On this video I am comparing the original Astrox 88S with the 2021 version, the Astrox 88S Pro.
My name is Paul Stewart and welcome to this video. If you enjoy watching these kind of videos, then please press on the Subscribe button, and so you’ll be notified when we do the next set of videos, which will include a full review of this plus the latest versions of all the Astrox 88’s and more rackets beyond that.
So let’s start comparing these two rackets.
You’ll probably see that the racket length is identical, so when you look at the specs on the racket and you see it might be ten millimeters longer, it’s no different than the original anyway, so if you’re familiar with the 88 series, then you won’t have a problem in terms of adjusting to it.
So aside from that, let’s just have a look at the heads first of all and you’ll note that the original has the more familiar isometric head shape and the S Pro, you’ll probably see is a little bit more rounded. So not quite, not quite the sort of squareness at the top that we are familiar with.
The 88S Pro has a brand new stringing pattern to it as well, so if we look at the original there are lots of single grommets for the all the top crosses and we’re sharing here and here all the others are single pass grommets. Whereas with the 88S Pro, 1 2 3 4 5 top crosses you are sharing with the mains, miss one here it’s single string and then yet again a shared grommet on the 7th cross. So a completely different string pattern. It’s one that I haven’t seen before very simple to string though, so you won’t have any problems in terms of stringing it up.
So aside from that what are the differences?
Well, the differences start to come from the head down, so let’s just put the two rackets together and let’s just take a look at the handles and you can see on the original the handle finishes here, compared to the racket handle finishing slightly higher. So there’s probably a centimetre maybe a centimetre and a half difference in the handle length and that means the length of the shaft is considerably shorter too and that changes the flex of the racket considerably. So let’s just bend the racket a minute. Here’s the original and you can see very very stiff, and the bend is happening somewhere around here. If we look at the 88S Pro you see the bend is happening more centered. This is also a thinner shaft compared to this one, a lot thinner so you can see considerable difference here.
Let’s see if I can just bring these up a little bit closer to the camera and hopefully you can see all those differences. Aside from that when you bought the 88S Pro, sorry, the original 88S, in the UK and Europe you received the familiar Astrox cover. With this racket (88S Pro), there isn’t going to be a cover. I am informed this is for green reasons and that they’re finding a lot of these covers are finding their way into landfill. So the decision has been taken to supply the rackets as they are, which is how they do it in Asia so it will be very familiar for all my Asian friends that this is happening now in Europe as well. No racket covers with this whatsoever, so slight difference there but most players have got racket bags and therefore they discard the racket covers anyway.
Aside from that what’s happening with playability?
Well, I’ve had only a week and a half with this racket so far and bearing in mind that we’ve been in lockdown for 4 months, so I’ve had to go on court for the first time and start hitting shuttles as well, so having to have a little bit of allowance for that, but what I found with this is that it played quite similar to a compact head so a sort of Z Force II feel in terms of the compactness even though it’s a standard size head as you’ve already seen.
I found that there was a lot of speed in this frame even though I didn’t really notice a lot of difference between the actual frame but the responsiveness of this (88S Pro) was a lot faster than this. So I was really pleased, you know, all those defensive shots all the stuff around the net that you do, this (88S Pro) was quicker. I also found that the racket seem to move really quick through the air.
So I really really enjoyed playing with the new version more so than I did the original. So aside from that power wise, yeah it’s still got power and this is a 4U G5 version, also will be available in a 3U G4 version in Europe as I understand it but in Asia, you’ve probably got both combinations anyway, but really really nice racket, the 88S series has always been a favorite amongst the professional players.
This did take a little bit more adjusting to and maybe that was also because we’re just coming out of lockdown but overall really really enjoyed playing with the 88S Pro and enjoyed it more than I did the original 88S. So that really is my comparison for today.
I will do a more detailed review on my website of the 88S Pro, but hopefully I will see you on another video very soon.