This is my review of the SMY 60w TC Mini hereafter referred to as simply the Mini.
I picked this up at a local Brick and Morter shop, Liberty Vapors for a great price. They are exceptional and always go out of their way to take care of customers, which is why they are my goto brick and mortar shop.
The Mini has a beautiful colorful screen and relatively easy menu system that really sets it apart from most other mods out there. The size is quite nice, slightly wider, taller and deeper than the IPV D2, and much more of a box shape with nicely bevelled edges that make it a pleasure to hold (unlike the Sigelei 75w). Like many mods, it comes in Black and Stainless. I prefer the stainless for this mod, I think it looks better, but all they had in the shop was the black … so I took it. The black matte finish looks really nice, but I’m not sure how well it will hold up. The back panel has a carbon fiber look and comes in three colors, Black, Red, and Blue. Mine came in blue and I’m really not a fan.
Initial Impressions: The Mini does not “feel” like a high quality mod. Despite the fact that the display is gorgeous, and there is a standard micro USB port on the bottom, there are quite a few issues that make it feel like a mass produced device with minimal quality control. SMY needs to pay attention to detail and this mod could be a much cleaner build. The blue carbon fiber sticker on the battery cover is crooked, and since the company logo is printed on it in silver, it really stands out that the applique was not properly aligned when cut. The sticker is slick and glossy, giving it a very fake appearance of carbon fiber. A textured sticker would have gone a long way here and added a high quality, tactile feel to it.
The screen is stunning! Compared to most mods, this screen is just huge and really stands out. In fair lighting you can see everything in full color, it is awesome, although in bright sunlight, it is a touch difficult to see and the colors tend to get washed out. I wish it had a brightness adjustment though, it is a little too bright at night, and not quite bright enough in full daylight. I do like that you can set the date and time and see them on the main screen.
The menu system is unique and simple to use. In fact, one of the options in the menu will bring up 6 pages of “help” topics on the different menu settings. This is a really nice feature for new vapers, however, it is lost on me. They might as well have just given you a pocket reference card to stick in your wallet. The simplicity of the menu is also one of it’s biggest downfalls (more on this later), but it seems to work okay. The layout could definitely be improved though. It takes 3 clicks of the fire button to access the menus. If you are used to mods with 5 clicks, then this one will really piss you off until you get used to it. If you click the fire button on the Mini 5 times, the first 3 clicks will access the menu system, the fourth click will access the shutdown menu, and the fifth click will initiate a total shutdown of the mod. I am still trying to get used to it, and several times a day find myself accidentally turning off the mod. Thankfully it powers up fairly quickly, but it is still annoying that the shutdown option is the FIRST thing on the list when you access the settings.
Operations: The Mini chipset is very simple, there are not a lot of options for people that really like to customize their vaping experience, but there are enough to make most people happy. Clicking the fire button 3 times takes you into the menu mode. Some settings have selections accessed via the +/- buttons, while others take immediate effect. Now lets talk about the menu options. for the settings, there are 4 selectable “icons” across the bottom of the screen and I will touch on them in left to right order:
- Power (Power switch icon)
- Device Lock (Padlock icon)
- System Settings (Gear icon)
- Help (Question mark icon)
Power: Does exactly what you expect. Unfortunately, given it’s default location, does it more frequently than you would expect too!
Device Lock: Again, does exactly what you would expect. There is a shortcut though, depress +/- buttons simultaneously and it will achieve the same effect, lock/unlock the device.
- Work Mode: This switches between power and temperature control (F/C) settings. Power is traditional variable wattage control for non temperature coils (Kanthal) ant TF/TC are the 2 different settings for temperature controlled coils (Ni200). There does not seem to be a dedicated Ti mode, so I suspect this was only designed for Nickel and not Titanium. A huge problem here is that when in TF/TC mode, you can adjust the temperature, but NOT the wattage as well. There is no opportunity here to set a higher wattage than necessary to get up to temperature quickly, like you can with most mods.
- Time Setting: This is where you adjust the automatic cutoff time for your “puff”, the time the display stays on, and the automatic shut off (power down) time for the Mini.
- Vapor Mode: Manual or Automatic. Manual is the traditional style, push the button as long as you are firing the device, release it when finished. Automatic mode is a little foreign to me, push and release the fire button and the mod fires by itself until you push and release the button a second time.
- Date and Time: Self explanatory, shows up on the display and is actually a lot more useful than I originally gave credit for!
