Updated: Oct 4, 2022
Many of you may know that I like bright colours! Now just look at this Arcsaber 7 Pro!
In this post, I’ll share with you my experience with the new Yonex Arcsaber 7 Pro, and compare it against its cousin, the Yonex Arcsaber 11 Pro!
The Yonex Arcsaber 7 was, in my opinion, the OG racket which kickstarted the current generation of high-end, innovative, even balanced rackets. It was first launched in 2007 and was quickly followed by the Arcsaber 10 in around late 2007 or early 2008. Fast forward 15 years and now, three generations in, we have the Yonex Arcsaber 7 Pro with us. Isn't 2022 an amazing year to have two Arcsaber launches?
With the new Arcsaber 7 series, Yonex is adopting similar strategies to its previous flagship racket launches. It is launching Pro, Tour and Play models of the Arcsaber 7 simultaneously, each at different price points, so players with different budget levels can still enjoy this racket. I will have a separate review on the Arcsaber 7 Pro, Tour and Play very soon so make sure you subscribe to my Youtube channel. Additionally, the new Arcsaber 7’s launch also coincides with the launch of Yonex’s latest badminton string, the Exbolt 65, which is recommended for the Arcsaber 7 Pro (if you’re a hard hitter of course!) If you would like to read my review of the Exbolt 65, click here.
As usual, let's start with the aesthetics. The Arcsaber 7 Pro has the design language of the Arcsaber 11 Pro copied through but instead of the greyish pearl/red colour scheme, the Arcsaber 7 Pro is in grey and bright yellow. The Arcsaber 7 Pro also inherits the unique "Arcsaber" writing on the shaft, on one side the writing is the right side up, on the other it's upside down. However, instead of slant hashes across the Arcsaber writing, the Arcsaber 7 Pro has horizontal streaks across the shaft.
Other external similarities between the Arcsaber 7 Pro and the Arcsaber 11 Pro also includes the same Energy Boost Plus support cap at the cone of the racket, which I really like as it's super comfortable, as well as the new enhanced Arcsaber frame. For those of you who are not familiar with the enhanced frame, it departs from the traditional recessed frames the entire racket frame is recessed (for example, the Astrox 88S Pro and Astrox 88D Pro rackets), or the semi-recessed frame where only the top-half of the racket frame is recessed (for example, the previous generation of the Arcsaber series). This enhanced Arcsaber frame is only recessed at the top between the 10 to 2 o'clock areas, as well as at the bottom between the 4 to 8 o'clock areas.
Difference wise, firstly, the Arcsaber 7 Pro doesn't have any Control Assist Bumper at the 12 o'clock section, unlike the Arcsaber 11 Pro. Secondly, the Arcsaber 11 Pro had the Pocketing Booster at the 12 o' clock section beneath the Control Assist Bumper, but the Arcsaber 7 Pro as has it at the 3 and 9 o' clock sections of its frame. Yonex's marketing tagline for the Arcsaber 7 Pro is ‘Hold For Flight’, so it’ll be interesting to see how these differences will enhance the racket's shuttle hold compared to the Arcsaber 11 Pro.
The Arcsaber 7 Pro's external measurements are pretty much identical to the Arcsaber 11 Pro:
Arcsaber 7 Pro Measurement
I've heard that the Arcsaber 7 Pro is only going to be available in 4U weight. The demo racket I have for testing is in my usual 4UG5. Recommended stringing tension for the Arcsaber 7 Pro is up to 27lbs, similar to the Arcsaber 11 Pro in 4U but is one pound lower than the 4U Astrox rackets which are rated for 28lbs. I had no issues when I strung it with my usual Aerobite strings at 27lbs by 29lbs, plus a 10% pre-stretch. I had to re-string the racket twice as I broke the strings during my first testing session and had to do a second re-string. This allowed me to have more observation opportunities with the Arcsaber 7 Pro during stringing and it certainly passed with flying colours in terms of its ability to withstand tension.
One little area that I was concerned with was the protruding strings at the 2 and 10 o'clock areas of the frame. I have a habit of picking up shuttles with my racket, and I realise that every time I do that with this racket, I am dragging the protruded part of the strings on the floor and scrapping them, so the strings at those parts are very prone to damage and breakage with that extra friction. Perhaps try and be more gentle and careful when you are picking shuttles up with the Arcsaber 7 Pro.
If you want to learn how to pick up a shuttle with your racket, check out this video!
