Review – The Shield by Jazz-Yo


Introductions:

I am a sucker for a slick looking yo-yo. When the first pictures of the Shield made their way to the yoyo boards, I (and quite a few others) suddenly found myself with tunnel vision, and the only thing at the end of the tunnel was a ceramic coated beauty. Then the first few models made the way into peoples hands. Crackout slaughtered it. Kat dismembered it. Jocksor praised it. There were others, but these were the main three reviews that stood out in my mind. How could the range on this yo-yo be so vast? To get the answer, I put out requests for a Shield to use in a review session, and to my surprise, Jocksor sent me his. So here it is, the YoYoSkills review of the Shield. This Shield has already been praised in a review, and does not suffer from the axle gap problem that plagued quite a few models.
Hit the jump for the whole review…

First Impressions:

Nice packaging. The Shield is made in China, and the packaging looks like it should contain delicate bags of high quality tea. The magnetically clasped box folds open to present the gray, stone looking yoyo. You have to admire the visual effect of the Shield. The ceramic coating makes the Shield look like stone and feel like extremely fine sandpaper. To be honest, my hand recoiled in horror when I first touched. I have a problem, I am a texture freak. There are certain textures that I just can not stand. On that list is new corduroy, suede, velvet, most microfibers, Sherpa, velour, and extremely fine grit sandpaper. I don’t know why, but anything overtly soft, or rough smoothing (like very fine grit) just hits me like a sack of used hypodermic needles. No matter my texture problems, I had to over come this for the review. When I do a review, I play that yo-yo almost exclusively for a week. So over coming this sensation to immediately throw the yo-yo across the room and light in on fire based on surface feeling alone was essentially the biggest gift I can give my readers. I suffer on your behalf, and you’re welcome. (lol) The biggest feature of the Shield is a ceramic bearing. Full ceramic, and concave. It is quite amazing to look at. You get this feeling of epic anticipation. Full ceramic. If a ceramic ball in stainless steal race makes for a good yo-yo bearing, a full ceramic would be even better! Right?
So, texture OCD aside, the Shield has a nice shape to is. It has a minimalist, naturalist appearance that looks like it would fit nicely with leather sandals, khaki shorts, and a Mojito on the beach. The box is fantastic, but looks like it suffers very easily from hinge wear. All in all, the Shield on presentation

Comfort and Tech:

Spec for spec, and even at a simple glimpse, the Shield is uncomfortably close to the Anti-Yo Eetsit. Here is a side by side.

Manufacturer

Anti-Yo Eetsit

Jazz-Yo Shield

Shape

Butterfly / Wing

Butterfly / Wing

Weight (g)

67.80

67.30

Width (mm)

40.74

40.59

Diameter (mm)

52.24

52.03

Gap Width (mm)

4.08

4.71

Bearing Size

.250 x .500 x .187 in

.250 x .500 x .187 in

Even the shape is eerily similar. The bearing setup has a similar idea also. On the Shield, the bearing sits on a wide axle, and not (unlike most modern yo-yo’s) on a bearing seat. The out rim is the biggest difference, with the Eetsit coming to more of a flat ring when coming from the gap. I don’t like calling yo-yo’s copy cats, or even implying that they are. I have gone out of my way to avoid writing about recent controversies of copy accusations. I did not notice the similarity until it was in my hands and I had already dedicated to writing a review. That being said, I don’t think this review would be valid in the least but if I did not at least present the similarities and let you, the reader, decide for yourself.
The Shield has a silicone groove response system, and as I eluded earlier, an axle system that is unlike most modern yo-yos (The Oxy4 being the exception). While there are a few yo-yos that have the bearing sit directly on the axle instead of the bearing seat, it is a rare setup. The Sheild is the only other yoyo besides the Oxy 4 I have seen with a tapered axle and rubber bands that hold the bearing in place. It is exactly as odd as it sounds. The titanium axle is glued (yeah…) in place on one side and the bearing sits in on the fat part of the axle. On both sides of the axle is a groove that holds a rubber ring in place. That rubber rings keep the bearing centered and off the walls of the yo-yo bearing well. The reasons behind this kind of setup escape me (Anyone know?  Leave a comment) . The only advantage to this setup is that if you need to open the yo-yo, you won’t have to worry about the bearing flying out. In the side cup, there is a very pronounced IRG that would meet the needs of even the biggest fingered yoyoer.
Despite my personal objection on the texture (of which I am sure I am the only one), the Shield is very comfortable to hold. The weight is a pleasing 67.8 grams, which for me, is sweet spot in yoyo weight, the curved gap hits your thumb meat in the right spot, and the diameter is easy to wrap your hand around.

