Volkl has comfort in mind with their newest racquet update. The new V-Cell 8 300 represents a refinement of the previous V-Feel series for aggressive players who want a fast, responsive frame. The biggest change in the new model is the addition of Volkl’s cellulose based V-Cell material throughout the entire head and shaft. This new material layup is meant to play with improved comfort and feel over the outgoing model generation. I enjoyed the overall performance of the previous V-Feel 8 but didn’t love the feel so I was excited to see how the V-Cell 8 300 might refine the formula on court.
The V-Cell 8 300 still provided nice, consistent power off the ground. The 22/24/22 mm beam and 67 RA flex provided power from both wings without making it overwhelming to control. The 11.1 oz strung weight and headlight gave me easy acceleration through contact and I was able to load balls with pace and depth. The sweet spot felt similar most 100 inch frames but I felt a bit of a reverse from the previous model. The old V-Feel 300 had some hot spots on the string bed whereas the V-Cell 300 felt a bit dead at the top of the hoop and I felt the power level had a noticeable drop off. Similar to the last version, the launch angle of this frame felt high and I found it challenging to retain control of flatter hit balls. The racquet countered this by making it easy to utilize spin for added control. The 16 x 18 pattern played very open and combined with the fast acceleration for plenty of spin. I was able to bring balls down deep into the court and add margin to my backhand. Stability was solid for its weight class, but the lower swingweight (312) meant it lacked the rock solid stability of something like the Blade v7. The V-Cell 8 300 was lightening fast on the run. I was able to snap running winners or passes with a flick of the wrist and I enjoyed having such a quick ability to reset a point when scrambling.
The V-Cell 8 300 was an enjoyable frame to come forward with. The solid power level made short work of anything high enough for me to attack. The frame felt nimble but having spent so much time using sub 100 inch heads, the V-Cell 8 felt slightly less maneuverable in comparison. Occasionally the frame would over cook a volley, especially if I wasn’t properly prepared. When I was focused and attacking, I found it easy to use a compact volley motion to control my shots and move them around the court. I found the racquet to have excellent directional control at net. I was able to direct balls into the corners as well as find sharp angles off the sides of the court. While I was surprised at the last version’s feel given its stiff build, I found the V-Cell 8 to be even more responsive. The added softness made it even easier to mix in drop volleys or lightly feather the ball back. The V-Cell 8 absorbed much of what was thrown at it, but I wouldn’t have minded a bit more mass when fighting off shots from some of my bigger hitting opponents.
Serving seemed to take full advantage of the V-Cell 8 300’s bag of tricks. I found it easy to deploy big first serves thanks to the frames combination of power and acceleration. I was easily able to drive the racquet through contact and hit flat serves that sped through the box. The frame also offered solid directional control for spot serving and mixing locations regularly. On second serve, my kick serve had plenty of action. The spin friendly pattern and easy to apply head speed gave it plenty of height and movement, never allowing returners to get comfortable attacking it. On my slice serve, I still preferred the performance of the heavier 315 version, but this one still had enough bite to move the ball out wide and open up the court for me to attack.
Feel & Comfort
Feel was hands down the most improved area of the V-Cell 8 300. For a frame with similar stiffness to the outgoing version, I found it to have a much more responsive feel. I found more feedback on contact and a better connection to what the ball was doing as it left the string bed. While the upper part of the string felt a bit more dead power wise, it didn’t have any increased harshness. While I never had comfort issues with the previous V-Feel model, the V-Cell 8 should be a substantially more comfortable and accessible model. The handle system with REVA and VTex still does a great job soaking up vibrations and the new placement of V-Cell in the hoop and shaft seemed to have provided a sifter feel as well.
Volkl retained the strong performance attributes of the 8 and gave it a more refined feel and response with the V-Cell 8 300. It offers controllable power, easy spin and incredibly fast reflexes. To go with those features, it plays with higher comfort and a more responsive feel. Aggressive players who want a maneuverable frame that provides an outstanding mix of power, spin and feel will want to demo the Volkl V-Cell 8 300.
About the Author: Matt Locke formerly served for 3 years as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho. He is a PTR certified coach and is an active USTA 4.5+ League and Tournament player. He loves Nadal’s determination, but secretly wishes he had Federer’s effortless style.
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