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Yonex Nanoflare Nextage Badminton Racket Review vs Nanoflare 1000Z vs Nanoflare 800 Pro vs Astrox Nextage

The Yonex Nanoflare Nextage badminton racket is Yonex’s second Nextage badminton racket after the Astrox Nextage that was launched earlier last year. In this post, I’ll be taking a close look at the Yonex Nanoflare Nextage as well as comparing it against other popular Nanoflare rackets, such as the Nanoflare 1000Z, the Nanoflare 800 Pro, as well as the original Yonex Astrox Nextage.

Yonex Nanoflare Nextage badminton racket
Yonex Nanoflare Nextage

When I reviewed the Astrox Nextage last year (click here for the full video), I said I wasn’t sure if Yonex would be starting a new mini Nextage series of rackets. With the launch of the Nanoflare Nextage, I guess we now know the answer. Perhaps we can even expect to see an Arcsaber Nextage soon too!

Overall, the Nanoflare Nextage is keeping with the original Nextage philosophy. Nextage rackets are developed and aimed to cater to a wider range of players who prefer rackets that make it easier for them to play the shots they want when they want to!

In terms of looks, you won't miss the Nanoflare Nextage’s full white finish, which reminds me of the Nanoflare 555 as there are not many full white matte rackets around. However, as I compare the Nanoflare Nextage to its Nanoflare cousins, the Nanoflare 1000Z, the Nanoflare 800 Pro, and the original Astrox Nextage, I could spot a fair few visual differences immediately.

A particularly obvious difference would be the grommet strips at the base of the racket frame around both sides of the T joint of the rackets. Yonex calls this grommet strips the Speed Assist Bumper on its other rackets, but on the Nanoflare Nextage, it is called the Connected Grommets. On the Nanoflare 1000Z, the grommet strip covers only 4 grommet holes on each side, whereas, on the Nanoflare Nextage, the grommet strip covers the length of 6 grommet holes on each side, making it 50% longer compared to the ones on the Nanoflare 1000Z. The finishing of the Speed Assist Bumper and the Connected Grommets are different too as the Speed Assist Bumper is glossy and the Connected Grommets are matte. There are no grommet strips on the Astrox Nextage or the Nanoflare 800 Pro.

Another difference is in the frame profiles. Generally, flagship Nanoflare rackets tend to have wide profile frames with rather sharp edges, as you can see in the Nanoflare 1000Z and Nanoflare 800 Pro. The Nanoflare Nextage shares the same wide profile frame but it has a more rounded finish on both sides of its frame. It's certainly not square like the Astrox Nextage but not sharp either. It's quite rounded so I would expect swings from this racket to be smooth.

Additionally, the Nanoflare Nextage does not have Yonex’s vibration-dampening material (VDM) technology which was present in the Astrox Nextage. I loved the feel of the Astrox Nextage with VDM so I was slightly disappointed not to see it here, although Yonex mentioned that they have incorporated its Nanocell Neo technology at the top of the Nanoflare Nextage's frame to soften the feel of this racket.

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In terms of measurements, both the Astrox Nextage and Nanoflare Nextage have a shaft diameter of 7mm, which is pretty standard as the Nanoflare 1000Z has a shaft diameter of 7.1mm and the Nanoflare 800 Pro has a shaft diameter of 6.9mm. In terms of shaft length, all three Nanoflares have the same shaft length of 21cm while the Astrox Nextage was half a cm more at 21.5cm.

If we then look at the frame size, the Nanoflare Nextage has a bigger frame compared to the Nanoflare 1000Z but it is about the same size as the Nanoflare 800 Pro and the Astrox Nextage. The Nanoflare Nextage has a frame height of 23.7cm and a frame width of 18.5cm. All three Nanoflares have fully recessed frame profiles whilst the Astrox Nextage only has half of its racket frame recessed.

For frame thickness, the Nanoflare 1000Z and the Nanoflare800 Pro have some of the thickest frames in the market at around 12.5mm since they are designed to provide extra stability and reduce frame warping. The Nanoflare Nextage is slightly thinner at 11.6mm, coupled with a rounder frame profile. The Astrox Nextage is in turn, just a tad thinner at 11.3mm but with a more square-ish frame profile design.

