YiHi SX350 SXmini Review
The Yihi SXmini 60W variable wattage APV is made by Dongguan Yihi Electronic Co., Limited, who is a China based electronics manufacturer with a strict focus on the electronic cigarettes industry. While Yihi has gained their name recognition on the strength of the popularity and well reputed accuracy of the SX350 chip, the reality is that Dongguan Yihi has been building the chips featured in some of this industries most popular APVs for the last 4 years.
Yihi is in fact the electronic chip manufacturer responsible for one of the first variable voltage/variable wattage chips made, which was featured in the very first Vamo APV. Once upon a time I can recall reading an endless number of threads on the Ecig forums asking whether users preferred the Vamo, SVD, or Zmax APV, but what most did not know at the time was that all of these devices featured chips made by Yihi.
Fast forward to 2014, and Yihi releases what would become one of the most sought after variable wattage chips by box modders everywhere, the SX 350 chip. What made the Yihi SX350 so desirable amongst modders is the fact that it has the ability to fire down to .2 ohms, has a buck/boost converter, and it is upgradeable from 30W +. At the end of 2014 Yihi brought forth the next incarnation of the SX 350 chip, the SX350 Mini chip. Yihi then created their first variable wattage APV to showcase their newest chip design, the Yihi SXmini 60W.
The Yihi SXmini 60W retails for a minimum MAP controlled $189.00USD at various online and brick & mortar locations throughout the United States. The Yihi SXmini featured in this review was sent to me by a friend who also happens to own several B&M vape shops. The SXmini is packaged in a trademark branded gift box which also includes a usb charging cord, and an envelope containing a user manual and warranty card.
Yihi SXMINI 60W Specifications:
- Brand: Yihi
- Type: variable wattage APV
- Material: Aluminium (anodized) and Stainless steel (powder coated)
- Connection threading: 510 (spring loaded 510 pin)
- Battery compatibility: Single 18650 (rated for at least 20A)
- Weight: 152 grams
- Powered by the YiHi SX350 mini processor
- Maximum Watts: 60W and future upgrades will be available
- Single & Dual battery capability (dual battery only with after market extension tube)
- Single Battery 60W regulated, 85W in bypass mode (direct connection mode) allowing your device to become a mechanical mod
- Output Voltage: 1.0 – 9.5 volts
- Resistance: 0.15 – 3.0 ohms
- Buck&Boost, DC-DC Converter
- Three modes: Powerful, Standard, Soft
- Charges via USB, takes one (1) 18650 Battery
- Joules Display
- Gravity Sensor System (Adjust the wattage without the need of the +/- buttons)
- Upgradable software
- Graphic User Interface
- Reverse Polarity, Output short, Low resistance, Low battery Voltage and Overheat protection
- One Year Manufacturers Warranty
In my opinion, the SXmini is one of the most aesthetically appealing variable wattage APVs presently available on the market. From the first time that I saw the SXmini I was completely sold on its style alone. The SXmini is a brilliant mash up of the Zen ZNA and Wapari W-Box style, and even as it borrows design elements from both of these devices, I feel that the SXmini exceeds them both in overall style and ergonomics.
The SXmini is available in silver/black, and silver/grey which is pictured below. The body is constructed of an anodized aluminum frame, and a powder coated stainless steel inner body. The silver/grey color scheme lends a very classy, and refined to look to the SXmini. While not very heavy at 152grams, the SXmini has a very solid, sturdy feel to it. The materials used to construct this device do lend themselves to a feeling of quality, even as I do have some questions as to the durability of its finish.
The early versions of the SXmini did not have a logo on the body, and while I am typically not a fan of printed logos, I do not feel like the SXmini trademarked logo that appears on later versions of the device take away from its aesthetic appeal. The buttons, screen display and usb port arrangement all play nicely to the user friendliness of this device. The contoured shape, and clicky responsiveness of the stainless steel fire button also makes it one of the best switches that I have used recently.
