Here’s a review of the Yonex Astrox 77 Pro from my friend Han Xu. He’s really knowledgeable about badminton rackets so pay attention and enjoy!
This is a review of the Yonex Astrox 77 Pro (AX77 Pro) that was released on October 21, 2022, and is at the time of writing used by professional players such as An Se Young in women’s singles and Fajar Alfian in men’s doubles. The wide range of use of the AX77 Pro should already tell you that it appeals to a variety of playstyles.
This racket fills an interesting niche as one of the lightest options within the head-heavy Astrox series. That’s definitely suitable for an allround player like me, as I’m generally interested in 4U rackets with just a touch of head weight, or 3U rackets that are perfectly even-balanced. In this review, I will provide a detailed analysis of why players might enjoy using the AX77 Pro, and compare it to other flagship rackets offered by Yonex including the original Astrox 77 (AX77).
I’ve opted for a 4U|G5 model and weighed several units on a professional Yonex racket scale in my local shop, Northwest Badminton & Tennis based in Bellevue, WA, USA. I’ve selected the unit with a balance point of 298mm and a total weight of 84.2g. If we subtract about 2g from the total weight that is tied to the plastic wrapper around the handle, the total dry weight (without strings and with factory base grip) can be considered a perfectly average 4U.
Keep in mind that some of the 4U units we measured have a balance point of 300+mm and/or a total weight of 86 – 2g, so your mileage may vary. As for the shaft, Yonex rates it medium, but as we’ll discuss below, the AX77 Pro definitely feels slightly stiffer than the original AX77 when playing. Finally, the racket is strung with Victor VBS-66 Nano at 26 x 27 lbs with 10% pre-stretch. This is a 0.66mm string by Victor that has a good balance of repulsion and friction.
So far I have tested the racket in four separate sessions: two hours in men’s singles, two hours in mixed doubles, two hours in men’s doubles, and four hours in training. My thoughts below will encompass all shots and areas of the court.
Starting in the midcourt area, the racket handles quicker than most top head-heavy rackets such as Astrox 99 Pro (AX99 Pro), Astrox 100 ZZ (AX100ZZ), and Astrox 88D Pro (AX88D Pro). In many ways driving feels similar to Astrox 88S Pro (AX88S Pro), but I never liked playing with that racket due to some of the design choices (grommet pattern creating large gaps in stringbed and shorter overall length). Drives are definitely punchy and more direct than the original AX77, which is great because it allowed me to return my opponent’s smashes with more accuracy and confidence.
Defensive digs felt natural because the little bit of weight in the head helps push the shuttle. Compared to AX77, the AX77 Pro felt more responsive, slightly head-lighter, and slightly stiffer. My drives in doubles were flat and tight across the net, and pushes in singles down the line were accurate and predictable. The original AX77 simply had too much lag due to the flex in the shaft and weight in the head to compete in this area.
Though the AX77 Pro is noticeably better in the flat game compared to its Astrox counterparts, it’s not as quick when compared to flagship products in other Yonex series, such as the Nanoflare 800 (NF800) which is advertised as head-light and the Arcsaber 11 Pro (ARC11 Pro) which is advertised as even-balanced. Both of these rackets are absolute beasts during fast-paced exchanges, something that is a bit more relevant for doubles players but worth mentioning nonetheless. What’s interesting is that we have measured ARC11 Pro units at 298-299mm balance point and Nanoflare 800 (NF800) units at 295mm balance point, so not too different from the AX77 Pro.
The traditional definition of even-balanced rackets is for the balance point to be between 285-295mm, with head-light rackets falling below that range and head-heavy rackets above it. However, it seems that manufacturers no longer see a need to drastically alter the balance point, but rather tweak the aerodynamics of the frame and responsiveness of the shaft to create ‘speed’ or ‘control’ categories. Anyway, where the box frame of AX77 Pro lacks in raw speed, it makes up for in stability. No matter how hard my opponent attacked, I was able to redirect the force where I wanted with ease.
AX77 Pro makes baseline-to-baseline clears effortless, simple as that. I had to dial down my swing quite a bit at the beginning when all my clears went out the backcourt. This is most likely due to using less head-heavy rackets for a long time, which require more body power and technique to achieve the same depth in clears. What I’ve also noticed is that the snapback point of the shaft is much more predictable than the original AX77. This meant that it was easier to accurately switch between attacking punch clears and defensive high clears throughout a game. When out of position or when forced to perform backhand clears, the AX77 Pro still delivers quality shots provided the correct technique is used. I would say it’s even easier to survive these situations with this racket than with top-end rackets such as the AX100ZZ or NF800. Those rackets have very stiff shafts and a smaller head, resulting in a smaller margin for error.
Lifts were okay with the AX77 Pro, nothing spectacular to talk about really. I was actually expecting it to take less effort considering that was the case with the original AX77. It took a while to tune my lifts so that they flew high and landed deep near the baseline. A small forearm movement with a flick of the wrist should achieve this result, but for some reason, I had to focus harder than with the more balanced rackets I’ve used in the past. Accuracy was again not a problem. In both singles and doubles, I found it easy to lift straight and cross while keeping the shuttle just within the lines, limiting my opponent’s attack options. Even though this is where an ARC11 Pro would really shine, the AX77 Pro is not far off.
Speaking of attack, let’s start with control shots. I think control has to be one of my favorite aspects of the AX77 Pro. For those that don’t know, let me first explain the trade-off of control characteristics in heavy and light rackets in terms of both head balance and total weight. Lighter rackets can generally execute drops following a quicker swing, allowing the player to slow down their swing later and creating more deception in their shot. This is typically harder to achieve with heavier rackets when performing the same type of drops because the greater mass will simply carry the shot further. However, heavier rackets provide more stability in the swing and more feedback on where the racket head is, resulting in more consistent timing of shots. Keep in mind that this varies from person to person, and is highly dependent on physical strength and technique. For me personally, the AX77 Pro balances those trade-offs nicely and allows my drops to land where I want almost every time.
