So having received my Yeti in the mail a couple days ago, I’ve been thinking about making a comparison post, comparing the available options for plastics. The Chief is thrown in since the Yeti bears a striking resemblance to the shape, so why not!
Some clarifications: Red means the largest number, not the ‘worst’ number. Green means the smallest number. Also I recognize
that there are many variations on the Chief with different weights, but I’m going with the one I used for this comparison!
I’m playing these yoyos all with the same string (Candy Wires type S, I believe). The Chief and the Protostar both have their original bearing. The Rally had a terrible, terrible bearing so I swapped it out for a Buddha Bearing Whipple, and the Yeti’s bearing was so-so, so I replaced it with a 10-ball CT.
The Spacer Problem
I had heard from some that the Yeti’s ‘death grip’ YYF spacers were a nightmare. I’ve dealt with those spacers on my Protostar with minimal issues, and I expected that it was just a case of people blowing things out of proportion. So, once I noticed that the supplied bearing was so-so at best, I decided to try swapping it out.
10 minutes later, this was the result:
Remarkably, using two pairs of plyers and trying to pry them apart was so difficult, I shattered the bearing instead of separating it. That’s a first. Thankfully, CLYW was nice enough to include a spare set of spacers (since the spacers were also pretty scratched and dinged up from the process), so I was able to put in a 10-ball CT. All things ready, I started to test.
Yeti vs. Chief
Ok, so the first thing after throwing all 4 yoyos consecutively for a while is that the Chief is by far the best option here. That should not be a surprise given its price (you could, after all, buy all three other throws with the money you’d spend on 1 chief).
Despite shape similarities, the yeti and chief play very differently. The yeti has more of a ‘thud’ when it hits the bottom of the string, and it plays slower and heavier. The chief feels precise, like it was built to land on whatever string you’re aiming for. The yeti can be pushed to be fast and it can be very precise, you just have to push it a bit harder. On the string, there’s noticeable vibe on the yeti, and none on the chief. On the finger, the Chief sits peacefully as if it’s not moving, and the yeti rattles your skin like holding an electric razor. That said, the yeti grinds surprisingly good - I could get a couple seconds of finger grinds out of it.
Yeti vs. Protostar
For a long time, the protostar was the best option for a bi-plastic yoyo. It’s quick, smooth, and good enough to win World titles on (well, Northstar, but close enough).
A note: In my life I’ve owned 2 protostars and a northstar. The one I’m using for this test is by far the best of the 3. There appears to be some variance. It’s first-gen, before the black arrow indicators were added in, and yet it vibes the least and plays the smoothest. I only own 1 yeti and so I couldn’t tell you if I have a ‘good’ yeti or a ‘bad’ one.
All of that said, I couldn’t tell you which of the two I prefer. The protostar definitely wins on ‘smoothness’ - It has a certain feel on the string comparable to an Oxy 5. On the other hand, the yeti wins on precision. The protostar plays significantly faster than the yeti, and has a lot more float to it. In terms of vibe on the string, the protostar wins - Neither of them have significant vibe, but with the yeti I can actually see the string vibrating slightly. It’s reminiscent of oldschool CLYW, and in my opinion it adds character. It doesn’t interfere with tricks at all.
Doing tricks that involve backspin like Supaflow, they both perform remarkably, but the yeti edges it out juuuust a little. The yeti also binds a little tighter. The yeti is solid as a rock - even when I slow it down to a really slow spin with my finger, it stays stable, doesn’t tilt easily, and still binds tightly. The protostar handles low-RPM quite well also, but is slightly more prone to going off-axis, and doesn’t bind quite as tight. Finally, grinding is actually possible on the yeti, and not on the protostar.
These two really comes down to personal taste. I suspect that Hiroyuki Suzuki would prefer the protostar, and Guy Wright would prefer the yeti.
Yeti vs. Rally
CLYW and OneDrop have both said very complimentary things about the other’s new plastic throw. Myself, I was dying to see who did a better job and if an all-plastic could compete with a metal-weighted plastic.
The comparison is very interesting, and hard to describe. They both play at a medium pace; unlike the protostar, neither of them are speed-freaks. I didn’t notice much difference in spin times. Vibe is comparable, with the rally having maybe a less noticeable vibe. The rally’s machined finish grinds better by a considerable margin and has way less finger-vibe. The rally is noticeably worse with backspin - Supaflow would bind on me if I wasn’t very careful, whereas with the yeti I could be sloppy and it would still work fine. Both the yeti and the rally work very well at low-RPM, with the yeti providing a very slightly cleaner bind.
On paper they sound so similar, but on the string they feel so different. I can’t put it into words. If I HAD to pick one right now, it would be the Yeti; however, the yeti is brand new and there’s a bit of a honeymoon effect going on. Ask me in a month, and I’d probably choose the Rally.
If you’re feeling sad about not having gotten a yeti, don’t. It’s a fun yoyo, but it’s not the best thing ever made. The spacer system is a nightmare, and while it’s definitely not similar to anything else I’ve played, it’s not radically better than anything in the price range.
That said, it IS remarkable that an all-plastic yoyo can compete with metal-weighted ones. For me, it’d be a great 3A or 5A yoyo, since it has the performance I need without the cost of a metal. The same could be said for the rally or protostar though.
In a month from now, I can’t imagine the yeti will remain as one of my top 3 go-to throws - There are too many amazing aluminum/titanium yoyos to choose from, and great as it is, the Yeti can’t compete in that range. I believe the target demographic is CLYW collectors, and those who can’t afford to drop $150 on a metal CLYW. If you’re not in that category, don’t set your expectations too high - it’s a great yoyo, but it’s not unbelievably amazing.
One Week Later
So, it’s been a week since I posted this review, and I’d just like to say that after some more hours spent with these throws, I feel like the Rally is a better buy! Its definitely a preference thing - contrary to some of my initial thoughts, the Rally is faster, smaller, has more ‘zip’, looks better when doing black hops and other bouncy tricks, and in general just feels razor sharp. The Yeti feels heavier, slower, stable as heck, amazing at backspin and very unique - There are a few metals that my Rally feels like (though none SO similar that I could say it plays like ____), but nothing quite like my Yeti. Also it’s anecdotal and could be my imagination, but I think the rally spins longer.
Neither of these throws are my go-to throw - that honor is currently reserved for my Oxygene Hyperion - but I take one or the other when I go out as a pocket throw and have gotten a good number of hours in on both. The fact that it’s such a close call makes the Yeti interesting indeed, being all-plastic.
Bottom line as I see it: They’re definitely both worth $45, but if I had to choose one, it’d be the Rally. If you’re a really slow/relaxed player who likes bigger/heavier throws go Yeti. Else, the Rally is your friend.