Up to this point e-cigarettes, even the more advanced models, have been pretty straight forward. They may have variable voltage and wattage, but once you bought it, you pretty much had to buy a new one when improvements, or even fixes, were made. Joyetech's eVic promises to change all that by rolling out an e-cigarette with updatable firmware. What's more the eVic itself has some design features that are also new to the market. The question is do these things make for a good vaping experience? Read the rest of the eVic review to find out if this is the next big thing, or unnecessary fluff!
|Product Name||eVic Intelligent by JoyeTech|
|Voltage||3-5v (.1v increments)|
|Wattage||2-11W* (.1w increments)|
|* using eVic firmware version 1.1|
Joye's eVic (vapor intelligent cigarette, if you were curious) is not unlike many tube-style APVs out there. The design is maybe a little more streamlined, but it's still a tube. Despite the traditional look, there are a few new conventions and nice touches to discuss.
Before we begin, this review is based on the 1.1 version of the firmware. This version adds some very useful features, like being able to actually adjust wattage. If you're rolling 1.0 you should probably upgrade. If you're rolling something newer, hopefully I'll update this or post a firmware-only review which I'll then link to from here.
Overall impressions of the eVic is that it is about the same size as other devices that use the big 18650 batteries but it's a fairly light device. I'm guessing it's made of aluminum. The finish appears to be a metallic powder coat of some type. It's reasonably durable, but I have noticed a small nick in the finish of mine. Save for a couple of minor exceptions, which I'll dive into shortly, the eVic is reasonably well put together.
Starting from the top of this high-tech ecig, things don't look much different from any other similar device. The top features a tapered end with a recessed battery connector inside.
There's more to the top than that. It's the first of the cool things to be found in this device. Joyetech invented the eGo, so it's not surprising to find the battery connector inside is a fully eGo compatible connector complete with cone threads. Also, the top is actually a cone that unscrews, leaving the connector completely exposed just in case you have a tank that needs more breathing room or an exceptionally large cartomizer.
It seems like removing the top cone is mostly unnecessary. There are air notches in the top of the cone, and more than ample space between the inside of the cone and the battery connector to allow even very fat cartomizers like Kangers fit with room to spare. It's probably the first large device I could use those cartomizers on without an adapter.
The battery connection is built into the next part of the eVic, the control head. This section is the brains of the unit; where the magic happens if you will.
The control head is a black cylindrical piece that screws into the battery holder section of the eVic. Inside the head is the display which disappears when the device is not in use. Opposite the display is the sole button, an oblong chrome button.
In addition to being oddly shaped, the fire button is also low profile. I found the shape of the button made it very easy to find and press without looking. The button has a good feel to it, but it does rattle around a little, taking away from the solid feeling of the eVic as a whole.
Similarly, the control ring on the bottom of the head is slightly loose adding to the rattle. The control ring replaces the up and down buttons found on some other variable voltage e-cigarettes on the market.
One thing that is not loose is the cover for the built-in micro USB port. That is not a compliment. The cover is very difficult to pry open without using a small tool. There's been a couple of times I've shoved the edge of the cover under a fingernail trying to get to the USB port.
Access to the USB port is important. There are a couple of reasons you need frequent access to the USB port, first is if you want to use the MVR software with the device or upgrade the firmware (I will do a review for the MVR software and link to it when it's published.) More importantly, and an awesome feature is that you can charge the battery via the USB port. How cool is that? It's a feature I've always wanted in a big battery e-cigarette. You can also remove and charge (and eventually replace) the battery like any standard 18650 battery.
Getting to the battery is just like any other device, there's an end cap at the bottom of the battery compartment that simply unscrews for access. I did note that the thread action is very rough on the battery cap. It's more pepper mill than stereo knob. Fortunately, if you charge via USB, you don't need to open it often. If it really bugs you, you can always grease the threads.
The rest of the battery compartment is pretty standard stuff. Other than the odd Joye logo, it's just a silver tube.
Using the Joyetech eVic
Most of the interesting things with the eVic start with the menu system. The menu is controlled via the ring under the display. Small arrows appear indicating which way the menu (or power) will scroll when it's turned. Turn left to move down the menu and right to go up.
