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Review: Andro Hexer Grip and Powergrip

25 April 2019  | Posted in: Table Tennis Reviews

About the Reviewer

Patrick HrdlickaPatrick Hrdlicka is a table tennis enthusiast, who was introduced to the sport by his parents at the age of six. Patrick progressed to play in the highest national cadet and junior team leagues in his native Denmark and was among the top 40 players in his age group, which fostered several long-standing members of the Danish National Team. With college looming, Patrick quit the sport for almost twenty years. During this hiatus, he obtained a Ph.D.-degree in chemistry and accepted a position as professor of chemistry at the University of Idaho.

At the beginning of 2014, the mid-life crisis and yearning for table tennis grew too strong for Patrick and he decided to pick up the sport again. Bitten again by the table tennis bug, he plays 4-6 times per week. 

Since his comeback to table tennis, he has enjoyed combining his analytical and experimental skills with his love for table tennis, testing and reviewing a wide range of table tennis equipment.

 

Andro Hexer Grip and Andro Hexer Powergrip

 

This time, I was given the opportunity to review Andro’s Hexer Grip and Hexer Powergrip rubbers, which were introduced to the market in the fall of 2018. Shortly after my return to the sport, I started using the Andro Rasant Grip and Powergrip rubbers (which are no longer in production). I recall being impressed with their spin levels and durability, which piqued my interest in this new generation of Andro rubbers.


According to Andro, these “Made in Germany” tensor rubbers have plastic ball-optimized top-sheets made of 100% natural rubber, which supposedly offer “supernatural grip” and allow for generation of maximum spin and magical flight curves. The Grip’s 45-degree sponge is asserted to enclose the ball, increasing the fault tolerance and creating a fantastic ball control. The Powergrip’s 47.5-degree sponge, on the other hand, is described as creating catapult and power for a variety of spin and tempo strokes.


The Hexer Grip and Hexer Powergrip rubbers come in standard cardboard packaging that is black, silver, yellow, and green (Grip) or red (Powergrip). Technical and marketing information is provided on the back. Andro recommends the Hexer Grip for players with medium-fast stroke speed levels, while the Powergrip is recommended for players with faster stroke speed levels. I belong to the latter target group.


Both rubbers have a distinct booster smell and very grippy, non-tacky, and slightly rippled top-sheets. The rubbers feel a couple of degrees softer to the touch than the advertised hardness levels. The green sponges have a high density of medium (Grip) or small (Powergrip) pores. The uncut sheets (Grip: 170x169 mm; Powergrip: 169x169 mm) weigh 69 g and 71 g, respectively, respectively. When cut to test blade (158x151 mm), the Grip and Powergrip weigh 49 g and 51 g, respectively, which is in a similar range as Xiom’s Omega V Asia, Tibhar’s Evolution MX-S, and DHS’ Hurricane 3 Neo (40-degree, provincial, orange sponge).

 

Unboxing Hexer Grip:

Unboxing Hexer Powergrip:

Testing procedure: I tested the brand-new Hexer Powergrip (black, 2.1 mm) and Hexer Grip (red, 2.1 mm) rubbers without additional boosting on a DHS Power G7 OFF+ blade, with Spinlord Waran II (2.0 mm, red) short pips on the BH side. As usual, I attached the test rubbers using 2-3 layers of Revolution 3 normal viscosity glue and tested them over several sessions, playing a mix of simple drills and practice matches against my regular club mates, using DHS 3-star D40+ plastic balls in the process.

 

