OK all... So I've been on a new vaping journey. I smoked for years, and switched to e-cigs recently, and loved it... I've been through some tough periods though, and wanted to share my quick story, and the hardware I've gone through on my journey to finally ordering a Provari V2.5 today.... It's been a long 4 months and my wife is a bit upset with what I've spent, but I feel It's been a learning journey and I'm happy to not smoke, so it's worth it.
V2 Cigs - I started out with V2 Cigs and they were o.k. - I didn't know the difference between cheap chinese liquids and good high quality US liquids, but later I would learn. I tried their kit, but also order the Halo G6 kits, and found the G6 kits to be better quality (somewhat) but the customer support was better at V2. I called V2 about a battery that I felt was less than working well, and no questions asked sent me a new one. They were find, but the cheaper painted surfaces and somewhat airy draws, and poor liquid (cartridge) qualities and flavors quickly lost their luster after trying the Halo juices.
Halo G6 - So I've been on an up and down journey with the Halo G6's. I bought a set, and quickly found that I loved the rubberized coating, and the liquid flavors were worlds apart from the V2 flavors. I also liked being able to order juices and fill cartridges myself. I began my journey there, and returned the V2 Kit to commit to the G6's. I turned friends and family and now have about 6 family members who all bought the Halo kits, and seem to still be liking them. I did have some issues with Halo customer service though, sending batteries with poor finish back to them with pictures only to have that ignored and the same batteries were shipped back, and also had a bad battery, that they would not send me a replacement until I sent it back (wait go without a battery, after I use these not to smoke which is a habit.... not a good approach there in my book) but I've stuck with them, and now my wife likes them.
Nicotine Level - I started with 18 mg nicotine and liked the throat hit, but I quickly became a chain vaper on the drive to work, and coming home, and on the weekends. It was fine on the drives, but on the weekends, I would get jiggery, my hands would swell up, and I could tell I was getting too much nicotine. I then switched to 12mg, but wasn't getting the throat hit I wanted. I then bought the LR cartomizers from Halo, and those did make an improvement, but I was looking for large plumes, and wasn't fully getting that after puffing a bit, they would lose that feeling of the first good hard drag. I employed the toothpick trick to make the draws less airy, and that helped too (I have a post on this if your interested) But just like everything else in my life, enough, is never enough, and I wanted more.... I always start family members on 18mg and they all love it at that level, but most of them can use them, and put them down... where as I'm a bit of a glutton, and can't do the put down thing when I want to vape, so I stay at the 12, and it works good for me, but I want more flavor, throat hit, etc. The Halo juices do really good, but I'm experimenting with other flavors, etc - Yet this is more for unique flavors, etc, and not necessarily for throat hit, as it's mostly determined by PG or VG level after you get the Nicotine level right for your throat hit. Throat hit is 90% Nicotine level, but PG/VG can get you that extra 10% and that's probably for another post later. My favorite flavors still to this day though is Halo Tribeca, Bloog RY4, Halo Prime, Halo Mystic, and a few others. Tribeca is TO DIE FOR!!!!!!!!!!! (Halo juices are VERY expensive though, and so I'm looking for less expensive alternatives, and my next order will be RY4 and RY7 from ECBLEND as they are much much more reasonable.) So far I've tried probably 30 different juices and that journey continues.
eGo Twist - Over Christmas I was just less than enthusiastic about the G6's and decided to take the plunge on a pair of eGo Twists. I loved them at first, and I bought Smoktech Dual Coil Mega Carto's from The Vapor Room and DCT eGo Smoktech tanks from ECBLEND, which bough work so great (no sweet plasticcy taste like other off brand eGo mega carto's I've tried and no juice in the mouth, etc.) The only problem is that the amperage limit on the eGo after long exposure to 1.5 ohm low resistance dual coil cartomizers and cartomizer tanks, seems to have taken a toll on the Twist. It seems very much lower enthusiastic about being hooked up to those now, and doesn't sizzle crack pop, like it did. I think they've been fried trying to push much more than a single coil cartomizer, and the company I bought them from suggested they were o.k. with DCT tanks, but I take like 10 second drags, and I think it's just too much. So - Now again, I'm left feeling like I want more every time I use them (except in the morning when I wake up with IS MY MOST FAVORITE VAPE OF THE DAY... Everything is just way better then for me, as the throat hit, flavor, throat peppery feel, etc. is all there. However, it was time for me to continue my journey and research, research, research... So this is where we come to my final part of the journey and the one part I was trying to avoid, but every bit of videos and research all said that I would get to this point, and I wish I would have avoided the previous 3.... but the reality is it's the journey that everyone takes. I HAD TO HAVE THE E-Cig types though to have that cigarette feeling (and still get them out when I want to feel like a cigarette smoker again or feel cool again, etc...or if I need something small like when out and about, or something. (I use the G6's still at night with my Halo Mystic Juice as it's my favorite (before bedtime) vape flavor. So on to the next part of research and my purchase today.
