A while back I wrote a comparison review pitting the ProVari against the Lavatube shortly after the original Lavatube hit the market. Since then, ProVari updated its circuitry, and the Lavatube hit wide availability and a number of different revisions. I updated the original as the changes came in, but at this point I figured I would start fresh.
Check ProVari pricing and options at ProVape.com.
Check V-Tube pricing and options on Apollo’s website.
For this article, I will pit my trusty ProVari (an original black chrome upgraded with the new circuits) against Apollo’s stainless steel V-tube. Apollo’s solution is a custom run of the “Lambo” variant of the lineup.
I am the first to admit, this is a little bit of a mismatch. The stainless version of the Lambo has the original circuitry as was found in the first generation. However, the fit and finish brings it more in line with the ever-popular ProVari.
I’ll break this comparison into a number of categories and list the strengths and weaknesses of each. I’ll declare a winner for each category. Then I’ll try to wrap everything up with a neat little bow to help you decide which one might be the right choice.
The categories are:
- Fit and Finish
Without further ado, let the games begin!
This particular category may be a little unfair as well. The Lavatube family is fairly large with several versions of the device running around. However, for this showdown I picked a specific version for the family, tying the line’s hands, figuratively.
That said, both the ProVari and the VTube are available in both a tall and short version. Natively, the versions across both devices house an 18350 battery in the mini versions. The Lavatube’s native original version houses an 18650 battery while ProVape’s entry houses a smaller 18490 battery.
The ProVari can accommodate the larger 18650 battery with the addition of the extender cap. That same cap when coupled with the mini version can allow it to accommodate 18490 sized batteries. In addition, the ProVari can be had in a couple of different finishes (including gold-plated) and occasionally with a blue or green LED instead of the traditional red.
This round goes to the ProVari
Fit and Finish
In the old showdown, the ProVari gave the smack down to the original Volcano unit. The original’s lightweight body and powder-coated finish, while perfectly fine, gave the Lavatube a bit of a rough and cheap feel.
Making the custom Lambo out of the same stainless steel as the ProVari ups the ante considerably. The endcaps of the new device also give the VTube a much more refined appearance than the oddly knurled caps of the original.
In addition, when fitted with eGo style cartomizers, the stainless VTube just looks excellent, the deep drip well allowing the cartomizer to recess into the body slightly.
Even the battery cap has a smoother action than its predecessor.
In this case, this round will be won by the little things. The ProVari’s battery cap still has one of the smoothest actions I’ve ever seen. While the button on the Lavatube is the chink in its armor. It’s basically the same button as the original (albeit much shinier), unfortunately the button has a reputation for being a tad finicky.
Therefore, the ProVari gets a very slight edge in this round
On the electronics front, the features of both units remains largely unchanged, save for the 3.5 amp circuit in the new ProVari. Both feature adjustment from around 3 to 6v in .1v increments, protection circuits and a battery level indicator. The VTube does a little better in the adjustment department in my mind through the virtue of its three button system.
The ProVari however, has the resistance meter. Maybe this is a personal thing, but it’s a feature I use often, and miss when I’m using a different device.
On the physical front, the steel Lambo has a couple of unique things that could challenge the ProVari. First, it has that unique feature where the center pin adjusts to fit the cartomizer.
Second, is that deep liquid well that allows the Lavatube to house eGo cartomizers. Unfortunately, the implementation is flawed. Either the well is too shallow, or the threads too deep, but many cartomizers won’t fit without tossing a short adapter inline.
Again, I give the advantage the ProVari, but it really depends on your priorities.
At the end of the day, the prettiest may not matter so much as what kind of vapor you can expect from each device.
On a freshly charged battery using standard single coil devices, each contender provides very similar performance profiles. However, under certain circumstances, there is a clear winner.
The key to the opening statement is a fresh battery. The stainless Lavatube suffers from the same issue as its original. The actual voltage delivered to the cartomizer starts to drop as the battery nears the end of its charge. The ProVari keeps the current steady until the battery finally gives up.
The second scenario is one the ProVari’s V2 update specifically addressed. The new 3.5 amp circuit allows the flagship device to drive dual coil cartomizers at up to 5 volts. The lower 2.5 amp circuit in the VTube limits dual coils to under 4 volts.
If you are a fan of dual coil cartomizers, this is likely a critical feature, more so than the Lavatube’s petering out toward the end of the battery curve.
The advantage in this category is ProVari’s
If some of the above categories were loaded more towards ProVape’s flagship, you know how this category will win.
A ProVari starter kit will come in just north of $200. Apollo’s device will set you back about half as much.
While this doesn’t make for a particularly interesting matchup, price is very important to a lot of people.
Therefore the Apollo stainless steel VTube sweeps this category hands-down.
If you were keeping score at home, it seems that the ProVari absolutely beat down the Lavatube taking 4 of the 5 categories that I pretty much just pulled out of my… hat.
That is true enough. If cost is no object, the ProVari is probably a no-brainer. But, since we’re essentially talking half the cost for Apollo’s solution, it might bear more consideration.
ProVape’s monster ecig may have taken a lot of the categories but in a couple of cases, it was a pretty slim victory (for example, the button won the fit and finish category). Plus, some features may not be as important as others, such as being able to read resistance or running dual coils at high volts.
On the other hand, some categories may be more important to some folks. If you are a die-hard fan of high voltage dual-coil vaping, there isn’t even a choice here, it’s ProVari all the way. Similarly, if you’re budget-minded, there may not be enough justification to step up to the ProVari.
At the end of the day, either choice will reward you with a competent advanced e-cigarette. What shall you choose?
Check out the ProVari on ProVape’s website.
Biju Sanjay Sampath(11/01/12 - 7:25 pm)
Interesting, but to make it more fairer it might be better to compare the Provari with a Power Tube VV Lambo 4.0 which features resistance checking and add the new tuned Z Max VV/VW to the mix.
Would be great to see what you make of those..
Steve K(11/01/12 - 7:52 pm)
I actually started writing a comparison to the VMAX a while back, but then the ZMAX came out, so I thought that might be a better option. I\’ve been on the fence about the ZMAX, and now the 2nd version of that will be out soon if it isn\’t already, so I\’ll probably try and get a hold of one of those and do a comparison between the ProVari and that, should be interesting.
Trp(12/10/12 - 5:55 pm)
Biased? I thought it was spot on. If you've tried a provari, you know that difference is night and day.
Dave(01/20/13 - 2:50 am)
I started with a V1 Lavatube and found it to be OK as a cheap option, but the build quality was, to me, quite poor. I moved up to the Provari V2 and fell in love. This is an extremely well made piece of kit, very solid in the hand and does exactly what Provari states it does. I now have two Provari V2's as well as a Don. I do try other new products as they come on the market, but the Provari still seems to hold the edge, and another very big plus is their customer service department, which I had some contact with earlier this year. It is second to none, very friendly, very helpful and most importantly very fast. To me the extra cost of the Provari is well worth it, although the Provari only has a 12 month warrenty, my first Provari is still going strong and I have the knowledge that I can send it back to be completely refurbished and updated at a very reasonable cost. A solid stainless steel tube which is of good quality will win with me everytime as my Provari goes field archery shooting with me almost every weekend and it has been dropped no end of times and still keeps going still without a scratch on it, also I shoot in wind, rain, ice and snow and nothing has been a challenge for this device, it just keeps delivering the goods. I may appear to be biased, but I have had or still have at least 5 ecigs, the Provari blows them all away without raising a sweat.