Gel Zone Pro Hydrax
Prime Time Toys/Dart Zone
$55 Target Exclusive
7 balls per second
Dart Zone makes a safe landing with a gel ball blaster on Target shelves!
Gel Zone Pro Hydrax ReviewMarch 6, 2023
Last year, Prime Time Toys jumped on the gel ball bandwagon with the Hydro Strike line at Walmart. That’s not to say it wasn’t good; in fact, I really liked the Nebula Pro as well as the Pulsar Pro. It just seemed to initially come out of nowhere. Now, though, given just how many companies have entered the space (Hasbro included), it seems like they made a great choice.
Hydro Strike, however, was Walmart excusive. For Target, this year introduces the Gel Zone line of blasters. And the initial flagship, the Hydrax, fills the same niche as the original Gel Blaster. It’s near the same price point, and has similar performance. And while it has some hiccups when filled full, the Hydrax overall performs as well as you’d expect for a spray and pray motorized blaster.
Machine Pistols! With Rainbows!
The Hydrax looks a bit funny, between the greenish body, orange pieces, and the rainbow decals on the sides. But as with the Hydro Strike Pulsar Pro, I like the colorful, toy-based approach to high-speed projectile launching. The bulky design serves to both differentiate the blaster from more nefarious things as well as accommodate the internal hopper and blaster internals.
The Hydrax takes a 2s Li-Ion pack, made of two 18650 cells. It features both an XT30 connector and a balance charger. The pack comes with a USB charger that plugs into the balance port, but you could use a lipo charger with an XT30 connector, as well. The battery fits in the grip – the grip is a bit large, as a result, but it’s still comfortable. The safety switch sits above the trigger.
The Hydrax has an internal hopper, holding 500 gel balls, and the loading port is decently large. It still requires the included hydration pack/funnel to load quickly without spills, but it’s still more generous a loading space than something like the Splatrball
Using the blaster is simple; just pull the trigger to shoot. There’s no cycle control on the blaster, so the response time ranges from instantly to a fraction of a second, depending on the position of the internals.
The Hydrax performed better than the box claims of 160fps – on a fully charged battery, I was averaging 169fps. There was a decent amount of spread, ranging from 150fps to 187fps, however.
As for rate of fire, the Hydrax is capable of a bit more than the advertised 7 balls per second. However, when fully loaded, the stream of balls out the muzzle isn’t consistent, despite the tiny agitator. It does even out as the ammo level drops, though.
There is no hop-up, though the spread overall seems contained.
The Hydrax features a mini AEG setup, similar to other gel ball pistols on the market. The Hydrax keeps its motor and gears above and behind the plunger tube, which is what leave all that room for a larger battery in the grip.
The Hydra features a small agitation arm, linked to the movement of the plunger tube. Presumably, they tested this and found a benefit. Even so, going with a wide, shallow hopper does have some drawbacks.
The Hydrax is an interesting entry for Prime Time Toys, especially since they have so many blasters under different store brands (PTT owns the trademark, yes, but you get the point). That does leave me wondering if a larger one may eventually feature there.
Regardless, for the nearby competition (Gel Blaster Surge, Splatrball SRB375M, Nerf Pro Gelfire Legion), the Hydrax holds up. And at $55, it’s pretty reasonable.
- For a brick, he flies pretty good!