- Puffs Info: This mode counts every press of the fire button (when not in rapid succession) as a “puff”. The overall count is displayed on the main display and here in the menu. As a nice touch for a mostly useless feature, they also give you the total cumulative time of all puffs, and an easy way to reset the statistics.
- Stealth Mode: Puts the mod into stealth mode and takes it out of it. Unlike some other mods, this is a TRUE stealth mode, there is no sign of life when vaping in this mode. There is not so much as a hint of flicker like many mods have. Adjusting up/down will bring up the display for visibility, but will dim immediately once the +/- buttons are no longer being used.
- Exit: Exits the menu system and returns you to vaping mode.
Question Mark: Brings up the 6 pages of information and help using the device. I really think this is unnecessary, but if you need it, its there.
Fit and finish: I touched on this a bit in my initial impressions above, so I will try to go a little more in depth here. The mini feels pretty solid with some exceptions.
The first huge exception is the battery door. When I first put in a battery, the door rocked back and forth, corner to corner. I thought it was rocking on the curve of the battery, but in fact, upon closer inspection, it was misshapen. I had to remove the battery door and try and straighten it out just to get it to fit properly. The door is held on by magnets, but not very tightly like the Sigelei 75w doors. I suspect that these are cheap magnets that will wear over time and need to be replaced.
My next concern is with the finish itself. The matte black color is awesome, but it doesn’t feel like it will hold up well. 18 hours in, and there are already wear marks on the bottom, just from picking it up and putting it down on a flat table. As I mentioned above, the carbon fiber look is just cheap. It has a holographic style to it and is slick and slippery feeling plastic that really feels out of place with the fairly solid feeling metal of the mod’s body. As if that were not enough, mine was die cut poorly and is off kilter. The edges line up perfectly with the door, it was just cut wrong so that once applied it looks crooked. If you have a little OCD, it’s enough to drive you crazy, and there is NOTHING you can do about it.
The buttons are chromed, and look good on the Stainless version, but they should be black on the black version as the chrome looks out of place. With an atty mounted on it, nothing else on the mod that you can see is chrome. The do feel okay, and give nice positive feedback when pushed, but they are loud and click like a cheap button. The fire button on mine seems to be slightly off, if you don’t push it from the proper angle, it will “feel and sound” like it clicked, but not actually do anything. Thankfully all the buttons seem to be well mounted, there is no button rattle when you shake the mod. We will see how they hold up over time.
The 510 connector sticks up ever so slightly, leaving a gap between the tank and the top of the mod. I don’t know if this was an intentional design decision or if it’s just my mod, but the tank should sit flush with the body of the mod. The connector is also the only other thing on the mod that is chrome, and it has a spring loaded center pin that seems to work with all of my tanks and attys so far.
Overall Impression: The quality of the Mini just doesn’t feel like it is very well built. For the money ~$70 it isn’t horrible, but I think there are better options available like the IPV D2 and possibly the Joyetech VTC Mini (will let you know soon, once I get mine). I am very underwhelmed by the little things that COULD make this an exceptional mod. The poor design choices in the menu layout, the off kilter, holographic carbon fiber sticker, the chrome buttons, etc. all tell a story of the little mod that might have been great. If SMY took the time to quality control the product, and pay attention to these little details, I would probably have a much different opinion of it. It seems to do well on a single battery, and since I rarely go above 24 watts, the top end being “only” 60 watts doesn’t affect me. I know that there are many that need more, but I’m not one of them. The physical size isn’t too bad, slightly larger than the IPV D2, slightly smaller than the IPV Mini 2, and not too heavy. The bevelled edges of the mod actually feel good in the hand, not nearly as “sharp” feeling as the Sigelei 75w. The bottom line is this, as it is, this mod is just okay. It has a lot of things going for it, but also a lot of things going against it. If you can find it for around $50-$60, and can overlook the little details, it does seem to perform pretty well and could be a good workhorse. This is NOT the mod for everyone. The chipset provides enough features for most vapers (including power users), but is too simple for many advanced vapers that really like to tweak their vaping experience.
Do I LOVE this mod? I have to say no. Do I LIKE it? I definitely do, but wish I had paid just a little less for it. Would I buy another? Not at the moment, but I would not rule it out. Despite my issues and complaints, it does seem to do it’s job fairly well. It’s not at the top of my list, but more importantly, it’s not at the bottom either.