The Nanoflare Nextage has a handle length of 17.5cm whilst the Nanoflare 800 Pro and Astrox Nextage is slightly shorter at 17cm. The Nanoflare 1000Z has the longest handle at 18cm. Also, both the top-end Nanoflares, the Nanoflare 800 Pro and the Nanoflare 1000Z are made in Japan whilst both Nextage rackets are made in Taiwan.

In terms of stringing, all four rackets in the 4U spec, including the Nanoflare Nextage, are rated up to 28lbs for tension. The Nanoflare 800 Pro and Nanoflare 1000Z which also come in 3U spec, are rated up to 29lbs. The Nanoflare Nextage only comes in 4U spec and I had no issues stringing it with my usual string set-up of Aerobite at 27lbs by 29lbs. However, for the longevity of the frame, I wouldn’t advise going above the recommended stringing tension.

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So how does the Nanoflare Nextage play? First of all, it feels very head-light and swings very fast! I’ve said in my previous reviews of the Nanoflare 1000Z and Nanoflare 800 Pro that they swing very fast too but because of their wide frame profiles, they don't feel as buttery smooth as rackets with thinner frames like the first-generation Nanoflare 800. The Nanoflare Nextage feels somewhere in between the original Nanoflare 800, and the wider frame rackets Nanoflare 1000Z and Nanoflare 800 Pro. It swings slightly smoother compared to the Nanoflare 1000Z and Nanoflare 800 Pro, probably due to a lighter head and slightly thinner frame.

Here are the numbers that I’ve measured on the Yonex Precision Scan for the Nanoflare Nextage.

Besides this, the Nanoflare 1000Z and Nanoflare 800 Pro are stiffer than the Nanoflare Nextage. Yonex rates the Nanoflare Nextage as a medium stiff racket and I would say it's medium to medium soft. When you are hitting, the Nanoflare Nextage feels comfortable but a little spongy compared to the Nanoflare 1000Z and Nanoflare 800 Pro. Additionally, because of the lack of head weight, the Nanoflare Nextage can sometimes feel slightly unstable when you come in contact with the shuttle. Especially for those shots where you are not in perfect balance and you need the racket’s head weight to help you carry the shuttle through, those did not work very well for me with the Nanoflare Nextage. I also felt that the Nanoflare Nextage felt slightly hollow compared to the Nanoflare 1000Z and Nanoflare 800 Pro.

However, for anything that requires speed, the Nanoflare Nextage can give you plenty! Defense, as well as whippy long drives, are super easy with this racket. I think Yonex has completely nailed the head-light version of the Nextage racket which is designed to help intermediate players get to the next level or the ‘next stage’ of their game. The characteristic of this racket lends itself well to players looking for that little more length on their clears, that little bit easier to pull off harder power shots, that little bit more height on their lifts, and that extra speed and maneuverability on the court. If you want something very fast and super easy to pick up and play with, this will 100% be your racket. If you’ve been struggling with rackets that are too stiff for you, this might also be nice for you. You won’t get much raw power with the Nanoflare Nextage due to the lack of head weight but you won't have a hard time trying to get your shots away.

Out of the four rackets, the Nanoflare Nextage has the lightest head, followed by the Nanoflare 800 Pro and Nanoflare 1000Z which I think have very similar head weight, and ending with the Astrox Nextage. In terms of hitting feel, the Nanoflare Nextage certainly is the softest one of the bunch, with the Astrox Nextage coming second, and the Nanoflare 800 Pro and the Nanoflare 1000Z being the stiffest and with the crispiest feel.

In terms of raw speed, I would put the Nanoflare Nextage just ahead of the Nanoflare 800 Pro and the Nanoflare 1000Z but only because the Nanoflare Nextage has a lighter head. I think the Nanoflare Nextage has a very different feel of ‘speed’ compared to the Nanoflare 800 Pro and Nanoflare 1000Z. The Nanoflare Nextage has what I describe as a ‘soft’ speed and the Nanoflare 800 Pro and Nanoflare 1000Z have a more reactive and crisp ‘speed’. The Astrox Nextage is last in speed as it is a head-heavy racket although it's not slow by any means by today’s standards.

In short, I think the Nanoflare Nextage would make an amazing first ‘proper’ racket for many amateur players, as well as for those who are looking for an ‘easier’ racket to play with. If you like super stiff, head-heavy rackets, you might find the Nanoflare Nextage too soft.

What are your thoughts on this Nanoflare Nextage? Enjoy your badminton and I’ll see you in the next post.

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