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Reel Review

Daiwa Re-Images Their Stalwart : Zillion TWS (CONTINUED)

Features: Of course the story with this reel, as with most of the recent Daiwa low profile introductions, is in their revolutionary line guide. The Zillion's TWS is even more refined than that of the Tatula's with a more shallow overall height when in standard retrieve mode. This could be the manufacturer's answer to the intermittent reports of line guide grooving in the Tatula reels. Note, we've heard these reports but not experienced it ourselves.

One of the touted features of this reel is the Zaion (carbon fiber) drag star.

Aside from the slightly refined line guide, the Zillion TWS comes with an externally adjustable brake system, one bearing on the levelwind, one bearing and one bushing per handle knob, both a clicking drag star and cast control knob, no cover in the box, and no oil.

The Zillion TWS sports one bearing on the levelwind.

One oddity I found with the Zillion TWS was the single raised aluminum rash guard on the handle side of the reel. On the TD Zillion, this guard was on both sides of the reel, so as to raise the body of the reel up off the deck should your reel land upside down while placing your combo down for a run on the water. With the Zillion TWS, is Daiwa saying only one side of the reel actually touches down when laid upside down? I think not. Are they saying the guard didn't really serve its purpose and gets in the way of palming the reel, so they removed it on one side? If so, then why not just take it off entirely? It's just odd.


Features Ratings for Daiwa Zillion TWS

Ext Brake Adjust? (1-2)
Levelwind Bearing (1-2)
Knob Bearings (1-3)
Micro Clicks (1-3)
Reel Cover (1-2)
Oil (1-2)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)


Design & Ergonomics: This is a tough one. The shape and size of the former TD Zillion was among the most comfortable in my hand. I took it for granted that this new Zillion was simply the same reel but with a slightly wider face to accommodate the TWS. That is, until I made that very first cast, tucked the reel into my palm, and wrapped my fingers around it. It wasn't the same. Side by side the Zillion TWS and TD Zillion look similar, but how they fit in the hand is much different.


Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Daiwa Zillion TWS

Handle Length (1-5)
Knobs (1-5)
Palming (1-5)
Overall Weight (1-5)
Ease of Breakdown (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)


Application: When judging applications for this reel, we need to take into consideration the four different retrieve ratios in which it is available. The Zillion TWS suite of reels as a whole, with its wide range of retrieve ratios, is capable of supporting just about any technique in bass fishing save for maybe finesse applications. Capacity for larger diameter lines is the only thing keeping this reel from being a viable option for big baits, but with a little braid here and a twenty pound leader there, big baits aren't entirely out of the question. Then again, who's to say some aftermarket spool options aren't in the making to open up the possibilities even more?


Application Ratings for Daiwa Zillion TWS

Horizontal (1-5)
Vertical (1-5)
Finesse (1-5)
Big Baits (1-5)
Topwater (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

The Zillion TWS with a TD Zillion spool installed - note the difference in width.


Daiwa Zillion TWS Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A solid reel but somehow, not quite as refined in feel as the former TD Zillion 8.8
Performance This reel is good where it counts - during performance 9.0
Price Price of the original TD Zillion was getting out of hand. Originally introduced right around $250, with the fluctuating exchange rate, price escalated to over $300. The Zillion TWS splits the difference, but we miss that original $250 price tag. Remember, the TD Zillion was manufactured in Japan. 6
Features Daiwa checks off most of the boxes in our feature checklist, but what happened to the vial of oil? 7.86
Design (Ergonomics) In the end, this reel feels like an entirely different platform rather than a refinement to the TD Zillion. 7.6
Application Given the four different retrieve ratios all available in both left and right hand retrieve, the versatility of the TD Zillion should be celebrated. 8.4

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:


+ Four retrieve ratios really speak to the versatility of this suite of reels - Gone is that familiar, comfortable feeling in your hand
+ TWS allows you to make casts with less effort - Price is getting steep considering this reel is not manufactured in Japan like the former TD Zillion was.
+ Surprising drag performance  


Conclusion: Perhaps my expectations were too high. Objectively speaking, the Zillion TWS did really well in our scoring system and rightfully so - this reel performs very well out of the box. But when you replace a stalwart, you need to do more than just meet performance requirements. The TD Zillion had a soul you could connect with. The way it fit into your hand; the fact Daiwa engineers thought about a way to protect the reel's finish when sitting upside down on the deck of your boat; the availability and compatibility of the TDZ-100 spools in the reel; the fact it was more or less the same reel as the former TDZ only in a more durable, freshwater and saltwater safe frame.

The Zillion TWS is a solid reel, but as an Enthusiast, I'm left wanting for more.

The Zillion TWS carries with it none of these traits. It is more sterile, less refined, and more utilitarian. To most consumers these idiosyncrasies are nonsense and non factors in their tackle purchase decisions. That's perfectly fine and for these people, the Zillion TWS, as our tests just revealed is a wonderful choice! But for the Enthusiast, those wanting a little something extra, the Zillion TWS leaves something to be desired.


Looking for your own Zillion TWS? Try one of these reputable sources!


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