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12-29-2012, 01:50 PM #1
Yonex Arcsaber Z-Slash vs I-Slash - an amateur review
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.
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.
Last edited by vajrasattva; 12-29-2012 at 01:54 PM.
12-29-2012, 02:20 PM #2
just received my CBR 200 string from japan...
i wonder if this string on the I-slash would make the shuttlecock feel "invisible"....
12-29-2012, 06:55 PM #3
i enjoy your review very much, you made it very easy to read with analogies that even an idiot like me can understand...not to mention that i am very jealous that you got the cyber natural and i am still waiting if they will ever find their way over to the US.
seems more and more that the i-slash is what i enjoy playing with since i like the flexibility of the shaft, which is what i rely on to provide me with a wider variation of shots.
once again, thx for the review, great work!!!
12-29-2012, 07:57 PM #4
Nice analogies Please don't do any hammering near my head.
12-30-2012, 09:13 AM #5
thanks for the kind comments
in a second session today with the I-Slash for 2 hours.. its now a keeper and my preferred racquet of use over many other racquets that i have, easy to return shots with good snap at wierd angles, one of my friends commented that he felt a bit of pressure keeping up as i was returning both forehand and lobs to almost his backline from wherever i was.
i'll just need to keep practising to catch the shuttle on smash at the higher part of the sweetspot.
on doubles today, the agility was similarly experienced, it could be a possible alternative to my all time favourite mp99, it had been a while since a racquet delighted me like this despite the soft feel. may buy a couple of pieces to keep
12-30-2012, 10:49 AM #6
to better illustrate
the lowest 3 crosses, and the un-marked areas are zones that give the feeling of hitting the rim/hitting with hard wooden board feel and should be avoided.. these are the similar zones that people often describe as a mis-hit or mis-cue when using either the Z or I slash
12-31-2012, 10:47 AM #7
hahaha, zone of no feeling, that's awesome. i'm not laughing at you by the way, just that it's a funny yet creative labeling of the sweet spot! and now that i look at the oval area, it is indeed a bit smaller than "normal" sweetspots in an isometric head! but since the "i" and the "z" has smaller frames than a normal iso, it's only normal.
but i have been wondering for quite some time...is there a possible way for Yonex or any racket company for that matter, to enlarge the sweetspot even with a relatively smaller "slash frame"?
would using a particular string help?
by the way, i am looking forward to hear your review on the cyber natural when you have a chance, possibly in the strings section??????????
Last edited by gundamzaku; 12-31-2012 at 10:50 AM. Reason: old age
01-02-2013, 11:05 AM #8
the only way to enlarge a sweetspot on this racquet is to go down on the tension... maybe 22-23.. its hard to decide but 25 really feels good here..
01-02-2013, 11:16 AM #9
01-02-2013, 07:06 PM #10
- Victor inner wave technology, cross string will be lengthened few mm. Require stronger material since frame at the grommet hole will be thinner.
- Thinner frame (all part of the frame), will require even more stronger material than using inner wave
- New string pattern, make the string bed more sparse (not too dense)
01-02-2013, 10:21 PM #11
01-03-2013, 04:11 AM #12
um. you probably should have put on fresh the same strings and tension before comparing the rackets.
10-15-2013, 12:13 AM #13
I heavily based my purchase of i-slash over z-slash based on this review, so many thanks firstly. I purchased the i-Slash last week and had a good one hour session last night with it, and have formed an opinion on it that may interest others.
Firstly I mainly play doubles at beginner to intermediate level and have always used the Voltric series, ending with my trusty Voltric 9 for some time. After a year I felt my wrist strength and swing speed (and overall technique) has improved somewhat and the thought that I may benefit more from either a balanced or head light racquet for faster overall play around the net and smash recovery came to mind. This lead me into looking at the Arcsaber range which I felt was a good compromised, not too different from a head heavy racquet I thought, and some extra speed right?
(To be honest, the Yonex range for someone who is brand new to badminton is a minefield of confusion. 3, 5, 7, 9, 90, 900, P, Z, I, medium, stiff, isometric, 3U, 4U, not only are you trying to figure out what type of racquet is suitable for your gameplay style, it's also just as difficult to find the desired racquet when you do figure it out as there are so many options. But this is a chat for another time perhaps)
Fast forward to last week and here I am at the store buying a couple of tubes of Aeroplane Black label shuttles and my eyes are caught by some "SALE" labelling on the two racquets that I have had my eye on for some time, the Z-Slash and the i-Slash! Both identical pricing. After a few dry swings I felt that overall the Z-Slash felt a little more head heavy than the i-Slash. This was the only factor that swayed me to the i-Slash. I felt that there was "no advantage" by buying another perceptively head heavy racquet. Also I liked the i-Slash graphics better... So on impulse I bought it, strung it with BG65ti red strings at 24" and got a free white over grip. I must say it looks the business!
Fast forward again to last night and boy was I in for a shock. You see, when you read some of these reviews online you always have this feeling that what they are saying is a little exaggerated. Yes there differences between racquets but it's difficult to gauge how much of that difference is real life and how much of it is "talking it up".
Yes I read that this racquet is much faster through the air but I was taken aback as to how much it actually did effect my game! I had at least half a dozen swing and misses. I missed an easy gift smash cross court because the racquet got to the shuttle impact point 15 or 20cm before the shuttle got there! I had to reprogram my swing and kept telling myself "wait a little longer". The times when I wasn't thinking this was when it was a miss.
Lots of miss hits too (off the sweet spot) because of the smaller head. I put the i-Slash up against my Voltric and the physical differences were minimal, 2mm here, 3mm there perhaps. Surely this cannot be a big deal. It is. So many more miss hits. However when they did connect, POW it was like a rocket. The sound was the biggest tell tale sign. It was a booming sound when you it it on the sweet spot.
The last noticeable difference was the smash returns. I tend to drive on return more than just deflect so I found the i-Slash to be very effective here. I think it has to do with the speed of the racquet getting to the shuttle faster than I could get my Voltric to the shuttle, therefore I get a more decent hit on the shuttle than I would normally. On a few occasions I found that I could actually return the smash when I had actually given up hope and thought I wouldn't make it, surprising myself.
Overall feel of the racquet was great. I didn't feel that the shaft was significantly less flexible than the Voltric's "stiff" shaft, maybe it was but I didn't notice much power loss. When it did contact well on smash it was rocketing down. The head does move very swiftly through the air and I could feel my swings were faster than normal. I guestimate it will take me about 2-3 weeks to get used to the racquet but I do honestly feel it is more suited to my game than Voltric was.
One small final thing, with the price of the racquet, I feel a little vulnerable in doubles games. The feeling is overwhelming, like "I really hope I don't clash with my partner". Didn't feel that way with the Voltric which had the battlescars to show for it.
10-18-2013, 01:27 AM #14
nice review you write there
10-18-2013, 02:26 AM #15
After one week I feel I've made the right choice for me, I-slash over Z-slash. I think the extra power and ease of use from medium flex as well as head speed balances out the loss in head heavy weight. I feel z-slash maybe over my skill level perhaps.
I actually feel there is more power at the back of the court? medium flex shaft? Backhand drive from back court seem to have more zing, most noticeable there.
Still having problems with timing but getting there.
Overall I feel the gain in control and speed at the net have been worth the change over.
gundamzaku liked this post
10-18-2013, 11:14 AM #16
Last edited by gundamzaku; 10-18-2013 at 11:17 AM.
10-18-2013, 06:05 PM #17
reading this review make me want to try the Iforce as compare to my Zforce