Smartpong vs Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 comparison
As I have a fair bit of experience with the Newgy robots, I'm
often asked how they compare to other robots. Both the Smartpong and Newgy 2050
came into the market a few years back, so I thought it would be useful to
compare these 2 models side by side.
I think people are sometimes swayed towards the Smartpong by it's impressive
promotional video and made to think that this robot does it all. I think what
this article shows is that neither robot does it all, and it's all about
compromises and buying a robot that offers most features that you
need and that fits into your budget.
Constructions and setup:
Both the Newgy 2050 and the Smartpong design seem to be based on the Newgy 2040
design, as they look very similar and are both made of sturdy plastic. This is
not a bad thing as the Newgy has a good track record for being sturdy and
reliable. Setup and take-down procedure for both units is very similar and easy.
Both manuals are written in clear English with illustrations. Both manuals are
available on the web for download.
The Smartpong Manual is fairly basic, containing:
- A decent setup guide showing you how to set it up and take it down.
- A brief trouble-shooting guide to solve the most basic problems. For any issues
that require opening the robot
- or changing any parts, you'll need to take or send it to your
service centre as the manual does not cover how to take things apart or replace parts.
- A user guide that cover the basic operation of the robot function and settings
via the remote with
good pictures of all the settings. Unfortunately it does not have a user guide
that shows some recommended setting to start with or some common routines.
users can probably work this out, but for new users they'll have to figure it
out for themselves.
The Newgy 2050 manual is far more detailed in every respect,
- A detailed guide on how to set it up and take it down.
- A detailed description of every single
setting of the robot using the remote, including detailed pictures and examples.
- A section describing the setup menu where you can change a lot of the basic settings,
such as language, display contrast, calibrations settings (not usually required)
and then some special functions like unloading balls, restore factory settings,
- A section on how to setup the head angles, setup the spin types, all
- A detailed section with diagrams of all the 64 drills inbuilt.
- A long and detailed section on how to generate and load your
own programs via a notebook/laptop/PC, including
the operations of the software (included in the package).
- A section on maintenance, other Newgy accessories that might
- A very detailed guide on trouble-shooting any problems.
The Newgy robots are designed so that they can not only be maintained but also
by the users if any problems arise. Detailed description and with
you how every
part fits together and can be replaced if required.
Both units use a digital remote. The main difference is that the Smartpong
remote (pictured left)
is wireless (infrared) whereas the Newgy (pictured right) is wired and attached with a bracket to
Although wireless looks and seems nicer, most of the programming or setup is
done while you're not playing and standing
at the table, so the advantage of wireless is only minor. The disadvantage of
is that you need to replace batteries (3 x AAA) when flat, and you're more
likely to drop
the unit and break it, or misplace it and can't find it (you don't ever
misplace your TV remote, do you? LOL).
Both remotes have a liquid crystal display. Newgy uses a menu based system with
4 lines of descriptive text
on the screen, and you scroll through the different setting and adjust your
uses icons with numbers to indicate the different settings, and has separate
buttons to change values of the different settings.
The nice thing about the Smartpong is that it gives you an instant overview of
all the settings, but the Newgy gives you more
details and the setting are more descriptive, so which you prefer is personal
preference. Both are relatively easy to learn how to use.
Both robots are based on a single throwing wheel design, which means that spin
and speed are not independent, and they cannot produce a no-spin ball.
Not a big deal for most people, and although the more expensive 2-wheel robot
designs can theoretically overcome this, practical designs
still struggles to make spin and speed truly independent, as well as struggle to
produce a true no speed at variable speeds.
Both robots allow you to adjust the head angle up and down,
and adjust the head angle for a multitude different spin. The big feature that
the Smartpong has
over the Newgy is that the Smartpong can do this electronically and therefore
adjust setting in between shots or during a routine.
The automatic head angle (up and down) is probably not that important, as I
can't think of many standard routines where this would be used,
but the automatic spin adjustment can be quite useful, as it allows you to
program in routines that contain both topspin and backspin, whereas the Newgy
can only be programmed to perform all backspin or all topspin (or sidespin of
course) within one routine. Both robots allow you to change the direction and
depth of the balls during a routine or from ball to ball.
The Smartpong can project the ball at 9 different angles, from
the extreme right to the extreme left of the table. For each of these angles
you can adjust how deep the ball will land changing the ball speed setting. The
Newgy uses a very similar method, projecting the ball at 20 different angles,
and also allow you to set the dept by controlling the value of the speed of the
Both Robots allow you to set the unit to run for a certain
amount of time, although the Newgy also allows you to set it for a certain
number of balls,
and for drills you can set the number of drills (each one may contain many
The Newgy all has quite a few other nifty little features,
like a setting for unloading all the balls from the tray into the box, and a
of calibrations and adjustment features to help diagnose and resolve issues.
