The costs of running this huge site are paid for by ads. Please consider registering and becoming a Supporting Member for an ad-free experience. Thanks, ECF team.

VV Gripper by SmokTech Review

Discussion in 'E-Cigarette APV Reviews' started by icgns, Aug 2, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Image has been removed.
URL has been removed.
Email address has been removed.
Media has been removed.
  1. icgns

    icgns Full Member Verified Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    USA
    The device is a plastic box (with a rubberized finish) VVmod, similar in functionality with the Lavatube with some improvements.

    1 Packaging
    Decent box with a short user manual that has some mistakes -explained later.

    2 Electronics
    Different from Lavatube (LT from now on): ON/OFF button 5 clicks activation during a 3 seconds window. Probably this is a better pocket protection than the long press in LT (v1). Different in feel than the ego batteries because the 5 clicks must be very fast (I have the impression that the time to do the clicks is more like 2 seconds). The display shows ON and OFF - nice feature.

    The + and – buttons increment and decrement the voltage by 0.1V from 3V to 6V and back similar to LT. Different is the fact you can hold the buttons and it varies the voltage up or down without the need to click for very increment/decrement (similar to the adjustments for electronic clocks) – nice feature. By pressing both buttons it does not lock the voltage, a feature that anyway I did not use in LT. The display as with the LT goes off after 3-4 seconds. If you need to recheck the preset voltage you have to press either one of the +or – buttons this action will also have the unwanted effect of increasing/decreasing the voltage by 0.1V.

    The display is LCD white digits on dark blue background with a white border – nicer and more visible than the LT.
    Pressing the ON/OFF button once (with the device ON) the display shows the resistance of the vaping element (cartos, etc) for about 3 –4 seconds followed by the voltage of the battery for another 3 seconds. The ohm symbol for resistance and V for battery voltage are also displayed with small fonts at the right of the value.
    The fire button, located on top is somehow similar to the LT, about the same size but travel distance seems slightly longer. It is also a click style button. When you fire a blue LED illuminates the ON/OFF button (There is no choice in disabling it).

    The reverse battery protection works.
    The low battery protection kicks at 3.4 V a little too soon in my opinion (and slightly sooner than the LT). It is said that this feature prolongs the overall battery life. The display shows LO-V.
    Low Resistance indicator – for output resistance below 1.2 ohm by pressing the ON/OFF button the display shows LOW Ohm (from the user manual – not verified because the smallest carto I have has 1.25 Ohm). I actually think that probably for any resistance smaller than 1.2 Ohm the short circuit protection kicks in and acts accordingly.
    Short-circuit indicator works – the device does not fire and displays LO Ohm (and not as stated in the user manual).
     
  2. icgns

    icgns Full Member Verified Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    USA
    3 Batteries
    According to the user manual PROTECTED 18650 batteries are to be used. This is a change from LT and Provari both recommending IMR unprotected. I used the AW IMR 1600mah (unprotected) which fit (65mm long) and work without problem. The AW 3100mah protected that I have does not fit (68mm long).

    4 Design
    The body is molded plastic, could be thicker but is not very thin either. With battery inside is lighter than the LT, which I like.
    The with is probably 8-10mm wider than was necessary to fit the internals.

    The battery slot accessible from the bottom of the device has a spring on the + side (???) and the access door is thin plastic with plastic locking, probably the first thing to break in this device (looking at the pictures of the previous gripper – not vv – seemed much better, similar to LT). Again Chinese designers do not get the fact that the relief spot for the gas to escape in case of battery explosion is placed on the + side. The batteries should go with the minus up. Also the vent hole should face the + side. There is no vent hole with this device and probably not necessary with a plastic body.
    There is a louvered vent on the side, I suspect made to prevent the overheating of the electronics.

    The 510 connector is according to madvapes SS. Maybe it is. It does not have a drip well which is not ok for the so often leaking attys.
    The rubberized body looks good, feels good in hand but in case of a leak harder to clean (compared to a metal body)
    .
    The fire button, because of the hollow plastic body that acts like a resonance box, clicks too loud. I like the clicking buttons with shorter travel and less noise – ego style- but that is me.

