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Long awaited availability on the market and timid launch

One year ago, I received in test the famous ProVari P3 and ranked it, against all expectation, a deserved 5-star award. One year already. And that’s not insignificant on the the electronic cigarette’s market, it is even considerable and you probably already see my point: The P3 should have been anticipated as a Box Mod at the time of its release on the market. That’s what came into my mind at that time and what I am thinking even stronger by now, end of 2015, while examining the object. It won’t be easy to be sincere and honest, before switching on the object of so much expectation, but I promise you that I will do my best.

ProVari Radius and P3

Each vaper is supposed to be familiar with the American brand, ProVape. ProVape’s ProVari has been considered one of the best Mod, worldwide, since 2010.

Quality has a price and I concede that my ProVari P3 is still working fine, looks brand new and possesses the smoothest Fire I ever used. But I am not using it anymore. The cost of the upgrade to use low-range resistors defeated my willingness and I moved to another one. It is sad but true. Another reason is that once you tried a Box, you can hardly come back to a Tube all the more so as the P3 remains very thick in 18,650. Better choose a Pro2 by Dicode, my best tubular Mod.

It is an understatement to say that I was expecting, without believing it, this typical high-end Box. High-end or rather simply well designed, at least better than its concurrents? I expected it from ProVari as well as from Dicode, by the way. ProVape, with its Radius, takes over Dicode that got on by nerves by issuing a Pro2 Plus shortly after its Pro2.

Then, this Radius is ProVape’s first Box Mod and the first one for an emblematic and historic high-end vape brand. Let’s go into more detail after the necessary but very human first impression of disappointment? Does it deserve a arm? And, to continue on this pun, does it deserve the name of a forearm bone for being a genuine extension of my body?

ProVari pays the tribute of too much safety

ProVari RadiusIt is true ProVape, either for its design or its robustness. My first feelings are mixed because I really enjoy ProVari’s excellent Fire system, probably one of the most successful, to date, but I am quite puzzled by the system ProVape set up to give access to the battery. Below the box, two big bolts are securing the cover that needs to be tightly held to shorten the spring and  give access to the battery. A battery of good factory, a Samsung INR-25R, that is included in the package.

Add to that a modification of the famous menu via and astonishing but not convincing simplification and you get an overview of the marketing choices of ProVape. The brand chose the party to widen its commercial target by providing an easier Box mod than the quasi professional ProVari at a lower rate and offering rapid USB charge.

And this first deception will continue. I quickly see that the main hull is plastic. You do you realize ? In plastic… but after use we quickly realized that it was ultimately a good choice made by ProVape, given the weight and the touch which is warmer than metal and more enjoyable by hot or cold weather.

ProVari RadiusProVape finally deigned to install + and – control buttons, which must have been a revolution for the brand, but it also confirms that it target a wider range of users.

At this stage, I am in mid-water with this Radius by ProVape. Some good stuff and some surprising one. I have to dig into it, but I am already certain that such Box is not intended to experts who like the sub-ohm mode even if it is close to, but the limitation in power prevents users from going beyond the limits. Add to that the absence of control via the temperature and you will have the essence of this material: The vapers who expect simplicity, rigor and robustness with a smart design.

Radius inherited ProVape’s American DNA: rationalization and safety of use

ProVari RadiusWe will be more and more demanding with ProVape who needs, more than ever, to defend its core values for a secure and reliable vape. And I will go on supporting it because I am against the Chinese’s race to increased power, that is more venal than innovative. One has to make the share between the essential and the unnecessary, and in this domain, ProVape gets down to basics with a massive Box that we hope will cover 80% of the needs of a casual vaper.

I recall that the Radius will not satisfy vapers who expect extreme vape because its power is limited to 40 W. If you are vaping between 0.5 Ω and 2.0 Ω, Radius is all what you need. A built-in restriction of 9.5 A will decrease the power transmitted to the resistor if it is lower than 0.5 Ω. No need, therefore, to go lower than 0.3 Ω that is the lowest accepted value.

ProVari RadiusRationalization still. It appears in the choice of the design and of the shape that, without re-inventing anything, is highly usable with a perfect position for the Fire, a perfect display and a smooth touch, more comfortable than steel. Unfortunately, the size sets the Radius in the same range as the VaporShark or the Sx Mini and I would have expected something more compact, like a VTC Mini by JoyeTech or the Subox by Kanger. Even if the comparison is delicate, based on the very different prices, they are still playing in the same ground, in my opinion.