Playing impressions – Hexer Powergrip: Going into the test, I did not know what to expect. Would the Hexer Powergrip have a behavior similar to old Rasant Powergrip, Tenergy 05 hard, or something entirely different? The first FH-FH drive warmup rally pretty much set the stage for the rest of the test, lasting a full minute at high speed. The feeling is spectacularly crisp, the sound prominent, and the speed levels in the low OFF level. For me, the ball trajectory is perfect: enough safety to clear the net, yet at the same it goes deep into my opponent’s territory, without straying too long. This feeling and sense of control was also present on FH loops, which felt almost speed glue-like with plenty of pep and phenomenal potential for precise ball placement and angled shots. The Hexer Powergrip gave me an unparalleled ability to make alternating diagonal, down-the-line, and around-the-net loops with high consistency. To my surprise, Andro’s claim of “magical flight curves” really seems valid. As great as the feeling is on FH loops, I will say that my opponents seemed to have an easier time returning my FH loops, if they were able to get in position for blocking. In other words, FH loops executed with the Powergrip seemed less powerful and dangerous than FH loops executed with the innately slower but spinnier DHS Hurricane 3, and more akin to, e.g., the hard version of Butterfly Tenergy 05 (i.e., faster but with less spin). Nonetheless, the combination of speed, control of ball placement and – especially – feeling, renders the Hexer Powergrip an absolute joy to loop and loop-drive with from mid-distance. FH loops played closer to or over the table must be executed with greater restraint, especially against no-spin balls, as the loops otherwise have a tendency to going long, due to the rubber’s high speed and catapult effect. Loop-to-loop rallies are super fun with the Powergrip, as it provided sufficient firmness to prevent me from hitting through the sponge and having the ball careening of the end of the table. Blocking and counter-looping with the Hexer Powergrip is direct, fast, and very satisfying since the rubber adsorbs a great deal of the incoming kinetic energy and isn’t spin sensitive. Flat hits and smashes are lightning fast and virtually unreturnable. The feeling on short pushes and drop shots is surprisingly good, considering the rubber’s high speed, since the catapult is not activated on the low impact shots. I was able to keep the ball short and close to the net, but with less spin than with standard Chinese rubbers. It is also possible to play long sharp pushes but again the spin levels are slightly lower than with Chinese rubbers. Aggressive serve returns (i.e., flicks), are facilitated by the clearly felt contact point and lack of spin sensitivity. I was able to impart high levels of back- and side-spin on my serves. Fast serves are obviously easy to execute with this rubber.

 

Conclusion: The Andro Hexer Powergrip is an exceptionally fun rubber to play with, especially when looping, loop-driving, or counter-looping from mid-distance. This is a rubber for intermediate to professional level aggressive players who want to win spectacular points by coupling high speed with superior control of ball placement. Respectable, but not exceptional, spin levels are generated on serves, serve returns, and opening loops. The Hexer Powergrip’s harder sponge clearly lends itself towards being used as a FH rubber, but highly skilled players with fast arm speeds enjoying medium-low throwing rubbers, will be able to use the rubber in the BH as well. Having recently tested the new Butterfly Tenergy 05 Hard rubber for personal use, I see several similarities between the two rubbers. The T05H is somewhat firmer but the overall feeling is quite similar. If I was to switch to a non-Chinese FH rubber, the Hexer Powergrip would be at the top of the list.


Serves: 9/10

Serve receives and short game: 9/10

Looping: 9.8/10 (highest score, I have ever given)

Flat hitting: 9.5/10

Blocking: 9.2/10

 

 

Playing impressions – Hexer Grip: Unsurprisingly, there are many similarities between the Hexer Grip and Hexer Powergrip, although the former is noticeably bouncier, with a lower top-end speed (OFF-). The impact of the ball is felt very prominently on FH drives and loops, offering a very crisp feeling and loud clicking sound. The Hexer Grip has a greater catapult effect, meaning that FH loops and – especially – loop drives executed with very high arm swing speeds had an increased tendency of going long. This became particularly obvious in full power loop-to-loop rallies, where I struggled to maintain high consistency. Similarly, I had to play fifth ball attacks with greater care than with the Hexer Powergrip. I found it necessary to play more relaxed, using a slower arm swing speed when executing FH loops. With these adjustments it became possible to play a large variety of angled shots. The throw angle is higher, but just like with the Hexer Powergrip, I did not feel that my FH loops had as much “bite” to them as when using Hurricane 3. The greater catapult effect and higher throw angle of the Hexer Grip was advantageous on BH loops. I found blocking with the Hexer Grip to be slightly less consistent than with the Hexer Powergrip, presumably because the softer sponge of the former adsorbs less of the incoming kinetic energy, resulting in occasional stray balls. FH flat hits and smashes are reasonably fast but the softer sponge of the Hexer Grip sets a natural limit to the amount of power that can be imparted on the ball. The bouncier nature of the Hexer Grip also meant that I had to use softer hands on short pushes and drop shots than with the Powergrip to prevent the ball from going too long. Deep pushes can be played competently with respectable amounts of backspin. I prefer rubbers with a firmer sponge for FH flicks, but the softer nature of the Grip’s sponge worked great on BH banana flicks, allowing the ball to penetrate into the sponge and be guided over the net. For the same reason, I found it easier to impart spin on serves with the Hexer Grip compared to the Powergrip, especially on topspin serves.

 

Conclusion: I think the Andro Hexer Grip can be a great FH rubber for intermediate level and/or young topspin-oriented players. More advanced players, using faster arm swing speeds, will likely find the sponge of the Hexer Grip to be a little bit too soft. In my opinion, the Hexer Grip has greater applicability as an BH rubber, due to the prominent catapult effect, which imparts more speed and spin on shots played with medium arm speed. Players of a wide range of skill levels (intermediate to professional) will be able to enjoy the Hexer Grip as a BH rubber. In many respects, the Hexer Grip reminds me of a crispier and grippier version of the Tibhar Evolution EL-S rubber.


