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VV: enthusiasts need only apply ?
It seems that variable voltage (VV) devices are becoming more and more popular and it begs the question of whether this popularity is warranted or is demand driven solely by the hardcore enthusiasts… the ‘must buy everything’ crew who tend to enthusiastically shout about the latest and greatest?
It seems devices such as the eGo/Riva (meGo in our case) don’t get as much limelight anymore even though they are still relatively new products, even though they were once not so long ago, the enthuisiasts device of choice.
In an industry which is moving at light speed in terms of innovation and invention with seemingly every man/woman searching for absolute perfection are we too quick to move on without appreciating what we already have in our blind pursuit for vaping nirvana or at least the illusion of it? (see ‘emperors new clothes’)
My experience with variable voltage goes like this…. use the Darwin, love it for the fact that I can use it while charging (meGo can do this), no faffing with external batteries but mainly because you don’t have to adjust the voltage once you find a wattage that suites. The intuitiveness of this system means that even with the plethora of differing resistance atomisers, the output remains the same, constant and lacking in faff. So yes I guess the Darwin has some big plus’s but is it enough to convert the average 510/eGo user who just wants a small simple effective system?
My second run in with VV has been with various prototypes we have been testing for the past 8 months with our very own Megalodon. Work started on using a step down 7.4V affair which then morphed into a step-up 3.7V setup. To date, work is still going on to get it finished but hopefully we should see something surface in early 2012.
My third experience has been with a wooden box step-down 7.4V option worked with stacked batteries again:
My final experience is currently with testing the step-up 3.7V Lavatube.
On to my findings:
If you have this kind of money, the Darwin is the clear VV winner with its faff free intuitive system. Not only do you get great battery life (especially considering it is a step-down 7.4V device), but the overall power that the Darwin can hit at is far better than the rest – especially the step-up 3.7V options which I have found a little weak when pushed to the upper limits.
With the Lavatube, for the price you get a solid step-up VV device and I think the value for money makes it a must if you want to experience VV at an affordable price. Where it falls down is the minute you try and push the battery much over the 4.8V mark, there is not much noticeable change in output – the stated range of between 3V-6V is really a myth – especially when using lower res atomisers. What I mean to say if you are after a true constant 5 volt experience or higher, IMO you are better off with a Don and 5V/6V battery combined or step-down option such as the Darwin or Wooden box pictured (available soon). What it is good at though is moving between 3V-4.8V and offering at least some degree of variety just don’t expect the atomiser reviving capability of the Darwin.
So in a nutshell, if you want a true VV device with a full true range of voltage adjustability, a step down option (ie.using a 7.4V stack) will hit better (based on the 3 step-up VV devices I have tested), and offer a far broader (true) range of voltages. If you only want to move around the lower voltage ranges (ie. between 3V-4.8V) then a step-up VV option like the lavatube should suffice – incidentally we’ll have these in stock hopefully next week.
So in answer to the original topic question – will VV devices become the norm for future ecigs or are they destined for enthusiast niche status ?
As usual its a tough question to answer not wishing to make too many assumptions on the average ecig user in this brave new world…. I for one tend to move between a simple electronic USB device (like the meGo) which is ideal for using whilst being charged or a mechanical device (such as the Don or Mako) if I plan to be away from home knowing that there is far less to go wrong and if something did go wrong I could no doubt fix it myself or finally a VV device if and when an atomiser starts under performing and I want to give it a bit more life (although that can also be done in a fixed way with the 5V, 6V or even the 7.4V options on the Don/Mako).
So in terms of my experience, and perhaps I am a biased enthuisiast, but I like variety and think there is a place for all the above mentioned devices (old and new) as each one has something which the other cannot do and in this game you certainly need backups. But if you are someone who is looking for that one device to get the most from, I don’t think you’d go far wrong with any of the devices mentioned in this post, it’s just a question of weighing up your personal priorities and then simply voting with your wallet.
Whether or not the average mainstream 901 or 510 etc mini user will be convinced by some of these bigger VV devices remains to be seen – perhaps the middle ground (in terms of size) eGo/meGo style devices will continue to enjoy success long after the final VV device manufacturer has taken up tiddly winks.
For users wishing to experience VV at an affordable price (albeit without the functions of some of the higher end step-down options), you can’t go far wrong with a Lavatube although don’t expect the full voltage range especially when using lower resistance atomisers.
For users who have tried devices like the Lavatube which perhaps offer a slightly limited VV experience and are looking for that ‘true’ VV experience, the Darwin or the new Evolv Kick add-on (available 2012) or indeed our own Megalodon VV module (available 2012) or the pictured wooden box step-down VV (coming soon) should help take you to the next level.
Enthusiatic Festive Cheer from Moju Republic!
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