Prince O3 White Racquet Review

Posted on October 24, 2006

Prince O3 White

Head Size:
100 sq. in.
Length: 27 in.
Weight: 10.6 oz.
Swing Weight: 287
Stiffness: 65
Balance: 4 pts. head light
Composition: GraphitExtreme/Copper/Titanium/Tungsten
Power: low-medium
Idea Swing: fast

Recommended String: Prince Lightning Power 16 String
Recommended grip: Prince DuraTac Overgrip

Suggested Retail Price: $ 219.95
Your Price: $ 199.95
Buy from Amazon.com

Maria Sharapova's racquet of choice circa 2006, the Prince O3 White is a player's racquet, requiring a good amount of swing and head speed to accomplish the task, but an exquisite performer once its needs are met.

By transforming the stringing holes on the sides, top, and bottom of the racquet into giant "O-ports," Prince boasts its new technology expands the sweet spot on the racquet face up to 54 percent. This racquet, designed more for the player who brings their own power to the table, comes in at 1,000 on the Prince power scale of 500 to 1,600.

"As soon as I picked up the racquet it felt right", said Sharapova in a press release after debuting the racquet in January 2006. "I played with it for only a few days before I knew that O3 could make my game better." You can judge for yourself, in addition to checking the X-testers comments.

The O3 line has been getting impressive reviews since its debut, receiving a prestigious Red Dot Design Award, and is the choice of a number of ATP and WTA Tour players.

X-Testers:
Mark is a 5.5 all-court player with a one-handed backhand.
Randy is a 5.0 teaching pro with a one-handed backhand.
Jenni is a 5.0 player and self-described "doubles specialist" with a two-handed backhand.

TESTING: OFF THE GROUND

The Prince O3 White comes with soft rubber grommets at the bottom of the head for those that want a dampened vibration feel, or a hard nylon insert is included for players looking to feel the ball with that little extra vibration.

With or without the soft grommets, testers lauded the feel of the O3 White. "I am having some elbow problems so I left the rubber grommets on, and I had no problems with my elbow whatsoever as opposed to other racquets I've tested," said X-tester Jenni. "I think I get pretty good racquet-head speed so the power of this racquet was adequate, and the control was really outstanding. Slicing or driving the ball had a nice feel to it, I could really place it."

Randy felt the racquet almost cupped the ball, and at times lack the power he needed during rallies. "Maybe I'm not as big a swinger as other players. I got good topspin and it was almost a challenge to hit a ball long. I had problems pulling the trigger sometimes. Flattening the ball out helped, I think this would be a great racquet for flatter hitters like a Sharapova."

The open string bed provided easy topspin for all testers, and the control side of the O3 White was evident.

"This is the type of player's racquet I like as I can swing for the fences and it always seems to come down in the court," said the 5.5-rated Mark. "The 100 head size is nice, that little bit makes a big control difference over a 110. Nice control even when "whipping" the ball, you are rewarded for good head speed and timing."

SERVING

Like the powerful O3 Blue, testers found the O3 White to have plenty of kick on the serve, but with perhaps a bit more control due to the smaller head size.

"If I got enough wrist snap I felt like there was plenty of power and I could place the ball well," said tester Jenni. "Of course I like serving with all the Princes."

Randy felt he needed to concentrate on getting enough head speed when serving to generate enough pop. "I did have a bit of an adjustment when serving for the first time," Randy said. "This is a player's racquet so the power is not right there if you don't have good body mechanics. I had to change my sloppy motion and do all those things I knew I should be doing before the power was there. The control was never a problem, the spin was good, the racquet really gripped the ball."

Having no problems was Mark, who found comfort hitting flat, with topspin and with slice. "I could do it all serving with this racquet, whatever serve I wanted. I could hit hard with control, it had a lot of feel...I like it without the soft grommets. I like to hear that aluminum-can ping sound."

RETURNING SERVE

"I don't know if it was the O-ports playing tricks on my mind but I felt the O3 White was very easy to position, easy to maneuver, moved through the air quickly," said the two-hander Jenni. "I'm used to a bigger racquet face so I felt that some off-center shots came up shorter than other racquets. It was a little demanding of perfection but sweet on the sweet spot."

The men testers appreciated the O3 White's all-around performance sending serves back.

"There wasn't much I couldn't do," said Randy. "It's not a thumping-type stick to blow you opponents off the court, it rewards good players who take true cuts at the ball. My slice returns had control, as did aggressive returns crosscourt."

The feel of the O3 White drew rave reviews from 5.5 hitter Mark. "Like the groundstrokes I could take big rips without hitting the fence. It responded well on topspin drives and when I flattened the ball out to take opponent's response time away. Plenty of pop for me with great control, and it felt soft in my hands as opposed to super-stiff racquet that can feel like baseball bats. Against good players, this racquet gave as good as it received."

VOLLEYING

The volleying reviews were solid for the O3 White, with the smaller 100-inch head giving more feel below the net that its 110-size counterparts, and plenty of control.

"My volleys were crisp and with vibration virtually non-existent," said Jenni the doubles specialist. "Good balance of the racquet made for good feel, and power to do what I wanted with the ball."

Randy says you won't find him at the net unless he has put himself in position to hit a confident approach. "This wasn't a magical volley racquet for me, but I don't serve and volley or put myself in positions a lot to make difficult volleys, so there you go," Randy said. "That said, I had no problem with standard volleys. There was a difference for me in hitting the sweet spot and not."

"I would probably lead-up this racquet up a little for my style of play," said 5.5 player Mark. "It volleyed well on sitters, but I like a little more weight behind the frame, so when I'm stretched wide on a volley the racquet holds a little bit better. And I don't want soft grommets or vibration dampeners when I'm at the net, I want to feel the ball, I liked the hard O-port grommets. All in all it is solid at the net, maybe a little light, and very maneuverable."

FINAL VERDICT

With a rigid nylon throat grommet insert for players who want a true feel, and a soft rubber insert for players who like a vibration-dampened feel, the X-testers found the O3 White a racquet for 4.0 players and above who take a good cut at the ball with above-average racquet-head speed, yet still expect control and moderated power. Prince's lauded larger O3 series sweet spot increases the feel-good effect of true strokes from players who attack the ball (see: Maria Sharapova) rather than bunt shorter strokes.

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     for just 199.95


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