I recently got my hands on the new Yonex Astrox 77 Play in the 4U weight class as I was concerned about overloading my elbow by swinging my heavier 3U racket around.
With my old racket, I had a powerful smash, block, and lift but I often found myself at a loss during fast drive duels, net duels, and drops. I especially felt exposed during the fast back-and-forths we often experience in doubles, as my racket wasn’t built for rapid grip changes and swift swings.
At first, I hesitated to change the racket as I had an upcoming tournament and just a few playing sessions to get used to it. I couldn’t find any Astrox 77 Play reviews in English but I took the gamble because of the affordable price.
To be honest with you, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I enjoy the feeling of a good power smash. Changing a very head-heavy racket and the semi-stiff shaft out with the Astrox 77 Play’s flexible one and a balance point that is almost even felt like a lot at once.
Yonex Astrox 77 Play review
I got the racket restrung with my usual Yonex BG80 power-based string at 10.5 KG (23 lbs) and I’ve played more than fourteen hours with it.
The first thing I noticed was the surprising lack of power, especially in my smash, considering that it’s a somewhat head heavy racket. At times I felt that it was about as powerful as some even balanced rackets in the same 4U weight class.
It mostly came to show in the smash, though, as it felt easy to send decent lifts and attacking clears far even when I was slightly late. I guess that tad bit of head heaviness the racket has, helps.
However, for me, the real charm has been with the drop shots as I’ve found them easier to control. They are a powerful technique in badminton for those of us who might not be able to compete on stamina and speed.
The other thing I enjoy with power-based rackets is smash blocks where we feed off the power coming from the opponent’s smash and just need to touch the shuttle to send an effective block back.
With the Astrox 77 Play, I had to adjust my technique and add a touch of extra “whip” to guide the shuttle over the net. It gives you more control over the shot but compared to other power-based rackets in the same weight class, I often found myself missing just that extra bit that makes the difference.
On the positive side, I noticed that my drive duels were easy to keep up with. I was able to react fast and with better precision, than say, the Astrox 100 Game sledgehammer that would simply send everything back with full power (and sometimes too much of it).
Midcourt, blocks, and drives
Net play was certainly more nuanced compared to more power-based rackets, which is hardly a surprise. Where other rackets often rock at power and suck at simple net play (or vice versa), this racket is decent in both areas and doesn’t feel too bad across the board.
Despite the fact that I often found myself mistiming shots and had to adjust my technique quite a bit (probably due to my habits from slightly stiffer rackets), I think you’ll find the Yonex Astrox 77 Play easy to play with if you’re a beginner and doesn’t have set habits.
If you’re used to a very head light and fast 4U racket, The Astrox 77 Play might feel slightly slower but that is to be expected as it falls into the head heavy racket category.
Overall, considering its budget-friendly price point in the 50 EUR-range in Europe, it’s great value for money.
Next, let’s look at which type of player this racket is for.
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Yonex Astrox 77 Play: the verdict
Yonex Astrox 77 Play specifications
|Balance Point||Head Heavy|
|Weight / Grip||4U G5|
|Yonex’s recommended strings||Control Players: AEROBITE|
Hard Hitters: EXBOLT65
Best player types for Yonex Astrox 77 Play
The ideal player type
Advanced beginner players who are looking for a racket to give them extra power will enjoy playing with this racket. Especially, if you play doubles as it’s great for both the front court, rear court, and in defense.
I could also see this being a great gift for someone who wants a new racket but doesn’t know which specifications they like.
The non-ideal player type
Players who are used to a stiffer racket and need less “assistance” with their technique to generate power might feel held back by the flexible shaft.
Players who prefer a heavy smash or a very light and fast racket, due to a specific strategy might find other rackets a better fit. It’s a great all around racket that isn’t leaning heavily toward attack or defense.
Yonex Astrox 77 Play compared to other popular rackets
Here are a few general reference points compared to other popular rackets.
Astrox 77 Play vs. Astrox 77 Tour and Pro
The Yonex Astrox 77 Play is very similar to the Astrox 77 Tour and Astrox 77 Pro but more flexible and intended to help less experienced players in every aspect of their game. The Tour and Pro models are slightly less forgiving but offer more power and control if your skills are up for the task.
I’ve recently reviewed the Astrox 77 Pro, and it’s too stiff and unforgiving for many intermediate players, especially on strokes like smashes that require good positioning and a clean hit.
Both the Tour and Pro are higher priced, whereas the 77 Play is the budget-friendly edition of the same racket.
Astrox 77 Play vs. Arcsaber 11 Play
Yonex’ Arcsaber 11 Play is within the same budget range as the Astrox 77 Play but is even more middle of the road with less head heavy balance point. That one has a better shuttle hold and feel to help you guide the shuttle around the court.
Both rackets are within the same ballpark but I liked the Arcsaber 11 Play better as an intermediate player whereas the Astrox 77 Play feels more suitable for beginners.
Besides that, I found a lot of similarities between the two rackets and you might find it hard to tell them apart at first glance.
Astrox 77 Play vs. Astrox 88D Game
Yonex’ Astrox 88D Game is the budget version of the popular 88D Pro, which is marketed as the rear court power racket in doubles games. It’s more head heavy than the Astrox 77 Play, less of an all-around racket, and more focused on power and attack.
Based on my preferences for power, I found the Astrox 88D Game more fun to play with but it’s also much stiffer, meaning that unless you’re at the intermediate level, it’s likely not forgiving enough.
- The Yonex Astrox 77 Play is a great all around racket for the beginner and who need a little help generating power in their games
- It’s easy to play with and forgiving on off-days when we don’t play well