    I had a serious leak from a tank and I have the feeling that liquid gets into the device either through the presumed sealed 510 connector or in between the two halves of the molded body. Maybe it was a wrong impression, others might confirm this or not. Anyway the body does not seem to have a good sealing which is quite bad.
     
  3. icgns

    icgns Full Member Verified Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    USA
    5 Ergonomics
    For people using self made or bought box style vaping devices this is probably progress. I do not like big diameter tube style devices (I never liked the LT).
    I find the button placement on top not ergonomic. If used as intended with 4 fingers gripping in the specially made indents on the side, the finger pressing the fire button has to make a little bit of yoga. I ended using just 3 fingers on the bottom indents, the small finger placed under the device, this arrangement elevates a little bit the top, making the pressing of the fire button more natural.
    The best spot for the fire button for this form factor is in the first top finger indent, handgun style, but they did otherwise. Also the top fire button placement might also allow leaks into the device (the button does not seem to be very well sealed either).

    6 Measurements
    I verified the resistance indication with a German made multimeter and is quite close.
    1.25 Ohm Displayed value 1.2 Ohm
    1.43 Ohm Displayed value 1.4 Ohm
    3.03 Ohm Displayed value 2.9 Ohm

    I verified the preset voltage (without load) and my multimeter shows close values for the entire 3-6V range.
    I verified the actual voltage with a battery charged at 4V (almost full) with a 1.4 Ohm load and a 3.0 Ohm load. The current limitation starts at 4.2 V for the 1.4 Ohm load. For the higher load I see no limitation under 5.5V.
    I also verified the actual voltage with a battery charged at 3.6V (almost empty) with a 1.4 Ohm load. The current limitation starts at 4.1V.
    As a reminder the voltage out is PWM and the correct value should be measured with an oscilloscope (that I do not have) not with a voltmeter.
    The results are:

    Displayed (V): 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0
    Actual (No Load) (V): 3.15 3.56 4.05 4.12 4.22 4.5 4.96 5.44 5.90
    Actual (1.4 Ohm Load) (4V Bat): 2.90 3.40 3.84 3.95 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.04 4.04
    Actual (1.4 Ohm Load) (3.6V Bat): 2.90 3.37 3.75 3.80 3.80 3.80 3.80 3.80 3.80
    Actual (3.0 Ohm Load) (4V Bat): 2.93 3.41 3.89 3.97 4.12 4.37 4.9 5.35 5.65
    Anyway in spite of the accuracy of my multimeter the maximum Voltage for a load of 1.4 Ohm is around 4.1 V. That means the device has a current limit of around 2.7 - 3A (depending on the battery status) and not 4A as the manufacturer specifies. This still means a maximum power of a little over 10W which I find plenty.
    PS I can not edit the table in my post to align the collums. It is a little difficult to read. Copy and paste in a word processor and you will be able better read it.
     
  4. icgns

    icgns Full Member Verified Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    USA
    7 What to buy
    As others have said countless times, use AW batteries (in spite of the company not having a web site , being easy to fake – AW is written on a stupid sticker - and the only battery explosion documented that I am aware of being an AW IMR).

    Anyway do not buy this in a kit or batteries and charger from madvapes. For charger look for XTAR WP2 – very good (charging curve almost perfect) and decently priced (US $17.95 on eBay from US dealer). Also avoid the ridiculously priced but famed Pila, overheating, with a substandard PCB design and soldering of components inside. Never charge batteries while driving (both XTAR and Pila allow this with an optional cable– imagine the effect of an explosion in a small space at high speed).

    8 Where to buy
    Madvapes $59.99
    Mountain Oak Vapors $54.99
    China $27 (in 200 pcs qty)
     
  5. icgns

    icgns Full Member Verified Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    USA
    9 Final thoughts
    I like the electronics. I think this is the best affordable commercial device on the market right now. (Do not get me started on Provari or Darwin). If you prefer LT form factor wait for v3. It is using a single battery not a stackable configuration. It is using replaceable batteries that you charge outside the device. You do not need to Morse code the menu because they made a $2 economy using a cheap processor, they did not.

