Because I'm not in tip top condition I find it harder to write reviews and first impressions as often. I usually get down to writing once I feel I have a good grasp of the racket and what it can do.
But enough excuses! You came here to know a little more about the Z-Strike, and know about it you shall! I've had a few sessions on the court with this and am ready to give a quick first impressions on it.
I used the 3U version of the racket, with most of my experience in singles play.
In short, the racket is as unexceptional as its design. The Duora Z-Strike adds the much needed hitting power into its predecessor - the Duora 10 - but that comes at the cost of overall agility and quickness.
Physically, you're looking at a slightly thicker and stiffer shaft than the Duora 10. Being a Z-series racket, the head frame is also pressed in that egg-shaped look. While previous Z=series rackets compensated for the smaller sweet spot with a flexible shaft, the Duora Z-Strike seems to want to turn the formula around to see how it went.
Having the racket in my hand and swinging it around felt clumsy and slow. I wasn't able to get around the shots as quick as I did with my lighter rackets. While the shots were able to come off nicely most of the time, I did find myself throwing a few points with the occasional mishit. Those usually came in when I had to rely more on reaction. Small head frame be damned.
I also found that holding the racket with the right side made a tremendous difference. While this wasn't very prevalent in the Duora 10, the Z-Strike actually performs quite different for me when I hold it the right way.
To recap, the USP for the Yonex Duora rackets is the duo-purpose frame. One side (the forehand) being more boxy (think Yonex Armortec), and the other (the backhand) being more sharp (think Victor Bravesword). This allows the player to throw hard on the forehand for heavier attacks, and also to snap faster on the backhand for more weight.
The heavy weight, stiff shaft, and smaller head frame will make it a nightmare for anyone who's not confident in hitting the sweet spot consistently - but what really makes the difference is the amount of power you can get into one swing. That being said. I would suppose someone with significantly more arm strength than I do will have a grand time with this racket.
While I might be consistent with the hitting, I am in no way ready physically to use this racket to its full potential. Those who share my level of competence in skill, while also being fairly strong in arm strength, can of course give this a try.
I have a feeling it might actually turn out well. Nonetheless, I have better feelings towards this one than the Duora 10. Read my blistering review on the Duora 10 to find out why.
That ends the first impressions. Stay tuned for the full review!