On a Throw:

Throwing this yo-yo takes me back to dorm room life, and not in a good way. When I lived in the dorm rooms we had these washing machines that even with a balanced load, you could practically race them from one side of the room to the other. These babies rattled the pictures off walls, made soda cans dangerous, and made the second floor think the halls were haunted. I equate this yo-yo to those washing machines. There is a constant vibration that emanates from this thing that starts out as subtle, but over time feels like a busted carburetor on a 77 El Camino. It is just one of those things that builds. At first you kind of notice it, but after a while it is all you notice. You can’t tune it out either. The glued axle is there to stay.
You would think that the full ceramic concave bearing would get incredible, superfantastic, ultra premium, cosmoshashic spin time, but it doesn’t. The sad simple fact, is when I compared the spin time of the ceramic bearing, it fell short of both the YoYoFactory Spec bearing, Dorothy Bearing, OneDrop 10ball, and Dif KK. Super long sleep times are not end all be all of what makes a good yo-yo, but it is sad when what has always thought to be superior performance falls short.
If you can get past the Brookstone Massage Chair action, the Shield is not a terrible player. The weight distribution makes for a nice stable (albeit viby) play. The gap is very wrap inviting, and the chosen response setup provides snag free slacks and snappy binds. When you get close to the 5mm gap zone, you risk a product that gives you kickback. The Shield, thankfully, has no kickback. I honestly could not bring myself to inner ring(rim) grind with the Shield because of my medication worthy texture affliction, but there is plenty of room for giant thumbs, and the coating of the Shield is even all the way around.
Arm grinds…. I had to do them. The Shield had surprisingly smooth arm grinds. The vibration felt on the string did not seem to effect grinds. On an arm grind, the Shield had no stall, and a good forward grind up a fairly aggressive sloped arm. One good thing from the textured surface, it grinds pretty well. If you are looking for a grinder that you can perch on your finger, keep walking. The Shield grinds with a purpose, to go “that-a-way.” With that grind talent though comes a cost. The ceramic coating of the Shield eats string like Shaggy and Scoobie at a Subway convention. Over the course of the week, I went through more string in a review session then any other yo-yo.
Stability is a big factory I am a proponent of. The more often you have to correct a tilt, the less time you have to complete a trick. The vibration alone is enough to fail the Shield on stability. If the vibro-motion feature was somehow magically switched off, the Shield would be pretty darn stable. It is easy to correct a bad throw with minimal effort, and all of your pops, transfers, hopping from gap to gap is not enough to make this lean. Despite its foot-massage day job and skin crawling string eating texture, the Shield is surprisingly solid when played.

Final Thoughts:

This yo-yo has all the surface attraction of a supermodel, but as you get to spend time with her, you notice she has a slight mustache, offset ears, and toe thumbs. You can not excuse the vibration. I tried a few different bearings in the shield, and it was all the same. Rattle tattle tattle. I half though of putting sand in the side, capping it, and leasing it to a Mariachi band. I suspect the culprit behind the Pauly Shore like fidgeting is the bearing setup itself. I would be willing to bet, that there is a tiny, undetectable amount of give on both sides of the bearing between the bearing and the oring. When I put the ceramic bearing into a different yo-yo, it did not vibrate (still wasn’t spectacular though). This tells me that the amount of tolerance a bearing needs to be smooth and exact is something that is not replicable by this particular axle setup.  That being said, the Oxy4, which shares a very simular setup, has no vibe at all.  To me this says that the Shield’s axle system, while simular to the Oxy4’s, is not as precise.
Then there is the glued axle…… when you have made the (strange) decision to make the axle hold the bearing in place, why would you not give the option to remove the axle. My biggest worry is having to adjust/replace the rubber o-ring on the glued axle side. You need a team of Keebler Elves to get into that groove to line up the rubber ring. It is not easy to adjust the exposed side, let alone the side glued up against the wall. Another thing that worries me about this run of Shields is the lack of precision when the axles were glued. In many of the negative reviews, the Shield was literally unplayable due to an uneven axle installation. There was a gap that would trap the string on the side of the bearing and kill all your hopes and dreams (and the string).
All in all, the Shield was not as bad as I thought it would be, but certainly not as good as it should have been. At 120 bucks, you expect a precision instrument of trick monsterhood, not the go-cart built from junkyard parts running on hamster grease.

This is all, of course, just my opinion.  If you want to try the Shield for yourself and form your own opinion, the only place to get them here in the US is from YoYoNation.

Written by Chris “Dr. Yo-Yo” Allen, who is going to steam his hands and then do laundry.

Thank you Jocksor for letting me borrow the Shield


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About

Chris "Dr. Yo-Yo" Allen is the creator and founder of YoYoSkills.com. He has been yoyoing for over 25 years and has a passion for the industry.


'Review – The Shield by Jazz-Yo' has no comments

  1. July 14, 2009 @ 5:32 pm skatcat31

    I know you do. just thought maybe it was something in the bearing. All the vids I’ve seen with it, it’s been really smooth. And the bearing was nice as well.

    Reply

  2. July 14, 2009 @ 4:35 pm Dr. Yo-Yo

    Nope, the bearing is clean, the orings are new (and have been swapped, tuned, ect.)
    Still vibrates like a baby chair.

    I do know what I am doing you know.

    Reply

  3. July 14, 2009 @ 4:00 pm skatcat31

    sorry to double comment, just noticed this, the vibe issue could be the advent of contamination in the bearing itself, or a worn down o ring retainer, but I doubt it’s the oring. The nice thing about ceramics is they last and perform amazingly well. The bad thing about it, if one skips, they all skip(a skip in a bearing being defined as the ball suddenly stopping for a short amount of time, or skidding/skipping), which would send the vibration to the yo itself as well as up the string. Try cleaning it with a large amount of compressed gas from both sides.

    Reply

  4. July 14, 2009 @ 3:53 pm skatcat31

    @ doc: Ceramic has a high possibility of slip. Hence the choice. This prevents it from slipping on the much smoother and less friction bearing ceramic. Ceramic on ceramic has a MUCH higher potential to slip as well.

    @ p: The rotating of the inner race is much like geared mechanics, if it spins one way it increases the speed of the bearing, but decreases the speed of the yo, leading to lower times. If it spins the other way, the bearing will stop or slow down, leading to sometimes painful results.

    Reply

  5. July 13, 2009 @ 12:07 am p

    I do not believe the spin time of a yoyo is influenced by the (not) rotating of the inner race. The only reason why the inner race has to be fit in tight is because otherwise there will be wear and eventually vibe.

    Reply

  6. July 12, 2009 @ 5:54 pm Dr. Yo-Yo

    This much I knew Robert. What I don’t know is why they chose this over a traditional bearing seat.

    Reply

  7. July 12, 2009 @ 5:32 pm skatcat31

    The rubber band design cuts down on inner race rotation, which in turn can slow down the bearing faster and decrease spin time. Many bearing seats are designed to hold the inner race still, but slipping is still an occurrence, leading to the aforementioned decreased spin times. (Asked my dad, masters in engineering. Worked on rocket turbines.)

    Reply

  8. July 12, 2009 @ 8:26 am JL

    a simple video of the vibe if it can be seen? xD

    Reply

  9. July 11, 2009 @ 11:52 pm paolo

    Seems pretty bad. Your reviews are always wounderful, and I like how you made it possible to say it wasn’t too good in a noce way.

    Reply


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