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ballisticpball Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005
Period of
Product Use:
Less than a month408 of 421 people found this review helpful.

Paintball
Experience:
1 year
Similar
Products Used:
Spyder Pilot ACS- Ion is much better in just about all aspects. Faster, lighter more reliable. Simply better.
Karnivor- Karni is much faster, more accurate. The Ion gets beaten rather easily here.
Marker Setup: Red SP Ion
SP All American w/14" Freak Tip
SP Q-Lock
SP S-Rail
SP On/Off
CP Roller Trigger
Halo B
Recommended
Upgrades:
-Better Feedneck
-Better Trigger
-In the Future a Better Barrel
-Qev
-Drop/Rail
Strengths: -Cheap
-Fast
-Electropnuematic
-Good Reg
Weaknesses: -Quality Lost In Cheap Price
-Difficult To Program
-Strong Trigger Magnets
Review: Well, I've been reading over this review, and i think it's time to update it. That being said, I'll probably just write the entire thing over again.


Pre-purchase:
Before I bought my Ion, I wanted to make sure I knew as much about thme as possible. I read all the posts in the Ion forum, looked at all the pictures, and made sure i knew as much as possible about them before buying them. I would reccomend everyone does this prior to buying their Ion. If you don't want to look like a complete idiot on the feild, not knowing how to turn your Ion on, or something like that. Another thing, before you buy an Ion, determine "Do I need to buy an Ion". Most people ask thmeselves "Can I buy an Ion". This should not be the question you ask yourself. If it's your first time playing, don't get your parents to buy you an Ion with all the trimmings. It's natural for all people to start out with a mech. Spyder or Tippmann. This lets you get the basic of paintball, without being too over your head. Seriously, a kitten dies everytime a noob (i don't like to use this word, but it seems appropriate) buys an Ion.


First Impressions:
When I first got my Ion I was impressed. It was basically everything I expected it to be. I previously owned a Pilot ACS with a very sloppy trigger, and long profile, so it took more than an instant to get used to the feel of my new Ion.


Problems Already?:
So, I just get my Ion, rip it out of the box, and slap on my air tank. Already I start to notice something. The threads in my ASA start shredding, literally. After screwing my tank in two or three more times, I start to notice real big problems. Such as chunkcs of the threads completelty missing. This caused the pin valve to be depressed, but the air to escape right out of the ASA. This wasn't too big of an issue for me, since I had an old PMI ASA kicking around that worked fine. However, this could have meant a weekend or two without paintball for some people.


Closer Examinations and Findings:


Feedneck:
My thoughts on the feedneck? Junk. Complete junk. Since at the time I had an Egg with a relativley large feedneck, the Ion feedneck work relatively good with it. However, small feedneck'ed hoppers worked horribly, and larger ones worked poorly too. I removed the middle o-ring out of my feedneck, so I was trying to squeeze my Egg in with as much effort as i was previously exerting. This seemed to work for awhile until the o-rings just started shredding. They broke in half. Every last one of them. So! I said I had enough, and went out and bought a Q-Lock. This solved that problem just fine. It's super low-profile (unlike the stock mid-rise) and I like the design too. It holds an Egg tight and secure, and Halo's too. (it is a bit of a sqeeze to fit them in though) Overall, the Q-Lock really adds to the look of the Ion as well. You will want to replace your stock Ion feedneck.


