Review by LawOCG (with thanks):
(Please note the majority of this review is done without speed glue to get a
accurate review of the rubber, Speedglue will dramatically improve this rubbers
performance as I will explain later on)
The focus 2 out of the packet looks very different to any other 729 sheet
youve seen before. Friendship have redone the labelling on their Focus line, The
logo's look very nice and the overall appearance of the topsheet is promising.
The topsheet is very thin with long pips underneath them, the topsheet has a
supple elastic look to it and it reminds me of a cj8000 topsheet which is very
nice. The topsheet is not tacky like the other 729's out but its
"Grippy", Its stickier than jap rubbers but its less tacky than
traditional chinese rubbers. The sponge on the Focus 2 is fairly hard and I
would rate it around 42-44 Degrees out of the packet, the weight of the rubber
is very light. Although I don't have a scale to measure it I would rate it as
the same weight as a lot of jap rubbers out at the moment, which is quite light.
When counter-hitting and blocking with the focus 2 I instantly noticed a
large speed boost from my previous rubber which was the Faster III. The
combination of a supple/elastic topsheet combined with a fairly hard sponge
allows the ball to be struck very hard straight on without it topping out as
easily as most friendships out at the moment. I must mention that the throw on
this rubber is fairly low, Even lower then the faster III. For blocking this
rubber is a dream, the ball is controlled and any topspin thrown at you can be
controlled with ease and will rarely bounce out. Most of the time blocks are
very solid and penetrating, but be warned it takes time to adjust to the low
Looping is where this rubber shines. When you loop at a normal controlled
pace, there doesn't seem to be anything special at all. The rubber behaves well
and lands where you want it to. When you start to pick up the pace, its really
starts to shine. The harder you loop the more apparant the second kick is. Power
loops with the focus 2 are beautiful to execute as the arc is very low but at
the same time there is a immense amount of spin on the ball. Loops that are hit
hard penetrate and will frustate any player because of its different trajectory(
namely being Fast, low and very spinny).
But now..... onto the most crucial factor. This rubber can perform
mid-distance and long distance!!. I was counter-looping against a ex top level
buddy of mine. Against glued up bryce fx, the focus 2 held its ground.
Counter-looping with the focus 2 is superb, when the ball is struck at the right
angle counter-loops are enormously fast and have loads of spin on them. This is
confirmed as the other player will hesitate on the re-loop because of the sheer
volume of spin on the ball.
Speedglue - When the focus2 is glued up you can expect about 20% more spin
and speed and increased looping potential.
Review by dwruck (published with permission):
I played with 729 Focus II rubber for the first time today, and I absolutely
loved it! I've been playing with the LKT Torrent in 2.2 mm sponge for a few
years now. It really helped me to develop my forehand loop and gave me a lot of
spin. I loved the control, but I felt like it was time to look for something
with a little more power in loops, hits and smashes. I have a sheet of Focus II
with peach sponge in 2.2 mm thickness that I got from Zeropong.
First impressions The packaging was some of the nicest for a Chinese rubber,
and it was of very high quality. I could tell right away that the sponge was
much more firm than the Torrent, so I knew there would be a speed increase. The
question for me was, how would the spin and control be? First hits I warmed up
with mdjenders and could instantly tell it was a lot faster. At first, I was
dumping a lot of shots into the net. It really does have a low throw. We played
a doubles match and I still wasn't quite used to it yet, and thus was quite
useless and the main reason we got thrashed in doubles.
After more experience... Then I played more singles matches and was really
getting the hang of using the rubber. It definitely had more power. Loops and
hits that people were able to return in the past were now more difficult to
return by my opponents, or now flying long. On the serve, it had plenty of spin.
It was really dangerous when serving with my forehand and mixing in topspin with
backspin. I got some easy winners when the ball jumped on them more than they
expected. It served quite well with the backhand too, I was able to make some
really spinny sidespin serves.
On return of serve, at first I had some problems returning the short serves
to my forehand. Getting a handle on the short touch shots took me a while, but
once I did I felt like I could push with a lot of spin on the short serves to my
forehand. Against anything long, I could loop or hit pretty aggressively.
Playing close to the table, even though it's much faster than my Torrent I had
no problems in a counter-hitting rally, and I was able to adjust the blade angle
to block well. I found that I could also counter-loop pretty well close to the
table. When I was backed off the table a little and looped from mid-distance,
the rubber really shined.
I whitas able to loop or counter-loop pretty easily, and the rubber had a lot
of gears. I count slow loop with a lot of control over the placement and type of
spin, but when I cranked up the pace of my shots it really became a serious
weapon, much more than the Torrent which wouldn't add much speed as I swung
harder. The ball really shot off the table the harder I hit, and I didn't feel
like I lost control at all. I got a lot of winners off hard loops, more than I
typically would get. It also helped me to hit more clean winners on smashes.
Combined with the Bomb blade, it had a nice little cracking sound to the hard
hits, which gave people all kinds of trouble.
As you can tell, I'm quite excited about this rubber. After only one use, I
was very successful with using it. I even beat a guy rated about 150 points
higher than me, who I'd never beaten in the past. Even in my losses today, I
could feel it helping me, and they were close losses. My backhand keeps getting
better too, so I think I have a combination now that will allow me to be much
more effective in being aggressive and attacking or counter-attacking from
either close to the table or at mid-distance. I can't wait to keep developing