The Radius is nonetheless a premium Box with regard to its high rate and its global finish. Even if ProVape uses plastic, its aesthetics remains elegant and inspires durability. The steel parts are well-fashioned, and the threads and other bolt systems are similar as on a P3 that already prove its worth.

Add to that the quasi-ideal switch system that ProVape is using once again, and you will enjoy this Radius one an everyday basis. The Fire is big and compares, in terms of good feeling and sensitivity, to that of my P3. In the same spirit as the P3, the Oled display is readable but a bit too small even if it shows the essential informations on a single clic. Unfortunately, ProVape has abandoned the double display and I deeply regret it.

ProVari Radius - OLED displayA rationale Box but frankly not so sexy, even if it is not really what it is made for. ProVape could have made an effort on the size of its Radius and on the display that would have been ideal a year ago, but currently sets it back compared to its concurrents especially as the display is inherited from the P3 with its still unintuitive menu. And this does not go inline with an mindless vape.

TECHNICAL REVIEW

IMG_2671The principal features of the ProVari Radius are:

  • Variable wattage from 3 to 40 W by increments of 0.2 W
  • Variable Voltage from 2.9 V to 6 V by increments of 0.1 V
  • Boost start function with 5 different duration settings from 0.25 s to 1.25 s.
  • Management of the remaining charge via the battery logo
  • Waterproof readable black and white OLED display
  • 1 backlight switch and 2 small + and – buttons
  • Choice of 7 different LED colors for the switch
  • Information on the impedance of the resistance, the battery charge and the selected power
  • Auto Scroll menu by the selection switch
  • Adjustable scrolling speed via the menu
  • Adjustable light intensity
  • Disabling of the + and – buttons by a long pressure on them
  • Thickness: 25 mm
  • Width: 43 mm
  • Length: 86 mm
  • Weight: 190 g (137 g for ProVari P3 and identical weight for Vaporshark rDNA 40)
  • Battery Option: 18,650
  • Design: metal and hard plastic
  • Lower connection with spring and double screw
  • Scalable Thread: 510, P3 and/or Ego with adapter
  • Minimum resistor 0.3 Ω and limited amperage to 9.5 A
  • Advanced safety Box with battery thermal monitoring
  • Device troubleshooting solutions
  • Step-down technology allowing a power output less than that of the battery
  • Small totally unnecessary menu on the number of cigarettes avoided and money savings
  • Unique serial number to 18 digits
  • Left-handed Mode
  • 5 memory slots for your preferred settings
  • Fast USB Charge
  • Made in USA and 1 year warranty

Complement Pack:

  • A USB cable
  • No user manual

ProVape’s choice for the battery lid fixation system

IMG_2682IMG_2685Let’s talk now about ProVape’s choice for the fixation system by a double screw. I have seen better for an everyday use, particularly the magnetic one developed by Vaporshark that now equips JoyeTech and KangerTech. The design is pleasant but the comfort and efficiency are perfectible, even if it is far better than the screw systems of the SX Mini or the new Nebox. It also is a bit painful for the tips of the fingers when screws are too tightened. I am disappointed by ProVape from this angle. In addition the low voltage threshold is 3.25 V, below which the Box sets off, so you will have to manipulate the lid at least once or twice a day to switch the battery.

With regard to the information screen, the choice is classic with a clear OLED display whose luminosity is adjustable. I would have expected a screen with a wider view range since the curve of its cover makes it reflective and reduces readability.

Let’s notice, here, that ProVape offers a choice of 7 colors for the LED via the menu. For my own, my first action was to switch this LED off as well as inactivating the information on smoking economy. The under-menus are useless and superfluous, and complicate its use that is already not so intuitive.

Just a few word on the excellent Switch button that makes the Fire a must of touch and silence.

A high-level electronic gestion but an excessive security control

For the rest and particularly the electronic part, we are in the hard core of this Box. The Radius share the same gestion as the P3 with its positive aspects as well as the negative ones, especially an excessive security. The chip provides a really comfortable vaping, in full security. My point is that the concurrents have made so much progresses in this field that the security is no longer the argument that may justify its price. I have been recently impressed by Boxes offering a similar vaping quality for up to one third of its price. By now, the price differences must be justified by a superior quality, finish, advanced security and a proven durability.

The chip is one of those providing a smooth vaping experience with a higher oscillation rate compared to a traditional one. ProVari had been precursor in this domain for more than five years.

IMG_2684The security effort is laudable but in this special case taken to a too high level since my batteries drain more quickly than with any other Boxes. It is reassuring from a consumer’s point of view, but it is also painful in terms of vaping autonomy. The best performances are then obtained with the healthiest batteries. For example, I was equipped with a 0.69 Ω Clapton coil and the genuine Samsung battery did not allowed me to vape more than 6 hours. A 0.8 Ω took me to the end of my working day, ca 9 hours, while serenely vaping.

