Yonex Nanoray 700FX – Toughlex love.
This thing aint cheap. Thats the first thing that crossed my mind… the second thing was, why was the frame thicker than usual? Well, what ever the case, I would think that Yonex in all their wisdom in the years of peddling premium world beating rackets to the masses would know what they’re doing. So, what do we have here exactly… Yonex’s newest in their Nanoray line of rackets, the 700FX. Head light, medium shaft loaded with graphite goodness to provide enhanced repulsion. Sounds great i thought.. who doesn’t want more repulsion eh? So, i decided to give it a try and compare it to my current go to racket, Carltons Prototype (Razor) V1.0.
Like i mentioned, the first thing i noticed was that frame seemed a little thicker than usual. The shaft was definitely thicker than the Prototype 1.0. Even the head frame was thicker. The racket is officially rated to a maximum of 25 pounds, so it wasnt “officially” any stronger. Anyhow, the 700FX is well built. Fit and finish is typically Yonex. Except for the grommets though.. I’ve had Head and Carlton rackets that have better grommets. Yonex grommets seem to split easily, which is a shame considering the premium price tag. The 700FX features Yonex’s secret sauces of X-fullerene and a new material called Toughlex. This here new fangled resin is what got my interest. Apparently this is what holds everything together and gives the 700FX its characteristic feel. I strung it up with Yonex’s own Nanogy 95 string at 26 pounds and took it for a whirl.
The 700FX is easy to swing and felt well balanced but has a very peculiar feel. During the warm up strokes, lobbing the shuttle from baseline to baseline, the first thing i felt was simply the lack of any feel. The racket, while it provided ample of power, felt terribly wooden. It didnt have the kind of feedback i had been used to from my PT 1.0. With the PT 1.0 you felt the shuttle and what it was doing clearly.
After a little while, i realised, that the wooden sensation the 700FX imparted was because the racket is very damped. So much so that i mistook the lack of the zingy feedback that my PT 1.0 provided as a dead feel. Turns out Toughlex is not marketing speil after all. Its a strange feeling to have the power to send the shuttle to the baseline but not feel the racket do it. It took some getting used to , especially at the net. Touch to some is integral to getting the best play they can out of a shot, to be able to feel how the shuttle reacts to the racket. Im certainly not talking about vibration which is a bad thing, but the subtle feedback that can be felt through the racket’s handle. Well, the 700FX lacks most of it and any other extraneous unwanted vibrations. Even off center shots are damped rather well. Overall, it brought to mind Yonex’s own Nanospeed 7700 which is another racket that is damped quite well.
It certainly doesnt lack in the power department. It hits as hard as the best of them, without letting you know its doing it. Smashes were no less than the PT 1.0 and went pretty much where it was aimed at. This is a good thing for those with elbow and shoulder problems as this racket is very comfortable to hit hard with. With the more subtle shots, its also stiff enough to be very accurate. Compared to lets say the Apacs racket i reviewed earlier, the Apacs racket generates as much power but its flexible frame doesnt play as accurately as the 700FX when played hard. Net play was good but no where as good as my current favorite racket at the net, Carltons Vapor Trail Tour.
The shaft, which is rated as medium flex, and i do believe it is, doesnt recoil when its hit hard, which im going to assume is in part due to the new Toughlex material. It flexes, provides its kick and then stops dead. Initially i didnt believe the shaft was rated as medium as it didnt feel like my other medium rackets when swinging it about vigorously. Its deceptive that way.. and it took some getting used to. Through out several days of play, i eventually kept going back to my PT 1.0 during the course of play. Theres plenty of power. Its easy to swing, but the distinct lack of feedback just kept getting in the way. Im no champion mind you, and any advanced player would be able to trounce me with a frying pan, which makes any little advantage i can leverage out of the equipment i use all that more important to put up a decent fight.
To sum things up, the overall feel of the 700FX is head light, medium balance, extraordinary medium flex shaft with a very well damped frame. It is competent, but I cant really say this is the racket for me though. Its hard to love. The overly damped frame, which i am sure will work wonders for those with elbow or wrist injuries.. just doesn’t talk to me like my other rackets do on court. There may come a time, when i may have to adopt this racket, but so far fingers crossed, while im able, im going to stick with my other rackets for now.
Yonex has done a heck of a job with the 700FX. Its not for everybody, i can tell you that. Its a love it or hate it experience. Racket choices are a very personal thing, but rackets like the 700Fx have a very obvious character trait that can provide you with some direction in making a decision on giving it a try. Nothing beats giving a racket a swing to see what it can do, not a thousand words nor a hand painted picture.. And for what the 700FX does, there is a niche for, and if it fits your need, it will be money well spent as what it does, it does remarkably well.