Welcome to the review of the Vosun Vanquish yo-yo, the best budget metal yo-yo I have tried thus far!
As many of the regular Cyyclical readers will already known, I have been on a bit of a budget yo-yo bender lately, what with my recent Plastic Yo-yo Shootout and MagicYoYo Triple Yo-yo Review articles and all. This has resulted in me having a number of conversations with throwers around the world about the merits of budget yo-yos. Many of these conversations include recommendations of other budget yo-yos that I should check out.
Case in point, I happened to be chatting with someone (who asked to remain anonymous) via Facebook about a month ago while I was still working on the MagicYoYo review. This person strongly recommended the Vosun Vanquish to me as possibly THE budget metal yo-yo out there. In fact, their exact description of the Vosun Vanquish was “a poor man’s CLYW Chief” which of course immediately intrigued me. I don’t own a CLYW Chief but I have tried one on several occasions and it is a great yo-yo. The idea of being able to buy a budget yo-yo with a similar feel and performance for a fraction of the price was very compelling.
Luckily, Vosun is one of the brands that happens to be carried locally at the Return Top Shop. Its owner, Jeremy McKay, also strongly recommended the Vanquish to me. Thus, I grabbed one a few weeks ago to give it a whirl. And boy, am I really glad that I did.
Here is the TL;DR summary for those that want it: The Vosun Vanquish is easily the best budget yo-yo that I have tried to date. For only $30 USD, it punches far above its price point and keeps up with many yo-yos in the $100-200 range, playing with excellent power and stability. This results in an exceptional performance to price ratio, and anyone looking for a budget yo-yo would do well to consider the Vosun Vanquish.
The Vosun Vanquish
Other than the specs, there is no description of the Vanquish (or more accurately, the 8S Vanquish) on the yo-yo’s webpage so I can’t really give you any official blurb about the design. Since the comparison to the CLYW Chief is how the Vanquish was introduced to me, let me just mention that the specs and shape of the Vanquish are indeed reminiscent. The tiny step half way down the play side of the cups is not as significant on the Vanquish as the step on the Chief, but otherwise the profiles are similar. I also had the chance to throw them side by side, and while I do think the Chief plays better (it seemed lighter and more zippy on the string) they were comparable in terms of feel. That is impressive, especially when you consider that the Vanquish sells for around $30 USD.
OK enough about that, let me get on with the review. Here we go!
- Diameter: 56.0 mm
- Width: 44.5 mm
- Weight: 65.8 grams
- Bearing: Size C, 10-ball concave centering
- Response: 19 mm pads
- Material: 6061 aluminum
Size and Shape
The shape I have already described above somewhat, but let me describe it a bit further. The dimensions and weight of the Vanquish put it pretty much smack dab in the middle of the yo-yo spectrum, which for many throwers is probably the sweet spot. Otherwise there is nothing really notable to mention about the specs.
The shape I have already described above somewhat. The Vanquish uses a rounded W-type shape (I might even be convinced to call it a W/V-type hybrid with a nano-dash of H-type) that is comfortable to throw and provides an ample catch zone. There is a small step out by the response pads that gives the string extra clearance from the walls, a feature I really appreciate on any yo-yo. The insides of the cups are very clean and simple (one place that the Vanquish differs significantly from the Chief), with a nice shallow concave depression right above the axle. Overall the shape is great and I have no complaints.
The Vanquish is available in several solid colours with what appears to be some kind of blast finish. I have no idea there will ever be any splash colourways down the road and, strangely enough, I don’t mind. I say “strangely enough” because I usually prefer interesting splash colourways when I can get them. Yet, there is something about the look of the Vanquish and its solid colours that just seems perfect to me. Simplistic beauty. [Update: I stand corrected about the splash colourways. As someone pointed out in the comments below, there is at least one splash colourway out there for the Vanquish. Check out the link in the comments section for more information.]
Jeremy at the Return Top Shop also sells the Vanquish in mixed colours, and I really dig the blue-green combo that I picked up. And so did my wife. In fact, she liked the look of it so much that she demanded that I go and buy a back up. Well, I couldn’t disappoint the little lady, so I did indeed buy a second one. Given the low price of the Vanquish there really wasn’t any reason not to.
Bearing and Response
The Vanquish ships with a 10-ball concave bearing that is, unfortunately, the low point of this review. For whatever reason, the stock bearing in my review Vanquish seized up in the first day of use. Being a de-shielded bearing it is possible that something had gotten got into its works prior to me getting it, or perhaps it was simply a bad bearing. In any case, it wasn’t a big deal. I swapped it out for another generic concave for the remainder of the review and the Vanquish played great after that. As I always say, if you don’t like centering bearings then you will need to swap out the stock bearing, but otherwise it should be fine (assuming that my bad bearing was a fluke).
The red response pads used in the Vanquish are probably the weakest response pads I have ever encountered, which is both good and bad. The pads are great during tricks since they don’t easily cause unwanted binds, but on the flip side they do make regular binds harder. This could be a problem for newer players who are still learning to bind properly. Swapping to a more grippy string solved this problem, and it should be gone completely once I replace the pads with recessed flowable silicone (which I do for all my yo-yos eventually). Still, it is something to keep in mind.
I am really impressed with how the Vanquish plays. I have been running through all of my trick combos with it plus working on some new material, and it handles everything with ease. It plays a bit heavier than I expected given its middle of the road weight, but I rather like the slight feel of heft to it. The Vanquish definitely feels powerful on the throw with plenty of spin and stability. It still moves around from string to string quite well in any case even if it doesn’t feel quite as agile as some of my other throws. I can see the Vanquish being an excellent starter yo-yo for newer players to grow with.
Since the Vanquish is squarely priced as a budget throw, it makes sense to compare it as such. With that in mind, let’s talk about it in comparison to the MagicYoYo N12 Shark Honor (shown on the right in the photo below). As I mentioned in my recent MagicYoYo Triple Yo-yo Review, the N12 is often hailed as the go to budget yo-yo, so much so that we really ought to refer to it as “the venerable N12”. Had I not tried the Vosun Vanquish, I would readily agree with this. But, I have tried the Vanquish and I can say without reservation that I prefer it over the N12.
The N12 is smaller and heavier than the Vanquish, and while it plays amazingly well for a yo-yo that only costs about $20 USD I just prefer the feel of the lighter and larger Vanquish. To me, the Vanquish seems like it has more power and presence on the string. Presumably it is a shape and weight distribution sort of thing. I realize that this is a purely subjective opinion, but the Vanquish simply feels better to me during play. If I had to choose between the two, I would pay the extra $10 USD and take the Vanquish every time.
[Update: there was a question on the Throwers Subreddit about whether or not the Vanquish is good for fingers spins. I tried unsuccessfully to get the Vanquish to spin nicely on the shallow hub dimple, but I assumed that that was just due to me being not that great at spins in general. Jeremy McKay confirmed that the Vanquish isn’t really at that great in general for spins and that the dimple is more about form than function.]
Well, I sort of stole the thunder of this article right at the beginning, but Vosun Vanquish is easily the best budget throw that I currently own. Please note that I am not claiming it is the best budget yo-yo out there, just the best one that I have tried. Nonetheless, going forward if anyone asks me what I recommend for a budget yo-yo my answer will be the Vanquish hands down. For only $30 USD it is ridiculously good, hitting way above its price point and easily keeping up with my $100+ yo-yos. In fact, this yo-yo might have the best performance to price ratio of anything I have yet tried. If you are looking for an excellent budget yo-yo that plays well beyond its cost, you would do well to check out and consider the Vosun Vanquish.
As always, enjoy your throwing!