Tennis Warehouse

Mantis 300 Racquet Review

Video Review

Price:

$

Mantis 300 Scores
Comfort 75
Touch/Feel 80
Serves 78
Groundstrokes 78
Returns 79
Slice 80
Topspin 79
Volleys 80
Overall 79

Upsides

  • Control
  • Stability
  • Maneuverability

Downsides

  • Difficult to generate power

Summary

The Mantis 300 provides incredible comfort and spin from all areas of the court. Our playtesters enjoyed the control and pace production from the baseline, and it really allowed them to be comfortable from the moment they stepped on the court. Generating their own power was difficult for some, as the racquet was a little underpowered due to its light weight and low swingweight. This carried over to other areas of the court, particularly serve returns. Some of the team couldn't quite get what they wanted on the ball from this light racquet. On serves, most of our playtesters found it easy to hit spin and had great control,too. Volleying with the Mantis 300 was a clear favorite for all our testers, as they found enough stability to go along with the maneuverability. All in all, the Mantis 300 provided great control, and was spin-friendly and maneuverable from all areas of the court.

Groundstrokes - Score: 78

The Mantis 300 really provided control from the baseline, and our playtesters felt confident hitting shots all over the court. Tiffani felt confident from the start. She said, "I felt pretty comfortable with the Mantis 300 after just a few minutes. I like to hit a little high on the stringbed, but I felt the Mantis 300 responded with better feel and more power lower in the stringbed. When I can, I like to take the ball early, and I really liked how fast the Mantis 300 came around and allowed me to hover around the baseline or even hang out just inside it. The power level was also good for my style of play. Because I could take the ball early I could be more aggressive and use my opponent's power more effectively, which really benefited me when I was hitting from the midcourt and trying to hit sharp angles. I had to be cognizant of trying to hit with more spin, though, or I would send the ball slightly wide or long. The Mantis 300 is spin friendly enough, but I wouldn't call it one of those AeroPro Drive type of racquets that is a spin monster."

Karly really appreciated the balance of the racquet, saying, "The swingweight was low enough to where it was easy to swing, but heavy enough to produce good control and enough power for me. The sweetspot also produced really nice pop, and I was able to produce a decent amount of power when I wanted to hit more aggressively. However, for me that sweetspot wasn't very forgiving. The racquet made it quite clear when the ball wasn't hit in the sweetspot. I could see and feel the difference in power when I hit outside of it."

Jason thought the Mantis 300 was a very control-oriented racquet. He said, "I found it very easy to swing, and I was just as happy hitting a shot down the line as I was hitting cross court or inside out. Because it's so low powered I was able to take huge swings at the ball, generating lots of spin to keep shots inside the court. However, I did find that many of my shots landed short because the racquet is so underpowered. It took a lot of energy to consistently get depth on my shots. I did enjoy how the racquet handled slice shots, and I really loved that firm, crisp response."

Brittany liked being able to hit big and steal pace from her opponents. She said, "This racquet was very comfortable to play with right from the start. The specs were right where I wanted them to be. Some of the positives I found when hitting groundstrokes were the maneuverability and stability. The Mantis 300 was very easy to swing, and I found my best results when I hit relaxed, longer strokes. Something that stood out to me was how easily and effectively I could hit my slice with this racquet. Especially on my backhand side, my defensive and offensive slices would stay low. One of things I struggled with was the lack of power on groundstrokes. When I was playing someone who hit the ball hard or with heavy spin, I had no problem using that pace on my own groundstroke. However, when I had to create my own power I struggled to hit with the pace and depth I wanted."

The Mantis 300 really provided control from the baseline, and our playtesters felt confident hitting shots all over the court. Tiffani felt confident from the start. She said, "I felt pretty comfortable with the Mantis 300 after just a few minutes. I like to hit a little high on the stringbed, but I felt the Mantis 300 responded with better feel and more power lower in the stringbed. When I can, I like to take the ball early, and I really liked how fast the Mantis 300 came around and allowed me to hover around the baseline or even hang out just inside it. The power level was also good for my style of play. Because I could take the ball early I could be more aggressive and use my opponent's power more effectively, which really benefited me when I was hitting from the midcourt and trying to hit sharp angles. I had to be cognizant of trying to hit with more spin, though, or I would send the ball slightly wide or long. The Mantis 300 is spin friendly enough, but I wouldn't call it one of those AeroPro Drive type of racquets that is a spin monster."

Karly really appreciated the balance of the racquet, saying, "The swingweight was low enough to where it was easy to swing, but heavy enough to produce good control and enough power for me. The sweetspot also produced really nice pop, and I was able to produce a decent amount of power when I wanted to hit more aggressively. However, for me that sweetspot wasn't very forgiving. The racquet made it quite clear when the ball wasn't hit in the sweetspot. I could see and feel the difference in power when I hit outside of it."

