Racquet Reviews

Donnay Unibody Racquets Review

Thanks to Racket1.no, I received three racquets for this Donnay Unibody racquets review. The Pro One 97, the  Formula 100 and the Allwood 102.

Before I get into this Donnay Unibody racquets review, I want to point out that Donnay are known for taking arm comfort really seriously with the multiple cores inside the racquet to dampen vibrations. You can read about their philosophy around comfort frames on their official website. I have tested their racquets previously, actually all three models: Pro One 97, Formula 100 and Allwood 102, all with the Hexacore technology.

The update, called Unibody, refers to that the racquet comes in one piece and not with a foamed or added pallet. This is how Donnay describes it:

We have revolutionized the concept of sensitivity, adopting a new technology that aims at the purity of the impact with the ball. We make the rackets all in a single frame without adding pallets or polyurethane foam, with the frame entirely in graphite, from the tip to the handle, without interruptions. Unibody allows the best possible transmission of the feeling upon impact with the ball, returning sensitive feedback to the tennis player’s arm. We believe that feeling is the first thing to look for in a racket and that is why Unibody offers the maximum possible connection with the racket, because the handle is part of the racket itself.

I’m not sure this is why I prefer the feel of these racquets over the predecessors, but they do feel more solid and well-constructed.

Donnay Pro One 97

(the one on the right)

The Pro One 97 is a racquet for advanced players looking for control and comfort. You have to be able to generate your own power to successfully play with this racquet. I did enjoy the control, but struggled with the small sweet spot. My hitting partner Matthew, a better player, really enjoyed this one however. He usually plays with the Pure Aero VS and enjoyed the added control and comfort.

Specifications on average

Head size: 97sq”
Unstrung Weight: 305g
Unstrung Balance: 315mm
Strung Weight: 317.5g
Strung Balance: 5 Points HL
Strung Swing Wt: 314
String Pattern: 18×20
Stiffness ratings are not made for Donnay Racquets, as they feature Dynamic Stiffness
Grip: Cushion
Rec. String Tension: 45lbs (+/- 10)
Beam Width: 21/21/21mm
Length: 27
Technology: Hexacore XeneCore™

This racquet felt more solid and slightly stiffer than the predecessor. I definitely preferred this one. The strung swing weight was spot on for me at 327. But you do need to be an advanced player of at least 4 on a scale of 7 to play with this frame.

Donnay Formula 100

This was my favorite racquet, the last time I tested these frames. Donnay calls it their Pure Drive killer. It’s powerful, but much softer than other racquets in the category, which makes it’s not quite easy to generate free depth with, but enough for most players.

I was a bit unlucky with the swing weight of the racquet I received for review. It was 334 strung with MSV Co-Focus Hex Ultra 1.25 at 51 lbs or 23 kg. My fellow playtesters (stronger players) thought that was fine for the most part, but I struggled with the racquet when playing against advanced players hitting fast balls. I think a more reasonable swing weight would have been 320-325. But this is the issue with quality control plaguing most brands (and players) these days.

Specifications on average

Head size: 100sq
Unstrung Weight 300g
Unstrung Balance 325mm
Unstrung S.W. 280
String Pattern: 16×19
Stiffness ratings are not made for Donnay Racquets, as they feature Dynamic Stiffness
Grip: Cushion
Rec. String Tension: 45lbs (+/- 10)
Beam Width: 20/27/24mm
Length: 27
Technology: Hexa X?neCore™

The racquet played with good power, feel and comfort, but was a bit sluggish due to the higher swing weight of my racquet.

Donnay Allwood 102

This is the most flexible of all the racquets. I thought it was difficult to control the predecessor, but liked this Unibody version much better. Actually so much so that it was my favorite racquet in the play-test.

Easy power, spin, but not too much and fantastic Clash-like arm comfort. A very nice stick for players who want some free depth without sacrificing the risk of tennis elbow. Mine had a swing weight of 313 strung, which is kind of perfect for the racquet it is.

Specifications on average

Head size: 102sq”
Average Unstrung Weight: 285g / or 300g
Unstrung Balance: 325mm / or 320mm
Unstrung Swing Weight: Approx, 263 or 272
String Pattern: 16×19
Stiffness ratings are not made for Donnay Racquets, as they feature Dynamic Stiffness
Grip: Cushion
Rec. String Tension: 45lbs (+/- 10)
Beam Width: 22mm
Length: 27
Technology: Hexa X?neCore™

Summary

I very much enjoyed the Donnay Unibody racquets review. The racquets have kind of a unique place in the market, which is nice and rare. I like that they focus on arm comfort over everything, but the Unibody construction did make the frames feel and act more solidly. The only real downer during this play-test was that the Formula 100 was above spec, otherwise there were lots to like.

If you’re looking for comfortable racquets, Donnay should not be underlooked alongside ProKennex. I’m very happy that there are brands focusing on this growing problem among tennis players of all levels.

Check out the video review on my YouTube channel.

TN

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