ProVape ProVari Electronic Cigarette Review
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It was a very exciting day for me when, about a month ago, I opened the mail and found that I’d received the ProVari e-cigarette starter kit from ProVape for review purposes. I’ve spent the time since putting the e-cigarette through its paces, and I’ll be describing my thoughts in this ProVari review. The ProVari is a high-end variable-voltage electronic cigarette that competes head-to-head with the Volcano Lavatube e-cig. At $211.95 for a starter kit, the ProVari is not a small investment — especially when you consider the fact that the Lavatube starter kit is just $99.99. Since I have both, I can tell you that there are several compelling reasons to choose the ProVari over the less expensive Lavatube, and I’ll be comparing the two products extensively in this review.
ProVari Review: The Bottom Line
The ProVari e-cig is without a doubt the best electronic cigarette I have ever used. The differences between the ProVari and Lavatube e-cigs are primarily small ones. However, if those differences matter to you, the ProVari is superior in many ways and absolutely worth the extra money if you can afford to purchase it.
The ProVari V2
Since I published this review, ProVape released a new version of the ProVari called the ProVari V2. All ProVari packages now include the ProVari V2, which has two primary improvements compared to the original ProVari: it has a wider voltage range (expanded from 3.3-6.0 to 2.9-6.0 volts) and it has a higher over-current cutoff at 3.5 amps rather than 2.5 amps. The 2.5 amp cutoff point seems to be the standard among variable-voltage e-cigarettes. The Lavatube e-cig has the same cutoff point. With a higher cutoff point of 3.5 amps, there is now no question that the PvoVari V2 is the best variable-voltage electronic cigarette on the market because it is the only one with the ability to run dual-coil cartomizers at power levels higher than about 4.0 volts. With the ProVari V2, you should be able to run dual-coil cartomizers up to 5.0 volts, creating more thick vapor than any other electronic cigarette is capable of.
ProVari Review: Getting Started
Inside the $211.95 ProVari starter kit, you’ll find the matte stainless steel version of the ProVari e-cig — other colors are also available, but they cost extra — as well as two 1100 mAh AW 18490 batteries, a two-terminal wall charger, a pack of five genuine Boge 510 cartomizers and a sharp looking stainless steel drip tip.
Upon examining the ProVari, I was immediately struck by how incredibly nice it looks. It’s smaller than the pictures make it appear, and significantly smaller than the Lavatube. Overall, the craftsmanship of the ProVari is marvelous and demonstrates superior attention to detail. All of the pieces fit together tightly with no unusual gaps. The finish is completely free of blemishes. The atomizer threading is perfectly straight, and the threading on the end cap is properly lubricated. When I use the ProVari e-cig, I feel like I’m holding something that was made with a great deal of pride. According to ProVape, every part of the ProVari including the metalwork and circuit board is made in the United States.
In terms of overall fit and finish, I find the ProVari far superior to the Lavatube e-cig. While the Lavatube is made from aluminum, the heavier stainless steel of the ProVari makes it feel quite a bit more durable. The parts also fit together more tightly, and the ProVari exhibits none of the problems that become apparent when you examine the Lavatube closely. For example, my Lavatube e-cig arrived with a few small blemishes in the finish. The end cap isn’t lubricated and makes a loud squeaking noise that bothers my wife. The atomizer threading isn’t quite straight, and when you use a long cartomizer it tilts at an awkward angle. Inspecting the ProVari closely, I can find no physical problems with it.
ProVari Review: Features
The ProVari allows you to adjust the power level to any value between 3.3 and 6.0 volts in 0.1-volt increments. The single button is used both to fire the atomizer and to access the ProVari’s settings, while the two-character screen displays the menu. It’s a complicated system that requires several button presses to access and change functions, but it does become intuitive as you get used to it. The Lavatube e-cig is a bit simpler to use, thanks to the fact that it has dedicated power and voltage buttons. However, the ProVari has a few features that the Lavatube doesn’t. Using the menu, you can raise and lower the voltage setting, check the current charge level of the battery, determine the resistance of the connected atomizer or cartomizer, turn the unit off and disable the built-in light of the fire button.
