Dunlop Biomimetic S 3.0 Lite Racquet Review
- Not stable outside the sweetspot
- Low power level for a lightweight racquet
With the Biomimetic S 3.0 Lite, Dunlop has created a light as a feather and extremely maneuverable racquet. The cherry on top is its crisp feel. Our playtesters took this racquet out for a playtest and loved how easy it was to generate spin by whipping the racquet through contact. With the positives of the light weight come some negatives, and most of our playtesters would have enjoyed a little more mass to add stability and power. The S 3.0 was fast at net, with great touch and control, but again the playtesters would have liked a little more mass to keep the racquet steady and their strokes powerful. The maneuverability was also a plus on serves and returns, where our testers found the feel to be surprisingly crisp. A small sweetspot created inconsistency, and although the lightness of the racquet was a positive at times, the lack of mass was more of a hindrance than a help.
Groundstrokes - Score: 75
Staying true to its name, the S 3.0 Lite was light in the hand and fast to swing, but most testers struggled to consistently generate power. The first thing Brittany noticed was how light this racquet is. She said, "At 10 ounces this racquet pretty much swings itself (well, not really, but it is very easy to swing). I could generate racquet head speed effortlessly on my groundstrokes and could really set up early for the ball. I found a good amount of power when I made contact with the ball in the sweetspot. However, I thought the sweetspot was quite small, and anything hit off center resulted in a loss of power. I also experienced some vibration. However, I found the control to be better than expected coming from a 10-ounce racquet."
For Chris, this racquet really lived up to its name, offering a very light and fast feel from the baseline. He said, "I found I could get a ton of spin out of this racquet, simply because I could swing it extremely quickly. The string pattern was open enough to offer ample grab and both my topspin and slice shots were exiting the racquet face with lots of spin. On the power front I found this racquet to be very on and off. When I hit in the sweetspot I found good access to both pace and depth on a full swing. When I hit outside of the sweetspot I found the drop in power to be somewhat abrupt. I found this on/off power made the stringbed very string sensitive. With a softer multifilament type string the racquet felt more forgiving, with a larger sweetspot. However, I preferred the grip and spin of a poly and ended up finding a poly/multi hybrid offered a good compromise. The sweetspot felt bigger and I was getting enough spin to let me swing aggressively."
The lightweight feel of the frame left Karly surprised with the the amount of control she got. She said, "I was able to get more control than power from the baseline, which was great considering how light the frame is. It was very easy to swing and I could direct my shots effortlessly. Though the control was great, I struggled with generating any type of pace on my shots. I had a hard time getting any depth on my shots and didn't feel like there was enough weight to generate any power. I had to really swing for the fences to hit hard shots. I think a little extra weight added to the top of the frame would've really helped."
Tiffani enjoyed the feel but struggled to generate pace. She offered, "For a 10 ounce racquet this Dunlop felt pretty solid and crisp. It didn't feel tinny or hollow at ball impact. However, I struggled with this racquet off the ground. With only 10 ounces of mass I had a hard time generating consistent power and depth. In one way, this racquet was good for me. I had to really concentrate on keeping my swing speeds up or else I hit the ball very short or in the net. It was especially noticeable on my forehand, the weaker of my two groundstrokes. I also had some issues with feel when it came to hitting topspin lobs. I like to think that I usually have good touch with those, but I was struggling to control my depth and lacked depth. I tried it with two string setups; a poly-multi hybrid at 53 lbs and a multi at 57 lbs. Neither delivered much power, but I would definitely lower the string tension with this racquet to try to get some extra pop."
Volleys - Score: 74
The S 3.0 Lite was fast on volleys, with great touch and control, but our playtesters did struggle with stability and power. Chris enjoyed the swift feel of the racquet around the court. He said, "Again, maneuverability was this racquet's strong point. At net it felt very, very fast. However, stability was not good, and I would have liked a little more weight in the head to improve pop. I liked the crisp and clean feel. The racquet felt very precise when I was on the sweetspot, but it was too unforgiving when I made contact a little off-center."
Karly found volleying came really easy with this racquet. "The lightweight frame was maneuverable and it didn't take much effort to bring the racquet around. Like my groundstrokes, I found more control than power up at net. I was really confident placing the ball where I wanted. I also thought it had tremendous touch, which was great. I felt that with its good touch and control I could place the ball how and where I wanted, though again, I wasn't able to get much pop from the racquet and I thought it lacked power. It also had a small sweetspot, and if the ball didn't hit in the center of it the racquet felt extremely dead."
Finding easy maneuverability was Tiffani, saying, "One of the benefits of the 10 ounce strung weight was how quickly it moved into position. However, I didn't love this racquet at net. If I caught a ball slightly out of the sweetspot the power dropped off and I could feel the weight of the shot on my arm."
Brittany agreed, adding, "It was very easy to get the racquet into position to hit any volleys hit at me, and it maintained a crisp feel. The negative was the stability. I found the racquet was pushed around up at net and I was having trouble maintaining control."