Barrel:
This is where some people really start to debate. Some say the Ion barrel is crap, while others say it's good. Well, I feel I can bring truth to the table, since I've seen and shot a fair number of Ions. I say the stock Ion barrel is fine. The powder coated finsih might not be as appealing as other high gloss barrels, but if you care about perfomance, the Ion is rather good. Now one thing that has to be said about some Ion barrels. In some cases Ion barrels are over powdercoated, and the powder coating gets into the barrle through the ports. Powder coating is rather rough, and leads to inaccuracy and increases the likelihood of a chop. My team mates barrel was one like this, and to solve it, we cleaned it out with some shotgun barrle cleaner. It's rather potent stuff, and did a great job of cleaning up the excess powder coating and really polishing the barrel out. Now, if you want to talk accuracy I can throw some numbers out there for you. On my Ion with the stock barrel, shooting 10+bps, at 60' the Ion will repeatedly hit a target 12" diameter. Over and over and over. It doesn't really matter what paint your using either.I've shot tons of paint through my Ion. All Star (my favorite), Tork, Marbs, Stinger, X-Ball, Polar Ice, Zap, and so on. All these paints had very similar results. For long range accuracy, shooting at approx. 110' aiming at a 14" target, the target can be hit half of the time, or better. (1 out of every 2 shots) times. So that's what I have to say about the Ion stock barrel. Love it or Hate it, I think it's a decent barrel, especially for a stock barrel. Now, I went out and bought an All American. Many of you will try to say that there is no difference between Smart Parts barrels, but your wrong. The bore is much more smooth and polished on my AA than on any stock Ion barrel, or on any Progressive. I've noticed that I get a tighter spread with my AA on my Ion. If your strapped for cash, you don't NEED to upgrade your Ion's barrel, but it never hurts.You will find tighter and more accurate spreads with a decent aftermarket barrel.


Reg:
Now, like the Ion's barrel, there is a lot of contravesy over the Ion's regulator too. This is what the case is. Some are good (+/- 3) and some are bad (+/- 10). It just so happens that I got a very good Ion reg. QFT: I was playing a tournament, on a warm summer day, and my team was at the chrono station getting ready and set up to play. My team mates shot some paint over the chrono and very having decent consistancy (about +/- 5). It was then my turn chrono. The numbers looked something like this. 277, 277, 277, 276, 277, 277, 278, 277. Yeah, +/- 1, and my entire team was there to witness it. Now, my reg doesn't always do this. It must have just been a good day or something, but on most occasions my reg gets +/- 3. Obviously I got a good reg. Now, if you did indeed get a bad reg, which I believe some people did, you shouldn't go around saying that all Ion regs are bad, because that's just not true. Like I said, some are good, and some are bad. This inconsistancy is definatly not a good thing.


Trigger:
What can be said about the Ion trigger? Lets see what words come to mind: Harsh, Unforgiving, Strong, Plastic. Yes, I said it. Be warned, the stock Ion trigger takes a lot of getting used to. The magnets are very strong, and make for a difficult trigger pull, especially at high rates of fire. One other thing I do not care much for, is the fact that the Ion trigger is plastic. I've heard of Ion triggers breaking in half, and thought that was just crazy, until it happened to one of my team mates. He was outside in moderatly frigid weather, and it broke in half. Interesting. An aftermarket trigger is somthing that your definatly going to want to look into. I got a CP because that's all I could get, but by the amount of good reviews on this site, i would reccomend a NDZ Blade. One thing that i did to try to make my Ion trigger a bit better, was to heat up the stock magnet, and try to remove some of the "potency". This didn't work as i used a blowtorch on it for about five seconds. i completley removed all of the polarity, making my magnet dead. I then just took a random magnet and stuck it in my trigger, and it's worked my better than stock. It's not near as powerful, yet stil delivers a fair amount of return. I would reccomend spending a lot of time adjusting your trigger, and get it how you prefer it. Less travel doesn't always mean better. But overall, I would strongly suggest getting either a CP, or NDZ trigger.


ASA:
Like i said in my little story, the stock Ion ASA is horrible. I mean, duckbills still actually exsist? Smart parts must have had a lot of these left from back in the Impulse days. The duckbill makes for a very long profile, and I would definatly suggest getting either a drop forward, or a rail. If you like you marker up close and personal, stick your tank far underneath it and get a drop. If you like it to span out a bit, then go with a rail. No matter what you get, get something!


