At first glance the Ping G400 fairway does not seem to have changed much from the previous version.
When you compare them at address the head size is pretty much the same with a nice rounded shape.
The only visual difference is that the Turbulators on the crown are now slightly larger, which is nominally there to improve aerodynamics like the G400 driver, but which in this size of head is more likely to be beneficial as an alignment aid.
The G400 gold weight on the back of the sole is smaller than on the previous G driver due to the material being 30% denser. It's not meant to be changed by you, as it is really for Ping fitters to change the head weight when changing shaft length, but it does look better.
The 17-4 Stainless Steel crown is now just 0.48mm thick and this means Ping can move some of this saved weight lower and further back to improve the MOI and CG location.
The face is where it is at though and in the G400, Ping has used Maraging Steel that is stronger and lighter than stainless steel to make the face 28% thinner so that it flexes 30% with a claimed 2% increase in ball speed at 105mph driver swing speed.
The grooves on the 3-wood are painted on to allow the face to be as thin as possible, whereas higher lofted woods have real grooves as they are expected to be used from more juicy lies and therefore need the grooves to dispel moisture and dirt at impact.
Like the rest of the G400 range the fairway follows the higher launch/faster ball speed/more forgiveness route and that is certainly what I saw when I had the G400 fairway on GC2 with its predecessor.
I got an extra 1mph ball speed, 1 yard higher flight and around 0.5° steeper descent on a 1 yard longer carry. all of these are improvements, so not really much over the previous G fairway, but probably more over the older versions like the G30 fairway and before.
One of the other main changes is the slightly flatter sole, particularly towards the toe area that makes the G400 sit very close to the ground and make it ideal for getting the ball up from tighter lies.
To be fair the G400 fairway works well from all types of lie and the sound and feel were very solid and above average for the fairway sector.
The Ping Alta CB shaft is slightly heavier in the butt to go with the heavier head to increase the MOI and changes colour from copper to black as you put it down at address, which is a nice touch.
The standard model comes in 3, 5, 7 and a new 23.5° 9-wood which should cover most bases and the adjustable hosel enables you to vary the loft by +/- 0.6° or 1°.
For those fairway faders there is also a range of SF Tec heads for a Straight Flight for the first time. The main difference is that the rear weight is moved slightly towards the toe and a lower swing weight of D0. The lofts start at 16° and go up through 19° 5-wood and a new 22° 7-wood, again with an adjustable hosel, so between the two heads any loft or flight should be possible.
For fairway drivers there is also a Stretch 3-wood at 13° with a 8cc larger head at 193 cc and a D2 swing weight for those who like throttle back off the tee.
Overall the Ping G400 is another solid fairway that is, as usual, well-engineered and delivers excellent results from a slightly lower profile head than average.
Visually and otherwise it maybe lacks a touch of the wow factor that will get your heart racing, but the results should put a smile on your face when you are filling in the scorecard.