XIOM Vega Pro – Replacement For Tenergy?

2 players with 2 different XIOM Vega Pro sheets find out the hard way why Vega is not the cheaper alternative to Butterfly Tenergy rubbers.

Okay, so let’s look at the big XIOM Vega series table tennis rubbers hype is all about. I think it should be the “parent item of the book XIOM VEGA PRO.

What are some good things about XIOM Vega Pro vs. Tenergy Butterfly?

The rubber has a cool looking black sponge with a red top sheet.

The uncut red sheet of “Pro” weighs 64 grams. After cut, the weight is about 45 grams. So the heaviest of the versions being the Pro version is a fraction lighter than all the Tenergy series (but not for FX). So you can imagine that the Euro version is even lighter, weighing in at only 40.5g with 2-3mm overlap on a 150x157mm blade. That’s light, and this may be positive for some players. (thanks Loopmeister)

Because the weight is similar in both Tenergy and Vega Pro, people say that the sponge is harder in Vega and the top sheet softer. We can infer that the top sheet is like other lighter ESN style sponges, less durable. (ESN is the German factory that Produces most European table tennis rubbers with an almost identical rubber formula)

XIOM’s Bubble Trouble Burst

I recently saw this picture included here with a bubble on a new sheet. This picture is from a high-level player who used to use Tenergy and has recently made a switch to Vega Pro. His greatest concern is that the new sheet came out and not much play on it. It has formed a bubble on the surface.

Xiom agreed to replace it, which is kind of them, but shows that they are responsible for creating another fragile Product. Bubbles are usually made when a pip breaks or unloosens to the sponge. How can a new technology claiming to rival Tenergy so quickly give you the most unplayable and ITTF illegal surface?

vega pro sheet

All I can say is that in about 15 sheets I have ever used of Tenergy, I have never had this happen with the tough, durable top sheets of Tenergy, nor have I heard of it happen to anyone else.

From the reviews that have been circulating, the consensus is Vega is slower (some players say much slower and dead) and has less spin than Tenergy. Even less speed than Hexer.

I still want to try Vega, but I doubt it would satisfy most serious players who wish to value their money.

Lately, I just found the second victim of Xiom Vega Pro’s flaws.

I keep adding to this Vega topic here and have just decided I will not be buying Vega after a second bubble situation on a different new sheet of Vega.

I have decided to try Hexer since I heard no bubble trouble with it.

Why would a Tenergy 05 lover buy Vega? I wouldn’t spend my money on this rubber because of all the bubbles I have seen, but William Henzell uses Xiom Vega Pro after using Butterfly Tenergy 05.

Not only that, I had $65 in vouchers at my club to spend from winning various things. I also bought a sheet of Andro Hexer recently to trial, and from all I had heard, this rubber still sounded like a closer clone.

So last night, I stuck on a black max thickness Xiom Vega Pro. I will keep adding day by day my continued thought and impressions.

Xiom Vega Pro Sponge

Yes, the sponge for this rubber is black, which looks very cool. It feels harder to compress than the Butterfly Tenergy Spring Sponge. The overall weight feels similar to the Butterfly Tenergy sponge.

xiom vega pro

Xiom Vega Pro Topsheet

The rubber looks very glossy and has that much smoother ESN rubber tensor look about it. It seems identical to the Andro Hexer in this respect, and as a result, both Xiom Vega Pro and Andro Hexer has much less graze grip.

After a few minutes of practice, I noticed that in playing with service return of spinny balls, the Xiom Vega pro is much less reactive to spin and less able to create spin than Butterfly Tenergy top sheets.

Xiom Vega pro’s top sheet is not tacky, and it is less grippy than Tenergy 05.

Transitioning

In usual first, counter-hitting, looping, and driving warm-ups. I felt yes, this is playing differently, but it is easy to change from Tenergy 05 to Vega Pro. The Vega pro feels like the closest thing I have tried to Tenergy 05. Vega Pro is better than Andro Hexer as a Tenergy 05 replacement clone.

I have seen a few Australian juniors starting to use the Vega Pro because of William’s reputation and because the Xiom Vega Pro seems to be a stepping stone toward using the full spinner and faster Butterfly Tenergy 05, which brings me to my next thought.

Who will like Xiom Vega Pro more than Butterfly Tenergy 05?

Vega Pro is for the players who like to drive more instead of the loop. I think there should be a review between Tenergy 25 and Vega Pro instead of my constant references to Tenergy 05.

The reason I refer to Tenergy 05 the most is that Butterfly Tenergy 05 is the bestseller around the world. Most players use it. I don’t want to get off-topic, but the Tenergy 05 spin to speed ratio is still a benchmark for comparisons.

Back on topic. Table tennis players who like Tenergy 25 more than Butterfly Tenergy 05 will enjoy Xiom Vega Pro more. As Tenergy 25 is a close to table low angled drive power kind of rubber. Players who found that Tenergy 25 was too fast at the table and too grippy would probably like the Vega Pro more.

