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
Specifications
    • 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.

    Performance


    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

    Conclusion

    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 dampshop.no if you live in Norway (which is quite a good price actually, considering they offer free shipping in Norway).

    Thanks to Espen at Dampshop.no for sending me this kit for review.


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