Saturday, 26 March 2016

Review: R200 by SMOK

I was quite impressed last time I reviewed a product from SMOK, the Guardian Pipe III kit. Kind of a geeky device that one I guess, with it's bluetooth and pipe form factor, making it a device that would appeal very much to people like me (geeks) and sailors. This time I'm reviewing a more mainstream product, the R200, a 200W box mod with temperature control. There are quite a few of these on the market these days, in different price categories. The R200 is indeed in the low end of the price range for these 200W boxes, and on paper it's a lot of bang for your bucks.

In the box
  • The Smok R200
  • USB cable, (for firmware upgrades only)
  • User Manual
    • Uses 2 x 18650 Batteries (25A+ recommended)
    • Spring-Loaded 510 connection
    • Size: 85 x 55 x 23mm
    • Wattage Ouput Range: 1~200W
    • Voltage Output Range: 0.8~9V
    • 0.06-2.0 Ohm - 200-600F (100-310C) in TC mode
    • Supports Ni200, Titanium, and Stainless Steel for temp. control
    • 0.1-3.0 Ohm in VW mode
    • Overheat Protection
    • Puff Monitoring System
    • Overheat Protection
    • Short-Circuit Protection
    • MicroUSB Port for firmware upgrades
    Look and feel

    The R200 is quite small considering it's a dual 18650 box. It's made from Aluminium and Zink Alloys so it's quite light as well. Got quite nice rounded of edges and feels comfortable in your hand. Quite straight forward and simple design with just the logo and model name printed on the box. Nothing too fancy. The buttons rattle a bit, but not enough to bother me much.

    The mod is only 23 mm wide though, which might affect the number of tanks that will look good on it. Not really a problem, but it's good to take notice of this, just in case you plan to use it with some tank or RDA that has a diameter of more than 23 mm. It might look... silly :)

    In use

    Again, the user manual from Smok is quite good, and a quick read before you start is actually worth it, just to get an overview of what this mod can do. Still the menu system is quite intuitive as well so if you have just a little experience with TC box mods from earlier you'll manage just fine. 5 clicks on the fire button will lock or unlock the mod, 3 will bring you into the menu. Use the up and down buttons to switch between items or make changes and press fire again to confirm. Quite simple indeed.

    The mod does not have built in charger, so you'll need to take out the batteries to charge. The USB port is only for firmware upgrades. Now charging your batteries in an external charger isn't really that much hassle, and the lid on this mod is easy to slide off being held in place by magnets. Some of these devices with built in chargers charge really slow as well, so in most cases you'll end up taking the batteries out to charge them. However, having a built in charger is a plus if you're travelling and don't want to bring another charger (you probably have a cellphone charger and a laptop charger in your bag already, right?).

    For temp. control the R200 supports steel, nickel and titanium wires. I've only tried it on steel wires for now and it seems to work pretty much as intended. You need to make sure you select dual-coil if you have that in your atomizer, or you'll end up a bit disappointed. For TC mode you don't select any watt output but you can select "Min", "Soft", "Norm", "Hard" or "Max" which will affect how much watt is put out to reach your temperature limit I guess. I put mine to "Max", as usual, and was pretty happy with that.

    The R200 also have some more advanced settings, like allowing you to adjust the initial resistance of your atomizer, the TCR of the wire you're using and it even has this puff monitoring system, which apparently lets you limit your number of puff pr. day as well. I don't see why I need that to be honest. Anyway, have a look here if you want to know more about these features.

    All in all it's a pretty straight forward mod to use. You need to be quite precise when clicking 5 times to unlock the mod, but I guess you get used to it. I find the DNA-mods much more forgiving when it comes to this. Then again, that's a totally different price range.


    I've tried the R200 in normal watt mode and in temp. control mode using SS wire. Both have worked very well. Comparing it to a DNA200 device, it seems to me you need to adjust this one a bit higher to get the same power out. I tried one of my tanks, that I've been using at 55W on a DNA200, on the R200 and I'd say it gives you about the same power at 65W. If the R200 really will give you 200W on full power I don't know, but it sure gives me more than enough power to run any tank or RDA I have. I can't really tell you if it's the DNA200 delivering more than promised or the R200 that delivers a bit less, but it doesn't really matter that much either for me. What matters is that you get a lot of consistent, reliable power for your money with the R200. I remember trying out the SMOK M65 quite a while ago, and I found it a bit unstable. This R200 however, is much more reliable.