In spite of the solid feeling of quality, all that glitters is not exactly gold with the SXmini. As I inspected the device there were a number of minor flaws and imperfections present on the body of the device. At first glance these are flaws that you would not necessarily notice during normal viewing however, they do exist.
If you look closely at the top and bottom right photos, you can see a sort of cut/beveling along the edge of the silver aluminum frame which runs from the top down to the sides, which is not present at all on the opposite side of the device in the same areas. It appears as though the edges were shaved off in an attempt to cover more severe machining flaws. And that is in addition to the apparent misalignment between the frame and the body sleeve on the left side of the device.
While absolute perfection is an unrealistic expectation, the reality is that once a device reaches a certain price point I simply don’t expect to see detectable cosmetic flaws. In all honesty, I have clones with fewer cosmetic flaws than the SXmini. Any device that markets itself as a high end limited edition selling for nearly $200usd should be near flawless in appearance.
The 510 housing is constructed of stainless steel, and the brass center pin is a spring loaded for flush mounting of your atomizers. The slot at the center of the 510 pin has created a little confusion, and unfortunately a few tragic occurrences for a handful of users of this device. In spite of the slot in the pin, it is not screw adjustable, and under no circumstances should a screwdriver be used to attempt to further adjust it, as doing so will break the phenolic gasket that holds the pin. As per Yihi, if you break the 510 pin as a result of adjusting it with a screwdriver, you will not be covered under the “1 year warranty”.
In the photos below you can see the breakdown of the construction of the 510 pin, which is rather basic yet still effective. The good news, after a few users were reported to have damaged their 510 pins while believing that they could adjust it with a screw driver, Yihi has since revised the 510 pin to remove the slot in the pin as shown below. All devices shipping from Yihi as of the first week in January 2015 will feature the new 510 pin, even as there are still some devices with the older 510 pin available for sale.
For the most part I have not had any issues with flush mounting my atomizers however, certain devices with long 510 pins (2mm or more) will not flush mount to the SXmini. In the photos below you will see presented as an example, three different 510 pin lengths, two of which will flush mount to the SXmini (Kayfun V4 and Aqua V2), and one that will not (Geyser RDA). The Geyser RDA which has the longest pin, will leave a gap of approximately .5mm. Luckily for me I do not normally use the Geyser RDA with the SXmini, and here I did so for demonstration purposes only.
The SXmini is powered by a single 18650 battery which is installed ala Wapari Style through the bottom of the device. If there is any one thing that I do not enjoy about the SXmini, it is removing and installing the battery cap. First you will need a quarter or a screw driver with a larger enough flat head to remove the battery cap. Due to the fine threading of the battery tube and cap, which appear to be approximately .5mm in pitch, it takes quite of bit of screwing to remove and install the battery cap.
This is also where I discovered another flaw in the construction of my SXmini. You can clearly see in the photos below that the battery cap and inner battery tube are off center. Now with the battery tube being constructed out of brass which is a soft metal, in addition to the fine thread pitch, there is the potential for accidentally cross threading the battery cap. So whether your battery tube is perfectly center, or off center, care and attention needs to be taken when installing the stainless steel battery cap.
Since the SXmini is also equipped with a usb charge port, there is the option to simply use the usb for recharging your battery. When using the usb charger you will see a thunderbolt symbol on the battery level indicator. You will know that charging is complete when the battery level reaches 4.20v on the screen display. The SXmini does not have a charge indicator light.
The Yihi SXmini 60W does come with a well written, easy to understand user manual. In this review I will cover all functions in brief. When an 18650 battery is first installed into the SXmini the SX350 splash will appear momentarily to let you know that battery contact has been made. The device is not powered on at this point, you will then have to click the fire button 5X to turn the SXmini on.
