When you are out on the field or court playing a competitive game of your favorite sport, you want the best equipment you can afford to ensure that you have that competitive edge you need to compete. Many different sports have different equipment requirements, from leg guards to bats to football pads. Depending on the sport, the price of your equipment can ramp up pretty quickly.
Tennis is one of those sports that doesn’t necessarily require a lot. You will need a good pair of tennis shoes, some light and comfortable clothing that allows for a lot of quick movement, some protective sunglasses that can protect from the sun and errant tennis balls, and, of course, a racket.
The racket is the central part of your kit and is really one of two things you will need to play. Tennis rackets have a pretty extensive price range, with a diverse array of options at your fingertips. We’re here to help narrow that list down with a helpful review of a great option that may, or may not, be the one for you to give a few swings.
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Wilson Envy XP Lite Tennis Racket
Wilson has been a famous brand that has been in the run for over a century by now and is considered by and large the number one sporting brand. They make sporting equipment for all kinds of sports around the world, tennis included. They are renowned for quality equipment with a diverse array of technologies worked into the designs to provide excellent performance.
This tennis racket, the Envy XP Lite, is a testament to that. Designed specifically with newcomers in mind, it seeks to aid you in developing your tennis skills while remaining an effective and competitive option. All of this comes at a reasonable price, too, while still retaining the quality of something a bit pricier.
Who Is This Product For?
While it would be easy to dismiss the question by saying any tennis player would be interested in a racket, which is technically correct, it isn’t covering the whole picture. In particular, the Envy XP Lite is designed to be lightweight with a decent amount of power and give a good amount of leeway for error, so you can still stay in the competition despite a more novice skill level.
This makes its intended target market more casual players and those starting out and looking to improve. This is also reflected in its price, which is far on the cheaper end of the spectrum, going for around $30 when the price range for tennis rackets can be anywhere between $15 and $300, with some even more expensive.
- 112 sq in head size
- 16×19 string pattern
- 291g strung weight
- 27.5 in – 69.9 cm length
- Recreational/Beginner player type
- Adult size
Years of Wilson technology and design have gone into putting together this racket, making it an excellent option that strikes a careful balance between being lightweight but still durable, with a decent amount of power behind the swings. This was no easy feat to accomplish, so let’s take a deep dive and deconstruct how they could do this using their many years of experience and designing tennis rackets.
Not all rackets are made equal, and the price between two options can have a massive range between them. The main contributing factors that affect the price of a tennis racket include the materials used to make them, the overall build quality of the racket in question, and what technologies were brought together and integrated into the racket to make it further excel and give it different features that make it stand out as an option.
Looking at the Envy EX Lite, it’s pretty easy to discover why it is so comparatively cheap. As it is a more entry-level racket that is meant to serve as a stepping stone for improvement or simple casual play, there isn’t anything incredibly new or intricate in the design.
It is relatively straightforward in its design, but there is sometimes beauty in simplicity, and sometimes all you want is a simple racket so you can whack a ball around with some friends for an afternoon. Don’t let the fancy names confuse or fool you; manufacturers just use them to spruce things up to make their products more enticing.
For the materials used, they used AirLite Alloy, which is a relatively common and inexpensive aluminum. This is largely why the racket is so lightweight and easy to handle, as the aluminum alloy is famously light. The alloy itself is also relatively durable and robust, so it can survive falling a number of times and has some power behind the swing, so you needn’t worry about the lightweight nature weakening your power significantly.
Speaking of power, you’ll also take note of their implementation of V-Matrix Technology. This is, once again, a name used to exaggerate and excite people about a relatively tame and commonly used design. It refers specifically to how the racket was molded when it was being created, as the aluminum for the Airlite Alloy was poured into a concave mold.
The point of shaping the mold this way is to create a more prominent sweet spot for the finished racket, giving you a much larger target surface area with which to hit the ball. This essentially means that there is more leeway in your swings, giving you more power despite a theoretically unpracticed swing.
The more practiced you are, the less necessary it becomes for there to be a larger sweet spot, as you should be hitting the smaller sweet spot regularly. It’s pretty handy to include this on an entry-level and casual tennis racket, as it will help a newcomer still feel relevant as they are practicing and help them keep up as they perfect their swings.
The other major technological implementation of the Envy XP Lite is the use of Stop Shock Sleeves in the racket. These are found on the head’s left- and right-hand sides at 3 and 9, where the strings meet the racket itself, integrated into the grommets.
You’ll spot them as white pieces of plastic, and what these pieces of plastic do is help absorb some of the impacts of a ball hitting the strings, reducing the vibrations that get transferred throughout the structure. While the effect is largely minimal, it can go a long way in reducing the strain on your arm and wrist, helping prevent that pesky tennis elbow and other similar aches and pains from developing, as well as helping keep momentum and power in your swing.
These tennis rackets also come pre-strung, which can be both a positive and a negative for some, as many tennis players may prefer to string their rackets themselves as personal preference, but as the racket is targeted at newcomers, it makes sense and is more positive than negative. The head is also on the larger side comparatively, but this is also to add some extra leeway for newcomers by giving them some extra reach for better court coverage, allowing you to keep up better while you are practicing your cuts and sprints.
However, the larger surface area also increases the margin for error and makes the racket feel more imprecise and challenging to maneuver, which is somewhat offset by the lightweight materials. This makes it lean even more into the role of a beginner’s racket who is looking to improve, as you get that larger sweet spot with more leeway to make mistakes without costing you much. Overall, it is far more head-heavy, so you can expect it to be pretty steady in your hand.
- Decent power behind each swing
- Great entry-level option
- More sizeable sweet spot thanks to larger surface area and V-Matrix Technology
- Stop Shock Sleeves reduce vibrations going to the arm for more comfort
- Nothing particularly high-end or special in the design
- It can feel unwieldy and imprecise
- Not great for intermediate and higher-level play
As a racket for starting, this is a pretty great choice if you’re on a budget. For the price, you can get quite a bit out of the Envy XP Lite. While it may feel unwieldy and unbalanced, taking some time getting to use it properly, it will end up serving you well if you’re a casual player or just starting out.
The fact that it comes pre-strung means you can get right into practice, with the more oversized head and surface area giving you plenty of room to make mistakes but still feel competent and feel an impact as you perfect your serves and returns.
Keep in mind that while it may feel relatively light, it’s still on the larger side and can feel a bit clumsy when trying to maneuver it around, so if you’re looking for something easy to move and swing without feeling like its impeding you in any way, then perhaps a smaller racket is more your speed.