New for 2022 is the Head Boom line of rackets that take up an additional spot in the Austrian firm's ever-growing racket lineup.
The Boom line comes with a new head shape, which means the racket is broader around the contact zone, enhancing spin power and giving you more purchase on the ball from off-centre hits.
Like the new Prestige rackets, it also features Auxetic technology, which makes the racket flex in different ways when you hit the ball. It does this due to the yoke piece adapting its internal structure, deforming to give you optimal impact feel and highly accurate feedback.
Finally, the racket has Morph Beam, which combines an elongated box beam shaft with a more robust construction in the head.
The Boom line has two rackets right now, the Boom MP, which is the lighter (295g), larger head size (100sq”) model, and the Boom Pro, which is a 98sq”, 310g racket.
The MP is designed explicitly for ambitious intermediate and advanced players and comes in at a weight that works for a wide range of playing levels. But how did it perform for me? Find out in this full Head Boom MP playtest and review.
Head Boom MP Cosmetics
The Boom MP has a simple colour-blocked design; half the racket is black, with the other half (throat and grip) coming in a coral design.
I haven't seen this coral/teal/turquoise used on a racket before, and I think it looks pretty good. It seems similar to the Diadem Elevate FS 98 but is a more matte pastel. The feedback I received during the testing shows that the colours are especially popular with female players.
Alongside the colours, I also like the design of the frame in terms of its shape. It has a teardrop shape hoop with a modified box beam throat. The throat is square on the outer side, but the inner portion of the throat has a contoured design (Morph beam) presumably to help with aerodynamics.
The teardrop design gives it a somewhat Yonex isometric type shape, and if you pair that with the specs, you get something of an EZONE meeting the Wilson Clash 100.
Specifications and Setup
After taking the plastic off the handle and removing the card plaque, I got the Head Boom MP straight on the scales.
Having seen some other specs and reviews posted on the forums, several of the Boom MP's and Boom Pro rackets have come in quite a bit under spec, but mine came in at 298.6g, 3.6g over Head's provided 295g spec.
This is within most manufacturers' tolerances and is by no means the worst I have seen. I think those who are into equipment would always prefer better quality control, but 3g is manageable, and in this case, I like a few grams of extra weight as this means more graphite and more mass.
You can see the official (+ Tennis Warehouse) Head Boom MP and Boom Pro specs below, along with my self measured Boom MP specs for comparison.
|Head Boom MP||Head Boom Pro||My Head Boom MP Specs|
|Head Size||100 in / 645.16 cm||98 in / 632.26 cm||100 in / 645.16 cm|
|Length||27in / 68.58cm||27in / 68.58cm||27in / 68.58cm|
|Unstrung Weight||10.4oz / 295g||10.9oz / 310g||10.5oz / 298.6g|
|Strung Weight||11.1oz / 315g||11.6oz / 329g||11.4oz / 317.4g|
|Strung Balance||12.87in / 32.69cm / 5 pts HL||12.79in / 32.49cm / 6 pts HL||12.64in / 32.10cm / 5 pts HL|
|Beam Width||24mm / 24mm / 24mm||24mm / 24mm / 24mm||24mm / 24mm / 24mm|
|Composition||Graphene Inside/Graphite||Graphene 360+/Graphite||Graphene Inside/Graphite|
|Grip Type||Hydrosorb Pro||Hydrosorb Pro||Hydrosorb Pro|
|String Pattern||16 Mains / 19 Crosses||16 Mains / 19 Crosses||16 Mains / 19 Crosses|
After unpacking the racket, I got it onto my portable MiStringer machine a few hours later and strang it with Head Lynx Tour in 1.25mm at 45lbs. Lynx Tour is a monofilament polyester, not dissimilar to Mayami Tour Hex I reviewed recently, and I figured it would pair well with the Boom MP.
The Boom MP is easy to string, and for amateur stringers like myself, I like Head rackets as they're marked which skip and tie holes to use, so there is less faffing around looking for PDF instructions if you are unsure.
After stringing, the Boom MP had a strung weight of 317.3g and a swing weight of 320 kg*cm^2.
I then added a Head Xtreme Soft Overgrip as part of my ongoing overgrip testing; this took the final weight to 322.4g.
As you can see in the image above, the HEAD Xtreme overgrip ruined the cosmetics slightly as it has larger perforations which show the colour of the base grip underneath. White with coral dots underneath doesn't look particularly great.
Head Tennis Racket Control Power Index Chart
You can see where Head place the Boom MP in their lineup.
The lower the Control power index, the more control the racket has; the higher the number, the more power it has.
|Control Power Index||100||200||300||400||500||600||700||800||900||1000|
It has been several years since I've used a HEAD racket as my go-to frame, and over the last 12 months, aside from racket reviews and demoing frames, I've played primarily with a Wilson Pro Staff 97 v13 and a Wilson Blade 98 v8 18 x 20. Both have slightly heavier static weights and higher swing weights, but they are not a million miles away from the measured specs of this particular Boom MP.
After a short court warm-up, my initial feeling of the Head Boom MP was it was effortless to swing, the response felt good, but it felt a little flimsy on certain touch shots.
With some frames, you feel like on a half volley in the service box, just putting the racket behind the ball is enough to massage it over the net, but the Boom MP felt like it needed more of a swing than a bunt.
