The following is my personal take on the shuttlecocks I have used in the past few years.
In summary, there is no cheaper product which is durable and has best performance aka you get what you paid for. It's like wanting to own a BMW or Mercedes. You would not buy a Proton or Cherry and expect it to be the equivalent of a German automobile!
Alike buying a car, it is a compromise - Durability, Cost and Performance.
Finally had the time to revisit a group I used to join on and off. My previous visit was over about 2years ago.
Boy did I receive a SURPRISE ... they were using genuine Yonex AS50 (Speed-2) shuttles and charge only $6 per player!!!
Hats off to the organiser*for pulling off this feat!
The Yonex AS50 is what you would expect from a top notch quality shuttle aka defacto standard for other shuttles to aspire to.
My only comment is that Speed-2 AS50 was a bit faster on the clears (aka flat flight paths). Otherwise everything is as one would expect from the defacto standard.
*Reason I say so is because many groups in MEETUP.COM charge $6-16 per player for a 2hr session and provide mediocre shuttles or very small number of new shuttles only. Hence if he can provide real Yonex AS50 and charge $6 per player, these other organisers are really raking it in. Sure MEETUP charge for using their facility but it's a puny USD$2.99 for 6-months if you try registering a dummy group to find out the cost ... whats the next excuse for raking it in?
Joined a friend's friend group and they were using Li-Ning A300 shuttles.
From memory, the tube colour scheme looks unchange. However, the shuttle feels much lighter than before. When I first used the A300 around 2007/8, it had good weight and hence provided very nice feedback upon contact with the racquet. This A300 felt nothing like the original eg as if Gozilla was transformed into Pee-Wee Herman!!!
Honestly if it was a blind test, I would feedback it was a budget shuttle.
Flight wise, performance was acceptable until a few hard smashes later. The shuttle would sudden slow down in mid-air ... time for replacement! Even so, the shuttle speed consistency is much preferable when compared to the Efeel and/or Sintec - atleast the speed consistency remains acceptable till it gives.
Durability, is acceptable for non-power smashing games. The shuttle rib-cage structure gives way more often than any feather breaking. However these feathers do ruffle easily and need to be coerce back into place after every point.
Cost, is always an issue with Li-Ning products as they are priced above the norm.
In summary, if cost is not an issue then go for it. Otherwise best look for alternatives.