Prince O3 Hybrid Shark Racquet ReviewPosted on October 31, 2006
Prince O3 Hybrid Shark
Head Size: 110 sq. in.
Length: 27.5 in.
Weight: 10.2 oz.
Swing Weight: 285
Balance: 1 pt. head light
Composition: Dynamic Braided Graphite/Titanium/Tungsten
Idea Swing: Moderate
Recommended String: Prince Lightning XX
Recommended grip: Prince DuraTac Overgrip
Suggested Retail Price: $ 199.95
Your Price: $ 189.95
The Prince O3 Hybrid Shark is a vast improvement on the Turbo Shark, with the O-ports at 6 and 12 o'clock combined with the Triple Threat Stability modules at the top, and a built-in dampening grommet at the bottom, making this an attractive competitor for players looking to amp-up their game with the latest technology.
The forgiving O3 technology increases the sweet spot 54 percent according to Prince, and the O3 Hybrid Shark comes in not too heavy to impede maneuverability, and not too light to give up stability on off-center shots.
Featuring more control than the Turbo Shark, the O3 Hybrid Shark comes in at 1,025 on Prince's 500 to 1,600 power rating scale.
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
"I've got my pros and cons," said X-tester Jenni. "The strings move around a lot making me think they'll break quickly, the white grip it comes with turned nasty pretty quickly (are my hands this dirty?), and the string bed has kind of a dead feeling to it. Now that didn't effect the control or power I got, both of which are nice and an improvement over the other (Turbo) Shark which had an out-of-control power feel."
Randy found the racquet similar to another in the O3 line.
"This wasn't too different from the O3 White and from the baseline had all the things I like: power but not out of control, placement, and the ability to easily hit deep balls instead of coming up short -- which I guess depends on your stroke. From the baseline it is dependable like the rest of the O3 line."
The 5.5-level Mark found it a little wanting against high-level players.
"I enjoyed the O3 Hybrid Shark against players I could push around a little bit, but against big hitters who came at me, it was a little much," Mark said. "Unless you're playing 5.0 big hitters all the time, I would recommend this for players from 2.5-4.5 looking for some immediate improvement from a high-tech racquet such as this. Definitely an improvement over the Turbo Shark"
"The face is really responsive and gave my serve a little boost," said X-tester Jenni. "Grips the ball well as all Princes do, no lack of spin. Solid on the serve, typical Prince, and the giant sweet spot makes even balls hit near the outside of the face find their mark."
"To me the power was nice but I didn't feel like I was hitting as heavy a ball as I wanted," said Randy. "For serving in the O3 series I like the O3 White. The Shark has plenty of pop, whether hooking serves down the middle or going out wide, for spin, and hitting flat."
Mark also found the O3 Hybrid Shark delivered to expectations.
"A lot more feel for me that the Turbo Shark, an improvement of power with control," said Mark. "I thought the muted feel of the string bed would take away from the serve but it didn't other than sometimes having a problem with serves that sat up. My flat serves went long until I made some adjustments then it was fine, there is no lack of power."
"If the O3 technology truly makes the sweet spot 50 percent larger, this is the racquet you can feel it with," said Jenni. "Even off-hit returns had good power, and with a little extra topspin I got the control I wanted. I could hook the two-handed backhand with control."
Randy, who spends much of his time roaming the baseline, enjoyed the O3 Hybrid Shark's versatility on the return.
"The maneuverability of the racquet makes it easy to get around on slice and topspin. It has the power to push people around on their own serves," Randy said. "Against big servers I had plenty of juice to come back at them with, even if blocking the ball."
The power and control was a selling point to Mark.
"For a racquet of this level, it does a lot more for me that the Turbo Shark did," Mark said. "I can drive the slice low and float it less, and take big cuts on the returns if I put a little extra topspin on it. When servers jam you it has the power and control to poke balls back low or at angles to give net-rushers problems."
"I thought the extra length might give me some problems at the net but it was comfortable and controlled," said the doubles specialist Jenni. "Plenty of power, control was adequate when I tried to get cute."
All testers reported a nice feel and commented on the O3 Hybrid Shark's maneuverability.
"It gets around quick at the net, and the feel of the racquet makes you want to beat on the ball," Randy said. "I found myself wanting to come in behind topspin drives rather that try to place an approach shot. I was crunching volley winners, maybe I was just having a good day, or maybe it as the racquet..."
"For the muted string bed I thought there might be a power outage at the net, but it performed well," said Mark. "The maneuverability made me almost want to go for the volley winner on the difficult shots instead of setting up the point. Keep a firm wrist and control though or the balls can fly."
A big improvement over the Turbo Shark, the former racquet of Maria Sharapova, the new O3 Hybrid Shark brings the O-port technology to improve control and stability while still providing considerable power. A definite game improver with nice feel and stability for players in the 2.5 to 4.5 levels.
for just 189.95
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