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Discussion in 'Badminton Rackets / Equipment' started by Sgbad, Dec 28, 2008.
Great review tpcml. Thank you for the detailed review. Glad you are enjoying the ultimate.
All overseas packages shipped!!!
Sorry guys. didnt realize that my mailbox is full. Please PM me again please
ZELM Ultimate vs ArcZ vs TC700 vs memories...
As promised, this review compares the Ultimate against the venerable Mizuno Tetracross 700 (TC700) and Yonex's famed Arc Sabre Z Slash (ArcZ). All rackets are 3U, strung with BG80@27lbs except the Ultimate with BG66 @27lbs. All with cloth grips.
I gave the Ultimate its first real run last evening. The TC700(s) was sitting in the bag the whole time, so is the ArcZ. That already says a lot about the racket since it usually takes a lot of determination to keep the TC700 in the bag.
ZELM's build quality always held its own against better known brands like Yonex and Victor. The Ultimate is a beautify mix of deep red, white, some black and a touch of diffractive silver wordings. In fact, I love that ZELM went with this more subdued design instead of going berserk with something flashier.
Holding the racket hints of the noble beast that the design tries to hide. The Ultimate is not heavy. For a 3U, it feels agile, wanting to be moved around a lot. Yet, the racket feels very solid. The shaft is stiffer than the ArcZ but this Ultimate is still new.
The Ultimate swings fast but not uncontrollable fast. Moving the racket around confirms the ease at which the Ultimate can react in defensive situations.
It took only 3-4 strokes to tune into the sweetspot and to get to a close enough timing for a decent game. I did an extended drive warm up and found the racket reacts well to wrist punches. The racket is easy to manoeuvre for both smash defense and quick drive returns.
Game Time Impression
I have come to expect a lot of performance from any ZELM, perhaps even more than any Yonex. What I did not expect is to play the most aggressive game ever after an especially hard day at work.
Effectively, I went after all low serves and did not lift a single short serve the entire 3.5hr evening game (although a number of my returns went into the net and missed 2 completely). My reaction to flick serves was a bit compromised mainly due to the rather tired day at work. Missed 3 flicks in total, cleared back a number, and even managed to kill off quite a few. On a good day, I will still miss just as many with the TC700 but would have killed off more. I also managed to slam home a few drive serves.
The Ultimate is excellent for the front court player. I am always apprehensive about net play with new rackets but the Ultimate worked itself out after a short while. I felt good control at the net although I still missed a few cross courts. I missed a number of netkills but that's more due to timing than the racket. Deep lifting the shuttle takes a bit more effort but shallower wrist flick still works well.
A step back from the net, the Ultimate shows its true colours. A fast and stiff racket, the Ultimate is fantastic for quick intercepts. My confidence with intercepting grew so much I found myself jumping for short lifts (and missing quite a few). It was as if the racket has a knack for going after loose returns. The Ultimate did not do so well for me at front court drive wars. The racket got there but I was not able to keep the shots low. It's consistent so the problem should go away as I use the racket more.
Mid court drives are good to excellent with the Ultimate. There is enough speed in the drives and it is easy to control the height and angle of the drives. Loved it when I drove a few into the body of the opponent when they try to half lift to my backhand. In comparison, the ArcZ is not so easy to aim. Mid court drives is the forte of the TC700...
In the rear court, the Ultimate remains a good tool. Clearing is easy as expected of all ZELMs. The Ultimate did give the best control compared to the other ZELMs. I am very impressed with the amount of confidence the Ultimate gave me at slice dropping the shuttle. In fact, I was slice dropping as if I have used the Ultimate for a month -- never got there with the ArcZ despite having it for almost 3 weeks.
Smashing deserves its own paragraph. The Ultimate is a good smashing racket. It's not in the same league compared to the TC700 but it does produce consistently good angles and good speed. The ArcZ, in my hands, produces very good speed but the angle is less consistent. The weight of the smashes are the best with the TC700 followed by the ArcZ, then the Ultimate.
Ultimate again shines in defensive. Getting the racket to the shuttle is only half the job in defense. The other is to be able to guide the shuttle to where you want it. All 3 rackets are very close for the first half, the ArcZ being the fastest, followed closely by Ultimate, then the TC. The TC is the best in guiding the shot, followed closely by the Ultimate. The ArcZ is surprisingly difficult to control the direction of the return despite its speed. This may be due to the ArcZ being the most flexible of the lot.
