0 items

Review: The Gauzy Line

03 July 2020  | Posted in: Table Tennis Reviews

Andro Gauzy Blade Line

   I used to play with the OFF-, OFF, and OFF+ versions of the now discontinued Andro Temper Tech line for several years, thoroughly enjoying the cracking wood feeling that this line of blades provided. However, I found the shapes to be oddly wide and somewhat head-heavy, which ultimately prompted me to explore other blades. I have, nonetheless, been following Andro’s recent restructuring of their blade program with interest and was excited to be given the opportunity to evaluate the three fastest blades of the recently introduced Gauzy line. These include the 7-ply, all-wood Gauzy BL7, which has a classic limba/ayous construction, the 5+2-ply, rosewood composite Gauzy HL CO blade, and the 7-ply, all-wood Gauzy SL blade with ebony outer plies, which is the French superstar’s blade of choice.  

   The three “Made in Sweden” Gauzy blades are delivered in sturdy and modern-looking boxes, which have grey shells with yellow accents. Generic information about Andro blades is provided on the back of the boxes. The three boxes differ by the color of - and blade-specific stickers and text on - the inside box. Thus, the Gauzy BL7’s inside box is yellow with the text “Basic Line” on the outside. The Gauzy HL CO’s inside box is black, featuring the text “High Line” on the outside, while the Gauzy SL’s inside box is silver with the text “Supreme Line” on the outside. 

    According to Andro, the Gauzy BL7 is a blade that enables a spin-oriented game as speed remains under control at all times. The Gauzy HL CO is described as a 5+2 ply composite blade for players who prefer feeling and creativity over brute force, whereas the Gauzy SL is described as a blade that enables effective and powerful topspins due to its direct ball feeling, while its ‘soulful core’ provides sufficient safety. 

Testing procedure: 

   I tested the three Andro Gauzy blades using well-used sheets of Hurricane 3 (40-degrees, orange sponge, provincial, black, 2.2 mm) and Spinlord Waran 2 short pips (red, 2.0 mm) in my FH and BH, respectively. As always, I attached the rubbers to the blades using a single layer of Revolution 3 normal viscosity glue on both the blade and rubber. I tested each of the setups over 3-4 sessions, playing drills and matches against my usual practice partners using Nittaku J-Top training balls.


Andro Gauzy BL7 – Sometimes ‘basic’ is all you need.

     The playing surfaces of the Gauzy BL7 are dyed in a steely, light-blue color. The FH side features the Andro logo, the blade name, and descriptive text in white, while the BH side is devoid of text. The handle is dark blue with three centrally positioned white-red-white vertical stripes. A long, thin, white oval lens, listing the blade’s name and the French flag, is placed on the FH side of the handle, whereas there is no lens on the BH side of the handle. A black and white Andro tag is placed on the bottom of the handle. I am not a big fan of the color of the playing surfaces, especially because it looks as if the paint is peeling near the edges, where the blade has been sanded ever so slightly. The top corners of the handle are sharp and some players might want to sand them a little. The Gauzy BL7 appears to have a traditional limba/ayous construction with a medium-thick core that is surrounded by an equally thick ply, followed by a thin penultimate ply, and a very thin blue-dyed surface ply.

   The Gauzy BL7 has a minimally larger-than-usual playing surface (height x width: 158 mm x 151 mm) while being unusually thin for a 7-ply all-wood blade (~5.6 mm). Its weight is average at 86 g. The FL handle, which feels grippy and absorbent, has the following dimensions (length x width x height): 100.5 mm x 25.5-32.5 mm x 28 mm. The naked blade ball bounce test produced a rather low pitch (1230 Hz), which is similar to that of the Stiga Rosewood NCT VII (1248 Hz) and Donic Ovtcharov Senso V1 (1281 Hz), seemingly suggesting that the blade either is quite soft or not very fast.   

Playing impressions: 

