Product Review – Shinwoo Zen 3 prototype


Things tend to come in threes. I don’t know if it is an odds thing, or if it is just coincidence, but news, ideas, good things and bad things all seem to come in threes. Shinwoo’s new metal line is no different. The Hi-Power Zen, the Zen 2 proto and Zen 3 Proto are the flagship of Shinwoo new affordable metal line, and thus far, I have been very impressed. This week I carried around the Shinwoo Zen 3, the second metal prototype Shinwoo sent me. If you are at Cal States this next weekend, ask me about it, I would love to let you try it. Until then, here is the review.

Note: Next weekend is Cal States, so no review.  You can see the full review schedule in the right hand column.




H-Shape / Wing

Weight (g)


Width (mm)


Diameter (mm)


Gap Width (mm)


Bearing Size (Inside x Outside x Width)

C Sized

Gap Type


Stock Response System

Reversible Pad

First Impression:

Like the Zen 2, the Zen 3 came in Shinwoo’s new Zen line packaging. I am sure that once the Zen 2 and Zen 3 are named, unique packaging will be made for them. As long as they keep the Hi-Power Zen’s (zen1) packaging as a template, I think that they are making the right choice. The box just has so much flexibility when considering accessories and bonus material like large stickers and dvd’s.

Like the Zen 2, the Zen 3 has white paint with the words Zen 3 scratched in the cup. This is temporary. The name Zen 3 is temporary also. For the purpose of simplicity, Shinwoo used this technique to differentiate there prototypes. It is pretty smart when you consider how many prototypes a manufacturer has to make to work out the kinks of a design.  It may not look that great, but the white paint will not be on the final release.

The Zen 3 is very curvy, more so than the Zen 2. It reminds me of the curves of flower petals layering each other. The inner bell and outer bell seem to have the same curving slope, just a different size.  It reminds me of how a flower’s outer petals are larger then the inner ones, but basically the same shape. If you were to take two bowls, one big and one small but basically the same shape, and stack them on each other, it would make this shape. This makes the Zen3 look a little bit different than other H-Shape yo-yos.

Comfort and Tech:

When I first picked up the Zen 3, the shape didn’t really do it for me. Comfort wise, it was just kind of “meh”, but after a week of carrying it around and playing it exclusively, it grew on me. In the past, when I don’t like the way a yo-yo feels in my had right away, it sullies the experience and I rarely reverse my impression, but honestly, the shape became very comfortable and once I got use to the way the bubbly rims hit my thumb meat, it became very easy on the hand.

The finish is very smooth. A bead blast would be nice, but for a budget throw, its absence is not unexpected. It does not stick to your hand like some annodization does, but I don’t expect it to exactly float and glide when it comes time to test with an arm grind. Inside the gap is a C size bearing and the new Shinwoo response system. If you have read my other Shinwoo reviews, you know that I love this setup. The pads are smooth on one side, and starburst on the other. The groove is also deep enough to handle silicone.

Diameter, Width, and Gap are all the same size as the Zen 2. The Zen 3 has a much more dramatic emphasis on rim weight, and no stacks. It seems to be that the Zen 3 is a few grams heavier than the Zen 2. This is likely due to the fatter rims. Underneath the rims are a very subtle IRG. The inner groove is not that pronounced so Inner Ring Grinds may not be the easiest to perform.

On a Throw:

You know that feeling you get when you smell a fresh flower, and it smells kinda funny, but the more you smell it the more you want to put it in your hair and dance to Miley Cyrus’s Party in the USA song? . . . . Yeah, me neither. BUT if I did, that is what this yo-yo would be like. No, it won’t make you want to compete for a spot in the Grease Broadway Musical, but after you get used to the yo-yo, it plays phenomenally.

My first instinct was to put the yo-yo back down and review something else for the week, but I don’t have that luxury. I stuck it out and by the end of Day 1, It was better. After Day 3, it was fantastic. After a week, I can honestly say that the Zen 3 grooves.

The catch zone is a great size for catching whips and transfers. The rim weight is well proportioned giving you a very constant and long spinning throw. The first curve can cause some tilt if you are not careful. This is mostly important with transfers involving rejections. Luckily, the same bell that can cause tilt, can also be used to correct tilt. Fortunately, I did not experience any unexpected tilt during high impact hops.

Being about 54mm in diameter, the Zen 3 would not be considered undersized, but certainly not full sized. The Zen 3 can move in and out of chops easily, and can gyro flop with the best of them. Smoothness…. I have to keep in mind that this is a prototype. There was a little bit of vibe on the string, but nit much, and not enough to affect play. I am sure that Shinwoo can work out the minor flaws and overcome, just as they did with the Hi-Power Zen.  Grinds were as expected. When you pop the Zen 3 up, once it hits your hand it starts to climb. It climbs fast and with consistency. Inner Ring Grinds were a little difficult, but possible.

Final thoughts:

I think I like the Zen 3 more than the Hi-Power Zen. The shape took a little getting used to but after a few days it seemed very natural. I think I would chop the inner bell just a tad, but if they do nothing to this yo-yo, it is still a great throw with what I assume will be a fantastic price. Good job Shinwoo. I dig it, and think that the name Lotus would be very appropriate.  If the price point of the Shinwoo Hi-Power Zen is any indication, this yo-yo will be a great deal.  If Shinwoo can get the Zen 3 in the $60 and below price range, then once it hits the market it will probably sell fast.  I know that I probably will want one!

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Skill Toy Network used to be YoyoSkills. From 2008 to 2014 YoYoSkills had multiple contributors. Many are combined into this yoyoskills account.

'Product Review – Shinwoo Zen 3 prototype' have 4 comments

  1. 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 interesantes, tanto […]


  2. February 28, 2010 @ 10:02 pm Dr. Yo-Yo

    Stickers. They fit perfectly


  3. February 28, 2010 @ 9:46 pm hater

    That GM2 in the pics has caps?!


  4. February 28, 2010 @ 6:38 pm ryan batts

    Oh i didnt even think about how many yoyo’s i would get to try out for just a short drive! im so stocked about the hole even and to get to try my first zen yoyo!


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