Dunlop F 3.0 Tour Racquet Review
- More power than previous 300 Tours
- Room to customize
- Spin friendly
- A tad light for a player's frame
- Not much plow through
Get ready for a revolution in Dunlop racquets. The new F 3.0 Tour replaces the Biomimetic 300 Tour with more than just a new name. All of our playtesters agreed the new offering from Dunlop was faster through the air and offered a crisper, more modern feel. The maneuverability was apparent all over the court but really manifested itself on serves, where our whole team loved it. Several of our players would've liked a little more heft for some added plow through, but for the most part this racquet was a crowd-pleaser. Those who have been fans of Dunlop in the past will surely enjoy the added pop and maneuverability. Dunlop's goal to revolutionize its racquet line and make it more suited for the modern game was definitely achieved with this new F 3.0 Tour.
Groundstrokes - Score: 86
All of our playtesters found the F 3.0 Tour to have a very different feel than Dunlop racquets of the past. Chris loved the new updates from Dunlop. He said, "Quite a departure from the 300 Tour it replaces. This racquet offers a much crisper and faster feel. I found easier access to pace and a much more modern feel. I liked how easy it was to get the racquet through contact. I was finding lots of pace and spin on my shots. The stringbed offered lots of bite and feel with every string we put in it, and I ended up testing this racquet with about five different co-poly strings. My topspin shots were leaving the racquet with good action and that enabled me to swing aggressively without fear of over-hitting. I was getting good spin on my slice backhand, too. I could take an aggressive swing and knife a low, skidding slice."
Troy liked the blend of maneuverability and stability he found from the baseline. He said, "My first impression when swinging this racquet was that it was very easy to maneuver in comparison to the heftier player's racquets I usually play with. Even though this is a lighter racquet than I usually play with, I still found a solid and stable feel upon impact. I found a forgiving sweetspot that allowed me to attack my groundstrokes with heavy topspin. Although this frame felt stiffer than most of the Dunlops I've used in the past, I was pleasantly surprised to feel no awkward vibrations. I liked that there was more power in this frame than previous versions, but I could still control my groundies with lots of spin. I was able to generate deep, penetrating slice, as well as heavy topspin. This is by far the best blend of power and control I have found from the baseline in a Dunlop yet!"
Andy really enjoyed the lively feel off the stringbed on his groundstrokes. He offered, "This racquet felt light and quick through the hitting zone on my groundstrokes, which allowed me to generate lots of racquet head speed. It has a much crisper, livelier, more modern feel than previous Dunlop racquets. The ball jumps off the strings with lots of power and spin. However, on off-center shots the sweetspot dies quickly around the edges of the hoop, and the racquet is not as stable as I would have liked. In addition, I would have liked a little more mass in the head for my backhand slices, because I found them floating long quite often."
Carol was able to feature the versatility in her game. She said, "The racquet provided a very smooth stroke and strike point. I adjusted to this racquet very quickly and felt comfortable and confident in its performance. I found myself mixing the pace and spin on my groundstrokes with ease. This racquet allowed me to be on the offensive, with great power and control. When I needed consistency I was able to maneuver the racquet to provide more clearance and height over the net. I really enjoyed changing the pace with this racquet, which is something I am working on in my game. I found myself mixing in drop shots, angles and slices a lot more often in my point play. The only struggle I had with this racquet was with balls up and out of my strike zone. I felt a little uncomfortable and weak when hitting over some of these shots."
Volleys - Score: 84
Our testers loved the maneuverability as well as the comfortable feel of the F 3.0 Tour at the net. Enjoying all of these elements, along with a surprising level of stability, was Troy, who said, "I was pleasantly surprised with how stable this racquet was at net. Despite being a bit on the light side of what I typically use, this racquet had a solid and crisp feel. I found ample depth on my volleys, allowing me to place the ball easily near the baseline. Maneuverability was superb, and I found it easy to position the racquet so that I could return hard shots hit into my body. I found enough touch to hit angles and place the ball near the lines with confidence. Although this racquet was stable for its weight class, it didn't have the scalpel-like feel of my Wilson Six.One 95. So although it worked well at net, I would need to add some lead weight to get the stability I want when hitting volleys."