    What struck me immediately is that the Andro Gauzy BL7 is very well-balanced with a center of gravity that is slightly, but not excessively, tilted towards the top of the head. Consequently, the set-up felt light and nimble. The ball impact is felt clearly without that blade ever coming across as hard or particularly stiff, which is something that I attribute to the thinness of the blade and the limba/ayous plies used. Speed-wise, the Gauzy BL7 feels like an upper range OFF- blade. Every stroke generates subtle vibrations that travel into the palm and fingers, which gave me exceptional feeling and control on all shots. FH drives felt quite crisp, with the blade flexing ever so slightly. On these shots, the Gauzy BL7 is more reminiscent of prototypical 5-ply blades such as the Tibhar Stratus Power Wood rather than typical 7-ply blades like the Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition. Yet, on BH drives with the Waran 2 short pips, the Gauzy BL7 felt solid, taking its thinness into account. FH looping with the Gauzy BL is very enjoyable. The dwell time and arc are medium and provide good safety over the net on FH loops. This, combined with the blade’s OFF- speed and slight flexibility, means that FH loops can be played with high levels of control and spin. For example, I was able to alternate between highly-angled diagonal FH loops and equally-dangerous down-the-line FH loops with above-average consistency. While the Gauzy BL7 produces a slight kick on hard strokes, some players may still find that it lacks a little bit of raw, top-end speed on power-drives from mid-distance. This did not bother me at all, as I found it to be more advantageous to spin well-placed shots out of reach of my opponents. Along similar lines, the Gauzy BL7 allows for consistent FH-to-FH rallies but is a little bit too slow to outright overpower your opponent from afar. The Gauzy BL7 worked well with the Waran 2 short pips for BH hits through backspin and BH mini-loops from mid-distance, being sufficiently fast and stiff for these shots to land on the table. BH chopping away from afar, on the other hand, was challenging, requiring soft hands and a good contact point to prevent the ball from floating too long. Passive FH and BH blocks felt direct and rock-solid with no signs of the ‘glassy’ feeling that I frequently encounter with short pips when using all-wood blades with hard outer plies (e.g., the Yasaka Extra Special) or thin composite blades (e.g., Tibhar Fortino Force). Akin to my observations on power-drives, the Gauzy BL7 perhaps lacks a little bit of extra snap on aggressive blocks and counter-topspins. However, I will gladly take higher consistency over brute force, as this wins me more points. Flat hits and smashes are facilitated by the blade’s slight elasticity and are plenty fast to win outright points. The Gauzy BL7 is outstanding in the short game due to its moderate speed and largely linear and softish feeling. Short pushes and low multi-bounce drop shots are easy to execute with an above-average level of consistency. My regular practice partner remarked that my deep BH pushes were flatter, faster, and more aggressive than with other setups. Once again, the blade’s OFF- level speed, and the good feeling that it provides, gave me the confidence to play these shots aggressively.  Flicks can also be executed in a highly controllable manner but are a little slower and less dangerous than with the Gauzy SL or composite blades. The moderate speed and dwell time, combined with the vibrations that travel into the hand, work exceptionally well for serves, enabling the player to truly feel the ball. As a result, I could impart very high spin levels on the ball and place it exactly where I wanted to, be it short and low backspin serves or long side-top-spin serves. The Gauzy BL7 is one of the best blades that I have used for serves.    


   Despite the “Basic Line” designation, I think that the Gauzy BL7 can suit a wide range of players, ranging from beginners to highly advanced players utilizing controlled spin-offensive strategies. What I really enjoyed about the blade is that it offers OFF- level speed with tons of control and a hint of flex, which is very useful for looping close to the table and from mid-distance, while still providing sufficient stability for BH blocking with short pips. Even playing with the inherently only moderately fast Hurricane 3, my shots were plenty fast, spinny, and – most importantly – well-placed to win points using a mix of aggressive strategies. The Gauzy BL7 is not a particularly flashy blade, but it is one that will win you points and matches due to sky-high consistency. And, the Gauzy BL offers exceptional value for money. What isn’t there to love?


Andro Gauzy HL CO – A beautiful, thin, and moderately fast 5+2 composite blade for two-winged loopers.

     The Gauzy HL CO has a beautiful light-brown colored playing surface with a prominent vertical wood grain. The FH side features the Andro logo, the blade name, and descriptive text in blue and white color tones, whereas the BH side is devoid of text. The handle, which is constructed using wood that has the same color as the playing surface, has three centrally positioned white-metallic blue-white vertical stripes. As with the other blades in this line, the FH side of the handle features a long, thin and white oval lens that lists the blade’s name and the French flag, whereas there is no lens on the BH side. A black and white Andro tag is placed on the bottom of the handle. Overall, the blade combines a rustic and sleek modern design that looks great and seems to be well-made. I note, though, that the bottom part of the playing surface is rather wide (true for all blades in this series). While the wings and sides appear to have been sanded ever so slightly, the top corners of the handle are sharp and may need sanding. 

    Unfortunately, Andro does not disclose the blade’s veneer construction beyond stating that it is composed of five wood plies and two thin layers of high-quality KVL Carbon that serve to stabilize and reduce vibrations. Closer inspection reveals that the Gauzy HL CO has a thick core, which is followed by successive and very thin layers of wood, KVL carbon, and what appears to be a rosewood/mahogany surface ply. 

