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Donic Desto F2 Review | Table Tennis Rubber Test

After playing for 1-2 years of table tennis, many intermediate players – and especially younger ones – are often looking for a reasonable upgrade when their old beginner rackets become too slow. One solution is to keep the blade and simply buy a new pair of slightly faster rubbers, which still offer enough control in times where tension-loaded high speed rubbers tend to be way too fast for many players. Based on our popular article Best Rubber for Intermediate Players we have now had the chance to review the Donic Desto F2 which sits right in between the F1 and F3 version of the Desto series. Is the F2 a good option for intermediate players to upgrade and are the claims of a very noticeable speed glue sound true? Let's find out in our latest review.

Is Donic Desto F2 a Great Rubber For Intermediate Players?

Donic Desto F2 table tennis rubber

The Donic Desto series has been around for quite some time now after its debut in the early 2000s but despite its age it is still so immensely popular among intermediate table tennis players around the world. The Donic Desto rubbers, named F1, F1 Plus, F2, F3, F3 Big Slam and F4, were among the first rubbers which came with a built-in speed glue effect after speed glueing was banned by the ITTF. This improvement promised faster speeds, more spin and the iconic speed glue sound which is missed by many players in the era of modern tensor rubbers. In this review however we'll have a closer look at the F2 version, which is very nicely packaged and even comes with a free self-adhesive topsheet protector film:

Donic Desto F2 Unboxing

Topsheet Review

Our first impression can be combined into just one word: Quality. Although we didn't expect anything less from a German manufacturer like Donic, it's always refreshing to see how high quality packaging and materials of the rubber can make difference. Looking at the topsheet, we noticed that our red version has a very deep color while also being slightly transparent look exposing the pimple structure underneath. The pimples seem to be rather wide but close to each other in terms of positioning.

Donic Desto F2 Topsheet

Touching the topsheet, we were happy to see that it is very grippy which should provide a lot of confidence when doing a high risk topspin shot. The rubber itself weights 58g uncut and 38g when cut. This makes the Donic Desto F2 a very light rubber which is something that some players like and others don't. The lighter a rubber, the less force you need to apply to get it moving. On the other hand, a racket, which is heavier towards the top can help to generate more speed and power. Given the fact that the Desto F2 is not a high-performance rubber and instead targeted at developing players, we say that lighter is better in this case!

Donic Desto F2 Weight Uncut

Sponge Test

Examining the sponge on the backside, we immediately notice that the made-in-Germany sponge has a very tender feel to it which we have not seen in any other comparable sponge yet. It is not clear if this has an effect on playing characteristics but something that definitely has an effect on this is the sponge structure which can be described as very fine-pored. Something we don't see in very fast, tension-heavy products like Butterfly's Tenergy series, and more in slower classic rubbers like Yasaka Mark V.

Donic Desto F2 Sponge

When applying light pressure on the rubber, it became clear that the overall feeling of the rubber can be described as having a quite soft topsheet and medium to medium-soft sponge. At first, this reminded us of the ever so popular Nittaku Factive intermediate rubber which also comes with a very soft topsheet but the sponge of this Japanese product seems to be a bit harder. There is no official, exact number indicating the sponge hardness but we estimate it at roughly 42-43° on the ESN scale which makes the Desto F2 ever so slightly harder than the Xiom Vega Europe (37.5°) and is somewhat comparable to Andro GTT 45's sponge hardness. However, the soft topsheet makes the rubber feel more like 40° when playing.

Looking at the sponge structure, it becomes quite clear that Donic Desto F2 must have a less pronounced catapult effect because, compared with Nittaku Factive, the Desto F2 has a way less coarse-pored sponge which often is a sign for a milder tensor effect because it makes the sponge behave less like a trampoline as the overall sponge structure is more dense and gives the ball less room to compress on impact with the racket.

Donic Desto F2 Sponge Test

Playing Characteristics

Enough examination of the rubber! Let's pop up the tables and make some contact with the ball! After playing for a while, at first we expected rather slow speeds based on our earlier check on the F2's sponge but it wasn't that slow at all! Don't get us wrong: This is not a speed-monster like Tenergy 05 but it is definitely faster than classic rubbers like Yasaka Mark V or even more modern products like Andro Good. Driving the ball was easy, no matter if using forehand or backhand.

OMG, The Sound !! ...

Hitting our first topspin loops, we were very surprised at first because when hitting the ball really hard with the F2, for example when doing a faster power-topspin stroke, it releases a very loud sound. In this moment it was clear that this was the so called speed glue sound everyone was talking about. The sound is so different compared to other products which don't have this feature like for example Nittaku Factive, Andro GTT 45 or Xiom Vega Europe DF. We would put all these rubbers in a similar category of suitabable products for intermediate players with their pros and cons. However, one thing these 3 rubbers have in common is that the sound they make is rather dull and not too loud. The Donic Desto F2 here is completely different. It's so loud that everybody in the training hall will know when you are playing. At last, it's also noteworty that this pronounced sound is only noticable when hitting the ball hard. For soft and normal speed strokes, the rubber creates a normal sound.

Speed, Spin and Control

As mentioned earlier, speed-wise we see the Donic Desto F2 being comparable to other similar products like Nittaku Factive, Andro GTT 45 or Xiom Vega Europe DF. It's not the fastest rubber on the planet but fast enough for most players who consider themselves being intermediate in terms of experience. Spin-wise we did notice that it sometimes can be a bit difficult to get an underspin ball over the net – which is probabably caused by the less pronounced catapult effect of the sponge. We felt that the spin was similar to Andro GTT 45 but less than Nittaku Factive which definitely has a bit higher ball arc. Regarding control, we can confirm that Donic Desto F2 excels in this area and is maybe the best in comparison with the other rubbers mentioned in this article. It's easy to precisely place the ball where you want it to go without having to be worried to overshoot the table. Blocking is easy as well. The soft topsheet and sponge combination helps to safely neutralize incoming topspin and place it on the other side, even if the incoming ball has lots of spin. This spin-insensitivity reminded us a lot of the Nittaku Factive rubber which behaves very similarly in the blocking department. Also, when playing short, the Donic Desto F2 is very easy to control when pushing short behind the net, but is also great when playing a sharper, long push to surpise your opponent.

Blade Combination Recommendation

The Donic Desto F2 goes well with any allround blade, like for example Donic Appelgren Allplay, or if you want to use something with carbon in it, we can also recommend the Donic Original Exclusive Carbon. Both of these blades we have tested in our article Best Budget Blades and are very affordable as they cost under $40. If you want something more premium, try the Butterfly Innerforce Layer ALC which comes in at $160 but delivers outstanding feel and quality.


At the relatively affordable price of around $40, we can recommend the Donic Desto F2 for any intermediate player with an allround style. It's great for driving, pushing and topspin strokes as long as you're not relying too much on spin in your game. In this case, we recommend to either try Nittaku Factive ($35) or Xiom Vega Europe DF ($40) which behave similar in terms of speed and control but deliver more spin. To check out these alternative rubbers, have a look at our article Best Rubbers for Intermediate Table Tennis Players.

Speed 7/10
Control 8/10
Spin 6/10
Overall 7/10

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