Up in Smoke...

I'm not a big smoker, nor a big drinker, and while I may have experimented when I was younger, thankfully I never fell into anything too self-destructive. However, no matter how infrequently I partook in these I realize that health is paramount. That and my desire to pursue a habit of distance running somehow managed to lead me into the wispy world of vaping.

A month or so ago I purchased my first vaporizer. I went for an eGo style knockoff Chinese model called an iVape S8. I'll confess that I bought it in part because I thought it looked cool, but upon some further research I discovered that the underpinnings of this device are actually quite good...

This lightsaber, sonic screwdriver -esq eGo vape pen is made by an obscure Chinese company called Shenzhen Topgreen Technology. They have a number of offerings, however strangely I am unable to find any reviews of their products. Normally this would put me off from buying from them, but as I had already taken the plunge when I learned this, I figured I would take this opportunity to write a proper review here:

Clearomizer: iVape S8
Type: Bottom-feed, dual-coil
Capacity: 2.0 ml
Resistance: 2.5 ohm
Adjustable Airflow

Battery: fox XVAPE
Type: ICR 14500
Current: 900 mAh, 3.7V
Voltage Switchable

Before I begin, let me offer a disclaimer: I am in no way an authority on this kind of thing, I have no industry experience, nor have I been vaping for a very long time. So please take my review with a grain of salt if something better comes along. All right then let me get right into it.

This clearomizer can be fully disassembled for cleaning and it comes apart into the following parts: mouthpiece, center-tube, pyrex tank, atomizer head, tank base, and the airflow base. There are also four o-rings to seal the tank and atomizer from leaks. I have frequently heard about leaking clearomizers, but if this isn't assembled improperly I see no cause for this in the iVape. It seals well. I'm ill experienced to debate the benefits of top, or bottom coil setups, but I do like the cooling effect I get from the iVape. The dual coils produce more than enough heat. The adjustable airflow assembly was something that I kinda had issues with however. Coming from smoking hookah, this thing just doesn't flow enough air for my style. Suffice to say that I almost always have the aperture screwed all the way open. I even went to the length of finding a 1/8 inch drill bit and drilled out the airflow base to allow for just a little more airflow. Eventually though, I must confront the fact that the coil head is the biggest restriction here, and there is little changing that. By comparing it's specs to popular models online, I find this to be most similar to the Kanger Aerotank. Even then however I think the dimensions are different. So this isn't a direct copy.

The battery that came along with my device is the fox XVAPE. The most redeeming feature of this battery is that the cell is replaceable if it ever wears out (hence it can also be disassembled into 6 parts). However, the good news for this battery seems to stop there. There is a cheap 3 way "adjustable" voltage feature, but I can't get hard info for what the voltages offered actually are. I'm told either 3.5, 3.8, 4.1, OR 3.6, 4.2, 4.8 and both of these are from Shenzhen Topgreen's site. I'm pretty sure the discrepancy here is due to the fact that the voltage regulator is cheap, and thus the offered voltages will change depending on how much the battery is depleted. Besides, given the resistance of the coil in use in this setup, the three setting are really: good taste, burnt taste, and "spelunking in a burning coal mine". Consulting a vape voltage chart generally verifies this.

I've tested a number of different juices, with different PG/VG mixtures. I personally prefer low to no throat hit, low nic, and huge vapor clouds, if possible without losing taste. That last one can certainly be done with this PV, however, this may just be down to the limited airflow I talked about earlier. The dark vanilla I'm using now is nice, but requires that I clean it nearly weekly to avoid a burnt taste. This is hardly a problem as I have been using the same head for over a month, and I have been vaping quite a bit (nearly every day). So they certainly have got something right here. I may have got an indestructible head by accident, but even if it did burn out in the "usual" timeframe this vaporizer is quite nice for the money.

So in sum:

Pros: cheap, rebuildable (except the head), reasonably powerful, looks cool, coils are very competent

Cons: airflow could be better, voltage regulator is sketchy, also the airflow base can cause connection issues (this may be my fault however as I took a power drill to this part).

Again, I'm relatively new to all this so if anyone has any other recommendations they'd be quite welcome.


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