Updated: Oct 6, 2022
In my previous post, I reviewed the Yonex Arcsaber 11 Pro, Tour and Play and was extremely impressed with the production quality and playing performance of the rackets. In this post, I will review the Yonex Arcsaber 7 Tour and Yonex Arcsaber 7 Play, which are the budget models of the recently released Yonex Arcsaber 7 range.
The Arcsaber 7 Pro is made in Japan, the Arcsaber 7 Tour is made in Taiwan and the Arcsaber 7 Play is made in China. Visually, all three rackets share the same grey and yellow colour scheme, but with very slight differences in the shades of grey. The Arcsaber 7 Pro has the darkest grey out of the three rackets, and in my opinion is also the best-looking racket, perhaps due to better materials and higher production cost. The Arcsaber 7 Tour has the lightest shade of grey, but the difference is, honestly, really minor. You probably won't even notice it in the store if you don't look close enough. All three rackets have one side of the Arcsaber label on the shaft the right up way up, and upside down on the other.
In terms of frame design, the Arcsaber 7 Tour racket is designed exactly like the Arcsaber 7 Pro, just with different materials. This means the Arcsaber 7 Tour, like the Arcsaber 7 Pro, has enhanced Arcsaber frame with Pocketing Booster materials embedded in the structure. The frame recessed areas are, clockwise from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock, and from 4 o'clock to 8 o'clock positions. The Arcsaber 7 Play, on the other hand, has a standard top-half recessed frame profile, in line with other Play racket models across Yonex’s range.
The Arcsaber 7 Pro and Arcsaber 7 Tour rackets have identical frame measurements at 24cm in height and 18.7cm in width. The Arcsaber 7 Play has the same frame height but has a slightly wider frame at 19cm. Frame thickness went from 9.8mm on the Arcsaber 7 Pro to 9.9mm on the Arcsaber 7 Tour and finishing off with 10.1mm on the Arcsaber 7 Play.
The Arcsaber 7 Pro racket doesn’t have “PRO” written on its frame, but the Arcsaber 7 Tour has the word "TOUR", and the Arcsaber 7 Play has the word "PLAY", on their respective frames. The word “Isometric” on the 12 o'clock region of the Arcsaber 7 Tour racket frame is also a little thinner compared to the other two rackets.
There are also slight differences in the materials used and the construction of the shaft between the three rackets. The Arcsaber 7 Tour racket has the Yonex propriety REXIS shaft, which also has been a consistent feature on all Tour rackets produced by Yonex thus far, whilst the Arcsaber 7 Play racket sports a standard graphite construction shaft. Both the Arcsaber 7 Pro and Arcsaber 7 Tour rackets have Super Slim Shafts of 7mm in diametre, whilst the Arcsaber 7 Play has a shaft diametre of 7.2mm.
Both the Arcsaber 7 Pro and Arcsaber 7 Tour have Energy Boost Cap Plus cones, whilst the Arcsaber 7 Play is fitted with a standard cone. The rackets' specs are displayed differently on each racket. The Arcsaber 7 Pro’s spec is laser etched onto its cap in white, the Arcsaber 7 Tour's spec is laser etched onto its cap in black, whilst the Arcsaber 7 Play uses a sticker to display its spec instead. All three rackets have wooden handles of 17cm in length.
All the measurements of the Arcsaber 7 series rackets are identical to their Arcsaber 11 series cousins in this instance, except the Arcsaber 7’s do not have Control Assist Bumpers whilst the Arcsaber 11’s do! Additionally, all the Arcsaber 7 rackets will only come in 4U weight class and have a recommended stringing tension of up to 27lbs. During my testing, I strung them with my usual tension of 27lbs by 29lbs with the Yonex Aerobite string and the Arcsaber 7 Tour held really well. The Arcsaber 7 Play’s frame, on the other hand, did flex under tension but overall it was alright.
Previously when I reviewed the Arcsaber 11 Pro, Tour and Play, I was extremely impressed with the production quality and playing performance of the rackets, so much so that I described them as being in the same class, just like how Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams were all in Formula 1 albeit their difference in results. For these Arcsaber 7s, they are even closer in terms of performance and feel! I’m going to be honest and say I had a hard time differentiating these rackets apart when I played with them blind. I have also had to spend the longest time testing these three rackets since I started my channel to be able to give you guys the details of how I really feel with them.
This is Yonex’s 6th multi-tier racket release and this series, by far, has the closest performing Tour and Pro rackets, so close that I couldn’t really tell their performance apart! So after many hours of testing, I can report that the Arcsaber 7 Tour very closely resembles the Arcsaber 7 Pro, and is only ever so slightly head-lighter than the Arcsaber Pro and also, in line with all Rexis shaft rackets, has a slightly hollow feeling when you are hitting with it. In terms of speed, maneuverability and control, the Arcsaber 7 Tour is almost identical to the Arcsaber 7 Pro. Very impressive indeed.
If we then look at the Arcsaber 7 Play, I must say that I cannot believe Yonex is able to get this racket to feel so similar to its more expensive siblings. The Arcsaber 7 Play has the least power amongst the three rackets in the series, and in terms of head weight, I would say that the Arcsaber 7 Play is very slightly head-lighter than the Arcsaber 7 Tour. However, the difference is extremely minor. The Arcsaber 7 Play also has a slightly harder and more solid hitting feeling compared to the Arcsaber 7 Tour. Again, the difference is very small but enough to mention. I personally prefer to play with the Arcsaber 7 Play than the Arcsaber 7 Tour. I notice that if I hold the Arcsaber 7 Play as far back on the handle as possible, I can get pretty good leverage and am able guide the shuttle around the court easily.
Don't get me wrong, the Arcsaber 7 Pro certainly has the most power, the smoothest swing and the best hitting feel out of the three rackets. However, I am genuinely very impressed with this version of Pro, Tour and Play rackets. In fact, Yonex has been consistently closing the gap between its Pro, Tour and Play racket models in its most recent productions. I remember that in Yonex's very first attempt in having this trickle-down multi-tier concept with its Astrox 88 series, there was a significantly noticeable difference in feel and performance as you go down the product ladder from the Pro to the Play rackets. Now, after having produced six multi-tier series rackets, Yonex has certainly refined its production of the cheaper Tour and Play models, and it's been getting harder and harder for me to distinguish the rackets. Re-using my F1 analogy again, the Arcsaber 7 Pro, Tour and Play rackets are like Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes in the 2022 season. There's one clear leader, the Arcsaber 7 Pro, but the other two are not far behind in terms of points. For those of you who are new to Yonex's multi-tier rackets, I suggest you try and compare the playing performance of any of the earlier series of Pro, Tour and Play rackets, then check out these Arcsaber 7’s. You’ll notice what I’m trying to describe here immediately.
In terms of recommendation, I cannot recommend the Arcsaber 7 Play enough with its incredible value to performance. If it's playing so close to its Pro sibling and at a fraction of the price of the Pro, there’s no contest and you should just get the Play. Yonex has really up-ed its game for the new Arcsaber 7 series and I think many badminton fans will love it. I would definitely like to see this level of production quality being applied to the rest of their racket ranges.