Once power is activated you will see SXmini, followed by the SX350 splash screen, then the main interface screen will appear. To lock/unlock the device you would click the fire button 3x. On the main interface you will find the usual values of wattage, firing voltage, atomizer resistance, battery bar indicator, as well as the numerical value of the installed battery level. However, the SXmini displays additional values which are not found on the main interface screens of chips such as the Evolv DNA.
Across the bottom of the main interface on the left there is a joules display, which calculates how much vapor you are producing per minute or hour. Now, the joules display is in my opinion is a gratuitous and impractical value that does not enhance the user experience, or provide any genuinely useful information to the user. The average person has no idea what joules mean or represents, and I cannot think of one time within the 4 years that I have been vaping that I have heard a fellow vaper inquire about how much vapor per minute they were producing.
At the bottom center of the interface you will see the flash memory pre-sets represented as values M1-M5, with each corresponding to a default setting which can be changed by the user. You can scroll through the flash memory pre-sets by using the up button. To change the value of any particular pre-set, the main interface must be on, then you hit the down button followed by the up button to change the value of that setting.
At the bottom right of the interface you have the power delivery settings which are soft, standard, and powerful. The soft setting will initially fire below the power setting, then increases into the power output selected. The standard setting fires at precisely the set power output from the time that you activate the power button until it is released. The powerful setting will initially fire above the selected power output setting, then come down to the power output selected.
I have found the ability to change the type of power delivery to be a genuine enhancement to my overall vape experience. These settings really allow you to tailor the kind of vape experience that you wish have with any given atomizer resistance and build. Of the three power delivery settings I tend to use the standard and powerful settings most often. Later in the review I will demonstrate how these three power delivery settings correspond to actual numbers.
Please note that the SXmini also has gravity sensing left to right mode, and the display screen will change position according to the physical orientation in which the device is held at the time. I love this particular feature of the SXmini, which certainly trumps the manual preset left/right mode of chips like the DNA 20/30/40.
It is important to remember that when using the gravity sensor menu interface, that the SXmini should be held in an upright position in order to effectively utilize the gravity sensing menu navigation by tilting the device to the left or right. To access the menu interface click the power button 5x. Once into the menu, click the fire button until you arrive at the desired menu option. From the menu interface you can select wattage adjustment, exit, bypass (mechanical mode), system (power off), or link.
To adjust wattage settings you have the option of using the up/down buttons from the main interface (as described above), or you can change wattage with the gravity sensor from the menu interface. Use the Bypass feature if you wish to run the SXmini from direct battery voltage/current like a mechanical mod. Use the Link feature when you are connecting your device to your computer via the usb for software upgrades to the SXmini.
The SXmini featured in this review is running the V1.3 firmware, which is most current firmware version for the SXmini. V1.3 has a voltage output of 1.0-9.5v, and a wattage output of 5-60W on a single 18650 battery, and up to 120W in dual 18650 battery configurations. An after market battery extension tube is required in order to use the SXmini in dual 18650 mode and to access the full 120W capacity.
The addition of the battery extension tube for dual 18650 mode is in my opinion one of the most ridiculous after market accessories that I have ever seen proposed. It is also my opinion that Yihi should scrap the extension tube idea altogether and instead create a new device that is capable of housing dual 18650 batteries in a more practical and aesthetically pleasing manner. The new dual 18650 device should be called the SXmaxi, an idea which is a no brainer.
So here is where we get to the heart of the SXmini, the SX350 mini chip. Let me start out by saying that the SX350 mini chip is the most accurate variable wattage chip that I have tested to date. It was even more interesting to be able to test the different power deliver settings of soft, standard, and powerful to see how these settings translate into real numbers. And I can tell you that the SXmini does exactly what it promises to do which is to allow you to tailor your vape experience with pinpoint accuracy.
Using a .60 ohm atomizer, I tested the voltage output of the SXmini at 20W across the three power delivery settings while using an inline voltage meter. An inline voltage meter is a perfectly acceptable apparatus to use for testing the voltage output of any device with a flat DC signal output. An inline voltage meter is also quite useful in determining whether a device has a flat DC signal or a pulse width modulated frequency output. An oscilloscope is a necessity only in the case of a pulse width modulated device, which the SXmini is not.
