Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Apacs Tantrum 300 Review

The second test racket i got my hands on was the UK spec Tantrum 300. I will get straight to the point here... this is the best Apacs racket i have had the pleasure of testing by some way. It is better than the lethal 70, my current racket, and the lethal 90. When i say "better" i mean better for my game, better because it suits my style of play, and better because it helps me play my shots more efficiently, and effectively. The racket makes things easier for me, so i like it, pretty simple really, but very important. I judge any racket by this, and so should you. It often takes quite a few rackets to find one that feels this way, and i am no different. For example, i really liked the superlight i tested last year because it was so good at the net, and for defensive shots. The problem was that it took away a lot of power from the rear court, so what i gained at the front of the court, i lost at the back. If i was a power player, this racket would not have helped me to get the best out of my game. If i was a defensive player who liked to play at the net, then this racket would have probably helped me play the majority of my shots. As with many rackets, there is often a trade off, depending on what type of game you have.

Ok, back to the tantrum 300, here is the spec for it...

Frame Material
30T HM Graphite + Nano (Japan Mitsubishi M30)
Shaft Material 40T HM Graphite + Nano (Japan Toray M40)
Flex Stiff
Weight 3U (86-89g) G2
Length 675mm
Balance 289 ± 3mm (Head Heavy)

Max String Tension

When i tested this racket, the spec said it was "even balance", but i could tell immediately it was "head heavy". I sent an e-mail to Steve at Apacs and he agreed, so the spec on the Apacs Sports UK website now says "head heavy" balance. You may also notice the max stringing tension is at 35lbs. The test racket i had was strung at 28lbs with Apacs string, with no problems at all, so i have no doubt you can go up to 35lbs if you want to break your shoulder! The flex is rated as "stiff", and it is just that.

I put an overgrip on it, so the head heavy balance was not as apparent, but i could still feel it. The first impression was very good indeed. It felt extremely solid, with very little vibration or distortion on impact with the shuttle. The best way to describe the tantrum 300 is that it makes everything easier. It takes less effort to clear and smash, and to generate power. I prefer rackets that make my life easier, the "low work" type of racket i have gone on about in previous posts. The bit of weight in the head helps with control because there is more stability, and the high string tension and stiff frame adds to this effect. The lethal 90 has similar characteristics, but because there is less weight in the head, it is not as stable as the tantrum 300, or the lethal 70 for that matter.

The tantrum 300 is a clear winner for me, it simply comes down to how it suits my own game. It feels "spot on", better than anything i have ever played with, and that includes all of the latest Yonex offerings, such as the Arcsabers and the Nanospeeds. It is better than all of them, by a long way. It also shades the lethal 70 because it has more power and more stability. I honestly didn't think the 70 could be topped, but it has been. As a result, i will be buying this test racket from Apacs Sports, and will be using it for the coming season. I suppose i cannot give it a higher recommendation than that. So, for all of you who liked the lethal 70, the good news is that the tantrum 300 will exceed your expectations, it certainly exceeded mine.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lethal 90 Review

It has been a while since my last post, but since i have not had any rackets to test it seemed a bit pointless in posting. However, i now have some rackets so here goes:-

I have had the lethal 90 and the Tantrum 300 for around 2 weeks now and given both of them a good thrashing. The first up is the 90, a UK only racket, and is the successor to the lethal 70. The 70 has been the best racket made by Apacs in my opinion, and the one which i currently play with, so the 90 has a lot to live up to. The technical details are as follows-

* Carbon Nano Tube technology
* Internal Muscle wave frame for improved stability and power
* Hollow shaft with all NEW T-joint design giving excellent power generation and super stability
* Rapid shaft recovery after every shot

Frame Material
30T HM Graphite ( Mitsubishi M30 ) + Titanium Mesh
Shaft Material 40T HM Graphite ( Toray M40)
Flex Stiff
Weight 3U (86-89g) G2
Length 675mm
Balance 290 ± 3mm (Head Heavy)

Max String Tension

Special Features :-

* New high speed frame design
* Head heavy balance
* Unique UK specification
* Special apacs internal muscle wave frame

My test racket was strung at 28lbs with apacs string. Looking at spec it looks like it is very similar to the lethal 70, ie stiff frame, high string tension and head heavy balance, all the ingredients for power. Comparing it with the 70, the balance seems a little bit less head heavy, but it is a very small difference. After picking it up and playing a few shots it felt very similar to the 70, very solid on impact. This is what makes a racket in my opinion, it has to feel solid, and you can tell this from the very first shot you play. Stiffness is the same as well, but the one difference is the frame design on the head, with the lethal 90 being a bit more aerodynamic. Do you notice this when playing shots? Not really, no. With it feeling more even in balance it means you lose a bit of power from the rear court, so in my opinion it is not as powerful as the 70. However, it feels a whole lot better at the front of the court because it is easier to swing around for reaction shots, so net play is improved, as are defensive and reaction shots.

Having said all this, the 90 does feel more responsive all round, especially with higher string tension. This racket is designed for this, so to get the best out of it, you need to experience it with tight stringing. Overall, i would place the 90 on equal terms with the 70, and that is high praise indeed. It does the job as good as anything else currently available. It has slightly less power, but makes up for this by being more responsive and better around the front court. It is not cheap, at around £89, but trust me, it is one of the best rackets you will get your hands on this year. Apacs have raised the bar again, and it is good to see this. Buy one and you will not be disappointed at all, it has been worth the wait.

I also have the Tantrum 300, which will be reviewed in the next post, and all i will say is that it is unbelievable.