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Friday, September 23, 2011

Yonex Nanoray review

Yonex Nanoray 700 RP
Racquet Type: Nanoray 700 RP (Repulsion) SP version
Specs: 3UG5
Balance: Headlight
Flex: Stiff
Strings: Yonex BG66 Ultimax
Tension: 25lbs, pre-stretched using Yonex ES5 PROTECH
Grip: Victor Towel grip
Technology: X-Fullerene, Fullerene, New Aero Head, new built in T-joint, solid feel core, isometric head and new grommet pattern.
Shuttles used: Apacs Aero-Flight 700

First impression: 
My first thought was, what?
Are we going back in time to thicker frame and thicker shaft?
What are the designers thinking? Thick is the new slim...

I won't described the colors or the looks of the racquet as the manufacturer's website and badmintocentral has plenty of those. This racquet occupies the same niche and has the same specs as Nanospeed 7000 which is stiff flex and headlight balance. It's also roughly similar to a Nanospeed 9000 type S but the balance point is a fraction more headlight. To put things into perspective, I am benchmarking this racquet against Ti-10 and NS9900. The NS9900 and Ti-10 are somewhat tough on the joints owing to the lightness of the head and offers little resistance during the follow through/momentum which may cause pain in the wrist/elbow/shoulders. The Nanoray series fixes this 'sore joints' problem and offers the handling of a headlight racquet and excellent control. 

Final comprehensive review

I played mostly doubles (and half court singles)

TOC (time on court) when making review:
total of 20 hours of game play.

Review and breakdown of shots tried: 

Power: 8/10 (4U may be lesser)

Synopsis: This is a headlight racquet and hence, it should be noted that the power of an overhead strokes would be less than a similar headheavy balance racquet. Thus, the aerodynamics and stiffness of the frame and shaft respectively would play a role to generate the power to propel the shuttle. To do this, one would need to be able to generate a fast racquet headspeed/swing to gain any power. However, based on initial testing  I find that the power I generated  is inferior to a Ti-10 or NS9900 (the basis of my comparison). Perhaps it's the lack of momentum of the swing during the follow through of a smash. The power is adequate for finishing off rallies (at halfcourt) but not for consistently punching holes in opponent's defense from the backcourt. Perhaps owing to this comparison, I felt that this is not a smash based player's racquet and more suited for a setup front court player. Fortunately, the saving grace comes from drives, stick smashes, punch clear...wristy shots.     

Clear: Forehand back-court to back-court, crosscourt full length clear and punch (low) clear
Smashes: Straight and crosscourt
Drives: hard straight and forehand/backhand to the corners

Control: 9/10

Synopsis: The claims by the manufacturer that all their high end racquets have a rating of  5/5 in terms of control. For this model in particular, it didn't refute their claim, but lending support to it. Fact is, this racquet has a stiff shaft and a rigid (repulse) fullerene-loaded frame. Owing to these parameters and materials, this racquet doesn't flex that much when swung overhead. Therefore, the placement of the shuttles (or accuracy) is excellent. On the downside, some power is traded for accuracy.  

Drops: checked/slice/reversed to the 2 front net corners
Netshots: Crosscourt net
Netshots: hairpin/tumbling netshot
Clears: to the 2 back court corners
Smashes: down the line
Push: flat and low to half court

Defense: 9.5/10 (4U version may be better)

Synopsis: The headlight balance and aerodynamics of this racquet meant that it is right up there with defensive stalwarts like Ti-10 and NS9900. Under proper hands, this racquet like its predecessors is like a mobile wall repelling all but the most well placed/steepest of  smashes. 

Lifts: backhand and forehand full court
Drive: backhand and forehand drive return
Block: backhand and forehand straight

Maneuverability: 9.5/10 (4U version may be better)

Synopsis: This is where this racquet shines. The quick handling and repulsion of the racquet allows quick exchanges/jabs near the net. Think a 'Lee Yong Dae' type player who likes to attack the shuttle at the net. If there's one shot this racquet can be identify with, it is the netkill. One can pull up the racquet over one's shoulder very easily after a downward stroke and be  ready for the next shot and the next one until the shuttle is planted on the opponent's court. I'm pleasantly surprised that the maneuverability of the Nanospeed headlight racquets can be improved.  

Crosscourt net shot
Crosscourt smash return block and crosscourt whip
Defending body smashes: reflex block, between the leg/behind the back defensive block
Netkills: Forehand/backhand/brush
Hold & flick shots

Feel: 8.5/10 (4U may be the same or lesser)

Synopsis: This racquet has the standard plastic internal T-joint and the solid feel core (resin/foam) type material [According to Yonex]. Based on my string of BG66 Ultimax at 25lbs, the repulsion of this string/racquet combination is pretty strong. The racquet felt somewhat solid with negligible vibration. The tapered frame, the rigid (fullerene loaded) and the thick frame in general gave this racquet some 'meat' and hence has a good feel to it.   

Total rating: 8.9/10

Pros: Excellent maneuverability and defense with good feel/control and decent power. The thicker frame and shaft lessen the momentum of the follow through and hence easier on the joints compared to NS9900/Ti-10.

Cons: The shaft stiffness/balance point combination may not quench the bloodlust of aggressive smash based player.

Suitability: Dedicated doubles racquet. For aggressive front court player who plays lots of netkills/drives, the counter attacking defensive player and the control player. Skill level of at least intermediate.

Footnote: this review was done as a hobby and as an interest to inform fellow badminton enthusiast. This is my personal opinion and in no form to promote this racquet.

Conflict of interest: None

Reference: Yonex website (accessed @ 20/09/11)
Badmintoncentral.com (accessed @ 20/09/11)

YONEX/Sunrise sports recommendation for player type:
For players who want to dominate with quick racquet work. Attack hard with a lightning fast swing.

Yonex rating 1-5
Power 5
Control 5
Flex 5

(Ref: Yonex badminton chart)


EdC said...

Hey, was looking for a comparison between NS9900 and NR700RP, appreciate the review! As one of the first reviews on the net it was very informative =)

badmintan said...

Hi EdC,

Thanks for the compliment and feedback. I feel that NS9900 is the superior racquet at least for me. The reason is NS9900 has some bite in attacking shots as well as very good in defense. Keep in mind, there maybe an improved version of Nanoray in the future.

olivia akemai said...

I have a nanoray 20 and because according to Yonex brochure it is number two in the head light chart. It's so head heavy that even after I attached a 10g nut at the bottom, the balance point is about similar to head balanced racket. What on earth, I feel cheated by Japanese con.

I bought it also because it is one of two flexible rackets in the series.