You know, with all of the hardware that has passed through my hands both personally and professionally over the years, I realized recently that I had passed over some very popular PVs in the category I call “eGo style.”
For example, I still to this day have never used the classic eGo-C battery-plus-spike-atomizer-plus-tank hardware combination. Never tried the eLips-C that I spent a good few months harboring thoughts about so lustful they bordered on pornographic. Never tried an eGo Spinner.
But recently, two devices came to me that, while they have been reviewed in these pages before, are new to me. So come along and discover the first of them, or perhaps rediscover the first of them, along with me, won’t you?
The presentation of the Johnson Creek Vea speaks strongly of a “Retro” sensibility that I, for one, quite like. The tin presentation box with its 1950s vintage typeface, combined with its red-and-cream color scheme, just seems immensely classy.
Opening the tin, we find a beige insert containing two Vea batteries in a deep, lustrous red, topped with silver collars to house the firing button and connection threads. We also find a matching red press-on connection cover very similar to an eGo cone and a USB charging cable.
What arrived for me, along with the tin containing the batteries, were several boxes of Johnson Creek’s excellent Vea cartomizers, and two three-packs of the Vea Canteen clearomizers. The cartomizers and clearomizers were presented in easy-to-open carton type boxes; inside the cartons, each cartomizer and clearomizer was individually plastic-wrapped.
Build Quality and Ergonomics
The build quality of the Vea system is simply top of the line; this holds true across the entire Vea system, from batteries to cartomizers to clearomizers and right down to the press-on thread cover.
I call it the Vea system because that’s really what it is. Each of the individual components of the system is tailor-made to blend into a whole experience. It’s obvious to me that Johnson Creek’s designers went to great lengths to reach this end result.
When I hold an assembled Vea in my hand, especially after slipping the thread cover onto it, I don’t get the sense of the individual components — battery, cone, and cartomizer — I feel in my hand, and my mind perceives, a single unified object. A comfortable, sturdy, yet overwhelmingly light object.
Features and Performance
But what really distinguishes the Vea, aside from its almost minuscule size and weight, is its performance — I must here qualify this by saying in spite of its diminutive nature.
First, some specs: The pair of batteries that come with the Vea are unregulated 650mAh pass-through batteries with 510 connection threads. The blank cartomizers are rated at 1.8 ohm and have a capacity of approximately 1ml of liquid.
Now, you might not expect that combination of specs to add up to much, performance-wise. I have to admit that I didn’t. I was pleasantly surprised, and how! Let me say, up front, that I did find myself putting in a few primer puffs coming at the Vea “cold” — by which I mean, it’d been about 20-30 minutes since I’d had “a cigarette’s worth” (i.e. 15-20 puffs) of use from the device.
Coming at it “cold” like that, it took four or five primer puffs to get it “warmed up” again. But once warmed up, it delivered in plenty on all three of the characteristics that really matter to me as a Vaper — those being, in no particular order, vapor, throat hit, and flavor.
Vaped at a more or less steady pace, on the other hand, the Vea never falls below my personal satisfaction threshold. All in all, performance is simply astonishing for such a tiny device.
Here’s where we get to one of the features of the Vea that gave me mixed feelings. Charging. Oh, don’t get me wrong — the charging is speedy. And the pass-through capability just makes charging it a complete breeze.
That’s why the mixed feelings — you see, if my first eGo-style PV had been a Johnson Creek Vea, I might never have found the catalyst of dissatisfaction it took to prompt me to keep exploring, which led to me discovering other vaping technologies I have really enjoyed.
The Vea is so good I might never have bothered to keep looking for anything even better. And the pass-through charging capability is one of the big reasons why.
Oh, don’t get me wrong; the eGo battery I did have had the same feature. But what that battery lacked was the rest of the Vea “system.”
Although the Johnson Creek Vea is getting a little long in the tooth without a significant upgrade, it is still a great device for a new or upwardly mobile Vaper making the move up to the next level. It more than satisfies, even for veteran Vapers like myself. That said, it would be nice to see Johnson Creek improve the Vea to meet the current state of technology. Where can they do that? In two major areas, in my opinion.
First, the Vea battery needs to be a “regulated” battery. A fully charged Vea give an amazing vape, especially when using their cartomizers (the Canteen, while nice, doesn’t perform as well as the cartomizers), but as you use the battery the voltage decreases to the point that the last half hour or so before needing to recharge it, well, let’s just say that it could use “improvement”. The other major change I would like to see is for the Vea to move to VV, or Variable Voltage. I can’t tell you how much I would love this device even more if I were able to adjust the voltage. I have a feeling it would give their Canteens a whole new life as well. So, regulated voltage and variable voltage would give the Johnson Creek Vea a 2014 makeover, one that it needs.
There is also one point I would like to address. The Vea gets a fair amount of criticism over its lack of power. Unlike most eGo’s and Spinners, and other ego-like batteries, the Vea puts out a scant 2.8v. Using, say, a Kanger single coil standard resistance cartomizer isn’t going to produce a decent vape. Naturally, the Vea Cartomizers and Canteens are made to work ideally with the 2.8v, but if you run out of them and need to grab a regular cartomizer to make due, you may be disappointed. Then again, just to be clear, using a Vea with a Vea cartomizer makes for a wonderful vape. I’m not suggesting that Johnson Creek make all their current cartomizers obsolete by upping the voltage, but what I am saying is that if the Vea were to move up to variable voltage, it could start at 2.8v and go to 4.8 volts. That would be ideal, no?
Having said that, the price of the Vea Starter Kit is still the same price it was at its introduction, $59.95, and that includes a pack of blank cartomizers, a $10 value. The packaging is superb, the quality is top-notch, and the price is very friendly.