Serves: 9/10

Serve receives and short game: 8.8/10

Looping: 9.3/10

Flat hitting: 9/10

Blocking: 8.8/10

 

 

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Andro Hexer Grip and Andro Hexer Powergrip

This time, I was given the opportunity to review Andro’s Hexer Grip and Hexer Powergrip rubbers, which were introduced to the market in the fall of 2018. Shortly after my return to the sport, I started using the Andro Rasant Grip and Powergrip rubbers (which are no longer in production). I recall being impressed with their spin levels and durability, which piqued my interest in this new generation of Andro rubbers.

According to Andro, these “Made in Germany” tensor rubbers have plastic ball-optimized top-sheets made of 100% natural rubber, which supposedly offer “supernatural grip” and allow for generation of maximum spin and magical flight curves. The Grip’s 45-degree sponge is asserted to enclose the ball, increasing the fault tolerance and creating a fantastic ball control. The Powergrip’s 47.5-degree sponge, on the other hand, is described as creating catapult and power for a variety of spin and tempo strokes.

The Hexer Grip and Hexer Powergrip rubbers come in standard cardboard packaging that is black, silver, yellow, and green (Grip) or red (Powergrip). Technical and marketing information is provided on the back. Andro recommends the Hexer Grip for players with medium-fast stroke speed levels, while the Powergrip is recommended for players with faster stroke speed levels. I belong to the latter target group.

Both rubbers have a distinct booster smell and very grippy, non-tacky, and slightly rippled top-sheets. The rubbers feel a couple of degrees softer to the touch than the advertised hardness levels. The green sponges have a high density of medium (Grip) or small (Powergrip) pores. The uncut sheets (Grip: 170x169 mm; Powergrip: 169x169 mm) weigh 69 g and 71 g, respectively, respectively. When cut to test blade (158x151 mm), the Grip and Powergrip weigh 49 g and 51 g, respectively, which is in a similar range as Xiom’s Omega V Asia, Tibhar’s Evolution MX-S, and DHS’ Hurricane 3 Neo (40-degree, provincial, orange sponge).

Unboxing Hexer Grip: https://youtu.be/OxMr_ajvFgU

Unboxing Hexer Powergrip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP_IXU0XFC0

Testing procedure: I tested the brand-new Hexer Powergrip (black, 2.1 mm) and Hexer Grip (red, 2.1 mm) rubbers without additional boosting on a DHS Power G7 OFF+ blade, with Spinlord Waran II (2.0 mm, red) short pips on the BH side. As usual, I attached the test rubbers using 2-3 layers of Revolution 3 normal viscosity glue and tested them over several sessions, playing a mix of simple drills and practice matches against my regular club mates, using DHS 3-star D40+ plastic balls in the process.

Playing impressions – Hexer Powergrip: Going into the test, I did not know what to expect. Would the Hexer Powergrip have a behavior similar to old Rasant Powergrip, Tenergy 05 hard, or something entirely different? The first FH-FH drive warmup rally pretty much set the stage for the rest of the test, lasting a full minute at high speed. The feeling is spectacularly crisp, the sound prominent, and the speed levels in the low OFF level. For me, the ball trajectory is perfect: enough safety to clear the net, yet at the same it goes deep into my opponent’s territory, without straying too long. This feeling and sense of control was also present on FH loops, which felt almost speed glue-like with plenty of pep and phenomenal potential for precise ball placement and angled shots. The Hexer Powergrip gave me an unparalleled ability to make alternating diagonal, down-the-line, and around-the-net loops with high consistency. To my surprise, Andro’s claim of “magical flight curves” really seems valid. As great as the feeling is on FH loops, I will say that my opponents seemed to have an easier time returning my FH loops, if they were able to get in position for blocking. In other words, FH loops executed with the Powergrip seemed less powerful and dangerous than FH loops executed with the innately slower but spinnier DHS Hurricane 3, and more akin to, e.g., the hard version of Butterfly Tenergy 05 (i.e., faster but with less spin). Nonetheless, the combination of speed, control of ball placement and – especially – feeling, renders the Hexer Powergrip an absolute joy to loop and loop-drive with from mid-distance. FH loops played closer to or over the table must be executed with greater restraint, especially against no-spin balls, as the loops otherwise have a tendency to going long, due to the rubber’s high speed and catapult effect. Loop-to-loop rallies are super fun with the Powergrip, as it provided sufficient firmness to prevent me from hitting through the sponge and having the ball careening of the end of the table. Blocking and counter-looping with the Hexer Powergrip is direct, fast, and very satisfying since the rubber adsorbs a great deal of the incoming kinetic energy and isn’t spin sensitive. Flat hits and smashes are lightning fast and virtually unreturnable. The feeling on short pushes and drop shots is surprisingly good, considering the rubber’s high speed, since the catapult is not activated on the low impact shots. I was able to keep the ball short and close to the net, but with less spin than with standard Chinese rubbers. It is also possible to play long sharp pushes but again the spin levels are slightly lower than with Chinese rubbers. Aggressive serve returns (i.e., flicks), are facilitated by the clearly felt contact point and lack of spin sensitivity. I was able to impart high levels of back- and side-spin on my serves. Fast serves are obviously easy to execute with this rubber.

