Arguably the most-wanted Innokin product of 2013, the iTaste VTR is a box mod positioned as a premium product. Out of the box, I was surprised by its heft. The iTaste VTR is a weighty vaping device that looks bolder and feels more luxurious than its sister product, the iTaste MVP 2. My initial impression is that a strong argument can be made that this is the best product Innokin has released, but some vapers will be put off by its weight. However, I definitely need to spend more time with the iTaste VTR before passing judgement.
The iTaste VTR comes in a decorative box, just like the iTaste 134. The kit includes the mod, an Innokin iClear 30s clearomizer, and an adapter tube. The unit was made with the iClear 30 and iClear 30s in mind. However, it can hold any clearomizer with similar dimensions (diameter less than 19mm, height around 78mm). For atomizers that won’t fit into the clearomizer cutout, the include adapter ensures that any 510-threaded part will work with the iTaste VTR.
Using the iTaste VTR is relatively easy. While it’s not quite as simple as using the iTaste MVP 2’s various functions, it’s still relatively straightforward. There’s a power button, a function button, and a scroll wheel. The power button turns the device on or off and fires the device. The function button pulls up atomizer resistance, voltage, wattage, and battery life. Voltage and wattage are adjusted using the scroll wheel. The voltage range is 3.0 to 6.0 volts adjustable in 0.1-volt increments, while the wattage range is 3.0 to 15.0 volts adjustable in 0.5-watt increments
So far I’ve used the iTaste VTR with an iClear 30 clearomizer and a Vapage dripping atomizer. The output has been consistent, but I haven’t tried many different settings yet. Most of the Innokin devices I’ve used have consistent output and I expect the same from the iTaste VTR.
Check out the video preview above to see different looks of the iTaste VTR, the iClear 30s, and the optional holster accessory. I’m going to use the device for at least 10 days before reviewing it. Stay tuned for the full review in the near future.
The original Innokin iTaste MVP offered consistent performance and stellar battery life for a relatively low price. The Innokin iTaste MVP 2.0 has several improvements over its predecessor, both aesthetically and functionally. Here’s a quick look at Innokin’s latest box mod.
The iTaste MVP 2.0’s most notable improvements are the addition of variable-wattage performance and a resistance checker (ohms). These are two features that vapers were clamoring for and it’s great that Innokin has listened to its customers. The wattage range is 6.0 to 11.0, adjustable in increments of 0.5 watts. Like the original, the voltage range is 3.3 to 5.0 volts, adjustable in 0.1-volt increments. Resistance and battery are displayed by hitting the two buttons on the side panel.
There are a few notable physical improvements with the MVP 2.0 as well. The original had a button that was flush against the unit. The MVP 2.0’s button protrudes for a better feel. The silver metal accents have a matte finished, as opposed to the original’s glossy finish. This cuts down on fingerprints. The original’s threading couldn’t accept eGo-threaded parts, while the new model accepts both 510 and eGo-threaded atomizers. Lastly, some people complained about the original’s beauty ring hanging over the side. The MVP 2.0’s beauty ring doesn’t have that problem.
The iTaste MVP 2.0 comes in a plastic box with a charging cable and your choice of two iClear 16 clearomizers or one iClear 30 clearomizer. The MVP 2.0 can be used to charge external device that have Mini USB, Micro USB, and Apple 32-pin connections. I would have liked to have seen Mini USB dropped in favor of an Apple Lightning connection, so that the MVP 2.0 can charge newer iPhones and iPads. However, I understand why Innokin didn’t opt for that connection (I’ll get into that in my review).
At a glance, the Innokin iTaste MVP 2.0 looks like a winner. Last year’s model was a great device and this year’s model has all of the improvements vapers have asked for. I’ll be putting this box mod through its paces before giving it a proper review. Stay tuned!
Generally speaking, e-liquids made with naturally-extracted tobacco are my favorite kinds of e-liquids, so I was psyched to learn about Naturally-Extracted-Tobacco.com. The company, which just opened shop in July, specializes in vaping juices made from naturally-extracted tobacco. Its lineup includes a variety of e-liquids made with cigar, cigarette, and pipe tobaccos. If that’s not enough to get tobacco e-juice lovers excited, there are a few other things that make this company unique.
Naturally-Extracted-Tobacco.com gives its customers a choice between plastic dropper bottles or glass bottles with dropper tops. Most e-liquid companies offer one or the other. I love that this company gives you a choice between the two. That’s just smart.
