I have written several guides on automotive diagnostic scan tools and J-2534 pass through units here on Ebay. I have broached on some of the Strap-on scan tools in several of them. Today, I wanted to address the latest of many disappointing scan tools from Strap-On called VERUS and also touch on their newest abortion, the Verdict.
In years past, I have been less than enthusiastic about MODIS and Verdict because, for the money, it was a huge disappointment. I didn't allow for the kind of expansion that most tech's wanted, (and the expansion devices that were available were way too expensive) the updates were costly and the coverage had holes all over it, particularly for European cars. They still stick with that retarded personality key system and finally, the unit was grossly overpriced! Very little bi-directional capabilities as well. Now, Strap-On has outdone itself with what I can only figure to be a suckers scan tool!
Tools like VERDICT and VERUS are, basically, a hand held PC Tablet. In other words, just like a REAL computer, only WAY S L O W E R! Compared to most REAL PC's and PC based tablets, its slow as hell! Strap-on did little to improve the software and the bi-directional functionality over MODIS which sucked. Most car lines in Verus have no bi-directional capabilities at all! Many car lines only provide access to the powertrain controller and no access to Body control, transmission, ABS and SRS controllers and most give no access to the security controller. You can, however, check your email on the VERUS, This is good news and bad news! This means that now, anything on the net can now do to it what it can do to your PC. Add to this, the resoundingly slow speed of the unit compared to most PC based diagnostics and many stand alone units and what you get is simply a huge disappointment. It still uses the personality key system, so get ready to tote around a dozen keys when you head to the car. Can you imagine that? Open and exposed printed circuit boards that need to be shlepped around the shop for different models of cars? GIVE ME A BREAK! Not even Genisys uses smart inserts any more!
Now as for the pass through unit Snap-On sells as an add on to this, ITS GREAT! Thats because it's not theirs, its simply a re-packaged DrewTech CarDAQ with Strap-on's proprietary software. What this means is that you are going to pay about $500.00 more for it because they painted it black instead of blue and put their sticker on it. It also means that the software and application range has been greatly reduced because strap-on took Drewtech's great J-2534 software and replaced it with their own crappy software greatly limiting its capabilities. In addition to this, the cost increase gets you a unit with less memory than a comparable CarDAQ unit. When I went to go visit a Strap-On Verus Victim last week, he was pulling his hair out trying to flash a Benz or Volvo via J-2534. After watching him fumble and bumble around with this awkward $14,000.00 ultra slow handheld abomination, I simply walked out to my truck, grabbed my computer bag, got out my CarDAQ and laptop and hooked up to the wireless net drop in his shop. I logged into the Benz download site and in about 8 minutes, my Toughbook was pushing a flash into the PCM. When I finished the flash, he was just getting the "on hold" muzak from the tech line at Strap-On of Bangladesh. Recently, I attempted to diagnose a bad throttle actuator on a Ford Truck. The Verus only offered me bi-directional control to do a evap test, nothing else. How can anyone think that this scan tool is a HUGE waste of money when you cant even "ping" an electronic throttle with it or sweep a gauge or two in the instrument cluster or even manipulate the IAC counts? This strap-on scan tool is nothing more than a glorified code reader!
Of course, updated software is available from Strap-on, but bring your wallet! Like Modis and Solus, Its going to cost you and cost you plenty! In addition to the initial sticker shock of their tool (almost 9 grand), the updates for US, Asian and European coverage is well over a thousand dollars and only available from Strap-On. For 9 Grand, I could buy a half a dozen generic units, every one of which will out perform and have better applications than Verus and Verdict.
