Alright folks, the Yonex Arcsaber 11 Pro is finally here and it’s a good one. REALLY good. I’ll be reviewing the 3U version strung at 25lbs with Yonex BG80, and then I’ll also compare it with some of the more popular Yonex models available right now. I’d also like to preface that these are just my own opinions, and if you disagree with them for whatever reason, go ahead and do a better job than I can doing this. Lol.
The pre-court ritual: Lets molest this thing.
The paint and finish is done very well. Like a lot of matte Yonex racquets, it’s nice to run the fingers along. The colors are very Ferrari F1 but not overly flashy and busy looking compared to some other popular models. The shiny metallic red they use for the Yonex logo on the T-joint is a nice touch.
The racquet itself isn’t as solid feeling as I’d like, though. If you’ve read my Nanoflare 800 review, you’d know how much I love the solid and dense feeling of it in my hand. I’d chop this up to the Arcsaber’s materials not being as densely packed as something as slim as the Nanoflare. It’s solid enough, though. It just has a little touch of airiness to it (for lack of a better description).
The shaft feels pretty stiff. Almost as stiff as the NF800 and a bit stiffer than the original Arc11. I’d say it’s not something those who are experienced with stiff racquets would have much trouble with.
Regarding the frame, it’s easy to tell this is a super stable racquet. No noticeable movement at all when giving it a few hard twists.
A real treat about this racquet and something I recommend everyone do at least once is swing this thing through the air a couple of times. It’s smoooooth. It’s not sharp like a Nanoflare 800, but it’s very smooth and comfortable to swing around. Try swooping it in different directions and it all feels effortless. It could easily just be a glorified fidget toy to fiddle with when you’re watching TV at home.
Okay, we’re at the juicy bits now: Onto the court
Control: Ohmygodilovethis. Nothing but praise. Everything goes where I want it to go. I can even change my mind in the middle of the shot if I wanted to. The hold on this racquet is insane even with super hard BG80 strings. Shuttle contact feels good, and that hold time really lets me tweak the trajectory of the shuttle. There were moments where I’d go for a straight drop and during the hold time I’d change my mind and tweak it to be a cross drop. That’s insane for me. I’ve never had a racquet be able to do this before. I’ve never given out 10/10 ratings but this time I’ll give it to the Arcsaber 11 Pro.
Handling: This handles great. Is it super fast, though? Not really. When shopping for racquets I almost always prioritize speed, and this one definitely ain’t it. It’s certainly not slow, though. I’d say fast enough for those intense drive rallies. What makes the racquet handle great is how maneuverable and comfortable it is to play. With head heavy racquets I always have to fight with the head weight and clunkiness, and with head light ones I sometimes have to fight with how overly fast they are. With this sucker, I never feel like I’m fighting with it. The even balance and frame shape makes it very comfortable and smooth to play with, especially when making mid-swing directional changes. I do wish it was a bit faster, but I’m sure whatever changes Yonex would make to make that happen would reduce the smoothness that I really appreciate.
Power: Yeeaah don’t buy this if you want a power racquet. It certainly has power, but with a racquet with so much hold of course there’s a lack of repulsion. The stiff shaft may make up for it a bit, but you won’t be a powerhouse smasher with it. Clears are good, though, and drives feel good enough to put on some pressure. I’d say there’s enough power to be scary but not enough to be terrifying (if that makes any sense).
Conclusion: I really love this thing. It’s fun and very comfortable and easy to play with. The standard head size makes is very forgiving for someone like me who mostly plays with compact head racquets, and the racquet as a whole is the most controllable I’ve ever played with. And yeah, it’s really easy to play. With my Nanoflare 800 I had to take a few sessions to master it before I was able to make a review. With the Arcsaber 11 Pro, I felt instantly connected to it. Power may be a bit lacking compared to my other racquets, but there’s enough there to satisfy me, and I think all of the points of praise I’ve given makes up for it. Will I main this racquet from now on? Maybe. I want to have a couple of more sessions with it and my Nanoflare 800 before I fully decide, but right now it’s looking like it might just happen.
