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  • Writer's pictureCKYew

Yonex Nanoflare 1000Z vs Tour vs Game vs Play Comparison Review

Some of you might have seen the report about Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (IND) and Tan Pearly (MAS) setting new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the fastest male and female badminton hits with the Yonex Nanoflare 1000Z. Will the Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Tour, Nanoflare 1000 Game and Nanoflare 1000 Play models give you world record playing performance too?

Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Tour, Game and Play
Yonex Nanoflare 1000 Tour, Game and Play

Not forgetting that the Nanoflare 1000 Play is the most expensive Play version racket in the Yonex catalog so let's find out if it is one of the best value rackets out there.

I mentioned before in my Nanoflare 1000Z review that I think Yonex might be going for a new world-smashing record as they always push the envelope with a Z racket. Boom! Over half a thousand km per hour speed is quite an incredible feat! Mindblowing! So well done to the team that’s behind this project.

The key question I’ll be looking to find out is if any of the innovations used in the Nanoflare1000Z is trickled down into these more budget-friendly Tour, Game and Play versions.

If you have not seen my review of the Nanoflare 1000Z, go check it out here.

Visually, like the other Pro, Tour, Game and Play series that Yonex has launched, the Nanoflare 1000Z follows that similar trend in getting their budget-friendly models looking almost identical to the top-end Pro or Z version. On closer inspection, you’ll find visual indicators of what model it is on the shaft of each racket and the frame. The Nanoflare 1000Z Tour, Game and Play have silver decals printed on the respective models whilst the flagship Nanoflare 1000Z is blank.

Other visual differences would come down to finishing quality as well as trickle-down innovations such as the Speed Assist Bumper, which is used on the Tour model but not the Game and Play options. When laid side by side, you can also see the difference in the grommets used around the T-joint area, with the Z model having the best quality grommets; the Tour model retains that high-end semi-transparent block grommet which looked similar to the Z model; the Game model then reverts to the usual-looking black T-joint grommet; and lastly, the Play model is fitted with ordinary individual grommets. Despite the differences, they were all very well-fitted and they look and feel great too.

I did however find that the Nanoflare 1000 Play model had a few decals that weren’t applied exactly straight. It won’t affect playing performance at all but it's always nice to have everything aligned properly.

Like all previous Yonex launches, only the top-end Z model is made in Japan; the Tour and Game models are made in Taiwan; and the Play model comes from China.

In terms of specs, all four models carry similar racket frame designs with thick frame profiles on the sides that are almost identical to the super popular Nanoflare 700, but with some slight differences across all four models. On the recessed areas on the racket frame, only the Nanoflare 1000 Play has its top half recessed while the other three higher-end models have fully recessed racket frames.

The Z, Tour and Game models have a pretty consistent measurement of about 12.7mm for their frame thickness around the 3 and 9 o'clock regions, which then slimmed down slightly to around 12.4mm around the 10 and 2 o'clock areas. Surprisingly, the Play model has the thinnest frame out of the four models with 12.5mm at the 3 and 9 o'clock areas and only 11.8mm at the 10 and 2 o'clock areas. The Z and Tour models also have smaller frames compared to the Game and Play models. Yonex calls this their Compact Frame design and they measure about half a cm shorter and about 2mm to 3 mm thinner compared to the Game and Play models.

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Additionally, shaft diameters are pretty consistent at around 7mm to 7.1mm, and the same shaft length of 21cm, for all four models. However, there are some slight differences between the models in terms of handle lengths. The Z and Tour models have handle lengths of 18cm; the Game model is half a cm down at 17.5cm; and lastly, the Play model has the shortest handle at only 17cm. I do also want to note that the cone cap for the Play model is a basic one and once it is wrapped with my usual grip, it did have a larger-than-usual gradient from the handle to the cone. I’ve mentioned before that I like the Energy Boost Cap which is used on the Z, Tour and Game models but the basic cone on the Play certainly doesn’t impact how I play.

For recommended string tension ratings, all four rackets are rated at 28 lbs for the 4U models and 29 lbs for the 3U models. All the rackets that I have tested are 4U G5 rackets and strung with my usual set-up of Yonex Aerobite at 27 lbs by 29 lbs. From my stringing experience, the Tour model was pretty solid with no flex at all and the Game model also held up fine, albeit with some flexing. The Play model however had lots of flex during stringing and I personally would not go any higher than 27 lbs by 29 lbs if you really want to push the racket without damaging it.

