Wilson NXT Max String Review

Reprinted with permission of the
United States Racquet Stringer's Association

This year, due to the popularity of Wilson's Sensation NXT string, they have decided to create a new family of strings with the NXT name. Sensation NXT will be dropping the Sensation from it's name and become the father of this new NXT family. So, from here on, when you hear a string referred to only as NXT, they are referring to the string formerly known as Sensation NXT. To make sure that NXT doesn't feel lonely as it switches families from Sensation to NXT, Wilson has introduced two new members to the NXT family, NXT Max and NXT Tour. This month we are reviewing NXT Max. This string is designed to offer the comfort of NXT with greater durability for players who break NXT a little too quickly. Wilson has developed a higher crystallinity fiber. The higher crystallinity allows Wilson to make the individual fibers thinner. This makes room for more fibers (26 percent more) and more polyurethane (8 percent more) in the same gauge of string. This means that within the same thickness, Wilson has created a string with more fibers. The same gauge means they are able to offer the same amount of spin and ball control. In addition, Wilson has added Abrasion Shields to the outer layers of the string. These shields increase the string's durability by reducing abrasion at the strings' intersections. Available in 16 and 15L gauges in natural only.

Bench Testing

The two coils both measured 39'7". The diameter ranged from 1.31 mm to 1.32 mm prior to stringing and 1.25 mm to 1.26 mm after stringing. A stringbed stiffness of 70 RDC units was recorded immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a constant pull machine. After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 65 RDC units, representing a 7% tension loss. Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9% tension loss. NXT Max 16 added 15.2 grams to the unstrung frame.

The Testers

Tested for five weeks by 35 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. This is a blind test. The playtesters are sent unmarked strings in unmarked packages. This means they know nothing about the string before they string it and play with it. As a result, no preconceived ideas regarding manufacturers, type of construction, or materials used are able to effect their impressions of the string. Average number of hours playtested was 23.7.

Stringing

NXT Max is a pleasure to install. It doesn't have any significant coil memory. It doesn't have a glossy coating, so you don't feel like you have to wash your hands after working with it. In fact, the outer surface is even just a little tacky. This means the crosses are just a little tougher to pull through the mains. But, we pulled at our normal speed and had no problems with notching. The tacky finish even helped to make the knots cinch up well.

Multifilament construction makes NXT Max very soft, resulting in a little bit of a mushy end periodically. So, we just trimmed the end a couple times during each string job. Even though the end did get a little mushy, it didn't seem to get as mushy as most multifilaments. Perhaps this had something to do with the extra fibers or the abrasion shields. The result was that shared and blocked holes were a little easier to handle than with most multifilaments. Perhaps the best indication of how easy it is to install is that the overwhelming majority rated it as easy or easier to install than other strings.

Playtesting

NXT Max plays much like Wilson suggests it should. It is very comfortable and offers strong playability as well as impressive durability. NXT Max is designed to be the more durable member of the newly-formed NXT family and it seems to live up to that responsibility well. Almost all of our playtesters rated its durability as being about the same or better than other strings of similar gauge. This is pretty impressive for a multifilament. However, we were a little surprised that it didn't receive a higher numerical rating. The 3.3 that it received is above average, but only 3 of our playtesters actually broke the string - one each after 11, 17, and 35 hours. This result is more impressive than the 3.3 numerical rating it received.

Another surprising result is the fact that nobody seemed to dislike this string. Usually, even the highest rated strings have at least a few people who just don't care for them at all. This makes sense because different people like different things. So, if one group really loves a string, chances are that another group will really dislike it. But, this string didn't seem to have any strong nay-sayers. A few people indicated it's playability and durability were not quite as good as other strings, but only one person rated playability not nearly as good. This really makes NXT Max a great all-around string for just about everyone.

The numerical ratings that NXT Max received also testifies to its strength as an all around string. Every rating was above average, with the highest rating coming in comfort. The 3.7 it received is the second highest score any string has received in this category and ties it with its sibling NXT (formerly Sensation NXT).

NXT Max's second highest ratings were a four-way tie between playability, power, control, and touch/feel. Quite an impressive grouping of features to all score so highly.

The lowest scores were in tension maintenance, resisting movement and spin potential. Though they were all above average, we were not surprised to see tension maintenance rate lower than other categories because this is common in multifilament constructions. But, the other two ratings did surprise us a little because we expected the tacky surface of the string to help reduce string movement and improve spin potential as a result. Perhaps a thinner gauge would have scored even better in spin potential.

Finally, the abrasion shields must really do what they say since we received almost no comments about the string fraying prematurely. We would usually expect to get many more comments about fraying from a comfort-oriented multifilament construction.

Conclusion

NXT Max is a very solid all-around string and makes a perfect addition to the NXT family. Though we received mixed durability results from our playtesters, we have to think its durability is impressive. After all, we haven't playtested many strings that were only broken by 3 playtesters. NXT Max fills its position in the NXT family very well. It offers impressive comfort with improved durability. Give this string a try for yourself. We think most shops will want to make it a part of their inventory.

Comments

"Great string. Loved the pop on the ball. This string had great power without being stiff." 5.0 male baseliner with moderate or no spin using a Prince Triple Threat Hornet 100 strung at 64 pounds CP (Prince Perfection 17)

"Great string life. Great feel." 5.5 male all court player using a Gamma Tradition 18 95 strung at 62 pounds LO (Gamma Live Wire XP 15L)

"A lively string that, after an initial drop in tension that was greater than I normally experience, held tension very well for the balance of the testing period. I found the string to have good power with an overall soft feel that was easy on my arm. This is another string that definitely rewards a hit in the sweet spot." 4.0 male baseliner with moderate or no spin using a Prince Triple Threat Stealth 100 strung at 63 pounds LO (Prince Sweet Perfection 17)

"I was very impressed with this string. There was a high level of control that does not exist with my regular string. I would consider changing to this string." 5.0 male all court player using a Wilson Hyper Hammer 6.3 110 strung at 63 pounds LO (Gamma Synthetic Gut 17)

"Felt and played very well from start to the end of the test period. I liked its above-average playability in my racquet." 5.0 male all court player using a Head Pro Tour 280 97 strung at 55 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut 17)

"I like this string's nice crisp feel. I would definitely carry these strings in my shop. If you like comfort and feel, you will like this." 5.5 male all court player using a Prince Precision 730 LB 97 strung at 60 pounds (Forten PolyBlast 17)

"My type of string. Soft, cushy control feel with good playability." 5.0 male all court player using a Prince Precision Approach 110 strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation NXT 17)

"A good string. Solid feel and easy to string with." 5.5 female baseliner with heavy spin using a Wilson Hammer 6.4 110 strung at 70 pounds LO (Wilson Synthetic Gut 16)

"I liked this string, would use it in a flash, would recommend it to anyone who wants a great all-around string, but not for the string breaker, I think this string lasted a bit longer than I expected 18 hrs plus, but I would expect this to last from 10 to 14 hours. If priced right, this is a great string."

"Loved the 'feel' of this string - very comfortable and forgiving. Felt like it did lose tension toward the end of play, however." 4.5 female all court player using a Prince Triple Threat Warrior MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Thin gauge multifilament/synthetic)

"Good soft string with decent durability due to gauge. Works well in my teaching racquet. Seems to have lost quite a bit of tension and moves quite a bit." 5.0 male serve & volley player using a Wilson Pro Staff 7.5 95 strung at 62 pounds (Kevlar 19/Wilson Sensation Ice 17)

"Plays and feels very similar to my usual string. I like this very much." 4.0 male all court player using a Pro Kennex Kinetic Charged 15g 110 strung at 65 pounds LO (Tecnifibre TR Pro 16)

"This string is very comfortable and has excellent playability characteristics, especially for a 16 gauge string. It has only average durability, however, and has a tendency to move after every hit." 5.0 male serve & volley player using a Yonex RD Ti. 70 88 strung at 66 pounds LO (Gamma Gut 3/Gamma TNT)

"A nice, lively string. I would definitely consider using it in my store." 5.5 female all court player using a Volkl C10 Pro 98 strung at 63 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire XP 17)

"At first, I didn't like the playability of the string. It lost tension very quickly. Then, after about 10-12 hours, the string started to play very well. I can't get it to break. But, it's getting tired because it has begun to buzz a little." 5.5 male serve and volley player using a Babolat Pure Drive + 100 strung at 57 pounds CP (Prince Durathin 18/Babolat Natural Gut 16)

"I would like to play another set of this string, and I feel like my advanced players might like this string." 6.0 male all court player with heavy spin using a Prince Triple Threat Warrior 97 strung at 70 pounds CP (Prince Sweet Perfection 16)

"Comfortable string with adequate feel. Nothing new or out of the ordinary. Similar to other soft-feeling 16 gauge strings." Male all court player using a Volkl Quantum V1 110 strung at 55/53 pounds LO (Forten Dynamix 16)

"I enjoyed playing with this string even though tension loss was significant during first week. String movement with moderate topspin was noticable after 6 hours. A very comfortable string none the less." 4.0 male all court player using a Gamma Diamond Fiber C-3.0 OS 115 strung at 62 pounds (BDE Perf 17)

"The string at a tension of 58 pounds seemed to favor a touch player rather than a big banger." 3.5 male touch player using a Head Ti.S8 115 strung at 58 pounds (TOA Silencer 16)

"At first, string felt great. Then after 6 hours, there was a major drop off in overall playability and control." 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using a Head Classic 102 strung at 62 pounds CP (Gosen Jim Courier 17)

"Excellent at first, but it seemed to lose tension quickly. After 5 hours of playing, balls were less controllable." 4.5 male all court player using a Head i.S^ 112 strung at 58 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex 16)

"Just an average string - not a 'wow'. Also, strings really stretched out after third time playing strings were moving all over. Right now it has a kind of mushy, dead feel to it." 4.5 female all court player using a Head i.S6 105 strung at 57 pounds CP (Head IntelliString 16)

"Not a bad string, just nothing special." 4.5 female all court player using a Wilson Hyper Hammer 3.2 115 strung at 60 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation NXT 16)

"Very unremarkable string. Slightly more durable than average, but it didn't seem to have any outstanding characteristics. The trade-off of the durability was the noticable tension loss." 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using a Head Ti. Radical Mid strung at 51 pounds (Prince Synthetic Gut Soft 16)

"From the first, this string performed poorly. It had a lot of trampolining and string movement was unacceptable. I like soft feeling string, but control was definitely an issue. A poor string for a hard hitter in my opinion." 4.5 male all court player using a Volkl C9 Pro 98 strung at 62 pounds (LaserFibre Supreme 17)

TESTER STATS

Results from 35 playtesters

EASE OF STRINGING

(Compared to string used most often)
much better 2
somewhat better 5
about the same 23
not quite as good 5
not nearly as good 0


OVERALL PLAYABILITY

(Compared to string played most often)
much better 3
somewhat better 9
about the same 13
not quite as good 8
not nearly as good 1


OVERALL DURABILITY

(Compared to strings of similar gauge)
much better 1
somewhat better 12
about the same 17
not quite as good 4
not nearly as good 0


RATING AVERAGES

Playability 3.5
Durability 3.3
Power 3.5
Control 3.5
Touch/feel 3.5
Comfort 3.7
Spin Potential 3.2
Holding Tension 3.2
Resistance to Movement 3.3

KEY: Respondents ranked string from a possible low of 1 to a high of 5. Median value is 3. Values represent average overall ratings.

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