Yonex Arcsaber i-Slash Review

Hello, and welcome to the review of the Yonex Arcsaber i-Slash. 
The Arcsaber range has been with us for sometime now and while some predict its demise with the Voltric and NanoRay series, Yonex wanted to blur the lines even more and perhaps leave us with a swan song for the Arcsaber series? The Armortec range made its name for its hard hitting aggressive style. The Arcaber range added a touch of finesse and control to Yonex's lineup, this trend now continued by the Votlric series. 

The i-Slash blurs the lines even more. Being a top-end racquet it is aimed and priced accordingly at professionals and those who take the game seriously. 
As tested, this racquet costs £155. My thanks to United Sports in Gants Hill for letting me borrow and test this one. 
As to be expected it comes in a full length bag and some retailers are even doing deals for free large training bags included when purchasing this racquet. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think the included Arcsaber bags are one of the nicest looking and well stitched together bags Yonex have ever produced. 

The i-Slash comes in an all too familiar black, red and flashes of white livery which reminded me of the Armortec 900. The aesthetics while thouroughly modern doesn't stand out too much, if you like to be more discrete about the abilities of your weapon of choice. 

It comes factory string with my favourite BG65-Ti string. The even balance and thin frame of the Arcsaber i-Slash gives it good aerdynamic qualities allowing it to be manouvered with ease. Clears to the bag of the court were easy enough and well directed. Returning defensive shots felt natural, but players have a little more to do than just stick a racquet out; that is bad technique anyway. The stiff frame means players need to direct a swing to get the best defensive play. 

One thing I felt was really evident was that this racquet has very little natural power. What I mean by the that is players will have to generate most of smashing ability through their arm strength and technique rather than this racquet covering their abilities. Offensive play is not this racquets strong suit at all. 

Should I buy this racquet then?
If you ask my opinion, No. The Arcsaber range is dying breed to be superseded by the Voltric series. It would be a different answer if this racquet was half the price. The lacking of power for a racquet labelled under the Arcsaber brand is a killer for me. 
The Yonex i-Slash is not the swan song I had hoped for for the Arcsaber series, but I'm sure Yonex have many more surprises for us in the future.
Happy playing everyone!

Yonex ArcSaber 11 Racquet Review

Yonex have been trying for a few years now to consolidate their badminton racquets ranges, whilst keeping happy the legacy Nanospeed and Armortec users. 2013, saw the introduction of the Arcaber 11, another hybrid racquet trying to find its niche for players.

We take a look at it now...

When I first saw the racquet I thought it was a new Li Ning racquet because of the colours. But on closer inspection you can clearly tell its got the flashes and twists of Yonex designers. Despite using the tried and tested reds and whites, somehow the use of metallic graphics keep it looking fresh. Players will know they are holding somehow higher up the pecking order in Yonex's range. The Racquet comes in the usual ArcSaber full length bag, which as regular readers will know, is a fav of mine. Out the factory it comes in BG65Ti string which has excellent feel and longevity; extreme players can crank up the tension with confidence with this string. Yonex reckon the racquet can be strung to 24lbs, but the frame looks like it will easily take higher.  

The Arcsaber 11 uses a new Yonex developed alloy called 'Sonic Metal', which first debuted in the Yonex *****. The Arcsaber 11 has a thin and stiff shaft aiding to its aerodynamic fast swing to obtain power. 

I'm going to try and include a comparison between this and Arcsaber 10 in this review as I'm sure more players thinking one of the two will probably have the dilemma of which one to go for. 

With the stiff shaft and being more balanced than the voltric racuqets, the Arcsaber 11 relies on your arm swing and muscular strength if you want to get mind-bending smashes. While the slightly head heaviness does give you some extra oomph, players who love that ping and swoosh when the smash on the spot may want to look elsewhere. I was slightly disappointed by its raw smashing ability. 

Smooth Sailing
Clears to the back of the court are effortless and more importantly accurate. I felt like I could hit to any corner I wanted with relative accuracy to the line. Very reassuring in instilling confidence and one of the things I disliked about the ArcSaber 10 is the lack of feel. 

The feedback from this racquet means you get a very good idea of measuring out power. Net drops are sweetly placed and for more adventurous players, you can often dummy the shot because of the maneuverability of this racquet.

The Arcsaber 11 is the very epitome of the Arcsaber range. i.e. a racquet that is meant to do everything well. The Arcsaber 11 does exactly this and also leans towards the player looking for extra power.

The Arcsaber 11 sits on top of the Arcsaber range (Edit: Yonex have since launched new racquets to blend the range) and with good reason. It tries to be a jack of all trades, and being very good at power, speed and maneuverability. 

For that reason, you could even justify the £175 RRP (edit: online retailers are doing it for £150 05/10/2013) making it even better value. 

Would I want this racquet in my kitbag, YES, the Arcsaber 11 is an awesome bit of kit, only let down by its affordability. 

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Fans of Yonex will know the Nanospeed series is being phased out, so apart from the Nanospeed 9900, which has a strong fanbase, is the last of the series breed.

The Nanospeed Excel comes in a standard cover, however it is a full length one, which is unusual for a racquet in this price category.

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This racquet weighs just 73g, YES! you heard me right, a ridiculous 73g. It feels like your holding almost nothing in your hand. As you would expect then it has awesome handling abilities, but the real surprise here is it's branded as an ArcSaber racquet. That means it should have power also, hmm.. a racquet as light as this being powerful? Lets get it on the court later and find out. 

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Any Gentlemen who has ever been invited to a fancy shin-dig or wedding will know what a nightmare it is to hire a decent suit. 
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