The Newgy has the ability to make both the horizontal angle and the speed of the
ball random, which the Smartpong does not seem to have.
Random angles can be very useful for a routine where for example you wish to
practice your blocking against loops. In a real game a good
looper can continue to loop your balls and will continue to vary both the angle
and depth. The Newgy can simulate this with the random
feature. The region over which the angles vary can be set between 2 angles, so
that for example you can just practice random angle balls
to your forehand region of the table. Similarly the ball speed can be set
between a min and max speed, and it will vary randomly between them.
Programming / Drills:
Drills: To program the Smartpong you can select up to 9
different balls setting, and run these in a continuous sequence for a set amount
of time. For each ball you can program
in the ball speed and angle, as well as the type of spin. Programming is done on
the remote where you select the setting of each ball to one of the 9 memory
locations, and then program
them into the robot. The Smartpong does have some routines already built in,
they are not mentioned anywhere is the instructions and they cannot be changed.
The Newgy 2050 comes with 64 built-in routines, including many of
the classic ones like the Falkenberg drill. These routines are clearly outlined in
the manual with diagrams.
32 of these routines can be overwritten with your own routines and can be as
simple or complex as you like. The 2050 comes with software on a CD which runs
on a Windows operating system. The software makes it easy to design the
routines, and they can be programmed offline, and then uploaded or downloaded
whenever you connect. To program in a routine, for each ball you can set the
angle and speed (depth), the number of balls and the wait period. You can
continue adding values to make the routine more complex. Once the program is
finished you can upload it to the robot, or save it to share around to anyone,
which is one a very nice feature.
Although Newgy has a lot of robot accessories and Smartpong does not, there is
no reason you can't use Newgy accessories for other robots and most are not
specific to one robot.
One notable exception is the Pongmaster game, which can be a useful practice tool
as well as it being good fun especially for kids. This will only work with the
Warrantee and repairs:
Newgy has distributors in most countries or regions, and it is these
distributors that offer the warrantee and handle support and repairs. Support,
guides and FAQs
is also provided via the various Newgy websites. Since most repairs are often
just a simple a replacement of a part, the unit does not usually need to be
Note that Newgy does not offer international warrantees, so if you buy one from
another country, it's not covered by the warrantee of the distributor in your
Smartpong warrantee is handled by the local distributor as well, but any repair
that requires opening of the robot may require you to return the whole unit.
So which is the better robot for you?
Ok, lets first get a few myths dispelled:
- Despite their name, 'robots' are not designed to simulate a real opponent,
but are designed for practicing specific strokes, routines or footwork.
A robot cannot replace a practice partner
nor coach, but is perfect for
practicing specific strokes as it feeds the same ball twice (unlike a practice
partner), and is also perfect
for re-enforcing the techniques that you coach has taught.
- No robot does it all... it's always a matter of tossing up
the features that you place most value in, within the budget that you can
By far the greatest amount of use by robots owner is for the
practice of a specific stroke (loop, push block, return of serve), for fitness
and/or for footwork training.
For simple routines such as these, both of these robots are more than sufficient
for this use, since they can create every type of spin for you to practice,
they can throw balls side to side for sideways footwork, they can throw balls
long and short for in & out type footwork, and will no doubt give you a great
Although the complex routines seem really nice and important,
there is not much value practicing a complex routine if you can not consistently,
loop 10 balls in a row, with the correct footwork (stepping sideways and in/out)
If you do achieve the level where you can consistently do this with the correct
strokes and the correct footwork changing between forehand and backhand, you
be ready for the more complex routines, which is where the difference between
these robots might be important.
If you really need the ability to change the spin on the ball from one ball to
another, then the Smartpong might be the better choice.
If you really need the
random features of the robots or you need a much larger choice and longer
routines, then the Newgy might be the better choice.
If you're not very technically minded, then the detailed manual of the Newgy
would prove to be invaluable.
Regarding reliability, it too early to tell which of these robots will prove to
be more reliable, but the Smartpong
has a more complex design and more parts that are moved electronically, so the
chance of one of these breaking down or wearing down may be higher.
If future warrantee and repairs is an issue, take into account the
track record and future of the
two manufacturers, and the location of support and repair centers
and the likelihood that your robot will need to be returned, which will cause
downtime and possible costs.
Finally there is the cost... the Newgy 2050 is considerable cheaper than the
You'll have to weigh all this up to make up your mind!