iOS) in order to properly use the ball. I mean, you can use it as a plain old basketball without the app, but it has the internal smarts to track your shots and provide feedback, so why wouldn’t you want to use that?
Once the app is downloaded and installed, you’ll need to sign in with either Google or an email address. You will also have to allow the app to access your phone’s location for the purpose of connecting with and tracking the ball.
Next, you’ll have to subscribe. Yes, the ball does come with a 30-day free trial, and after that, it is US$8.99/mth. Of course, you can get a 6- or 12-month subscription when you purchase the ball, which brings down the monthly price by a dollar or two depending on which route you go. Once subscribed, you’ll have to allow the app to access photos, videos, music, and audio, your physical activity, and sensor data (if you have one) on your device.
Once that’s done, you’re ready to go. Tap Shootaround or Free Throw, toss the ball up in the air with a backspin and wait for it to register with the app, and start shooting!
While playing you can track your current activity on the phone. A neat trick here, if you turn your phone to landscape mode, the app adjusts and you get a nice, large readable layout with your current shots made and shots attempted. Swiping left or right on the landscape screen will switch between shots/attempts, quickness, release angle, and rotations per second of the ball depending on what you want to focus on.
After you are done with your session and stop it, you can then view more detailed statistics like shots made, swish percentage, consistency, and quickness. The app even tracks the distances you make your shots from, your release angle and rotations per second (of the ball), your consistency, and your shots taken/made after dribbling, taking a pass, being relaxed, or performing a layup. The app is pretty straightforward and easy to use, and the stats are pretty detailed.
The SIQ Basketball has embedded 9D sensor technology and provides a comprehensive analysis of your shooting sessions and tracks 192 data points per shot, including (as mentioned previously) shooting sessions, makes/misses, shooter identification, multi-ball support, and shot situation.
So while the stats are great, how accurate is the SIQ Smart Basketball? During our testing, mostly on our driveway with a standard-height basketball net, we found it to be pretty accurate. I marked distances on the driveway and counted the number of shots attempted from each distance. The live tracking did a great job of telling me how many baskets I made out of how many I attempted.
While I can’t attest to the rotations per second (rps) or the quickness of my releases, the app did offer up some tips to improve both. I did find that after concentrating on it more, I did get my rps more consistent, as well as a better average shot release time. I’m far from a pro, but my daughter did enjoy the stats that were being reported when she was playing (she has played on school teams before) and was very interested in the suggestions to improve her shooting skills. It quickly turned into a competition as to who could sink more shots per attempts, which made for some fun workouts and quality time together.
The couple of times we played a few one on one games together, the app did an o.k. job of ignoring her shots initially and only tracking mine. While we didn’t get that far, the company does say that after about 500 shots or so, the app can distinguish and track more than one user (assuming each has their own subscription).
One thing you will notice is that the ball does not have any apparent way to recharge. According to the company, the SIQ Basketball has a service life of 500 hours when tracking shots, i.e. when the ball is in contact with the app. This means you can shoot for 1.5 hours, every day, for an entire year. Once the ball “dies,” it can still, of course, be used like any other Wilson or Spalding ball, you just won’t be able to track your stats with it anymore.
Lasting a year based on 1.5 hours of use a day seems pretty decent, however, there will come a time when you will have to replace the ball. To be honest, I’m not sure how they would be able to incorporate it but some way to recharge the ball would be a welcome addition here. Perhaps SIQ could incorporate some of he wireless charging technology used with smartwatches and have the ball sit on a small charging pad in a certain position to recharge. Of course, there are other things to consider like added weight and keeping the ball within regulation limits, but, as I mentioned it would definitely be a nice added feature.
The SIQ Smart Basketball retails for US$99.99 but also requires a monthly membership, albeit the first month is free (NOTE: the Amazon price seems higher at a glance but includes 6-months of membership). Given the ball comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can test it out and if you don’t like it, you’re not on the hook for a membership you’re not going to use. The membership cost is either $6.99/mth based on a year or $7.99/mth based on 6 months. Month to month will set you back $8.99.
At best, you’ll be set back an extra $83.88 for a year of stat tracking with this ball, bringing the total to $183.86. In addition, after about 500 hours of use, you’ll have to splurge for a new ball if you want to keep tracking your stats and improving your game.
This is definitely a tough one with regard to price and value. While it may seem expensive for a recreational user, if you’re an amateur or pro basketball player and looking to improve your game, every little bit matters and $200/yr may be a small price to pay.
The SIQ Smart Basketball does a great job of tracking your performance, offering up stats, and even tips to improve your basketball game. While it is a bit pricey once you add in the price of the monthly subscription, it can definitely be a helpful tool if you’re looking to up your game.