The Protostar is an advanced yoyo. The shortcomings of it are:
1: Bad grinds due to surface treatment and the bump in the rim that makes IRG’s difficult and finger spins impossible
No, that’s about it.
As far as a step up, it depends on what you define as a step up. The Shutter has already been recommended. If you can get a Champions Edition, they are blasted, making grinds better. The design of the outer portion of the rims allows for the most advanced of play, including finger spins from horizontal play. It’s also horizontal-play friendly/ready better than than Protostar due to the shape. At $45, it’s affordable yet plays easily twice it’s selling price.
Really, at this point though, you’re progressing along, you can spend as much as your budget will let you if you want to. The Shutter proves you don’t have to spend big to get big performance. The new One Drop Benchmark series helps reinforce that as well with 3 shapes at $60 each and includes side effects(aluminum spikes). When choosing a new yoyo, you have to consider shape, weight, weight distrbution and other features. Because I am not capable of horizontal play(currently), things like center nubs don’t mean anything to me. Not having an IRG ring is not a killer since I can’t do IRG’s yet. While I’m not great at grinds, I prefer blasted or tumbled surface treatments as I like how it feels in the hand.
If you want to spend a bit more, you can. The C3 Capless is kind of feature-absent, but is still good but might leave you feeling a bit bland. The RecRev OG Octave is organic in shape and a great yoyo for sure and still affordable. The RecRev “@” and sine//saw and even the Silly Goose are also amazing and around the $70 price tag.
Keep in mind, with yoyo, you rarely get what you pay for. This is good. Most yoyos I feel are priced lower thanwhat they should sell for. The Shutter really sets the bar high for affordable yoyos, especially with the blasted surface treatment. If you’re looking for a really cost-effective upgrade, it’s hard to ignore this one.
I have some higher end yoyos but I still throw the Protostar just cause it’s fun. Other then the shortcomings that were posted, and preferences in shape/weight etc, it probably isn’t something that is holding you back. But that said, if you do get something like the Rally, you should immediately feel a difference in how it moves on the string, hell when you first throw it you should be notice something.
One other thing that I learned after trying out the Toxic String Sampler is that strings make just as much of a difference as the yoyo itself and is something that I think you might want to also look into.
I’ll just echo what’s already said: we get newer and fancier yoyos because we can and because we like to… but the Protostar is already going to take you pretty much as far as you need to go unless you want grind tricks.
I don’t say that to discourage a purchase… no sir, I think buying yoyos is good fun. Just make sure your expectations are right: it will be a different yoyo with a different feel, which is its own reward… but it will not instantly give you access to tricks and skills you didn’t already have.
The RecRevs are on equal footing with the YYF Shutter. “@”, sine//saw and silly goose or even the proven OG Octave.
Most yoyos will have the following features you want:
Stability and long spin times, UNLESS you have a bad bearing(could happy to anyone, any yoyo, any bearing). You’ll probably want to stick with stuff in the full sized range, mostly because the larger sizes are easier to catch strings with. At least, for now, that’s how I would go. For Recrev, the “@” is larger than the sine//saw. I mention this because the “@” and sine//saw are derived from the freq.Wav.
Progress limiting is mostly due to the user. Smoother yoyos don’t grind as good, but can grind. Yoyos with center nubs over the axle can make finger spins difficult. Some shapes aren’t as good for horizontal as others(high walls, nothing mentioned has those so far).
Too bad you’re not near me. Or maybe you are in the Sacramento area. I always recommend “try before you buy”. This would be a good case of getting that kind of opportunity.
As far as strings, I’m partial to Type X and Trixta. I would have zero problem buying and using Kitty string though. Experiment with strings after you get used to your new yoyo. Ain’t nothing wrong with YYE 100% poly bulk strings either UNLESS they are too short for you.
To add onto the choices which are the shutter and recrevs which are excellent I’d suggest also considering the werrd eighty six 400 and YoyoOfficers throws (specifically the hatchet but it hasn’t been released on this site yet). You’ve also got the OneDrop benchmark series but it’s currently sold out.