Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet Racquet Review

Posted on October 27, 2006

Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet

Head Size:
110 sq. in.
Length: 27 in.
Weight: 10 oz.
Swing Weight: 285
Stiffness: 72
Balance: 2 pts. head heavy
Composition: Dynamic Braided Graphite/Titanium/Tungsten
Power: Medium-High
Idea Swing: Medium

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

Suggested Retail Price: $ 179.95
Your Price: $ 169.95
Buy from Amazon.com

A mid-range weight and upped power level make the O3 Hybrid Hornet an improvement over the Triple Threat Hornet, with the O-port technology at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions adding to maneuverability and stability.

The O3 Hybrid Hornet playtested as a racquet for mid-level players looking for game improvement from a responsive racquet with good feel.

The O3 Hybrid Hornet in 2006 was awarded TENNIS Magazine's Editor's Choice racquet.

Prince boasts its new technology expands the sweet spot on the racquet face up to 54 percent. This likable addition to the Prince line is for players with medium to full swings and has a power level of 1,000 on Prince's 500 to 1,600 scale.

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 X-Testers found the O3 Hybrid Hornet adequate off the ground for players with moderate swings who don't over-hit.

"I liked that it was a little head-heavy, a good-pace swing seemed to always come down in the court, but really big swings required extra topspin for me," said 5.5 tester Mark. "It was very forgiving on flatter strokes, I found some nice accuracy when flattening the ball out."

Randy felt he had no problems hitting through the ball and powering past opponents from the baseline.

"A maneuverable racquet on the baseline, and comfortable hitting through the ball on the backhand and forehand," Randy commented. "I could hit some biting slice, and end points driving the ball, especially flattening balls out."

The standard length and power rating made for a more control-oriented racquet than some of the more powerful sticks in the O3 Hybrid line such as the Shark, according to Jenni.

"I found it less powerful than other new Princes such as the Hybrid Shark, which is a little longer," said Jenni. "But that's good because it I tried to really crank the ball off my two-handed backhand I found I lost a little control. A good medium-sized swing was fine, plenty of power, and it plays well all-around on forehand, backhand, slice. Over-hitting had me hitting short balls or sending them flying, I had to let the racquet do the work then everything was fine."

SERVING

The big sweet spot of the O3 Hybrid Hornet provided a launch pad for serves, putting more power into the delivery than the TT Hornet predecessor.

"The string bed is lively and has a nice feel, I didn't feel it grabbed the ball like crazy like some of the other O3s," said tester Jenni. "I had a lot of success going for flat serves when I was ahead in games serving in doubles. The flat out-wide serve is sweet."

"Again I liked the little bit of head-heaviness with serving," said X-Tester Mark. "I'd like a little extra length but that is my own preference. Nice control, felt like a ping-pong paddle swatting the ball with the standard 27 inches. Good pop off the sweet spot."

Randy said he enjoyed the O-port-powered maneuverability and comfort.

"The weighting and maneuverability combine to give it a good feel on serve," Randy said. "I wasn't getting as much kick or spin as some of the other O3s tuned toward advance players, but serving down the middle with power felt great."

RETURNING SERVE

"I played with the original Hornet, and there is better control and power on the return, the O-ports only at the top and bottom seem to make a difference," said Mark. "Adequate power and more control than the O3 Blue and Silver. I would put a little lead on the frame, but that is just me."

"I could see why this won an award as an all-around good racquet," said X-Tester Randy. "On the returns I found a lot of control, a nice feel like it holds the ball, dampened feel, especially good for flattening out returns. Slice was well controlled, a little extra topspin needed if I really took a crack at the ball."

Jenni the two-hander also found control and power.

"It has a little weight to it for a racquet targeted toward intermediate players," Jenni said. "Not too light for me, not too heavy. I could get plenty on the returns, with more control for me on the backhand. The sweet spot has plenty of power and you know if when you connect perfectly."

VOLLEYING

"The string bed is lively so punching a flat volley has a nice feel to it," says doubles specialist Jenni. "It is a little head heavy so I liked the hefty feel it has at the net, and it held its ground most of the time against really hard-hit passing shots."

"It is maneuverable at the net," said tester Mark. "The tougher the volley the firmer wrist I needed. I also played with the 100-size head which is better for really advanced players. The 110 head does the job, has the larger sweet spot than the 100, and adds more power options."

"The standard length makes it is good volleying racquet," said Randy. "With any extra length it would probably be a little more difficult to get around at the net. It is an all-purpose racquet that also gets the job done at the net, I didn't have a problem with touch shots either."

FINAL VERDICT

The O3 Hybrid Hornet oversize, featuring the typical large O3 sweet spot, power and control, is ideal for the intermediate player looking to ramp-up their all-court game, or even for advanced players willing to experiment with lead tape to see if the new addition to the Hornet line can meet their demanding needs.
Buy from Amazon.com
     for just 169.95


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