    Pros and cons
    + Quite small for a dual 18650 mod
    + Good manual, easy to use
    + Price
    + Stable power
    - No built in charger
    - Can be a bit difficult to lock/unlock
    - Buttons rattles a bit


    All in all I'm quite happy with the R200 and I use it quite a lot on a daily basis. It gives me more than enough power to run all my builds, and then some. And it is probably among the cheapest 200W TC boxes out there. You can get it for like $45 or 629,- NOK from if you live in Norway (which is quite a good price actually, considering they offer free shipping in Norway).

    Thanks to Espen at for sending me this kit for review.

    Friday, 18 March 2016

    Worth reading this weekend (March 18th 2016)

    Easter is coming up, which means most my Norwegian readers will go on a desperate hunt for the last patches of snow, with their cars fully loaded with chocolate, oranges and kids whining. We're a weird bunch I tell you, and I might take some days of to join this madness myself. But before that, some good reading for this weekend:
    I hope it won’t be too long before the courts start to hold people accountable for unintended consequences arising from their negligence.
    • What is it that makes vaping an effective way to quit smoking? I think there are several reason, one of them is that vaping is, or at least can be for quite a lot of us, fun. I liked this article on the subject: Vapers just wanna have fun
    A better approach to vaping would recognise that its success as a popular alternative to smoking is not simply down to whether particular devices deliver sufficient nicotine to relieve cravings (although that is an important factor). Rather, vaping is an activity of many parts, and the neglect of any one of them is to the detriment of the whole. It is a recreational activity in its own right and brings pleasures of its own. It is a hobby, an opportunity for socialising, a way to relax, or even just a chance to share opinions about the latest gear. Switching to vaping is empowering for many smokers. It allows smokers to find their own solution with the help of those who have trodden the same path.
    Have a nice weekend!

    Vapour UK

    Saturday, 12 March 2016

    The Gateway theory vs. the Firewall theory

    ... this is one of my
    favourites today.
    The one on the right looks pretty much like my
    vaping gear a year ago...
    This Wednesday I read this article published in Dagbladet's opinions section (in Norwegian but I'll give you some highlights below). Tone Bergli Joner, who entitles herself "textbook author", presents her arguments against vaping, which is honestly one of the weirdest, most misleading pieces of crap I've read in a long time. Actually, having a look at the very first words, under the image, reveals that this woman has absolutely no clue what she's talking about: "E-cigarettes look more and more like regular cigarettes". Oh do they? You might argue that these words should have stopped me from reading on... but I guess I couldn't help wondering what on earth came next.

    She goes on to talk about cancer and that it's a lot cheaper to prevent it than to treat it (doh!) and praises the tobacco act for saving thousands of lives, making sure to mention the success of plain packaging in Australia while she is at it. Then she moves on to telling us why she thinks the Norwegian government should not repeal the ban on e-cigarettes. A couple of highlights:
    Nicotine. Another legally sold product that leads to nicotine addiction.
    Are you sure about that? I've tried, God knows I've tried, to find any hint of evidence that nicotine without tobacco is addictive. I've discussed this with Sanner and Grimsrud, our most beloved anti-vaping advocates, claiming to be the leading experts on tobacco and nicotine addiction in this country. I could not, no matter how hard I tried, get them to come up with some evidence.
    Not effective to stop smoking. A large study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine in January, shows that the chances of successfully stop smoking drops 28 percent when going through e-cigarettes. It is curious that Karl Erik Lund, now research director at the Institute of Public Health, mistrust the very reputable scientists behind the study as "controversial." It's Lund who is controversial because for many years he has been an activist for snuff as a means of smoking cessation, contrary to advice from the WHO, the EU and the five Nordic health directors.
    Yeah, Glantz again. I'm not going to go into his reputation... again. Norway and Sweden has a lot less lung cancer than the rest of the world. You may call Lund "controversial", but that doesn't mean he's not right. It means he has the guts to tell the truth when he sees that his government and probably his boss gets it all wrong. There's also accidents with e-liquid, cancer from vapor and of course using e-cigs to do drugs. Well, to get to the point I'd just say this about those: We have other far more dangerous household products, you're doing it wrong if you manage to get cancer from e-liquid vapor and you can use a coke bottle to do drugs. Moving on to the one I want to talk about:
    Tempting young people. Elegant design, new flavors, rumors that they are less harmful than regular cigarettes, can make them very tempting for young people, who otherwise would not smoked. We can get the same development as with snus.
    Now why is getting the same development as snus a bad thing? This development is responsible for very low cancer rates in Norway and Sweden compared to the rest of the world. In other words, it has prevented cancer, just like Joner wants. I see this argument presented all around as a bad thing. Think about the children!

