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XIOM Aria Review

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rokphish View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06/29/2008 at 8:42am
Here's my third review of the XIOM blades after Ignito & Amadeus.
Peter79 had also had a chance playing with Aria and had written his review here:
There he wrote his comments on all three blades, Aria, Fuga, and Jazz. I'll be writing my reviews for Fuga And Jazz in the coming weeks.

Okay, here it goes...

The Aria is one of three of the Xiom's Novus Wood series. It's positioned as the fastest of the three, and by construction and weight also the thickest and heaviest.

The 5 ply blade is made of Limba - Spruce - Ayous - Spruce Limba at 6.4 mm thickness. The wood construction is similar to the Korbel.

The made and finishing of the blade is superb and very smooth. There two flaws I see: the cut on the logo on the handle is not very straight, but it's a very minuscule overlook. And the second is the uneven layers on the handle as you can see on the photos.

If I were to rate it on the finishing/make of the blade, I would rate it at 95% (points taken off for the two flaws, while the logo flaw is very small, the unevenness is more visible thus more points taken off).

The head is about the average size, the size according to Xiom's specification are: 158x150.2 while the handle are 100x34x24 for the FL & 100x29x22 for the ST. The ST handle is slightly smaller towards the bottom end. First thing I noticed when holding it was how nice and comfortable it is on my hand. The handle is wide and thick enough, about as good as my Hurricane blades FL handles. It's certainly wider and thicker than the Korbel FL & Wavestone FL handles which I also have. The head is about the same as my Hurricanes & Korbel blades.

The weight quoted for me is 89.2g (FL) & 89g (ST) but when I weighed it using my dad's digital weight scale for his medicines, it weighed at 89.85g (FL) & 89.25g (ST). Close enough to the quoted weight.

The rubbers I put on the blade are: Hurricane 3 Provincial 39 degree and Sriver EL Maximum (like the Korbel setup). The H3P felt medium hard on the blade while the EL felt soft (too soft for my liking). I then switched the EL to Prasidha Tokyo 2, so they are the same rubbers as I have on the Hurricane King setup.  

Okay, here's the very concise summary: I feel it's like Jack of All trade (but master of none). That is, similar to Korbel, it could handle all sorts of things but doesn't feel like there's anything that stands out. It's more powerful than the Korbel though.

Now, here are the preliminary/first impressions I have on the blade:

First  times I hit with it, I'm surprised with the bad feel it gave me. But after several minutes and I got warmed up, the bad feeling disappeared and the Aria starting to feel alright. Now, in it's defense, I must say that I tried this blade right after playing with the Amadeus, which, gives a distinct good feeling. So switching to it the bad feel is kind of exagerated.

The blade feels harder than Amadeus. It's faster than my HK and also Korbel but has a good dwell time. I could impart heavy spins on both fast and slow loops just fine. In fact, a friend of mine who is from another city but frequently come and play here commented about the heavy spin I generated while playing with Aria. He asked me whether I had switched rubber since the last time we played together.

It has similar weight as my HK and slightly lighter than the Amadeus but in play, it doesn't feel lighter as the Amadeus (Amadeus feels lighter while in play). It feels similar as the HK weight wise while in play. On fast loops, I can't execute it as quick as I did with the Amadeus (certainly not as quick as Ignito, which is best in this regard in my opinion). It feels more in line of HK in this regard.

Blocks are effortless, just a good amount of bounce. I don't have problem on the short play with it.
Chops are fine, nothing to write home about.

I usually don't smash on FH, so I don't know how it does altering between loops and smashes. The few smashes on FH I did were good. Not blazing fast of course with the Hurricane rubber, but enough to win the point. I smash on the BH and even with soft sponge rubber like EL/Tokyo 2 (I feel the rubbers much softer on this blade than when I use the rubbers on Korbel), when I smash, it generates fast speed and power.

