Vaping Diaries #81: Innokin iTaste 134 Review

Innokin has been pumping out quality devices that combine great performance and great prices. The iTaste MVP, iTaste SVD, and iTaste VV 3.0 are among the best in their respective categories. The iTaste 134 adds something really different and unique to Innokin’s lineup. Unlike its sister products, it doesn’t attempt to offer an affordable device with all the modern features you’d expect. The iTaste 134 offers a distinct style that makes it stand out from the crowd. Its “cool” design comes at the price of some features and performance. Read on to see if this unique vaping device is right for you.

What’s in the Kit: The iTaste 134 comes in a decorative box that includes the device and one iClear 30 clearomizer. The review sample I received was black with silver bars. An all-silver version is also available. The device has an MSRP of $169, so expect a street price a little bit lower than that.

Ergonomics and Design: The most outstanding — and divisive — feature of the iTaste 134 is its design. It’s definitely distinct and noticeable. People either love or hate it. I brought it to four different vape shops in two weeks and people with geeky tendencies loved it; they either enjoyed that it looks like an M134 machine gun or were giddy because it looks like a lightsaber. The people that hated it thought the design was too extreme, saying that it sacrificed functionality for coolness. No matter the case, the iTaste 134 received more attention than any device I’ve ever brought to a vape shop. You won’t need to see it in person to decide if you like the device’s looks (in my experience, many mods look better in person than they do photographed). What you see is what you get with this mod.

As for ergonomics, it really depends on the user. If you like heavy mods then there’s a good chance you’ll like the feel of this one. If thin-and-light mods are your thing then you definitely won’t enjoy using this device — it’s very big and very heavy. As someone that prefers hefty mods, I found the iTaste 134 enjoyable to use. Going into the review, I thought that the silver bars would make it uncomfortable to hold, but that wasn’t the case. After a few days of using it, I became accustomed to the weight and didn’t find it uncomfortable to hold. (Of course all my other mods felt like pencils after using this one.) While the length and weight didn’t bother me, I completely understand that many vapers will find this device cumbersome.

Construction and Build Quality: Like the iTaste MVP and iTaste SVD, the iTaste 134 features very good build quality. It’s a solid device that’s put together well. It’s also a very complex device to assemble (24 screws that you can see and probably several more inside that you can’t), so there are many areas where mistakes could be made. To my delight, there weren’t any loose screws or rattling parts in my review unit.

The two minor problems I had were with the scroll wheel and the firing button. I wanted the wheel to give off a louder click and have a tighter feel. The firing button was too “clicky” for me and I wanted a springier feel. These are two areas that will be improved in the final version of the device. My Innokin contact said that the button and scroll wheel on the final version will be made from better material that’s more durable. The final scroll wheel will also have a louder click. Obviously I can’t say how these facets of the device will end up, but keep that in mind when you’re reading reviews that are posted around the same time as mine or before — this is not final hardware and minor changes will be made.

Operation: This is one facet of the device that isn’t getting much attention. It’s so easy to use. Since it’s variable wattage, users don’t have to worry about the resistance (ohms) of the equipment they put on top. The output will be consistent. The scroll wheel couldn’t be easier to use; you simply slide the wheel to the desired wattage. In many respects, the iTaste 134 is like an eGo-C Twist on steroids. For vapers that find menu systems using multiple button clicks confusing or annoying, this mod is a great choice. It combines the simplicity of an eGo-C Twist with 18650 battery life and the accuracy/versatility of variable-wattage performance.

The ease of use comes at a price though: functionality. Since it doesn’t have an LCD screen and menu buttons, the iTaste 134 doesn’t do all the things that its sister product, the excellent iTaste SVD, can do. The big one for me is the battery indicator, which only gives basic information using three colors (green = high charge, yellow = average charge, red = low charge). Some people have complained that the iTaste 134 can’t display resistance. My Innokin contact said that since the device is variable-wattage then there’s no need to see resistance since the output will be whatever you set it to. I agree with him to a point. Most users don’t need to see resistance. There are some good reasons to know the ohms of your juice delivery system (particularly for people that build their own coils), but most users don’t need to know this. That said, even people that don’t need to know their resistance want to. I totally get the need for useless info. I’m a mark for advanced sports metrics. I’ve wasted hundreds of hours on Wikipedia researching things I don’t need to know about. While I use delivery systems that require rebuilding, I also use lots of standard gear. No matter the case, I find myself checking resistance for no reason other than “because I can.”

Performance and Battery Life: For the review, I used the iTaste 134 with rebuildable atomizers, direct-driping atomizers, a carto/tank, and a clearomizer. In all cases, the output was consistent. Compared to the iTaste SVD, which I found to be a very accurate device, the output felt a tiny bit lower at the same wattage settings. While it was a little puzzling considering that both devices use the same PCB, according to my Innokin contact, the variance wasn’t large enough to bother me.

The biggest issue I had was with the device’s wattage range. It can be set from 6.5 to 12.5 watts. However, from 7.0 to 12.0 watts it can only be adjusted in 1.0-watt increments. (And no, you can’t set it between numbers on the scroll wheel. The device won’t fire.) Compare that to the iTaste SVD (which, again, uses the same PCB), which has a range of 3.0 to 15.0 watts that can be adjusted in 0.5-watt increments. It’s not so much the limited range that bothered me (though that will certainly be an issue for some vapers) as much as the 1.0-watt adjustments. Being able to fine tune output for certain juices or delivery systems is a big deal and that can’t be done with the iTaste 134. As someone that usually vapes at 8.5 watts, I had to compromise in one direction or the other. I felt like Goldilocks with only two choices: “This vape is too soft. This vape is too hard.” With a lot of the juices I vaped on the iTaste 134, I couldn’t get the “just right” taste that I’m used to.

As for battery life, it all depends on the battery you’re using and your vaping habits. Using the excellent Panasonic NCR18650B, I got around 1.25 to 1.5 days of vaping per charge.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a great vaping device with all the bells and whistles then you should take a good look at the iTaste SVD. It simply does more than the iTaste 134. If you’re looking for a powerful mod that’s easy to use then the iTaste 134 could be a great device for you. What it all comes down to is looks. This is a very unique and distinct mod. For some people, a $150 street price is worth paying just to have something different. For others, it’s not. The iTaste 134 is somewhat limited and certainly heavy, but there’s nothing else like it on the market.

I like that the iTaste 134 is atypical and love that Innokin has tried something different in order to diversify its lineup. It’s a very unusual move for a Chinese vaping company. Most manufacturers from China release “me too” products, straight-up clones, or devices with unarguably ugly designs. I applaud Innokin for releasing a device that’s strikingly unusual. Would I buy one? Yes. I’m a big enough nerd to get $150 of vaping enjoyment just off of its looks. That said, I completely understand vapers that feel that this device is too limited and unwieldy for their money.

[Update July 29]: Innokin dropped me a line to make sure that people know not to use stacked 18350 batteries with the iTaste 134. The combined 7.4 volts of power may damage the PCB.

Author: RPadTV

http://www.RPad.TV