What really makes Naturally-Extracted-Tobacco.com unique is that it offers two types of tobacco-extractions methods. Heat extraction offers a bolder taste with more throat hit. This is a great choice for vapers that love in-your-face tobacco flavors. Those that want a more nuanced flavor can opt for cold maceration, which brings out the subtleties of the different tobaccos used.
Vapers that like to make their own e-liquids will appreciate Naturally-Extracted-Tobacco.com’s DIY offerings. The company offers the extracts from its lineup. While they’re pricier than most DIY flavorings, it’s still a more economical way to vape. Plus, the company is one of two that I know of with an extensive line of naturally-extracted tobacco extracts.
While I’ve enjoyed what I’ve dripped so far, I’m still a few weeks away from a proper review of the Naturally-Extracted-Tobacco.com e-liquids that I have. So let’s have a contest in the meantime!
Contest: Win Three Boge Standard Dripping Atomizers
To enter the contest, all you have to do is go to Naturally-Extracted-Tobacco.com, peruse the menu, and leave a comment below with the flavor you most want to try and an explanation of why you want that particular flavor. It’s that easy!
[Edit: August 28 12:08PM] Naturally-Extracted-Tobacco.com will also be providing a 30ml bottle of e-liquid to the winner!
Yesterday I received an Evolv Kick 2, the latest version of one of my favorite vaping accessories. If you’re not familiar with the original Kick, it’s a drop-in module for mechanical mods that sits on top of a battery. It gives you variable-wattage performance, allowing for consistent vaping experiences no matter what mechanical mod or juice delivery system used. For example, if you set the Kick for 9.5 watts, you’ll get 9.5 watts whether your atomizer is 1.2 ohms or 2.8 ohms. Additionally, the Kick provides short-circuit protection.
The Kick 2 has several improvements over its predecessor, as well as some design changes. The device can be set as high as 15 watts. The original model capped out at 10 watts. The suggested atomizer resistance range is 0.5 to 3.3 ohms. The previous version listed 1.3 to 3.0 ohms as the workable range. These two improvements make the Kick 2 potentially attractive to vapers that like to use sub-ohm coils on rebuildable devices. I’ll be testing the Kick 2 with a sub-ohm coil on a rebuildable dripping atomizer.
As far as design goes, there’s one significant change. The original Kick features a contact spring to ground the device. The Kick 2 uses two grounding posts. The posts are sturdier and useful for mods that have internal threading (the Kick 2 can be screwed in). On the downside, the original’s grounding spring offers a little more flexibility, since it can moved to ensure contact.
On paper, the Kick 2 sounds like another winner from Evolv. The original is one of the most popular and useful accessories for mechanical mods. The Kick 2’s increased range makes it even more useful, extending its appeal to sub-ohm vapers. Again, that’s on paper. I’ll be trying out the Kick 2 with a number of mechanical mods and atomizers to see if it delivers the goods. Stay tuned for the full review.
Last week I received a few e-liquids from The Vape Tree. The company is new to the online e-liquid world, but the owner is an experienced juice maker. There are a few things that make The Vape Tree stand out:
Transparency: The company is totally upfront about using commercially-available flavorings and nicotine from Wizard Labs. Although some vendors are honest about how they make their juices, most are secretive about their ingredients. I really appreciate The Vape Tree’s transparency.
Pre-Steeping: The Vape Tree pre-steeps its juices in an ultrasonic cleaner for at least three hours. Many people believe that this is the equivalent of two to three weeks of steeping. For some vapers, this means that the juices are good to go out of the mail. For others, it cuts down on steeping time. Again, some vendors of made-to-order juices do this, but most don’t.
Complexity: The owner is a big fan of complexity and most of his juices use several flavors. I’ve dripped a few of The Vape Tree’s juices and like them so far. There are some interesting flavor mixes going on.
It’s going to be a few more weeks until I review The Vape Tree’s juices. Stay tuned for a review of Banyan Tree, Pinoy Punch, and Royal Tobacco. For now, let’s get to the contest!
Contest: Win an Innokin iClear 30 Clearomizer
To enter the contest, all you have to do is go to The Vape Tree web site, peruse the menu, and leave a comment below with the flavor you most want to try and an explanation of why you want that particular flavor. It’s that easy!
