Ok, I put a very long title on this post. I had in recent months on hand the Provincial and National versions of Hurricane 3 Neo and I will try to compare them with each other and with the commercial version (the cheapest) and H3 National with non-Neo sponge (old version, meant for speed-glue ).
Neo H3 Provincial, 39 degrees 2.2 mm, orange sponge
First to be glued on my blade was the Provincial, 39 degrees, 2.2 mm, black. I glued it initially without making any treatment – as it came from the factory. Feeling: like a rock. Hard, hard sponge, rigid topsheet. However, it was softer than the commercial version that I had some time ago.
I can not help to notice that it was perfect for high spin and short, spinny, well-placed serves. The topspin next to the table was very quick and very much spinny no matter what kind of spin I have received.
I was unhappy with the reduced speed that it offered for the shots in which I put all my energy. The re-topspin was a disaster: high spin, but very low speed. I conclude that the rubber needs something: either break-in time or booster. However, I don’t have too much patience (well, I don’t have very much time for tennis, at least not as much as I would like), so I decided to boost the rubber and see what happens.
In the same period have changed the blade from Nittaku Acoustic toTimo Boll ZLF and here begins a new episode in the assessment Neo H3 Provincial.
Several layers of booster and about seven days later, I pasted it on TB ZLF and went to the venue. There were major differences. First, the topsheet was very elastic and, after I wiped it a few times with my hand, the slight tackiness disappeared.The rubber became very bouncy for a chinese type rubber, but not extremely bouncy, like the Euro / Japanese. Control decreased a bit, but was still very good – superior to Euro / Japanese rubbers. Spinny serves were less easy, but good, comparable to the most spinny Euro / Japanese. Flips – very easy and safe to do, topspin – good spin and good speed; smashes – kinda slow – still pretty hard to finish the point. The re-topspin was the great revelation: the speed was much better, great control and great spin – a pleasure. My re-topspin easily went on the table every time, and the ball rarely came back from partner, because of the high spin, which makes the ball go down quickly after contacting with the table.
After two weeks of play, the rubber had even better control and speed because of natural wear. Overall, I was able to play with it at optimum parameters for about two months, after that the decline of spin began, which ended up hardening topsheet so much that, because it was not tacky, it almost became an anti- spin. Two or three layers of baby oil on the topsheet quickly solved the problem. The rubber regained its elasticity and went even better than before.
Compared with H3 Commercial Neo 39 degrees, 2.2 mm, I can say that the Provincial is softer (I think the commercial’s sponge hardness was about 41 or 42 degrees, in fact, in spite of the declared hardness), the ball jumps from the Provincial stronger both before and after booster on both sides. Baby oil has a semi-permanent softening effect on the sponge – the rubber does not come back to the original hardness, nor the initial form (deos not stretch back). Neo H3 Provincial is, in my opinion, the best bang for the buck. Keep in mind that the booster drastically reduces its durability. Maybe using a faster blade and less booster would bring more speed and keep the rubber useful for a longer period.
Conclusion: the best price/quality ratio for a top Chinese rubber.
National Neo H3, 2.2 mm, blue sponge
I got a H3 National Neo blue sponge already used – I can not afford the prohibitive price – it is more expensive than Tenergy, for which I sought alternative because of price in the first place. I think the initial hardness of the sponge was 41 degrees. However, blue sponge is a particular Neo sponge and has the cheese cloth texture on it – the same texture as the other versions of H3 Neo. A blue sponge Skyline GT III (commercial) that I have a more porous sponge, which shows the texture less.
Ok, I pasted it on the blade and waited to see if I’m playing with it like Ma Long. I didn’t play like Ma Long, but I spinned the ball like him. The surface is tacky, more tacky than the Provincial. The sponge is reactive, clearly more reactive than the orange version, and that without using any booster (well, not too much booster, because when I got it, it was already treated for the purpose of cleaning with a small amount of paraffin oil). Spin – lots of it, speed – good for topspin, good for retopspin. The blocks – weak control because topsheet combined with a reactive sponge is quite sensitive to spin.
After two sessions I put some booster on the sponge, I couldn’t resist the temptation. Only then I understood why China National Team is using these rubbers. I thought that it had more control than Tenergy, with comparable spin and speed on hard strokes. Tenergy would be better for medium shots – you get more spin and speed from Tenergy for less effort. The National Neo H3 blue sponge you can play any part of the game easily – topspin next to the table, flip, counter, short and precise returns, more spin on serves. Using Tenergy 05 you can easily get a fast and well spun ball, but if you pass a certain limit not get much further, almost regardless of the power consumed for the stroke. It is, however, very difficult for an amateur to reach this limit of Tenergy rubber, but I assume there are professionals who can.
Conclusion: very good rubber, top one I’s say, but the price is prohibitive.
National Neo H3, 2.2 mm, 38 degrees, orange sponge
Without booster, a soft, dead, rubber, no way whatsoever to make good spin and it does not have enough power.
The booster makes it close to an European rubber, with a little tackiness to help services and short returns. Although it was 38 degrees initially, the booster made it perhaps of 35 degrees. It felt almost like a Stiga Boost TC, but with a sticky surface, less sticky than the H3 Neo Blue Sponge. That made it bouncy, if you hit the ball hard, but it sticks to the ball on a short return.
Because of the soft sponge, spin decreased a lot, and the method of making spin changed – you need to engage the sponge. Average speed is very good, but speed does not compare with that provided by harder sponge rubbers, which will not bottom out on a harder shot. However, the ball does not escape from the sponge, despite low hardness and the rubber is quite good for re-topspin. You have to use your whole body for it.
Conclusion: I think this rubber could have its fans, but it didn’t feel so good for me. Donic Baracuda seems easier to use. It’s nothing special about it with this sponge hardness: it doesn’t create a too much spin, nor speed is in excess. It does everything, but it doesn’t excel in any way.
The same rubber with a sponge of 41 degrees, with enough booster is a different story: much faster and much more spin – I tried it for about 5 minutes from someone on a Yeo blade.
I have written about the commercial version in another post (I didn’t translate the post in English yet, sorry!). My conclusion is that the commercial version rubbers are very different from each other and it’s difficult to find ones that comply with the inscription on the package. Differences in hardness of the sponge, thickness even, can make the difference between a player’s good and bad play. I think it might be more effective to only get Provincial rubbers, which are more consistent and you can rely on the fact that you can always buy the same rubber (well, let’s not exaggerate, but they are close enough).
For those who are intrigued by my treatment to all my rubbers – I play in a local division where the ITTF equipment rules are not drastically applied, so boosting is allowed. Anyway, I try to give up treating rubbers and I just bought some rubbers that donțt need any treatment – I hope.
P.S. This translation was made partially using Google Translate and that’s because I’m so lazy!
This is my first post in English and if I get some positive feedback, I’ll keep writing (and translating badly in English with Google Translate 🙂 ).
I hope you get my point on the rubbers and forgive my poor English. Thanks!
Please don’t copy my review without my permission. Instead, put a link to this page, as it has a perma-link.