Andy felt that the F 3.0 Tour played well at the net. He offered, "The racquet was very maneuverable and very solid around the net. One of my favorite places on the court with this racquet was around the net. I could punch crisp, clean volleys with good underspin close to the baseline, and the frame had enough touch and feel to give me great control over my soft drop and angle volleys. Since it's on the lighter side it's an easy stick to handle around the net."
Chris felt the maneuverability of this racquet really manifested itself around the net. He said, "I really enjoyed the crisp and fast feel of this racquet at net. I was able to get some good pop on my volleys. Anything above the height of the net could be dispatched with some solid punch. I also liked the maneuverable feel when I had to stretch wide or was faced with a tough low volley. There's still plenty of room for me to add weight to increase the power and stability, as the racquet is a tad light for me. However, I was very happy with this racquet in stock form at the net."
Carol enjoyed this racquet around the net, too. She said, "I really loved the feel on this shot. The ball off the strings felt clean and controlled. I was able to change the pace of the ball easily and be consistent with my volley as needed."
Serves - Score: 85
Our whole team felt that the most enjoyable stroke with the F 3.0 Tour was the serve. It satisfied all of Carol's desires on her serves. She said, "I served really well with this racquet. I like a racquet that will give me a little pop and a lot of control on the serve. This racquet met both of these requirements for both my first and second serve. I found myself in an aggressive position after almost every serve."
Chris felt this racquet really allowed him to utilize his spin serving arsenal. He offered, "The amount of pace and spin I found on serve was very good. When going for a flat serve I felt like I was getting solid pace, but it was my spin serves that impressed me the most. I was able to hit both kick and slice serves with good pace. I was finding more angle and I hit way more aces than I usually do with other racquets. I have one of the slower serves among the group of testers I hit with and usually don't hit aces, but with this racquet I was getting several aces every set. I wouldn't say I was upping my top speed, but I was definitely getting more pace on wide serves, and the spin I was finding helped kick the ball away from the returner."
Troy agreed and really enjoyed serving with this stick. He said, "I felt this racquet really shone on serve. I could get a lot of spin and movement due to the maneuverability of this racquet. I found the added pop gave me some easy power when going for flat serves up the middle, and I felt really connected to the ball when going for targets near the lines. The biggest advantage of this racquet, compared to previous models, was the added power, and it still felt maneuverable, which allowed me to get lots of racquet head speed for some easy service holds."
Andy got the perfect blend of power and control with this racquet. He said, "I loved serving with this racquet. It felt super fast through the air, enabling me to generate a lot of racquet head speed. The ball exploded off the strings, and the tight string pattern allowed me to stay really accurate, especially on my flatter serves. Serves and volleys were my favorite shots with this racquet."
Serve Returns - Score: 81
The F 3.0 Tour was easy to swing on the return of serve. Chris really felt the maneuverability allowed him to return effectively. He said, "It was easy to return serve because it was so easy to whip this racquet around. I was able to catch up to a lot of fast serves and still direct them where I wanted, even when catching the ball a little late. When I was able to step in and take the ball out in front the racquet responded with ample pace and impressive spin. Even when strung up with a firm poly string, this racquet felt very comfortable and responsive."
Troy liked the firm feel and the ease of swinging the F 3.0 Tour. He offered, "I loved the nice firm pop that I got on my returns without having to take huge rips at the ball. I found I could get good depth on my returns, and the racquet was maneuverable enough that I could flick my wrist if I was stretched out or off balance. The slice backhand return was one of my favorites with this racquet, and I found the 18x20 string pattern to bite the ball and keep it low. My returns were plenty effective with this racquet in stock form, but I feel that adding some lead weight could turn this racquet into a real weapon."
Andy liked the maneuverability but felt the racquet was lacking a bit in stability on the return. He said, "I enjoyed returning with this racquet but would've liked a little more weight in the head for increased stability when I'm stretched wide. I loved the maneuverability, but I might have traded a little higher swingweight for more control and stability, especially when hitting a defensive return. When I tried to chip, unless I caught it just right, I found the racquet fluttering in my hand a bit."