To be honest, I find that counterintuitive. For some reason, the muscle memory in my brain is wired to think that turning a ring left (clockwise) should move a menu up instead of down. I have to make a concentrated effort to turn the thing the right way.
Now that I got that off my chest, let's talk about the display and menus. First off is the main display. To access this display, just turn the wheel in either direction. A screen comes up showing the current puff count, the number of estimated puffs remaining on the battery charge. Battery life is also displayed via a graph and a percentage, so you shouldn't have an excuse for not realizing you should plug it in for a charge.
Don't think you can just ignore the battery life and just plug it in and still vape like a pass-through. Once the eVic is plugged into USB, you can no longer actually use it until the connector is removed.
Underneath the battery and puff displays is the current voltage or wattage setting. The power can be adjusted simply by turning the dial in the desired direction. Each turn is one increment.
Not to keep hitting on the not-quite-what-I-expected thing, but you'd think holding the wheel in one direction would allow it to scroll through the settings. Nope. Fortunately firmware version 1.1 introduced a new feature where if you move the wheel quickly 3 times in a row, it will keep scrolling until you move the wheel in the other direction. It's not perfect, but it's better than moving from 7 to 9 watts .1 watt at a time.
The range at which you can adjust the wattage will be limited based on what resistance cartomizer you have installed. The Joye added a feature where the eVic will calculate the minimum and maximum power it can deliver and limit your settings to that. Voltage seems to take a back seat as the eVic will make the whole voltage range available and simply deliver a lower voltage if it can't handle the amp load.
Another nice thing is there's no need to wait for the display to time out after changing the wattage. You can hit the fire button at any time and it will activate the power. Once you let go of the button, the display shows how long you pressed it. Kind of an unnecessary feature, but fun. I average around 4 seconds per puff.
Because the button is used to select menu items, you can't do the same thing while in the menu system. To access the menu system, press the fire button 5 times rapidly. From there you'll have access to the settings and information on the device. The enhanced display and wheel design means that submenus are all over the place. Sometimes finding what you're looking for isn't the easiest thing in the world.
For example, switching from voltage to wattage operation requires going into the “vapor set” menu then selecting “switch” from there you can pick your mode of operation. Fortunately, the only other menu with a big submenu is the “device” menu which mostly displays information about the device.
You can also adjust other settings that aren't all that common. The length of time the main screen stays on can be adjusted. More importantly, the standby can be adjusted. This is the amount of time that passes without use before the eVic shuts off. The default is 15 minutes, and you can set it up to an hour. There's no way to disable the feature. When it does shut off on you, click the fire button 5 times to turn it back on.
Additional settings can also be adjusted using the MVR software.
Before I wrap up this now epically long eVic review, it's time to talk about performance. The eVic is a stable but moderate device. Power output is correct when using variable voltage, generally within .1v of the set voltage. Variable wattage, however, seems to be a little low. I found the output voltage to be low by about .5v in some cases, a fairly significant drop.
The other performance problem I ran into is pretty much standard for single battery devices these days. Amperage appears to be limited to around 2.5a. A 1.5 ohm dual coil maxes out a hair short of 4v. This is an incremental improvement over some variable voltage devices which step dual coils down to 3.5 or 3.7v.
One thing to keep in mind is that the eVic can be updated via software. That means some of the issues I talked about could be fixed in the future. I'm not sure that the amperage can be adjusted since that very well could be a limitation of the physical hardware.
What I'd really be interested in seeing in the future is for someone to crack the firmware allowing for community built firmware. Now that would be interesting.
Too Long; Didn't Read
The Joytech eVic is a significant change in e-cigarette technology. If you've ever bought a device only to have version 2 come out a week later, you can see where a software upgradable vaporizer is a really good idea. There are a few shortcomings to the eVic, but they are fairly minor and some may be fixed in software at some point. Despite some of the negatives, the eVic remains a very compelling choice and a solid device.
|Fully compatible atomizer connection|
|USB cover difficult to remove|
|Some power loss in wattage mode|
|Can't disable auto shutoff|
|Button and ring rattle|
|Somewhat confusing navigation|
|2.5A current limitation|
Disclosure: This item was sent for review by VaporAlley. I feature affiliate links for VaporAlley.