Variable voltage seems to be where it's at in the e-cigarette world these days. Manufacturers are coming out with more vari-volt designs than anyone can hope to keep track of. The latest frontier is the eGo-style electronic cigarettes. The latest entry ups the game by providing features like a display seldom seen in the mid-range devices. Read the rest of this review to see if the variable volt eGo is the next big thing.
Note: This article has been updated. This model has been replaced with the eGo Super Variable Voltage 2 which improves a couple of shortcomings with the device. The original review noted that this model lacked the ability to use the device while it was recharging. The puff counter could not be reset. I have been provided with an updated version of this device which resolves both those issues. References to those issues in the article have been removed.
The Specs and Features
Before launching into the design of this new VV eGo battery let's take a look at the specs and features to get a better idea of what's going on with the device.
- 650 mAh battery
- Variable voltage from 3.0 – 6.0v (.1v increments)
- 5-click on/off
- + and – adjustment buttons
- LCD display with blue backlight
- Micro USB charging port
- Puff counter
- Battery life meter
- Standard eGo threading
Variable Voltage eGo Design
As I mentioned above, this variable voltage eGo is only a 650mAh battery. Normally, this size battery is fairly small. Not so with this device; it's very long.
Most of that length is dedicated to the display unit and controls situated at the bottom of the battery. This portion takes up the lower third of the device. For some reason, there's a band between this section and the main battery.
I keep wanting to unscrew that section, but it's solidly fixed. The bottom part features an end cap that unscrews to reveal a recess where the micro USB port is hidden.
There is one unfortunate things about this port. The first is that it's a micro USB port, rather than the more typical mini USB found in typical eGo pass-throughs. It's also not the same micro USB used in Android devices, but the one that you can use on an Apple TV. If you happen to have a mini cable (or several) they won't work with this model. Fortunately, it comes with the appropriate charging cable.
This device isn't a true pass-through device. The Super doesn't draw power from the USB connection when vaping while the cord is plugged in. Instead, it momentarily shuts off charging to allow use of the device. This is likely a stop gap measure put in place to resolve the issue with the 1.0 version's inability to let the user use the device while it was charging.
Moving up the length of the battery, you'll find the LCD readout. The readout features a nice blue backlight. The readout displays the number of puffs (really the number of times you've pressed the button) and the current battery level when you press the activation button at the top of the unit.
Press one of the two voltage adjustment buttons and the current voltage setting is displayed. Press the corresponding button again to cycle the voltage up or down. The voltage setting can be locked or unlocked by pressing both buttons at the same time for 5 seconds.
The voltage adjustment buttons themselves are made of hard, chromed plastic and rounded at the end. The buttons are raised and spaced in such a way that makes it easy to press only one to make the necessary adjustments. They feel very sturdy hand have a good tactile response when pressed.
Above the adjustment buttons is the metal band that makes it look like the battery should unscrew. Beyond that, it's pretty much straight-forward eGo. The button is clear plastic and illuminates blue. Click the button rapidly five times to toggle the unit on or off. The button will flash to indicate the device has been turned off.
The top of the battery features the standard eGo cone threads and 510 connector. All your 510 and eGo skirted or threaded gear should work without much issue.
Because this product is essentially a standalone battery, and not a starter kit, there's no cartomizer portion to evaluate for vapor. Instead, we have to look at how well the battery itself performs. There's essentially three things I look at when evaluating the performance in a variable voltage electronic cigarette:
- On-load voltage
- Consistency over battery life
- Amperage capacity (and over amperage handling)
On-load voltage simply means how well the device maintains the voltage when a cartomizer is attached. Many devices tend to drop voltage when you actually use them. Some only a little, others drop a significant amount of voltage when you expect them to perform. Some devices are also amazingly inconsistent where the amount of voltage dropped varies depending on the voltage settings.
Consistency is also a tricky thing with variable voltage ecigs. Many devices tend to peter out as the battery drains, delivering lower voltages the closer the battery gets to being drained. This model, however, was able to carry the load at the same voltage level throughout the battery's charge cycle.
Finally, there is the amperage, or how much power the switch can handle. Without getting overly technical, this aspect is particularly important if you want to run dual coil cartomizers at higher voltages. To be honest, there aren't many e-cigarettes outside of the ProVari V2 that can handle the power requirements.
Most other variable volt devices just drop the output down to a level they can safely produce. Sadly, this vari-volt eGo is one such device. There is a silver lining. Unlike most devices that have lower power safe modes, this one actually tells you when it's active.
The battery icon will blink when the battery is low, but it also blinks when it is over limit and has to lower the voltage. This seems trivial, but it's a feature I wish all devices that changed the voltage on you would do. It makes it easier to feel out the limits of the device when there's an actual indication something is amiss.
Too Long; Didn't Read
The Super Variable Volt eGo brings features normally reserved for more advanced personal vaporizers to the popular midsize eGo class of electronic cigarettes. While this device is fairly large for only having a 650mAh battery, the performance puts it on par with some of the bigger units, while still feeling much smaller. To simplify it even more, think Lavatube in an eGo-sized and shaped package. Jump on over to Happy eSmoker to grab one for yourself.
- Full LCD readout in an eGo
- Voltage adjustment up to 6v in .1 increment
- Up and Down voltage adjustments
- Consistant performance
- Excellent compatibility with eGo and 510 cartomizers
- Light weight
- Built-in USB port
- 650 mAh battery life
- .2v voltage drop under load
- Fairly low amp limit
- Pass-through operation uses the battery instead of USB power
- Oddball USB port
Product Name: Super Variable Voltage eGo
Available from: Happy eSmoker
Battery capacity: 650 mAh
Voltage: 3.0 – 6.0 adjustable in .1v increments
Threading: eGo (510)
Disclosure: I feature affiliate links for Happy eSmoker