    I am not mad about the ergonomics (see above) but I prefer it to the LT. It looks cheap compared to the Provari (and it is by 2/3) but not compared to the original LT or Darwin.

    The absence of seals (in case my observation is correct) might be a problem with liquid leaks.
    If you lose it you cry less. If you break the plastic you have a fully featured board inside that is better than other solutions (TI mods or similar) for building your own mod. I have a broken top LT and removing the circuit and using it proved to be changeling.

    10 A word of caution
    I tried to cover all the aspects that I could think of, expressing my opinion and I do not endorse or recommend the product. You decide.
    I spent the time making this review for your info and I have no additional undisclosed things to speak about. I am not going to answer all kind of questions. Those of you having additional meaningful info, measurements, etc you are welcome to let us know.
     
  6. The Doctor

    The Doctor Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 25, 2012
    Barrie, ON
    Am picking one up tomorrow, thanks for the review. :)

    Vaping since: a while
    Cigarettes avoided: lots
    Money saved: probably not
    Devices: Yes
    (insert crappy graphic and vendor logo here)
     
  7. Fiamma

    Fiamma Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 9, 2012
    So Calif
    A friend of mine bought one of these already. She dropped it in the kitchen and it came apart in pieces. Second day of use.
     
  8. Errol

    Errol Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    Salt lake City, Ut



    Very comprehensive review Icgns. I had done just enough of the numbers to know that it wasn't as advertised and your numbers were essentially the same as what I had.

    Have put in a request for a RMA, certainly not what I ordered nor what I want. I'll wait for a true 4amp unit, LavaTube or a Young June clone with the menu and +- buttons, dearly hate the Provari type single menu button arrangement. Sure did like the functionality and display on the Gripper though.

    Errol
     
  9. The Doctor

    The Doctor Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 25, 2012
    Barrie, ON
    For the size and price.. Still not the worst vv out there. If it can hit 4.2v (what i vape at usually) and has reasonable battery life, then I'll be more than happy to use it as an out and about device.

    Always been kinda apprehensive about using the larger cylindrical apv's while out...had too many lewd comments. Either it's the device, our my mates are perverts. Likely a combo. ;p hopefully this lasts the month so i can finish a dna mod

    This isn't a high end APV, this device is basically a stylized lavatube, which, for 60 bucks, I'm ok with.

    Vaping since: a while
    Cigarettes avoided: lots
    Money saved: probably not
    Devices: Yes
    (insert crappy graphic and vendor logo here)
     
  10. CDnerds

    CDnerds Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 9, 2012
    NJ
    Go basically its a box mod version of the Lavatube version 1 with the same limitations?
     
  11. Luther

    Luther Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 5, 2011
    Winston-Salem, N.C.
    Thanks for the very detailed review.
     
  12. The Doctor

    The Doctor Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 25, 2012
    Barrie, ON
    So i just picked up one of these. I'll do a more in depth review soon, but here are my first impressions.

    First off: how does it vape. It vapes well. It vapes very well. At the display setting of 4.2 on a vivi nova, using a 1.8 head (ohm reading on the device says 2.0 and ohm meter confirms) I'm satisfied. It pushes enough power to give a more than satisfying vape.

    Aesthetics: it's small. Feels pretty good in the hand, a little awkward at first but not terribly so, coming from tube mods, pipe mods and sweetvapes "the grip" vv feeder, which is huge and awesome, it feels very small indeed. Left or right handed, it's s good fit.

    The rubberized coating is nice, and the fire button is clicky. It feels cheap though, which is appropriate, as it IS cheap. The fact that the 510 connector is located on the seam of the device concerns me due to potential leakage and the consequences of such an event. The connector is a little wobbly (as are the adjustment buttons), but to be honest, not enough that the average person will notice under normal use.

    The battery door is flimsy, and my major complaint..using an Panasonic 18650 imr (non protected) flat top, it still doesn't close all the way, close, but not completely. The battery isn't falling out, and stays in if i shake the device, but it lays a little uneven when set down on the base.