Vapro Supply posted a YouTube review of the SXmini where they demonstrated the visual difference between the power modes using vapor production, however, here in this review you will see actual numbers. Below you will see how perfectly the actual voltage output of the SXmini corresponds to the power delivery settings at soft, standard, and powerful modes.
Now here is where you will have to bare with me as I explain what happened when took the SXmini up to its max of 60W. While the display resistance of .60 ohms remained steady throughout my testing at 20W, the display resistance kept changing on me while I was testing at 60W, which was frustrating to say the least.
In the far left column where I have the device set to soft, while the SXmini initially displayed .60 ohm, as I fired the device the resistance changed to .59 ohm, which also changed the displayed and actual value of the voltage output. The photo below of the 5.93 voltage output in the bottom left column reflects the resistance change to .59 while I was firing the device, not the .60 ohms that I initially started with. So the voltage output of 5.93 is accurate according to what was actually appearing on display after I started firing.
While testing in standard mode the resistance remained steady at .59 ohms, and you can see that the actual output is dead on accurate. However, once I changed the power delivery setting to powerful mode the displayed atomizer resistance had changed once again to .58 ohm. Then while firing the device in powerful mode the resistance changed again to .59 ohm, and so the voltage output of 5.93 in the bottom right column actually reflects the display voltage at .59 ohm.
You can tell from reading the joules display and battery level values that these tests were run back to back, on the same battery and atomizer.The point of showing this to the viewer is not to point out the changes in display resistance, for which there could be several reasons why this occurred, including changes in temperature, and thread tolerances at the connection points, etc. My point is to actually highlight how accurate the actual voltage output is according to the displayed values at the time. Whatever the voltage values are on the display screen, this is exactly what the SXmini puts out in voltage.
The only thing that I do not like about the SXmini is the fine threading of battery cap and the uneven placement of the battery tube on the device that I received. I would like to see the battery tube and cap updated and constructed with a larger thread pitch, with far fewer threads.
The issue of the cosmetic flaws did not only appear on my SXmini, it was reported but on several of them. This is something which cannot, and should not be overlooked by anyone, most especially on a device at this price point. Overall I find the SXmini to be a good quality, very attractive device however, there have clearly been some shortcomings in the quality control and this needs to be addressed and corrected by Yihi going forward.
Just as I found with the Vapor Shark rDNA, the true hero of the SXmini is the SX350 mini chip housed within it. I am genuinely impressed by the engineering and pinpoint accuracy of this chip, with which I cannot find a single fault or flaw. I can’t imagine that there would be a single vaper on this planet who would not enjoy using this chip.
Between the acute accuracy of voltage output, the option for three different power delivery modes, and its upgrade capabilities the SX350 mini chip is second to none on the market at the present time, and that includes the Evolv DNA40.
However, there remains some question and pause as to the legitimacy of Yihi’s “1 year warranty” on this device. Even as I understood that a spring loaded 510 pin cannot be further adjusted by the slotted head with a screwdriver, I do understand how some others may have believed otherwise.
Most especially since there were no directives or warnings issued on Yihi’s website, or in the user manual that warned against adjusting the 510 pin. The users that incurred the unfortunate accident of breaking their 510 pins by attempting to adjust them were left high and dry by Yihi, who refused to cover any repairs of the broken 510 pins under warranty for those users. In my opinion this was a decision that did not lend itself to buyer’s confidence, or respect for the brand of Yihi.
With the SX350 and SX350 mini chip Yihi has absolutely proven that they can stand toe to toe with the world’s best innovators of intelligent chip design and engineering. However, Yihi has yet to demonstrate the level of integrity, honor, and commitment to consumer satisfaction that Evolv is currently known for. The SXmini is great little device with a fantastic intelligent chip, albeit made in China.