Jason thought the Mantis 300 was a very control-oriented racquet. He said, "I found it very easy to swing, and I was just as happy hitting a shot down the line as I was hitting cross court or inside out. Because it's so low powered I was able to take huge swings at the ball, generating lots of spin to keep shots inside the court. However, I did find that many of my shots landed short because the racquet is so underpowered. It took a lot of energy to consistently get depth on my shots. I did enjoy how the racquet handled slice shots, and I really loved that firm, crisp response."

Brittany liked being able to hit big and steal pace from her opponents. She said, "This racquet was very comfortable to play with right from the start. The specs were right where I wanted them to be. Some of the positives I found when hitting groundstrokes were the maneuverability and stability. The Mantis 300 was very easy to swing, and I found my best results when I hit relaxed, longer strokes. Something that stood out to me was how easily and effectively I could hit my slice with this racquet. Especially on my backhand side, my defensive and offensive slices would stay low. One of things I struggled with was the lack of power on groundstrokes. When I was playing someone who hit the ball hard or with heavy spin, I had no problem using that pace on my own groundstroke. However, when I had to create my own power I struggled to hit with the pace and depth I wanted."

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Volleys - Score: 80

Maneuverability and control made the Mantis 300 comfortable in the hand when hitting volleys. Jason offered, "I found it to be fast and maneuverable, which was great for those reflex volleys. The stability was surprisingly solid even when I was fully stretched out for a shot, and because I didn't need to hit with a lot of power the low powered response wasn't a big deal."

Brittany felt comfortable and in control at the net with the Mantis 300, saying, "This racquet had three things going for it up at net: maneuverability, stability and feel. I found it very easy to get my racquet into the correct position on every volley, and the racquet was stable enough to handle even the hardest hit balls. What impressed me the most was the feel. I definitely don't have the best hands, but I was able to hit short and angle volleys without any problems."

Feeling like she could be aggressive at net was Tiffani. She said, "As I felt I could attack short balls pretty easily with the Mantis 300, I found myself coming up to the net a little more often than usual. Once there, I was pretty comfortable. The racquet felt stable, though less so when hitting high in the hoop, and was easy to maneuver. Touch was average for me, and the feel was crisp and clean."

Karly liked the manageability of the Mantis 300 at net. She said, "I thought the racquet provided good control and maneuverability when volleying. The racquet was easy to swing and directed my shots where I wanted them to go. The control and maneuverability combo gave me more confidence to come up to the net when hitting against harder hitters. However, I didn't care for the feel of the racquet. I'd consider the racquet to be on the stiff side, and up at the net was where I noticed the most discomfort. I've had wrist problems in the past and didn't think the Mantis helped with that. The discomfort on the arm made it hard for me to play up at the net for very long."

Serves - Score: 78

Although lacking a little in power, the Mantis 300 still allowed the testers to place the ball where they wanted. Karly liked the ease of maneuverability on serve. She said, "I enjoyed being able to direct the ball effortlessly when serving. The low swingweight made the racquet easy to serve with when my shoulder was feeling tired. However, even though the racquet made it easy to predict the direction of where the ball was going, the lack of a forgiving sweetspot made the power unpredictable when serving. I felt more inconsistent than usual with the pace of my serves, and it was obvious when I didn't hit the ball in the sweetspot."

Finding a solid response, but no extra fire on serve, was Tiffani, who offered, "The performance was pretty standard on serve for me. The Mantis 300 offered me some middling pace with moderate spin, but it wasn't anything that blew my socks off. I think my favorite part of serving with this racquet was good directional control, which is something I found from all areas of the court."

Brittany couldn't find the power and spin she normally likes, but found the racquet to be solid. She said, "Like my groundstrokes, I had to be focused on being loose and relaxed on my serves to get power. My best serve to hit with this racquet was a slice to my opponent's forehand (if they were right-handed) on both sides. When I hit my second serves I didn't get as much spin as I would have liked and had to put in a little bit more effort to get the results I wanted."

Jason enjoyed the control and spin. He said, "That low 300 swingweight was a big help with my serving consistency. I thought that the directional control was good and I found easy access to spin. Again, power was a bit lacking here, but I didn't think it was as noticeable as it was on my groundstrokes."

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Serve Returns - Score: 79

Most of the team enjoyed returns, despite some playtesters struggling with the lack of power when returning hard serves. Enjoying the maneuverability and stability on returns was Brittany. She said, "Since the serves already have ample pace, I was able to step in and take a short swing. I could take really aggressive cuts at the ball especially when returning first serves. I wasn't as successful creating my own pace and depth when returning second serves."

Jason had some ups and downs with this racquet. He said, "For the most part, I liked returning with this racquet. I was able to hit my spots well even if my returns did end up a bit shorter than I intended. I found success off the backhand wing when hitting a slice return as well. Even when I was off the sweetspot the unintentional results (sometimes) were some great drop shot returns due to the low power of the racquet."

