I originally collaborated with the guys over at Volant on a couple of articles and I got intrigued about their gear as it looks nicely polished.
I planned for this Volant Havoc S1 review a while back, but I wasn’t able to get the racket until recently as it was out of stock, and I had to travel in order to receive it.
As a quick reference point, this racket is slightly head heavy with medium flex, often suitable for the intermediate attacking-styled player.
Let’s dive into the review.
Table of Contents
Leading up to the review, I’ve had this racket on court for ten hours and I’m testing with intermediate and beginner players in mind.
This brand is independent, and as far as I know, only sells its gear on its website.
The buying experience was good – at the time of buying, I got free restringing included. It was a nice touch that they sprayed their logo on the strings as I’ve always felt that was missing when buying new rackets only to get the restrung immediately.
The only downside was that they ship from Australia, so I had to pay EU VAT (about 50% on top incl. handling fees during arrival), which I hadn’t thought of. But that’s not their fault.
The standard racket grip is nice and feels like that on the Yonex Astrox 77 Pro.
The racket head seems slightly smaller than on my Yonex Arcsaber 11 play, Astrox 100 Game, and Astrox 88D Game – similar to this Decathlon racket I tested. I’m guessing it’s to reduce drag and slice through the air.
As an intermediate player, I found the Havoc S1 easy to maneuver around the net. It took some adjustment to get used to the amount of power to apply in order to get it tightly over the net without making it too easy for the opponent.
It’s smooth but it’s a shame that the energy cap isn’t as flat as on the Yonex Game rackets. For someone who isn’t crazy experienced, it’s nice to be able to feel where you’re gripping the handle in order to adjust without looking.
This racket doesn’t feel crazy powerful – like Yonex’s Astrox 77 models, where you get a touch of head heaviness without it being anything crazy.
When I got used to the racket’s stiffness, I found it no problem to clear to the backline, or even produce a decently powerful smash. But there was less help, and I struggled more with power, when I was out of position compared to head heavier rackets like the Yonex Astrox 100 Game, for example.
As a player whose technique isn’t amazing, I’ve found the more powerful rackets particularly useful when out of position, under pressure, or just when I’m tired and moving slower.
This racket reminds me of Yonex’s Astrox 77 Play/Pro but with slightly more power. Where Yonex’s Play edition is beginner friendly and their Pro is for skilled players, their Game editions fall right in the middle and are usually suitable for intermediate players.
The Volant Havoc S1 felt like an intermediate Game edition of the Astrox 77 racket if that existed (which it doesn’t).
Midcourt and defense
I had no complaints about the racket when it comes to netplay and power, but I also didn’t find it amazing for my playing style.
However, it shines on the midcourt.
At the moment, this is my favorite racket for fast drive duels in doubles games. It felt easy to control the fast swings while generating enough power to surprise opponents and push them off balance.
It felt faster than the Yonex Astrox 88D Game and about the same as the Astrox 100 Game when you have to make those small adjustments on rapid fire-shots.
The Havoc S1 felt decent on smash blocks, but like the Astrox 77 Pro and Play, I needed an extra push to make the perfect blocks that let the shuttle sail right over the net without coming up short.
If you’re used to a more powerful racket, you might not find it as pleasant as you’ll need to adjust your technique instead of just letting the shuttle bounce off of the racket.
I noticed that led me to play more midcourt shots flying in an arch to get them back over the net as opposed to flatter shots until I felt more confident with the racket.
Midcourt and defense
This racket felt easy to play with all around the court, whether during net game, power shots, or fast combinations in between.
I didn’t notice any clear downsides for me as an intermediate player besides having less help with power when tired. That is to be expected with this type of racket though.
If I had to say something positive and negative about Volant Havoc S1
Fun to use during fast flat drive duels in doubles games!
It could be slightly stiffer.
Volant Havoc S1: the verdict
At about $100 (US), the Volant Havoc S1 falls right in between the Astrox 77 Play ($75) and the Pro ($150) and costs roughly the same as other intermediate rackets.
I find that to be reasonable provided you don’t have to pay VAT/import tax when shipping it.
If you can avoid that and you like this style of racket, you’re getting a good deal as it comes with free restringing with string and tension of your choice along with the logo spray.
Overall, it’s good value for money.
Volant Havoc S1 Specifications
|Balance Point||Head Heavy|
|Weight / Grip||4U G5|
The marketing for this racket
The racket is marketed with the following technology:
|NanoSpec Technology||Creates a lighter yet stronger frame|
|TurboShaft||Increases racket snap-back for acceleration & control|
|Anti-shock technology||Improves repulsion & provides more power|
|3P DynaDistribution||Raises accuracy & enlarges the sweet spot|
I wasn’t able to find in-depth details about these technologies, so it’s difficult for me to compare them to those from more well-known brands.
Best player types for Volant Havoc S1
Let’s look at this racket compared to other similar ones.
The ideal player type
If you’re looking for a middle-of-the-road type of racket that’s good in most areas of the game, you’ll like the Volant Havoc S1.
If you’re unsure which racket to get, this will be a good choice if you’re a high beginner or low intermediate player.
The non-ideal player type (you might not like this racket if…)
This racket isn’t for you if you love raw power or crazy speed. It also isn’t for you if you like your rackets very stiff.
You’ll probably prefer a faster racket if you like playing the front court in doubles games.
Volant Havoc S1 compared to other popular rackets
Next, let’s look at how this racket feels to play with compared to other popular rackets.
Volant Havoc S1 vs. Astrox 77 Pro and Play
As mentioned, the Havoc S1 feels very similar to the Yonex Astrox Pro. The difference is that it’s slightly more flexible and has a tiny bit more power to it.
The same is true for the Astrox 77 Play, but here it feels slightly stiffer and less forgiving.
Volant Havoc S1 vs. Arcsaber 11 Play
Compared to one of my favorite rackets, the Arcsaber 11 Play, this racket is quite similar. It has slightly more power but offers less control and can feel more difficult to handle around the net.
While this Volant racket seems stiffer on paper, the head weight can make it “bend” more, especially during power shots due to the momentum we generate when hitting. That can make the even-balanced Arcsaber 11 Play feel at least as stiff at times, if not slightly more.
- Strong, all-around racket for the intermediate player who likes a bit of help with power
- Terrific for drive duels in doubles games but I wish it could offer slightly more power on smash blocks