|Head Graphene Prestige Scores|
This ain't your daddy's Prestige Midplus! The new Prestige Midplus with Graphene technology is stiffer than its predecessors, giving it a much crisper, more modern feel than the traditional soft, plush Prestige feel we have grown accustomed to. Head also took weight out of the throat and put it in the handle and tip of the frame, making the racquet feel faster and more stable at the same time. However, the Prestige is known for precision and feel, and this latest version certainly has that, too. Our playtesters felt like they could really swing away on all their shots without the ball flying on them. The low-powered response, along with the precision and responsiveness, allowed our team to feel in total command of their shots. The general theme among the playtesters' criticism of the racquet was that it was difficult to generate lots of pace. However, players who like to create most of their own pace will find this update appealing. With its crisper and faster feel, this latest Graphene version of the Prestige Midplus is better suited for the modern game than ever before.
Our playtesters found they could really swing out on their shots with the control-oriented response of the Graphene Prestige Midplus. Jason had to be sure he was taking a full swing on his forehands and backhands because if he didn't, he found himself quickly on defense. He explained, "What I loved was the control and feel. Because it wasn't very powerful I had to find other ways to win points besides using pace, and this racquet allowed me to move my opponents around to open up the court. I was able to hit at smaller windows because of the accuracy. I also have to give this racquet high marks in the touch department. I was winning a higher percentage of points off my drop shots than usual. This isn't a racquet where I could be tentative; I had to constantly remind myself to take full cuts at the ball, otherwise it was landing short and I was scrambling."
Mike felt that the controlled, solid feel really complemented his game from the baseline. He said, "This racquet offered tons of control from both wings. I fell in love as soon as I started hitting with it from the baseline. The solid feel of the racquet, especially when strung with a poly, made me more consistent than I've been in a while. The 18x20 string pattern gave me control, and the 98 square inch headsize allowed me to be more precise. On my forehand I was able to really swing through the ball without being scared that I was going to hit it long. The racquet felt good on my arm and shoulder as well. It was perfect from the baseline for me."
Austin's favorite place to be with this racquet was the baseline, hitting his aggressive two-handed groundstrokes off both sides. He said, "The baseline was where I felt most comfortable with this racquet. The weight and balance were very easy to get acquainted with, and I felt I was hitting well from the moment I hit my first groundstroke. I have an aggressive playing style and the control-oriented 98 square inch head with an 18x20 string pattern allowed me to really swing out and not worry about the ball sailing long. The racquet does have a higher swingweight than I'm used to, but this helped me drive the ball deep through the court. I also noticed the racquet was very flexible, comfortable and extremely easy on the arm."
Chris found the racquet to be crisper and stiffer than the previous version, and easier to swing. He offered, "This racquet was faster than the YOUTEK IG version it replaces, but it had a less substantial feel at contact. The upside was its crisper feel, and I found it very easy to swing. The downside was that it didn't offer the plush response I liked from the previous version. I just never felt as connected to the ball with this version. That being said, I was getting some nice spin on my shots, and I was playing with better consistency than I was with the Graphene Prestige Rev Pro. I preferred the more solid feel of the Graphene Prestige Pro, however, because I could hit a bigger ball with it. The previous Prestige Midplus just felt so sweet from the baseline, and I was never quite able to get there with this updated version."
Our playtest team continued to enjoy the maneuverability, precision and feel from the Graphene Prestige Midplus around the net. Chris was finding success as he ventured into the forecourt, but he found the feel to be a bit "more modern" compared with the Prestiges of the past. He said, "It was nice and easy to get around at net, so I was able to react quickly with this racquet. The response was crisp. It had that hollow feel of a modern racquet, which made the response quite different from the previous version. There was enough punch for me to put volleys away, and I volleyed well with it even when I was deep in the court."
Feeling confident around the net, Austin took advantage of the solid, precise feel of the Graphene Prestige Midplus. He said, "I really enjoyed the control and stability of this racquet at net. I was able to hit both drop volleys and drive the ball through the court with ease. The net is normally one of my weaker points, but I was really able to find the sweetspot and felt much more confident with this racquet at net. Much like from the baseline, the weight kept the racquet stable and volleys felt very solid and crisp."
Mike found the racquet forgiving and easy to maneuver when he was volleying. He offered, "This racquet felt incredible around the net! Placing the ball where I wanted was a piece of cake, and even off-center volleys felt great. The racquet weighs in at 11.7 ounces strung, but it was still maneuverable and made it easy to get down to those pesky low volleys. The Prestige Midplus also absorbs any shock and vibration when defending against bigger hitters. The finesse was there, too."
Jason doesn't consider himself much of a volleyer, but when he came to the net he found this racquet to be a bit unforgiving. He said, "When I venture up to the net I always need as much help as possible from my equipment. This racquet didn't necessarily hurt me, but I don't feel like it helped much, either. The sweetspot is small, and shots that hit outside of it are rather erratic. However, I did like hitting touch and angle volleys."
We didn't find the easiest access to pace with the Graphene Prestige Midplus, but the control and maneuverability it offered allowed most of our team to serve very consistently. Jason enjoyed a boost in his first serve percentage. He said, "I felt like I could hit a consistent serve with this racquet. My feelings for this racquet are kind of middle of the road. I did find it to be pretty low powered with a small sweetspot, but I was making a high percentage of my serves."