After getting the legs moving, it was back to the baseline to see how it performed.
Full Head Boom MP Review
My playtests with the Boom MP were on a quick indoor court made from Taraflex, which ITF classifies as a class 5 court (this is the fastest classification, and there are currently zero in this class on the ATP tour). If you've been playing on a slower outdoor court before heading onto this, it is a real baptism of fire!
Fortunately, I have gotten used to it, and it's a fun surface to play on where points are over in one or two shots, and aggressive play is rewarded.
After a few minutes, I realised that the Boom MP is not a powerhouse racket that will behave like a rocket launcher. Instead, it's a mid-level power racket that rewards you for what you put into the shot.
Swing fast and committing to the shot? The Boom MP will deliver a speedy ball with a good amount of spin on it.
The head shape seems to help in this regard, and I was able to get an excellent shape on the ball without any issues with the launch angle.
Swing slow and looking to place the ball with more old school type strokes? I don't think the Boom MP will work for you as it needs modern strokes to bring out its best features.
Outside the forehand and backhand drives, the slice worked well for me, it wasn't the knife-like slice I can hit with certain rackets, but I got plenty of control on the shot and an excellent shape on the ball, which sent it deep towards the baseline.
The one area I felt less comfortable with was the half volley type shots from the baseline. I struggled ever to feel confident in those types of shots even after four hitting sessions. We will see if that improves as I plan to keep using the racket for a few more hours.
When my first couple of serves landed in with some decent force behind them, I knew the Boom MP would be a good serving racket for my style.
My service motion is a quicker arm motion, rather than a sledgehammer type approach (Wawrinka, Norrie etc.), so the Head Boom MP works well for this style as it cuts through the air quickly, and I can swing it fast.
The shape of the racket also helps create spin on the serve, as you've got the broader section of the teardrop towards the tip of the racket, and that's where you make contact when reaching up, so you have quite a bit of stringbed to play with.
Along with half volleys, volleys are the one area where I struggled to gel with the Boom MP.
Up at the net, it felt a bit unstable and didn't give me the type of precision I like.
When I had time on the ball and could close the net, it was fine, but it is not a racket where if you get the strings behind the ball, then the frame itself will do the work.
It needs more of a swing to knock the volleys off, so I don't think it is a racket for a serve and volley type player as taking low volleys from the service line will be difficult with this racket in stock form.
However, the Boom MP is extremely manoeuvrable up at the net, so for a recreational doubles player hugging the net, the ease of swing makes it ideal for quick adjustments.
Returning with the Boom MP was a bit of a mixed bag. If you can get into position early and take an aggressive cut at the ball, it's fantastic as clean strikes are rewarded with pace and depth. Even off-centre hits perform pretty well when you have enough racket head speed.
However, if you're having to block the ball back or hitting at full stretch without your feet planted, the Boom MP lacks stability.
For players who stand back on the return, this won't be too much of a problem as you'll get some time on the ball against most servers, but against players who can bomb down the serves and you're not playing on a court with a Phillip Chatrier type runoff, a racket with more mass is required.
Who is this Racket For?
Whereas some rackets are niche in whose game style they fit (think RF97), the Head Boom MP is the type of racket that players of many varying levels can pick up and play decent tennis with.
Outright beginners to players who've been taking to the courts for years will be able to find something they like in the Boom MP.
In my opinion, it is best suited to intermediate to advanced players who play regularly over the summer months, then slow up a bit during the winter.
The reason I say that is because as soon as spring rolls around, you can pick this up and hit the ground running as it's a racket that makes the game feel easier.
It's the type of racket where you can take a two-week break from play but get straight back into it without the game feeling alien to you. Other rackets don't have that sort of forgiveness.
It's also the type of frame that will suit players who claim to like heavy rackets but would play better tennis if they committed to a lighter frame, as they'd be able to swing it faster, for longer, without tiring or struggling to get the weight around. (I should know, I'm one of them 😁)
For guys at the higher level who are facing 120mph+ serves and booming groundstrokes week in and week out, they'll want more stability, so the Prestige or Gravity line is more in their wheelhouse.
I could also see the Boom MP racket being a good choice for higher-level juniors progressing to full-size rackets as in stock form; it's a manageable weight.
Given the name Boom, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this racket is designed for firing missiles that blow your opponent off the court, but the Boom MP is not a frame that is going to let you intimidate opponents by blazing heavy winners.
Instead, it's a highly playable racket that fits somewhere between the ‘tweener' and ‘players' racket. It doesn't quite have the stability or control of a player's frame, while at the same time, it's not some powerhouse racket that sends the ball to the fences if you take any type of swing.
However, if you give it enough racket head speed, you'll be rewarded with pace and spin. While it might lack some of that plough through and solidity against the real big hitters, for most club players, this racket falls into the spec range that is going to allow them to play at a consistent level without arm fatigue or being late on the ball when pushed into the corners.
Finally, the Boom MP is at a spec level where it's open to plenty of customisation where you can make various tweaks with a leather grip a few grams of lead for stability to get it where you want it in terms of static weight and swing weight.
- Very playable (easy to swing)
- Good blend of power, control and feel
- Plenty of spin potential
- Lacks a little mass/stability against heavy hitters
- Quality control seems variable based on other specs I've seen posted online
Have you tried the new BOOM line from HEAD? Got any questions about it? Let me know in the comments.