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Rubber Blind Test Part 2 of 3: Nittaku Hammond Power

20 July 2017  | 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.

Introduction
A couple of weeks ago, the guys from Tabletennis11.com asked me if I was interested in conducting a blind-test of four rubbers. I was not given any information or hints regarding the nature of these rubbers but I assumed that they would be new or upcoming offerings.Intrigued by the challenge, I accepted. This post is the second of the three to be released in this series. You can read about my testing procedure details in Part 1

Test rubber 4 – A medium-hard do-it-all rubber

Physical appearance: The top-sheet is non-tacky, quite grippy, and glossy - the indentations of the underlying pips are visible under the topsheet surface. The sponge is medium-hard with very small pores and has a grey-purplish color.  The rubber has a sweet booster smell and weighs 47 g when cut to a 151x152 mm size (test sheet was smaller than usual, leaving a gap above the handle). The sponge side curls ever so slightly upwards.

Playing impressions: TR4 feels medium-hard in play (~47 degrees) and provides a firm, slightly subdued feeling on FH drives. The rubber is medium fast (slower than TR1, slightly faster than TR3), has a rather weak catapult, and, consequently, feels quite linear. FH loops felt solid and controlled due to the linearity, but also lacked a little bit spin. I would categorize the throw angle as medium – high enough to give enough clearance over the net when using a regular bat angle when FH looping against heavy backspin. However, the rubber did not give me enough grip to confidently execute full-commitment loop drives. Flat hits can be made with excellent control and average speed and are facilitated by lack of spin sensitivity. The same applies to aggressive FH serve returns. Blocking is solid but not as firm and exciting as with TR1 or TR3, i.e., the lack of catapult and moderate speed means that blocks feel more passive than with TR1 or TR3. Short play and touch shots are easy to do with TR4. Its limited bounciness allows for short and low passive serve returns, although the average spin levels invite counter attacks. The spin on serves is fairly average and less than what I was able to produce with TR1 or TR3.  

Conclusion: This is a solid and relatively non-flashy do-it-all rubber. Looping, flat hitting, blocking, touch play – all of these game facets can be executed well with this rubber, although it does not rise to best-in-category in any of them. While I only tested it as a FH rubber, I think this also could be used as a BH rubber for players who focus more on lower throw based play, i.e., hitting and blocking rather than looping. The TR4 reminds me of a slightly softer version of Xiom’s Omega V Asia, sharing its linearity, relatively firm feeling, and lack of spin sensitivity, but also its moderate spin levels.

Hammond Power

Patrick’s guess: I have a hard time to pin this one down. The sponge and topsheet have a Nittaku-feel to them. I would not be surprised if the topsheet has a large proportion of natural rubber to it. Perhaps the Nittaku Hammond Power?
Rubber identity: Nittaku Hammond Power

Serves: 8/10 
Serve receives and short game: 9/10
Looping: 8.5/10
Flat hitting: 9/10
Blocking: 8.5/10

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OTHER ARTICLES OF THE SERIES:
Rubber Blind Test Part 1 of 3: Tibhar Aurus Prime and Aurus Select
Rubber Blind Test Part 3 of 3: Neottec Katana