Tecnifibre NRG2 16 String Reel Review
- Not enough spin and control for some big hitters
While it's impossible for us to say which is the best multifilament string on the market, Tecnifibre NRG2 is definitely on the short list for many players. One of the main reasons for this is the ultra comfortable response, which comes in no small part from the 1,120 individual fibers that are bonded with flexy polyurethane resin. This fact was not lost on our playtesters, all of whom raved about the soft, buttery feel. Another reason for NRG2's large following is the power, which is ideal for players with short to medium strokes. While some of our playtesters definitely appreciated the easy depth, others were left yearning for the low-powered precision of their favorite poly. Spin suffered a similar fate, with half our team getting great results and the other half wanting a bit more grip. Ultimately, though, for players in search of comfort, touch and power, whether in a full bed or a hybrid, NRG2 is awfully hard to beat.
Power - Score: 89
Let's not mince words, Tecnifibre NRG2 is powerful. In fact, Tiffani had all the pop she could handle. She said, "Tecnifibre NRG2 certainly doesn't skimp in the power department. This feels like one of the more powerful multifilaments I've tried. I felt like I got good pop off any sort of swing I tried. The stringbed felt really responsive when I was just rallying and not trying to hit out, and when I took a bigger swing I really noticed the ease of power. Sometimes it was a bit much for me, and I had to work on keeping the ball in play. I strung it at 55 lbs, but I could have gone higher in an effort to tame the power some."
Siobhan also discovered some serious pop. She needed to tame NRG2 with spin. She said, "I have been playing with multis a little bit more recently instead of my usual poly based string, so I felt a little more in sync when I was hitting with this string. As I find with most full beds of multi, there was a little too much power for me to completely relax and hit it properly. I experienced intermittent periods of comfortable power with a little too much wildness, and I really had to use spin to calm things down."
"Power is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about how to describe NRG2," said Karly, who definitely vibed on the easy depth. She added, "It generates a ton of power! I didn't have to swing my racquet nearly as hard to produce pace off my shots - that came naturally with this string. It didn't take much effort to hit hard and deep into the court, and to me, power was one of the string's biggest features."
Getting great results, Mark increased tension to tame this string. He said, "I bumped up the tension by a few pounds on this multifilament to drain out a bit of its elasticity, for fear of hitting unintentional home runs. At 54 lbs Tecnifibre NRG2 provided great comfort without creating too much of a launch off the stringbed. The level of power with that combination (hoop size, string pattern, tension) was controllable and predictable. I felt like I could've dropped tension a little more, as I did not get an excessive amount of string movement, which was the other reason I did not start at a lower tension."
Spin - Score: 74
While Tecnifibre NRG2 may not have quite the bite and snapback of a firm poly, Siobhan had no problem ripping topspin. She said, "I liked the spin potential. With my fast swing it was easy to whip the racquet head through and generate a lot of spin. Add that spin to the power and it was a nice combination, and it added a little of the control I was looking for."
Agreeing with Siobhan, Mark also had no issues in the spin department. He said, "The reason I gravitate toward polys is because they snap back after contact, whereas multis do not slide quite as easily. However, I was able to generate about the same level of RPMs on the ball with the NRG2 as I can with any of the poly strings that I usually play with."
"Though I don't use a lot of topspin in my game I did find spin more difficult to create with this string," said Tiffani, who could have used a tad more grip on the ball. "I like to throw in a good topspin lob against my opponents when they're charging the net, and I found that I really had to concentrate on brushing up on the ball to get some spin. My slice shots also felt somewhat subpar with this string. Good thing I like to hit mostly flat."
Karly joined Tiffani in wanting more bite, She said, "Unfortunately, I think it lacked in the spin department. A majority of my shots were very flat and it was difficult to put any type of spin on the ball. It would've been nice if it had been easier to produce more topspin to help keep the ball within the court, especially with all the power."
Comfort - Score: 89
Along with power, the other feature that drew absolute unanimity within our team was the exceptional comfort of Tecnifibre NRG2. The comfort was so high in fact that Tiffani found a pillowy response even on off-center hits. She said, "Comfort is one of the highlights of NRG2. This string is comfortable even when hitting outside the sweetspot, and it remains so throughout the life of the string. I could string NRG2 at a higher tension without the risk of it feeling too stiff."
Karly also enjoyed the soft ride, even at high tensions. She said, "Along with the power came comfort. The string was extremely soft and very easy on the arm. I had absolutely no issues with the string being uncomfortable to hit with, even when it was strung in the high 50s and low 60s. The comfort of NRG2 was top-notch."
"Incredibly comfortable," said Siobhan, who found that NRG2 was the perfect complement to her stiffer frame. "Not much more to say, other than that it did a great job softening my Babolat Pure Drive, which can sometimes feel too stiff with firmer strings."
