Advantages Powerfull, excellent for singles
Disadvantages Cost, head heavy, not so great for doubles play.
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This is a badminton racket before we start looking at anything, and being honest its for mainly advanced singles players, and used almost exclusively by a lot of international players..If you are new to badminton ill try to explain the technical jargon as best I can, but the first things you will need to know is that Yonex are the Microsoft of the badminton world.
The current range of Armortec rackets contains the AT800Offensive, AT800Defensive, AT700 (discontinued but still available) AT500, AT300 and AT150 being the lowest, cheapest and thus most budget of the range. The AT700 on the other hand being one of the top of the range and most expensive because it has more advanced material technology than the lower numbers of the range.First of all the looks of this racket are great! Nice red colours mixed with silver. The paint work is pretty resilient compared to some rackets where even the slightest touch with another racket would cause it to flake pain!
The specs:This racket weighs somewhere between 80-84 grams depending on racket variation. And compared to other rackets is light very light but the balance of the racket is definitely heavier towards the head of the racket, although changing grips will make this effect reduce.. The handle circumference (grip) is of small average size, but more, but could and is easily used by both men and women.
The rackets weight is classed as 4U, and its grip 4G. Yonex shows the weight of its racket and grip size using this system. Here is a quick guide:Anything heavier than 94 grams is not classed, but these will be the absolute beginners' rackets.
2U - 90-94 grams
3U - 85-89 grams
4U - 80-84 grams
1. Muscle power frame - where the strings go in and out around the frame through the grommets are specially designed so that there are no sharp edges that the string can fray on and break prematurely.
There are technology selling points that are mentioned such as:
2. Ultimum Ti - This is a material mixture of nickel and titanium which is placed at certain points within the high modulus graphite ( so strong carbon material) frame and shaft of the racket. This supposedly gives the racket more power and stability when you hit the shuttle. It works by giving more repulsion power when the shaft bends as you hit the shuttle.3. Built in T-Joint - This is a special t shaped piece of graphite in a t shape that is put into the join where the frame of the racket head and the shaft join; this gives the racket more resilience in this area and more strength. It also makes the racket more stable when hitting the shuttle.
4. Power Armor System - This is just a new shape to the frame if you were to take a cross section of it, it would look different to most standard rackets. This new shape is meant to be more aerodynamic. Not that I really noticed much of a difference as you cant really compare that. It still plays great!5. Control Cap - Just above the handle they have made the top of it much wider so that you can place your thumb on it for better control. This I find comes in particularly useful when I am serving short and low as it gives me extra control. For general play its not that involved, well for me anyhow.
This racket is stated to be "Head Heavy" and to have an "Extra Stiff Frame". What this means is that the racket is heavy in the head. Because of this the racket can be a little slow in defending this is why I don't recommend it as a doubles racket particularly.The extra stiff frame means that it takes more physical power put in to get the most power out of the racket. People who are weaker will prefer more flexible shafts because they give more power with less power being put in. The advantage of having a stiffer shaft is that you can gain more overall power when you hit. I also feel that with a stiffer shaft the racket feels more solid and like you are in control. More flexible shafts give more vibration back into your hand, and this makes it hard to judge the feel from the shuttle and the shot you are playing. This is my experience anyhow.
This racket didn't take me very long to get used to what so ever, and even in the first couple of games I played I was landing awesome smashes, although drop shots will take me longer to master. But hitting the shuttle from the back of my side of the court to the other side is attained soooo easily it's a dream. Although you do feel the head heaviness, you quickly adapt to the racket.The AT700 is available 4U/ 3U and G3, G4 and G5. So this can be used by various players depending on weight and grip preference. I would say that this racket is really geared towards singles players that are very offensive and aggressive in their play, who like to play a lot of smashes or powerful shots. Although this could be used in doubles but maybe not as effectively for defence.
The great thing about this racket is it's got a lot of power, you can feel it when you hit the shuttle in a smash, or in a clear from the back of the court to the back of the other side. When you need to play shots that are closer to the net the control of the shuttle with the racket is fairly good, and effortless, although I still need more time to perfect these.I also have played with a MP99 before which is not too different, and I much prefer this racket for singles play. However just because I have been using my MP99 for so long in doubles play, it still remains my most favourite for that. Although it could easily hold its own playing singles too.
The recommended string tension is between 18-24lbs, taking it above this puts excess strain on the frame, and it might break. This came strung at 21lbs per square inch, which is medium tension, and it was great. But over time the string tension has become lower, so I find that its not as good at general play as it was. I would suggest getting it strung to around 22lbs. As higher tensions in this racket work much better.The tighter the strings, the harder you have to hit the shuttle to get power out of it, so the pros with a good solid technique and good shot accuracy often have their rackets strung around 28+ lbs per square inch! If you are a weaker player then a lower tension is likely to give you more power as you can obtain a greater advantage of the trampoline effect when the shuttle hits the strings.
In general lower tension for more control, higher tension for more power. This is obviously a trade off, and many people experiment with different tensions.In conclusion I really like this racket, Ive had a good solid 2hours play with this in singles situations and in some doubles and I liked it instantly. The only problem is that you might have difficulty obtaining one as they aren't really made anymore. You could try eBay or if you have friends in Asia who can get there hands on one as mine is from Indonesia. This really is a nice racket, although some new to it might take a long time to adjust to it, this is to be expected but as I have played with others in the range its not so difficult adjusting. Just as good as my muscle power 99!
To let you know that the RRP of this racket is probably around £120, but around £70-£80 is reasonable to pay for this. But be careful for internet fakes.Any other information or aspects that any one wants then please leave me a comment and ill edit the review.
Thank you for reading!---------------------------------
I brought this racket as i am moving over more to singles play, and i have heard very good things about this racket. Mine is now a 4U 4G 2003 IP racket. Factory strung around 20lbs i think, with BG65-Ti's.The first thing i noticed when i picked it up was the weight, but after a while, and adding another over grip this effect was dramatically reduced, so it feels much better balanced. Although it is heady heavy still.
As for the stiffness of the frame, i tend to find that its stiffer than my MP99 but thats just my opinion. My review will be mainly compared to the MP99:General Play - I picked this up and have been playing with it for a fair number of games, mainly singles (or just a few warm ups where no one is going to clash with my new purchase!!!) I really liked the way that this plays, it took me almost no time at all to get used to it, i dont know why as i was expecting to have to wait a week or so of play to get to grips with it. But after a couple of games i was in tune with it.
Net Play -
Although it is head heavy, this doesnt hinder defence play too much, its still fairly quick to respond to net play, although i need more time to adjust from the even balance of weight change from my MP99. I feel that i have a little more control over net shots with my MP99, but the AT700 is still awesome, light feather touches are beautifully easy to do with it.
These feel really quite effortless, as i can quite easily push my opponet to the back with little energy, a very basic requirement for me that i need! Also defensive back hand flicks/clears are good, strong, and powerfull, maybe a little too powerful. Not as impressive as my AT800DF, or my MP99 though, but still its nothing to complain about.
I would say this is a smash based offensive players dream.
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