    Bottom line: is it worth the money? I think so. It hits better than a Lavatube, looks nicer and feels nicer. If they could drop the price a little, this would be the perfect entry level APV. I'm sure the revision (it's smoktech, there will be one.) will be great. Would love to see it in ss.

    Changes i would make (excluding amp, volt etc because i haven't tested that yet):

    #1 the battery door. Give it a spring, and a better closure mechanism.

    #2 seal the seam, at least around the 510 connector.

    #3 tighten the connector up.

    #4 tighten the buttons.

    I'm not disappointed with my purchase, it hits well, and is cheap. I bought one hoping for the former and expecting the latter... So of that is your mindset going in, you will be very happy with the device. It's a tiny mod that hits like a champ. Does it have endurance? We'll see.

    If smoktech wants to send me a version 2, i would be excited... They do well when they revise their kit. Wish they would beta test a little better before releasing new gear though. They are a good company, with some solid product, they just need to focus on quality control a little harder, and less on keeping up with the Joneses.



    Vaping since: a while
    Cigarettes avoided: lots
    Money saved: probably not
    Devices: Yes
    (insert crappy graphic and vendor logo here)
     
  13. The Doctor

    The Doctor Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 25, 2012
    Barrie, ON
    Forgot to mention...the batteries i used were 2250MAh. Just put a 1500 MAh in, and it fits fine.

    Vaping since: a while
    Cigarettes avoided: lots
    Money saved: probably not
    Devices: Yes
    (insert crappy graphic and vendor logo here)
     
  14. evilferret

    evilferret Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 6, 2010
    Flushing NY
    Anybody else getting lag with the button?

    It takes a split second after hitting it to start and maybe a second to turn off after you release it?
     
  15. Errol

    Errol Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    Salt lake City, Ut
    You're more reasonable than I am. :) The Gripper is a 3amp single battery clone of VV Ovale V8 at double the price, $60 over $30. And what make it worth twice the price? They advertise it as a 4amp APV. :)

    Errol
     
  16. The Doctor

    The Doctor Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 25, 2012
    Barrie, ON
    I'm not really a numbers snob. So you can push it to 4, 5, 6 amps...great. Are you going to? Are you even gong to notice a quantifiable difference? Probably not.

    I have mods that are 4+ amps, can push 12 Watts etc. by large, they stay at 4.2 volts or in that neighborhood. I don't even know if I'd want that kind of juice running through a plastic device tbh.

    I'm more about "does it work for what i want it for" than waving my numbers around and doing "Personal Electronic Nicotine Inhalation System" comparisons ;)

    Give me a Darwin, I'm happy. Give me a Lavatube, I'm happy. If it pushes enough wattage, consistently, to give me good vape and flavor, I'm content.

    These days, it's less about your device and more about your atty, carto, ce2/3/4/5 etc anyway. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves IMO

    Vaping since: a while
    Cigarettes avoided: lots
    Money saved: probably not
    Devices: Yes
    (insert crappy graphic and vendor logo here)
     
  17. The Doctor

    The Doctor Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 25, 2012
    Barrie, ON
    Oh yeah, here's a review :)



    Vaping since: a while
    Cigarettes avoided: lots
    Money saved: probably not
    Devices: Yes
    (insert crappy graphic and vendor logo here)
     
  18. Stosh

    Stosh Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Oct 2, 2010
    Nevada
    Wonderful in depth review, I have one and you're spot on in your evaluations. For me at least one part is why I bought it, and don't regret it in the least.

     
  19. classwife

    classwife Admin Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Moved to APV Reviews from APV Discussion

    :)
     
  20. Errol

    Errol Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    Salt lake City, Ut
    That really isn't the point, I have over a dozen APVs that will do a fine job of vaping including a couple of 3amp units. For me at least, the point is I want a 4amp unit whether I need it or not, and the Gripper was advertised as a 4amp unit. That was the only reason I bought another APV that I didn't need. :)

    Edit: FWIW my eGo Twist and Super VV eGo along with my 5v Wow aka Woo are my primary go to PVs, seldom use my VMax or any of the others for that matter. Your point is valid in that I could have stopped with my first MV VV Box mod to fill all my vaping needs for years and saved a heck of a lot of money. :)

    Errol
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice