The Xiom Vega Intro is an offering specially tailored for beginning players, putting emphasis on control above everything else.
The Vega Intro aims to be the perfect rubber for players transitioning from premade to custom rackets.
We playtested the Xiom Vega Intro extensively to find out exactly how it plays.
Perfect for: Beginner offensive players, all-round players, blockers, and defenders. 0-10 years of playing.
About the Reviewer
Alvaro brings 7+ years of playing experience. He’s tested 20+ rubbers for Racket Insight and his style is The Controller.
About the Review
Blade Used: Stratus Power Wood
Rubber Thickness: MAX
Hours Tested: 10+
Table of Contents
We recommend the Xiom Vega Intro to players who want to take their table tennis skills a step further by utilizing a controllable, high-quality table tennis rubber.
Design of the Xiom Vega Intro
The Xiom Vega Intro comes in a high-quality sealed package.
Inside, we can find the rubber, covered by a protective film.
When I grabbed the rubber, I noticed that it had quite a bit of inbuilt tension, which I wasn’t expecting. This was an early hint of how the rubber would play.
After pressing on the rubber, I found the Xiom Vega Intro’s hardness to be about medium. I’d say its hardness is around 42.5-45 degrees ESN.
In my view, this is the optimal hardness for a rubber designed for beginners.
Some slower, control-oriented rubbers are too soft, to the point where the rubber loses stability and all the top gears. The Vega Intro is not too soft but it’s also not hard, making it easy to get power out of it.
The Xiom Vega Intro is slightly tacky and it has a good amount of grip.
The Vega Intro weighs in at 49 grams, which I quite like.
I’d very much prefer a rubber that’s designed for beginners to be on the heavy side than to be light and flimsy.
The problem with controllable rubbers is that they’re often too light and soft, and thus, they have good control but it’s hard to generate power with them.
It was a pleasant surprise to find that the Vega Intro had:
- Inbuilt tension.
- The same weight as high-end rubbers such as the Tenergy 05.
The Vega Intro is about as heavy as most European rubbers like the Yasaka Rakza 7 (50 grams), the Donic Baracuda (50 grams), all of the Tenergies (49 grams), the Andro Rasanter R47 (49 grams), and the Nittaku Fastarc G-1 (49 grams).
In comparison to its siblings, the Vega Intro has the same weight as the Vega Pro (49 grams), it’s 1 gram heavier than the Vega X (48 grams) and it’s 3 grams heavier than the Vega Europe (46 grams).
Playtesting the Xiom Vega Intro
The Xiom Vega Intro, as you could tell from my 4.2 rating, was a positive surprise for me, as it ended up being exactly what I’d been looking for for quite some time.
Some people recommend that beginners start with regular offensive rubbers, but offensive rubbers are too fast for beginners coming straight from premade rackets.
What they recommend to offensive beginners is to get relatively fast rubbers with ALL or ALL+ blades.
However, I’m not convinced by this approach, as this would mean that beginners would have to change their blades to faster ones down the road.
Changing blades is something we don’t recommend, as the blade is the most important element of the racket in terms of hand feeling and consistency.
It’s very important to keep your blade for years and get to know it very well, so getting offensive rubbers with blades that will need changing doesn’t make much sense in my opinion.
The opposite approach is to recommend “classic” rubbers, such as the Yasaka Mark V or the Butterfly Sriver with offensive blades that won’t need to be changed.
The problem with this is that these rubbers are more than 50 years old, and they don’t work as well with the plastic ball.
The Mark V and the Butterfly Sriver simply don’t have that much speed, but what’s problematic about these rubbers is that they don’t have much spin as well, which makes it hard to land topspin shots on the table or to trouble opponents with spinny attacks.
Spin is key in table tennis, and to have offensive beginners attacking with topspin from the get-go is something very important.
What I had been looking for, up until this moment, was a rubber that bridged the gap between classic rubbers that have lots of control but very little speed and spin and offensive rubbers, which have enough speed and spin but not enough control for beginners.
I’m confident that the Xiom Vega Intro is the perfect option for beginners.
The Vega Intro has all the qualities a beginner could want, and they could also pair the Vega Intro with an OFF- blade, which won’t need changing anytime soon.
