Disclosure: This review has been amended as I found out that the racket was actually a 4UG5.
This is one strange case where I write the review before the first impressions. I've had enough time on the court to give this a good shot, so enjoy.
Out of the darkness of racket technology drought comes the Yonex Astrox77 - a seemingly practical combination toying with different kick point and weight transfer, going back to the classics of racket design away from marketing gimmicks like adjustable weights or *gasp* sound enhancing metal.
First impressions with the racket were less than promising, the racket lacking in both areas of attack and control. I found my clears and attacks down the side missing terribly, to the brink of racket throwing.
First thing I tried was changing the Aerosonic strings to something a little more familiar - the Nanogy 98, which did improve things somewhat. But before long the shots were back to being wayward and off target.
So after a few more sessions on the court with the racket, I am going to give the Yonex Astrox77 the time it deserves.
Here it goes.
Note: This is a review of my experience after using the racket for a few sessions. I am by no means a professional player, and so you should take my judgment with a pinch of salt. I welcome comments of any sorts.
Est. Dry Weight: 85g (4U, but felt 3U to me)
Grip Size: G5
Balance: Even, though after the NGB98 string change it feels head-heavy
Strings: Yonex Nanogy 98 @ 27lbs
The relatively small head frame of the Astrox77 will pose as a problem for some when it comes to the faster attacks, though the even balance of the racket somewhat makes up for it. I found lifting the racket from a ready position an ease, and from then on it's just grappling with using the small head to contact the shuttle at a good angle.
Those who are observant will notice that the racket is a little longer than most - and perhaps it's that feature that lends itself to a particularly tough time defending body shots. The slightly longer frame also contributes to a slight loss in shot making, the counter shots redirecting the shuttle from one side of the court to the other a little harder for me to pull off.
The marketing promises a more solid smash with sharper angles, which at least is partly true for me. The Yonex Astrox77 manages to pull off a few really steep smashes, catching the opponent off a little for the sneak win.
Power was the drawback for me though, the racket seemingly lackluster when it comes to the big smashes, coming off really short when I put my entire shoulder into the hit just to watch it soar back over my head.
However I did find the drives to be really useful. Perhaps the whip-like nature of the shaft and the even balance distribution allows it to swing and transfer power sideways more than downwards.
Oh my gosh this is where the racket really loses points for me. As an old man now, a lot of my game plan revolves around moving the opponent around the court in order to open the opportunity up for a decisive one-shot.
Cross-court clears, out. Straight smashes, out. Straight clears, short. Net drops, not too bad. Backhands, let's not talk about it.
The Yonex Astrox77 seems really good only for straight drives, the shuttle really whizzing to the intended spot most of the time.
The electric yellow and galaxy blue of the racket is attractive without being too garish. What I appreciated about this racket is that it decided to use gloss paint; we've been witnessing matte paint on rackets for far too long.
"What's wrong with the ZF2?"