Last Updated on January 12, 2018 by Team Spinfuel

I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing several Think Vape DNA (review here) devices over the last few years, and have always enjoyed the company’s high-quality products and craftsmanship. But I surprised to hear the Think Vape Ruger 230W TC compact box mod would be made with a proprietary chipset, and not the vaunted DNA board.


As it turns out, the Ruger may not need a DNA pedigree to be a top-tier device, since this compact box mod has shown itself to be a pocket-friendly powerhouse in our limited time using it. Let’s take a quick look at what the Think Vape Ruger 230W TC compact box mod has to offer.

Think Vape Ruger 230W TC Compact Box Mod Preview
Element Vape

Bold Colors and Design


My first impression of the Ruger was “wow.” My yellow and black test Model practically jumped out of the simple packaging with striking color contrasts, rock-solid construction, round OLED display window, and joystick control scheme.


(Wow, that last sentence was a mouthful.)


I use the term “palm-friendly” a lot in our reviews, and many Modern vape devices fit the bill. But the  Think Vape Ruger might be a new standard-bearer. As soon as I removed the Mod from the Box, I was floored how a device with so many juts, cutouts and protrusions could feel so comfortable in the palm. Yet I have barely put it down since it arrived on my desk earlier today.


The solid zinc alloy frame feels extremely durable without batteries installed, and feels even moreso with a pair of 18650s in place. There is ample venting throughout the Ruger’s frame, strong press-fit 510 connection, and an interesting leather-like skin on the rear battery door. There are a lot of ways to describe the Ruger, but “boring” isn’t one of them.


I do have a few question marks after taking an initial look at the Ruger. For starters, the battery door on our test Model came loose very easily, even when just picking up the Mod to vape it. Likewise, the joystick nub protrudes a little further than first expected. While the Ruger remains a very palm-friendly device, it’s not nearly as pocket-friendly as I’d like.


Finally, the circular OLED window is a very cool way to read pertinent device information, though I wish there was a little more real estate in which to do so. Even though the screen is the industry-standard 0.96 inches, the rounded effect makes the “porthole” seem smaller than it is. But the LED backlight that surrounds the display is more subtle than expected, and adds a nice visual effect.

Unique Operations

The zinc alloy fire button and joystick are both firm and appropriately clicky, with a solid feel throughout. However, users will immediately notice the lack of standard up/down operation buttons. Instead, the joystick nub has a center-press function that allows users to select and adjust on the fly.


I’ve had some mixed experiences with joystick controls in the past, but are intrigued by this new way to navigate a traditional operating system. It’s far too early to pass judgment on this feature right now, but I’ll definitely go through the highs and lows in the full review.


Beneath the hood, the Think Vape Ruger compact Box Mod can dish out 230 watts of power on just two 18650s – something I’ll definitely be testing, as well. But the Ruger will also bring full temperature control capabilities, five TCR slots, bypass Mode and more.


I’m not too familiar with the proprietary ST230 chipset, but the spec sheet is hitting all the right notes for a Mod in this category. It might not provide DNA-levels of customization and control, but I’m not sure that’s the audience Think Vape is targeting with the Ruger. If the Mod performs up to expectations, I highly doubt people are going to complain about the lack of software apps and custom curves.


The board does allow for 2-amp onboard charging, and our first try showed it to be fast and accurate, with only a little heat emanating from the device. I will certainly push it a little further before making a judgment, but Think Vape seems to have a board that can handle USB charging without much concern.


Overall, the Think Vape Ruger 230W TC compact Box Mod has our interest. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to receive a school bus-inspired yellow Box Mod in my review queue. But more importantly, I wasn’t expecting to like it so much, either.


Think Vape has taken some chances with the Ruger – first, by abandoning the DNA board in favor of a more wallet-friendly alternative. But also by throwing convention out the window and designing a unique device that bucks a lot of Modern vaping conventions to stand out on crowded shelves.


I’ll be spending some considerable time testing the Think Vape Ruger Mod this week, and will have a full breakdown of its performance soon after!

Think Vape Ruger Specs and Contents

Think Vape Ruger 230W TC Compact Box Mod Specs:

  • Size: 90 x 44 x 28 mm
  • Weight: 149g
  • Battery : 2 x 18650 (not included)
  • Output wattage: 230W max
  • Output Modes: VW/Bypass/Temp Control (Ni, SS, Ti, TCR-M1,M2,M3)
  • ST 230 chipset
  • Colours: Red, blue, black, yellow and silver
  • Material: Zinc Alloy
  • 2A charge
  • 0.96 inch OLED display
  • 510 tank connector


Think Vape Ruger 230W TC compact Box Mod contents:

  • 1x Ruger 230 Mod
  • 1x USB Cable
  • 1x User Manual