In terms of spin, the Vega Intro has more than enough quality to trouble opponents with offensive shots such as loops, or defensive shots such as pushes or chops.
However, it doesn’t have as much spin as most offensive rubbers, so it also won’t absorb as much incoming spin. This comes in handy when trying to receive spinny serves or blocking spinny shots, which beginners understandably have trouble with.
The speed levels of the Xiom Vega Intro are also not as high as those in offensive rubbers, but they’re more than adequate for offensive play.
The Xiom Vega Intro is a whole lot faster than the Yasaka Mark V, and it’s around the same speed level as the Xiom Vega Europe. It’s also easier to get power out of the Vega Intro than with really hard rubbers such as the Hurricane 3 NEO.
Another thing I really liked about the Vega Intro is that it’s not too soft.
Very soft rubbers are often relatively bouncy but have few gears. This means that they play at roughly the same speed all the time.
This makes players acquire the bad habit of not hitting the ball with acceleration. It doesn’t really matter whether they hit hard or not, as the rubber doesn’t have the “top gears”.
The Xiom Vega Intro has a medium hardness, so it’s not bouncy and hard to control in the short game, and it also rewards hard-hit shots.
For all these reasons, the Xiom Vega Intro is the perfect stepping stone between premade rackets and offensive custom setups.
We tested the Xiom Vega Intro on both the forehand and the backhand, and it fits both sides perfectly.
Driving and looping
Driving and looping is an area of strength of the Xiom Vega Intro.
Drives are very safe and the Vega Intro has a neutral feel to it. As we mentioned before, the Vega Intro does have some inbuilt tension, but it’s nothing too drastic. Drives are safe and controllable, but if you start hitting the ball hard, you get more and more speed.
In terms of looping, the Vega Intro is very good. It doesn’t have the pace nor the spin that offensive rubbers have, but it has a lot of control while retaining adequate offensive capabilities.
Something I found with the Vega Intro is that the rubber behaves very well when you start hitting hard.
The Vega Intro doesn’t bottom out and it’s very stable, and it even produces a loud cracking sound when hitting the ball with power.
When you hit the ball slowly or with average acceleration, you get controlled attacks with medium speed, but if you hit the ball harder, you can actually get very fast and spinny shots. See for yourselves:
As you can see, the Vega Intro can pack a punch when power looping and it doesn’t bottom out easily because of its hardness range.
If you hit hard, you get tons of quality. If you don’t, then you won’t get much speed or spin on the ball.
The Xiom Vega Intro is also a good looping rubber on the backhand side.
I really liked it on the backhand side because it just has so much control. The backhand wing is a lot more versatile than the forehand wing, the spectrum of shots you can play is a lot greater.
The Vega Intro is a great driving, punching, and looping rubber, among many other things. It doesn’t have as much speed or spin but it’s quite hard to miss the table with this rubber.
Here’s a clip of the Vega Intro when performing backhand loops:
Backhand loops land on the table 9 times out of 10 and that’s exactly what you want as a beginner, especially if you want to compete in tournaments.
Another thing I really liked about the Vega Intro is that it gives a lot of safety when opening up against backspin, and added to that, I could get lots of spin on the ball.
This is due to the sponge of the rubber. The sponge on the Vega Intro isn’t too bouncy and it’s medium/medium-soft.
Even if the topsheet doesn’t have as much spin, you can really feel the ball sinking into the sponge.
The Vega Intro isn’t bouncy at all so you get a very long dwell time with the ball. You can accelerate into the ball with confidence because you know the ball won’t shoot out violently out of your racket.
The Xiom Vega Intro is a great rubber for training and for tournament play because it has tons of control.
When training, you need control to perform many rounds of each exercise, and when playing tournaments, you need a rubber that gets the ball on the table even when you’re nervous or you don’t know the venue.
As you progress in your career as a player, you will need something faster than the Vega Intro, especially if you’re an offensive player, but it’s a great rubber to get your feet wet in competitive table tennis.
Another aspect that positively surprised me about the Vega Intro was counterloops, both close and far from the table.
Counterlooping far from the table requires more effort than with a regular ESN offensive rubber, but the Vega Intro feels very controllable and stable.
