I better start off stating that I am a huge fan of the previous version of the Petzl Spirit, owning roughly 20 of them. They have been the standard in sport climbing draws since they were unveiled in the 90's. The construction of the carabiners were top notch and the slings were very rugged and lasted years. How can you make something that is so good even better? And more importantly why change them when they have withstood the test of time?
The weight is saved in two areas, the carabiners and the slings. The carabiners are hollowed out, reducing the amount of metal which is used. One question I have is, how durable will this be? Over time, will the carabiner stand up to the same abuse as the more robust original Spirit carabiner? Only time will tell. I have been using mine since mid March and have been using them a lot, on average 5 days a week. There seems to be no visible signs of excessive wear or potential weakness. They still have the original 'Keylock' notch-less gates.
There is one more notable improvement and that is the gate of the bent gate carabiner, it is flat on the outside face. This flatness really improves the ease at which the rope clips into the carabiner. It is actually substantially better than any other draw I have ever clipped. I am able to clip the rope faster than before, thus saving energy giving me a better chance of sending.
Petzl products are know for their quality and durability but sometimes can a little more pricy than the competition. The new Spirit is cheaper than the old version, with an MSRP of $20 CAD vs $25 CAD. A comparable draw is the Black Diamond Livewire (106 g) and it retails for $23. Therefore, the Spirit is not only cheaper but also lighter than its number one competitor.
In summary, if you are looking to pick up a new set of quickdraws or adding to your rack, then you should seriously consider the new Petzl Spirit Express. The old version was good but all good things must come to an end and in this case get redesigned for the better!