Grips:
I have mixed feeling about these grips. The good: They work excellent for covering up the electronics from water and moisture. They fit excellently, unlike other stock grips I've seen *cough* Spyder! *cough*. The bad: These grips actually decrease my speed. I borrowed a team mates Dye Sticky 3's from him, and I found these to be excllent. They greatly change the feel of the overly hard grips of the Ion. The Ion grips seem to be 85% plastic and 15% rubber. They don't form to the hands very well at all. I would suggest getting new grips, for sure.


Eyes:
I don't think anyone can make any bad comments about the Ion's eyes. They are breakbeam eyes, which we all know are the best. These eyes have always worked flawlessly for me, and I've never had any problems. It's simple, eyes see paint, marker shoots. Eyes do not see paint, marker does not shoot. These eyes do just that. I've actually played games with a gravity feed loader on my Ion, rippin strings without any ball breakage. The eyes do their job. You can't debate the quality and performance of these eyes.


Electronics/Programming:
Arg. This is one particular area that is a bit shady on the Ion. It can get very confusing. One thing that must be said, you cannot just press some buttons and come up with exactly how mnay bps you would like to shoot. You need help. You actually need to use a math formula. Fortunatly, all you need is an internet connection and this website! www.kamworld.net/paintball/IonFAQ_Technical.html#T10
Just fill in the empty spaces, and all the numbers you need will pop up. Simple. Right? Maybe this will help

Solid Yellow: Dwell Up
Solid Red: Dwell Down
Single Yellow Blink: Recharge Up (ROF/BPS Down)
Single Red Blink: Recharge Down (ROF/BPS Up)
Double Yellow Blink: Cycle Modes Up
Double Red Blink: Cycle Modes Down

It's basically what's found in the manual, but it might be easier to understand here. Okay, now say someone is reffering to "zeroing out your Ion" This means you press go to Single Red Blink, and hold the button until, the yellow light does not light up everytime you press the power button. This means your at max ROF, which is 17bps. It's pretty easy to understand once you get used to it. One other thing, once you've become confident in changing modes, it would be in your best interest to ensure your Ion came from the factory with the proper default settings. Most importantly, your Ion's dwell should be set at 52 from the bottom. You should make sure this is the case. Now, my thoghts on this system? An LCD screen would very nice, but the new price tag of the Ion would not be. Once you get the hang of the LED system, it's not too bad. One other thing worth mentioning. In direct sulight, the power button is incredibly hard to see. This makes for a lot of confusion. Is my Ion on? Is my Ion off? Is Vision on? Very confusing. Another thing I must mention regarding the modes.The Ion does come with rebound mode. (ramping) This mode has caused a lot of uproar in the paintball world. What never ceases to amaze me however, is whenever I play against people with Timmys, they always want ramping modes turned off. I find this much they same as the pot calling the kettle black. I guarantee you, that 3/4 of Timmy owners out there, upon saying this, have their debounce turned way down. Now, I'm not accusing everyone of this, but I know as a fact it's true. For instance, one tournament I played. A guy had an Alias Timmy, and my team asked him how fast he was ramping. He said he wasn't ramping, and we belived him. Now, on the filed he was shooting easily over 20bps. How many people think he was doing that purely on his own, unasisted? Yep, thought so. So, before anyone goes pointing fingers, maybe you should actually look at the situation.


Polymer Body:
Yes, I said it. Polymer, not plastic. The idea is a very good one to me. It enables Smart Parts to sell the Ion for much cheaper, while aftermarket copanies allow you to buy different shells as you wish. For instance, look at other solid metal bodies on marker out there. Say Shockers. There's not a lot of market for aftermarket Shocker bodies, and I don't know of any companies that even make any. Now look at the Ion. There's about 10-20 different styles of Ion bodies you can buy, not to mention the hundreds of possible colors you can buy. This is why I like the polymer body. It also for customization. You can make your Ion distinctly you. Yeah, bash that. On a further note, if your body gets damaged somehow, and gets scratched, you can always replace it and buy a new one. It fairly inexpensive too. One thing I might add, is about the Red Ion bodies. I have a red Ion, and I must say the body is fading rather notoriously. It's closer to pink now than red. Oh, and another thing i forgot to mention, the Ion body is strong. You definatly don't have to worry aboput breaking one of these.


