DHS Skyline 3 NEO Review

The DHS Skyline 3 NEO is a remarkable Chinese table tennis rubber. Unfortunately, it does not get the recognition it deserves as the Skyline series is far less talked about than the Hurricane series which is all the rage.

Yet, TG3 NEO boasts similar stats, so it is a rubber you should not overlook if you are shopping in the Chinese market.  

DHS Skyline 3 Neo logo
 

Specifications

  • Speed: 8.6
  • Spin: 9
  • Control: 8.7
  • Hardness: Medium-Hard
  • ITTF Approved? Yes
  • Thickness (mm) : 2.15, 2.2
  • Price: $
  • Our rating :  9

Construction

The DHS Skyline 3 NEO uses a tacky top sheet like much of the other Chinese rubbers. The underlying factory-tuned sponge is orange and of medium hardness.

Overall the rubber is a little heavy, but certainly manageable. DHS characterizes the sponge as having excellent energy potential. It responds promptly to deformation promoting a high-pace offensive style.  

 

DHS Skyline 3 NEO Rubber

What Table Tennis Pros Use DHS Skyline 3 NEO?

Skyline has seen usage from some of the best players in the world. The legendary Ma Long was reported to have used some of the older Skyline rubbers earlier on in his career.

The most prominent user of the Skyline 3 NEO, in particular, was Wang Hao. Now retired, Wang Hao was a former world number 1 and a 3-time World Cup winner. He used the Skyline 3 NEO on his forehand and Bryce Speed on his backhand with a Hurricane Hao 3 Blade.  

Another successful Skyline 3 NEO player is Yan An. Peaking at number 7 in the world back in 2014, Yan An is an exceptional player. He opted to pair his Skyline 3 NEO with Tenergy 05 FX on his backhand. His blade of choice is the Zhang Jike ALC.

The Positives

DHS Skyline 3 NEO presents a step up in pace from its predecessor, the DHS Skyline 3. This is due to its adaptation to the banning of speed glue. The NEO rubber received enhancement via a factory tuning procedure which raises its spin and speed.

Skyline 3 NEO plays somewhat the same as Hurricane 3 NEO except it has a lower throw angle. At first, the rubber feels very muted, but when you employ powerful strokes it really opens up.

This is due to the linear nature of Chinese-style rubbers. In the lower gears, they are very controllable, and not very fast. To unlock top speeds, one must use great form and fast arm speed. In this respect, Chinese rubbers stand toe to toe with Euro/Jap rubbers for offensive ability, proving why they are so popular with the Chinese National Team.    

Sporting a tacky top sheet, the Skyline 3 NEO grips the ball even at slower speeds, making it an excellent rubber for serving. This means you can focus on producing maximum spin on your serves whilst comfortably keeping the ball on the table.

Blocking is also great. The tacky top sheet grips the ball a little before release which slightly diminishes the pace.

Pushing is another area the DHS skyline TG3 does well due to its linear nature. It is simple to keep the ball short and produce highly spinny pushes. With such a great short game, the DHS Skyline TG3 will present you with many opportunities for the first opener. A spinny rollover loop is easily within your grasp and if you are an excellent player with great footwork, a loop kill may be on the cards.

The Negatives

I don’t want to harp on about tuners because Skyline 3 NEO is clearly a great rubber, but as many of you are probably aware, factory tuners inevitably wear off. And long before the rubber itself dies.

What it leaves you with is essentially, a regular DHS Skyline 3. Of course, this is still a superb rubber. But factory tuning is what helps give the DHS Skyline 3 NEO its edge. As always, you can tune the sponge yourself once it wears off, but be advised this is technically illegal under ITTF rules.  

Like many other Chinese rubbers. Skyline 3 NEO does not excel in the smashing department. It instead focuses solely on looping for attacking play. This is due to the lack of a catapult effect which over time has become integral to so many of our games.

It also means you should try not to drift away from the table or play fast loops from a low height. To get around this issue, you could try using a fast tensor rubber on backhand such as Tenergy 64 and twiddle for the smash.

Ideally, you should be playing quite close to the table. The linear pace shines here providing great predictability and consistency. The only issue is the rubber demanding powerful strokes. It takes a super fit, fast player, with great footwork to be able to use the Skyline 3 NEO as it should be. Adapting to these demands takes time and lots of conscious training.  

Another drawback of tacky rubbers to be aware of, besides adequate rubber care, is that they react in a strong way to incoming spin. This means you may be vulnerable to particularly spinny loops, heavy chops, and heavy serves.

However, I wouldn’t let this deter you if you are well versed with spin. Players who have been honing their skills in table tennis for a long time should not be losing too many points to spin alone. You could also twiddle your rubber if a particular shot is giving you trouble.

If you are confident in your own spin, the benefits of having a tacky rubber such as the Skyline 3 NEO outweighs the drawbacks.  

About DHS

One of the most widely recognized brands in table tennis, DHS is the powerhouse of quality Chinese products. Established in 1959, the company was named by Premier Zhou Enlai.

Double Happiness has since adopted a very close relationship with the Chinese National Team. In 2010, a staggering 92% of players used a DHS rubber on their forehand. Similarly, 36.7% of players used a DHS blade. A surprisingly high figure, given that elite rubbers, alongside balls, are primarily how DHS gained its reputation.

In fact, their D40+ ball recently featured as the official ball for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

DHS Brand

DHS Skyline 3 NEO Alternatives

There is an abundance of rubbers DHS produces if the Skyline 3 NEO isn’t what you are after.

For starters, the regular DHS Skyline 3.

DHS has also produced newer Skyline rubbers in the DHS Skyline 3-60 Mid Hard and the DHS Skyline 3-60 Soft. Both have proved to be popular rubbers and cost marginally more than Skyline 3 NEO.

The Skyline 2 NEO is another option. Released alongside the Skyline 3 NEO, it boasts a remarkably similar style of play. The main difference is that it is a little slower and spinnier.

If none of the Skyline series seem appealing for whatever reason, you could always purchase the ever-reliable DHS Hurricane 3 NEO. It is one of the most popular rubbers of all time for a reason.

DHS Skyline Mid Soft

Pros (simplified):

  • Price: The value Skyline 3 NEO presents is among the best you will find.
  • Looping: Provides super looping at a medium throw angle.
  • Short game: Easy to keep short and produce spinny pushes. Helps create opportunities for loop openers.

Cons (simplified):

  • Tiring: You have to keep fairly close to the table with this rubber. Paired with linear rubber pace, you need to be fit to use it effectively.
  • Flat-smashing: Not great as a smashing rubber, twiddle to a tensor or loop from a height to get the most out of your attack.
  • Rubber-care: Tacky rubbers lose their tackiness if they are not well cared for.

Conclusion

The DHS Skyline 3 NEO is a rubber that doesn’t get enough recognition. It is an excellent alternative to the incredibly popular Hurricane 3 NEO and plays in a very similar way.

The Skyline 3 NEO provides a great deal of control in all areas of play and considerable speed at its higher gears. If you haven’t used a Chinese rubber before it may feel a touch lackluster at first, but impart more pace on your strokes and you’ll soon see what the Skyline 3 NEO can deliver.

In my opinion, it is best suited for fast players with excellent footwork. You need to be able to produce powerful strokes, reset to the ready position, and position yourself for the follow-up.

It is not easy, and a notable step-up from traditional Euro/Jap rubbers in difficulty if you’re a strong attacker.  

Alex Horscroft
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Freelance writer. Table tennis enthusiast. Lover of all things online. When I’m not working on my loop game I’m probably binge-watching some fantasy show.

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