Head Graphene 360 Speed S Specs
Head Size: 100 sq. in. / 645 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.5cm
Strung Weight: 303g / 10.7oz
Unstrung Weight: 285g/10.1oz
Balance: 32.99cm / 4 pts HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
The Head Speeds are a racket range that I’ve always really enjoyed. I used the Speed Pro in its different forms between 2011 and 2018, so you could say I’m a bit of a fan. They have changed a lot over those years though, and perhaps, even more so with the latest Graphene 360 technology. I’ve since moved away to join Dominic Thiem with the Babolat Pure Strike, but I’m always interested to get back and try the different Head Speeds. This time, it was the Head Graphene 360 Speed S that I got my hands on, so I thought I would put it through its paces.
A couple of weeks back I tried the Head Graphene 360 Radical S, which is the equivalent Radical racket to the Speed S and was really impressed. The Graphene 360 technology had softened the racket up nicely, but it still kept its great all-around performance.
In the past, I would have expected the Speed S to be a little bit more maneuverable and more control focussed than the Radical S but these days I feel like they have come a bit closer together. With the pro versions of these rackets, the Speed has become more of an easy to use player’s racket, and that’s something I’d previously associated with the Radical.
Anyway, you’re here for the Graphene 360 Speed S, so more details on that! This racket weighs in at 285g, so it should be a very manageable weight for players of all abilities. It’s got a relatively stiff frame, but given my experiences with Head’s Graphene 360 technology, it should still be very comfortable to play with.
The Graphene 360 technology sees a special graphene material inserted into the frame at strategic points to ensure extra stability on contact and greater power. I must say, I think this has changed the feel of the Speed rackets quite a bit, but it should lead to more comfort, and as they say, a little bit more easy power.
Given the Head Graphene 360 Speed S’s specs and reputation for brilliant maneuverability, this racket stands out as an excellent racket for intermediate players who are serious about improving their games. If I were to choose a racket on the way it swings alone it would be one of the Head Speed rackets, and that’s something that’s really going to help you out as you’re developing your game.
For this playtest I figured I’d stick to my normal string setup of Babolat RPM Blast strung at 52lbs. This should give me a good blend of control and spin and hopefully allow me to get the most out of the Speed S’s speedy swings.
The most important thing for me about this playtest was making sure the Speed S still offers a great balance. When you’re a developing player I think it’s important that you have a racket that performs well in all areas – comfort, power, spin, and control, rather than just focusing on one area.
In the past, the Head Speed rackets have been brilliant at striking that balance just right, so I was hoping that would continue with the Head Graphene 360 Speed S.
Groundstrokes – 8/10
There’s a lot of competition in this weight class, with rackets like the Wilson Blade 98L and the Yonex VCore Pro 97 (290) already providing players with some great options. The Head Graphene 360 Speed S can certainly compete with those sticks though based on its performance from the back of the court.
All of the rackets I just mentioned have great maneuverability, but if I had to choose one that feels like the perfect fit in my hand, it would be the Speed S. It’s always been that way with me for the Speed rackets, they just feel right.
The question remained though, would the Head Graphene 360 Speed strike the right balance between power, control, and spin? With the new Speed Pro, I was a little bit critical because I felt it had moved away from its traditional focus on control, and towards a more powerful layup. However, I didn’t find such problems with the Speed S.
Sure, this racket might have got a little bit more power potential from the new technology, but it hasn’t lost too much in terms of control. I still felt I was able to use all of the Speed S’s maneuverability to get some great racket head speed and keep the ball nicely under control.
The feel of the racket is a little bit more involved than I would ideally go for – I like quite a deadened feel – but there’s no denying this racket is extremely comfortable to play with. This is an important box to tick because rackets like the Wilson Blade 98L CV are doing an excellent job in this area as well.
As an intermediate player, you want a racket that’s going to be easy to swing, gentle on your body, but also give you the performance levels that are going to allow you to play good tennis. For me, the Head Graphene 360 Speed S does all of these things.
I would certainly put this racket in the same bracket as the Blade 98L and the Vcore Pro 97. Which one you prefer is going to be down to your personal preference, but whichever one you look at you’re going to get a good racket.
The Graphene 360 Speed S does everything you ask of it from the back of the court and I gave it an 8 out of 10.
Volleys – 7/10
As far as I’m concerned, 7 out of 10 on volleys for a racket that’s under 300g is about as high as you’re going to get. It’s really hard to get the highest performance without that extra weight at the net. What the Head Graphene 360 Speed S does do with the weight it has though is very good.
First things first, this racket makes your life easy when you’re trying to get into (the quite unnatural) position to volley. Volleys aren’t easy shots for most people to master, so as an intermediate you really don’t want to be lugging around a heavy racket on this stroke.
The maneuverability this racket has is obviously great, but I also can’t complain about the stability. For a lightweight racket, it absorbs power nicely and allows you to control the ball back into court. If you’re playing at a high level where the ball is being blasted at you then you might find things a bit difficult, but for a normal intermediate or lower advanced level then you won’t have any problems at the net.
It’s not made for the most difficult volleys but it plays exceptionally well on the easy ones. If you come to the net off great approaches and are just there to put the ball away then you’ll find a friend in the Graphene 360 Speed S.
All in all, this was a very solid performance from the Head Graphene 360 Speed S at the net and it earned a 7 out of 10.
Serve – 7.5/10
Whereas I don’t really like volleying with the sub 300g rackets, I do quite enjoy serving with them. That’s because you can get such good racket head speed with these things! You literally just throw the racket at the ball and let the strings take care of the rest.
This was the area where I noticed a little bit more pop from the Graphene 360 technology. It doesn’t feel quite as solid on the hit as some of the older Speed rackets, but you do get plenty of power and spin potential. This gives you lots of options when it comes to there serve, and I really enjoyed using it to get my lefty serve moving off the court.
As I mentioned in my article, “How To Breeze Through Your Service Games,” variation is an underutilized weapon when it comes to serving. If you’re comfortable with your serve then the Graphene 360 Speed S will give you the ability to work on mixing in some different spins into your game.
Again, I found the Head Graphene 360 Speed S did everything I could have asked of it. It’s perhaps not quite as solid as I would like, but in terms of power and spin it’s got everything you need.
I gave the Speed S a very respectable 7.5 out of 10 for the serve.
Overall – 7.5/10
Overall, the Head Graphene 360 Speed S is built around its fantastic maneuverability. In my opinion, this is exactly what you want when your an intermediate player who is developing their game.
Of course, there’s no point in having a racket that’s highly maneuverable but has no performance to speak of though. Thankfully, the Graphene 360 Speed S has plenty of performance to go with its maneuverability.
I don’t think it has quite the same focus on control as these rackets used to, but the Speed S still offers a nice balance for all styles of play. I would probably recommend it to those players who have a slight preference for easy power and spin, but without sacrificing too much in control. There are tons of players out there who are looking for this kind of balance, so that should bode well for this racket’s sales!
In terms of which is the best racket out of the Yonex Vcore Pro 97 (290), the Wilson Blade 98L and the Head Graphene 360 Speed S, that’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself! They’re all great rackets, but for me, I’d possibly lean towards the Blade.
Anyway, the Graphene 360 Speed S is an excellent racket that combines maneuverability and performance. If you’re looking for a racket around 285g that’s super fast then this stick is well worth taking a look at.
You won’t be disappointed by the Head Graphene 360 Speed S, and we gave it a very good score of 7.5 out of 10. Speed, power, spin, and control can all be yours with this racket.
Review by: Will