Power Pong 5000 Robot vs Butterfly Amicus Prime
First published on Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Last updated on Friday, January 3, 2020
Updated March 15, 2020
If you mention the words “ping pong” and “robot” to someone outside of the table tennis community, their mind instantly starts racing. They imagine an eight-armed piece of machinery with cat-like reflexes that can handle everything you throw at it. Table tennis players know that the reality is much less electrifying, except perhaps in the case of two cutting-edge creations, the Butterfly Amicus Prime and the Power Pong 5000.
In the robotic arms race of 21st century table tennis, these two robots are ushering in a new generation of programmable practice partners. Bluetooth-connectivity, multi-headed design, and complete customization are the features that make the Amicus and Power Pong robots stand out from the pack.
The Basics - What’s so great about the Power Pong 5000 & Amicus Prime?
Let’s get our heads out of the clouds for a minute and get back to the basics. What are we looking for in a technologically advanced training partner? We need consistent performance and the ability to replicate in-game variation. We look for an easy to use control interface, complete with pre-programmed patterns and the ability to customize our training to our specific goals. Lastly, we dream of a realistic training experience with a counterpart that never rests and is always ready for another round of practice.
The Butterfly Amicus Prime and Power Pong 5000 robots have an extensive list of shared features. Perhaps the most core component is the 3-wheel head robot design. Ask around and you’ll quickly find out that this key innovation has revolutionized the usefulness of table tennis robots. Have you ever wished you could replicate a classic combination of shots to perfect your game? The 3-wheel head design allows for seamless spin variation within the same round of drills. You can practice an opening loop vs. heavy backspin then follow it up with a counter to an incoming topspin shot to simulate in-game situations. All of this can be done without any need for physical adjustments. The sequences are handled by the robot and you can choose from a wide range of pre-programmed drills.
On top of the increased variation, 3-wheel head robots last longer since they don’t need to be rotated to serve different spins. Many 2-wheel head robots rotate (manually or automatically) to vary the spin, which leads to more wear and tear over time. The 3-wheel head robots are also more accurate due to the additional point of propulsion for each ball and their design allows for an additional layer of customization when combined with the advanced controller systems designed by Butterfly and Power Pong. Both robots can be controlled via an app, allowing for next-level tactical training.
Read more: 3-Wheel Design Advantages
Another shared feature is the built-in catch net for auto-recycling and feeding of balls throughout the drills. This feature is not unique to the Power Pong and Amicus robots, but the build-quality shines as you power through round after round of drills without pause.
As you can see, these two robots are built with the goal of high-quality training that can be sustained session after session.
Control & Customization: “There’s an app for that”
While the physical build of the Amicus Prime and Power Pong 5000 robots is nearly identical, there are certain areas of focus that distinguish the two technological titans.
As previously mentioned, both robots can be controlled by a well-designed app interface on tablets and smartphones. The Butterfly Amicus Prime includes a tablet with the software preloaded for ease of use. For app-loving Power Pong and Amicus owners, their training apps can be easily downloaded onto any iOS or Android device and do not require robot ownership.
The Power Pong app is actively being improved with new features at the time of writing this article and customer app reviews are very favorable. Butterfly recently released a bug fix update for their Android app, showing that the app is still being maintained. Both robots are built to perform for a long time, so having an active team behind the continued development of the training experience may be an important factor in the long run. Both apps can be downloaded from the respective app stores to be tested so we recommend trying the apps out for yourself and reading their app reviews to help you make your decision.
The Power Pong app does a lot of the work for you by calculating the ball trajectory based on the table, speed and spin settings. The Amicus Prime allows for a maximum of ten different shots for each drill compared to the limit of eight for the Power Pong 5000. While it is uncommon for a player to use more than five or six distinct shots in a single drill, this difference may impact your buying decision. The Amicus Prime comes pre-programmed with 20 drills designed by German Butterfly coach Richard Prause. The integrated videos demonstrate proper execution of these drills. The Power Pong 5000 has 12 pre-programmed drills and both robots can store as many customized programs as your device can hold.
The Power Pong 5000 comes with its own piece of hardware, a physical controller full of knobs, buttons and lights. For players who prefer the feel of a hand-held controller over a tablet, this is a notable difference between the two robots. It’s one of the few links to previous robot generations among these two next-gen training tools. On the other hand, Amicus Prime comes with a dedicated tablet, which players may find useful if they prefer not to use their own devices during training.
Warranty & Accessories
The Power Pong 5000 is covered by a 3-year warranty that covers parts and labor. They even have a “1-day fix or replace service”, which means they will repair your robot within 24 hours or they will replace it. Butterfly Amicus robots come with a 2-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects. For both robots, the warranty does not cover misuse of the robot and replacement parts are guaranteed to be available for at least five years after purchase. All Amicus Prime customers get free tech support by Larry Thoman, Butterfly's in-house robot expert, and Power Pong customers receive support from Attila Malek, former US champion and owner of Power Pong.
The Power Pong 5000 is normally available at a lower price point than the Amicus robot, with both robots including various accessories depending on promotions and special offers. Each robot comes with the built-in catch net previously mentioned. This allows for the continuous recycling of the balls during each drill.
At Megaspin we offer an additional layer of support to standard manufacturer policies to ensure that any warranty claim or product defect issue is resolved with the manufacturer in the shortest time possible. We call this "Warranty Plus". We work closely with both manufacturers and will be there to help you if you feel your warranty issues are not handled timely or effectively.
Like a scene straight out of Transformers, the battle between these two robots is one of sensory overload. Are you wondering how to decide between the two?
Well, do you envision yourself using the tablet of the Amicus Prime or the control-box of the Power Pong 5000?
Which app design do you prefer and which developer will you trust to deliver consistent updates and new features?
Timo Boll may dream about the Amicus Prime, but which robot speaks to you?
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