Serves - Score: 74
Once again, maneuverability was a talking point with our playtesters, although some would have enjoyed a little more mass. Karly found serving with this racquet to be great, although she thought it would have benefited from a little more weight. She said, "It was extremely easy to swing, and I was able to maneuver it effortlessly. I was able to generate power behind my shots, which I couldn't do on my groundstrokes and volleys. It had more power than control, but there was still enough control for me to control the direction of my serves. I also thought the maneuverability made it really easy to create spin. I could really brush up on the ball, since the racquet was so maneuverable, and get good spin. Although that spin was great, there were times where is was almost a little too much. Again, I think the racquet could've benefited from adding a tiny bit more weight to the frame to keep it from feeling so whippy. I had to make an adjustment a few times because I generated too much spin and my kick serve dived too short."
Tiffani had problems with the lack of power and pace. She explained, "Once again, I struggled to generate any meaningful power. I could get good spin, as much as I would normally see from my service motion, so my best bet was to go for placement on my serves. Sometimes I like to hit a flat first serve and a spin second serve, but with this racquet I would hit with moderate pace and spin for both serves."
Brittany noticed the fast feel of the racquet, saying, "I found it very easy to create tons of racquet head speed. In fact, I sometimes got too much racquet head speed and ended up hitting the ball earlier than I wanted. Once I made a quick (and easy) adjustment to the head speed I noticed (again) the weight. I felt my serve was lacking some weight behind it, and I wanted a little more mass. However, I focused more on the placement of both my first and second serve and found success."
Chris had good results when hitting spin serves with this racquet. "I could whip it through the contact zone to generate a lot of rotation on the ball. This racquet simply lacks the mass to punch through contact when hitting a powerful serve. My pace was decent, it was just that the resulting ball was light and easy for my opponents to return once they had their racquet on the ball. In other words, I wasn't getting much weight behind my serves."
Serve Returns - Score: 75
Serve returns got a mix of opinions. While some testers enjoyed the racquet head speed and maneuverability, the stability and depth control caused other testers some problems. A fan of the S 3.0 Lite on serve returns was Tiffani, who said, "This ended up being my favorite shot to hit with this racquet. Unlike with some heavier racquets, where I have to really be sure to use compact strokes, this racquet swings quickly enough to allow me to take full swings on returns. I could still pick spots, but I could go for them with a full swing. Blocking back shots was not as effective because I didn't find enough power."
Chris also enjoyed returning serve with the S 3.0 Lite. He noted, "My favorite shot with this racquet was the return. I could take a good rip, even at really fast serves, because the racquet was so fast and easy to maneuver. Again, stability could have been better, but I did my best to just swing through everything and try to let the increased tip speed make up for the lack of plow through. I was getting good spin on returns. I found myself really punching and knifing my slice returns to keep them deep and affective."
Brittany had similar thoughts to Chris. She said, "The maneuverability shone when returning serves. I was able to get my racquet into position no matter how hard the serve was hit at me. I was really able to swing through my returns, but the stability was an issue again, as the lack of weight caused the racquet to twist in my hand when returning heavier or harder serves."
"Returning serves was the most difficult thing for me to do with this frame," said Karly. "It was hard to get any depth from my shots, and I had to make sure I put some sort of back swing on my stroke or else I found my returns to be very short. I wasn't able to get much back without a big swing, even against hard hitting servers. Luckily, the racquet was very maneuverable, so it was easy to get the racquet on the ball."
Overall - Score: 74
Chris - "I liked the spin and crisp feel."
Brittany - "The control I received from such a lightweight racquet was a nice surprise. In addition, I enjoyed the maneuverability from all areas of the court."
Karly - "The amount of control I got out of this lightweight frame was a pleasant surprise."
Tiffani - "It swings very quickly and feels solid for a racquet in this weight category."
Chris - "I think there could be more weight in the head (a more head heavy balance) to add some punch, increase the sweetspot and improve the stability of this racquet."
Brittany - "The lack of stability was present in every stroke I hit."
Karly - "The lack of depth and the small sweetspot made it difficult to play consistently with this frame."
Tiffani - "This racquet was too low powered for me. I struggled to consistently generate power and depth. The string pattern seemed pretty dense for a 16x19."
Comparing the racquet to others they've tried, our testers said:
Chris - "Comparable racquets to this one would be racquets like the Babolat Pure Drive Lite, the Prince EXO3 Warrior Team and perhaps even the Wilson BLX Steam. I think they all make a good option as a first adult sized racquet for the upcoming junior, but I think said junior will soon find the need to beef this one up with some lead tape to improve its punch and plow through."
Brittany - "This reminded me of the Volkl Organix 10 Lite. I found plenty of control and maneuverability from both, but the stability was lacking."
Karly - "The Dunlop S 3.0 Lite reminded me the most of the Gamma 98 racquet. They are both very easy frames to swing, but they also lack depth and have small sweetspots."
Tiffani - "It's been a while since there was a racquet in this weight category that felt this control oriented. The last one I played with was the Wilson BLX Six.One Lite, which is no longer in production. Both swing fast, have a crisp, clean feel and offer little free power."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Chris: 5.0 all-court player currently using the Volkl C10 Pro 2012. Chris uses a full-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a one-handed backhand.
Brittany: Open level player with a semi-western forehand and a two-handed backhand. She currently plays with the Yonex V-Core 100S.
Karly: 4.0 baseline player currently playing with the Wilson nCode nTour. She hits with a semi-western forehand grip and uses a two handed backhand.
Tiffani: 4.0 level baseliner with a semiwestern grip on the forehand and hits a two-handed backhand. Currently playing with the Tecnifibre Rebound Pro.
Review date: November 2012. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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