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Squash Racket Review: Dunlop Sonic Core Revelation 125 and 135

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RacketSonic Core Revelation 125Sonic Core Revelation 135ShapeTeardropTeardropAdvertised frame weight125 grams135 gramsActual weight (inc. strings & grip)152 grams152 gramsWeight distributionExtra head lightHead lightStringDunlop Iconic Pro AFDunlop Iconic Pro AFGripDunlop Hydramax ProDunlop Hydramax ProStringing pattern14×1814×18 PowermaxColourBlackBlack/redEndorsed byTinne GilisEain Yow NgRelease date20212021Purchase linksAmazon
PDH SportsAmazon
PDH Sports

We took to the squash court to bring you our review of the latest and greatest rackets from Dunlop, the Sonic Core Revelation 125 and Sonic Core revelation 135.

Introduction: The launch of Sonic Core

Last year, Dunlop launched its Sonic Core technology across their traditional and hybrid shaped squash rackets.

What’s Sonic Core? It’s a newly developed material injected into the frames of their rackets at 10 and 2 o’clock. This is said to improve rebound energy and dampen vibrations on impact. It’s created in partnership with a company called BASF – the same company that developed the wildly popular Boost technology featured in Adidas shoes.

Dunlop has now added the Sonic Core technology to their line of teardrop shaped rackets, marketed as their ‘power‘ frames. This completes their lineup of rackets, making Sonic Core available to everyone, no matter what shape racket you prefer.

Today we’ll be taking a look at their popular Revelation 125 and Revelation 135 rackets, endorsed by PSA World Tour professionals Tinne Gilis and Eain Yow Ng.

Pro player Tinne Gilis with the Dunlop Sonic Core Revelation 125

Purchase links

Sonic Core Revelation 125
Amazon
PDH Sports

Sonic Core Revelation 135
Amazon
PDH Sports

Two similar rackets with subtle differences

A quick look through the spec sheet will reveal just how similar these two rackets are. Blindfolded, you’d be forgiven for not being able to tell the difference between the two.

Quick disclaimer. It’s worth pointing out that racket manufacturers have tolerances when producing rackets, allowing for a +/-5g margin for error when it comes to their racket weights. You may find lighter copies of the 125 out there, and heavier copies of the 135 too. Something worth bearing in mind. For this review though, I’ll be drawing conclusions based on the rackets provided.

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So, what exactly differentiates these two rackets? Well, aside from the obvious colour differences, the main difference is their stringing pattern.

The 125 has a standard stringing pattern, where the mains and crosses all run vertical and horizontal, crossing at 90 degree angles. The 135 on the other hand features Dunlop’s ‘Powermax’ pattern. The Powermax pattern lays the vertical strings out in a fan pattern. Why? This enables more space between the strings, and therefore in theory, increasing the potential power from the racket. 

Weighing the new Revelation 125 and 135 rackets on the scales

Placing one electric scale under the top of the frame, and one under the grip gives you a good indication as to how much these rackets weigh ‘off the shelves’. At the same time this reveals their exact weight distribution. This gives a fair bit more insight into the rackets than balance points alone. Here’s how the two rackets stack up to similar rackets from other brands.

RacketHead (g)Grip (g)Overall (g)Dunlop Sonic Core 1257973152Head Speed 120 Speed SB7866144Tecnifibre Airshaft 1258472156Dunlop Sonic Core 1358172152Head Speed 135 Speed SB8078158Tecnifibre Airshaft 1358574159

Taking the rackets on court

Manoeuvrability: 8.5/10

Both the 125 and 135 felt near-identical to me in terms of manoeuvrability. If you really, really want to split hairs, the 125 should be the more manoeuvrable, given it has 1g less weight in the head. However, anyone that claims to feel the difference is likely feeling the placebo effect. Or telling porkies. Either way.

Ultimately, these are two of the most manoeuvrable rackets on the market. Of the 32 rackets currently tested on squashgearreviews.com, these are the 3rd and 4th lightest in terms of weight in the head. And boy does it show.

Taking the ball early on the volley is far too easy with these rackets. It felt like an unfair advantage. I found myself hunting the volley more and more often, and was able to generate plenty of racket head speed with a very short backswing.

Digging the ball out of difficult situations, such as in the back corners, also felt really easy with these rackets. Again this is owing to their head light balance and excellent manoeuvrability.

