Product Review – Shinwoo Zen 2 Prototype


Introduction:

Shinwoo is really stepping up. No longer are they classified as a alternative plastic company that made a yo-yo similar to the FHZ and Aquarius. The Shinwoo of today has a unique and great playing metal under $50 bucks, and more metals on the way. One of those models is the Zen 2 prototype. The picture of the Zen 2 and Zen 3 were shown on YoYoSkills about a month ago, and got a lot attention. The Zen 2 has an H-Shape and a very unique stack configuration. Shinwoo sent me the Zen 2, Zen 3, (along with 10 Zen’s to give away at Cal States) and the new Shinwoo plastics for feedback, and asked me to review the Zen 2 and 3 Prototypes. Also, Shinwoo let me know that “Zen 2” is a working name. So with that in mind, I present the 50th review for YoYoSkills.com – the Shinwoo Zen 2 Prototype.


Manufacturer

Shinwoo

Shape

H-Shape / Wing

Weight (g)

63.00

Width (mm)

39.50

Diameter (mm)

54.00

Gap Width (mm)

4.20

Bearing Size (Inside x Outside x Width)

C Sized

Gap Type

Fixed

Stock Response System

Reversible Pad

First Impression:

When I received the Shinwoo Zen, it came in a plastic poly-bag. I was pretty okay with it, but I was pleasantly surprised when the new Zen came in a Shinwoo box complete with graphics. It turns out that the box Shinwoo used to ship the Zen 2 to me is the box for the original Zen. The package is about the size of a PC game case, and displays the face of the yo-yo though an interior plastic case. I think that this packaging is a very good idea. It gives Shinwoo room for expansion. In that box, they could put a DVD, extra string, accessories, ect. It also is a pretty good presentation, perfect for retail and boutique stores.
The yo-yo itself has a great look. It is a slight H-shape similar to the YoYoFactory Superstar, though not quite as defined. Also, is smaller than a Superstar though, both in width and diameter. The Zen 2 also has stacks, and very unique ones at that.
Since this is just a prototype, an unnamed one at that, the white logo on the side is what looks like liquid white-out with the name scratched on it. I can’t hold that against them. Yo-yo manufacturers rarely even bother to put logos on prototypes.
Bright finish, nice size, new stack design, good packaging- so far the Zen 2 is getting high marks.

Comfort and Tech:

The Zen 2’s stacks are really interesting. The C size bearing is pretty different. It looks like the inner race is the part that extends out while the outer race is pressed into the stack cup. Interesting, and quite different from traditional stacks. There is not much of a spin on a flick, but when you grab the stacks and spin the Zen 2, the stacks work very well. One draw back regarding the stacks is that, as far as I can tell, they are not removable. This means that if the bearings die out, or need cleaning, you are pretty much out of luck. One thing about this design that is very nice is how deep the stack sits, the spot where you grab the bearing is pretty deep in the cup which really opens up the IRG area.
The 54mm diameter and 64 gram weight puts the Zen 2 proto in the middle weight category. The curvy profile combined with the 39.5mm width is a great combination and fits my hand perfectly. The outer rims hit the sides of the meat of your palm, and the open catch area is easy to hold onto. Your fingers don’t feel crowded, which is nice.
The response area has a plateau right before the pad groove that opens up the gap even more than the very progressive 4.2mm. The pads are reversible, just like the rest of the new Shinwoo line. I still think that this is a great move by Shinwoo. Their entire new line uses this pad configuration. You have the option of a soft starburst for responsive play, flat pads for unresponsive play, or half and half. The grooves are also deep enough to silicone.
While the Zen 2 does not have a satin finish, the anno is pretty smooth and bright. I love a good bright anno on a yo-yo. It looks amazing when it catches the light. The anno if very smooth, but probably won’t lend itself to grinds very well, but probably will climb your arm pretty well.

On a Throw:

The first thing I noticed was how quiet the Zen 2 is on a throw. Quiet and fast. I think that the Zen 2 is the quietest yo-yo with stacks I have ever used. This new silence might have to do with the design of the stacks. There is nothing attached to the bearing except the yo-yo itself so until you actually grab the stacks, they don’t move that much. They are not easy to catch, but once you have the stacks, they have a great spintime. In a Buddha pull, the Zen 2 matched performance with my G5.
With the response set to dual flat, the Zen 2 plays kind of like a race car, fast and loose. It is a very fast player and is very open to immediately changing directions in complex tricks and transfers. The Zen 2 should be able to keep up with you, no matter what you throw at it.
The rim weight makes the Zen 2 stable enough and the opens catch area is very easy to hit whips, land hops, and complete transfer. You should be pull off your most complicated trick without compromising spin-time or flopping the yo-yo unexpectedly. While the Zen 2 is not the most stable yo-yo on the market, it certainly is no slouch. There was zero wobble or vibe, and unless you purposely are throwing at an angle, the Zen 2 should not tilt unexpectedly, even on regens.
Grinding was as expected. Don’t expect the Zen 2 to hover on your finger and float there. The Zen 2 is going to climb on a grind, but it will climb consistently without skipping around like a school girl holding a giant lollipop. IRG’s were good. The inner lip is just deep enough to get your thumb nail in, and that clean smooth anno will allow you to extend that inner ring grind until you get the yo-yo exactly where you want it.

