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Double Fish Qi Ji Review

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AndySmith View Drop Down
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    Posted: 11/12/2018 at 10:44am
Every so often, I like to try out a totally new rubber that I've never heard of before.  As much as I enjoy trying 10 ESN variations on a similar theme, or a harder Tenergy, sometimes a total break from the norm can be refreshing.  Often, I'll pick up a cheaper Chinese rubber and be a bit underwhelmed by it.  In those cases, I usually don't bother to write a review because I feel like I can't find anything useful or interesting to say (and this has happened a lot over the years - I've lost count of the rubbers I donate to the club juniors and immediately forget about).  Sometimes I'll have a "wow" moment, and this is one of those times.

Many thanks to Dean over at http://www.ttequipment.co.uk for sourcing this.  

I'm sure everyone's heard of Double Fish as a manufacturer of balls, tables, nets, premades and so on.  They're not so well-known for blades and rubbers though, so I was initially very skeptical.

Physicals








Bigger images here at photobucket

Qi Ji comes in a nice cardboard package with a tear-off strip on the back, reminiscent of DHS packaging.  The rubber itself is in a sealed plastic sleeve inside that.  Once opened, the rubber has a slight dome and there is a slight smell of...something.  Not a typical nasty Chinese tuning smell, more of a sweet smell.  Hard to place, so I'm not sure what to compare it to.

The package is marked as Hard, the sponge is porous and feels around 39 degrees on the DHS scale.  The topsheet is quite thin with small, short pips giving an overall soft feel.  It's slightly tacky - not enough to pick up a ball for more than a fraction of a second, but you can feel it under finger compression.

The quality of the rubber overall is very good with no blemishes or irregularities anywhere.  The topsheet in particular is very nice and has an unusual gelatinous quality to it when you move it under your finger.  I haven't tried every rubber ever made, but I've never seen a topsheet quite like this before.

Uncut size is 168x167 and weight is 67g.

It looks like another rubber to put into the Chinese "hybrid" catch-all category.

Basic Drives

The base speed is a bit slower than typical eurojap - the slight tack slows things down a tad, and the catapult is pretty steady up to the higher gears - at which point it speeds up a bit without becoming crazy fast.  In speed terms, it reminds me a bit of a lower-tack Target National, or perhaps DHS Tin Arc.  Arc feels medium, speed is steady.  Very easy to use - not for hitting lightspeed winners, but for controlled aggression.

Short Game

Good!  The medium speed and general linear catapult help a lot with keeping the ball tight.  The slightly tacky topsheet does feel a bit "grabby" which adds to spin sensitivity at times - you feel this most when playing very passively.  Flicks work well but need a bit more muscle to generate speed.  Serving is excellent - spin is very high on a range of ball contacts and it's very easy to keep the ball short.

Blocking/Hitting

It's definitely a little slower than the common eurojap crowd so needs a more active approach to the ball when blocking.  And it's quite spin sensitive, so you feel that on more passive blocks.  It's quick enough when hitting to do a job, but if flat hitting is important to you then this isn't the kind of rubber to think about really.

Looping

Very, very good.  This is the interesting aspect of this rubber, and I think it comes from the unusual topsheet.  The first thing to say is that this rubber has an incredible feeling of balance between tacky and grippy spin.  It has just enough tack to avoid any ball slip, and give good results when brush looping.  But it also has a real sense of ball sink and mechanical grip when looping more conventionally.  So it's very forgiving of slight inconsistencies in stroke when looping - if the ball drops too much, brush it up and the arc increases.  If you mistime a brush, the ball sinks into the topsheet and you get a decent topspin ball anyway.  It lends itself to a continual, consistent, high-spin loop game.  Through the medium gears the result is really excellent - as good or better than any other hybrid I've used in the past.  In the really high gears it tops out a little in spin terms.

Overall

Qi Ji is a really interesting rubber.  I can't remember the last time I used a rubber which gave this much spin out so easily while retaining an easy-going nature.  The topsheet is really quite something, and feels very different to me (although I could have missed another Chinese rubber doing something similar of course) - with the odd sense of grabbing the ball it gives, I've found myself doing some very high quality service returns, and it's really wonderful at lifting backspin - hardly any effort at all.  A major plus for it - I can't remember a rubber so effective and forgiving when opening up.

I struggle to give useful comparisons because I just can't think of anything quite like it.  Speed-wise it's not a rocket ship, but faster than classic (unboosted) Chinese rubbers, hence the Tin Arc comparison earlier.  But it's very spin-rich in a very wide selection of scenarios, more so than any allround rubber I've used since the cell days.  Perhaps a leftfield comparison would be a lightly-glued Globe 999?

The downsides?  It's not bargain-basement cheap, it isn't hugely rapid (needs a fairly quick blade IMO), and I guess Double Fish don't have a big reputation in the rubber market at the moment.  I'm not 100% sure about durability yet - I've been using a Red sheet for several months and it's held up very well so far, and I've recently received a black sheet which seems identical at this point - but early signs are good.  DF also have two variations of this as well - a medium-sponged one (same red colour), and an extra-hard version with a baby blue sponge, so there's a chance of some consumer confusion, I guess.  DF also mention a patented thing called "osmose inverse" for this rubber where the tack will gradually restore itself via some unknown mechanism (presumably magic?).  I'm usually highly skeptical about this kind of thing, but to give them their due - the tack, although starting out low anyway, has remained very stable over the months.

Over the past few months I've had it on the FH side of the M201 (nice, perhaps a touch too slow from distance though), Viscaria (excellent - good from everywhere) and a Sanwei Flextra (great for loop driving, probably a bit soft as a combination though).  I've had some great wins over the season with it, and as much as my head can be turned by more expensive big-brand offerings, I can't argue with the results and spin I get with this.


Edited by AndySmith - 11/12/2018 at 10:48am
This was a great signature until I realised it was overrated.
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stiltt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/13/2018 at 9:22am
What a great review!
I do not boost because the time loss and the mess, above all because I have much to gain from technique and practice before I think of that however I was wondering whether or not boosting that puppy would bring it to the level of the very good to great rubbers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndySmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/13/2018 at 10:38am
The sponge looks solid, I would imagine that it would respond well to boosting.  I'm like you - boosting doesn't particularly appeal to me - but I might try it out once the rubber gets a bit past it, just as an experiment.
This was a great signature until I realised it was overrated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Egghead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/13/2018 at 10:18pm
~ $30 DeadDead; then, it said ".....Once the stickiness losing from surface, new stickiness molecule will release and supply by itself, and ensure persistent sticky of rubber surface" ShockedShockedShockedShocked

Aurora ST: Rhyzm / Talent OX
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/13/2018 at 10:19pm
Well, that's kind of definition of osmosis... We'll see how well it works.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vik2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/15/2018 at 6:26pm
Qi Ji means miracle.
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vanjr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vanjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/15/2018 at 8:01pm
Double fish made a good soft carbon blade for several years-named for Chen Qi. Not surprised they could do a good rubber.
Gambler Hinoki Vector blade; Double inverted. Or some LPs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fmarek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/13/2019 at 8:43am
What is Sanwei Flextra? Did you mean "Fextra VII" ?
Yinhe Kiso-Hinoki V 5ply, FH: Hurricane 3, H39, BH: Sanwei Target National
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/13/2019 at 10:49am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndySmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/13/2019 at 12:07pm
Originally posted by fmarek fmarek wrote:

What is Sanwei Flextra? Did you mean "Fextra VII" ?

I did!

Great blade for the money.
This was a great signature until I realised it was overrated.
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