     The Gauzy HL CO blade has an average-sized playing surface (height x width: 157 mm x 151 mm) with a thickness of ~5.6 mm. It is lightweight, at 82g. The ST handle, which is on the smaller side yet remains comfortable to fold for someone with a big hand, is a hybrid between SQST and RST and has the following dimensions (length x width x height): 100.5 mm x 28 mm x 23 mm. The naked blade bounce test produces a pitch with a frequency of 1280 Hz, which is very low for a composite blade. In fact, only the Nittaku Bloodwood (1324 Hz) and the DHS Hurricane 301 (1335 Hz) come remotely close among the composite blades that I have tested, suggesting that the Gauzy HL CO is a blade in the lower OFF- range. 

Playing impressions:

     The test set-up felt light, well-balanced, and comfortable to hold, albeit the handle feeling a little thin. The feeling upon hitting FH and – especially – BH drives is quite direct and medium to medium-hard. A cracking sound is produced, especially on BH drives with the comparatively soft-sponged Waran 2 short pips. I immediately felt some similarities to Stiga’s Rosewood NCT VII, except that the Gauzy HL CO feels considerably “thinner” and “pingier”. As the bounce test implied, the Gauzy HL CO is not very fast on these medium impact shots. It is a low OFF range, in my opinion, but it delivers reasonably good amounts of control. The character of the KVL carbon is more evident on higher impact shots, such as in FH-to-FH loop rallies, where the blade feels stiffer and a little faster, with a lower trajectory. On one hand, I enjoyed the increase in speed on FH loops far from the table, but the setup also became more unforgiving of incorrect positioning, timing, and footwork. This, combined with a noticeably diminishing sweet spot near the blade edges, meant that my consistency in FH-to-FH loop rallies was below average. In contrast, the extra pep and stiffness from the carbon layer worked quite well on mid-distance BH mini-loops played with the Waran 2 short pips, as this gave them enough speed to clear the net for some surprisingly dangerous shots. Closer to the table, I felt that my FH loops against backspin produced lower-than-usual levels of spin and speed. The dwell time and resulting trajectory were sufficient for the shots to clear the net (medium to medium-low throw angle), but the dwell time, in particular, is too short for a highly spin-imparting contact to take place. Consequently, my opponents had plenty of time and opportunity to block my loops very aggressively, putting me in all sorts of trouble. Similarly, I felt that power-loops had relatively good control but lacked some – well – power, which again gave my opponents opportunities to counter my shots. FH blocking with the hard-sponged Hurricane 3 felt solid and controlled, whereas my BH blocks with the short pips lacked stability, as the blade felt thin and tinny, resulting in knuckleball effects and below-average consistency. The direct nature and stiffness of the Gauzy HL CO worked well on flat hits as they were sufficiently – but not insanely – fast to produce outright winners. Perhaps the shot type where this blade works the best in on aggressive service returns. The direct feeling and the moderate speed of the blade gave me above-average control and confidence on BH and – especially - FH flicks. The Gauzy HL CO offers good feeling on drop shots, aided by its moderate speed. In contrast, I found it challenging to develop good feeling and generate high levels of backspin on long pushes, which normally is one of my strengths. Once again, the relatively short dwell time and the carbon effect of the blade, means that the ball did not spend sufficient time in contact with the rubbers for maximum spin production. In contrast, the combination of the Gauzy HL CO and the Hurricane 3 worked really well on backspin serves, where I felt the ball biting into the topsheet.


    The Andro Gauzy HL CO is a beautiful, OFF- level, thin, and a rather stiff blade. In fact, it shares similarities with the Nittaku Bloodwood. The Gauzy HL CO is better paired with faster and softer rubbers (such as the Andro Rasanter rubbers), as will give the ball a chance to penetrate deeper into the sponge for improved spin generation and shot control. In fact, I expect that two-winged loopers playing with such rubbers would enjoy the direct feeling that the Gauzy HL CO is capable of offering. 


Andro Gauzy SL – A stunningly beautiful power blade 

    The Gauzy SL has a stunningly beautiful - almost unreal looking - playing surface, with intense dark-brown and black vertical wood grain. The FH side features the Andro logo, the blade name, and descriptive text that is kept in dark-blue and white color tones, whereas the BH side is devoid of text. The dark-brown handle has three, centrally-positioned, white-dark blue-white vertical stripes. As with the other blades in this series, the FH side of the handle features a long, thin, white oval lens that lists the blade’s name and the French flag. There is no lens on the BH side. The bottom of the handle features a black and white Andro tag. Overall, the blade has an exceptionally attractive design and is well-made. The wings and sides appear to have been sanded ever so slightly, whereas the top corners of the handle are sharp. 

