Alright, have you guys (and/or gals!) heard of these things yet? I am at once intrigued, confused, and appalled by these doo-hickeys.
It started roughly 2 or 3 weeks ago. My son was at his mom’s that week, and when I’d talk to him on the phone in the evenings he kept mentioning this “fidget spinner” thing to me, asking if I’d get him one. I usually get him what he wants within reason, and when he said some were $5 and some were maybe $15 I said that it shouldn’t be an issue. He described it to me, but I think you’ll understand if I had no idea at all what he was talking about. I figured when he came back over here we’d run by a store, he’d like “that’s it!” and we’d be all good.
He’s gotten pretty good at looking up stuff on eBay since we’ve been hunting down toys. He even understands how to sift through sold listings and sort the results. So when he was back over here, he pulled up one of these “fidget spinners” to show me just what he was talking about and where we could get one. Suddenly it clicked why he was asking me so many questions about getting one – we were going to have to order it off the web. He said some of his friends had found them in stores but he hadn’t been able to. A few articles I read mentioned that many retail outlets had trouble keeping them in stock.
While in Walmart, we ran across the Fidget Cube, a toy I vaguely remembered from this little specialty shop over at Southpoint. Putting 2 and 2 together, I recognized that the 2 products were probably related. As we moved over closer to the electronics, we came across an entire display of actual “Fidget Spinner” brand/product. He’s already told me that they came in all kinds of different forms – I figured finding the actual name-brand version was about as good as it’d get.
Man, the kid really talked it up. I was actually sort of excited to see what it’d do. I help him get into the package before we pull out of the lot, he pinches it between his thumb and middle fingers, uses his other hand to start it spinning…and that’s it. When it started to slow down, he’d spin it again and it’d spin s’mo’.
I checked it out a little closer when we got home, though I still didn’t see much appeal beyond trying to balance it on a single finger and letting it spin around on a flat surface. He was interested in seeing if there was any difference between brands (apparently one of his peers had really hammered it that there were loads of different brands) as well as having multiple spinners to “do more tricks.”
Long story short, I spent a couple of days looking – not quite in every nook and cranny just yet – and I didn’t find anything that lit up or differed from the basic rounded, 3-pronged design, despite seeing advertisements for everything from 2-pronged to 6-pronged variants. However, since these are all the same basic size and design, it actually makes them a little easier to compare. Of course the ball-bearings and whatnot could be different, but I didn’t dig that deep into all of them nor do I know enough about it to draw any educated conclusions. The main differences seem to be: a) the material of the spinner (and ultimately the weight) and b) the depth of the indentations on the top and bottom caps where you hold/balance. What’s really interesting is how different seemingly identical spinners from the same brand behave.
Here’s what I ended up with:
- 2 “Fidget Spinners” (Vibe brand) black with silver rings on the arms (I don’t know why I ended up with 2 of these; one was the very first one my son picked out…I guess I was accidentally holding another one while rifling though others and ended up dragging it to the register with me.)
- 1 “Fidget Spinner” (Vibe brand) blue with black rings on arms
- 1 “Fidget Spinner” (Vibe brand) white with black rings on arms
- 1 SPNRS brand with red body and black rings on arms
- 1 SPNRS brand with green body and black rings on arms
- 1 no-name “Hand Spinner” with yellow body and black rings on arms
- 1 “Zuru Spinner” (antsy Labs brand – same brand that made the original “Fidget Cube”) white with blue rings on arms
I was hoping these things would be like a yo-yo or something with lots of neat little tricks to do…unfortunately, much of what I found on YouTube was either the same ol’ “Pen Trick” or other things that were more akin to actual magic tricks utilizing everything from trick cards to “magician’s wax” to double-sided tape to invisible thread to a fucking neodymium magnet. Since there wasn’t a whole lot I could actually do to compare them, I decided to just spin them on a flat surface, whip out the stopwatch, and time how long they spun. And yes, there are good and bad and worse spins, so I measured the time it took to go from full spin to dead stop 6 times for each spinner.
|VIBE – Metal – “The Good One”|
|Average:||1 min 53.46 sec|
|VIBE – Metal – “The BAD One”|
|SPNRS – Red|
|Average:||2 min 12.62 sec|
|SPNRS – Green|
|Average:||2 min 49.20 sec|
|antsy Labs – White/Blue|
|Average:||3 min 17.67 sec|
|No-Name “Hand Spinner” – Yellow|
|Average:||2 min 13.57 sec|
|VIBE – White|
|VIBE – Blue|
|Average:||1 min 31.82 sec|
Wow, ok, so that took fucking forever! Anyway, notice anything weird? If you noticed that there doesn’t seem to be much consistency within brands – at least Vibe and SPNRS – you’d be correct. Within Vibe, the spread is nearly a full 90 seconds! The worst one is at about 30 seconds with the white one hitting about a minute, the other metal one – exactly the same as the worst one – coming in at approximately 1.5 minutes, and the best of the batch nearly averaging 2 minutes of spin time. “Red” and “Green” from SPNRS fares slightly better with just under a 40 second spread, but these numbers are all far too large to be accounted for by chance or human error or environmental factors or what the hell ever. If something like this was the problem, then we wouldn’t expect any consistency within each spinner. This isn’t the case; aside from an occasional outlier, each individual spinner seems to operate in a fixed and at least semi-predictable range.
