This is the easiest racket to play with! Ever! Let me tell you why.
As usual, let's start with the external features.
The Nanoflare 800 is part of the Yonex head light category series and is the current flagship racket in the series along side its sibling, the Nanoflare 700. It's a direct replacement model for the pretty popular but previous generation Nanoray 800.
In Yonex's promo video for the Nanoflare 800 launch, its tagline was: "Rapid Fire, the art of speed". I can tell you that this is an accurate description as this thing swings like hot knife through butter. So smooth!
On the visual side of things, it's got this super classy, understated, matt black finish with flashes of yellow and gold alongside streaks of red. Nice! I also really like that the Nanoflare decal on the frame is holographic.
Another key feature that stands out for this racket is its frame, Yonex calls it the Razor frame.
It is in fact Yonex's thinnest ever frame and it is incredible how thin this frame is, and it really shows especially when compared to other rackets.
Here is a visual comparison of the Nanoflare 800's frame with its slightly thicker sibling the Nanoflare 160FX.
The frame profile of the Nanoflare 800 is also fully recessed along the whole racket which hides all the grommets from protruding on the racket frame, thus making it more aerodynamic, faster and smoother. Most Yonex rackets designs tend to have this recessed design only on the top half of the frame, but as designers move towards faster swinging rackets, I believe we might see more of these fully recessed frames in the future.
I would also mention that the frame width is smaller than most other rackets I have come across. The difference in width is not obvious at first sight but upon measuring, its frame width is 18cm, which is 1cm less than my trusty old Arcsaber 10.
The frame carries the new sonic flare system which combines innovative graphite and carbon fibre layups such as the EX-High Modulus Graphite (HMG) and M40X from Toray Industries to achieve its intended strength and elasticity properties. The T-joint on the Nanoflare 800 is also smaller compared to other rackets.
Another nice feature of the Nanoflare 800 is its ultra slim shaft which only measures at 6.8mm. This ultra slim shaft is 6.8mm, which is not the thinnest (the thinnest i've measured so far is the Astrox 100ZZ at 6.3mm), but still pretty amazing, not to mention that it's actually slimmer than the second generation Astrox 88S.
Lastly, the shaft length is 21.5cm and has a handle length of 17.5cm so pretty normal altogether for a top-end Yonex racket.
Here is a table comparing the external features of the Nanoflare 800 to other Yonex rackets.
On the court with a Nanoflare 800
As soon as you step on court with the Nanoflare 800 and start swinging the racket around, the first thing you'll notice is how easy it is to have your racket head in place, ready for the shuttle. Pushes and drives are very easy but feels less weighty compared to a head heavy racket. Not sure if this analogy makes sense but I'll say it feels similar to tapping a plastic water bottle which is 2/3 full --- it feels kind of solid but slightly hollow at the same time.
Clears were very effortless thanks to its speedy and smooth swing along with a stiff shaft. Smashes, on the other hand, also felt slightly hollow and light, as you would expect from a head light racket. I had to focus really hard on getting body weight and a smooth carry on motion from my swing to be able to get more weight power onto my smashes.
With a super thin frame, recessed profile, smaller racket head as well as a decent stiff shaft, this thing was designed to slip through air like there's no tomorrow. Every single detail and design element was designed to speed up the racket to compensate for the slightly lower head weight.
The Nanoflare 800 is like a super lean mean machine and as soon as you get into anything that needs to be fast, this racket will absolutely reward you with pure speed. You might have to change your technique or timing slightly to generate more weight behind your shots but, boy, the shuttle just goes to where you want it to go, like a teacher's pet but yours. You might not have absolute power but you'll be amazed at the ease with which you'll be able to play the shots you want to.
It doesn't happen very often at all, but I might be swayed enough to change my preferred racket from the Arcsaber to the Nanoflare 800. My wife might not like it though, haha! Let me know what you think and I'll see you in the next one!