“Above and beyond.” This is how GTRS is branding its new flagship device, the 200-watt GTRS VBOY. Kind of a bold statement for a company I accused of copyright infringement on its packaging. But based on the specs, I was enthused by the VBOY’s potential.
By building the VBOY around the popular YiHi SX500 chipset – the same used by the SX Mini G-Class – GTRS had a golden opportunity to develop a legitimate competitor to that mod, at a better price point. Does it live up to its company’s own hype? Sadly, it’s not even close in its current state – but there might be hope down the line with the right Firmware Update. Let’s take a look…
Initial impressions of the GTRS VBOY Mod
The VBOY is a very attractive device. It features a unique, highly beveled, almost concave body design that aims for ergonomic comfort through all aspects of operation. The inward curves on either side of the device have a finely rippled, textured grip that is an absolute pleasure to hold.
In turn, there is a front-facing, firm and clicky alloy fire button, right above a 1.3-inch square TFT display – two highlights of the VBOY mod. The top of the device has a center-mounted, press-fit 510 connection, with a gold-plated pin. Though all of my atomizers fit atop the device without any overhand, the spring-loaded pin is a little stiff for my liking, and several of my older atomizers had a hard time sitting flush.
The control buttons beneath the screen appear to be a light alloy, but feel very plasticky under heavy presses – a direct contrast to the firm, short-throw fire key. I didn’t experience any negatives from using the buttons, as they were all responsive with a nice-enough click, but I’m not sure how well they’re going to endure long-term use.
The curved sides of the device are nicely framed in zinc alloy, but there is a noticeable seam on either side that clearly show the mod was pressed together from two halves. I don’t know why this concerns me, but I wouldn’t be too keen on dropping the VBOY from any height for fear of it splitting.
However, the top-positioned USB connection is nice and snug, if not a little high on the side of the mod. But the port is good for firmware upgrades and onboard 2-amp charging, both of which worked perfectly well during testing.
The back of the device features more ribbed design, albeit carved into the alloy, rather than reflecting the soft, grippy sections on the sides. It’s clear GTRS wanted to ensure users never worried about the VBOY slipping in any conditions. (A nice touch, considering the “welded” nature of the frame.)
Another concern is the battery door, which is hinged, but requires a slight press inward to disengage the locking mechanism. Though it seemed sturdy enough, I noticed the snug grip become much looser over the course of two weeks of moderate use, and before too long, the door began inadvertently opening when placing the VBOY on hard surfaces. More than once, I had to close the door, forcing repeated reboots of the system.
Operating the GTRS VBOY Mod
Just like its older relative, the SX Mini G-Class, the VBOY’s 1.3-inch display is nothing short of pristine. Regardless of lighting, I had no problem operating the intuitive menu system, and actually preferred the three-button control to the awkward G-Class joystick.
One item to note is that the “negative/down” button is to the left, but is situated slightly higher than the other buttons. I’m sure hours of product testing went into this decision, but it failed to make much sense, and actually detracts from the VBOY’s otherwise symmetric, uniform design.
The primary screen displays more information than anyone really needs, but the stock “speedometer” display clearly shows wattage, voltage, resistance, mode, battery life, preheat settings and the time, without ever feeling crowded or claustrophobic.
The other screen layouts aren’t as easy to decipher, but do allow for user-selected wallpapers, to keep things a little more personalized. Using the YiHi SXI software is easy enough, but largely unnecessary, since the onboard menu is so thorough. Plus, unless you use Windows, this software isn’t currently available. Escribe, this isn’t.
One of the best parts of the YiHi menu system is how easily it is to set, store and save custom TC settings, so you don’t have to repeat the process every time you swap tanks. I’m not much of a temp control vaper, but having my titanium test rig settings stored made it more palatable for a guy who appreciates simplicity.
Finally, I should mention that unlike the G-Class, the VBOY doesn’t have Bluetooth capability, which should disappoint approximately 0.05% of our audience base.
