It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a review of a hand-built limited run e-cigarette mod. That’s exactly what the Fazed Box Mods are, hand-built in small quantities. The particular device in this review is powered by Evolv’s DNA20D chip and is built into a repurposed Altoids box all gussied up to look like a Victorian-Era steampunk relic. Let’s check out my “What the Clock” DNA20D mod and see how it stacks up.
Update: Alas, Fazed Vapor is no more, so think of this post more like a preservation of an interesting, but short-lived product.
|Product name||Altoids DNA20|
|Available from||Fazed Box Mods|
|Price||$165 as configured|
|Battery capacity||2400 mAh|
|Charging||Built-in micro USB|
Altoids DNA20 Design
The Fazed Mods are hand-built by one guy, making each one unique. In fact, there’s a gallery on the FBM site for each model he sold (you can see mine here.) Each one has a clever name, mine is the “What the Clock” model from the steampunk line. The body of each of these devices is reclaimed from a tin mint box.
To be honest it’s kind of weird holding such a pricey device that still resembles a box of mints. Of course, it’s not just a plain ‘ol tin any more. Each box is given the torch to create a unique burnt finish.
The unique burnt design helps to make the box appear much older, which really works well with the steampunk theme. Adding to that theme, the outside of the box is adorned with assorted gears and clock parts (hence the clever name).
Aside from the various sprockets and hands, you’ll find a 510 connector at the top of the box. The front of the box features a beautiful aluminum fire button with a bezel. Along one side lie the two adjustment buttons and the beautiful DNA20 OLED display screen.
On the back side of the mod, you’ll find the micro USB connector behind a small cutout along with a recessed LED to indicate charging status. You can use these devices as a pass-through while they are charging. The placement allows the box to stand up while charging.
Because the Altoids tin has a lip on the lid, the steamie has a bit of a lean to it, but it sits stably even if it looks a touch odd.
The lid still opens to provide access to the electronics and to swap out the battery pack if necessary. For the most part, the wiring is well done with shrink-wrap along all the solder joints to make sure nothing shorts out on the metal box.
The circuit board and other components are secured with silicone. Unfortunately, so is the 510 connector. Sealing is good to keep liquid out, but that’s also how the connector is attached to the box. My connector ended up breaking loose and spinning freely, so I secured it by running a bead of superglue between the connector nut on the outside of the box and body.
Similarly, I had one of the wires pop out of the fire button. The button uses screw terminals so it was also an easy fix. However, in this price range I’m used to devices like the ProVari which feature superb build qualities. I understand one-off devices have a price premium, but I’d like to see those aspects improved.
Technology and Performance
Unique style and minor mechanical issues aside, the star of this show is the DNA20D circuitry powering this show. The DNA chip is made by a company who is a pioneer in variable wattage, Evolv. Their DNA chip is purpose-built for modders to add highly advanced features into their designs.
The 20 in DNA20 denotes the maximum wattage of 20 watts. I’ll also note here that the DNA chip is designed for use with a single battery. The Altoids DNA20 mods use two batteries, but they are wired in parallel to make them act like a single battery with a higher charge capacity.
The amount of power this chip can coax out of a single battery is staggering. It’s actually designed to output higher voltages as the lowest voltage it can output is 4.0v which is higher than many traditional e-cigarettes to begin with. I’ll try not to spend the rest of the review talking about numbers on a spec sheet. Fortunately, Evolv provides a comprehensive spec sheet.
I’ll leave one more number here. 7. The DNA20D has a maximum amperage limit of 7, twice that of the ProVari.
Speaking of other advanced devices, the DNA eschews a lot of the bells and whistles that many of the newer devices like the eVic sport. All you’ll find here is a 5-click on/off feature and up/down power adjustment. Key data like battery charge and resistance can be found on the display full time. Another nice touch is that the screen dims and then turns off after a number of minutes, similar to a computer screen.
Performance seems to be where most of the engineering in the Evolv chip went. This thing is hands-down an absolute beast when it comes to power output.
Unlike many other single cell devices, the DNA20 can power a dual coil cartomizer at the set power level without breaking a sweat. Another bonus, not only does this device work with my simple power meter, but output on load was dead accurate.
When the display showed it was delivering 5.3 volts to the atomizer, that’s exactly the amount of power the meter displayed. Even the ProVari dips by about .01V under load.
This translates to an amazing vaping experience with pretty much any hardware you throw at it. Well, except the odd clearomizer that doesn’t do well with voltages above 3.7. Skip those with this mod, this is designed more for high-octane vaping.
The Fazed Box Mods Altoids DNA20 Mod might have the body of an old tin man, but it’s got the heart of a lion.
Too long; Didn’t Read
The DNA20 mods from Fazed Box Mods are each a unique hand-made design backed by the simplicity and the dead-accurate power of Evolv’s DNA20D chip. Fans of unique vaping devices and steampunk will be drawn to the design. People who love variable wattage but seek more horsepower will stay for the DNA20′s power delivery. You can stalk the Fazed Box Mods site for the next batch of DNA20 mods, but jump quickly, these things sell out fast.
|Insanely good high voltage performance|
|Very accurate power output|
|USB pass-through charging|
|It’s still a mint box|
|Small build quality issues|
|Hard to acquire|