[Edit: August 10] The Vape Tree will also be providing a 30ml bottle of e-liquid to the winner!
Last week I caught a demo of Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians, a unique platform/music game developed by Threaks and being published by Reverb. Executive producer Ted Lange took me through the game and chatted with me after the demo. Beatbuddy features a story by Rhianna Pratchett and music from Austin Wintory (Journey). Lange described the game as being “familiar and different.” It has platform elements that will instantly feel familiar to gamers that have played loads of Mario and Sonic games, but also has a distinct art style and makes very unique use of music.
Beatbuddy stars a globular hero named Beat. He’s one of three musical spirits, along with Harmony and Melody (though he totally looks like a water-type Pokemon to me…perhaps Manaphy’s cousin). The evil Prince Maestro wants to enslave music, while the ethereal music spirits think that music should be free for everyone. It’s up to Beat to lead the charge and liberate music. (Rumor has it that Beat, Harmony, and Melody are in cahoots with Kim Dotcom.)
As I mentioned in the intro, the game features unique use of music. Each level’s track is broken up so that different objects and enemies represent different musical instruments. For example, a menacing creature will pulsate to the rhythm of the track’s bass drum, while obstacles will move in time with the hi-hat. As Beat moves closer to a particular enemy or object, the corresponding instrument’s sound will become louder. The music — and the individual instruments that make the track — define the level as much as the art and layout. It’s a unique twist that adds a cool layer of interactivity.
The game’s art is beautiful and distinct. In an age where 3D rules the roost, it’s refreshing to see a videogame with hand-painted art. The color palette and style give the game a charming look, while the use of layers gives it a pseudo-3D feel.
Check out my interview with Ted to learn more about the game. As a fan of old-school NES and SNES platformers, as well as a fan of music games, I’m really looking forward to Beatbuddy. After you’ve watched the vid, leave your thoughts on the game in the comments section (please!).
Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians will be released on August 6, 2013 for Windows PC, Mac OS X, and Linux for $14.99.
The Innokin iTaste 134 is one of the most unique vaping devices I’ve seen all year. This 18650-battery mod has extremely distinct looks, an unusual weight and heft for a digital mod, and an atypical slider to adjust wattage. It’s very cool and very macho, but there are a few things to think about before you plop down money for a pre-order.
Vapers that prefer thin-and-light mods will find the iTaste 134 intimidating. It’s one of the largest and heaviest devices I’ve used. It’s even bigger than an Alt Smoke Silver Bullet with a Kick extension, a device many consider to be large. Personally, I prefer mods that have a nice heft, so I’ve been enjoying the iTaste 134. Keep in mind that I’ve only had it for a few hours. I’m curious to find out if the weight will bother me after extended usage.
To change the device’s output, you have to twist a sliding mechanism. This is common with smaller vaping devices, like the eGo Twist, but something I haven’t seen in a mod that uses 18650 batteries. The lowest setting is 6.5 watts. From there, you can adjust in 1-watt increments from 7-watts to 12-watts. The iTaste 134’s highest setting is 12.5 watts. While many vapers will be fine with this setup, those that like to fine-tune their wattage will have to compromise. Another factor to keep in mind is that while the slider mechanism makes the iTaste 134 very easy to use, it also means that the device can’t do things that those with digital screens can do, such as displaying resistance (ohms) and precise battery levels.
The iTaste 134 comes in a nice decorative box. Included are the unit and one iClear 30 clearomizer. Innokin is still determining the MSRP (which should be finalized next week). I’ve seen pre-orders for the iTaste 134 as low as $99 and as high as $160.
While this is definitely a very cool and very distinct device, I need to spend more time with it in order to judge its performance. Stay tuned for the full review in the near future.
I haven’t used a cig-alike (vaping devices that look like tobacco cigarettes) in a long time. As some of you know, I started out with V2 e-cigs (still RPadholic N8R’s favorites) but have moved onto bigger and more complicated devices. One of the reasons that I found the upcoming Vapor4Life Vapor Zeus so intriguing is that it blends elements of both device styles. The Vapor Zeus is shaped like a long and thin cigar, so the form factor is pocketable and familiar. Plus, it won’t look like you’re vaping with something that commonly gets confused for a Sonicare toothbrush. Unlike most easy-to-use e-cigs, this one has a lot of powerful features. After vaping a few days with the Vapor Zeus, I’m pleased to say that my expectations have been exceeded. So far, it has produced very satisfying vapes.
