Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Review: Buzz Bee Ultra Tek 4/Wizard + Internals (15m Aus)

Continuing with the Ultra Tek reviews, we have the Ultra Tek 4, or Wizard. My UT4s came in a two-pack, which I believe is standard for the UT4.
Again, many thanks to Buzz Bee Toys for sending these Ultra Tek blasters for review, and as usual note that their kind gesture does not affect this review in any way.

Same standard packaging for Buzz Bee blasters.
Here's what you get, two UT4s (one light blue, one grey) and 8 UT darts.
Something to note with the darts included with the UT4, a few of them had excess glue around the head much like Koosh darts. This was found inconsistently with some of the other darts with other blasters and didn't seem to majorly affect performance, though I only tested them in UT blasters.
All loaded up.

The UT4 uses the same styling as the UT3, being more sophisticated than previous Buzz Bee blasters but still distinctly Buzz Bee. The feel of the plastic is similarly improved and overall feels better than older Buzz Bee blasters.
Being that the UT4 has to support a 4-barrel block, it's reasonably wide and rather blocky, certainly more so than the much smoother and more curvy UT3.
The UT4 is slide primed, just like the UT3. The slide is actually very similar in size to the UT3's, and so is somewhat comfortable, though not tall enough to support a full wraparound grip.
Oddly enough, the UT4 has a small grip on the front, despite being quite a small blaster.
It's perhaps a little small to hold particularly comfortably, but more importantly given it's a pistol sized blaster and is slide primed, thegrip is pretty pointless practically. It does look rather cool and certainly shows how Buzz Bee has improved design wise.
The handle is incredbly small, comparable to a Reflex handle length. Note the lack of trigger guard as with most smaller Buzz Bee blasters.
My hand can full conceal the handle, and my pinkie barely fits on, if at all.
The upper knuckle of my thumb also tends to rub against this corner of the shell, which is a little uncomfortable.
The handle does have grooves cut into it, but they're far too small for my fingers to fit.
The handle is really all round quite uncomfortable on the UT4, which is a little disappointing since the UT3's is reasonably sized and relatively comfortable, as are most other UT blaster's handles.
One odd thing I noticed with the UT4s is that the barrels are very inconsistent in width and construction. As clearly obvious in the above pictures, the dart pegs are not aligned quite right, and all poke out in different directions. The barrels are inconsistently tight, so much so that in one particular barrel a particular dart may fit reasonably loosely (suitable for a stock blaster), yet in another may fit extremely tightly (suitable for a higher power blaster). Both of my UT4s have this barrel issue.
The barrels that are tight tend to be excessively tight, to the point where a dart inserted about 2cm into the barrel will stay in even when shaken. This is not ideal for a stock blaster, which does not usually have the power to propel a dart through the entirety of such a barrel.
The UT4's barrels loaded up, the darts protrude about the same as the UT3.
Like the UT3, the UT4 utilises a rotating plunger instead of a Smart AR, and so cycles through each barrel upon each prime.
Just for this demonstration, the top left (for the user) dart fires first. Because it's not a Smart AR blaster, the UT4 can fire off any of its barrels first even if all are loaded. It all depends on the plunger position.
Oddly and unlike the UT3, the UT4 cycles clockwise from the users perspective, next firing the top right dart...
...then the bottom right dart and finally bottom left.
Like the UT3, this means that each of the UT4's barrels should perform pretty much identically, ignoring barrel differences. For scavenging purposes, I prefer Smart AR over rotating plunger, but the extra deadspace of the Smart AR is especially noticeable in a chronograph.
Here's the UT4 next to the UT3, Messenger and 4Victory. The UT4 is pretty much a fatter UT3, and is comparable in size and weight to the MEssenger and 4Vic.
So how does the UT4 perform with its inconsistently tight and loose barrels?
The UT4's power is rather lacking. The shots that do leave the barrels and don't just plop out reach about 6-8m ranges, however from the barrels that are too tight, the dart will either just plop out onto the ground in front of you, or not leave the barrel at all. I can confirm that the misfiring is a barrel issue, as I can use any of the UT darts with the looser barrels and get said ranges, but using any darts in the tight barrels results in misfires.
Accuracy is reasonable thanks to the heavy, solid tipped UT darts rather than the blaster itself. The barrel inconsistencies prevent the darts from all firing perfectly straight, but if you point and fire in a particular direction, assuming it doesn't misifre the UT4 will get a dart in that rough direction with only a little variation.
ROF is much the same as the UT3, you can fire off all 4 darts in 2 seconds, maybe a little more. It doesn't help that the slide isn't particularly comfortable to hold or that the prime also actuates the plunger rotation.

The UT4, like the UT3, has major out-of-the-box issues, but unlike the UT3, the UT4's issues may not be easily fixable. Obviously one way of circumventing the issue is to up the power through extra springs, spring spacers, etc. However this makes the already uncomfortable prime quite stiff, and could possibly cause issue with the looser barrels.

Being that it seems available only in a two-pack, I believe the UT4 will retail for around 10USD per pack, which comes to 5USD per blaster, like the UT3. Had the UT4 been perhaps just a little larger and more comfortable, and actually worked properly, I would make the UT4 a highly recommended buy, but as is I can't recommend the UT4 because its barrel issues prevent it from performing well or as advertised. I will be looking more into the issue to see if it has any easy fixes, but as is I'd say stick with the UT3 instead and implement my fix for it, or use that 10USD to go and buy the UT8 (review coming soon).

Note that I've heard the US-spec Wizard (with range claim of 72ft) performs fine and fires with a solid amount of power. Also note that using thinner darts such as old apple green Kooshes or Elite darts seems to fix the UT4's issues, and it fires them fine.

Power: 2/7
Accuracy: 4/5
Usability: 2/5
Rate of Fire: 2/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall: 2.49/5

Personal Rating: 1/5 - it tries too hard to be small, and is so somewhat uncomfortable to use and hold. Additionally, the exceptionally poor range due possibly to the overly tight barrels prevents it from being used without a serious power upgrade, which compromises the ease of prime.
If the UT4 did have sufficient power and slightly looser barrels, it would likely have scored far better as it would have superior range (increased Power), no misfires (increased Usability) and thus overall increased Value for Money.

Like with UT3, many thanks to Buzz Bee for kindly sending the UT4 along with some other UT blasters for me to review, and once more their contribution does not affect the review in any way.

Let's take a quick look at the UT4's internals.
The UT4 opens up much the same as the UT3, and when you open it after opening the UT3, you get a sense of deja vu. The UT4 is pretty much identical to the UT3 internally.
The pieces are almost exactly the same, down to possibly the catch design even, and possibly the priming rod too. A difference here between the UT4 and UT3 is that the UT4's priming rod does not bend upwards, so has no issue in changing barrels.

The plunger/barrel seal is also almost the same as the UT3, with the obvious difference of them being switched around so that the UT4 will cycle through its 4 barrels.

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