Carol liked returning with this racquet when it was in her wheelhouse. She said, "I felt very comfortable with this shot, as long as I wasn't hitting the ball up and out of my strike zone. I found that I was giving weak replies to kick serves, especially on my backhand side. When the ball was in my strike zone I was able to take the offensive with my return of serve with control and confidence."
Overall - Score: 84
Chris - "I liked the spin, control, feel, comfort and responsive feel. This racquet also felt very fast, and that made it easy to find both pace and spin."
Andy - "There's a lot to like about this new offering from Dunlop. I liked how easy it is to swing. It's very solid and crisp feeling, making it feel like a more modern frame. It's super solid around the net, and I felt I could bomb the serve with it, too."
Carol - "The comfort level with this racquet was fabulous. I was surprised that I didn't need to make a bigger adjustment, given the lighter weight of this racquet compared to my Wilson BLX Six.One 95. This racquet helped me mix up the pace and spin level of the ball, which is something I am actively working on. This racquet complemented almost all aspects of my game. I really didn't feel any vibration or shock to my arm at strike point, which is a big bonus for me."
Troy - "I enjoyed the added power, compared to previous 300 Tours, and the great control. The feel is nice and firm, with no jarring effect on the arm."
Chris - "I can't help but want to add a leather grip and some lead tape to this racquet. Even though I liked it very much in stock form, as it offers a crisp, fast and modern feel, I think an old-school leather grip and added plow through would feel great with this racquet."
Andy - "Though I enjoyed the maneuverability, I would put a little more weight on it so that I could have a little more plow through and stability on off-center shots. And although it was lively, this frame almost feels hollow. Maybe this is just another way of saying that I would have liked slightly more heft."
Carol - "My only qualm with this racquet was returning balls hit up and out of my strike zone. I typically like to step in and hit these types of shots with a flat reply, but I found that many of my balls were hitting the net and that my swing felt sluggish. I quickly adapted and replied with consistent topspin shots back, but I didn't feel as confident stepping in and being aggressive with these shots."
Troy - "I would add some lead weight to provide more plow through on groundstrokes and provide a little more stability at net. Besides that, this is an impressive stick."
Comparing the racquet to others they've tried, our testers said:
Chris - "I thought this was an interesting and welcome update from Dunlop. It takes a racquet like the very control-oriented 300 Tour and adds some of the crispness, spin and pace of a racquet like the Babolat AeroPro Drive. I would say the result sits pretty much right in the middle of the two, and players used to older Dunlop racquets will find this one much more responsive. I'd also be looking at racquets like the Head Youtek IG Prestige S, Donnay XP Dual Silver and Wilson BLX Blade 98 if I was interested in this one."
Andy - "This racquet felt a lot like the Wilson K Blade 98. Fast through the air, good pop of the strings, but a little flimsy on off-center hits."
Carol - "I was really surprised how well I adjusted to the Dunlop F 3.0 Tour. The Dunlop is a much lighter racquet than I am used to, but I adapted quickly and felt very comfortable with it. I don't think it needed added weight or any customization to help compliment my playing style. I still prefer my Wilson BLX Six.One 95, but I think the Dunlop F 3.0 Tour is a great Open level player's racquet."
Troy - "I found this racquet to be very unique, providing a feel that I have been searching for but haven't found until now! I feel that this racquet compares well to the Head Youtek IG Speed 18x20, as well the Wilson KBlade 98, which was my racquet of choice for a couple of years. This stick has the stiff feel of a Babolat AeroPro Drive, but the solidness that I typically find in some of my favorite player's frames, such as my Wilson BLX Six.One 95. Add a bit of lead weight to this racquet and I would definitely feel comfortable playing a tournament with it in hand."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Chris: 5.0 all-court player currently using the Volkl C10 Pro 2012. Chris uses a full-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a one-handed backhand.
Andy: Open level all court player with a semi-western forehand grip and a two handed backhand. Andy currently using a Yonex RDiS 100 Mid.
Carol: Open level baseliner currently using a Wilson BLX Six.One 95 (16x18). Carol is an aggressive player who uses an eastern forehand grip and a two handed backhand.
Troy: 5.0 lefty all-court player with a full Western Forehand and a two-handed backhand. Troy currently plays with a Wilson BLX Six.One 95 18x20 (2012 version).
Review date: October 2012. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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