Here are a few reasons why I’m digging the Vapor Zeus:
Power: The device has an output of 5.0 volts for single-coil cartomizers and 4.4 volts for dual-coil cartos. Most “standard” e-cigs have an output of 3.7 volts. This is the main reason why the Vapor Zeus produces a lot of flavor and vapor.
Cartomizer Capacity: The Zeus Cartomizers are pretty unique. They have a rubber tip that feels very comfortable. More importantly, they hold 3.5ml of e-liquid. We’re talking tank-like capacity and two to three times more than what most standalone cartos hold.
Battery Life: I still need more time to be sure, but the 900 mAh battery seems to get me through a little more than half a day. If the performance I’ve had so far keeps up, then two of these bad boys should be enough for my daily vaping — totally acceptable for a device this size. It also has passthrough charging, allowing for simultaneous vaping and charging via Mini USB.
The Vapor Zeus comes in automatic and dual-mode models. The automatic model is like smoking a tobacco cigarette — you just puff and vape. The dual-mode model works that way too, but also has the option to work manually, meaning you press a button to activate the device. I have one of each model and right now I prefer the dual-mode device. My initial feeling is that manual mode has a looser and airier draw that I prefer. Again, I’m still forming my opinion on that and will say for certain in the full review.
For vapers that want something more powerful and with more battery life than cig-alikes, but don’t want something too big or complicated, the Vapor Zeus could be a great choice. I was very surprised by the satisfying vapes it served up and I really liked having a large-capacity cartomizer. I still need to spend more time with it before the full review, which should post in the near future. For now, it’s time for a tangent.
Did you see the episode of The Simpsons when the family went to a Planet of the Apes musical that featured a song called “Help Me Dr. Zaius” set to Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus“? I’ve been thinking about it ever since I’ve started using the Vapor Zeus…because I’ve been calling it the Vapor Zaius. So instead of “Amadeus, Amadeus” or “Dr. Zaius, Dr. Zaius,” the song in my head goes, “Vapor Zaius, Vapor Zaius.”
That’s funny, right? *sigh* No one gets me.
Anyway, stay tuned for a full review of the Vapor Zeus!
The Janty MiD One is a really powerful and versatile vaping device that’s easily the most advanced I’ve ever used. As far as power goes, it offers variable-voltage performance up to eight volts and variable-wattage performance up to 25 watts. In terms of versatility, the mod holds four profiles that can house different settings. What makes it different from other top-of-the-line VV/VW mods is that it uses a joystick controller and eschews an alphanumeric screen in favor of an LED display that shows colors. It also pairs with a PC app that gives it capabilities that no other vaping device has, as well as a community aspect.
Like I mentioned in Vaping Diaries #30, the MiD One is similar to buying a videogame. When you purchase a game, you get a complete experience that can be enhanced by buying additional downloadable content. The MiD One offers a number of features out of the box, but can be enhanced by purchasing “modules” that give it additional capabilities.
While it’s clearly a unique, powerful, and versatile device, I have no doubt that it will be one of the most polarizing mods of 2013. It’s just so different from anything else and will elicit strong reactions. The atypical controls and the need to use a PC to get the most out of the device will definitely split people. I’m still forming my opinion on the MiD One. For now, here are some impressions of my ten days with the mod. Please keep in mind that this is a prototype, so the aesthetics will definitely improve, while the functionality has a chance to get better.
Build Quality: The MiD One looks like an eGo-style vaping device, but bigger. The body is made from metal that’s coated with a rubberized plastic that has a nice feel. It’s thinner than most 18650 tube mods, which isn’t surprising since it uses 16340 batteries. The device comes with a 4ml cartomizers with a plastic tip, but it can use any standard 510 atomizers, cartomizers, or clearomizers.
For the most part, the unit’s construction is quality. It feels good in the hand and I really liked the plastic-coated metal body. The one thing I didn’t like was the battery cap. It has a stylish Janty logo on it, but the branding makes the mod slightly unstable while it’s standing vertically. It can stand upright just fine, but a slight shake will cause it to fall. Of course the final model will look prettier, but I hope Janty is able to make logo flatter or make the balance more bottom heavy to add stability.
