Monday, 18 April 2011

Apacs Slayer 88 Review

Next up is the Slayer 88, which is a UK spec, although i have no idea what this spec actually is, as there is no information for it. Not too worry, i will go off the info printed on the racket, and from playing with it. The weight is 85-87g, balance is 290mm (+-5)flex is 8-9, and the max string tension is 30lbs. I had this 88 strung at 28lbs with the slayer 66 string as per the other test rackets in this latest batch.

First thing to note is the flex, which i would rate as medium with this UK spec racket. The balance was even after i added the grip to the handle. So basically it was very similar to the slayer 99 apart from the flex. One other point is that this slayer 88 did not have the reinforcements on the head that the 99 has.

First impressions were very good. The extra flex made the 88 very easy to perform clears and smashes, very low work racket i have to say. The good thing was that this extra flex did not have any noticeable difference on control from the rear court and with over head shots. The head was very stable on impact, just like the 99 was, despite not having the extra stability points on the head. The 28lb string tension would have been a big factor for the control i felt, but i like control hence the higher tension.

I would say the 88 offered a bit more power than the 99, which was a big plus point. The only time i felt the extra flex was around the net and for those defensive shots, such as blocking to the net off smashes. The flex made it more difficult to control the shuttle when compared to the 99. The difference is only small, but when you start blocking to the net you need all the help you can get or else the shuttle will get picked off, especially in doubles. It was the same for lifting to the back off smashes, a little more difficult to get an accurate return.

All in all, i was impressed with this slayer 88. I will give it a 9/10 which is the same as the 99, although for my game i would give the 88 the nod. If you enjoy smashing you will be a bit happier with the 88 compared to the 99. If you enjoy playing at the net, then you would probably be happier with the 99. Both are very good rackets, all rounders that are very usable, consistent and stable on impact. I imagine the slayer 88 will be a bit cheaper than the slayer 99, so that may be a factor in deciding which to go for. The Apacs Slayer 88 comes highly recommended. Next up we have the Slayer 95.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Apacs Slayer 99 Review

Next up for review we have the Slayer 99. This series of rackets is new to me, so it will be interesting to see how this one matches up to the other rackets i have tested on this blog. First of all this is a UK spec version, and the technical details are as follows.

Specification :

Frame : 30T HM Graphite + 3K Woven + Carbon Nano Tube
Shaft : 50T HM Graphite + 3K Woven + Carton Nano Tube
Head Shape : ISO, Extremem Power Frame, 72 holes
Length : 675mm
Weight : 90 ± 2g
Balance Pt. : 290 ± 3mm (Even balance)
Shaft Dia. : Ø 7.3mm
Max Tension : 33/36lbs ( Main/Cross )
3 Structural Reinforcements at 12, 4 and 7 O'clock.

The racket is a 2U version so it weighs a little more than the 3U, and the flex is stiff. Apacs have their own flex ratings, where 9 is flexible, and 7 is very stiff. This Slayer 99 has a rating of 7.5, so it is stiff. It was also strung at 28lbs with Slayer 66 string. What can we tell from the spec? Well straight away we see it has an even balance and a stiff frame, so i immediately think it is designed to be an all round racket, but we will soon find out.

The Slayer 99 has the same reinforcement points on the head as the Lethal 100 has, and these are designed to make the head more stable when you hit the shuttle. Do they work? Yes is the answer, i found both the 99 and the lethal 100 to be very stable on impact, with less twisting of the head because of these changes. A few clears to begin with, and straight away i could tell the Slayer 99 was a decent racket. It felt easy to play with, and although it is stiff, it is not as stiff as the Yonex Arcsaber 8DX, i would compare stiffness to the lethal 70 or lethal 90 from how it behaves.

What we have is a very solid racket, very consistent, and easy to work with. Power is also pretty good as well, it is a low work racket, which is always a bonus for me. The even balance also helped around the net and for fast drives and defensive shots from smashes. I think the tension of 28lbs was just about right for the Slayer 99, it complimented the frame stiffness very well. Overhead from the rearcourt, it felt more powerful than the lethal 100, and this is despite it being an even balance, which is why i marked down the lethal 100 in the last review, it should have been better overhead but wasn't. As with any even balanced racket, you will sacrifice a little power from the back compared to most head heavy rackets, but the difference is very subtle. The advantage of even balance is around the net and for reaction shots, and the Slayer 99 proved this. The stiff frame and higher tension all help to control the shuttle better as well, so if this is where your strengths are, then a racket like this will compliment your style of play.

I was impressed with this racket i have to say. It offers a great all round playing experience and was very easy to get used to. I think the 3U version would suit those who like to play around the net or be more defensive, and the 2U version would help out the power players a bit more, whilst sacrificing the net play a little bit. Once again it will depend on the type of player you are, and what your style is, and the difference is only very slight. The maximum string tension is over 30 lbs for the Slayer 99, and i have no doubt it can take that kind of tension. I had mine at 28lbs and had no problems at all. My conclusion is that the Apacs Slayer 99 is a fine all rounder, it impressed me with its consistency and its stability on impact. I will give it a 9/10, one of the best Apacs rackets i have tested to date.

Next up is the Slayer 88 review, and i am hoping for good things if the 99 is anything to go by.

For a little fun have a look at the following video featuring Lee Chong Wei and Kenneth Jonassen.

Take a look at the video at 2.35 4.26 and 7.01 if you want to see some high quality backhand shots. The video quality is excellent so you can see very clearly what is going on. And for all you singles players out there, have a look at Lee Chong Wei in the rally at 0.58, this is a great example of movement into the deep forehand corner, and how to get back to base. He makes it look effortless, but this is one of the most difficult movements in singles.