Arcsaber I-slash versus Z-slash review Z-Slash Tested : 040722TH, 3602957, BG66 Ultimax 24 lbs I-Slash Tested : 280622SP, 3591573, Gosen R4X-110 25 lbs Shuttlecock : Yonex AS50 The Arcsaber I-Slash took some heat where some found it strange to handle, whilst others complained about the loss of power due to the flexibility of the shaft being rated as medium. Being rather pedantic with racquet choice as the feel of all different badminton shots on a racquet is very important to my enjoyment of the game, I decided to see what Yonex was up to in the recent year with the Arcsabers, Z-Slash and I-Slash. I played the Z-Slash for a couple of weeks, whilst the I-Slash was just procured yesterday and played only today. Nevertheless I felt it was sufficient for me to give a quick review and i'll be using it again for another game tomorrow. Comparison of overall feel. An analogy I would give would be fighting someone with a stick. The I-Slash feels like caning someone or walloping someone with a bamboo stick. The Z-Slash feels like beating someone with a aluminium or magnesium rod that doesn’t bend. The flexibility difference is that drastic as both are long racquets. Both racquets have good sound, very loud hitting sounds. Head heaviness feel – Both racquets although 3UG5, rated even balance, the Z-Slash feels head heavier in all strokes and swings, the I-Slash had no traces of head-heaviness at all on all swings. Shuttle contact feel – This is a major difference! The I-Slash is very interesting indeed, upon contact with the shuttle directly into the sweet spot, there is almost NO IMPACT feel transmitted to the hand at all. This gives people a perception of no “power” generated, but the reality is that the shuttle does bounce off at good speed. The Z-Slash has a more obvious shuttle contact feel on the user. (Analogy : Z slash feels like the recoil of hammering a nail into hard wood, whilst I-Slash is like hammering a nail into softwood) Sweetspot feel – Both racquets feel like they have a very narrow sweetspot strip in the middle of the racquet. There is marked difference when hitting with the higher part of the sweetspot strip or the lower part of the sweetspot strip for the I-Slash, whereas the Z-slash felt more consistent. Hitting the higher part of the sweetspot of I-Slash generates very good power, whilst the lower sweetspot felt a little too cushy with good repulsion. Z-Slash felt crunchy at both spots. Stroke types Lobs – both forehand and backhand lobs are rather similar, it was very easy to return shuttles to the backline of opponent’s court on both racquets. Defending against smashes from opponent was good. Forehand - quite similar for both, just that there is a loss of "impact" feel when hitting hard with the I-Slash. It was easy to drive shuttles far and high. Netplay – the I-Slash was superior in my opinion, it was just so much easier to maneuver and respond to changes in shots around the net, whilst the Z-Slash, a combination of its length and stiffness, felt slightly more unwieldy . Smash – Both Z-Slash and I-Slash cut through the air very smoothly and aerodynamically, contributing to reasonably fast smashes. However the head-heavier feel of the Z-Slash in doing a smash felt like the head was leading the motion into the smash, whilst the I-Slash gave a feel of the need for more user-input from arm swing. (Analogy, its like pounding a nail in with a lifted hammer, a heavier hammer head will seem to “drop” with good force onto the nail, whilst a lighter wooden mallet will need more conscious arm strength or snap motion to get the same job done). Nevertheless, I was able to generate good speed on the smash with the I-Slash if I could time it onto the higher part of the sweetspot. The Z-Slash was more consistent, and gave harder smashes most of the time. Backhand Smash On the contrary to forehand smashing, the I-Slash was superior for me in the backhand smash. I was able to give a quick snap of the wrist to generate a good back hand smash on the I-Slash due to the flexibility giving it a whippy potential. The Z-Slash gave a less strong backhand smash as I could not accelerate the head of the racquet at a speed that I would have preferred at that angle. My personal preference : The I-Slash is a really fun racquet, it allows for many more shot variations to be performed successfully. The Z-Slash is serious. The style to which one uses when swinging the racquet and hitting the shuttle varies from person to person. The I-Slash can be good for people whom like to hit the shuttlecork with little follow through in swinging, i.e. people whom like to have a quick sharp snap of their wrist on contact with short swings. The Z-Slash can be good if one has longer backswings and good follow through. I prefer the I-Slash to the Z-Slash there was no big advantage for myself in choosing the Z-Slash except in better smash performance only. Being more agile and with better execution of shot variations is worthy despite the slightly crummier smash (personal choice, people obsessed with smashing only will beg to differ). the I-Slash is ELDERLY friendly. the Z-Slash can cause some strain with overswinging, or from the recoil from fast swings and impacts, the I-Slash does not cause any strain at all. Tested by two senior citizens today.