Control is good. Feels less control as the Amadeus, though. With Amadeus, I have more in table loops with lots of variation and placement. With Aria, some of the same loops on the side and end of the table often went to far (out of the table).  

I switched sides and used the Tokyo 2 on the FH and it felt great. Things are going faster, much faster, but still with good amount of control. I think for those playing with both Japanese/European rubbers will be satisfied with the amount of speed and control of this blade. This is even without gluing.
For those who haven't played with Tokyo 2 rubber, I think it's somewhat similar with Bryce Speed FX on speed and spin ( I feel spinier for Tokyo 2). Less bouncy on the short play and better control over all.

Playing with Aria, I feel quite at ease. It behaves similar to my HK. That is it feels as hefty and I don't have the nudge to play aggressively as I had with Ignito. I could switch between the two (Aria-HK) with no problem at all. Just need to remind myself that it's more powerful. That is, I need to keep in mind not to hit the ball over the table on the other side. Hehehe...

Now, how do I feel about Aria vs Korbel? With the amount of information out there regarding the Aria (which is about none), if I were to choose one, of course I will choose Korbel. Korbel has a lot of information and good reviews. It's a proven well made blade. Having played with the Aria, I think it's similar with extra power. Similar in it could do well on many areas like the Korbel, but without anything significant about it. Aria is actually also similar as Korbel in characteristics (flex, soft/hardness, feel) but faster/more powerful. Aria is lighter about 5 gram than my Korbel, the handle is so much more comfortable (Aria FL compared to Korbel FL), and it's not head heavy as my Korbel with the same rubbers. I kind of deduct a lot of points on Korbel due to it's handle doesn't feel comfortable for me and head heavy. Using non chinese rubbers on Korbel makes it feel not head heavy or just slightly though, but because I use H3 on FH I feel better with Aria balance wise. Outfitted with H3P + Tokyo 2 on Aria, it gets slightly head heavy, just slightly and didn't bother me as much as the same rubbers on Korbel.

For those without the chance to try Aria, or those trying only for short time, I think they will find Aria less appealing. I mean, I was really surprised by the bad feel it gave me when I first hit with it. But having some time playing with it, it certainly changed my mind. Well, let's put it this way. If I were to choose between Aria & Amadeus regardless of price, I'll choose Amadeus right of the bet. But the price different is quite big.

If my budget doesn't allow me to get Amadeus and have to compare between Aria and Korbel:  if you're not bothered by Korbel's handle size, the balance (some don't feel Korbel head heavy), and the speed level, choosing Korbel is better/safer buy because it's widely known as well made blade with good capabilities, cheaper and have higher resale value (because it's a popular blade). But for me, even with Aria being a little bit more expensive, I'll choose it over Korbel. I don't really have a problem with Korbel's speed but the handle and balance have made me not wanting to play with it much anymore.
Please bear in mind that this is just preliminary impressions. I do plan to revisit the blades after I finish making my round with the untested blades, namely the 3008, Fuga, and Jazz.

Well, that's it for now.
Comments and questions are welcome. Smile

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Skyline View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skyline Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/29/2008 at 8:49am
nice review
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varghesep View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote varghesep Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/29/2008 at 8:53am
Good review. I will post few comments after the US Open.
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peter79 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote peter79 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/29/2008 at 1:21pm
Nice Review, Rok. Yeah it's the first bad impression feel that makes me not trying further with Aria. Fuga's feel also a bit weird. Jazz has the best first time feel when trying to hit for the first time. Actually the most important thing is the first feeling when you hit. Even premade blades can also feel good if you are used to it. Once I play Table Tennis at my uncle's house, I didn't bring my own blades. I used his premade Nittaku blades. When I first hit it, the ball is so slow, I can even loop across the net. But after trying to hit again and again for 1/2 hour, it feel better and better.
Personally I prefer better feeling blades that I found the first time I used it.
Andro Wanokiwami AO Offensive 83 gr
H3 National Orange 40 deg 2.2
Baracuda Max
182 Gr

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