Controls: Vapers online have been blasting the MiD One’s atypical controls (even though they’ve never used them). As far as the prototype goes, it’s not as bad as some people think, but it’s also not as good as it could be. As you can see from the diagram above, the joystick-and-LED combo allows you to do a lot, but it also requires some studying. Some people will pick things up quickly and get used to the system. Others will never get used to it. Memorizing different numbers of button clicks, button presses, and colors will definitely be a deal-breaker for some people. While I understand some of the technical reasons Janty didn’t go with an alphanumeric display, the company would be having an easier time attracting potential customers with a more traditional system.
In the video above, I used the example of checking atomizer resistance. To do so, it’s three clicks to the left to bring up monitoring, followed by one click to the left for the atomizer. The Janty cartomizer is rated at 2.5 ohms, so the display showed two long flashes followed by five short flashes. While it’s certainly not as convenient as having a full alphanumeric display, it was easy enough for me to remember how to check resistance. That said, I totally understand why some people won’t like checking resistance this way.
As for me, I’m still learning the system and there are definitely times when I need to use the chart for reference. Having said that, I’m confident that it’s something I’d get used to with time. As a gamer, I disagree with the use of analog-stick style controller. Controlling the MiD One would definitely be easier with a D-pad style controller. Again, this is a prototype model. Janty still has time to improve the tactility and accuracy of the joystick.
App: As a tech nerd, I love what Janty is doing with this app. It blends powerful features and community. The interesting feature here is creating different variable-voltage or variable-wattage profiles. You can set a timeline as long as 12 seconds and have the voltage/wattage fluctuate as you wish. This makes for some really novel and never-seen-before vaping possibilities. You can do things like increase power with a drag, start at a high power and decrease with time, create a bell-curve like vape, or spike things all over the place. If you’re not the imaginative sort, you can check out profiles made by other vapers and try them out on your device. As a longtime Internet writer that’s a huge believer in online community, I love this feature.
The “monitoring” page is really cool too. This lets you see — in real time — the amps, voltage, wattage, and battery life of the MiD One, as well as the resistance of the equipment attached to it. I confess to wasting a lot of time vaping while staring at the monitoring screen, for no other reason except to see what’s going on with the equipment while I’m vaping. It’s good, nerdy fun.
The app is only available for Windows PC. If you’re a Mac user then you’ll need to use Bootcamp or Parallels. Janty has an Android app in the works too, which should be exciting. Since my primary work machine is a Mac, I’m disappointed that there isn’t a native app for OS X. To be fair, when Ovale and Joyetech first released the eVic, the app for that mod was initially Windows only.
Modules: As a gamer, I’m totally used to buying this way. I’m not sure older vapers and/or non-gaming vapers will be as receptive. I like that MiD One owners only need to pay for the features they use. This is a good thing.
My favorite module is “Realtime Vaping Enabler.” This lets you adjust the voltage/wattage on the fly by pushing up or down on the joystick. Janty equates this with taking a longer drag or a shorter puff from a tobacco cigarette. The company totally nailed this one.
Initial Impression: I really love how bold Janty is being with the MiD One. It’s a very different approach to vaping that has more in common with modern consumer electronics than other vaping devices. Electronics have become as much about software and services as they are about hardware. That’s what Janty is trying to serve up here.
The thing with being different is that it draws strong reactions. The MiD One hasn’t even been released yet and people are already drawing conclusions. I’ve used a prototype for 10 days and I still think it’s too soon to conclude anything. Janty still has time to improve the MiD One experience. Right now I think the software and services are there, but the hardware needs some smoothing out. There’s enormous potential with the MiD One, but there’s also a chance that it won’t get realized. I’m excited to see if Janty can bring it all together.
Along with the iTaste SVD, Innokin sent me a few iClear 30 clearomizers. These are dual-coil clearos with two unique features. First, the top and bottom of the unit are made from stainless steel; the majority of clearomizers available are mostly plastic and/or use inexpensive metal. Second, the tip swivels, like the popular knucklehead drip tip. This allows vaping devices to be held in a more comfortable position.
The video preview above goes over the iClear 30’s features and includes a breakdown of its parts. While I need to spend more time with the iClear 30 — especially seeing how it handles problematic juices like naturally-extracted tobbacco e-liquids — my first tank of juice with this clearo has been great. I’ll probably produce a comparison video of the iClear 30 and the Kanger T3, my current clearomizer of choice. Stay tuned!