Volcano finally has a sequel to its groundbreaking and oft-duplicated Lavatube variable voltage e-cigarette. The Lavatube version 2 is a complete reboot of the series. Looking at the original and new versions side by side, you'd never guess one was related to the other, save for them sharing a logo. It's clear this redesign took pains to improve some of the shortcomings of the original. But, is it enough? Find out in this Lavatube Version 2 review!
|Product Name||Lavatube Version 2|
|Available From||Volcano eCigs|
|Price||$79.99 (device only) $139.99 (complete kit)|
|Voltage Range||3.0-6.0v in .1v increments|
|Battery Type||IMR 18650 (button or flat top)|
What’s in the Box
The Lavatube is available in both standalone form and a complete starter kit. Opting for the starter kit will hook you up with the following:
|1 Lavatube Version 2 Device|
|1 soft-sided carry case|
|1 AW IMR 18650 battery|
|1 XTAR WP II Multi Charger|
|1 7ml chrome tube tank (includes 3 ohm carto)|
|1 15ml bottle e-liquid|
Gorgeous. I don't say that about e-cigarettes that often, but the new design is downright beautiful. It features subtle etched details including the logo and a recessed chrome button. Compared to the rough design of the first Lavatube, this one is a work of art.
The new version of Volcano's variable voltage electronic cigarette is also… well I'll just say it. It's fat. This is a big personal vaporizer. It's thicker than any other 18650 device I've seen. While I have a couple of devices in my collection that are taller, this is still not what I would refer to as a short device.
Despite its stout appearance, the new Lavatube is not a very heavy device. I had no problem holding the device either with the size or the weight. I do suspect people with very petite hands may find this a little too big around to hold comfortably for long periods.
I attribute the weight, or lack thereof to the aluminum construction of the device. Yet, despite being made of aluminum, this version is incredibly solid. The reason becomes apparent once you start looking at the Lavatube's construction.
We'll dive into that in a minute, but first, a little detour. Remember the end caps on the original? They were made of plastic and one of the true negatives of the first version. Those have eliminated. I'm not talking about the updated versions of the Lavatube that featured metal end caps. There are no end caps at all.
Instead of unscrewing from the bottom, the version 2 unscrews in the middle. Those are the only two parts of the tube itself. There are no caps or seams. The Lavatube 2 appears to be milled (or cast, I don't know my metalwork) from a single piece of aluminum.
That explains part of the sturdiness. If you take apart the two halves and look down into the battery tube, the rest of the story falls into place. The side walls of the vaporizer are incredibly thick. That provides rigidity at the cost of added size.
The bottom half which contains the batteries features a design with rows of dots and a very subtle Lavatube logo recessed in the aluminum body itself. The bottom of the battery portion features a similarly recessed Volcano logo inside a circle that sort of resembles an end cap.
The top half of the Lavatube houses the electronics and operation buttons. In addition to the buttons, there are two holes on the top and the side to accommodate a lanyard. Honestly, I'm not sure who would wear this thing around their neck. I'd imagine it would bruise one's chest from banging around on a lanyard.
There's also a recessed circle on the top to give the appearance of a cap. I think they're just messing with me at this point. Unlike the intermediate versions of the Lavatube that came out over the past year that featured a quasi-eGo connection, the newest iteration goes back to a flush-mounted 510 connector. CE4 fans will need the trusty eGo adapter with this one.
Finishing out the top half of the tube is the LCD screen, adjustment buttons and the fire button. The discreet power button has been deleted from this version. I'll cover the buttons in further detail in the next section.
Using the Volcano Lavatube Version 2
Replacing the function of the now-missing power button is a simple 5-click on/off operation that is popular in many e-cigarettes these days. The fire button has been updated as well, it now sits in a recess in the body and is surrounded with a chrome bezel. I found at times, the bezel got in the way of me pressing the button fully. However, I have to admit the new button is much better than the cheapie version that replaced it.
Oddly, there are no lights to indicate when the power button is pressed. The display doesn't light up. Fortunately, there is 15 second shutoff just in case you accidentally press the switch (the bezel should also help prevent accidental firing.)
There is one minor annoyance with the new on/off scheme. When the battery is removed, the Lavatube does not remember its power state so it has to be turned back on every time the battery is changed. Similarly, the last voltage setting is also forgotten when the battery is removed.
Resetting the power isn't exactly a big deal either since there is power up and down buttons. The buttons are fairly small, I think this may be the only similarity the new unit shares with the old one. A press of the + or – button will walk the tube through 3-6 volts in either direction, once you hit the end it will wrap back around and start over.
But wait! The voltage adjustment buttons are also multi-purpose. Hold the – button for a couple of seconds and the battery's current voltage will show up on the display. Do the same thing with the power up button and you'll get the atomizer resistance.
The new menu system is much more simple than the old methods to access the devices secondary features. The display is also slightly easier to read despite being roughly the same size thanks to the upgrade from LCD to OLED.
One of the other things users identified as a shortcoming of the original model was the 2.5 amp limit. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the limit has been increased. The bad news is that the limit was only bumped up .5A to 3A.
This limit allows dual coil cartomizers to be run above 3.7 volts, but well below the 5 volts I tend to prefer with those cartomizers. If you prefer single coil devices, you shouldn't bump up against any limiting issues running those devices with a 3 amp limit.
Of course, you may never know if you do run into any limiting issues. Much like its predecessor, and most other variable voltage devices on the market, the Lavatube 2 won't tell you. It simply steps down to the lowest safe voltage.
VRMS is the latest buzzword among e-cigarette tech heads. And the new tube's got it. Essentially, this has to do with how variable voltage devices calculate and control the output voltage. VRMS is a more accurate way of doing so, allowing Volcano's version to provide a consistent experience. This one does not seem to be near as prone to voltage drops as its forebear.
Vapor production remains fairly constant throughout the battery charge cycle. Which leads me to one last nit to pick. There's virtually no warning when the battery is about to give out on you. One minute you're vaping away, the next, no vapor and the display is flashing “Lo” to indicate it's time for fresh batteries. Frustrating.
Most of the annoyances I had with this device were pretty minor. Volcano has done an outstanding job of addressing some of the shortcomings of the original in this radical update.
Too Long; Didn't Read
Volcano's Lavatube Version 2 is a complete redesign from the ground up. Most of the issues of the previous one are history, there are no end caps, the button is much better, and it holds voltage fairly well. The Lavatube 2 sports an entirely new streamlined look. It's somewhat zaftig dimensions may put off a few users, however. You can pick one up (if they ever get them back in stock) at Volcano eCigs.
|Can use flat-top or button batteries|
|Power and voltage resets when battery removed|
|Activation button can be difficult to operate|
|Device is large|
|3 Amp limit|
|No low battery warning|
|No over amperage warning|