My First Playtest
Thanks to TW and Luxillon for the opportunity to test this string and the bonus T-shirt (now I just need to lose 20 pounds to fit into it).
I'm the new owner of a (very) old Ektelon Stringing Machine, and so I'm still experimenting with various strings to find something I'd like to stick with. So, as a green stringer, and greener reviewer, here's my opinion of the Luxilon Playtest String:
Full set or hybrid: I set this up as a full set
Tension used for playtest: 56 main/53 crosses using a close out crank Ektelon Model DE with a Model H upgrade kit.
Regular string set up: I've been experimenting with a lot of various polyester set ups. Most recently Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 @ 53 pounds. Also have tried hybriding polys (Solinco Tour Bite, Mamba Gear Twisted, and Gosen Sheep Micro or Dunlop Hexy Fibre.)
Racquet brand and model used for test: Head Youtek Speed MP 16x19 with lead on the handle and at 10 and 2 in the hoop.
Power of test string: I would consider this a low powered polyester string. The gauge is thicker than I've been playing with recently, so there is more control on the bed as a whole. Striking a serve solidly generated a good pop and high reward from the stringbed. Ground strokes hit with high top spin landed deep and my opponents commented on the ball being particularly heavy. Given the low power, I found myself needing to swing hard on every stroke, where I could get away with backing off a little with my other recent set ups.
Feel: For a polyester string, and because it was a thicker gauge, I think the response was a softer feel than I've experienced recently (aside from my hybrid set ups). Touch volleys would drop quickly and there was no instance of trampolining off the bed.
Spin: Given that my recent experiments have been with thinner gauged spin oriented polyesters (Big Hitter Black 7, Mamba Black Gear Twisted, and Solinco Tour Bite), the Luxillon didn't offer a spectacular amount of spin. My kick serve wasn't anything special with this set up, but ground strokes had good top spin when struck correctly (and heavily). I noticed the strings always snapped back and even 7 hours in were never out of order. The spin was good for a thicker polyester, but not close to the strings designed specifically for spin.
Comfort: It is rare that I experience any comfort issues. I'm guessing that the lower tension used here helped to keep that at bay. The stringbed felt great throughout the play test (7 hours).
Durability: After 7 hours, there's only minimal evidence of string notching (and I mean very minimal). The durability appears to be great. Of course, this is, again, in comparison to a normal set up of thinner, sharp-edged strings.
Tension maintenance (how long before it became too loose or unplayable): I played with the racquet again tonight, and the tension maintenance was strong. In fact, I didn't even think about tension maintenance until I came to write this review and was prompted to think of it. The racquet is still entirely useable, and I imagine has a few hours still left.
Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?): I've mentioned this already in my "Power" section, but the string required a quick swing speed from me. When hit solidly and quickly, the ball had great depth. I had no problems (to blame on the string) with predictable trajectory. I had confidence in the ball going where I intended when I struck it cleanly. In the first match I played, I was especially astonished by the pinpoint control on a fully struck return of serve. I was putting balls back at the server's feet with a good strong return swing.
Compare to the string you use most often: I've compared this throughout, and think that there are too many differences in the string construction's themselves to compare too closely. The test string had more control than my 'normal' thinner, spin-oriented polyester set ups, a bit softer than the edged polys, and comparable pop on my serve.
Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?): If I had a chance, I might try tightening this up a little bit. Though I've been experimenting with lower tension polyester set ups (low-mid 40s), I think I'm ready to give up on that and go back to a high 50 pound range.
Summary: List 1 or 2 primary likes and dislikes.: I enjoyed the confident control I felt with this set up. The depth and heft of my ground strokes were exciting. I do wish I could have generated more spin, and perhaps a thinner gauge would accomplish that. If I were to have a chance to play this string again, I'd try it tighter and with a spin-oriented cross (perhaps my Dunlop Hexy Fibre).