October 25, 2014

Nerf Elite v. XD Performance Test: Retaliator

Here in the US, we're finally starting to see Nerf Elite XD blasters trickle onto store shelves. We've already had a few negative reactions to the "upgrade", however. Derpmods bought an XD Triad, only to find that it was firing far shorter than an original Triad. Chris Cartaya, meanwhile, already disassembled an XD Retaliator to find no substantial difference between it and the original version.


I apologize for the lack of pictures for this post; this is mostly going to be data. I found Retaliators on sale for $20, with a white one among them, and grabbed it off the shelf. I then proceeded to take that, an original Retaliator, and a brand new 75-pack of darts to the nearby practice football field.


Methods:
I removed the 15 darts with silver paint on the sides (striped design with the word "ELITE" stamped on), leaving 60 virgin darts for testing. I split the 60 into two halves of 30 for each Retaliator, and fired each group of 30, recording the distance each dart traveled to the nearest foot. I then switched the two groups of 30 darts, and fired them all again.

I fired all darts at an angle of ~35° above parallel, so as to best match claims on the box as printed by the manufacturer. With air resistance, one has to aim slightly lower than the 45° of an ideal test with only gravity affecting the dart trajectory.

Analysis:
I recorded all 120 shots, 60 per blaster, and inserted the data into Microsoft Excel. I then sorted all the data from smallest to largest in each test group. For each blaster, I threw out the highest and lowest distances fired so as to reduce the influence of outliers. After this, I ran several calculations.


Conclusion:
Based on my testing, the Elite XD version of the Retaliator has roughly the same ranges (if not slightly shorter) as the original, regardless of what the boxes claims. In addition, the newer of the two was less precise when it came to ranges, having a wider spread of data points.

It appears that Hasbro's Elite XD line is less upgrade and more repaint, sadly. There are still plenty of XD blasters to test, mind you, but all of the initial results really aren't that encouraging.

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