Joining the others in their appreciation of the comfort, Mark said, "I swing pretty fast, but not Andy Gerst fast, so I have not had some of the arm discomfort issues that some other players experience. I found the level of comfort to be very good with the NRG2."
Control - Score: 73
Our team had varying levels of success controlling the pop of Tecnifibre NRG2. Tiffani had good results by playing a tad more conservatively. She said, "The combination of the power and the super soft feel made control a little elusive at first. NRG2 reminds me that I'm not a pro, and there's no need for me to aim for the lines. I'm not that accurate. If I kept my expectations within reason and gave myself room for user error then I had no problems and could direct the ball where I wanted it to go."
Karly struggled to reign in the power. She said, "With all that power came the loss of control. Since there was so much pop from the strings, and very little spin, it was more difficult controlling my shots. Stringing NRG2 at a higher tension helped a little bit, but I still received way too much power and not enough control."
Despite having long strokes and preferring full sets of polyester, Mark had more than enough control. He said, "Control was good enough at 54 lbs. that I wanted to drop tension even more, so I stepped on the stringbed a couple of times with all my body weight, which loosened things up. I was still able to impart pace and spin on the ball without really modifying my swing."
Siobhan found her best results on offense. She said, "I was actually happy with this area, particularly when I was dictating play. I found it a little bit harder when I was under pressure and the ball was coming to me faster. The ball would fly a little bit, and I lost some of the control that I found when I was creating my own pace."
Playability Duration - Score: 76
Like all strings, Tecnifibre NRG2 loses tension and playability over time. However, it should be noted that in the TW string lab NRG2 scored near the top of its class for tension maintenance. Perhaps this is why Mark had such great playability over time, that is until his set snapped. He said, "After about three hours of play I started to see a little notching, but NRG2 played great all the way to the point of it breaking, which was not until the 12th hour."
For Tiffani, control went down slightly over time, but comfort never wavered. She said, "The string loosened up after about five hours, and I noticed a drop in control at that time. I felt myself spraying a few more balls than I would like after the string started to go. Comfort, though, was outstanding throughout the playtest."
Siobhan also noticed some minor changes as tension dropped, but this didn't affect her execution. She said, "I started to notice subtle changes in the response after a few sessions. The string played a little less crisp, but the comfort remained and I was still able to hit my shots."
For Karly NRG2 started to fray, and eventually broke, before the playability went away. She said, "I thought the durability of this string could definitely use some improvement. The strings began to fray after about an hour of hitting with them. I didn't notice much change in the playability of the strings, but I don't think they lasted long enough to experience a change in their performance."
Overall - Score: 82
Tiffani - "I found loads of comfort and power, plus there's room to go higher in tension with no apparent drawbacks."
Siobhan - "I liked the general combination of power, spin and control, along with the high comfort."
Karly - "The power and comfort were excellent! The strings were so soft and produced so much pop."
Mark - "I like the slick feel of the string, which lets it slide back into place easier than most other multis, and I liked that it brought me back to the feel of the softer, more elastic string materials that I grew up playing with. Easy access to power and spin, reasonable durability, and a comfort level that could not hurt a fly were the obvious notables for this flagship multi-filament from Tecnifibre."
Tiffani - "The string coating frays pretty easily, and durability is a little lacking."
Siobhan - "Always could enjoy a little more control, but it was manageable."
Karly - "NRG2 lacked in spin and I couldn't get any control from the strings, no matter how tight I strung my racquet."
Mark - "The only real knock I have for the NRG2 is unique to this type of string but not unique to this particular string, and that is the level of string movement. Multifilament strings are not as apt to re-align themselves. During the latter portion of the stringbed life the strings would swim around during play and I would have to re-align them myself, which saws the string a little."
Comparing the string to others they've tried, our testers said:
Tiffani - "This is fairly close to Wilson NXT in feel, perhaps softer."
Siobhan - "Wilson NXT. Same qualities, struggled with the high power level at times but enjoyed the comfort."
Karly - "NRG2 was extremely similar to Wilson NXT in terms of comfort. Both strings are very soft and easy on the arm. However, I think NRG2 had a little more pop, whereas NXT offers slightly more control."
Mark - "At first, the NRG2's coating/finish has a slick feel to it, like Prince LT Premiere, or Babolat Addiction, but the NRG2 provided a better ball pocket than the Addiction, and played closer to the Premiere LT."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Playtester String Setups
Racquet: Donnay Formula 100
Playtest Tension: 55 lbs
Favorite String: Multifilament 16g
Racquet: Dunlop Aerogel 4D 200
Playtest Tension: 54 lbs
Favorite String: Polyester 16g or 17g
Racquet: Wilson nCode 95
Playtest Tension: 57 lbs
Favorite String: Wilson NXT 16
Racquet: Babolat Pure Drive
Playtest Tension: 55 lbs
Favorite String: Poly 16g
Review date: October 2012. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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