Adidas Telstar 18 Match Ball Review

Updated July 10, 2018 |

After hours of testing by shooting, passing, juggling, and gameplay, we concluded that the Adidas Telstar 18 is one of the best soccer balls you can buy. In this review, we will go over everything you need to know about the Telstar 18 including all the tech-specs, aspects, pro's & con's, and questions.

Ever since 1970 when Adidas made its first World Cup ball, the technology and quality have been getting better and better. Now every four years there is not only hype about the game, but the ball being used. On November 9, 2017, Adidas unveiled its new match ball that will be used in the 2018 World Cup, the Adidas Telstar 18.

Construction:

The Adidas Telstar 18 features a six-panel design with the panels being seamlessly thermally bonded together. Thermally bonded means the ball will not absorb any water, it's more durable, and has more of a predictable flight trajectory. The panels are made from 83% TPU and 17% polyester, the primary properties of those two materials are flexibility and durability. Although it's totally different in terms of looks and design, the touch and feel of the ball are very similar to the 2014 Brazuca.

The bladder is made from latex, which means the ball will be faster when shooting and will have a faster bounce. Most soccer balls are made from butyl which is less elastical than latex.

NFC Chip:

Adidas has integrated NFC technology by embedding an NFC chip into the ball. The chip will not affect the ball and its performance in any way. When connected using a phone, you can access information about that ball, how many times it was tapped, and where it was tapped. The NFC chip grants you access to a soccer community that gives you all the information about the ball and future events in soccer. Unlike the Adidas miCoach Smart soccer ball, you won't be getting any information about how hard you kick the ball, header the ball, and any physical information.

Tech specs include:

  1. Thermally bonded panels
  2. FIFA approved
  3. 83% TPU / 17% polyester surface
  4. 6-panel design
  5. Surface texture
  6. Perfectly round shape and weight
  7. Latex bladder
  8. NFC Chip

Surface:

The surface of the Telstar 18 is covered with a layer of texture which provides grip in wet conditions. The texturing doesn't really change too much in terms of performance, but it does help when you need to stop the ball or flick it up. It also fades off slightly, but not completely, when used on concrete. The surface is sleek and seamless due to the thermally bonded panels, which makes a highly aerodynamic and fast soccer ball.

The branding on the surface features the Adidas logo, "TELSTAR 18 OFFICIAL MATCH BALL", and "FIFA WORLD CUP Russia 2018" branding in a bronze-metallic color. There is also a "FIFA® QUALITY PRO" badge in black and the NFC logo in silver. The FIFA Quality Pro badge means the ball passed FIFA tests on circumference, weight, rebound, and water absorption.

Advantages:

  1. Premium quality
  2. Grippy surface texture
  3. Superior durability
  4. Perfectly round shape
  5. Fast and stable when shooting
  6. Easy to control
  7. Solid touch

Disadvantages:

  1. Price ($165)
  2. The texture may be slippery at times

Neutral Point:

  1. Goalkeepers don't like the unpredictability when shooting, however, in our testing, it wasn't a problem.

Overall:

The thermally bonded panels allow for a better durability and prevent water from seeping into the ball. The textured surface brings a better grip on the ball. This ball is made for the matches, shooting sessions, training sessions, or anything of that sort. Although the NFC Chip doesn't give you any stats on how you play, it makes you feel like your playing with more than just a regular ball. The shape is perfectly round and the size, circumference, weight, rebound, and water absorption adhere to the FIFA Standards. The ball has a predictable trajectory when shooting, and can fly pretty fast.

FAQ

What’s the difference between the Brazuca and the Telstar 18?

The Adidas Brazuca was used in the 2014 World Cup and is one of the best match balls ever made. The main differences between the Brazuca and Telstar are the panel shape and size, and the surface texture. The surface texturing changed slightly, only the pattern and size of the dimpling, however, the panel's shape and size changed drastically. The number of panels (six panels) stayed the same, and so did the way they were fastened together (thermally bonded).

What size should I buy?

There are four different ball sizes you can buy which include size 1, size 3, size 4, and size 5. Size 5 is best for ages 13 and up, size 4 is made for ages 8 - 12, size 3 is made for ages 8 and under, and size 1 is made for small kids. Size 1 isn't made for actual gameplay, its mostly used as a "skills ball" or as a decoration for collectors.

What's it like to shoot it?

When shooting, the Adidas Telstar 18 has a predictable and consistent flight path, although some may disagree. Goalkeepers like David de Gea are upset with how unpredictable this ball can fly, however, in our experience it flies just like the Brazuca. The Telstar 18 can be swift in the air because of the aerodynamic and sleek surface, and the latex bladder. This ball isn't very different from other high-end match balls, it can swazz, knuckle, and curve.

Thank you so much for reading, If you're interested in the Adidas Telstar 18, it's available on Amazon.com with lower prices available on select options.

Image Credits for Adidas.

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