Final thoughts:

Lets get the cons out of the way. The only problem I have with the Zen 2 is the stack design. The new stack design is conceptually great, but it worries me that the bearings are not removable. I like how when you catch the Zen after a hard throw, the stacks don’t keep spinning, and by making the inner race of the bearing itself the stack, you reduce extra parts that could potentially cause vibe. BUT…. not allowing the stack to be removable is a mistake. With no ability to clean or replace the bearing, the stack function is only as good as long as one of the two bearings stay clean and free spinning.
Everything else about the yo-yo is fantastic. The shape is great, fits my hand nicely, and if Shinwoo can market this puppy near the price of the first Zen, then I think the Zen 2 is a good buy, even with the current stack design. When it comes down to it, the Zen 2 is a great metal player with a great response system and if it is in the $60 price range it is a good buy.
During my very enjoyable review week with the Zen 2 Prototype, think I may have a good name for it. Being the second release in the “Zen” line, I think that Linji, the second School of Zen, would make a perfect name for this meditation inspiring yo-yo. Linji was a teacher and Ch’an Master that used unconventional methods to bring about the moment of enlightenment. Like Linji, the Zen 2 will likely carry an unexpected low price, an out of the box thinking stack design, and great look.

Hopefully it comes out soon.  We will let you know when it does.

Written by Chris “Dr. Yo-Yo” Allen who inserted a pithy joke here.

Edited by Dustin “Splugen” Gunter who made an additional pithy joke to go along with Chris’ pithy joke.


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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.


'Product Review – Shinwoo Zen 2 Prototype' have 16 comments

  1. November 6, 2010 @ 5:42 am j

    i bought the zen 2 about a month ago, overall a great yoyo. it is however a bit unstable, if your throw is not dead on it will wobble, and after extended play the hubstacks are pretty vocal. the fact they cant be removed kinda sucks,but mine are functioning perfect. i like playing with it, my daily throw

    Reply

  2. November 6, 2010 @ 5:42 am j

    i bought the zen 2 about a month ago, overall a great yoyo. it is however a bit unstable, if your throw is not dead on it will wobble, and after extended play the hubstacks are pretty vocal. the fact they cant be removed kinda sucks,but mine are functioning perfect. i like playing with it, my daily throw

    Reply

  3. April 19, 2010 @ 8:14 am Yoyo Die Hard Blog | Shinwoo Zen 2 & 3 promo video

    […] kovová yoya, kde začala řadu s názvem Zen. A právě jejich nové video má trochu zpropagovat Zen 2 a Zen […]

    Reply

  4. March 10, 2010 @ 1:07 pm » Blog Archiv » Shinwoo ZEN

    […] de haber leído las reviews de uno y de otro en Yoyoskills (están en inglés, por supuesto), creo que son dos opciones muy […]

    Reply

  5. February 19, 2010 @ 12:02 pm wergugy

    i cant wait till it comes out

    Reply

  6. February 15, 2010 @ 1:01 pm {Shinwoo} Zen 2 Prototype « Yo-yo Dig Deep

    […] Shinwoo Zen 2 Prototype Review on YoYoSkills.com « 不要把溜溜球看得太嚴肅 […]

    Reply

  7. February 15, 2010 @ 1:01 pm {Shinwoo} Zen 2 Prototype « Yo-yo Dig Deep

    […] Shinwoo Zen 2 Prototype Review on YoYoSkills.com « 不要把溜溜球看得太嚴肅 […]

    Reply

  8. February 15, 2010 @ 7:00 am Vincent G.

    WHITE OUT LOGO HAHA VERY GRUNGE, COOL

    Reply

  9. February 15, 2010 @ 7:00 am Vincent G.

    WHITE OUT LOGO HAHA VERY GRUNGE, COOL

    Reply

  10. February 15, 2010 @ 6:10 am XminusmikeX

    The first Zen review made me want one, and now this. The Zen is on the list of new yoyo’s to be in my arsenal real soon! I just hope it stays in the $50 – $60 range.

    Reply

  11. February 14, 2010 @ 11:38 pm Mr.puffy

    Looks like a superstar

    Reply

  12. February 14, 2010 @ 7:49 pm nick maddox

    looks epic! I really hope it’s around 60, and that we will be able to remove the stacks.

    Reply

  13. February 14, 2010 @ 7:17 pm wergugy

    wow,
    sounds good i really like this yoyo now.
    just hope they fix that stack problem. or… maybe they have some cool interesting way to remove the stacks. or may be you dont need to remove them to cleen them. that is my only setback at the moment.
    your reviews still amaze me!

    Reply

  14. February 14, 2010 @ 4:37 pm Dr. Yo-Yo

    Nope,
    “While the Zen 2 is not the most stable yo-yo on the market, it certainly is no slouch. There was zero wobble or vibe, and unless you purposely are throwing at an angle, the Zen 2 should not tilt unexpectedly, even on regens.”

    Reply

  15. February 14, 2010 @ 4:34 pm Tyler K.

    is there any vibe/wobble?

    Reply

  16. February 14, 2010 @ 4:34 pm Tyler K.

    is there any vibe/wobble?

    Reply


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