      Andro has revealed that the 7-ply Gauzy SL has a thin, red-dyed abachi core, which is surrounded by a thicker ply of undyed abachi, a very thin limba ply, and a ply of ultra-thin ebony. The blade has a playing surface of 156 mm x 151 mm (height x width) and a thickness of ~6.2 mm. The test specimen weighed 87 g. The RST/SQST hybrid handle is porous and on the smaller side with the following dimensions: 100.5 mm x 28 mm x 23 mm (length x width x height). Bouncing a ball and the naked blade produced a relatively low pitch (1260 Hz), which, however, is in the same general area as other 7-ply blades with hardwood surface plies such as Stiga Ebenholz NCT VII (1248 Hz) and the Donic Ovtcharov Senso V1 (1281 Hz). 

Playing impressions: 

     Right from the get-go, I felt right at home with the Andro Gauzy SL. The balance is just how I prefer it - slightly towards the head without being excessively head heavy. The feeling upon hitting the ball is direct with lots of feedback projecting into the palm, without being overwhelmed by vibrations. The contact point is crisp, as you would expect from a 7-ply blade with ebony outer plies, but without feeling overly hard, like the Stiga Ebenholz NCT VII. While the blade does not produce a loud cracking sound, like other 7-ply blades, players are given enough auditory stimulus and feedback. FH drives feel direct, solid without feeling thick, fast (OFF range), yet plenty controlled. I also enjoyed excellent control on my BH, which made drives using the Waran 2 short pips pure fun. The blade is thick enough to provide stability to BH drives and avoid the glassy feeling that I sometimes get with thinner blades, yet at the same time, the Gauzy SL does not feel blocky and stiff like a Stiga Clipper. FH loops against backspin required a slightly more open bat angle as the throw is no more than medium. Interestingly, spin levels are still above average as the ball bit really well into the Hurricane 3. The blade shines in FH looping against blocking, power drives, and counter-looping close to the table - all for similar reasons. It seems the Gauzy SL - Hurricane 3 combo holds on to the ball for a fraction of the second, partially absorbing the incoming energy, and allowing for redistribution of the power in strong forward momentum. For sure, I enjoyed some of the best control on these shots, save for the occasional hang-up on the net edge due to the relatively low throw angle. BH mini-loops played from mid-distance using the Waran 2 short pips worked reasonably well, although the throw angle and the OFF speed worked a little bit against me on these shots. Thus, I could put the ball on the table relatively safely, but not particularly dangerously, or else hit it ultra-hard, Kreanga style, but not very consistently. In other words, the Gaulzy SL/Waran 2 combo worked well on fishing balls back from mid-distance and keeping the rally going. Blocking with the Gauzy SL, especially FH blocking, is absolutely rock-solid and sublime, instilling a feeling that no level of spin or speed will be able to penetrate the combo. As mentioned before, FH counter-loops close to the table, executed by tightening the wrist, resulted in a massive acceleration and put my opponents in all sorts of trouble. BH blocking using the Waran 2 short pips was a little bit more timing dependent due to the throw angle but still solid and controlled. Flat hits and smashes are controlled and deadly, albeit not as fast as OFF rated composite blades like DHS Hurricane 301. The direct, medium stiff, and rather fast nature of the blade, along with the feedback it provides, work great for aggressive service returns, where I enjoyed a hitherto unparalleled fusion of power and control. While I was able to play short pushes and drop shots quite efficiently using soft hands, I did overshoot an above-average number of long pushes, as the blade feels fast on those shots. The Gauzy SL/Hurricane 3 setup works fantastic on serves, giving me the ability to serve both short spinny backspin serves and – especially – fast long serves with excellent control. 


    In my book, the Andro Gauzy SL is an instant classic and has propelled itself into my 3-4 most favorite blades (the others being the Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition, the Stiga Rosewood NCT VII and the Gauzy BL7). The Gauzy SL is geared towards advanced players with well-developed technique and footwork who want to take a step up from 5-ply or slower 7-ply blades. Unlike most composite blades, the Gauzy SL offers similar levels of speed and stability in the offensive game, without feeling overly stiff or “pingy”, resulting in better feeling and high control. An absolute top blade. Well done, Andro!

Comparison of the three Gauzy blades:

Speed: SL > BL7 > HL CO

Control: BL7 > SL > HL CO

Feeling when executing strokes (from most flexible to stiffest): BL7 > SL >HL CO

Feeling upon ball impact (from hardest to softest): HL CO ~ SL > BL7

Ability to generate spin on loops, arc and dwell time: BL7 > SL > HL CO

Suitability in the short game: BL7 > SL ~ HL CO

Spin reversal with short pips: HL CO > BL7 ~ SL

Best suited distance (closest to furthest): HL CO > SL > BL7


About the Reviewer

     Patrick Hrdlicka is a table tennis enthusiast with a Ph.D. in chemistry who combines his analytical and experimental skills with his love of table tennis in order to test and review a wide range of table tennis equipment.