After losing my fullsize Lavatube in a Taxi I went on the hunt for a new device and of course wanted to checkout if there was anything new and improved on the market. While I loved it’s function I was never happy with the size and shape of the Lavatube. I used it at home or in the office but never felt comfortable with it in public. When I saw the VV Gripper from SmokTech it instantly peaked my interested based on the shape. It’s price isn’t all bad either with the standalone unit coming in at under $50.
First thing I noticed when I ripped the package open and got my hands on the Gripper is that it has a soft touch matte coating. I would guess rubberized. It feels pleasant against your skin and in your hand. The coating also deals pretty well with the oils on your hand, doesn’t get covered in fingerprints instantly, and wipes off easily. Another thing that struck me right away is how light this thing is due to plastic construction. An 18650 battery fits perfectly behind a sliding trap door on the bottom, not unlike those found on a digital camera. The LCD screen glows a nice bright blue with white digits and looks good. I’m not sure if it’s better quality or just higher contrast but it’s easier to read than most.
Feature set on this unit is not unlike many other variable voltage ecigarettes with some minor differences. There’s 4 buttons in total, each providing a positive click when pressed. The ON button has a dual function. Pressing it 5 times in quick succession turns the Gripper ON and OFF. While it’s ON pressing this button once will display the resistance for the attached atomizer or cartomizer for about 4-5 seconds, followed by the remaining battery voltage for another 3 seconds.
Plus and minus buttons are used to adjust the voltage in .1 increments from 3 to 6 volts. A nice touch is you can hold either of the +/- buttons down for continuous adjustment without needing to click for every increment. The device considers a battery drained when it reaches 3.4v, which is slightly higher than most that use a 3.2v setting. However, this is likely done to prolong the overall battery life. As expected there’s polarity protection in case you put the battery in incorrectly, short circuit protection and it will not function with any cartomizer or atomizer lower than 1.2ohms.
So one of the obvious differences from many other devices is the ergonomic shape. I prefer it much more than the large tube designs. The button to vape is at the top and there’s molded finger grips on the side. Initially I started using this device, as seemingly intended, with 4 fingers wrapped around it and thumb at the top. I quickly found this to be less than ideal. It put my thumb in an awkward position to actually press the button well, I think this way of holding it would work far better for someone with a smaller hand perhaps. Without really noticing it, I naturally transitioned to having my pinky on the bottom with 3 fingers wrapped around it. This pushes the unit up but feels just right in this position.
I have to admit this unit is not perfect. I have 2 issues with it. Firstly the VV Gripper is made from 2 halves. While this seam doesn’t have any play, I’m concerned it may let liquid in especially around the button and threaded connection. I don’t overfill frequently but it maybe a bigger concern for those dripping. I haven’t had any issues over a few months use now, even with a few overfills flooding out from the cartomizer. Secondly, the threaded connector on my unit has just a small amount of play. It annoyed me initially but I’ve gotten used to it since. It’s something I’d expect it to be solid and it may just be my unit but it’s worth mentioning.
Primarily the VV Gripper is sold as a standalone product without any starter kit option. Beyond the unit itself, it requires 18650 batteries with the associated charger; cartomizer, atomizer or tank; and eliquid. I already had all these items from my previous variable voltage device so I purchased my Gripper all by itself. However I found one of the only kits available, and it’s actually quite nice. It comes with two 3ML DCTs, two batteries, a charger, two spare DCT replacement cartomizers and a mouthpieces. The only thing that’s missing is the eliquid, which I would recommend purchasing separately anyway.
VV Gripper Starter Kit or Standalone and ELiquid Reviews
In general the plastic seems rather sturdy but I would rate the quality of construction as simply ok. It doesn’t come across as a high quality piece, at the same time it functions as expected and has held up perfectly to daily use for at least 3 months now. Taking price into account I believe that makes this a rather attractive option. My wallet won’t cringe if I happen to lose it, and does everything I need day-to-day without issue.
SmokTech VV Gripper Starter Kit with DCTs – Comes with everything but eliquid
SmokTech VV Gripper – Device Only – Great option if you already have batteries, tanks and charger.