Updated: Oct 4, 2022
There are reasons why the Yonex Astrox 88S topped the racket popularity chart for the pros, and the Astrox 88D coming in at a close third, during the recent Thailand Open Super 1000 World Tour earlier this year. In this post, I'm going to give you a quick review and comparison of these two rackets to show you why they're so good and so popular!
For those of you who are not familiar with the Astrox model, 'S' represents 'Skill' and 'D' represents 'Dominate'.
These two Astrox 88's I have are the second generation models. You can tell the generations apart by their colours. The first generation rackets come in emerald green and red for both models. For the second generation, red is the main colour for both models, with a splash of white on the body and cone for the 88D, and black for the 88S
The decals have similar designs and are in the same place for both generations, with the only difference being the 88S having the '5mm long' decal instead of the usual longer 10mm decal.
The rackets I have here are in 4UG5 which means they weigh 80-84g without strings and just a touch under 90g when strung.
Length-wise, the 88S is only 670mm, 5mm shorter than the usual top-end Yonex racket length of 675mm. However, on a closer look, I noticed that the 5mm reduction is actually due to a shorter wooden handle, and not the length of the shaft which I would've expected. I measured the wooden handle on the 88S and it is 16cm long, while the wooden handle on the 88D is 16.5cm.
The shaft length of both the 88S and 88D is 22cm. With a shorter wooden handle on the 88S, you might expect a slightly shorter, quicker and sharper swing response.
Both the 88S and 88D also have a recessed design profile on the top half of the frame to optimize its swing aerodynamics, as well as four sets of single-pass grommets stringing system, which is usual for top-end Yonex rackets.
Both rackets also have the Energy Boost Cap as their cone cap which connects the shaft to the wooden handle and has a shaft diameter of about 7mm i.e. a Super Slim Shaft.
Here's a closer look at the Astrox 88S:
Let's then take a closer look at the Astrox 88D:
In terms of feel, both rackets are certainly within the head-heavy category group. The weight in the head of the racket is noticeable when doing short sharp racket movements, and greater head weight means greater power. Both rackets have easy power, but I think the 88D feels slightly slower and sluggish compared to the 88S, albeit more power at the back. I also remembered the 88D having a slightly harder feel compared to the 88S. This could be due to the way the rackets were strung at the time but I genuinely thought there were slight differences between the two rackets.
Both rackets have stiff shafts which, again, helps with power generation. I would put their shaft stiffness around an 8 or 8.5 out of 10 with the likes of a Voltric Z Force 2 a 10 in comparison.
Both rackets also have a smooth swing but at the same time being pretty nimble. I personally prefer a G5 grip size so I love how both rackets felt when changing grips from forehand to backhand and vice versa. As I normally use towel grips for my rackets, and I tend to have my towel grip end where the shaft meets the cone cap, so I personally don't feel much of the ridges of the Energy Boost Cap from both rackets.
Personally, I find both rackets very nice to play with and were very well made, as do all top-end Yonex rackets. I also preferred the 4U versions over the 3Us with the 88S being slightly faster than the 88D but the 88D has slightly more power. I would also give 8 for the overall stiffness feel for the 88S and an 8.5 for the 88D, not the stiffest or hardest feel but definitely right up there in terms of feel depending on the string of your choice.
Check out my Youtube video below or on my channel. If you're in the UK, do check out YCSports for all your badminton needs and use 'CKYEW' for an additional discount on top of their already competitive pricing!