You can access the menu of the ProVari e-cig by pressing the fire button five times in succession. The screen then displays the two-letter code associated with the first menu item. For example, the code “Pu” corresponds with “Power Up,” allowing you to raise the voltage. Keep pressing the fire button to switch to the next menu item or wait a moment, and the ProVari displays the current voltage setting, at which time you can adjust the voltage by pressing the fire button and watching the value on the screen. The menu closes after you wait a few more seconds.
The screen of the ProVari e-cig also has the ability to display error codes. The ProVari can notify you if the atomizer is shorted, if there is an over current and if the device or atomizer becomes too hot, along with a variety of other error conditions. This makes troubleshooting easy if you should ever encounter a problem. In this sense, the ProVari is definitely a “smarter” e-cig than the Lavatube, which to my knowledge has no error codes.
ProVari Review: Performance
All of the features in the world don’t matter if the ProVari e-cig doesn’t perform. However, I am pleased to report that it is the best-performing electronic cigarette I have ever used. I’ve been on a Boge cartomizer kick lately, and the ProVari gives me no problem operating the 2.6-2.8 ohm cartomizers at six volts. The vapor production is out of this world.
The Lavatube e-cig also operates at six volts, though, and before I actually used the ProVari I wondered why anyone would want to spend over $100 more on an electronic cigarette that should perform the same. Subjectively speaking, now that I have both e-cigs, I do not think that the performance is the same. The ProVari and Lavatube seem to generate the same amount of power when their batteries are full, but I’ve noticed that the power output of the Lavatube seems to gradually decrease as the battery’s charge is depleted. When the charge that remains is around 3.5 to 3.8 volts, I have to change out the battery to keep the vapor production up. The ProVari doesn’t seem to have that problem; I can use it happily until the battery is dead.
Another interesting difference between the two is the safety cutoff; the Lavatube allows you to hold the fire button for a maximum of 10 seconds before it cuts power to the atomizer. The ProVari has a safety timer of 16 seconds, allowing you to take much longer puffs if desired.
Size and Weight
As I stated at the beginning of the review, the ProVari is much smaller than the pictures make it appear. With the battery and without an atomizer, the ProVari e-cig measures 4 1/8 inches and weighs 151.1 grams, while the Lavatube measures 4 15/16 inches and weighs 98.2 grams. In my opinion, although the ProVari is nearly 54-percent heavier than the Lavatube, its shorter length and different center of gravity make it feel significantly smaller in the hand.
Battery Life and Charge Time
The ProVari e-cig starter kit includes two AW 1100 mAh batteries, giving it a little under 69 percent of the 1600 mAh charge capacity of the Lavatube e-cig. However, in practice, I find that the two e-cigs are just about even in battery life because decreasing power output causes me to change the battery in the Lavatube well before it actually dies. When I use the ProVari at six volts, I find that I need to change the battery once around the middle of the day. If I’m having a particularly heavy vaping day, I sometimes have to change the battery a second time. At 4.5 volts, I don’t need to change the battery in the ProVari until I go to bed for the night. Charging a dead battery takes a few hours.
ProVape also sells a high-capacity 2000 mAh AW battery for the ProVari. This battery provides nearly double the capacity at a price of just $12.95. However because the battery is longer, it requires an extension end cap which costs $23.95.
The basic ProVari e-cig is stainless steel with a matte finish. However, other colors are also available at slightly — or not so slightly — higher prices. The chrome and black versions cost $20 more each. A 24-karat gold plated ProVari is also available for those who want an electronic cigarette with some serious “bling.” The gold-plated ProVari is a custom order that takes four weeks to fulfill and costs $299.95.
The standard warranty for the ProVari e-cig is one year. However, if desired, you can purchase an extended warranty for $24.95. ProVape requires you to purchase the extended warranty at the same time that you purchase the ProVari, and it covers the unit against defects for two years.
ProVari vs. Lavatube E-Cig
The question of whether to buy the ProVari or the Lavatube may ultimately be decided by your financial situation; if you can’t afford the ProVari, buy the Lavatube instead. The Lavatube is also a great product — better than any electronic cigarette I’ve used with the exception of the ProVari — and I’m certain that you’ll be very happy with it. On the other hand, if you can afford the ProVari and care about details — higher-quality materials and craftsmanship, the superior voltage booster, or the fact that it is made in the United States — the ProVari is the electronic cigarette to buy.