Grip Frame:
This is a very good grip frame if you ask me. It's big and roomy, so it's good for you gloved fingered people out there. The largeness of the grip frame also allows for many different walking styles. This is a big plus. I find the grip frame to be comfortable, and allows for great hand positioning. The new frame available with the angled reg, similar to that of a Karni, intrigues me, and also shows just how upgradeable the Ion truly is.


Disassembly/Reassembly:
Many peope find that disassembling and reassembling the Ion can be very difficult. Well, practice makes perfect. The first time I tried to tear a Spyder all apart and pt it back together I found it difficult. The Ion is naturally going to be difficult. This is how I disassemble my Ion.
First I remove both screws of of one side of the grips. Then I remove the other top screw on the other side of the grisp. Both top screws must be removed, or the Ion's board will not slip out of place. Then, I disconnect the battery. After this, unscrew the barrel, and remove the screw that it underneath it. Then, I remove both of the screws found on the body. The one all the way at the back, and the one found inside the trigger guard. (Tricky one) Then, psuh upwards on the Ion's board, not using too much force. Then, remove all the banjo's. Annnnnd your done1 It's not very hard to do. One thing you must do though, is pick up some Dow 33. This is the grease Smart Parts reccomends, and even requires that you use in order for your warranty to be unvoid.


Final Thoughts:
The Ion is a great marker. It has very little kick, and that can be reduced greatly, by purchasing an aftermarket bolt. It's very efficient, and that can be greatly increased by buying a Qev. That's about it. If your looking for a solid marker, from a reputable company, that will preform very well, while still being very cheap, pick up an Ion.
Conclusion: I hope this review was helpful to you. I don't believe I have anything else to say. I give this product a 9, because of all the little peeves i mentioned in my review.

Please rate this review helpful, if you found it to be.
Rating:
9 out of 10Last edited on Tuesday, December 27th, 2005 at 11:57 pm PST
 

Review Comments
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SSBCHAMP Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 | 9:26 pm PST
Nice review, it covered everything I wanted to know about the ION
   

cardealer1 Thursday, October 9th, 2008 | 3:26 pm PST
I have to make a few notes here, mainly concerning the reg and barrel. first, I am not the 13 or 14 yr old, actually my son and I both have Ions and they areboth "well equipped", (virtue boards, firebolts, QEVs-mine a SP360, his a virtue). Here is what I hve noticed, and please note that I have programmed and set up probably fifty of these guns. I have found a few regs that had a +/- 10 fps, but this was almost always tank specific. Switching tanks generally fixed the problem. On regs that weren't corrected with a tank, or were WAY off,(Ive seen 2 off by more than 15 fps!) a basic maintenence of the reg, seemed to ALWAYS fix the problem. Most of the time, no, just about every single time, there is drop off, it's a matter of dwell, not the reg. If you have some time to spend with a chrono you can get your reg, yes, nearly all of them, to shoot at about +/- 3-4. Second, th barrel on the Ion is adequate. I havent failed to get an out becasue of my barrel, and have used the AA and Freak kit and just can't justify spending the money when I really dont see it improving my game. I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, I get calls from 2 pro shops with help in diagnosing these, and most of the time, its pretty simple. Hope this helps guys!
   

Pballer42394 Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 | 9:33 pm PST
Haha Ya the stock spyder grips suck. I had to "customize" mine (scalpel in the inside)
   

Pballer42394 Thursday, December 4th, 2008 | 3:56 pm PST
Hey great review, but i think the body is metal, with just the polymer shell around it...
   

Pballer42394 Thursday, December 4th, 2008 | 3:57 pm PST
Hey great review, but i think the body is metal, with just the polymer shell around it...
   
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