If your one of those mindless drones who buys snap-on and ONLY Strap-On, your probably boiling right about now. Not because you think someone just ripped your G-string up to your shoulder blades selling you one of these things, but probably because I blasphemed Strap-On tools. This is why many of my friends and I call the Verus the VIRUS. Once you get bit by the Strap-On bug, its hard to imagine there may be better stuff out there. I find most Strap-On folks are like this generally speaking. I will be the first to relent that Snap-On makes the best hand tools in the world! I own plenty of them, but when it comes to diagnostics and programming equipment, its all just name recognition and no real versatility and horrible cost to benefit factor. I know lots of you are hogtied to Strap-On because they offer credit-on-the-truck, but this scan tool's is one you do not want to be married to for the next 4 or five years. Its useability has now become that of a typical low end PC. In 6 to 12 months, it will be obsolete and the Strap-On guy will be offering to trade it in on their new piece of crap Verdict scan tool like he did when you gave up your Modis or Solus you spent too much on to get a Verdict. That's how they keep you coming back. I guarantee, I will be updating and using at least 3 or 4 of the generic scan tools I own like Hanatech Ultrascan for years beyond how long Strap-On will be offering updates for Verus or Modis and at a fraction of the cost. Sure, I cant check my email with it or have a color screen, but I will get better coverage and wont get carpel tunnels syndrome using it.
Regarding these people who come out here to defend their dreadful decision to buy one of Stap-Ons piece of crap diagnostic/programing tools, consider the common threads in every one of their postings:
All they can do is compare to OTC, despite the fact that OTC does 90% of what Snap-On's tools do, only for a fraction of the money.
All they can do is compare OTC to Snap-On because OTC is the ONLY scan tool they have ever used since stepping onto their tool-pimp's tool truck
Hell, If I had made that blunder, I might be tempted to try to make every excuse in the world for buying that overpriced Chinese calculator of a diagnostic tool from Strap-On. The problem is that I took the time to get out and do some homework and try a few other units other than those offered by OTC. What I found was that Strap-On's diagnostic tools, unlike their hand tools, simply put, do NOT deliver for the money..
Most of these Snap-on Bozo's have no real experience with any REAL diagnostic equipment! Thus far, I have not found one person out here defending their stupid decision to buy a Snap-On tool even mention other tools like I-Scan 2, Hanatech, Carmen Lite, or any of the hundreds of others out there. This makes their postings more of a defense for spending WAY too much money on a tool that cant do what a unit that costs a fraction of theirs can do. Take for example the Hanatech Ultra Scan which has about 40% more vehicle offerings, about 90% less holes in the models that are offered and can perform about 80% more bi-directional functions than the best complemented Varus or Verdict. The Strap-On guys will say "but I cant go on line with it" or "It doesn't have a color screen." So I will spend 3 grand on my Hanatech vs. the Strap-On guy spending $12,000.00 on his Verdict. For the difference in price, I can buy a brand new Toughbook that will perform circles around Strap-Ons slow ass tablet and STILL have money left over to subscribe to All-Data, Identifix, or Mitchells and STILL have some money left over!
I will be able to program keys on a host of models with my Hanatech and update my scan tool for EVERY car line, Domestic, Asian, European and otherwise for about $600 bucks a year. The Strap-On guy will spend THOUSANDS to update! My $1400.00 Cardaq can be updated on line directly from DrewTech for FREE! Strap-On makes their sucker customers PAY for updates and its the SAME UNIT!
I cite my Hanatech because its just one small example of a scan tool that out performs Strap-On's garbage for a fraction of the price and without all the bull crap add-ons that most technicians never use. I challenge ANY Strap-On user to try to step up and compare the European or Asian functionality and coverage of a Verdict or Verus to an I-Scan 2. Take away your ultra-slow PC based frills and what your left with is a scan tool that cant even out-perform the OTC products they like to make light of! I am no OTC fan to say the least, but I would take a Genisys over a Verdict ANY DAY OF THE WEEK because with the money I saved, I could buy 5 more GREAT scan tools for what that Strap-On cost and will continue to cost.
No matter what you chose to buy, I wish you luck. In my opinion, Snap On's Varus and Verdict, like their predecessor Modis is nothing but a lot of flash and very nominal substance at a ridiculous price for people who are too lazy to go do some research and venture off of the tool truck. Hey, if you want a good looking scan tool and want to be able to check your Email while working on a car and cost is no concern, Verus and Verdict is for you! Its nothing but a glorified code reader to, pretty much everyone I have spoke to about it, keeping in mind that most of my affiliates are high end diagnosticians, not heavy auto mechanics who only need a simple code reader or slaves to Strap-On's tool truck credit and slick looking, poor performing diagnostic equipment.