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Enthusiast Review


The Thoroughly Capable, If Somewhat Uninspiring New Alphas (continued)

Power: Benefiting from the same Hyper Drive Digigear as the 2021 Zillion we wrote up back in February, where Daiwa has micro-engineered the shape and angle of the gear's teeth for more efficient transfer of power, the new Alphas feels a hair smoother than its predecessor, but it doesn't glide the same as how Zander described the new Zillion SV TW.

New gear design features re-engineered teeth for more efficient transfer of cranking power

When combined with the 85mm handle, the new gear design within the Alphas delivers good power despite it's relatively small size reinforcing and even building upon that power house moniker I gave it back in 2004. The reel's form factor has been changed slightly, but thanks to its aluminum frame, gear side cup, and spool holder (from the Hyper Armed Housing system) Daiwa manages to deliver a very stable and solid feeling reel.

Drag is accomplished with a single, carbon washer for smooth and consistent performance

Drag: Anglers seeking the maximum, lockdown drag they can find will likely be disappointed with the Alphas. To my knowledge, Daiwa has never equipped this reel with that type of system choosing instead to lean on a drag that delivers smooth and consistent performance - because that's the purpose of having a drag. Rated at maximum of ten pounds (10lbs), the Alpha's drag applies more than enough pressure to tire the fish before landing. That pressure is delivered free from shuddering and stops as is typical of most modern day drag systems.

The new Alphas sits very comfortably on the rod and in your palm

Design & Ergonomics: This is where I have to fight to keep my objectivity. Daiwa's Alphas SV TW 800 has excellent ergonomics. At just under six ounces, it is light. It's easy to palm, has a good length handle, two excellent and useful retrieve ratio options, good line capacity, an easy to use braking system that performs very well. By all accounts, Daiwa got everything right with this reel, but somehow, my enthusiast spirit is not satisfied. There's just something about this reel's design that feels bland and unappealing. Perhaps it's the plain color scheme I criticized earlier, but it might be also be the longer, more narrow form factor. Maybe it's just me continuing to miss the original purple power house Daiwa inexplicably discontinued after only a two year run, then brought back only to kill it again, yet offered countless variants in between and since that failed to recapture the magic of the original.

Moving the brake adjustment dial to a more discrete location cleans up the sideplate, but contributes to the reel's bland and generic appearance

Drilling down a bit further, trying to save myself the trouble of popping the knobs off the handle to figure out how many bearings are under each knob, I discovered instead that the reel does not come with a schematic breakdown in the box. Only general instructions on maintenance and how to use the braking system. Taking one of the knobs off the handle, I found there are no bearings, only bushings beneath the knobs. This may also help explain why the Alphas does not feel quite as smooth as the Zillion despite similar gear design.

With an official price tag of over $300, the Alphas moves into another tier of reel classification.

Price & Applications: With an official price tag of 32,300 JPY (~$311 given the exchange rate at the time of this writing), the Daiwa Alphas SV TW remains priced above Shimano's Scorpion platform. Having said that, if you keep in mind the reel's size and subsequent line capacity, there's nothing this reel cannot do. You can use it for general purpose applications and it will serve as back-up finesse option as well. Anything requiring over 12lb test (depending on the actual diameter of that line), is probably out of the question. Otherwise, it's game on.

From general application and a touch of finesse, the new Alphas SV TW 800 can do it all.


Daiwa Alphas SV TW 800 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solidly built and super clean but not as solid feeling as the new Zillion 9
Performance Great overall casting performance, good power, and a dependable but underpowered drag 9
Price Alphas is now over $300... if you can find it under that price point, all the better. With the new more feature-rich Zillion now available stateside it is getting harder to justify the Alphas SV, unless you really want to fish something different 6
Features Daiwa's SV braking system together with the available 8.1:1 retrieve ratio make this reel very worthy. The finish on the Alphas is totally functional but the use of silver doesn't help it stand out from other Daiwa baitcasters, and the lack of any colored elements doesn't give this reel nearly as much character as previous generation reels 8
Design (Ergonomics) Compact and lightweight with a good length handle but does not have even a single bearing beneath each of knobs. This is a disappointment for a modern day Alphas, and especially one at this price point 6.5
Application A very good compact reel for general application work and even some bait finesse applications, but not as well rounded as the more affordable new Zillion 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ Available 8.1:1 retrieve ratio! - For an Alphas, this refresh comes across as a little bland
+ Nice, compact size - It would appear the Alphas is still not in Daiwa's USDM plans
+ Brass guts hold up well - No schematics in the box with the reel
+ SV braking system - No bearings beneath the knobs, a disappointment for a $300 reel

The new Alphas may not kindle my enthusiast soul, but by all performance metrics, it's still a very capable and refined reel

Conclusion: If you're looking for a compact reel for general purpose work that your best fishing bud is not likely to have, Daiwa Japan's new Alphas SV TW 800 fits that bill. While it does not kindle my enthusiast soul, others may find it perfectly worthy of stoking the fire in theirs. I'm happy to see the platform updated with faster retrieve ratios, Daiwa's SV tuning, and the host of "Hyper" engineering terms, but I am a little disappointed at the inevitable incorporation of the TW line guide in this series. In truth, I've been disappointed with every variant of the Alphas save for the original and Megabass's Alphas Ito Ai, so I'm sure it's just me. Fortunately, there's no specific scoring row for "Enthusiast Appeal" in our rating system. By all performance metrics, this new Alphas is still a very capable and refined reel, it just doesn't move the needle as much as some of Daiwa's other current generation of reels, including the new Zillion.


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