Moving on to more advanced control shots, straight slices, and reverse slices were also predictable and straightforward. No fuss there. The little bit of weight in the head really helped with dialing in the right amount of slice, whether it’s a hard chop from the deep corners of the court or a light brush around the midcourt area. The only thing that felt difficult are stop drops, or any other control shot played with a direct hit. This is due to the repulsion that’s baked into the racket’s design – prioritizing repulsion over shuttle hold and a forgiving shaft. I’m almost encouraged to incorporate more slice into my shots out of fear of sending the shuttle too far. However, this is easily adjustable with the right form and technique, which is especially evident when catching the shuttle at or below the tape.
Onto the fun stuff. Starting with the power smash, this racket delivers strong attacks from both standing and jumping positions. If I had to rate it, the AX77 Pro would be a 8/10; the AX88D Pro would be a 9/10; whatever Z Force variant of your choosing would be a 10/10. I honestly don’t like giving arbitrary rating in my reviews, because they could mean very different things for different people at different levels.
At first glance, this comparison seems straightforward enough, since we already know that the AX77 Pro is one of the lightest high-end Astrox rackets. However, smash power is not just defined by head weight. The frame + shaft combination has to suit the player’s technique and swing style to result in the optimal snapback point during the smash. With stiffer and more balanced rackets, I needed a compact swing with more forearm pronation to extract every ounce of power. With the AX77 Pro on the other hand, I needed to relax my arm more and focus on a longer swing with less backswing. The more I forced it, the less powerful the smash. This is true for most rackets but even more so with the AX77 Pro.
As for stick smashes or half smashes, your mileage may vary depending on your forearm and finger strength. For me it felt perfect during singles games. The AX77 Pro generated steep angles without needing to incorporate a lot of wrist movement at the end of my swing. Accuracy was again not a problem so putting the shuttle down between the front and mid court felt very satisfying, even more so than power smashes. For this type of smash in fast-paced doubles rallies though, I would have preferred something a little quicker, as it felt a little slow to get the racket head in the right position for a quick whip. In these scenarios, I really like the sharp and aerodynamic frames produced by Victor. Generally speaking, I do recommend focusing on repeated attacks over raw power, since this racket is optimized more for the former and will lose out to sledgehammers in the latter.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the front court. I was expecting it to be the weakest area of the AX77 Pro but to my surprise, it was no slouch here at all. Due to small variations in manufacturing, you may not have the same experience and end up with a unit that’s a bit more head heavy. I’m grateful to my local shop for weighing a bunch of units for me so I can select a lighter one. It definitely helped with continuous net kills or swipes against a strong defense.
Front court interceptions in doubles on both the forehand and backhand side were not hard at all. With correct anticipation I could apply quick taps and let gravity do the rest. The slight weight in the head again helped in this area but only if you can get the racket in position soon enough. You cannot be lazy with the AX77 Pro in the front court and still hope to intercept everything like with some of the Yonex Nanoflare or Victor Auraspeed rackets. However, if you focus on moving your body into the right position and minimizing your backswing, the AX77 Pro will not prevent you from finishing the point.
Tight spinning net shots were super easy to execute. I actually prefer a slightly head-heavy racket over a head-light racket for these shots because I can let the racket do most of the work. Simply angle the racket blade accordingly and push the shuttle over the net with body momentum. I find this harder to do consistently with head-light rackets as they require a bit more wrist movement. For cross court net shots, I also appreciate the standard surface area of AX77 Pro’s racket head. These shots usually require some degree of slice to keep them close to the net, and that’s harder to do with smaller sized heads (like the heads on Yonex rackets with a Z label). Overall, I was pleasantly surprised that this racket’s performance at the net rivals that of the Astrox 88S Pro (AX88S Pro), a racket specifically designed for this purpose.
If you’re interested in a solid allround racket that can perform well in all badminton disciplines and every area of the court, then you should consider the AX77 Pro. It has the shot stability of Astrox rackets and the maneuverability and control of Arcsaber rackets. It is more forgiving than the ARC11 Pro, which is marketed as the flagship balanced option. It packs a bigger punch than the Arcsaber 7 Pro (ARC7 Pro) while remaining just as easy to use.
The key thing to remember is that the AX77 Pro optimizes for repulsion instead of shuttle hold. In my opinion, this is what the AX88S Pro should have been but diehard fans of Kevin Sukamuljo may disagree. That’s fine, because the AX77 Pro should not be relegated to one area of the court. For doubles I recommend this racket to those that like to rotate often, keeping the shuttle flat and tight while attacking often. For singles I recommend it to players that like to rally, gradually building opportunities instead of forcing them.
Subscribe on our About Us page, see you there!
Thank you for reading! Our most popular posts are our badminton equipment posts, make sure to check them out next.
Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our email list down below for a FREE downloadable PDF and a 25% COUPON CODE for our store.
BadmintonBites is all about honest and authentic badminton content. The goal of BadmintonBites is to create real value for the badminton community, which is often plagued with subpar or downright false content on the internet.
Badminton deserves so much more and we’re here to share our experience and expertise with you. You can read more about BadmintonBites and our purpose on our About Us page.
We would love to have you with us on our badminton journey and we hope to provide you with as much value as possible.
Here’s some guides and reviews on badminton products. We update this list whenever we add new equipment content – hope you enjoy!