Mike was able to focus more on placement rather than power. He found some positive results because of it, explaining, "Control, control, control! There's not much power on serves, but being able to control and place the ball was awesome. I was focusing more on hitting the lines on my serves just because power was lacking. I actually got a few aces from kicking serves out wide. Who doesn't love a few freebies?"
Like the others, Chris found average pace but excellent control on his serves. He said, "I was getting some decent pace on serve with this racquet. Nothing exceptional, but I liked the level of power and control. Again, it was easy to whip it through the contact zone, and that made it easy to find spin. I could not serve quite as hard with this one as I could with the Graphene Prestige Pro, but I was consistent with it and able to find my targets well. I think with a little added weight there'd be even more potential for me to hit bigger serves with this racquet."
Austin struggled to generate enough racquet head speed to make his serves effective. He offered, "This was probably my weakest shot with this racquet. I had a hard time determining why, but I believe that the high swingweight and flexibility may have contributed to my difficulties. The swingweight limited my kick serve. I had trouble bringing the racquet through as quickly as I normally do. The racquet is also very control oriented, and power was very limited. I was having to use a lot of legs to generate power and drive the ball through the court."
The combination of maneuverability and precision allowed the Graphene Prestige Midplus to shine on returns of serve. We found Mike telling his opponents to "bring it on" or "give it your best shot" as he stepped up to the line to return serves. While that may be in jest, he did rave, "The faster the ball came at me, the easier it was to return the serve and change the direction of the ball with this racquet. Since this racquet doesn't offer much power, changing the direction of the ball was key to winning points. The Graphene Prestige Midplus is very stable, and the plow through from the weight of the racquet made it so I didn't have to swing as hard, allowing me to conserve some energy."
"The speed of this racquet worked well on returns," continued Chris, who found he could use virtually any style of return effectively. "I was taking a good crack at anything that looked even remotely juicy. I especially liked going after my forehand return with this racquet. During doubles I was hitting some really nice drive cross court returns, or I could go down the line with impressive pace and accuracy to keep the net guy honest. I also found ample grip from the stringbed to knife some slice returns off my backhand. Block returns were OK, with just enough mass in the racquet to get the job done."
Jason felt like he could really swing out without worrying about the ball sailing long, but at times found his returns dropping a bit short. He exclaimed, "Swing out! Like with my groundstrokes, I had to make sure I took full cuts at the ball. I loved the feel when I was able to do that AND hit the sweetspot. The result was a return with lots of depth and pace. If I didn't take a full swing my returns were landing near the service line."
Austin was able to return aggressively and effectively with the Prestige Midplus. He said, "I felt very comfortable when returning serve due to the 98 square inch head size, which allowed me to find the sweetspot pretty easily. I felt like I was driving the ball deep on my returns, and it almost felt like more of an offensive shot. The racquet was also very stable, and I found that I had few mishits while returning serve."
Chris - "I really like the new look. The red CAP works well with the black paint, and this is the most fun I've seen Head have with the Prestige look since the silver/lime green Prestige of the early 1990s. I returned well with this racquet and found it nice and easy to get around at net."
Jason - "Solid feel with great control. I enjoyed it on the slice and for a consistent serve."
Mike - "The Graphene Prestige Midplus makes it easy for me to be consistent, and the solid, stable feel was nice."
Austin - "I really liked the feel of this racquet from the baseline and at net. The previous version of the Prestige had a very dead feel, but this one was much more lively and felt more solid from the baseline."
Chris - "Perhaps I'm being too much of a traditionalist, but it does not have enough of the Prestige feel for me. The YOUTEK IG Prestige Midplus was my racquet of choice, and I still far prefer that version over this one."
Jason - "The lack of power. It had a small sweetspot and was unforgiving on shots hit outside of it."
Mike - "The lack of power. I wish it offered just a little bit more. I like a little more pop on my serves since I'm a smaller guy."
Austin - "The higher swingweight brought me a little bit of trouble on my serve, which tends to be the strongest part of my game."
Chris - "This was a departure from the traditional Prestige feel. It felt somewhat like a combination of the Graphene Speed Pro and a Radical. There was definitely a more modern feel to the racquet. While Prestige has always meant a solid silky smooth feel, this racquet felt fast, crisp and a little hollow. While I didn't feel the racquet behaved quite like an Extreme Pro 2.0, it definitely is getting some of the feel of a rounder, more open beam racquet."
Jason - "It felt like a cross between the Dunlop Biomimetic 200 and the older Head YOUTEK IG Prestige S racquets."
Mike - "It weighs 11.7 ounces strung, which is a little bit out of my spec range, but I must say I could switch to this racquet. The feel and control it offered was very convincing, and it made me more consistent than I've been in a while. It's definitely worth a demo. This one felt better on my arm and had better feel than the previous version. The weight and balance were very similar."
Austin - "I definitely prefer this racquet to the previous version of the Prestige. It had a very similar feel to the Donnay Pro One 97 18x20."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Chris: 5.0 all-court player currently using the Wilson Six.One 95S. Chris uses a semi-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a one-handed backhand.
Jason: 4.0 baseliner with a semi-western forehand and two handed backhand. Currently using a Wilson Steam 99 S.
Mike: 5.0 baseliner with a semi-western forehand and two-handed backhand. His current racquet of choice is a customized Prince Triple Threat Warrior.
Austin: 4.5 lefty baseliner with a two-handed semi-western forehand and a two-handed backhand. Austin currently plays with a Yonex VCORE Tour 97 (310g).
Review date: November 2013. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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