With the Xiom Vega X (or Vega Ten), the Korean table tennis brand Xiom celebrates the 10th anniversary of the popular Vega rubber series. It is already the 14th rubber variant of the series.
Before I report more about the rubber, I would like to thank Xiom Europe GmbH, who made the rubber review possible before the actual release date!
Xiom Vega X and its predecessors
In 2008 the table tennis rubber landscape was completely mixed up by the speed-gluing ban. At first it was Butterfly with its Tenergy 05 that brought out a worthy successor for the glued rubbers. The manufacturer ESN countered with its newly developed tensor rubbers. With andro Hexer, Tibhar Genius or Donic Baracuda, good rubbers were released that promise similarly good playing characteristics.
The rise of the Xiom Vega rubber series
In the shadow of the changes in the table tennis industry, one brand in particular has made a rapid ascent. The korean table tennis brand Xiom launched its first Vega rubbers in 2010. The cheap rubber series quickly gained the reputation of being an inexpensive alternative to the leading rubber series Tenergy. The Xiom Vega Pro has been able to convince Tenergy 05 players to use it as a replacement until today. For Tenergy 64 the Xiom Vega Asia serves as counterpart.
One of the bestselling table tennis rubbers is the medium-soft rubber Xiom Vega Europe. It and the even softer Xiom Vega Elite are designed for a more controlled playing style due to the flexible sponges.
But the brand wasn’t finished with the first four rubber editions. At the end of 2012, Xiom expanded the series with the Xiom Vega Japan. For me, this is still one of the best and most useful medium rubbers on the market. Rather intended for the Asian region, the Xiom Vega China was the first Tensor China-hybrid rubber to be developed.
Improvements & Moderate alternative
In the course of improvements with the Tensor technology the Europe and Asia versions got an update, which is shown in Xiom Vega Asia DF and Xiom Vega Europe DF.
The Xiom Vega Intro shows that the Vega rubber series can be used by everyone. This particular rubber is medium-hard, but equipped with a moderate tensor effect. Among EPT (easy-playable tensor) rubbers, the Vega Intro is, in my opinion, the best option to switch from the harder classics like Mark V to modern tensor rubbers.
There are also pimpled-out rubbers within the series. While Xiom Vega LPO is used as a long pimpled rubber for defensive play, Xiom Vega SPO is used as a fast short pimpled rubber for offensive and counter play.
Defense players, who prefer to play with a grippy rubber to create heavy backspin, can use the Xiom Vega DEF. Xiom Vega Tour was developed as a catapult-strong, modern solution in the attacking play, which is primarily intended to compensate for disadvantages with the plastic ball.
Vega X as the next step
Now another milestone appears with the Xiom Vega X. Since the 47.5° sponge can be compared directly with the Vega Pro, I’m interested to know whether the rubber is an advancement of its popular predecessor. I will also compare the rubber with other modern table tennis rubbers.
Technical features of Xiom Vega X
|Reviewed rubber||Red Max. / Black 2.0mm|
|Package weight||101.34g / 98.43g|
|Uncut||71.14g / 68.80g|
|Cut||47.99g / 46.12g|
|Sponge||Medium-sized pores 47.5° Shores (EUR) Medium-Hard|
The topsheet makes a high-quality impression. The grip doesn’t seem so extreme at first. In combination with the plastic ball, however, the rubber surface offers the best possible adhesion.
In addition the topsheet is medium-hard to medium-elastic. The pimples are short and medium wide.
The sponge is quite hard with 47.5°. The pores of the sponge are medium in size. as with almost all Xiom rubbers, the color of the sponge is black.
Play characteristics of Xiom Vega X
Already during counter-play, the rubber shows a high potential. The basic speed of the Vega X is very high. While playing, a stable, controllable catapult unfolds . The basic feeling reminded me a lot of the TSP Super Ventus I’m currently playing. So I didn’t have any adjustment problems. When the pace increases, the rubbers reacts directly and dynamically.
Without question the Xiom Vega X has its great strength in the topspin game. At the topspin opening I was able to generate a lot of spin. The ball arc is extremely curved and relatively high.
Especially with early hits and fast shots, the strokes are extremely dangerous for the opponent. My opponents had big problems to find the right racket angle and timing in the block game, because the spin produces an extrem curved arc after hitting the table.
