Review: MLB at Bat 11 App for Android
If you a baseball fan with an Android phone you’ll probably be interested in the MLB At Bat 11 app. Is it worth the $14.99 price tag? Check out our review before you decide.
- MLB.tv subscribers can watch all out of market games live
- Everyone gets the AtBat.tv free game of the day, which is selected by MLB.
- Live audio of every game both home and away
- Loads of video highlights
- At the Ballpark with Check-in
- Game day pitch by pitch tracker
- Scores, stats, standings, etc.
- Android OS 2.1 or higher. For MLB.TV, a minimum of Android 2.2, and the latest version of Flash are required. See the list of supported devices in the MLB.TV section of the post below.
The App opens to the Scoreboard. If you select the symbol to the right of a game score, you’ll pull up a number of options at the top. Below is an example of the options you’ll have when a game is in progress. If you select the MLB logo at the left, you’ll pull up a variety of in-game features like pitch tracker.
The scoreboard will also display which game is the AtBat.TV Free game of the day. This game is available for everyone to watch for free regardless of whether or not you have an MLB.tv subscription.
“Box” tab provides a basic box score with links below the scoreboard to switch between teams. “Field” display the teams defensive lineup as well as players at bat and on deck.
“Plays” shows the play-by-play for the entire game. And “Videos” gives you any available video highlights. At some point after the game ends, you will also have see an option for the MLB.com Condensed game which is the game condensed down into highlight package that typically runs from 5 to 15 minutes.
By selecting the “Menu” button you’ll be able to select “Home” or “Settings” options.
The “Settings” allow you to set your favorite team and tweak a variety of other settings.
The Home screen gives you quick access to your Favorite team, News, Videos, Standings, other teams, and more.
The News section pull the articles from the News page on MLB.com. Same with the Videos. It pulls content from MLB.com.
Watching Live Games
This is an option for those that subscribed to MLB.TV. Log in with your MLB.com account and have the live games ported to your Android phone. If you aren’t an MLB.tv subscriber, you’ll still get one live game per day as chosen by MLB.
UPDATE (6/24/2011): The issues with streaming video now seem to be a thing of the past. The quality has improved tremendously and we no longer experience freezing video on a regular basis.
As for the video quality, unfortunately, we can’t say it’s great. It’s not. I’ve seen the live video on the iPad and this isn’t close. (At least that is my experience on the original Motorola Droid) It’s often quite pixelated as you can see in the image below. We also experienced a lot of freezing. Usually it only froze for a moment or two before restarting, but I did have to actually restart the app a couple times and re-open the video feed. I found this to be way more annoying than the video quality. I’m not very picky so I could live with the lower quality video, but the freezing is unacceptable. It’s possible this will improve with an update, and your experience may differ on other model phones, but this is definitely something to consider. If you are hesitant to drop $15, and MLB.tv is your main reason to get this app, I’d recommend a wait and see approach.
List of Android Phones that Support MLB.TV
If MLB.TV is a reason for your interest in this app you’ll also want to be sure your phone is on the list of supported devices. This is the current list as of the beginning of the season (April 1, 2011) They do indicate more devices will be added as they are released.
Sprint HTC Evo
Verizon HTC Droid Incredible
Verizon Motorola Droid
Verizon Motorola Droid X
Verizon Motorola Droid 2
Verizon Motorola Droid Pro
Verizon Samsung Galaxy Tab
Verizon HTC Thunderbolt
T-Mobile / AT&T HTC Nexus One
T-Mobile Samsung Nexus S
T-Mobile HTC Glacier (myTouch 4G)
Listening to Live Game Audio
This is what really sells me on this app. You can listen to any game audio (no blackout restrictions) all season long. You can choose between home and away audio feeds, and in some case, even a Spanish feed.
I listened to an entire game over 3G and although there was periodic buffering, it was overall a pretty good experience. It was much more enjoyable than trying to watch a game with the app.
(Note: If you’d prefer to listen to every game on your computer instead, you could look into MLB Gameday Audio which runs $19.99 for the season)
The $14.99 cost is going to make it price prohibitive for some, or at least make those folks think twice about the investment. If your main interest is listening to MLB games on the go, I’d recommend this app. However, I would hesitate to recommend this to anyone mainly interested in porting their MLB.tv subscription to their Android phone. Our experience watching games with the Motorola Droid has been less than stellar, to say the least. The video highlights and condensed game features are other really nice selling points, but they don’t stand on their own as a reason to spend $15.
UPDATE: As mentioned above, the streaming video issues we experienced early in the year now seem to be fixed.
Finally, do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the MLB blackout restrictions if you are buying this along with MLB.tv. We’ve reviewed MLB.tv and talk more about the restrictions and how to find out which teams are affected in your area.
There is also a MLB at Bat 11 Lite version. You won’t get any live video or audio options, stats, pitch tracker or other in game goodies, and you are limited to 5 video highlights at a time.
We’d love to know about your experiences with specific Android phones. If you have any questions or comments about the app, drop us a note in the comments and we’ll do my best to respond.
You can download MLB at Bat 11 from the Android Market or by scanning the QR code below.by