Construction: Extruded Polyester Monofilament
Gauge: 16L (1.25mm)
Length: 40' and 660'
Test Racquet / Tension
Head Graphene XT Speed MPA 16x16 @ 54lbs
The tennis string market continues to become more and more competitive. Perhaps no brand has a more established reputation and status than Luxilon. Having been on the forefront of the introduction of polyester strings to the game, they seek to continue innovating. For 2015, Luxilon takes their beloved Alu Power and blends in a new series of components to create the all new Alu Power Soft. Retaining similar playing characteristics and design, this string seeks to introduce a new wave of players to Luxilon by promising a more comfortable feel and response.
Alu Power Soft retains the similar low power construction and feel that has been a hallmark of the Alu line. While Power is a part of the name, don’t let that fool you. The power in this setup comes from its ability to allow you to hit out on the ball with confidence. Its reduced power level allows more full force shots to drop in. I had no problem taking huge cuts at the ball from both wings and keeping them in consistently. Spin generation was about average. It does not possess the same level of incredible spin that many shaped or specially coated polys are capable of. What the round, smooth, low friction design does offer is a consistent level of spin. The strings snap back on contact enough to allow you to add the spin you need. I found it easy to transition between playing high margin shots with topspin and flattening the ball out to finish the point.
Feel / Comfort
Feel and comfort are going to be the critical areas of difference between this string and the original Alu Power. The string flexes a bit more thanks to the softer construction. This provides better ball pocketing and a more responsive feel on contact. I have always found the original version to have a “boardy” feel that increased over time. With Alu Power Soft, the feel is much more improved and is especially beneficial when playing at the net. Volleys feel more connected and touch shots become easier to execute. The string also plays much more comfortably than the original. While still low powered, the reduced stiffness makes it much easier on the arm and greatly reduces harshness on shots outside the center of the string bed.
Durability and playability are going to depend greatly on the individual setup being used. I had heavy notching after 2 hours of play and snapped a main at the 5 hour mark. While this is low on the durability end, I was also playing the string in a very open pattern and this was a thinner 17 gauge. A tighter pattern would see improved durability. Luxilon playability has always been known for dropping off substantially after initial court hours. I found the playability to be more consistent with Alu Power Soft than with many other Luxilon strings I have played. Even when they were close to breakage, they were still playing very consistently with no major reduction in response or consistency. Tension maintenance was a bit weak but I would chalk that up to my frame’s open 16x16 pattern. Increased main movement leads to quicker tension loss. I would increase my initial tension by a few pounds the next time I played this string. Ultimately there is a lot of room with Alu Power Soft to experiment with string pattern, gauge and tension in an effort to find the right blend of durability and feel.
Luxilon seeks to build its market segment through the course of 2015 with the introduction of products like Alu Power Soft. This string retains the well known hall marks of the original: controllable power, confidence inspiring levels of control and solid spin. It then adds in a softer feel for better responsiveness, playability and comfort. Players who may have avoided trying Luxilon in the past due to the original stiff construction and low power can now experience all of the reasons Luxilon become an industry leader while still finding the comfort and feel that modern polys are increasingly built with. Be sure to string up a set of Luxilon Alu Power Soft the next time you 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.