Now the delicate topic of its battery gauge. As for the P3, the chip uses a multi-parameter algorithm that takes into account your last vaping characteristics to compute the consumption and display gauge estimates. It then produces a delay and sometimes random estimates when changing vaping frequency. The power gauge does not provide information on the remainder power in the battery but on the power that remains exploitable by the atomizer. Hence the estimate can vary according to your use in the last minutes. This function is reliable in the case of serene vaping but can quickly become bizarre under intensive use. And this is also linked to the lithium-ion recovering properties of the batteries: Shortest delay between two consecutive puffs drastically reduces their life time of the battery.

A menu still unintuitive but an enhanced usabilty with the presence of new buttons

I was not fond of the scrolling menus and I am still don’t. I was used to this style with the P3 so I adapted easily, helped by a simplification of the setting options in the Radius, compared to the P3.

Fortunately, the Boost function is kept and the 5 preset programs are very useful when switching from your daily use on a 0.8 Ω to your evening relaxing time on a 0.5 Ω. The parameters that can be saved are: the wattage, the Boost, the LED color, the on/off of LED switch, the display, the scrolling speed, the left/right-handed mode and the duration of the display of the “Check All” message.

IMG_2670At start, you will have access to a menu using a single click and you will be given all essential information: remaining charge of the battery, resistor’s characteristics and current wattage. Nothing more. But you will have an easy access to the setting of power using the + and – buttons.

In terms of use, the Radius covers all kinds of daily needs but not necessarily those of the evenings where some of my last atomizers like Atlantis, iSub by Innokin or the recent TFV4 Mini sometimes ask for more power. Radius has clearly not been designed for borderline utilization and ProVape claims itself as the Pope of an ultra-securized vaping even if power flexibility towards the higher range would have increased its commercial target.

For the scrolling menu, I find useless to review all the settings that you can easily visualize on the scheme:ProVari Radius - Menu

In revenge, as a useful summary, I will just detail the main features of this menu: SET for the settings, RCL to recall the presets and INFO to read the 18-digit serial number.

The SET menu will give you access to a magic space of 5 sub-menus: SAV to save the preset, DIS for the informations related to the display, LED for the settings of the color, BOOST to ignite your space shuttle and finally a cigarette counter that is completely useless. The SET menu is identical to that of the P3.

Sub-menus also hide sub-sub-menus and, for example, DIS gives you access to the scrolling speed, the brightness, the left/right mode and the time during which informations are shown on display. LED also allows you accessing sub-sub-menus for the extinction of the Switch button and the choice between 7 colors.

It is true that such a scrolling menu is painfull at first sight but I confess that once all the settings and presets are saved, the only buttons that I use are the + and – located under the Box.

I usually enjoy the the Boost mode on the settings 2 or 3 ; this mode ignites the resistor for 0.25 s to 1.25 s in advance in order to obtain a denser cloud and a tasteful hit on the first puff. This function becomes essential when using Clapton coils that deserves a vigorous waking up.

IMG_2675The “+”:

  • Excellent and flawless finish despite the plastic
  • High-end chip/microprocessor offering a dense and constant vape
  • Big round Switch with a colored backlit, remarkable softness and touch
  • Sober and elegant design
  • Nice touch
  • Interchangeable Batteries (included)
  • Connection 510 and P3 by an ingenious adjustable nut system
  • Acceptance of low resistors (down to 0.3 Ω)
  • Left-handed Mode
  • Simplified use
  • Completely secure
  • Connectivity with a brass washer between battery and spring

IMG_2674The “-“:

  • Lack of innovation for ProVape’s first Box
  • Late launch on the market compared to the concurrents
  • Light Packaging
  • No printed Operation Manual
  • ProVari’s branding in decline
  • Elevated weight and size
  • Access to the battery with a non-handy lid system
  • Battery management too secure
  • Limitation to 40 W or 9.5 A
  • Painful access to and settings of scrolling menus
  • Small display
  • Elevated price

Conclusions: 

4.1/5: A first Box well designed and engineered ​​for a very reasonable use.

Not easy to note this remarkable Box with its elegant finish, clean vaping, soft Fire. It however loses points because of its price less justified than Chinese concurrents. Especially, ProVape here loses its supremacy in terms of innovation and progress. This Box does not suit to a public used to sub-ohm but will delight lovers of beautiful objects and other vapers seeking a rational and sustainable materials (at least I hope).