Now let's get into the crucial bits - how does the Arcsaber 7 Pro play? Well, in short, I think for the first time, we have found ourselves a truly even-balanced racket. I am very aware that the Yonex classifies the Arcsaber series as even-balanced rackets but they always tend to lean slightly to the head-heavier side or head-lighter side, depending on the models. The Arcsaber 7 Pro, however, is perfectly even-balanced. As a 4U racket, the Arcsaber 7 Pro swings fast, in fact, slightly faster than the Arcsaber 11 Pro as it is relatively less head-heavy than the Arcsaber 11 Pro. I mentioned earlier that the new Arcsaber frames are not fully recessed, but the Arcsaber 7 Pro’s lighter head increases the swing speed slightly and this will suit anyone who is looking for a relatively fast racket with even-balanced characteristics.
The Arcsaber 7 Pro’s shaft is also slightly softer and whippier compared to the Arcsaber 11 Pro. This time, Yonex went true to its Arcsaber 7 roots and revived the medium shaft in the new Arcsaber 7 Pro to aid power generation for players who don't have the fastest of swings (like me!). As soon as you hit the first few shots with the Arcsaber 7 Pro, you’ll immediately realise it is an easy-to-play racket and it allows you to easily connect with the shuttle. With Yonex now focussing on extending shuttle hold in their latest generation of Arcsabers, this results in a slightly softer and damped hitting feeling in the Arcsaber 7 Pro compared to repulsion rackets like the Yonex Astrox 100ZZ, the Yonex Nanoflare 800 or the Victor Auraspeed 100X.
I find the Arcsaber 7 Pro to be excellent at hold and flicks, or hold and punch above your opponent's head, or shots which you are able to prep early and hold that high racket carriage position whilst looking to utilise some deception. Essentially, shots which are especially effective in doubles are perfect with the Arcsaber 7 Pro. Think about the shots that Aaron Chia plays, his counterattacking shots where he holds and punches, or whips the shuttle around the court. The Arcsaber 7 Pro makes those shots easy by having a slightly increased shuttle hold from both the frame and the medium shaft, giving you just that touch of extra time for you to squeeze the racket handle properly. The racket face of the Arcsaber 7 Pro is also very steady without any random vibrations or wobble after contact with a shuttle.
In terms of defence, since the Arcsaber 7 Pro is not a head-heavy racket, it's certainly fast. You also won't have any problems reaching the shuttle and being able to generate enough pace off the shuttle to get you out of trouble. It also has a pretty good ability to guide the shuttle around court.
In terms of power, I’m going to be honest, as an even-balanced racket, the outright raw power of the Arcsaber Pro 7 is never going to beat something head-heavy like the Astrox 100ZZ or Astrox 99 Pro, or even the Astrox 88D Pro, as less head weight means it has less potential energy to begin with. So to help generate more power, I try to grip the racket as relaxed as I can whilst holding it further back on its handle to gain as much leverage as possible. With the right technique and timing, you will still be able to generate a lot of good clean pace on the shuttle and get it onto the floor. Remember, many of the world's fastest and best smashers don't even use head-heavy rackets with crazy stiff shafts, instead, they play with even-balance rackets with medium shafts too.
I was actually slightly surprised that Yonex is recommending two of their most repulsive strings for the Arcsaber 7 Pro. Yonex recommends the Exbolt 63 if you are a control type player, and the Exbolt 65 if you are a hard hitter, perhaps for extra durability. Perhaps Yonex's idea is to pair a shuttle hold racket with a repulsive string for the best optimum performance.
In short, the Arcsaber 7 Pro feels slightly head lighter, more flexible, softer and faster than the Arcsaber 11 Pro. The Arcsaber 7 Pro is also easier to whip and punch shuttles around. In terms of shuttle hold, I personally don't think there's any difference between these two rackets. If you think the Arcsaber 11 Pro is too head-heavy for you, or if you were struggling to generate good power with it, you will like the Arcsaber 7 Pro.
It might be interesting to see in the future if someone adds a Control Assist Bumper onto the head of the Arcsaber 7 Pro to add that even more extra hold on the shuttle albeit with some extra head weight.
Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the Arcsaber 7 Pro and believe it would be suitable for a really wide range of players. Some old-school fans might think ditching the 3U weight and exclusively having the Arcsaber 7 Pro at 4U might be a mistake, but believe 4U rackets certainly generate enough power nowadays, with the added benefit of better speed and defence. A fair few pros are already playing with 4U rackets and it will be interesting to see if this trend continues. In the meantime, let me know what you think about the Arcsaber 7 Pro in the comments section and I’ll see you in the next post!