The time that I recently spent with the MonkeyfingeR 2Evil has kindled my interest in smaller yo-yos. As throwing community member Kuryaka put it recently in the Throwers Subreddit, “Smaller yoyos have that weird charm” and that is something I am starting to really agree with. Before the 2Evil, I only had my One Drop 54 that sat on the smaller side of the table and for that reason it is almost always the yo-yo that I put into my pocket to take along with me when I am out and about. Still, I started to wonder if I was missing out on something by not delving into the realm of mini yo-yos, which now bring us to the Aoda Littles.
I figured if I was going to explore the smaller side of things then I might as well jump right in and go extreme. Actually, I didn’t go as extreme as I could have because the YYF Mighty Flea trumps the Aoda Littles in terms of being tiny (and for all I know there might be even something smaller). The Littles and Mighty Flea seem to be the current available options for mini yo-yos so it made sense to start with one of them. And given that the Aodo Littles is half the price and that I could buy it locally from the Return Top Shop it seemed like the way to go. Plus I think it looks better than the Mighty Flea.
From what I understand the Aoda Littles has been around for a number of years, but nonetheless I wanted to share my thoughts on it.
Here is the TL;DR summary for those that want it: The Aoda Littles is certainly a tiny yo-yo. In terms of price, performance, and small size it probably can’t be beaten. Don’t expect to be doing competition length combos with it, but even so the Aoda Littles is surprisingly functional. Its pocket potential trumps most other throws available and certainly every throw in my collection. As such, it is now my top pick for my On the Go category in my Core Throws.
The Aoda Littles
As I said above, the Aoda Littles is not a new yo-yo and from I can tell has been around for at least four years. Perhaps that it is why it is a bit more difficult to find one to buy. To the best of my knowledge, the Return Top Shop is the only place that currently selling the Littles, so if after reading the review (or even before it, for that matter) you want to pick up a Littles then that is the place to look.
I don’t really know that much about Aoda or their yo-yos in general, although I am aware of the criticism that they tend to sell bootlegged designs that closely mimic well known yo-yos from other companies. I don’t believe that is the case for the Littles although I could be wrong about that. In any case, I wanted to be transparent about that history in case that is something that might bother you.
OK, let me give you the specs and then we can move onto to looking at the Littles more closely.
The Littles Specs
- Diameter: 35 mm
- Width: 25 mm
- Weight: 55 grams
- Bearing: Size A concave
- Response: 17 mm, unknown material
Material and Surface Finish
I am actually not exactly sure what the Aoda Littles is made of but I have read elsewhere that brass is the general consensus. That would make sense because the Littles is surprisingly hefty for such a small yo-yo. Whatever it is, it is polished into a nice gun metal colour that is simple and yet very attractive. Overall, it works.
Size and Shape
Size: tiny. Not really much more to say about that since the specs above tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the size of the Littles. The shape is O-type and is seems to work well for packing in more mass into the Littles tiny size. Check out the shots below comparing the Aodo Littles to my One Drop 54. The 54 already sits on the smaller side of things which goes to show you just how compact the Littles is.
Just for fun, here is a size comparison photo taken by Jason Wong back in 2011 (used with permission). It gives you a nice comparison of the size of the Littles next to some other smaller throws from the past five years.
Anyway, the size is small and the shape is O-type. Let’s move on.
Bearing and Response
The Aoda Littles ships with a Size-A concave bearing (a knock off of the KonKave bearings). Right off the bat the bearing in my Littles was responsive for reasons that are not clear to me. Cheap quality perhaps, or I might have just gotten a lemon due to bad luck. In any case, I need to replace the bearing right away. As a side note I also replaced the string that was included because it shredded easily and left a lot of string fibres around the bearing (which might have been part of the problem). So one new bearing, a new Kitty nylon string, and I was in business. I guess I can’t be too surprised about any of this considering the yo-yo cost about $30 USD, but it is worth keeping in mind.
The response pads are functional. I have read elsewhere that older Littles suffered from response pads that didn’t fit properly but the pads in mine seem to be fine. I am not sure what kind of material the pads are made out of because they seem fairly stiff and don’t feel like typical silicone. In any case, they seem to work well although I probably be replacing them with flowable silicone in the near future.
Bearing and string issues aside, the Aodo Littles is a great yo-yo for the size and cost. I was pleasantly surprised at how functional it is in terms of performing string tricks. That isn’t to say it is perfect because spin and stability have to be sacrificed when you start reducing the mass and size of any yo-yo. The One Drop 54 and MonkeyfingeR 2Evil in my collection both flirt with this a little bit but nothing extreme. The Aoda Littles on the other hand is quite extreme in its reduction of mass and size and thus performance consequently takes a hit. I can run plenty of the typical string tricks with the Littles, but it starts to lose its gusto if I try to run longer combos. Granted, players with more skill and precision will be able to push any yo-yo farther than an average player and the Littles won’t be an exception. Just don’t expect it to match the performance of your bigger throws.
And let’s face it, keeping up with the bigger throws isn’t the point of the Littles at all. The point is to have something small and different, and that is where the Littles wins out. The Littles does indeed stand alone when compared to everything else I own in terms of size, and that is what makes it great. Kuryaka was not kidding in that small yo-yos seem to have a weird charm. Plus, one up shot of its small size is that it is really good for practicing precision. It can be frustrating to try and land the Littles on the string to the point where even resolving to a simple trapeze or landing a jump rope can be a challenge at times. But wow, after using the Littles and then moving back to a full size throw makes string tricks seem so much easier. If you want to really work on precision then grab a small yo-yo like the Littles and have at it.
Of course, we can’t forget to talk about the pocket potential of the Aodo Littles and it is here where I consider it to be the big winner. Yeah, I know, it isn’t like any yo-yo is that hard to cart around, but having something so tiny and yet so functional that can be easily tucked into a pocket is really nice. My OD 54 wasn’t too bad but it can’t hold a candle to the Littles in terms of compact size. As such, the Littles is now the yo-yo I pretty much always have with me when I am out for the day. It isn’t without its shortcomings, but even so I feel the Aodo Littles deserves the top spot in the On the Go category of my Core Throws, at least for now.
Well, there you have it. The Aoda Littles is a fine yo-yo in a tiny package. It won’t keep up with the big boys but that isn’t what the Littles is about anyway. The Littles is a tiny throw that fits nicely in your pocket and can still give you plenty of string trick potential. I am quite happy that I picked one up.
I have also been quite happy with using the Littles as a way of working on precision, and I think that more throwers should consider picking up a mini throw, be that the Aoda Littles, YYF Might Flea, or some other similarly sized yo-yo. The Littles itself is great because it is inexpensive, and if you are interested in trying out a mini yo-yo then it is definitely a good way to go. Check out the Return Top Shop if you are looking to pick one up.
As always, enjoy your throwing!