Isospeed’s Professional 17 gauge string is advertised to be the closest match to natural gut on the market for synthetic gut string. Along with Isospeed’s reputation among my peers as an excellent string manufacturer, I figured the Professional 17 would definitely be worth a try.
The Isospeed Power Ribbon technology is specifically designed to mimick the composition of a natural gut string, and by combining it with their tradition of pre-stretching the filaments in the string, it also maintains tension and aids in the durability of the string.
I strung up my set of Professional 17 in my racquet at 60 lbs, increasing my desired tension which is normally between 56-58 lbs when stringing with a polyester. When stringing, it felt fairly similar to an average synthetic gut, but with a little more of a “wirey” feel (slightly stiffer and rougher). But overall a fairly easy string to install.
With the first strike of the ball I was able to notice the comfort and playability of the Professional 17. The ball pocketed well and exploded off the string bed, provided great power and spin potential. The Power Ribbon technology gave the string a nice texture to it, which made it very responsive and provided me with excellent feel. As is the case with most synthetic gut strings, the Professional 17 was very soft and arm-friendly. However, it varied from other synthetic gut strings in that I was able to have a lot more touch and feel with it because of how responsive the string bed was. Every ball felt as though it was on the strings forever, which is a nice feeling! The only downside was its durability, as it only lasted me for a couple hours of hard play. However, this is pretty on par, if not a little better, than most synthetic guts that I’ve tried.
The Professional 17 string was probably my favorite synthetic gut string I have played with, perhaps along with the Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex. However, compared to the Prince Syn Gut, the Isospeed provided me with more touch and better feel, and also added durability making it, in my opinion, a slightly nicer string. At $10.99 a set, it is a little pricey, but the excellent feel that it provides along with the added durability definitely makes the Isospeed Professional 17 worth a try!
A pleasant surprise awaited me when I was handed a set of the Prince Poly EXP 16 to try. I knew little about the Prince Poly EXP 16 string before I tried it. I have enjoyed the Prince strings I had used in the past (I enjoyed playing with the Prince Syn Gut w/ Duraflex as a junior, as well as the Prince Tour in my college career), but I had never heard of the Poly EXP. And after playing with it I had found another Prince string that I really liked playing with.
I strung up the Poly EXP in my Prince TT Warrior MP at my standard 56 lbs for a polyester (I typically do 56 lbs for polys and 58-60 for multifilaments). It was a relatively easy string compared to other polyesters because of its smooth texture and slightly softer feel.
After just the first shot in the warm up I immediately noticed the incredible feedback and “pop” I was getting off the string bed. At contact the ball seemed to explode of the racket, resulting in a lot more power than I was used to out of a full bed of polyester.
Off the ground the Poly EXP felt excellent. I was able to generate large amounts of pace on the groundstrokes and a decent amount of spin to bring the ball back down into the court. Precision and control was slightly less than normal than other polyesters, but since I enjoy a more explosive and responsive string I did not mind.
Volleys and serves were also nice with the Poly EXP. I would have liked to be able to generate a little more bite on the ball, especially for knifing the volleys, but the pace I was able to generate, especially on the serve, was awesome! I was definitely hitting the big flat serve up the tee with a little more juice than normal…
Tension maintenance was good, but not great. It maintained tension for most of the life in the string bed (a little over a week), but started to lose tension towards the end. Durability was about average for a polyester string.
Overall I was extremely pleased with the Prince Poly EXP 16 string! I had played the Prince Tour string for a while during my college career, and definitely felt that the Poly EXP was a significant upgrade from the Tour (even though I did like the Tour a lot). The power and “pop” I was able to generate would be extremely hard to match from any other polyester on the market. If you enjoy a lively polyester with lots of potential for power, like I do, then I definitely would recommend giving the Prince Poly EXP a try!