Hey folks! Danny Choo here - creator of Smart Doll.
Here at Smart Doll Land we have two types of body for Smart Doll - one is called Cortex and the other is called Vinyl. You are required to choose either on the Smart Doll product detail pages. Whichever option you choose, the head and hands will be vinyl unless otherwise stated. If you can’t tell the difference from the photo above then we recommend you go for Cortex. Actually two of these are Cortex but can you tell which? ;-)
Both Cortex and Vinyl are made from the same 3D data and share pretty much the same shape and form - all our apparel, accessories and body parts (option busts, hands, feet etc) are compatible with both body types. The fundamental difference is the material and the way they are constructed. Neither type is more superior than the other and they both have their own strengths depending on your needs.
Cortex is designed for children and newbies to fashion dolls - these folks make up 80% of our sales. The body is more sturdy and stable than Vinyl due to the inner structure of the body. The body surface is hard which makes it more resilient against dark fabric staining - this means you can choose from the full range of Smart Doll apparel.
Vinyl is designed for hobbyists who are familiar with fashion dolls of this scale. The body is more flexible and softer than Cortex but the softer material also means that it’s more prone to dark fabric staining and requires more ninja maintenance skill which hobbyists have. The vinyl body can be disassembled easily which offers the hobbyist more customization possibilities.
However, even hobbyists were once newbies and if you have the time and resources to take a dive in the deep end with a vinyl body then by all means!
Both Cortex and Vinyl are made and assembled in Japan. Cortex DIY kits do exist but are designed for super hardcore hobbyists - they can be found here - folks are required to agree to the terms before buying the kits. However, Cortex DIY kits are great for children who have teachers that are super hardcore hobbyists - like the ones at Summerfield Elementary School. Smart Doll has been part of school curriculums for the past few years ranging from art to STEM classes. If you are a teacher interested in having Smart Doll in your school then drop us a line. We currently offer the kits for free for educational institutes who want to incorporate Smart Doll as a learning platform into their curriculum.
If you want the best of both worlds then get a Cortex body and buy an additional option bust part. All option bust parts are made of vinyl - this “hybrid” option will enable you to achieve more dynamic poses due to the flexibility of the vinyl bust and also offer the sturdiness and resilience against dark fabric staining with the Cortex body. This is Liberty with a Cortex body where the Cortex bust has been swapped out for the popular Medium Smooth Bust.
As mentioned above, 80% of our customers month over month are new to Smart Doll and as of September 2019, most of these folks are choosing the Cortex body. These photos are taken at Mirai Store - our flagship store in Tokyo where folks from all over the galaxy travel to pay a visit and pick up a Smart Doll for their family.
To help you make a better decision, I have listed the pros and cons of each body type below. Manufacturers would usually only list the pro’s but not the cons - but It is in our interests to be as transparent as possible about what our product is (and isn’t) even if that means potential customers end up seeking products from other brands. We put a lot of effort and love into our products and are not interested in exchanging money for a Smart Doll which is going to wind up in a cupboard untouched because the product didn’t meet the customers expectations.
Besides - we cannot be responsible for what a Smart Doll will do when you are asleep if they end up in a dark cupboard - especially if they have the Sword Of Omens.
Also, all Smart Doll girls come with the Sports Bra Set like the one Melody is wearing in this photo so that they don't get cold on the plane. They also all come with a telescopic stand.
Both Cortex and Vinyl can stain but as Cortex is hard, it’s more resilient to dark fabric staining meaning that you can dress your Smart Doll in the entire range of our apparel. If the body stains then you have a better chance of removing stains using a thinning agent.
Vinyl is soft and more flexible but is more prone to dark fabric staining. You need to constantly watch for any symptoms of staining in order to treat stains - the earlier the better. Even if you spot symptoms early, you may not be able to remove stains.
Both Cortex and Vinyl have roughly same range of motion but because Vinyl is more squishy, a vinyl bust will give you a wider range of movement around the neck and shoulders. Folks who choose Cortex are recommended to get a Vinyl bust - the most popular is Medium Smooth. Folks who choose the Cortex body also have the freedom to use the Cortex bust when wearing some of our apparel selection that use darker fabrics.
The Cortex thighs actually have a slightly wider range of movement around the crotch area - this was factored into the design to compensate for the hard material.
Vinyl bodies can be taken apart (like a desktop PC) which some hobbyists may want to do to either replace or customize parts. Cortex bodies on the other hand cannot be disassembled - like a MacBook for example.
Cortex and Vinyl have a matte finish but both will attract scuff marks which is more noticeable depending on the material and color. An example of a scuff mark is when you hit your fingernail on the surface. Scuff marks are hardly visible on Vinyl Milk, Cinnamon or Tea skin tones but are noticeable on Cocoa which is why we include a melamine sponge to remove the marks - just brush lightly on the surface.
Scuff marks are visible on all Cortex skin tones - Milk, Cinnamon and Tea will come with a sponge sandpaper while Cocoa will come with a net mesh to remove the marks - just brush lightly on the surface. Cocoa Cortex is much more shiny than vinyl - if you prefer a matte finish then choose Vinyl.
Both Cortex and Vinyl bodies employ ball joints for the elbows, wrists and ankles but only Cortex has seam lines. Some folks are bothered by seam lines but not ball joints - if this sounds like you then choose Vinyl. If you are going to have your Smart Doll dressed in apparel anyway or don’t plan to stare at the seam lines on the side of the body then Cortex will serve your needs just fine.
Cortex parts latch onto the internal frame which makes it more sturdy and stable when standing on a flat surface. Vinyl on the other hand is like a skin stretched over the internal frame - this gives each part a slight wobble and also means more flexibility.
If you drop a Smart Doll by accident, the first thing that will happen is that their heads will do a 360 turn before they start to scream. Depending on the floor surface, heating a Vinyl part with a hairdryer may remove any dents. However any dents or deep scratches on Cortex would be difficult to remove unless you are a modeler where you would fill in the injury with putty and sand down the surface before applying paint.
Our costs for both Cortex and Vinyl are roughly same but why the retail price difference? Vinyl has lower mold costs (development time is measured in months) but unit costs are high. Cortex is the opposite with high mold costs (development time is measured in light years) but lower unit costs. At this moment in time Cortex bodies actually take us longer to build as we need to glue the parts closed. In the long run however, Cortex will be the more popular body type due to its ready-to-go and easy to maintain nature for children and newbies which is why we are heavily investing in the technology - we want to offer Cortex at a more competitive price over Vinyl.
I think that’s about it! I hope that this post provides you with enough info to make a purchase decision - if not, you can read more about the technicalities of the development process or ask other owners on social media such as Instagram using the #smartdoll hashtag.