Lobster Elite Three Portable Ball Machine Customer feedback

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Comments: This is a good enough machine, not great, just good enough. I say that as l have had many little issues with the Lobster Elite 3. If this machine was simply in the $500 range, then it would be somewhat worth it. If i could give it a letter grade, it'd be a C-. Anyway, as many have stated, the battery life isn't the best. The functionality of the remote is very ok. Again, everything is very ok. However, the worst part of this all is the customer service from Lobster. The company is based in North Hollywood, and it costs $15 to send rubber feet to LA itself. What? $15 shipping for a $3 part.
From: Anonymous, 10/15

Comments: My second follow-up comment from Anon 7/15. 2 weeks ago, we experienced a wiring problem and the thin wire broke. This week, the second ball wheel broke. Not sure why Lobster would choose plastic over metal for this vital part? Another $54 spent on fixing it.
From: Anon, 8/15

Comments: Follow-up comment from Anon 7/15 -- 2 weeks after writing the somewhat negative review, our Elite 3 now needs a new ball throwing wheel. The other one broke at the axle. The wheel is made of plastic and costs $27 + shipping.
From: Anon, 8/15

Comments: Bought this 2.5 years ago for our club. Estimated usage is 5-10 hours per week. We have experienced wiring problems about 4 times. Now the motor on the feeding mechanism has burned out. The replacement is $79-$36 for 2 day shipping. Lobster needs to re-do the wiring connections on the control panel. They come loose too easily. It's very frustrating.
From: Anon, 7/15

Comments: Poor customer service from Lobster. I called the company in order to return a remote control for repair. I could not speak to a technician. I called 10 minutes before closing time and I was told to call the next day. Four calls later, I got in touch with a technician for customer service.
From: Charlie, 5/15

Comments: Don't expect honesty or service from Lobster if you have machine problems! I ordered the Phenom 2 with the iPhone remote app. The app has never worked correctly or consistently. When it does decide to work you have to be within a couple of feet of the machine. I'm at a loss about what to do because of the such poor service and outright lies I've received from the company. If you decide to order the machine, order it from vendor and not directly from the company. If you order from a vendor like Amazon or elsewhere at least you'll have a "go between" and someone that might help you resolve any problems. Lobster could care less once you have the machine. Also, you'll save freight costs since the vendors can't discount the machine they normally ship for free. I needed the machine in a hurry and bought directly from Lobster...a huge mistake that cost me an extra $250 for freight. I called the company on Monday and was "guaranteed" the machine would ship that day or next and I'd have it by the end of the week for a tennis tournament we were sponsoring. For me, the extra $250 was worth it to ensure the machine was there prior to the tournament and I told the salesman that. I was told over and over again that wouldn't be a problem. When it didn't arrive, I called the company numerous times and got the run-around (it would be there the next day, it was in transit, it was being delivered separately, it was lost, it was diverted to Dallas, etc.). It took over two weeks to arrive (after the tournament) and Manny told me because of the screw-up, they would refund my freight cost. That was in July, it's December and, the check is always in the mail. Knowing what I know I would seriously look at other machines. If you do order a Lobster order from someone like Tennis Warehouse and never directly from the factory!
From: David, 12/14

Comments: I agree with the post from Anon in 2012. The remote (keyfob) does not work very well and hardly worth the money. I disagree with the post from 6/14 that you need it as anyone who truly understands how to use the ball machine doesn't need it. I've owned over 7 different ball machines and trained almost exclusively on one during my futures/challenger days and they are invaluable training tools. This Lobster Elite 3 is one of the most reliable machines I've owned. As the Anon 2012 post points out, it is easy to access the inside of machine to vacuum out and/or make repairs or replacements and I've replaced the battery and the wheels myself with no problem whatsoever (battery from Batteries Plus and new wheels purchased from Ace Hardware) and I've had nothing but excellent customer service as well when I've encountered some problems. I've had my machine for close to 7 years now and I would also give it 9 out of 10 stars. My kids love it! In closing, I would add that one addition al item that is worth the extra money is the quick/fast charger. Spend a little extra and get it as it will get your machine back on the court quicker! Oh, for what its worth stay away from Tretorn balls unless you are a glutton for punishment like elbow, wrist,shoulder, rotator cuff injuries! In closing: good job Lobster and happy hitting everyone!
From: Dave, 9/14

Comments: After wading through the reviews on-line (few were very recent) I thought it might help someone in the buying process to provide an up-to-date review of the Lobster Elite. I've played tennis all my life but my wife is a beginner. For both of us, the Lobster has been a much welcome addition, providing far more positive assistance for our widely different levels of play than we could have imagined. First, I have had no problems with charging or battery life. Yes, I saw reports to the contrary, but I have not experienced anything but good results (and I have only the basic charger). Second, you need the remote. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool for punishment. Again, contrary to some criticism, it works just fine from baseline to baseline. And, I can alter the setup on the fly. Third, buy Tretorn balls. They are worth the additional expense in performance and durability. Fourth, the construction seems quite sturdy from the handles on down. However, there are some small things you need to know and perhaps Lobster might address them in future models. First, when you get the unit, the outsourced basic charger only comes with simple information on its use. It took me awhile to figure out where the on/off switch was for the ball machine itself. It is underneath the rear edge in a very difficult spot to easily access. Don't quite understand what the designers were thinking. Second, while your wife may be able to hoist the machine into a car trunk, my wife is petite and this isn't going to be something she can do on her own. Making matters more difficult, there are no true handles molded into the machine for lifting. For me, it's fairly awkward to lift, but not overly so. But every time I put it in my truck I take an extra second to remember to lift with my legs. Overall, we love this machine and feel it may be one of the best investments we've made for both our games, not to mention it's just plain fun.
From: Mike, 6/14

