For me, the top four things I consider when choosing a paddle are surface material, core material, weight, and length of the handle.
When I was first introduced to a GAMMA Shard, I was not unhappy with my current paddle or even looking to switch. Because I prefer to play pickleball up at the net dinking and not hitting ground strokes in the back court, the Shard was recommended to me. My instructor suggested that the Shard could help enhance my control of the ball during soft exchanges at the net and when hitting 3rd shot drops.
I loved the feel of the GAMMA Shard from the start of my lesson and finished without wishing I had my old paddle in my hands. The first thing I noticed, before even hitting the courts, was that the weight of the paddle was perfect, not too heavy and not too light. As I went through warmup drills, I felt the graphite surface of the Shard allowed me to have a better feel and control of the ball during dinking rallies and when hitting 3rd drop shots. The NeuCore Technology allowed me to feel powerful and accurate during a volley exchange at the net. I also tend to use two hands on the paddle handle when hitting a backhand volley. Although the handle of the Shard is not specifically intended for two handed play, I felt comfortable with the amount of handle length to comfortably use two hands, when necessary.
I was so impressed by the new NeuCore Technology of the Shard that I also tried the GAMMA Legend paddle. It has the same technology and thickness as the Shard, but a composite surface. However, I found that the composite surface of the Legend made this paddle too powerful for my game.
Because we have access to many different styles of paddles, I admit that choosing the right paddle that fits your style of play can be intimidating to say the least. Focusing on these four factors first should help narrow down your options and allow you to pick a paddle that is best for you!