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Last Updated on February 2, 2018 by Team Spinfuel
Rather than make you wade through piles of text, allow me to give you a “tl;dr” right from the outset: The Lost Vape Paranormal DNA166 167W mod is awesome. In fact, other than two sticking points, this might be one of my favorite mods of the year.
(But you’re going to have to read on to see those details…)
Initial impressions of the Lost Vape Paranormal DNA166 Mod
It’s not often a vape mod can come in 24 different varieties (as of this writing) and have nearly all of them be worthy of “must-have” status, but the Lost Vape Paranormal DNA166 does just that. With brushed silver alloy, gunmetal alloy, and resin frame choices, and a laundry list of inlays and accents, there’s a Paranormal to meet virtually any preference.
My silver, carbon and leather test model is a shining example of form meeting function, with a look that conveys power and grace, while also offering the usual confident function of the proven DNA250 chipset. This looks like a high-end device, because it is a high-end device. End of story.
Lost Vape included replaceable wood-grain panel inlays, in case the carbon look didn’t meet my needs, but so far, I like the contrasting colors and textures, and imagine many vapers would agree.
The screwed-in 510 connection sits flush with the top of the Paranormal DNA166, yet is noticeably narrower than the overall width of 27.5mm. All of my test atomizers sat flush, as well. My only concern was with the lack of air channels on the 510 plate, and my RDAs DID get a little warm when the mod was maxed out at 167 watts.
It’s odd for me to mention a battery door in most reviews, but Lost Vape has given the Paranormal the sturdiest, most secure battery door I’ve seen to date. It is a little stiff at first, but it never budged, much less opened inadvertently.
In the hand, the Lost Vape Paranormal DNA166 feels amazing. The cushioned leather section opposite the control panel offers a nice feel without being tacky, while the moderate height and width feels comfortable in either a thumb or trigger-style firing grip.
The control scheme was standard-fare, which should come as no surprise with anyone familiar with the DNA250 board. That said, the zinc alloy up/down control buttons were firm and clicky, while the 0.96-inch OLED screen was bright and functional.
The fire key? Well, let’s discuss that in the next section.
Operating the Lost Vape Paranormal DNA 166 Mod
Sadly, all is not ideal with the Paranormal, starting with the DNA250 menu system. Now, let me be clear – this is a high-functioning, insanely accurate, power-efficient chipset, deserving of all the praise reviewers throw at it each day.
My problem lies in the extremely antiquated menu system and control scheme. After using countless DNA devices, I still need to refer to handy “cheat sheets” that have circulated around Reddit, just to remember how to enter certain modes, adjust values, etc. It’s hardly unusable, and once I got my “muscle memory” back to form, I operated the Lost Vape Paranormal DNA 166 with relative ease.
But the included documentation offered little support, and after testing countless other devices with easier menu systems, I wonder how long it’s going to take Evolv to finish the more significantly upgraded DNA250C with it’s simplified 3-button (Select) configuration and easier menu navigation… without sacrificing power and efficiency of course. I’m hearing “sooner rather than later”, but if that were true, what is Lost Vape doing releasing the soon-to-be-outdated DNA250 chip into the Paranormal body?
The other concern is the fire button, which is oddly flush, mushy and weak, in stark contrast with the clicky, springy up/down controls. Thankfully, I didn’t experience any misfires while using the Paranormal DNA166, but it doesn’t instill a lot of confidence when firing, especially in a trigger grip.
Once I got over the quirks, the Paranormal DNA166 operated as expected. That is, to say, outstanding. Though the mod is “only” capable of 167-watt output, the Paranormal actually runs the DNA250 chipset, down-throttled to maximize power efficiency.
The Paranormal DNA166 is also fully Escribe-capable, so creating precise temperature control entries and custom curve parameters was a breeze. The software isn’t perfect, and could use some polish for usability, but there is no vape software more powerful and functional than Escribe. And, Mac users can finally install Escribe onto their MacOS computers.
Though you may not need to use it, since the Paranormal mod is fully functional from the on-device controls, with complete access to wattage, temperature, preheat, screen settings and the eight pre-set slots. Escribe may be more precise, but there’s nothing a vaper can’t accomplish from the board itself.
Finally, there is 2-amp onboard charging, but without much venting on the body of the mod, I’d steer clear unless you were topping off or away from your charger.
Vaping the Lost Vape Paranormal DNA166 Mod
“Smooth” is the word I use most often when describing the Paranormal’s vape quality. Smooth draws. Smooth operations. Smooth ramp up. If there is a hiccup to be found in this performance, it’s not the fault of the aging-but-venerable chipset (even with my wishes for a more modern menu scheme).
Starting with a titanium temperature control build on the Advken Manta RTA, reading at a moderate 0.45 ohms, I moved the Paranormal to the proper setting and enjoyed a flawless vape, which never got too warm, even when making constant adjustments to the wattage. The same occurred for my SS316 test coils in the same tank.
Nickel coils seemed to be a little jumpier, but once I customized TCR settings in Escribe, things sorted themselves out well. Nickel also proved to heat the fastest of my three TC coils with the default ramp-up settings, though none seemed belabored or weak.
In wattage mode, things went equally – well – smooth. With a 250-watt chip down-throttled by nearly 1/3 of its capability, there were no stutters or misfires, even when cranking the Paranormal DNA166 to its maximum output. I tried a number of sub-ohm and MTL tanks, and the Paranormal worked with each as if they were native to the device.
Plus, as we mentioned earlier, this down-throttling allows the Paranormal to achieve an impressive 97% power efficiency rating, leading to tremendous battery life, even with consistent vaping at high wattages. I saw nearly seven hours of steady 100+ watt vaping on two cells before seeing a low-battery warning.
At my usual 60-80 watts, the Paranormal was even more frugal on battery, getting me nearly a full workday without breaking a sweat.
My only issue when vaping the Lost Vape Paranormal DNA166 was from that pesky fire button. Using my preferred trigger grip, I repeatedly had trouble placing my finger at the center of the button without first hunting for the slight lip surrounding it.
Because the button is both flush and a little mushy, I had more trouble engaging the button than I ever thought I would on a high-end device. If the button was firmer and jutted out a mere millimeter more, you wouldn’t be reading this section. Personal preference, to be sure – but definitely worth mentioning to anyone considering an investment in this high-end device.
Wrapping up … and Score…
Despite my few criticisms – one of which concerned the chipset, not the mod – there is no doubt the Lost Vape Paranormal DNA166 will remain in my active collection. These quirks don’t detract from its high-end performance, which never stutters at high wattages, and never fails to provide consistent, powerful vape quality in each puff. Highly recommended.
Pick up the Lost Vape Paranormal DNA166 or the Paranormal DNA75C at Element Vape