In terms of playing feel and performance, as mentioned in my previous post, the Nanoflare 1000Z is super fast and feels very crisp with lots of stiffness. Hence it’s not the easiest racket to play with but it does have that Z factor when you connect with the shuttle properly and that gets me excited.

With the Nanoflare 1000 Tour, my feeling is that it is head heavier than the Nanoflare 1000Z. This is good news for those of you who think the Nanoflare 1000Z did not have enough head weight. However, this also means the Tour model feels slightly sluggish compared to the Z model. To verify this, I mounted the rackets onto the Yonex Precision Scan machine to measure their head weights, and sure enough, the Tour model did come out slightly ahead of the Z model.

The stiffness of the Tour model feels somewhat similar to the Z model, but with a slight difference. The level of stiffness of the Z model is more suited to my preference and it is just a bit more responsive compared to the Tour model but overall, they are super close! The timing demand of the Tour model is very similar to the Z model. You may have timing issues with the Tour model initially as it's fast and stiff but if you give it some time, you’ll find ways to enjoy it pretty soon.

Besides the slight difference in head weight, the Nanoflare 1000 Tour is probably the Tour model racket that feels the closest to its top-end counterpart, so well done to Yonex there. With every single iteration of the Pro, Tour, Game, Play racket launch, Yonex does close the gap in terms of feeling and that’s very good to see.

For the Nanoflare 1000 Game, I’ll be honest, in my first testing session, I wasn’t able to feel much difference between the Tour model and the Game model so that’s good news for budget-conscious players. Even on further testing, the only noticeable difference whilst playing is the stiffness of the shaft. The Game model's shaft feels slightly more whippy compared to the Tour model. The Game makes a slight flex high up in the shaft close to where the T joint is, but it certainly did not feel slower compared to the Tour model, even though it does not have a compact head. In fact, I find the Game model to be less demanding in terms of shot timings, which is a plus point for me.

Lastly, we take a look at the Nanoflare 1000 Play. You all know that I always have a soft spot for the Play rackets as they are normally super good value rackets, and the Nanoflare 1000 Play is no different. It has the lightest head among the four rackets, and that also means it’s the easiest racket to play with.

Price comparison of Yonex Play models
Price comparison of Yonex Play models

The Play model also feels more whippy compared to the other models, especially the Z and Tour models, so if you are someone who likes a bit of flex with your shafts, then the Play model is a nice one for you. Its whippiness did not compromise control or accuracy for me so I quite enjoyed it.

I do wonder why there is a wide difference in the pricing of the Play model rackets across the different Yonex racket series. In the UK, the Nanoflare 1000 Play is around 50% more expensive than the Arcsaber 7 Play. This puts the Nanoflare 1000 Play in a different price category and might not be as good value compared to the Arcsaber 7 Play.

Price comparison between 2 Yonex Play models
Price comparison between 2 Play models

Looking abroad, prices of the Play models are more similar but then again, that means some of the Play rackets are more expensive compared to the UK market. For me, if I can get three Arcsaber 7 Plays for the price of two Nanoflare 1000 Plays, I know which one I’d be picking.

In conclusion, speed and stiffness are certainly no issue for the Nanoflare 1000 Tour, Game and Play rackets, with the Nanoflare 1000 Play being the least stiff and the Nanoflare 1000 Tour having that little bit more head weight. If you are looking for a fast, speedy and stiff racket with crisp response, I think you will like the Nanoflare 1000 series but do note that the Tour model will need a little bit more learning time compared to the Game and Play models.

For me, the Game model is the easiest to play with among the lot and is certainly the sweet spot for this Nanoflare 1000 series. They are fantastic rackets but you do have to take into account how they are priced within your region and decide which is the best option for you. I’ve really enjoyed having that extra speed playing with the Nanoflare 1000 series rackets, so the real question for me would be: should I swap them with my usual rackets? What do you think? I’ll see you in the next post!

Thank you to BadmintonBay for sponsoring the video above, remember to use my discount code 'CKYEW' when you shop at Badminton Bay and check out their Racket Selector Tool too!

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