Vaping the GTRS VBOY Mod
For several moments, I enjoyed vaping the VBOY. But the performance suffers from one MAJOR flaw – a flaw that will likely relegate this mod to my ever-growing graveyard of forgotten devices unless YiHi’s programmers get to work quickly.
What was the problem? The most erratic, jumpy, inaccurate resistance readings I’ve ever seen. At no point during my time with the VBOY did I ever have a coil maintain a steady reading. And I’m not talking about variances of 0.01 ohms – I had a prebuilt SMOK Baby Beast coil jump from its stated 0.15 ohms, to 0.3, to 0.7in a matter of five draws. On every other mod I own the same coil read at 0.15 ohms, steadily.
Using my own coils, the problem only worsened, with the device repeatedly throwing low-resistance warnings on coils that were nowhere near the device’s lower limits.
(Spoiler alert: I’m also reviewing the IPV Eclipse, and the YiHi SX500 chipset demonstrates the exact same problem on that mod, as well.)
Now, keep in mind that the VBOY fired okay using these coils, even with the jumpy readings. But there were noticeable spikes in heat and power from time to time. So, when ignoring the jumpy display, and lowering the power to avoid spikes that could kill my coils, the VBOY was comfortable to hold, and ramped up very quickly. In other words, it worked like most good mods.
In temp control, the same coil resistance fluctuations occurred, but the erratic readings made it more difficult to set proper parameters. When I did, it mostly stayed put, allowing me to – again – enjoy a solid, if unspectacular vape.
Finally, I should mention that – for the sake of review – I soldiered through this erratic experience to test battery duration, and found that the VBOY has surprisingly good longevity between charges, despite the ever fluctuating readouts and vibrant display. Plus, the onboard 2-amp charging was actually faster than my Nitecore 4-bay smart charger. Yes, the VBOY got awfully warm during charging, but it’s nice to know this technology is getting better and more convenient.
So, did the GTRS VBOY work? Technically, yes, it fired my coils and I was able to vape. But these are concessions I would have trouble making for a $30 mod, much less a $100+ one. I do think a firmware upgrade could easily fix this, as well, turning the VBOY into something immediately desirable for fans of higher-end devices. But the most recent firmware didn’t fix my mod (nor did it affect the IPV Eclipse, for that matter).
I have to say, this review is both confusing and disappointing, but I’m not giving the VBOY a failing grade, because I sincerely believe the mod is a firmware fix away from being one of the most comfortable, powerful devices in my arsenal. It simply feels too nice in the hand, and too intuitive to use, and I want to give GTRS a chance to redeem itself. If only firmware could fix a finicky battery door.
I won’t plan on making a habit of reviewing devices on potential, but – despite some serious flaws in the GTRS VBOY performance – I have a feeling this one will rise from the ashes through a simple update. If that day comes, I’ll be sure to revisit the VBOY in short order.
Score: D+ for current state, but certainly an “A” with the right firmware upgrade.
I will update this review if and when a new firmware upgrade is released that fixes the issues I had. Let’s hope it is sooner rather than later.
Do you own the GTRS VBOY? How’s it working for you? Are you running into the same issues as I have, or am I missing something?
GTRS VBOY Specs and Package Contents
GTRS VBOY 200W Mod Specs:
- Wattage: 5-200 watts
- Resistance Range: 0.05 – 3.0 ohm, best at 0.1 – 0.5 ohm
- Temp Range: 200°F-600°F/100°C- 300°C
- Battery: 2 x 18650 batteries (not included)
- Display Resolution: 240*240
- Modes: TC-Ni/TC-Ti/TC-SS/VW/TCR
- Power & Joule Memories: Each M1 – M5
- Taste: Standard/Powerful/Powerful+/Curve/SOFT
- Thread Type: 510 spring-loaded thread
- Light Color: Red, Green, White, Tiffany Blue, Blue
GTRS VBOY 200W Mod Contents:
- 1x VBOY 200W box mod
- 1x USB cable
- 1x User manual
- 1x Warranty card