Prince Tour XS String Review
- Good tension maintenance for a co-poly
- Too firm for less advanced players
- Too underpowered for less advanced players
Prince Tour XS is a crisp co-poly whose triangular geometry and pronounced edges make it uniquely qualified to grab a tennis ball. However, according to our team, this string offers more than just a tight grip on the felt. It also delivers a very controlled response, the kind that gives advanced players the confidence to swing bigger so as to impart vicious rotation (spin!) and pace to the ball. While our team found this to string to be comfortable and responsive for a firm poly, we think it is likely too firm and underpowered for beginners or players with slower, more compact strokes. It's also not likely to satisfy those in need of a springy or lively co-poly like Tourna Big Hitter Black 7. However, for the player who wants massive spin potential and exceptional precision on fast swings, Tour XS is worth a serious look.
Power - Score: 43, Control - Score: 85
Tour XS supplied all the ingredients needed to tame the long, fast strokes of our two playtesters. Andy explains, "This string offers low-to-medium power and a good amount of control. I felt like I could take a big cut at the ball and the ball wasn't going to sail long. With the lower power I never felt like I got an inconsistent response off the stringbed, so I was consistently confident that I knew precisely where my shot was going to go."
Michelle was also able to take full cuts without losing control. She said, "I really enjoyed the balance of power and control in this string. I didn't find it overly powerful, which is a good thing. I had good control, but I will always take even more control from my strings, which is why I usually increase the tension. The excellent bite made it very easy to bring the ball down with spin. I found a good balance between being able to hit out and still hit inside the lines. I found it to be a deader feeling poly, but not completely dead like super stiff polys."
Spin - Score: 87
Tour XS, with its low power and grippy profile, made it very easy for our playtesters to ratchet up the spin. Even with her flatter mechanics, Michelle had no problem getting her shots to dive. She said, "I love that this string is shaped triangularly! We first hit with it when we playtested the Prince Graphite 100, and I really fell in love with it. I had fun with this one because I could really feel the string grip the ball, and I felt the spin definitely enhanced my shots. The spin potential on defensive shots and kick second serves helped my flatter game be more effective."
"I really liked the spin potential of this string!" said Andy, who had zero complaints. "The shaped profile of the string grabs the ball, lets it sink in to the strings and sends it off with some nice rotation. I felt like I could accelerate on a slice backhand and really get the ball to knife hard through the court. Heavy topspin was easy to come by as well."
Comfort - Score: 60
Although Tour XS isn't the softest poly on the market, Andy had no problems with impact shock. He said, "Even with its low power, I never had an issue with it being uncomfortable. It isn't the softest string out there, though, so there may be some players who would want a softer, more lively option. In a tight string pattern, or for players with short-to-medium strokes, I could see this string becoming a bit stiff and uncomfortable if the tension was too high."
Michelle also found Tour XS to be firm, but not brassy or uncomfortable. She said, "No comfort issues here! I strung it up in the high 50s and didn't have any issues with arm soreness. I would consider this a pretty firm poly, but it's definitely on the more comfortable side of the poly spectrum with these characteristics."
Feel - Score: 83
Some polys can feel too stiff and unresponsive, especially on off-center hits. By contrast, the most elastic co-polys can sometimes feel too springy, making the player feel slightly disconnected from the ball. For Michelle, Tour XS avoided both these pitfalls. She said, "This string never felt too stiff, too mushy or too soft to me. I felt the firmness was perfect for really feeling connected to the ball, and I loved that I could feel the string actually bite into the ball at contact."
Andy also appreciated the feel, saying, "If there's a spectrum from extremely soft and mushy to extremely stiff and crisp for a polyester, this one lands close to the middle, if not slightly toward the soft side. I could feel the ball sink into the strings nicely, and I also felt connected to it as it left my strings. Nice feel for a co-poly here!"
Playability Duration - Score: 89
For our team, one of the main strengths of Tour XS was how long it remained playable. Andy was impressed, saying, "There was above average tension maintenance and playability duration. I've had it in one of my racquets for a few weeks now with only a slight drop in tension and no noticeable change in performance."
This string held up remarkably well under the pressure of Michelle's huge strokes. She said, "This poly played really consistently throughout my playtest. It held tension well, above average for a poly, in my opinion."
Overall - Score: 84
What type of player would you recommend this to?
Michelle - "This is a great option for players looking for a comfortable poly with a lot of spin potential!"
Andy - "With its low power, this isn't the most accessible string for players who aren't used to using poly. This is a string for players with long, fast strokes who generate their own power and are also used to playing with polyester strings."
Michelle - "I like the shape and added spin I found with this string. I also loved the comfort level. I enjoy that deader feel, and I'm happy to not have to sacrifice comfort for it."
Andy - "The control, spin and feel, and how long it lasts in my racquets."
Michelle - "None! I am loving this string (especially strung in the Head Graphene Radical Pro -- the color works perfectly!) I think it's a good string for flatter hitting players who will appreciate the extra spin potential and bite on the balls they hit."
Andy - "Just personal preference, but I like a crisper, slightly livelier string. This would be a great option for players who like a deader poly."
Comparing the string to others they've tried, our testers said:
Michelle - "Similar to Cyclone -- awesome spin when needed and just firm enough."
Andy - "This has similar feel, ball pocketing, spin potential and power to one of my favorite strings, Volkl Cyclone. Tour XS may just be a touch softer and lower powered. It also feels a lot like Tecnifibre Pro Red Code and Weiss Cannon Black5Edge."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Playtester String Setups
Playtest Racquet: Head Graphene Radical Pro
Playtest Tension: 58 lbs
Typical String: Polyester 16g
Playtest Racquet: Prince Response 97
Playtest Tension: 54 lbs
Typical String: Luxilon ALU Power Spin 16L
Review date: December 2013. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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