I can pressure my opponent if I hit with 100% of my power, or I can hit a bit slowlier and land as many balls on the table as I want. The Vega Intro’s dwell time really helps in this regard.
When countering close to the table, it’s the same story. The Vega Intro is very controllable, and if you go for it, you can hit winners off forehand counterloops.
You can either counter with a lot of acceleration to pass the opponent, or counter with medium acceleration to regain the initiative in the point and begin your own attack.
Counterloops with medium acceleration are very safe, and it’s a very important quality to have in a rubber for offensive beginners.
The Vega Intro is great for learning how to counterloop because of its dwell time and its control.
The counterloop is one of the hardest shots to pull off, so having a rubber that simplifies the shot is a very strong quality of the Vega Intro.
In short, the Vega Intro is a very controllable rubber. It is a great rubber for performing safe drives, loops, flat hits, open-ups, and counterloops.
Serve and receive
Serving and receiving are very good with the Xiom Vega Intro. The passive serve receive in particular is one of the greatest strengths of this rubber.
Due to the Vega Intro’s speed levels, it’s very easy to keep serves short and low to the net. It’s one of the best rubbers I’ve ever tried in terms of control of the serve.
However, the Vega Intro gets a 3/5 on serves because you can’t really put that much spin on the ball.
The spin of a serve is one of the most important qualities, so even if you can control the ball well and place it where you want, you won’t hurt your opponent if your serves aren’t as spinny.
This isn’t to say that the Vega Intro has little spin, but there’s a noticeable difference between the Vega Intro and regular ESN rubbers, and there’s also a noticeable difference between ESN rubbers and the Tenergy 05 or the Yinhe Big Dipper, for example.
Hence, the Vega Intro is below average in terms of the spin you can generate when serving.
Receiving with the Vega Intro is a dream come true. You can basically do whatever you want.
Flicking isn’t hard because the Vega Intro is not bouncy and it isn’t a hard rubber.
Touching short is effortless. Short pushes stay very short and low to the net because of the Vega Intro’s speed levels.
Pushing long is also very good, and you can control the depth of your pushes with ease.
In addition to all this, the Vega Intro doesn’t absorb as much spin, so you don’t get as penalized if you misread the spin of a serve.
With the Tenergy 05, for example, if you read heavy backspin and the serve is only light backspin, you’ll probably pop the ball up quite a bit.
The Vega Intro isn’t nearly as reactive in terms of speed and spin, so the passive serve receive is excellent.
This quality is also very important for beginners, since most will understandably struggle when trying to receive tricky serves.
Blocking and chopping
Blocking with the Vega Intro was great.
The Vega Intro has lots of control and a good feel for blocking. I felt like I could block hard-hit loops a lot more easily than with bouncy ESN rubbers.
The downside to this is that it’s hard to compromise opponents with your blocks. It’s quite easy to block but my blocks weren’t that dangerous.
However, if you’re a beginner, what matters most is getting your blocks on the table, and the Vega Intro works perfectly to that end.
Chopping is another strength of the Xiom Vega Intro. The Vega Intro’s speed, control, and spin insensitivity make it a very consistent chopping rubber.
Alternatives to the Xiom Vega Intro
The Yinhe Mercury 2 is an alternative to the Vega Intro in the sense that it’s very safe, controllable and easy to use.
The Vega Europe is slightly bouncier, spinnier and a lot softer than the Vega Intro, but it also has tons of control and great touch.
The Victas Ventus Regular is another excellent medium hardness, all-round, control-oriented rubber like the Vega Intro.
Overall reflections on the Xiom Vega Intro
As you can tell, I quite liked the Xiom Vega Intro.
The Xiom Vega Intro is a great option for beginners, all-rounders, and defenders because of its control. It’s the ideal choice if you want to get the ball on the table consistently, be it while attacking or defending.
In addition to this, the Vega Intro is more affordable than all of the ESN rubbers, so that’s another plus.
I had lots of fun in my testing of the Xiom Vega Intro and I’ll start recommending it from now on to:
A) Players who are starting out, and
B) Players who value control above everything else but want to retain good offensive potential and adequate spin capabilities.
Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 100 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!
Blade: Tibhar Stratus Power Wood | Forehand: XIOM Vega X | Backhand: XIOM Vega X
Playstyle: The Controller