Finding that making contact with the ball came naturally when returning serve was Karly. She offered, "Again, that maneuverability made the frame easy to swing, which made it easy to get the ball back into play. Not only did it make it easy to return shots, but I also received a fair amount of control. One downside on returns was the lack of power. This was the area where I found the weight balance to be a disadvantage. I don't think think it had enough power against fast servers, and I found it difficult to take the offensive immediately after hitting a return."

Tiffani liked her ability to be offensive with the Mantis 300, saying, "For as quickly as it swung, I thought the Mantis 300 felt surprisingly stable on returns. As I found with other shots, I had good directional control with this racquet. I usually aim more toward the middle on returns, but with my confidence boosted I enjoyed taking more chances. I often went up the line on returns and stood in closer to take the ball earlier."

Overall - Score: 79

Likes

Tiffani - "I found it could handle incoming power well and had good directional control and a super quick swing. It allowed me to take more balls on the rise. Plus, the paint is a great mix of matte and glossy."

Brittany - "I enjoyed the maneuverability and the feel that this racquet offered."

Jason - "Maneuverability, access to spin and feel."

Karly - "The maneuverability and control. Changing the directions of my shots came naturally with this racquet."

Dislikes

Tiffani - "The racquet is firm, so when I shanked the ball I could really feel it."

Brittany - "I felt this racquet was just a little too underpowered for my game on groundstrokes and returns."

Jason - "Underpowered. I would've liked the racquet to have been either heavier or less head light. And even though I enjoyed the feel, it was a bit firm for me (someone who has arm problems)."

Karly - "My wrist was not a fan of the frame's stiffness when combined with a poly string. My arm was usually sore for the rest of the day after hitting with it."

Comparing the Mantis 300 to other racquets, our testers said:

Tiffani - "I am once again reminded of a Babolat Pure Drive because of the crisp feel and easy swing, but I would go back a couple of generations rather than put it up against the latest GT model with Cortex Active Technology. The Mantis 300 has more of the crisper response of the Pure Drive before Cortex was added."

Brittany - "I think the racquet that closely resembles the Mantis 300 for me is the Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Lite. Both racquets are a little underpowered but have good feel, maneuverability and stability."

Jason - "The Mantis 305 is a much better fit for me; the feel is the same, but with more power and just as much control."

Karly - "The combination of feel and maneuverability reminded me of the Wilson Steam."

Technical Specifications

Length27 inches69 centimeters
Head Size100 square inches645 square centimeters
Weight11 ounces312 grams
Balance Point12.88 inches
33 centimeters
5pts Head Light
Construction22.5mm / 25mm / 23mm
CompositionHigh Modulus Carbon
String Pattern16 Mains / 19 Crosses

Babolat RDC Ratings

Score
Grade
Flex Rating67Range: 0-100
Swing Weight313Range: 200-400

Scores

(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)


Tiffani's Scores
Power 8 Serves 7.6
Control 7.9 Groundstrokes 8
Maneuverability 8.3 Returns 8.1
Stability 7.8 Slice 7.7
Comfort 7.7 Topspin 7.9
Touch/Feel 7.5 Volleys 7.9
Overall 7.9
Brittany's Scores
Power 7 Serves 7.9
Control 7.8 Groundstrokes 7.8
Maneuverability 8.4 Returns 7.8
Stability 8.4 Slice 8.6
Comfort 8 Topspin 7.5
Touch/Feel 8.5 Volleys 8.3
Overall 8
Jason's Scores
Power 7.2 Serves 8.1
Control 8 Groundstrokes 7.5
Maneuverability 8.9 Returns 7.7
Stability 7.9 Slice 7.8
Comfort 7.1 Topspin 8
Touch/Feel 8.3 Volleys 8
Overall 7.8
Karly's Scores
Power 7.6 Serves 7.5
Control 7.9 Groundstrokes 8
Maneuverability 8.2 Returns 7.9
Stability 7.6 Slice 7.7
Comfort 7.3 Topspin 8
Touch/Feel 7.6 Volleys 7.7
Overall 7.7
 

Playtester Profiles

Tiffani: 4.0 level baseliner with a semiwestern grip on the forehand and hits a two-handed backhand. Currently playing with the Tecnifibre Rebound Pro.

Brittany: Open level player with a semi-western forehand and a two-handed backhand. She currently plays with the Yonex V-Core 100S.

Jason: 4.0 baseliner with a semi-western forehand and two handed backhand. Currently using a Boris Becker Delta Core London.

Karly: 4.0 baseline player currently playing with the Wilson nCode nTour. She hits with a semi-western forehand grip and uses a two handed backhand.

Review date: May 2012. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.

All content copyright 2012 Tennis Warehouse.

 
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