The softer and thinner top sheet and pip shape of the Xiom Vega Pro is more comfortable penetrating the sponge and down to the blade. The rubber would probably suit players with less powerful strokes than Tenergy 25.

If you move away from the table, the Vega will disappoint, though, not a counter looping rubber. It is much harder to get power out of it or the right curve to land balls dropping.

Backhand and Forehand 

In the 5 hours I played last night, I played the game after game sticking to one way throughout the game. Both ways had advantages and disadvantages. If you play with players who attack your backhand and you need to block their fast attacks, then the Xiom Vega Pro was better on my backhand.

But if you play a player who gives softer returns to your backhand, the Tenergy 05 loop was much more effective. The Xiom Vega seems to play better for a shorter, more compact drive than a big looping attack stroke.

For that reason, I primarily felt it was best on the backhand. It also was a bit less spinny for service, so it should not be on my forehand.

I often take a dropping ball, or should I say I get to my forehand slightly later, and the Tenergy 05 excels by far for a looping arc from any height compared to the more direct driveline of the Xiom Vega pro.

Although Xiom packaging talks of the Vega have a larger window, it is only larger than their old generation rubbers. It has a smaller window than Tenergy 05 because of its throw angle.

What do opponents think when you change to Xiom Vega Pro after you used Tenergy 05? 

Some said they noticed nothing, and yet I noticed that they played much better against me. Overall, they saw that there is less power in my topspin drive and loop strokes. Players I played with noticed less of the ball kicking up and less side spin kick too.

The Xiom Vega not only lacks power in this sense but, as a result, allows your opponent to block your shots with much more ease. My opponents countered my Xiom Vega loops easily compared to the ones I was doing with Tenergy 05. However, since I was using both, I found the contrast beneficial.

Spin

Not only does Vega have less power, but it also lacks the big Tenergy spin. My shots, which usually had my player sending their return high up into the air, were only clearing the end of the table. I also am much less reluctant to turn on my backhand with the Vega on my forehand.

With Tenergy 05, I could turn and loop toward their backhand, and they block the slower loop off the end. With the Vega, they easily block wide, and I lose the point. So Vega requires the player to commit to a big winning drive before leaving parts of the table unguarded.

Speed

You have to be the man on the job to control the much lower throw angle in high-speed rallies. Xiom Vega Pro requires more precision to counter loop since it draws more of a straight line. The speed beats Tenergy 05 in the low control department.

If you draw a line, it is faster from A to B than if you draw the curvy line of the Tenergy series. In rallies, though Xiom Vega offers brakes. You can slow down the rally if you hit softly.

With Tenergy, the spin and speed energy are not lost as with the deader absorbing Xiom Vega Pro. This deadness gives it a better touch.

Touch 

So far, the softer, slower, less tense, or turgid Topsheet makes touch shots much easier than with the more rigid bouncy Butterfly Tenergy 05. In this sense, the Vega is identical to the Hexer, if not even better, since the harder sponge gives more control to any rubber.

Hardness

The more I squeeze the rubbers, the more I feel that Vega pro and Tenergy 05 are identical regarding hardness. Just as all tensors have the super-soft Topsheet, the Vega is no exception. Tenergy 05, the top sheet is harder, but the sponge feels softer.

For Vega Pro, the top sheet is softer, but the sponge is felt harder. Many people would say that more catapult comes from the tougher top sheet. Varghese would say that Tenergy feels hard and heavy compared to Xiom Vega Pro, but most real table tennis players would say Butterfly Tenergy 05 or 64 doesn’t play like a hard or heavy rubber at all.

DAY 2

Playing very different levels of players and twiddling with Xiom Vega Pro and Butterfly Tenergy 05

So I just got home after 2 singles matches and a doubles match with my new table tennis combination.

Playing Peri Campbell Innes: She is probably the best player at our club and for sure the best women player in Queensland and has represented Australia at various Commonwealth and Olympic games. So When I say multiple levels, I mean it.

I have played here many times now in the A grade fixture at our club. Tonight is the best I have ever played against her. I was 2:1 in games up! She beat 10:6 in the fifth, but I am very excited by the results.

So I am not saying any rubber will make you win, but I can tell how it performs at various levels. I believe Xiom Vega Plays better against much higher players than myself. Whereas Tenergy 05 plays best against players at my level and lower. Strange thing to say, isn’t it?

Butterfly Tenergy 05 is Better at my level and lower because of the much bigger spin.

I can do a medium open-loop and spin most players off the table or at least make them pop it right up and kill it. At the much higher level (I mean about 500 points above me: I am about 1750 on the Australian rankings), the Vega’s control started to help, and big opening loops, which not that great at being dangerous, seemed better to avoid.