Conclusion: The Andro Hexer Powergrip is an exceptionally fun rubber to play with, especially when looping, loop-driving, or counter-looping from mid-distance. This is a rubber for intermediate to professional level aggressive players who want to win spectacular points by coupling high speed with superior control of ball placement. Respectable, but not exceptional, spin levels are generated on serves, serve returns, and opening loops. The Hexer Powergrip’s harder sponge clearly lends itself towards being used as a FH rubber, but highly skilled players with fast arm speeds enjoying medium-low throwing rubbers, will be able to use the rubber in the BH as well. Having recently tested the new Butterfly Tenergy 05 Hard rubber for personal use, I see several similarities between the two rubbers. The T05H is somewhat firmer but the overall feeling is quite similar. If I was to switch to a non-Chinese FH rubber, the Hexer Powergrip would be at the top of the list.

Serves: 9/10

Serve receives and short game: 9/10

Looping: 9.8/10 (highest score, I have ever given)

Flat hitting: 9.5/10

Blocking: 9.2/10

 

Playing impressions – Hexer Grip: Unsurprisingly, there are many similarities between the Hexer Grip and Hexer Powergrip, although the former is noticeably bouncier, with a lower top-end speed (OFF-). The impact of the ball is felt very prominently on FH drives and loops, offering a very crisp feeling and loud clicking sound. The Hexer Grip has a greater catapult effect, meaning that FH loops and – especially – loop drives executed with very high arm swing speeds had an increased tendency of going long. This became particularly obvious in full power loop-to-loop rallies, where I struggled to maintain high consistency. Similarly, I had to play fifth ball attacks with greater care than with the Hexer Powergrip. I found it necessary to play more relaxed, using a slower arm swing speed when executing FH loops. With these adjustments it became possible to play a large variety of angled shots. The throw angle is higher, but just like with the Hexer Powergrip, I did not feel that my FH loops had as much “bite” to them as when using Hurricane 3. The greater catapult effect and higher throw angle of the Hexer Grip was advantageous on BH loops. I found blocking with the Hexer Grip to be slightly less consistent than with the Hexer Powergrip, presumably because the softer sponge of the former adsorbs less of the incoming kinetic energy, resulting in occasional stray balls. FH flat hits and smashes are reasonably fast but the softer sponge of the Hexer Grip sets a natural limit to the amount of power that can be imparted on the ball. The bouncier nature of the Hexer Grip also meant that I had to use softer hands on short pushes and drop shots than with the Powergrip to prevent the ball from going too long. Deep pushes can be played competently with respectable amounts of backspin. I prefer rubbers with a firmer sponge for FH flicks, but the softer nature of the Grip’s sponge worked great on BH banana flicks, allowing the ball to penetrate into the sponge and be guided over the net. For the same reason, I found it easier to impart spin on serves with the Hexer Grip compared to the Powergrip, especially on topspin serves.

Conclusion: I think the Andro Hexer Grip can be a great FH rubber for intermediate level and/or young topspin-oriented players. More advanced players, using faster arm swing speeds, will likely find the sponge of the Hexer Grip to be a little bit too soft. In my opinion, the Hexer Grip has greater applicability as an BH rubber, due to the prominent catapult effect, which imparts more speed and spin on shots played with medium arm speed. Players of a wide range of skill levels (intermediate to professional) will be able to enjoy the Hexer Grip as a BH rubber. In many respects, the Hexer Grip reminds me of a crispier and grippier version of the Tibhar Evolution EL-S rubber.

Serves: 9/10

Serve receives and short game: 8.8/10

Looping: 9.3/10

Flat hitting: 9/10

Blocking: 8.8/10