There has been a huge amount of traffic on the forums for this badminton racket. I can’t remember a time when a new missile was so eagerly awaited. The Yonex Japan website enticed us with their advertising, but they kept us in the dark about the appearance of this racquet until a few days before release.
When pictures were available, the Arcsaber Z Slash badminton racket was met with a mixed response. Some said it was terrible, while others admired its colorful graphics. But has the raised expectation and anticipation been justified? Let’s get into the review. Above all, remember that racket choice is personal and you are the only person who can judge whether that racket is for you.
With all the hype surrounding this racquet, I was expecting a flashy finish – something different to set it apart from the rest of the Yonex range. As you can imagine, I was a bit disappointed when I saw the standard Arcsaber missile cover. Fair play to Yonex though, they try to standardize their range, so somehow why should this racket get special treatment?
I had that Christmas morning feeling as I slowly unzipped the case and pulled out the rocket. Hey! I was greeted by the most impressive graphics I’ve seen on a rocket in a while. If you’re ultra conservative, you might see the racket as flashy or flashy, but I really liked it. The graphics combine black, red, yellow, gold and white.
At first glance, except for the graphics, this looks like any other badminton racket. But there are a number of differences upon further investigation.
First, the head looks a bit thinner. At first I thought it was due to the stringing. But Yonex stringers are among the best in the world, so this warranted a closer look. No, it’s definitely a slightly different shape, pulling out the sides by roughly half a centimeter on each side, which is significant. The length of the head is the same.
The Z Slash’s shaft is approximately 1cm longer than my Nanospeed 9900, which should therefore generate a bit more power. The handle is about 2cm shorter and the sleeve (plastic piece above the handle) has been reduced by about 25% (by my estimation.) The sleeve itself looks significantly smaller and is a slightly different shape. Personally, I don’t see this adding much, if anything, to the racket’s performance, although I’m sure the dealers will tell you otherwise.
The racket is a standard 3U (weight 84-89g) with a G4 grip size. This is a little surprising as we usually get the G3 grip size in the UK which is a bit larger. Yonex has previously supplied larger grip sizes to our market because they think we have bigger hands. So I can’t understand why this premium racquet comes with a smaller grip size. Let’s continue…
So how does this racket feel? It’s certainly different than the Arcsaber 10. It’s almost a cross between the Armortec 900 Power (which readers will know is a particular favorite of mine) and the Nanospeed 9900 (my current racket).
It’s certainly well balanced, although I’d say it tends to be more head heavy. Before heading out the door, I grabbed the racket and couldn’t resist a few swings in my front room. Hey! The speed in the air was incredible. Certainly much less “slip” than other rackets. This racquet definitely felt fast for power shots, which was a surprise given the heavier head. It will be interesting to see how it performs in terms of both ground power and defense.
I used the racquet on a practice night at my league club. First I played a men’s doubles game. During the warm-up I felt pretty good with the racquet, although I knew it would take some getting used to.
The rocket is certainly strong enough. My touch was slightly off, but that was partly due to the lower string tension and I had to adapt to the racquet. The slightly heavier head was noticeable, although it was certainly quick around the net.
Where this racquet scores big is when you actually time the stroke correctly. The shuttle then travels like a bullet and all the comments about how powerful this rocket is can be believed. In the warm-up I hit a few good shots that dropped like a shell – fantastic, I’m ready for the game now.
wrong! Getting the timing right during the warm-up didn’t prepare me at all for the speed of the game. I found that even with my experience, I underestimated that many overheads. Although I stuck with him, we lost the game easily which was disappointing.
After that I did some nutrition with the racquet and it felt really good. A lot of underarm nutrition was easy. I was still very aware of the weight in the head of the racquet and felt very comfortable with it.
Then I worked with the defensive players. Having previously been a feeder, I was keen to get involved as a player and try the racquet. I was delighted with the results. This racket was really solid defensively, moving very quickly to answer the shuttle. The extra weight in the head felt great and gave me an extra kick in the high lift to get good length even when digging the shuttles off the hip of my racquet.
We then did some quick hands on the net. Again I was impressed with the rocket. It was certainly fast enough in that department with the added “meat” and therefore control that I lacked when using my Nanospeed 9900.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play another game – will have to wait until next week.
To sum up my evening, the rocket performed like a corpse in all departments except my head – where it should have shined brightest. I was really impressed with all the areas we tested and boy did we test hard tonight.
I have read with interest on the badminton forums the comments made by players who have purchased this racket and found that it does not suit them. I can totally understand the frustration of these players as I imagine I had the exact same feelings earlier in the night.
It’s a brilliant racket, no doubt about it. So why can’t I play with it right away? The answer is simple…
The Arcsaber Z Slash Badminton Racket is a racket that demands coaxing to greatness. When fired right, this beauty delivers power in abundance. And here is the crux of the matter… “when”. This racket takes more getting used to than any other I have used before.
Maybe it’s the combination of a longer barrel, shorter handle and smaller head? Maybe it’s the aerodynamic head that moves so fast when it wants to perform like this – it’s almost too good for me right now.
After thinking more about what I just wrote, I came to the conclusion that the ability of rockets to generate such magnificent speed in the air is what gets me and throws off my time. When I master this, I believe I will tame this beast and be able to get the best out of it.
Tonight I lent this racket to other players as well. The look on their faces when they detected a smash was a sight to behold. I witnessed some great smashing with this racquet tonight. But those huge hits were a very small percentage of the many hits on the night.
How will I rate this racket? The RRP is around £180, making it the most expensive Yonex racket on the market. This is probably the most expensive Yonex racket! Is it worth it? Only you can tell.
Personally, it will be unattainable for many players. Maybe not in terms of price, but more in terms of what they can get out of it. The average league player can do better by choosing his next racquet wisely instead of thinking the most expensive racquet is the best racquet for him.
Having said all that, and even though I didn’t propose on our first date, I really love this racket. I want to spend more time with him, get to know him better and understand how to make a perfect partnership.
This rocket blew me away. I don’t know exactly why, but I want to test it again and again and I want to master the overhead and see what this beauty can really deliver. I can’t wait for our next meeting.
I can’t remember the last time a missile had that effect on me. So despite the immediate downside, which I believe is due to the amazing airspeed this racket generates, I will rate this racket 4.5 stars. I truly believe this racket has the potential to be a classic if it can be tamed. I deducted half a star because of the price, although I have to admit that this could be completely withdrawn and changed to a 5 star rating when I get used to the incredible power this racket generates.
I also posted a video review of the Z Slash vs the Nanospeed 9900 on my Badminton Blog which you might be interested in watching.