Provari / Zmax / LavaTube / eVic / Darwin
January 2013 is when I did all my research, and all the models listed above was done on the most recent models. Like the Provari is the V2.5 and the LavaTube is the V2, and the Zmax is the V2, etc, etc... I found something to like about most all of them, and had a hard time pulling the trigger. Now before I act like an expert, I will tell you I haven't tried any of them, BUT BUT BUT... I read tons and tons, and pulled in many perspectives, and watched WAY TOO MUCH YOU TUBE VIDEOS... My wife probably knows more about the LavaTube than I do now... Anyway here's what I found in a nut shell on each, and why I came to the conclusion and pulled a trigger today exceeding $230 on what I felt was a device that would be with me for a long time...
eVic - Great software, great gadget, seems to have pretty good power, nice puff counter for people like me who are gluttons, works seemlessly with eGo stuff, had 1 battery, and a corded charger right to the device..... Now for the bad - It's REALLY cheap feeling from what almost everyone says. Very thin metal, very soft plastics, very rattly adjustment ring, many issues with software cutting out, the USB cap on the device sticks or looks chinsey, you know that most of the money went into the software instead of the actual device and that's a shame. I really really wanted to like the evic, but I can't deal with cheap things, and I know I would regret it every time I held it (just like buying a cheaper car, and hating it... when you see a hot one pass you bye) I do love the packaging, the slick JoyeTech packaging and presentation is just fantastic, and contemporary, but I think they should had put more money in hardware. Also the battery seems a bit small and wouldn't last me, as well as the switch has an amperage limitation too low for some of the dual coil stuff I wanted to use. Also, I am positive they won't take it back for upgrades like the Provape Provari, and probably will be a throw away in 6 months like the Twists (Everyone says 12 months on the Twists, but my experience makes me think with hard vaping, it will be more like 6 months) I regretfully decided that everyone can't be wrong by saying they feel very very cheap in the hand, and couldn't bring myself to overcome that. Plus I'm afraid the USB cover will break like on Psbuardo. Starting with an eVic would be around $100 so it's a pretty good price.
Darwin - Pretty awesome little box. I would buy a Darwin, but honestly I can't bring myself to vape from a box... Just is too far of a stretch for me. Plus the hook up doesn't work with many things I want to use, and..... It's a box - Sorry Darwin lovers but just wouldn't work for me. If you won't use something, then you won't vape it, and you lose.... Couldn't risk it.
LavaTube V2 - I WANT A LAVATUBE.... BUT - I just couldn't get past the connection. The 510 connection just doesn't lend it's self to many things with needing a drip cup, eGo connection, etc. You can get an eGo connection retrofit, and it would work good, and that was what I was going to get BUT lots of people complain about an airy draw or an inconsistent draw (not just Grimm Green) and I couldn't risk that, as I too am a draw snob. I like a certain draw, and I get upset and antsy if I don't have it to my liking. Plus with the batteries, etc. it seemed to get pretty pricey (Not Provari Pricey) but more than an eVic. I just couldn't get past the Size of the Diameter (It's pretty bit) and the flat non cylindrical concave top surface and inconsistent draw that's been noted. Do your research though, as many people will love this (and DO) so don't take my word for it, because I was about a button click away from ordering a red one, and probably would have loved it, but at the last minute pulled back. Remember also this has a high amperage switch and lots of power, so it will push dual coils with ease, and should be considered. You might want to try it.
ZMAX V2 - This was also a tough one, because with the VV and VW like the Darwin and LavaTube. My biggest problem with the ZMAX is probably 3 things. 1. There seems to be multiple knock offs of knock offs, and it's difficult to buy with confidence. 2. Sigelei and Smoktech seem to be playing off eachother, and one has a better screen, while the other looks like higher quality body, if only they were put together.... 3. The fact that there are already articles of people complaining that the ZMAX could have a battery exhaust problem if you over charge 2 x 18350's and used them hard, they could over exhaust and blow out of the bottom of the unit. I don't probably believe that they would do this and not release a quick quick fix if they found it in testing, because they know that could be the end of the Vaping products as we know it, because the government would come in so much faster it would make all of our heads spin, but my big problem is that many of them that I see for sale now, have BIG OLD SLITS down the side of them, and you can see the battery!.... How ugly. Not only Ugly, but it makes me wonder - Did they do that so that it would also exhaust out of the sides in a thermal event, and make you drop it, instead of it becoming a rocket... Either way I hope I'm just talking foolishly, and I'm looking too far into it, but regardless, it's just ugly with the cuts in the side. Otherwise it's also made in China, and I work for a large prime product manufacture in the construction industy, and can tell you that I've seen some horror stories in our industry from Chinese quality and IP stealing, and many other issues of non upstanding business ethics. I just can't invest in that when there is something made here in the USA for a few bucks more. So finally after toiling over this one (because the versions I've seen without the cuts in the side of the body look downright sexy and are very very slick) I had to walk away.
