Yonex has been busy rolling out new lines of rackets with new technologies. We’ve seen over the past two years that the new dual frame concept Duora rackets have gradually phased out the Arcsaber line, taking their spot as the all-around style racket. Now it appears that Yonex’s new Astrox line is going to phase out the Voltric rackets as their head heavy option. The first racket in the series is the Astrox 77 released in late 2017, aiming to replace the Voltric 70 E-Tune (and its predecessor the Voltric 70.) This is our Yonex Astrox 77 Review.
Same Yonex Quality, New Tech
There are two new technologies coming with the Astrox line. The first is what they call the ‘rotational generator system.’ The Voltric rackets had extra weight at the 10, 2, and 6 o’clock position on the racket head. The new Astrox line has extra weight at the 12 and 6 o’clock position, and now weight the handle to counterbalance the racket. The idea behind the technology is to create a pivot system to allow the racket to swing faster.
The second is what they call NAMD graphite, developed alongside the Nitta Corporation. By having carbon nanotubes inside of the resin, they can make the racket feel stiffer without actually making the graphite stiffer. This gives the racket a more responsive feel on shorter, sharper strokes like drive shots while retaining power for clears and smashes in the rear court.
How The Racket Plays and Feels
The first thing that can’t be overstated is how fast this racket is; coming from a Nanoray Z-Speed, the Astrox 77 had serious competition. Nevertheless, it moves surprisingly fast, especially when compared to its Voltric predecessors. With some rackets you sacrifice quick movement to achieve greater power out of shots, or like with the Z-Speed, to get both you have to sacrifice ease of use. The Astrox line manages to find a very happy balance between power, speed, and ease of use.
At the net the racket is quick and agile enough to play aggressively. It’s easy to find yourself in the midcourt playing drives with this racket and having the confidence to move forward towards the net, knowing you’ll be able to retrieve their next shot. With such agility also comes fantastic defense, allowing you to block, lift, or go on the counter-attack. This is especially helpful for doubles where you want to apply pressure to your opponents, and either force an error or a lift for your partner in the rear court.
That said, this racket is no slacker in the rear court either. Thanks to its versatility, it’s easy to launch smash after smash without feeling fatigue as you might have done with something heavier like a Voltric Z Force 2. The racket can produce phenomenal power on clears and smashes, but you never really feel like the racket is flexing or lagging behind your hand. It always feels sharp.
The control is straight up incredible, and that can be attributed to their NAMD technology. Because it produces power without lagging, you can strike hard while ensuring your shots are pinpoint accurate. And yet, it’s not excessively stiff; you’re never over-exerting yourself to the point of making errors. All of this access to power and control means being out of position doesn’t severely hamper your shot quality.
Perhaps saving the best for last, the racket feels extremely solid. Where there have been some issues with other Yonex rackets lacking ‘feeling’, where you can’t feel the shuttle on the string bed, the same can’t be said for the Astrox 77. Their new graphite has a superb feeling. Resulting in one of Yonex’s highest tension ratings on a frame yet, with the 3U being guaranteed under warranty for 29lbs of tension. They’ve achieved all of this, while still somehow making the frame thinner than that of the Nanoray Z-Speed.
Yonex Astrox 77 Specs
Frame: H.M. Graphite/Nanometric/Tungsten
Shaft: H.M. Grapgite/Namd
Weight / Grip Size: 4U (Ave.83g) G4,5 / 3U (Ave.88g) G4,5
Stringing Advice: 4U 20-28lbs, 3U 21-29lbs
If you like head heavy rackets, look towards the Astrox range. They have managed something spectacular with their new technologies, and it shows by the number of professional players adopting these new rackets. Viktor Axelsen has famously taken up the Astrox 88S, Kento Momota the Astrox 88D. If you aren’t used to head heavy rackets, don’t count it out just yet: give one a try! It might surprise you compared to other head heavy rackets you may have tried.