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.
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.
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.
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?