While the recent V-Feel generation of Volkl frames performed admirably, their stiffer feel left many long time Volkl devotees wanting more. In the new V-Cell update, Volkl is putting the focus back on comfort and feel. The V-Cell 8 315g is the heaviest, most advanced member of the 8 series of frames. With this incremental update, Volkl has largely left the specs unchanged. The biggest update under the hood is the expanded use of the cellulose based carbon, V-Cell. V-Cell is now used across the full hoop and shaft for improved comfort and enhanced response on contact. In a carryover from the V-Feel series, Volkl continues the use of REVA foam and VTex silicone in the handle and butt cap to maximize shock dampening and durability. Recently, I got to see how this latest version of the highest performing Volkl 8 series performed on court.
The V-Cell 8 315g continued to be one of the most user friendly frames at this weight from the baseline. I found easy power from the 22/24/22 mm beam design. At 11.6 oz strung the 315 produces the most reliable depth and pace from frame in the V-Cell 8 lineup. With a swingweight under 320, the frame is one of the easiest swinging racquets on the market at this weight. I was able to swing in a smooth, relaxed motion and really allow the racquet’s mass to do the work for me. The 100 inch head offered the expected amount of forgiveness; however, the upper hoop felt a little dead and had some power drop off. This was a noticeable contrast to the hot spots I encountered with the previous V-Feel model. Accuracy was again outstanding with the 315. I was able to hit aggressively and pick targets that kept me in control of points. The 16 x 18 string pattern produced plenty of topspin and helped me create margin on my shots, especially the backhand. The extra weight allowed me to really knife my backhand slice and I enjoyed using that shot as an approach I could follow in aggressively. While it may not have had the supreme stability of a frame with higher swingweight, the V-Cell 315 still had plenty of stability and the easy speed it possessed made the trade off worth it for me. I was able to more easily deploy the racquet on the run than other frames that have a swingweight closer to 330. This extra bit of defensively versatility made the V-Cell 8 315g an excellent all around performer from the back of the court.
Volleys & Serves
At net, the V-Cell 8 315g was quick to throw its weight around. The easy power and mass made finishing points at net a breeze. While not as overtly mobile as the lighter version, I still found the 315 maneuverable enough to hold my own in rapid fire exchanges at the net. The directional control on volleys was excellent again. I was able to angle balls off the court or drive them deep into corners. The softer response and feel of this update made it easier for me to mix in touch and drop volleys compared to its predecessor. Stability was solid although I missed some extra swingweight more at net against big shots than I had at the baseline.
Serving with the V-Cell 8 315g provided me with a variety of options. At first, the extra mass took some more effort to get moving overhead as I had just come from testing the lighter versions. Once I got dialed in, I found the 315 to produce excellent pace and court penetration with less effort than most frames at this weight. I had excellent directional control over my serve and could easily go from serving out wide to blistering a flat serve down the T. On second serves, I utilized my slice serve most often. My kick serve didn’t jump as much as it had with the lighter frames, likely due to the super fast head acceleration they had. Instead, I sued the added mass of the 315 to drive the ball low and away from returners, giving me plenty of opportunities to start neutral at worst or at best attack from the first ball.
Feel & Comfort
Anybody who wasn’t sold on the stiff response of the previous V-Feel generation will enjoy the improvement of the V-Cell frames. The V-Cell 8 315g had a much more responsive, softer feel, even though it was virtually the same flex rating. I felt like I had an actual connection to the ball and could better judge what it was doing as it exited the string bed. The provided me with much more confidence when attempting to mix in touch shots during play. Compared to the last version, I felt my game had more nuance and variety with the V-Cell 315g. While I never found the previous models uncomfortable, the V-Cell 8 315g was definitely more enjoyable to hit with. It just had a softer, smoother feel to it on contact. Players should be able to pair a wider variety of strings and tensions with this frame to suit their play styles.
Volkl took feedback to heart and made some noticeable improvements with the new V-Cell lineup. This frame compliments strong players with a versatile mix of power, spin and control. It also possesses better feel and response than the last version. Advanced aggressive all court players should enjoy the Volkl V-Cell 8 315’s ability to swing fast, hit big and play with variety from anywhere on court.
About the Reviewer: 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.