Now the Provari V2.5 - First of all, I have to say that I like the new design. I think it's like a new Mustang that comes out, and everyone says they don't like the new body, and the old one was better, and then a year later they say, "I liked it from the beggining, I couldn't imagine who would have liked the old body style"... I think it's progressive, contemporary, looks even more expensive with the curvature of the criss cross bands, and I just think it looks more modern. Now that is out of the way, what about the stuff on the inside. Well the 3.5 amp switch really did something for me, it gave me confidence that the V2.5 wouldn't have the dreaded E2 error that I read alot about on the V1, because it could push more amps now. That was a plus. I do worry about all the codes, and erroring out (if it does, because again, I have no experience with that, I've just read about the something like 8 different error codes it can use if needed) but they are almost all for safety, so I can deal with that. I do like how sturdy everyone says it is, I love the chrome end caps, I could do with a better display, but like most people say, after you get it set, you never look at it again (until you put your next head on, etc.) but it's more of a novalty to have a beatiful screen that is really more utilitarian after awhile. I like that it has so much support out there as being a good device, and most all reviews are positive (except Grimm Green, which I love his videos, but I think he really missed the boat on his review, and honestly I felt it was down right distasteful to lead people wrong by trying to run a 1.5 ohm cartomizer at 300 volts (just joking but come on really) I calculated it and he was trying to run it at like 14 watts or something which is rediculous, and he spent more time screwing with that BS than actually reviewing the Provari - What a shame - Miss for Grimm there) Plus I've read many people who say they've had them for years and still work, and I've read of many people who have sent them back to Provape for upgrades to the next chipset or higher amperage switch, or higher version, etc.. That's pretty awesome. I don't like that the board is exposed on the inside, to dirt, but it doesn't sound like people have many issues with that, and I might not like the mushyness of the button (but I may love it because my wife doesn't like the click in bed - insert jokes here) But besides that there are so many Pros... It's very safe with all the brain power and error codes for protection, IT IS MADE IN THE USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (If you don't care about this, then you must not care about your children having a job when they come out of highschool or college... But this wasn't my only reason to buy by a long shot) It is simple (Variable Wattage would be nice, but like everyone else, I know that I won't use it after awhile, because I still may want to set the wattage up or down for different times of the day, and what's the difference between setting wattage up and down through out the day, and voltage, when most of my stuff is within .5 ohms of eachother and I still may want more power in the evening and less in the morning, etc... I just don't see that much more value in the VW, but if it had it I wouldn't turn it away, but just because it doesn't isn't making me run) I like the looks, I like the quality hardware, I like the Safety, I like that Provape gives to CASAA (We all better get to signing petitions, supporting CASAA, and everything and anything, or The FDA, Big Tobacco, and Big Pharmacutacles will be running us all over to gain back their cigarette smoking revenues), I like their website professionalism (I believe I will be less than enthusiastic about their lack luster bubble wrap packaging - Provape you need to work on that!), but what do most of us do with the packaging after we open it (put it in the cupboard or basement, or for some trash), so I won't beat them up too bad on that. I also like that if the chip goes bad, or something happens, it sounds like they will support me and fix it, or replace it (1 year warranty) but even after the warranty I'm sure it can be fixed up... I don't see that happening with a ZMAX.... Well anyway, I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but this has been my journey. I ordered a Matte Black Provari V2.5 with Blue LED, 2 x 18490 batteries, battery charger and that's it and it was still $233, but I can tell you from the reviews, I think it will feel like $233 in my hand for years to come. (Think about it this way if I bought 2 x ZMAX's in a year, I would still probably have the same life (from what I read - Oh also I've read about the ZMAX button sticking when the battery is in... WHAT - Does that sound like quality if the internals are chinsey enough to hold up the botton when the battery is in) or I could buy 7 x Twists, but I still would be stuck with low amperage, a smaller voltage capability, worries about them dieing because of pushing them, less battery life (I can't do the 1000 mah Twist - Too long and thin looking) and would be throwing them out every 6 months...) So I can't wait until my Provari gets here, and I think I've finally reached my "Halo" Vapor Device on my Journey and will be happy for years to come...
Anyway - I hope this helps you, and I hope you find it insightful. None of the devices are bad I listed above, they are all just different. Don't take my word for it, do your own research, but if your like me, you'll end up here too, and making that first big purchase about 4 months into Vaping, and think back that you didn't have to try all of those others first, but then you'll understand it's partially a journey rather than a destination.... Enjoy Vaping!