Earlier I mentioned that while all of these devices are essentially the same, there are minute differences which may or may not have an overall effect on the toy’s functionality….of course after seeing all this weird-ass data I have to wonder whether or not these features have any effect on the toys’ spin time. Maybe they make an impact elsewhere, though I can’t imagine any facet of this device being more important than sheer spin time!
For what it’s worth, here are some of the “major” things I’ve noticed. Most of the spinners seem to be made of some sort of hard plastic or resin with the solid metal rings in the arms. The exceptions are the “metallic” spinners from Vibe, which appear to be metal coated with a slick rubber/vinyl/plastic material. The Zuru Spinner from antsy Labs and SPNRS do not to include solid metal rings; instead, they contains a metal frame in each arm. In the case of the SPNRS the actual ring inside is also metal, but the actual ring inside of the Zuru spinner is plastic. This is quite different from the others, though I have no idea what the final effect may be.
The Metallic Vibes are the heaviest, followed by the regular Vibes, Zuru Spinner, SPNRS, and then the “Hand Spinner.” The Vibes and Zuru have a sturdier and more durable feel to them, but the other 2 have a lighter, faster. more agile feel. I have no way of knowing which spins fastest, but it feels like no-name “Hand Spinner” is actually the fastest followed closely by the SPNRS.
The final distinguishing characteristic is the indentation on the center caps. My theory is that the deeper the indent, the more severe the angle at which one can balance the spinner when in motion. The trade-off is that you have to be more exacting with finger placement with the deeper caps, or else it’ll just wobble its way off. Also, the flatter/shallower the caps, the easier the spinners are to balance on one another. The deeper indentations provide less surface area, making for a much slimmer degree of freedom when stacking the spinning toys.
The regular Vibes have the flattest center caps; they are only very slightly concave and may in fact look flat to some people. The trick is to take something flat and sturdy – like the back of a knife – and lay it across the cap. You’ll be able to see a slight crescent-shaped amount of light in the center. The Metallic Vibes may be the same, though I feel like they’re just a hair deeper. This could just be how the shiny material coating the Metallics makes them look. I’d be hard pressed to say whether the SPNRS or the antsy Labs’ Zuru’s are deeper..they actually look and feel pretty much the same. No-name “Hand Spinner” is by far the most concave and really doesn’t play well with others if you start trying to spin it on top of other spinners or pile spinners on top of it!
Vibe / Fidget Spinner – Metallic – I feel like the “metallic” Vibes should be discussed separately from the “regular” Vibes simply because they’re made differently. I like the heft and the visuals of the metallic spinners, though I think the weight ultimately hinders their speed and spin time, thereby reducing their overall potential.
Vibe / Fidget Spinner – Regular (Plastic) – This is a good, solid, middle-of-the-road spinner, probably enough for those wanting to experience the phenomenon. The spin time is decent (generally) and these will hold up well to the inevitable bumps, drops, falls, and flings. They’re also easy to find, and the nearly-flat centers lend themselves well to tricks involving multiple spinners.
SPNRS – Although both of these performed somewhat differently from each other, I can appreciate the lighter weight material and its effect on the spin. They feel faster and as if they’re somehow “moving more” than the others.
antsy Labs – Zuru Spinner – This one is easily my favorite. It’s got the heft and durability of Vibe, with some of the speed of the lighter ones. Maybe I got lucky – maybe it’s expertly weighted – maybe there’s something magical going on with the ball bearings – I can’t be sure. What I do know is that it’s got a spin time well above any of the others, and that’s gotta count for something when all these things do is spin, right? I’m gonna grab another one of these when I see one and we’ll see how consistence the performance is.
No-name – Hand Spinner – I can’t help but think that there’s something about the deep indentation and sheer speed of this spinner that could really set it apart from it’s brethren. Unfortunately, I’m just not yet well-versed enough with the potential behind spinners to see exactly where and how these features could best be used. Hopefully the fad will evolve – at least a little bit – and we’ll see more device-based tricks that warrant spinners with slightly different tweaks and builds. Again I compare them to high-performance yo-yos or even skateboards whereby one can swap out different parts for different results and a 100% customized/customizable toy.
The main conversation taking place around these Fidget Spinners is that of giving kids with ADD or ADHD some way to focus. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or any other flavor of the month so I can’t personally comment. However, the general consensus in schools is that, while it may help the ADD kids concentrate, it’s actually distracting to the kids without them. Hah.