Comments: I have a major problem with the machine turning off on its own after feeding 8-10 balls. It costs too much to send back all the way to California for repairs. I was told I needed a new battery, so I put a new one in and it still shuts down on its own. There tech-support wasn't much help either. They were going to call back with tips and never did!!
From: Ron, 7/12

Comments: I've had my Lobster elite now for over 6 years. They are invaluable for lessons/drilling as well. The remote control is not worth the $$. It works only 1/2 the time and never from baseline to baseline distance. I've replaced the battery several times and even replaced the remote unit itself (which Lobster sent at no charge). This company has excellent customer service and followup. The machine itself is amazing. It will kick out slice and topspin that only 4.5+ players can produce. The 2 line feature is weak, however, I "get" what they were after in designing it into this model. Access to the electronics, motors and guts of the machine is easy making it a simple task to vacuum out ball fuzz and wheel dirt, or address loose/broken wires or contacts. To improve range/performance of the remote unit (located inside machine) I drilled a very small hole in side of machine and pulled the remote antenna through so it sticks out the side of the machine. It did give me a little more reliability and range with the key fob remote control. It will make you warranty void though. I work on my own stuff so the warranty mattered not to me. One last thing: Don't expect ANY trade-in value to get a new machine. Lobster will CRUSH you on that. I will eventually buy a newer model of Lobster and donate this elite to a high school/junior program. All in all I would give this machine 4 out of 5 stars.
From: Anon, 4/12

Comments: I have had my Lobster 3 for almost 2 years now (next month)! I was unhappy at the beginning because the remote didn't work, but I survived with no remote! With all the rest I was very happy until now, because I have a real problem with the electric "thing"(where it is transforming the power into speed) that is making the balls move! Please, someone tell me what is the name of that part, so that I can order it! Thank you!
From: Angela, Bucharest, Romania 04/10 (Angela, we do not stock electrical replacement parts but you can contact Lobster directly at 1-800-210-5992 with your model number and they will surely be able to help you.)

Comments: I believe this is the best way to improve strokes. You can keep adjusting your strokes until you get it right. It's a great tool to improve timing as well. Within 2 days of using Elite 3, I already noticed significant improvement. Very time efficient. My wife and I are at about the same level. It's really hard to improve unless we play against better players. Well, this machine is that (much) better player. I guess you get the best possible result if you use this machine and get some coaching as well. A good coach can really point you in the right direction and that can make a big difference. I probably won't improve much if I hit 1000 balls the wrong way every day. I chose Elite 3 over Freedom because I imagine the machine won't do me any good at all if it cannot produce spin. I chose Elite 3 over Elite 1 and 2 because of the two-line function. I use the two-line function to practice alternate forehand and backhand, and movement.
From: Anon, 08/09

Comments: I received this machine as a gift for my sons an 11 & 6 year olds. The machine features are very good. It was very unfortunate that I got the machine just before they came with a new model. Basically the same machine but improved electronics. I tried to get an upgrade for this machine, but the customer service for Lobster is non-existent... When they finally answered they were offering the new machine (turning over the recently acquired machine) at a loss of close to $800.00. The construction of the machine is not great. The handle is very flimsy, the rubber portions on the bottom of the machine came off after a few uses. The inside of the machine was not well screwed and the machine became faulty within perhaps 8 hours of use. I disassemble the machine and put it back together again, taking care of the nuts and bolts and it works very well. The variations are good (not great) the sweep is not the best but acceptable. Spin generation is very good (no under- spin). Learning to place the machine on the court to maximize the potential only takes a couple of attempts. Speed is very good and combined with the spin can be more than challenging. The machine cannot serve to you, but not many machines can. This is not a big negative for the price paid. The battery on the machine is a life saver and makes for some of the shortcomings of the machine. The machine can allow you to use the machine for good 6-8 hours. I purchased the machine with the fast charger and it makes a difference if you are on the run and want to charge your machine fast. I also have the remote control that only has 2 functions: feed and sweep. Although there are other machines with more advanced controls (such as the new model) this control has good range and does enough for me. Carrying the machine is not a great problem as the handle folds and allows you to fit the machine in any car (including my roadster). The machine itself if not very heavy but a bit uncomfortable for a lady (such as my wife) to take in and out of the car, as there is no clear way but to hug it in order to handle it.
From: Charlie, Panama, Rep. of Panama 06/09

Comments: Great machine when itís working properly. I love this machine it does everything you could ask it to do and does it well. Very consistent, no ball jams, good ball speed and spins. However, its extremely delicate and it keeps malfunctioning on me. I've had to ship it back for repairs several times, which is a real hassle. The other complaint that I have is that it lacks a good means by which to lift it such as a comfortable handle.
From: Obi, New York, NY, USA, 11/08

Comments: I love this ball machine. After using it for just a few weeks, everyone on my doubles team could see my improvement. I have now had my Lobster for almost a year and still enjoy all the features and versatility. It is so easy to transport. It is a little heavy, so I try to enlist help getting it in and out of my suv.
From: Sherri, Tracy, CA, USA, 05/07

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