Xiom Vega X comparisons
Compared to the TSP Super Ventus, which I think is similar, the Vega X has more rotation and power. But with the Super Ventus I get more balanced strokes. Compared to andro Hexer Powergrip the Vega X is harder and more direct. Altogether the three rubbers remind me strongly of the triumvirate Baracuda, Genius and Hexer, which all have basically similar characteristics, but are different in hardness, catapult and overall feeling.
Compared to the rubbers Vega X, Super Ventus and Hexer Powergrip, the newly developed rubbers are more dynamic and catapult stronger. These characteristics in combination with the polyball have a positive effect on the game.
This also explains the differences between Xiom Vega Pro and Vega X. The Vega X has a similar low catapult in passive play, although it is a bit more lively and more dynamic in attacking play.
Counter looping & Half-distance play
This helps with counter loops in general and from half-distance. From every position I was able to use Vega X to put pressure on my opponent. Counter-loops are very stable and provide lots of spin.
Slow, soft topspins can be played with extreme angles, because the ball arc looks very forgiving and high.
The speed can be easily increased futher away from the table. The rubber is more effective close to the table. But players, who prefer playing from half-distance, will be pleased as well.
Service & return game
With my service I was able to create enormous spin. All serve variations, whether backspin, sidespin or kick-serve, are very successful. In general, the rubber generates spin which is at the upper limit of what I have seen compared to other table tennis rubbers.
In the case of returns it shows for the first time how much spin-sensitivity Vega X owns. That doesn’t surprise me when seeing them amount of spin it generates.
In touch play it was able to keep the ball flat and spin-heavy. The Xiom Vega X can hardly forgive a bad timing or a false racket angle. A good understanding of the spin-play and a high anticipation ability are basic requirements to be able to play with a high-end rubber like Xiom Vega X.
The catapult barely reacts in short-short situations. Flips above the table, especially banana flips, are easy to play. I could play any kind of flip spinny, hard and precise.
Then I took a closer look at blocking. Active blocked balls get a lot of pressure and precision. Unlike with TSP Super Ventus, I had the feeling that passive blocks are more difficult. The high potential of your own spin-creating ability makes the rubber really spin-sensitive, especially on passive strokes.
In combination of the two rubbers I would play the Vega X on the forehand side, where I rather hardly block and also want to get my points quickly with topspins. On the backhand side, the Super Ventus is much more variable due to its more balanced playing characteristics.
Hard strokes & defense play
Shots and end strokes are quite easily to create. Close to the table slow attacks of the opponents can be answered uncompromisingly. High balls are cannon fodder for this rubber.
Interestingly, I liked playing defensively with passive strokes far from the table. I had the opportunity to get my strokes in a high arc close to the baseline without making many mistakes.
Counterattacks are possible from any position. The Xiom Vega X develops more than enough power to take the initiative at all times.
Conclusion on Xiom Vega X
With the Xiom Vega X (Vega Ten), Xiom sets an example within the highly competitive rubber market. For just €38.90, table tennis players can get a modern, high-performance topspin rubber.
Alternatives, pros & cons
The rubber joins the spin-oriented, modern topspin rubbers. Alternatives are above all the andro Hexer Powergrip or TSP Super Ventus. The Tibhar Evolution EL-S could be seen as a softer alternative. The rubber is a worthy successor to the Xiom Vega Pro, while being even more suitable for the poly ball due to its high dynamic and stable catapult.
The great strength of the Vega X is the spin game. On serve and topspin, the rubber achieves top results in terms of rotation level. Passively, hardly any catapult is generated, while with direct, fast balls the speed is enormous. Counter topspins, extrem angles or topspin-openings on backspin are dangerous and can be played with a low margin or error.
The only disadvantage I can see is the overall spin-sensitivity. I’m currently playing the TSP Super Ventus, which is much more balanced, although there are many similarities. Therefore the Vega X is better playable on the more active side, which is in my case the forehand.
My recommendation & personal view
I would recommend the Xiom Vega X for topspin players of all levels who are looking for a powerful, dynamic rubber in the age of the polyball, but don’t want to give up on an enormous spin development potential.
And let’s be honest. When I look at the price development in table tennis, I am pleased that there are very good rubbers for little money.
Therefore I will test the Vega X again for myself during the summer break, as I will probably play it on my forehand side in the future. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time for a change to the second half of the season. And my Super Ventus doesn’t look bad either 😉