Head Size: 100 in² / 645 cm²
Length: 27in / 68,5cm
Strung Weight: 301g / 10,6oz
Unstrung Weight: 285g/10,1oz
Balance: 33,02cm / 4 pts HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
We’ve always been fans of the Head Speed rackets, and have found the Speed S to be a great racket for intermediate players in the past. With the newly updated Head Graphene 360+ Speed S, Head brings the lightweight version of the Djokovic racket into the 2020s and we got to take it for a test run.
We were impressed with the old Speed S and gave it a very good score of 7.5 out of 10, so the new racket had a lot to live up to. The main thing we enjoyed about this racket was its maneuverability, which is really helpful when you’re still perfecting your shots.
With a very similar setup and the same 285g unstrung weight, the new racket should offer the same maneuverability, with the added benefit of the new updates.
For this playtest, we strung the Head Graphene 360+ Speed S with Wilson Revolve at 50lbs. This would help give the Speed S a little bit of extra control and spin potential we all look for in our games and allow us to get the most out of the Speed S.
So, would the Speed S continue to be one of the best rackets in its weight category, or would we prefer the old version?
We put it through its paces to find out.
Groundstrokes – 8/10
The Speed S has a very different feel to the heavier rackets in the Speed line. It’s less focused on control and has a much greater emphasis on power and spin. This isn’t a bad thing, especially for intermediate players who want to get a little bit of extra pop, but it is worth noting if you’ve tried the heaver rackets and are expecting the same.
What the Graphene 360+ Speed S does give you we really enjoyed though. It feels very solid through contact for a 285g racket, even more so than the last version, and this led to plenty of power and spin potential. All of us use heavier rackets than this one, so it took a little bit of time to adjust our games, but once we did, we all settled into a nice rhythm with the Speed S.
The area where I found I gelled particularly well with this racket was on the backhand, where the easy pop helped me keep my backhand nice and deep and stop me from getting attacked as much. On the forehand side, I was able to generate plenty of topspin to attack my opponent with, and this was a particularly useful tactic for me.
The weight does make quite a big difference and players dropping down from 300g + rackets will have to take time to get used to it. However, if you’re looking for an easy swinging racket that’s still got some performance then this is a stick we would recommend.
The Head Graphene 360+ Speed does what it sets out to do really well and for that reason, we gave it an 8 out of 10 on the groundstrokes.
Volleys – 7/10
The lightweight rackets aren’t perfectly set up for volleying, but considering this, the Speed S does a pretty good job at the net. Again, the big plus with this racket is how easy it is to get into position, which really helps on the volleys.
When you’re learning your technique and trying to perfect the volleys, it’s really helpful to have a racket that’s easy to move into position, and that’s exactly what this racket does. It’s nicely balanced, moves through the air quickly and allows you to get into position quickly. When the balls coming at you quickly that’s exactly what you want.
On contact, the Speed S has decent stability, which allows you to control the ball back into court and place it where you want. The difficulty with such a light racket is when the power levels really get ramped up and the racket starts to get pushed around. This is where you want a slightly heavier racket with more stability, and that’s probably what more advanced rackets will find.
However, for intermediates who are still learning and improving, the Head Graphene 360+ Speed S does a good job and we gave it a 7 out of 10 for the volleys.
Serve – 7.5/10
With this racket, you can generate some serious racket head speed, which can be turned into good power. The serve is a difficult shot to master, and it’s that bit more difficult when you’re trying to get a heavy racket moving. The Speed S gives you no such problems and ensures you can get plenty out of your serve.
I enjoyed the ease with which you can play with this racket and was able to hit some pretty good serves throughout. I’m used to something a little bit heavier which offers more control, and that’s the one area where I did feel this racket was lacking a bit, but that’s a harsh criticism given its weight.
This stick encourages you to keep your racket head speed up and attack the ball, with plenty of power and spin. Not only does this help on the first serve but it’s also good on the second serve because it’s important not to let the racket head speed drop and see the ball dip into the net.
For a 285g racket, we thought the Head Graphene 360+ Speed S offered plenty of performance on the serve and we gave it a solid 7.5 out of 10.
Return – 7/10
This stick was solid enough on the return and allows you to get into the point without too many difficulties. The maneuverability shines through in this area, helping to make sure you contact the ball out in front and aren’t late on the shot.
Again, it does get pushed around a little bit, particularly against bigger servers, but that’s to be expected with a lightweight racket. The main thing with this stick is that it gives intermediates a good platform to practice and improve their strokes, and it does that on the return.
We all felt pretty happy returning serve with the Speed S, with the highlight being when you get to unload on shorter second serves and really use this racket’s maneuverability to attack the ball.
All in all, it was another solid performance from the Head Graphene 360+ Speed S and we gave it a 7 out of 10 for the return.
Conclusion – 7.5/10
We gave the Head Graphene 360+ Speed S the same score as the older version. There wasn’t a great deal between the two rackets, so we stuck with pretty much the same scores.
The 360+ might have slightly better feel, but not enough to bring the scores up dramatically, and that’s not a bad thing. The old Speed S was a good racket and it didn’t need too much doing to it, and thankfully, Head hasn’t gone crazy with changes.
This means you get a good racket that’s easy to use and offers good performance for a 285g stick. Like most lighter rackets, it’s most comfortable from the back of the court, where it offers good speed and power, but the Speed S also does a reasonable job from the net and won’t let you down in any area.
It’s a very good racket for beginner and intermediate players looking for a racket that does a bit of everything, and we gave it a 7.5 out of 10.
Article by: Will