Now the part where people yell at me: The comparisons
So I’ve been able to compare the Arcsaber 11 Pro with a handful of popular Yonex models that are floating around my club. Thank you to my club members who let me borrow these and play with them for a few games. I won’t be giving any sort of in-depth detailed review of each of them, but hopefully I provide enough detail for y’all to get a sense of how I feel. These racquets are the original Arcsaber 11 (3U), Astrox 100ZZ (4U), Astrox 100ZX (4U), Astrox 77 (3U), and Nanoflare 800 (3U).
Vs. Arcsaber 11 (3U, 25lbs BG80):
First thing I noticed about the OG 11 is that it feels more solid in the hand compared to the Pro. Control is good and has some hold time but the Pro beats it in that category. Handling is also good, but it lacks some of the smoothness I enjoy about the Pro, as well as lacking some of the speed. It definitely has a bit more repulsion and pop to its power shots, but the slightly less stiff shaft makes the power feel about on par with the Pro. Honestly, it’s pretty much how I expected it to be, and the Pro does feel like an upgraded version of this. Yonex could have easily just kept making these and repaint them as Arcsaber 11 Tours.
Vs. Astrox 100ZZ (4U, 25lbs BG80):
Even though the 100ZZ is labeled as having an extra stiff shaft, it honestly feels like it has the same stiffness as the 11 Pro during playtime. Control isn’t really that great compared to the 11 Pro, but it’s still good. Of course it’s not very forgiving due to its compact head, but hardcore 100ZZ fans SHOULD have already solved that problem. Handling when compared to the 11 Pro is weird to describe. I’d say it’s just as fast as the 11 Pro, and it moves around the court kind of like an even balanced racquet, but I really need to use more finger strength to get the head moving during drives and lifts like usual with head heavy racquets. Power is a no brainer, the 100ZZ is a machine gun and out-smashes the 11 Pro in its sleep. It’s not really my kind of jam, but I can see why people like it.
Vs. Astrox 100ZX (4U, 25lbs BG66UM)
I hate this thing. It is literally one of the least enjoyable racquets I’ve played with in recent years. Control is decent, but not even close to the 11 Pro. It handles like poo and feels clunky to play with in general. The power is admittedly better but I don’t enjoy the feedback at all. Smashes feel less like I’m using a racquet and more like I’m using a golf club. Oh and despite being 4U it really felt like it wasn’t light at all. It felt more like a 3U. Listen, it’s not a terrible racquet but I really did not have fun one bit with this thing.
Vs. Astrox 77 (3U, 24lbs BG65)
It feels a lot like the 11 Pro in the hand, honestly. Maybe a little more solid. Control isn’t as good, but still good enough. Handling was nice. I’d say about on par with the 11 Pro but not as smooth. Power is about the same as the 11 Pro, with the difference being that it’s easier to access with the Astrox 77 due to the head heaviness. It’s got a medium stiff shaft, so it’s easier to play with if you’re not used to stiff shafts, however if you can handle stiff shafts the 11 Pro is much easier to make shots with (aside from smashes). I like it. I usually recommend these to people wanting something easy to play with or beginners who just want to waste money on something high end.
Vs. Nanoflare 800 (3U, 25lbs BG80) These two ended up being not as similar as I was expecting. Its control is really REALLY good, but you really need to commit to your shots because it’s very repulsive and doesn’t hold like the 11 Pro does. The shuttle goes where you want it… the first time. No changing your mind. Handling is slightly better than the 11 Pro thanks to its incredible speed and maneuverability, but it’s different in that it plays more sharp than it does smooth. Nanoflare 800 cuts through the air like a sword. Arcsaber 11 Pro flows with the air like they’re one. With power, the 11 Pro loses out. The 11 Pro certainly has more easily accessible power but when using both racquets to their fullest potential the NF800 beats it in smashes and drives. The NF800 is also a lot harder to play if you’re not used to racquets like it. I still love it though.
The End. I hope you all enjoyed my review and comparisons. I had a fun time with this little project and I might consider doing it again should something really exciting that catches my interest comes out. Feel free to ask whatever questions you have and I’ll answer whatever I can. And again, these were just my opinions. Don’t be mean. Lol. Enjoy your weekend and keep enjoying badminton. ✌️
BONUS: JNICE Black Panther comparison posted down in the comments.
BONUS 2: Astrox 88D Pro comparison finally posted further into the comments.