Joola Zhou Qihao 45 and 90 blades review



JOOLA Zhou Qihao Hyper-ARY-c 45

Weight: 86 grams

Thickness: 5.6mm

Plies: 7 (5+2 ply blade of Limba – Hyper ARY-c – Ayous – Kiri – Ayous – Hyper ARY-c – Limba)

Hardness: Medium Stiff

Speed: Off+

JOOLA Zhou Qihao Hyper-ARY-c 90

Weight: 87 grams

Thickness: 5.67mm

Plies: 7 (5+2 ply blade of Koto – Hyper ARY-c – Ayous – Kiri – Ayous – Hyper ARY-c – Koto)

Hardness: Medium Stiff

Speed: Off++

These 2 blades from are the latest premium blades from Joola. Named after Zhou Qihao, a rising Chinese table tennis player from China, these 2 blades have the one of the best quality finish and construction among Carbon-Arylate blades that flood the market nowadays. We have seen almost all brands shell out different kinds of Arylate-Carbon blades year after year. To be honest, it is difficult for each company to outdo each other in terms of quality and performance because it seems the formula in making an arylate-carbon blade is known to all and companies have to contend with little room for improvement. Imagine an F1 formula car being improved but the output of the improvement is about 5% by a rough estimate just to improve the speed of the car by a fraction of a second. In my opinion, that is the state of blades in the market right now. We cannot deny the gimmicks and marketing trends companies do for their products but from time to time there are blades that are worthy of the attention.

So far, the consistency of the Korean-made blades in the market and in the case of Joola are very commendable. If you would remove the logos and print in the blades made by a well-known Japanese brand and that of the Zhou Qihao blades, place them side by side, I do not think there is much difference quality. With high quality and performance, I will be a hypocrite if I will say that they are the same with blades similarly constructed. If blades are constructed the same over and over again, you would expect the same results more or less. There are factors that would affect a blades performance like the gluing process, the age of the wood layers used, the quality of materials used, etc. I think companies are mainly focusing on these factors because unless you add a new material to the blade design you will not produce any new features of the blade that affects the blade’s characteristics in a major way. In the case of the Zhou Qihao blades, the quality and finish are one of the best in the market right now. The handle by far is the most ergonomic regular shaped flared I have tried and also the most comfortable. The handle for both blades look like they are made from fineline wood with a bit of uncertainty. The Zhou Qihao blades also have a dual logo on one side of the blade. This design has been used in the past premium blades of Joola. Also, a disclaimer, people might question why the blade that I have has a super AL-C print in the blade surface. This is because these 2 blades are from the earlier productions of the 2 blades. They changed it to ARY-C for intellectual property rights purposes.

What are the differences between the 2 blades? I will share some points in order for people to understand their key differences and performances.

First, the stiffness of the two blades. The ZQH 90 has a marginally harder feel and stiffness. This is due to the presence of the 90-degree angle Ary-C composite fiber and Koto wood layer. When you bounce the ball onto the bare blade, you can feel the distinct stiffness and the blade surface has a great rebound effect on ball. Basing on my experience, a blade which has a 90-degree orientation composite material feels stiff especially with a pure carbon layer. In the past, I have tried a carbon blade with a 90-degree angle and it was hard and fast. The Ary-C with the koto wood combination has a “softer feel” compared to the former blade mentioned despite having a softer limba-outer layer. The observed characteristics are that the rebound is strong, direct impact feel which is clear but not having too much vibration and produces speed almost comparable to a pure carbon blade. The repulse or rebound is strong in which the ball immediately responds to the power applied in your strokes. This has less gears because this is designed more on speed compared to the ZQH 45. On impact, the ZQH 45 felt almost like a soft-carbon blade but still offers a lot of speed. The ZQH 45 has an impact feel of a soft carbon blade. It is not just because of the limba outer plies but also due to the 45-degree Ary-c orientation and probably other intended design of the blade that makes it feel softer.

Second, in terms of looping or spinning the ball, the ZQH 45 is easier to spin with than the ZQH 90. I am saying this because the ZQH 45 needs lesser set of looping skills compared to the ZQH 90. If you are in the US Rating of about 1600 or below, the ZQH 45 is the blade that I would choose. Even higher-level players will choose the ZQH 45 since the feel and control are both exceptional. If you really wanted more speed than you just attach Joola ZGR rubbers to it. The ZQH 90 on the other hand, hit harder and still maintains the amount of great spin but with a needed boost of speed. There are instances that the ZQH 90 felt a little bit faster than the Viscaria. The older Viscarias have this distinct crisp and good feel that I am looking for. The newer ones when trying 4-5 Viscarias, there is this loss of feel that I do not feel anymore with them. The ZQH 90 has this distinct crip feel that you have with every bounce of the ball but in a way there is also a mixture of a little bit of softness in it. The Korean manufacturer for the blades of Joola, in my opinion, knows the technology of Viscaria since it is already a very old blade in terms of market selling but for them to produce an equally or better blade, they would have to concentrate more on the feel of the blade. Speed is a very easy component to produce. You just put in together hard wood layers and then place an ALC layer then voila you have a fast blade. In reality, it takes more than just a fast blade to make a good playing blade.

Both blades just have the right amount of speed for their categories. The design of the handle and the right amount of good feedback all combine in to a blade with an excellent feel. It’s like the ZQH 45 and ZQH 90 both have the components that are all in the right place. Both of the blades are near perfect in terms of what an offensive blade can offer. There is no such thing as a perfect blade but with both of these blades in the market right now, I think they are the closest to perfection. If you ask me which blade I prefer, I am very biased with the ZQH 45. Although the ZQH 45 is a fast blade. I tend to overlooked its speed sue to the fact that the great feel overshadows the speed and of course the control is really good so this makes me feel very biased towards this blade. I would recommend the ZQH 90 for higher level players that would not compromise their needed speed but still want to spin exceptionally with their blades. Overall, these 2 blades are the worth to try if you are looking for newer blades in the market.
As far as I can see, there aren't many reviews for this blade (ZQH 90), and I was really impressed by the blade, so here is my review.

Nice review, I ordered ZQH 90 and also Freeze HRD would like to check which one fit me better. I'm playing now with FZD ALC which like but EJ is stronger than I and want to try Joola too.
Based on your videos you have played for some time with H3 on your FH, There are a lot rumors around Loki Rxton 9 National which many says that is equal to #22 national but a lot cheaper. There are lack of reviews on YT so far except Tony's one and just wondering whether you plan to test it and compare to this one you are playing now?
Would nice to see such video :)
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Jun 2023
Someone can compare ZQH 45 with blades Butterfly ALC with limba like: Freitas Harimoto (inner), Ovcharov (also inner)? ZQH 45 has kiri core it means that ZQH 45 should be harder/stiffer than for example Freitas ( with core ayous)?
P.S Sorry I found this topic later and ask same question, perhaps here someone could help me.