As I see them more and more in stores, the advertising is geared towards keeping one’s hands busy and therefore a useful aid to stop biting one’s nails or to assist in quitting smoking. Like chewing gum or some shit. I guess I can kinda relate – whenever I know I’m gonna have to sit still or wait in line or something similar I almost always bring a cube (like a Rubik’s Cube-type puzzle) to “play with.” Even if I don’t straight up solve and scramble it, I do spin it around and move pieces back and forth. My “concern” (if you can even call it that…the word seems a bit strong) is that the spinners don’t quite give one enough to do. I mean you spin it…and then what? Balance on thumb? Middle finger? Index? Spin again? Switch hands? Without some greater goal other than “SPIN DAT SHIT!” it’s usefulness is limited.
Make no mistake though, Fidget Spinners are nothing but a(n) F-A-D, a gimmick, a novelty item. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Video games were largely considered a fad – for years – before Nintendo rejuvenated the industry in ’83. I mean the industry almost completely disappeared here in North America, and if it hadn’t been for the NES and quality games like Super Mario Bros., Metroid, he Legend of Zelda, and Castlevania, we might remember video games as nothing more than a 5-year period there at the end of the 70’s. Skateboarding also started off as a fad, but thanks to individuals who took it seriously and stuck with it, it’s cemented in popular consciousness. The Fidget Spinner may not have as much going for it as video games or skateboarding, but you never know, something could come from it, especially since it’s gotten so much attention already. Someone just needs to figure out how to take it to the next level…to create a sort of objective or measure of skill.
|Kipp Brothers – “Hand Fidgetz Spinners” (Green)|
|Average:||2 min 59.72 sec|
|Kipp Brothers – “Hand Fidgetz Spinners” (Blue)|
|Average:||1 min 14.51 sec|
|Zing – “Spinbladez – Triple Light Effect”|
|Fidget Guru – “tri-spinner”|
|Average:||1 min 43.46 sec|
IMPORTANT NOTE: Throughout testing these latest spinners, I’ve come to realize that which side is facing up (or down) may have an effect on the overall spin time. I will have to explore this phenomenon further at some point, as in X number of spins on one side and X number of spins on the other. Consistency seems a foregone conclusion at this point…
Kipp Brothers – “Hand Fidgetz Spinners” (Green & Blue) – More inconsistent results between what should be the exact same device! Despite the non-existent packaging, they have a heavy and durable feel. For the most part, spinning is extremely smooth feeling…possibly the smoothest overall of any. The body seems to be a plastic-coated metal, while the arms house plain metal rings. Oddly enough, the center caps are completely flat.
Zing – “Spinbladez – Triple Light Effect” – Ah yes, my first light up spinner. It’s hard to judge this against the others simply because the construction is so different. For one thing, it’s primarily lightweight and hollow plastic, plus whatever metal makes up the circuitry and batteries. Despite the decreased weight, it still feels very solid and stable. However, the missing weight does come into play; it just won’t spin more than a few seconds when spun on a flat surface. The light effect is pretty cool, though the green and blue lights shine on one side while the red shines on the other – not really sure what they were going for. Unfortunately it seems like it has to be going a certain speed for the lights to come on. This isn’t hard to do from a stop, but since it winds down so quickly, the lighting effect is fleeting. It’s cool enough, but it’s a little bit of a disappointment compared to how the others move. I think too many vital components of the design were compromised just so they could insert the damn lights.
Fidget Guru – “tri-spinner – So this was one I found at Target…and it looks pretty much like every other spinner. The body is plastic or hard resin, while the arms contain metal frames with metal wheels in them like a few other designs. These also feature flat center caps. Spinning is quite smooth and they’re easy to balance. I doesn’t necessarily stand out, yet it’s a good enough specimen to get the job done.
|Rank||Make & Model||Average Spin-Time|
|1||antsy Labs – Zuru Spinner (White/Blue)||3 min 17.67 sec|
|2||Kipp Brothers – Hand Fidgetz Spinners (Green)||2 min 59.72 sec|
|3||SPNRS – Classic Fidget Toy (Green)||2 min 49.20 sec|
|4||No-name – Hand Spinner (Yellow)||2 min 13.57 sec|
|5||SPNRS – Classic Fidget Toy (Red)||2 min 12.62 sec|
|6||Vibe – Fidget Spinner (Metallic / “Good One”)||1 min 53.46 sec|
|7||Fidget Guru – tri-spinner (Blue)||1 min 43.46 sec|
|8||Vibe – Fidget Spinner (Blue)||1 min 31.82 sec|
|9||Kipp Brothers – Hand Fidgetz Spinners (Blue)||1 min 14.51 sec|
|10||Vibe – Fidget Spinner (White)||56.22 sec|
|11||Vibe – Fidget Spinner (Metallic / “Bad One”)||23.64 sec|
|12||Zing – Spinbladez – Triple Light Effect||16.45 sec|
And there you have it. An assload of potentially useless data and info on 2017’s latest fad. With that, I am fucking burnt when it comes to these spinning fidgets. But stick around. Once I heal we’ll do this all again and see if we can figure out something, anything, beyond “there’s nothing to figure out.”
I do have some cool Character Car info though. I’ma try to get it live and posted here ASAP, so keep an eye out…