Prince O3 Speedport White
Tennis Racquet Review
Prince O3 Speedport White Tennis Racquet Review
by Chris Lewis, 1983 Wimbledon Finalist
Power Level: 1000
Headsize: 100 sq in
Cross Section: 23-25-22mm
Weight: 10.6oz / 300g unstrung
Balance: 12.8in / 32.5cm Even Balance
Swing Weight: 290
String Pattern: 16x19
Recommended String: Prince Lightning XX 16
Prince have designed two versions of the Prince O3 Speedport White, both second generation models of the hugely popularand successful Prince O3 White. There is the standard model -- the Prince O3 Speedport White -- upon which the following racquet review is based, and there is the heavier pro version -- the Prince O3 Speedport Pro. The only other difference is the Prince O3 Speedport Pro White's denser string pattern (18X19) compared with the Prince O3 Speedport White's (16X19).
The cosmetics of the new O3 Speedport White retain the same sleek, modern white and black coloring as its predecessor.
The racquet I tested was strung with Prince Lightning XX at 60 lbs.
With a swing weight of 290 and a head light balance point of 12.8", the aerodynamic Prince O3 Speedport White is a highly maneuverable racquet with tons of swing speed. Being totally familiar with all the racquets in the Prince O3 Speedport line, I had no trouble adjusting to the soft, smooth feeling distinctive to Prince's latest technology.
I found the O3 Speedport White to lend itself to more creative playing than the earlier O3 White. I had much better feel with this racquet, allowing me to hit with more confidence when attempting to open up the court with viciously spun angles or more subtle slices and dropshots.
At the same time, even though the Power Level of 1000 is rated the same as the Prince O3 White, I was able to generatemore power with the new version. There's no question that Speedport technology produces the ability to swing the racquet faster, a feature I really like, particularly when hitting big forehands or hitting with a huge amount of spin.
For backhand slices, I liked the response I got. The racquet has a pretty solid and stable feel. What's a little deceptive about the Speedport frames is that the sweetspot is so big, you can get away with hitting a little off center in comparison to more traditional frames. In this regard, the Prince O3 Speedport White is no exception.
As for the racquet's stability, the only hint of any instability was when hitting against big pace. But I'm talking really big pace here. For a racquet weighing 10.6oz unstrung, the Prince O3 Speedport White holds up well against heavyweight opponents.
But I did find myself looking forward to testing and reviewing the Prince O3 Speedport Pro White to see if it gives me all the playability and comfort of the lighter version, with the addition of the extra racquet mass giving me a little more weight in my shots and a little bit more racquet stability when playing against 6.0 level players andabove.
An agile, comfortable racquet, the Prince O3 Speedport White is a pleasure to volley with. It's got tremendous feel, but also allows you to hit with real firmness. It's a more versatile racquet than the Prince O3 White, allowing the whole gamut of the different types of volleys -- angles, deft touch and solidity. Once again, the racquet's only (slight )limitation at the very highest level was that I found myself wanting a little more heft in the racquet frame when volleying against shots that were hit with real pace.
At the net, the frame is more than adequate to hold up extremely well against anything other than booming passing shots. It's a racquet that allows you to do everything with a high level of comfort and much higher than average feedback to the hand and arm upon impact.
SERVING AND SMASHING
For serving, I like a racquet that gives me a predictable response (doesn't everyone?). I like to be able to hit with pacewithout feeling as though I'm sacrificing accuracy. In this regard, I found the Prince O3 Speedport White to offer a nice balance of both power and control, with the scales tipped slightly in favor of power.
As with hitting heavily spun groundstrokes, hitting heavy slice serves or hitting heavy kick serves was a breeze with thePrince O3 Speedport White. It's got so much swing speed, which, when combined with a very open string pattern, makes it areally spin friendly racquet in all respects.
As for smashes, there are no problems whatsoever. Whether you've got a totally reliable smash or a smash that tends to be a little off center, you'll enjoy the added security of the racquet's extra large sweet spot.
RETURN OF SERVE
Returns were enjoyable as the racquet does almost everything well. I was particularly interested to see what it was like for blocking back big serves; i.e., whether it would hold up when attempting to keep the racquet stable upon impact. In this department, I'd give it a rating of about 7 1/2 - 8 out of 10. In every other respect, I give the racquet full marks. Iliked it for aggressive returns of second serves; I liked it for slicing the return into the corner and coming in, and I particularly liked it for awkward returns requiring quick racquet work and a little improvisation.
The Prince O3 Speedport White is a very comortable racquet to play with, offering a nice mix of power and control. Becauseof its versatility, the racquet will have universal appeal, ideal for a broad range of styles and ability levels.
It's a relatively light racquet featuring stacks of feel and a nice amount of pop. This racquet is well worth a spin for good juniors through to decent level adults. If you're already a fan of Prince's Speedport technology, you may even prefer this racquet to the Prince O3 Speedport Red or The Prince O3 Speedport Black.
If you haven't yet experienced playing witha Seedport frame, the Prince O3 Speedport White would be a good place to start.
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