Head Instinct Lite 360+ Racket Review
Head have opened up the audience of their Instinct range with the Lite 360+. This is an incredibly user friendly racket to use that increases the sweet spot on this already powerful racket. But, how does the Instinct Lite 360+ compare to its rivals from Wilson and Babolat? Let’s find out!
7.5out of 10
First of all, the Instinct Lite 360+ is a racket aimed at the developing player that is looking for a user-friendly base to improve their technique.
The oversized 107sq in head gives this a large sweet spot, which makes it easy to pocket the ball and generate easy power. This is a key asset to this racket, as it is designed to be the most powerful racket in Head’s range.
For such a light racket, it feels pretty solid and stable on contact. The lack of mass makes it incredibly easy to swing, and this is reflected in the low swingweight.
The extended length also gives a little more power and reach, which you may not really notice at first. But, after hitting with the Instinct Lite 360+ and then going back to a regular length racket, you can certainly notice the difference.
The manoeuvrability of this racket is what really stands out however. It is so easy to swing and gives you a lot of confidence thanks to the construction of the frame and the open string pattern, always bringing the ball back into the court at the last moment.
On the backhand slice, you cut the ball nicely and the ball will stay low thanks to the easy spin generation. At times you can feel like the ball will fly on you due to the oversized racket head, but it always seems to find its way back into court!
The feel of the racket is a little overly damped for my liking, which is kind of the point of the racket to a certain extent. For this type of oversized frame, players often want an arm friendly experience with a bit less feedback, but just for my personal preferences I found the racket a little too muted.
The Graphene technology that Head adds to their rackets has been around for a while now, but each iteration brings it to a whole new level.
This version stiffens up when you hit the ball harder, giving the racket a reassuringly stiff feel when you are looking to step inside the court and be aggressive, yet softens off when you need a bit more of a plush feel up at the net.
The technology in this racket basically reacts to your game and gives you the feel you need, when you need it!
In this sense, you can get the best of both worlds with all of the Graphene rackets, and this larger, lighter version of the Instinct is no exception.
The oversized head does make the sweet spot much larger than the MP or Pro versions of this racket, which in turn makes this a very forgiving racket to play with.
You get a lot of margin for error which makes it easy to hit powerful forehands and backhands from the back of the court without having to worry too much about your timing of footwork.
Again, this makes it the perfect racket for someone that is relatively new to the game, needs a bit of extra power on their shots and wants a forgiving racket that will help them when needed.
Whilst it does not have the same amount of plow though as a Babolat Pure Drive 107 or the plush comfort of a Wilson Clash 108, the Head Instinct Lite 360+ is more accurate and precise. It also feels a little more spin friendly than either of those rackets due to how easily it cuts through the air.
While the racket does not exactly fall into my wheelhouse in terms of specifications, it would definitely suit a beginner to intermediate player that wants a racket that is forgiving, powerful and precise.
7.5out of 10
The Head Instinct Lite 360+ was surprisingly accurate and sturdy feeling up at the net and actually surprised me somewhat in this sense.
Whilst it is definitely no Wilson Pro Staff, it does a pretty good job up at the net and gives you decent pop on higher volleys and overheads.
The large sweet spot makes it great for players that lack confidence in their volley technique, as you can get a good amount of power from simply sticking the racket in the way of the ball!
One criticism I had of the racket on the volleys would be the slight lack of feel. Whilst it is accurate and precise, when I wanted to hit more deft touch shots, the ball would sometimes land a little bit too deep and give my opponent an easy put away.
This was a little frustrating at times and it did take some time to dial in this element of my game up at the net with this racket.
However, if you are a player that wants a solid feeling racket that will allow you to put the ball away with confidence even if your volley technique is not as sound as Roger Federer’s, the Head Instinct Lite 360+ will definitely help you out.
It is also a racket that will encourage less confident volleyers into the net for this very reason, helping them to test and improve their skills.
8out of 10
On serve the Instinct Lite 360+ is powerful and refreshingly easy to swing. The larger head size on this racket makes it very forgiving and even if you don’t hit the ball in the middle of the racket you can still generate a lot of pace.
The open string pattern helps you generate a lot of spin which makes for a wicked combination on both first and second serve.
The Instinct Lite does take a bit of dialling in as the power can be a little too much for players that are used to mid sized rackets.
That being said, once you get used to the added pop, it is an easy racket to serve with and it is incredibly easy to generate a lot of racket head speed.
7out of 10
When returning with the Head Instinct Lite 360+, the stability of the racket made it easy to control chips and blocked shots.
This made returning big first serves pretty easy, especially given how big the sweet spot was. This makes the racket very forgiving and gives you confidence that you can work your way into the point by simply bunting the ball back.
However, it can be a little difficult to modulate inputs when it comes to second serve returns. This wasn’t a huge problem overall, but it did take a bit of getting used to as the ball would sometimes fly on me when I wanted to take a bigger cut at the returns.
Again, the racket felt relatively stable and when I managed to time it well, it was great for ripping angles and generating spin.
But in terms of adding power, it did need dialling back a bit at times.
7.5out of 10
Overall, the Head Instinct Lite 360+ is an accessible, easy to use and powerful racket that is best suited for beginner players looking to improve their technique.
The large sweet spot makes it very forgiving and if your timing is not completely spot on, you’ll still be able to play well with this racket.
The Instinct Lite is very easy to swing which makes it great for players that struggle to generate their own power.
It is a great option for players that may have had a long break away from the game and are looking to get back into it with a racket that has a high margin for error.
Compared to its oversized rivals from Wilson and Babolat this stick from Head is more precise and a little more focussed on spin, which makes it a great all rounder.
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