There are a few 5 ply all wood blades in the market and Xylo 5 is one of them. This high-quality blade is made in China. The handle seems to be semi-smooth and very comfortable to the hand. It actually fits my hand better compared to squarish handles. The construction consists of a smooth hinoki top ply which is kiln-dried or burnt and the core is very thick at least 4mm thick. The handle is one of the most comfortable handles in the market I have tried. This is a bit more expensive compared to regular 5-ply all-wood blades but its performance makes up for it.
The JOOLA Xylo 5 is very fast for a 5-ply blade. I’ve had very fast blades that are 5-ply all wood all my life and Xylo 5 can be considered one of the top offensive 5-ply blades. I tested this blade for 2 days straight for a few hours each day and at first minutes of playing with it, I can feel it is very fast. I bounced the ball in against a bare blade and played with it using Rhyzer 48 and 50 rubbers plus a tacky Chinese rubber. To compare the speed with known 5-ply all wood blades in the market I would rate the speed of the Xylo 5 slightly higher than SPW blade or the Korbel blade. I have used the other 2 extensively in the past for comparisons and testing and I can say the Xylo 5 is slightly faster in terms of speed. The Xylo 5 doesn’t feel as stiff as those ebony or rosewood top ply blades but the speed is more or less equal or higher. The Xylo 5 can be as fast as a 7-ply blade. In fact, the Xylo 5 sometimes is faster than its 7-ply counterpart, the Xylo 7 and the Xylo 5 is also thicker. Despite being a medium stiff blade, neither short pushes nor drop shots are a problem since this blade still has a good amount of control.
Game wise, I like the performance of the Xylo 5 since it is not as stiff as a carbon blade, it can make your loops easier to perform being a blade that is not as stiff as other 5 ply blades but at the same time does not lack the speed for power shots. Let us just say that it offers some flex to let you do topspins easily. I have observed medium to medium low arc when looping against backspin or blocked topspin. The ball clears the net with about 1-2 inches clearance. It may not have the flex of off- or all-around type limba blades but still looping with the Xylo 5 is still on an excellent level. With the Chinese rubber as a forehand rubber or the Rhyzer 50, the blade is still very good at mid-distance level. Far distance from the table, it kinda begins losing power but I think this can be resolved by using a faster rubber like Dynaryz ACC. The thing with the game today is that we have a bigger and slower ball but then the rubbers we have now today are much better at spin and speed that even on an offensive all wood blade, it is still possible to attack far from the table. For professional level players maybe, they would need a composite blade for extra kicks but then again there have been pro-players that have used 5 ply all-wood blades far from the table and still perform powerful shots. Non-pro players who wanted a very fast 5 ply all wood blade but need a good amount of control can rely on the Xylo 5 to deliver the performance players need in their game. This is a 5 ply all wood blade that acts like a 7 ply blade. I would NOT recommend this to beginners as there are several all-around blades from JOOLA that can easily fit their needs.
Disclaimer: This blade was sent to Yogi_Bear by JOOLA. This review is not paid and all views are his own.
Known in the industry by his username, Yogi_Bear is a table tennis influencer, equipment expert, and frequent contributor on the table tennis forum Table Tennis Daily. He is an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Level 1 Coach and ITTF Level 1 Coaching Course Conductor.
You can find this review, originally published on Table Tennis Daily, here.