The Vega Pro on my backhand became a drive tool at the table until I got forehand and looped big and hard. Also, the expectation of big spin and not getting it gave me some points like using old generation rubbers.

The rubber‘s top sheet was slipping quite noticeably, so when dealing with troublesome things like sidespin, I could roll the ball back low over the net and give them something quite weird to deal with.

I am excited, guys, really excited. The more I used the rubber; I realized this lack of surface spin could be a great advantage to mixing up my game. It seems to start to lean toward the time I used Solcion on my backhand. Low, just clearing the net control. But the sponge is harder more drive, of course.

Day 3-4 more than 20 hours play now.

Against a Chopper

Last night I played I guy who is the best chopper at our club. He uses long pimples on the backhand and Tenergy 64 on his forehand, and yes, he is Korean too!

Once again, I can confirm that I still keep my unbeaten record in a match, but now he is getting games off me. When I used Tenergy 05 on both sides, he could barely get a game off me but now… I am having trouble with the Xiom Vega Pro’s lack of spin to bring the ball down on my loops in rallies or more comfortable finish points on my backhand in particular.

Looping Against Chop

I noticed that with the Vega, we would have very long rallies. He would chop, and I would loop over and over again. It was easy to maintain a balance of spin because I couldn’t create as much spin as possible with the Tenergy 05.

With Tenergy 05, if he chops, I rarely bother looping more than one in a row because either he can’t chop it well enough, it goes high, so I smash, or if he manages to land it, I push the ball back and then loop the next one.

With Vega, you can keep looping because it isn’t as scary. Not sure if this is good or bad, but I still would instead loop him off with Tenergy 05.

Tenergy 05 on forehand or backhand?

I am still changing because the Vega has been letting me down on shots I usually put away now. I found my forehand could handle the rubber better, and it is starting to give me a bit of deja vu of when I used tensors on my forehand in the past. Not much difference.

I will try the rubber on Boll ZLF today to see how it performs and feel too slow as the Andro Hexer did.

Day 5 – more than 25 hours match practice now

Xiom Vega Pro and Butterfly Tenergy 05 on Butterfly blade Timo Boll ZLF

Unfortunately, there were only lower level players at the club tonight, so I didn’t get to give the Butterfly Tenergy 05 and Xiom Vega Pro a real test. But I must say this: Just as the Andro Hexer played better on the Boll ZLF, so did the Vega Pro!

I was using a much older sheet of Tenergy 05 left on my ZLF from previous tests and very mildly speed glued the Vega pro, mild in that I let all the solvents evaporate for a long time before sticking the rubber to the blade. So I don’t think the speed glue improved the rubber.

For some reason, whichever side I had the Tenergy 05 on, I just had more than extra 110% confidence that every shot was possible, yet I was happy the Xiom Vega pro was there because many of the lead-up shots to a winning point got a touch more varied.

As usual, I twiddled a lot, and though I won’t stop twiddling, I felt the total opposite when I was using the Butterfly Ishlion blade.

Butterfly Timo Boll ZLF is better than Butterfly Ishlion for Xiom Vega.

The right blade for Xiom Vega Pro is not the right blade for Butterfly Tenergy 05. I noticed this from using a friend’s blade earlier. My mate uses a Timo Boll Spark arylate blade, one of the best blades Butterfly should have never decided to discontinue it.

The blade’s weight and solidity give the speed, and the softness provides the spin with the Xiom Vega lacks compared to The Big Tenergy spin.

Oops, back on topic.

Similarly, Boll ZLF is a much spinier, slower, dwellier, higher throwing blade than my Ishlion. The longer lower throw of the Xiom Vega Pro balances out with the Boll ZLF. I have had the Boll ZLF for some time now, not finding a way to use it, although I love the handle and dimensions and look and spin of it.

It may be a bit too early to jump the gun because I didn’t get to play higher level players who punish me for playing slower than I did with the Andro Hexer. However, I must say the Butterfly Boll ZLF may have found the most suitable rubber to date in the Xiom Vega Pro on one side.

On the ZLF, I could handle the Vega surprisingly better on my forehand than on my backhand.

Butterfly Tenergy 05 both sides of Ishlion vs. Xiom Vega both sides on Primorac Carbon blade.

Ok, so after a week and about 30 hours of using the Xiom Vega pro, I decided it just wasn’t for me. Funny. However, that one of the best players at our club just bought 2 sheets of Vega Pro, and we had about 10 games in a row.

As a result, I noticed his game was much slower than before. He had much more trouble returning my serves as well. He was using 6-month-old Mark V, some version I don’t know.

I beat him 7 games to 3. My serves, loops, counter loops, attacks, and pretty much every other shot improved with my Tenergy 05 on Ishlion and sealed my final decision never to touch Xiom Vega Pro again. I love Tenergy 05 on Ishlion!

  • Speed: 70
  • Spin: 90
  • Control: 85

Review by Boz

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Warren Davies

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