Yonex UK have recently introduced a new batch of badminton racquets, namely Arcsaber 5DX, Arcsaber 9FL, Nanospeed 6600 and the eagerly awaited Voltric 70.
It seems only a few months since I reviewed Arcsaber 5. So, it was a surprise to find that Yonex have withdrawn this racquet and replaced it with 5DX. Another good marketing move? The question is, is this just an Arcsaber 5 with a different stringing pattern or a new design?
As you would expect, the Arcsaber arrived in the usual full length bag, which is now standard size on all medium-high end Yonex racquets.
The racquet is striking in appearance, almost flashy, with a winning combination of metallic red, black and white. I really like the colour because it’s different from the standard red, black and white combinations. This racquet is also offered in an alternate colourway (why?) which looks like a metallic orange/brown.
This particular model is offered in a 3U (weight 85-89g) in UK, and grip size G4 which is the smaller of the grip sizes usually on offer in UK.
The Arcsaber series is known primarily as even-balance racquets. The Arcsaber 5DX, follows its predecessor with having that extra weight in the head. It is not an even balanced racquet. As I said in my Arcsaber 5 review, it’s like a beefed up Arcsaber 7 – moving towards an Armortec 900 feel to it than an Arcsaber.
This racquet has a medium flex shaft and therefore may not appeal to the hard hitters who are looking for a yet another super stiff racquet. That said, whilst I usually prefer a stiff flex racquet, this felt really nice. Sometimes I question how much difference there actually is between the various flexes on offer.
Maximum recommended tension on this racquet is 27lbs which falls in line with Arcsaber 8DX. With tensions on the up wherever I go, I now begin to wonder whether this is the reason for the change in this racquet and the sudden demise of Arcsaber 5. The higher tension specifications are certainly more popular in Far East, although creeping into this hemisphere courtesy of the forums and the availability of data to fuel a few egos in addition to more demanding control players.
On with the review…
The string tension on this racquet feels reasonably tight at around 18-20lbs which is more than adequate for many league players. I do tend to like my racquets strung tighter but readers of my reviews know that I also like to test racquets “straight out of the bag.”
It’s hitting time…
I’m not too keen on G4 grip sizes so I had to build the grip prior to playing. I know this changed the balance a little, but it still balanced at 300mm after I increased the grip size.
From the moment I hit my first clear, this racquet screamed Armortec 900 Power with a slightly flexible shaft. Clears were effortless and I could really feel the weight in the head. Should I be confused? This racquet really felt like my old friend AT900 Power, which continues to surprise me.
Clears, drops and smashes were delivered beautifully with just that extra weight giving me the additional feel in the head. It’s funny, but sometimes you don’t realise how much you like something as a player until you’ve been without it for a while and then you re-discover it. Well, that’s me with the weight in this racquet head.
Defensively the racquet was certainly a lot slower than Voltric 70, Nanospeed 9900 which you’d expect. But, it felt quicker than Armortec 900, but not by much. It was slower than my Arcsaber 8DX but felt more like an Arcsaber 10. How strange is that? There’s a bit of drag, because of the head weight, but not enough to be off-putting. A good dose of forearm exercises before I play and I can soon move this racquet fast in defence.
Around the net, the racquet was pretty good. I didn’t notice any loss of speed, but there again I wasn’t under extreme pressure to perform at game pace. I didn’t need to make adjustments for the weight in the head although again, I was aware where the head was moving.
As you can tell, I like this racquet, but it has left me more convinced that this is an Arcsaber 5 with a different stringing pattern and paint job (nice paint job though). It’s not quite an Arcsaber in some respects, and yet it’s not an Armortec either. It’s almost a hybrid, but not a Voltric. It’s a shame I didn’t have its predecessor, Arcsaber 5 to compare directly. Having tested so many racquets, sometimes it can be difficult to remember the overall feel of specific racquets.
With an RRP of £145, this is a hefty price tag, especially for a lower spec Arcsaber, albeit only £5 more than ARcsaber 5. There are online discounters who will shave a pound or ten off this price, which means you’ll probably be spending £120 or so.
As much as I like the performance of this racquet, constantly reminding me of my old friend Armortec 900 Power, and the graphics, I do wonder where this racquet actually sits with players. Consequently, I’ll rate this racquet 3.5 stars in my 5 star system. It performs well, but hasn’t really carved its niche in the range yet.
For me, it’s a lovely racquet and it can easily go some way to filling the gap when Yonex eventually withdraw Armortec 900’s. The DX stringing pattern will no doubt help sell this racquet with the extra tension capability, although it’s well known that all professional players string their racquets considerably above recommended tension figures anyway. I’ve mentioned before my thoughts on Yonex’s stance here.
If you get the chance Arcsaber 5DX then do so, especially if you like a little more beef in your racquet head. I think you’d like it. For those players who like a super-fast racquet, continue looking at Nanospeed range or the fabulous new Voltric range.