    In another article in Dagbladet's opinions section, one that was very positive to vaping actually, they did some calculations on the effect of vaping from a public health perspective. These are all figures made just to prove a point, but what the author says is that if in some years 40000 smokers have switched to vaping, we also have to estimate 5000 non-smokers starting, and 1000 of them move on to smoking. Now I don't believe that will happen, but lets just say his numbers are about right. He then says 15 % of the 40000 will avoid dying from smoking related diseases, meaning 6000 lives saved. Then among the 5000 previously non-smoking vapers 1% will die from nicotine damage (again, I think the numbers are off, but lets move on), and among the 1000 who moved on to smoking 15% will die from it. A total of 200 lost lives. So, even with these numbers, which I'd say is very pessimistic, that's 5800 lives saved. Or is it?

    There is one little thing that "everyone" seems to leave out here: What if vaping did not exist? Would these 5000 people still be non-smokers? I highly doubt it. The way I see it, most of them would start smoking, especially if we're talking about teenagers. I think that teenagers experimenting with vaping are also the ones that would experiment with smoking (and possibly a lot of other things). So the way I see it, those 5000 never smoking vapers do not contribute to more deaths, but rather the opposite. I'd say among the 4000 vapers who did not move on to smoking, there is a substantial number that were stopped from starting to smoke cigarettes. Using the 15%, estimating that say 75% of the 4000 would have started smoking, that's another 450 lives saved.

    I know, I know, these numbers are not exactly scientifically proven, but that's not my point either. The point is that everywhere I turn I see people worried about non-smokers starting to vape, and it is always presented as a bad thing. I don't see it that way. If a non-smoker, especially a young one, starts vaping, I believe there is a good chance that vaping has a actually prevented this person from becoming a smoker, and possibly prevented a death by lung cancer. I will never be able to prove this, as there is just no way of knowing what would have happened to this teenager if vaping did not exist. But still, to me it makes much more sense this way. In the same way the gateway theory can never be proven, since there is really no way that one could know if a vaper that moves on to smoking would have gone straight to smoking if vaping did not exist. However, turning the whole thing upside down, we can have a look at some real-life numbers and get some indications on which theory that seems more plausible, the gateway theory... or the firewall theory: We are still waiting for the first never-smoking vaper that moves on to smoking to emerge... and then there is this: Electronic Cigarette Age Restrictions May Drive Teens to Traditional Cigarettes. Being a computer geek, working with network elements on a daily basis, I'd say it looks like vaping acts kind of like the CPE equipment I work a lot with. They're called gateways, but they also act as firewalls, giving the people on the inside (smokers) a gateway to get to the outside, while keeping unwanted people out.

    If our goal is to prevent cancer from smoking, like Joner wants, would it be better to remove our brand new firewall leaving the real gateways to smoking wide open? Should we allow the TPD to weaken a wall that is currently strengthened every day by innovation? Or should we let vaping innovation continue the ongoing work to tighten security and close as many holes in the wall as possible? What do you think?

    Aspire Quest Kit E-Cig Bundle Offer

    Friday, 4 March 2016

    Worth reading this weekend (March 4th 2016)

    When I started vaping I remember thinking that this will be the innovation of the century and that public health, anti smoking organisations, cancer societies and everyone who have spent decades fighting the deadly cigarettes would be overjoyed by this new products. I thought governments would be thrilled by this, finally being able to see one of the most expensive posts in their health budgets shrink. Now how wrong was I? I soon discovered the reason I was so wrong ... and that was also one of the reasons I started this blog: It was never about health! During this week it became even more evident. Here's some good reading on the subject:

    Have a nice weekend!

    Vapour UK