Gauge: 16L (1.25mm)
Length: 40 feet
Test Racquet / Tension
Tecnifibre TFight 315 LTD 16M @ 54lbs
Diversification is critical to success in several fields and the modern tennis string market is no different. For a company like Luxilon, the key is to build an experience similar to what they are renowned for while also attracting new customers to the brand. With this in mind, Luxilon has developed 4G Soft. Taking the impressive durability and playability of the original 4G, Luxilon now offers the string in a softer, more comfortable package. I recently took to the courts with 4G Soft to see how it stacked up during play.
The theme for 4G Soft was controllable power. While it felt more powerful than Luxilon’s Alu offerings or the original version of the string, it was still very much a control oriented string. I would rate the power level as low-medium. Players will be able to take full cuts at the ball with the confidence that the string has enough control to keep them from flying. Less technically sound players would probably find themselves wishing for a little more power from the string. The control was a very nice attribute as I played midcourt balls aggressively and moved forward. It was also easy to pick targets and play them precisely, further raising the confidence level this string inspires. Spin production was at the level I would expect from a smooth round poly. While not capable of producing the same level of explosive spin as other strings, 4G Soft was slick enough to facilitate solid levels of snap back. I found it easy to add extra spin when needed and increase my margins until I found a ball to flatten out and be aggressive with.
Feel / Comfort
For a polyester offering, 4G Soft has exceptional feel. On contact, the string bed offered great ball pocketing and a solid, clean feel. It exhibited no harshness on shots outside the sweet spot. I especially enjoyed the feel on volleys. The string had a very connected feel, allowing you to drive through the ball confidently, trusting where it was going. The high level of feel also made touch shots easy to execute. Many polys have a very wooden feel, making it more of a challenge to utilize touch. With 4G Soft, the response and flex of the string allowed it to execute drop shots from the back court and touch volleys with the same ease. Comfort was also very high with the string bed. It had enough flex to make it absorb impacts solidly. I played the string at mid 50’s tension which was very atypical from where I have had to play most Luxilon offerings in the past to get any increased comfort out of them. Players should be able to use 4G Soft at a wide variety of tensions without sacrificing comfort.
Durability was one of the strongest attributes of the original version of 4G and it remains largely intact with the Soft version. After about 5 hours, the strings were notched a little over a third of the way through. I found the wear to be slightly faster than the original version, but still quite favorable compared to other polys I have tested recently. The fairly low friction surface allowed the strings to move freely, increasing durability. Playability was also a strong suit of the string. Even when notched, the string still played with a consistent response and did not have that sudden “trampoline effect” drop off common with many types of polyester. Tension maintenance was above average for a poly. It registered an expected drop after the first session and then leveled off and lost a minimal amount of tension each session after that.
With 4G Soft, Luxilon has a tremendously attractive entry into the polyester market. Its controllable power, soft feel and excellent response make it a viable choice for many different play styles and levels. The overall durability, playability and tension maintenance should also make it attractive to string breakers who want something that can hold up and deliver consistent response all the way to breakage. Luxilon is firmly established as one of the premier string brands in the industry. Players who want the Luxilon experience in a more responsive, arm friendly package should give strong consideration to having a set of 4G Soft in their frame the next time they hit the court.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.