Power: Revelation 125 – 7/10 | Revelation 135 – 8/10

Dunlop advertise these two rackets as their most powerful. Personally, I’m not so sure. I found their slim frames, light overall weight and head light balances didn’t quite place them in the ‘powerhouse’ racket category (check out our Head Speed 135 review for a really powerful racket). However, it’s not to say they aren’t powerful, far from it.

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Both rackets feature the largest possible head size of 500cm². Essentially, the larger the head, the more power it should be able to produce.

Of the two rackets, the Sonic Core Revelation 135 felt like the easier of the two to generate power with. I found myself hitting better lengths than I have done in a long time with this racket. Finding the back of the court was really, really easy. This is likely thanks to Dunlop’s Powermax stringing pattern, with the extra space between the 135’s strings increasing the trampoline effect on impact with the ball.

The Sonic Core Revelation 125 only felt a little less powerful, however the 135 to me felt like it had the edge.

Touch, control and feel: Revelation 125 – 8.5/10 | Revelation 135 – 8/10

This is where the more dense stringing pattern of the Revelation 125 comes into play. Placing the strings closer together increases the touch, control and feel properties of the racket. I found my short game felt tremendously accurate with the Revelation 125 in my hands. Combined with it’s fantastic manoeuvrability, I was able to fire in accurate shots from all four corners of the court.

Again, the 135 wasn’t far behind, and still offered fantastic levels of control. Finding differences between the two wasn’t an easy task, as my own margin for error on drop shots will have played a part in this too. However, on the whole, I’m pretty confident that the 125 fared a smidge better in this aspect.

It’s worth noting that head-light rackets might not give some players the same level of accuracy when taking the ball in short. Different horses for different courses, as the saying goes. A little more weight in the head can bring its own benefits, including allowing the racket to do ‘more of the work’ for you. Keep an eye out for our Dunlop Sonic Core Revelation Pro and Revelation Pro Lite reviews if this sounds like your cup of tea. This leads me on to…

Consistency: 7.5/10

When weighing up consistency, I try to consider this across all shots. I found with these rackets in my hand, consistency was generally very good. On drives and lengths, I found the 135 had the upper hand. On short shots, the 125 gave the edge. 

We’re talking fine, fine margins here though, to the point where, again, my own ability (or lack of!) comes into question.

The fact these frames have a fairly head-light balance means that you can’t rely on the rackets to ‘do the work for you’. With rackets that have more weight in the head, you can use this to carry the racket through your swing. For less experienced players, this will likely open up the margin for error. Something worth considering if these rackets have caught your eye.

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Design: Revelation 125 – 9/10 | Revelation 135 – 8/10

This is where my own opinion comes into the review, as design is entirely subjective.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the Revelation 125 though? Seriously? What an awesome looking racket Dunlop have produced. If brands are going to go down the ‘all black everything’ route, then I’m here for it.

The Revelation 135 is still a great looking racket. Initially when I saw the product photos, I wasn’t overly-enamoured with the black and red combination, however in person it looks pretty sweet.

Durability: TBC

It’s too soon to tell just how durable these rackets are, especially when it comes to their frames.

Worth noting – users of Dunlop rackets have occasionally reported durability issues with their grommet strips. Grommets will sometimes break away from the strip, leaving the string exposed to the metal frame. This can increase the odds of string breakages. I’m yet to see this happen with these rackets, though I’m not aware of any changes to Dunlop’s grommet strips to fix the problem. Something to keep an eye out for.

Overall: 8.5/10

I’m happy to score both these rackets very, very highly. They’re hard to fault. They feel great, do everything you could ask from a racket, and it doesn’t hurt that they look great too.

They’ll undoubtedly suit players looking for an all-round racket that leans on the side of manoeuvrability. If you want a little extra power, look at the 135. If you want a little more control, look at the 125. Ultimately though, spotting the difference between the two rackets certainly tested my abilities when it comes to product reviews.

It’s worth pointing out that given the lack of weight in these rackets’ heads, they may suit slightly more advanced players. Not to say they wouldn’t suit a beginner player, far from it, however they may take some time to get used to, especially if you’re moving from a heavier feeling racket.

Overall, I have a lot of time for these rackets. My personal favourite? The Revelation 135. It had been my go-to racket for the majority of the time I was able to test it out. I had to hand both rackets back to Dunlop last week as they were needed for their demo kits, boy was I gutted to see the racket go!

Purchase links

Sonic Core Revelation 125
Amazon
PDH Sports

Sonic Core Revelation 135
Amazon
PDH Sports

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