The Open Barbell is small and compact (about the shape and size of a soda can). So it's very easy to transport and move from bar to bar - MUCH easier than a Tendo Unit. The unit itself, has a very small screen that immediately gives off average and peak velocity - you can see athletes reading off scores for each other in the video below. As you can see, the Open Barbell requires a plate to be used as an anchor (uses a magnet) and can be difficult to read because the screen is so small.
- Size - it's the size of a soda can, so you can easily travel with it in a backpack or even from rack to rack
- You can scroll through past reps
- Price - a typical VBT tool is around $1-3K, while the Open Barbell is only $250
- The App allows for much more detailed metrics to be used and gives the user greater options
- The screen is very small. You need a partner, to closely look at the score to give you immediate feedback. Unlike a Tendo or GymAware where the athlete can see the score, with the Open Barbell the athlete must be told their score.
- I bought the magnet bar attachments, and they are not all that durable and come off the bar if dropped or rack sharply. I would recommend just using the bar straps that come with the unit.
- The unit shows 2 numbers - average velocity & peak velocity, BUT shows average velocity in Large Font while peak velocity in Small Font and this CANNOT be changed. You literally can't read the peak velocity reading without being about a foot away - You cannot stand above it and read it. It would be nice to be able to switch which reading is in Large Font as their are times measuring peak velocity is more meaningful than measuring average velocity.
Overall, the Open Barbell is a nice VBT at a good cost. It has some shortcomings but is a very nice inexpensive alternative to the more expensive versions. I personally think VBT is an overrated tool and most of the VBT tools are way overpriced given, in my opinion, their limited uses. But if a VBT tool is in your future, the Open Barbell is a good choice.