This racquet can be used for both singles and doubles due to the head heavy nature of its build. The Astrox 88 Dominate is meant for back court players in doubles pairings, using its Rotational Generator System, based on axes, to deliver smash after smash from the rear court.
Balance: Head heavy – 300mm-305mm balance point from end of racquet
Shaft: Stiff shaft (Between Arcsaber 11 and Z Force II)
Variants: 4UG5, 4UG4, 3UG5, 3UG4
Weight(U) – higher number is lighter
Grip size(G) – higher number is thinner
Yonex Astrox 88 Dominate Review
Note: Unless specified, I am always talking about the 3U
Smashes – 9.5/10
This is the latest rear court racquet for doubles, and it’s a good one. The difference between 3U and 4U weight class is quite significant, so I will start with the 3U version.
Having used both myself, the 3U version is noticeably heavier than the 4U. The smashes with the 3U are quite good, and you can really feel the Rotational Generator System coming into play. The instant the racquet head drops below 90 degrees, the head of the racquet pulls downwards, and snaps back up.
Although not as powerful as other head heavy racquets, the 88 Dominate is good for rapid smashes. I would compare it to using 40% of your strength for 80% power of smash, whereas other racquets would require 80% strength for 80% power of smash.
The 4U, on the other hand, felt a bit lacking to me. It was almost as if there was a hollow feeling to the racquet, or it was missing some head weight. That’s not to say the smashes weren’t great, though. Personally, I feel like the solid feel of the 3U racquet is much more enjoyable to use than a 4U.
Why is it a 9.5, instead of a 10 even with all the praise I give it? The reason being is that the full 100% power smash, is not as strong as say, a Z Force II. This racquet is meant for efficient half or ¾ power smashes, not the one smash to end the rally.
Drop shots – 9/10
Because this racquet is very quick to come up, any overhead shot will be quite easy to get behind. Going with the same idea as the smash, having the racquet head smoothly come down as you swing, and being able to reload instantly is quite a different feeling than any other racquet that is not an Astrox.
Combined with the fact that you don’t need to exert full power to get a powerful smash, deceptive dropshots are more likely to win points, as they require a last-minute change to fool your opponent.
Net area – 7.5/10
Being that this is the back-court racquet of the two, the net area will lack behind the Astrox 88 Skill. This racquet is no slouch, however. The balance of the racquet is wonderful for any touch shots, although it can be sluggish sometimes for quick cut offs, although this is a problem with all head heavy racquets (see the Z Force II review).
The Rotational Generator System once again saves the day, and the ability to bring your racquet up quickly is a very good feature for this series.
Defensive shots – 9/10
In a doubles geared racquet, having good defensive qualities is a must. The good news for the Astrox 88 Dominate is that while it is a head heavy racquet, the swing speed is quick enough, so the user can react accordingly to whatever shot is being hit towards them. Whether you want to lift, drive or block, the 88 Dominate can deliver all of them.
I did notice one problem with the 4U version, however. During drives, I found myself hitting out the sides more often than with any other racquet. This may be due to the fact that the frame is lighter, but the counterbalance of the technology keeps the racquet moving at the same speed, causing me to mistime my shots. This can all be remedied with time and practice, but to pick up and play, the 3U felt a lot nicer to use.
If you enjoy playing doubles, this is the racquet for you. I’ve switched around from many brands and racquets, but I have yet to find one that I like as much as the Astrox 88 Dominate. Whether I’m playing singles or doubles, this racquet always feels great to use, in the back, mid and front court.
I would recommend this racquet to intermediate or advanced players who enjoy playing an aggressive style from the back court.
Racquets that I would also consider are the Arcsaber 11, for a more well-rounded style, or the Victor Bravesword 12, another great doubles racquet. If you would like to gear more towards singles, but still want a head heavy racquet, looking at the Victor Thruster K9900 or Hypernano X900 are other great options.
Astrox 88 Skill (Front court version, less head heavy and less stiff)
Recommended but not similar racquets:
Arcsaber 11 (Well rounded, good for front or back court)
Bravesword 12 (Very strong doubles racquet, good for drives and front court usage)
Hypernano x900 (Features a box frame that provides stability needed for singles shots)
Notes: My currently used racquet, so it changes day to day. Smash section is quite long because it is the defining feature of this racquet and difference in weight class is noticeable.