Past the body smash returns with the Ultimate lacks the punch to drive the shot far enough. TC700 is excellent if I get it there, the ArcZ has the speed to get there and the power to punch it but the direction tends to be a little wild.
Feel: 7/10 (kinda numb)
Looks and Finish: 9/10
Value for Money: 12/10. It'll be 10/10 at S$120 so 12/10 at S$100.
Comparing all the rackets
Smashes: Easy to produce good angles in smashes although a bit lacking in punch...
Angles/Direction: TC700 = Ultimate = Cab30 > PP10k > PP9990 > ArcZ
Power: TC700 > ArcZ > PP9990 > Ultimate = Cab30 >> PP10k
Drives: Good racket for driving. Power is just a tad less than TC700/ArcZ but compensated by speed + ease of changing direction. TC700 = Ultimate = ArcZ = Cab30 > PP10k (lacking a bit of power) > PP9990 (direction)
Defense: Moves faster than TC700 but a tad slower than ArcZ. Excellent at controlling smashes. Ultimate > TC700 = PP10k > ArcZ > Cab30 > PP9990.
Clears: Effortless. Actually, all of them are effortless.
Backhand Clears: Responds very well to wrist snaps. Cab30 = Ultimate = ArcZ = PP10k > TC700 (stiff!) > PP9990 (slower)
Drop shots: Easy to gain confidence with.
Netshots: Cab30 = Ultimate = ArcZ = PP10k = TC700 > PP9990
Feel: I think I have something against Isometrics... Cab30 > TC700 > ArcZ > PP10k = PP9990 = Ultimate
ZELM has raised the game with the Ultimate. The build quality and playability of the racket is excellent. The Ultimate stacks up very well against the very best rackets from top racket makers like Yonex and the rackets that I hold close to my heart. Factor in the very reasonable price, the Ultimate indeed presents an ultimate price/performance.
Personally, the Ultimate is a better racket than the ArcZ. It may not be as powerful but it excels in ease of changing angle, especially when defending smashes. An ArcZ with a much stiffer shaft may have turned the tide but until then, the Ultimate is my choice between the 2.
Against the TC700, the Ultimate is up against a very high wall. The TC700 is a very powerful beast yet one that is willing to be tamed. For a very offensive game on a good day, the TC700 is still my preferred racket. I see myself picking up the Ultimate on those days I am a bit lazier and want a less demanding racket. Other than raw power, the Ultimate does not really give up a lot compared to the TC700.
Through my testing, the TC700 always manage to sneak out of the bag when testing the ArcZ but the Ultimate managed to keep it in the entire time. Once again, I find myself preferring a ZELM to an Arc Sabre.
Weeyeh, your reviews are very detailed and nice to read !
You should try the Gosen Issen and Tenbu. I have a feeling you may like the Tenbu as it is fast and stiff racquet.
I told you so...
This is one seriously FUN racket. My new favourite
as usual a great comprehensive review from weeyeh, thank you!
Thanks guys. Its not all my work though. Blurry D deserves a mention for his contribution to an excellent review template.
Never doubted you .
That is a very detailed review weeyeh. Pretty consistant with my own findings with respect to TC700. Can't compare to the ArcZ for I don't have one.
But overall mine would not be conclusive for the Ultimate that I have is a 2U ya.
that's a very well written review
I have a few pictures of the ultimate, artistically taken by weeyeh. Will upload it!
Received my Zelm Ultimate, it feels great...
This is my current collection of the Zelm rackets, just missing the Trixon 8 which was broken some time ago :crying:
this thread needs more pictures
Great! Please give us a review after playing with it! Nice picture!
Pictures someone requested...
A few more.
You take beautiful pictures. Even when the racket you are selling i am not interested in. Once i see the pictures feel like want to buy. LOL
Dont forget to message bro Jamil if the stock arrived.
Got 2hrs with the Ultimate today. First impressions were lots of power potential but not at the expense of defense. It was very easy to maneuver the racquet for smash defense or quick drive exchanges. I'm not pro like everyone here in the forum , but I am having a little bit of a problem adjusting to the sweet spot of the racquet. Anyone else having the same problem? I'm going to give it a couple more sessions and a couple tweaks before I do a complete review.
By the way Sgbad, my racquet did not have a sticker saying if it was 3UG5. was it? the grip possibly felt G4 to me. Thanks.