Review: Ovale eLips-C
This is going to be another review of a very well executed device that escaped my grasp when it first hit the scene. It’s been a couple of years now since I first laid eyes on the Ovale eLips-C, and for quite a while I found myself really lusting after it. But between the world and the wishing well, I just never did get around to laying my hands on one…
…Until last week…
When the Ovale eLips-C ($89.99) arrived in its stylish black presentation box, I felt that a wish I’d held since first laying eyes on the device in 2011 had finally been granted. But some wishes, as I have come to discover, have a shelf life. This particular one, I’m disappointed to report, just might have passed its expiration date, for me personally.
The presentation of the Ovale eLips-C is really very nice. A solid yet compact black box topped with a luxuriously textured lid bearing silver embossed text lets you know what to expect when you lift the lid and discover your new hardware resting in a well-organized black plastic tray.
You will find two 350mAh pass-through batteries resting in plastic wrap. With them are arrayed a 5-pack of atomizer heads common to the eGo-C platform, as well as a 5-pack of tanks with a capacity of 1ml each, and mouthpieces — one for each battery — which slip on over these tanks. Also accompanying the rest, of course, is a proprietary USB-to-eLips charging cable along with an AC-to-USB wall adapter.
Overall, the presentation of the Ovale eLips-C is stylish, sturdy, well organized, and speaks to a premium experience.
The Ovale elips-C Kit Contains:
Atomizer Head x 5 | Atomizer Lock x 2 | 350mAh Battery x 2 | Mouthpiece x 2 | Tank Cartridge x 5 | USB Charging Cable | USB Wall Adapter | Hygienic Mouthpiece Cover x 3 | User Manual | Replacement O-rings
Build Quality & Ergonomics
The build quality and finish on the Ovale eLips-C is among the better examples you will see for a PV in this class. The class I am referring to, by the way, is the “cig-a-like” class, by which I mean PVs of ultra-compact size, less than 400mAh of battery capacity and 1ml or less of eLiquid capacity.
Other devices in this class, of course, include the NJoy King (disposable) at the very low end, up through the Halo G6 and 777 eCig, up to the Johnson Creek Vea, which really straddles the border between cig-a-like and eGo style systems with its 650mAh battery rating but 510-only connection and 1ml cartomizers and clearomizers.
So, returning from that little scenic narrative trail, the Ovale eLips-C is squarely in the middle of this class, but only on its specs; its build quality places it as a distinctly premium example of the class, light yet speaking of good durability.
Its design and looks put it a cut above the competition, as well. Its flattened oval cross-section makes it comfortable in the hand, if you know how to maximize that comfort. You see I do have one negative to report on the design front — the inclusion of a concave firing button.
While a flat button would have been difficult to locate blind on the device — as in, you pick it up and just want to vape without looking at it — a concave button is easy enough to find without looking, but can be uncomfortable to fire with big hands if you’re not holding the device just right.
For me, that means pinching the device with my thumb on the back, index finger on the firing button, and all other fingers out of the way, or, turning the device over, engulfing the entire tiny device in my fist, and pressing the firing button with my thumb.
So, in short — bad news, it could be uncomfortable in the hand; good news, it just means you need to adjust how you hold it until you find the position that is comfortable.
One last good news/bad news binary on the design front. Bad news first: Because of the atomizing mechanism around which this device’s design was built — that being the “spike atomizer+tank” combination — the Ovale eLips-C isn’t compatible with anything else. The entire thing is proprietary. While that leads to some beautifully organic aesthetics, it places the Ovale eLips-C, in my mind, firmly in the “backup PV” role.
The good news: The eLips-C is one of only two devices of this class I’m aware of — the other being the Johnson Creek Vea — to feature pass-through functionality on a device this compact.
Performance & Real World Experience
When it comes to performance, the Ovale eLips-C really surprised me — in pleasant and unpleasant ways. I used the Ovale eLips-C for as my primary PV for three days and three nights without touching anything else, just to get really and truly immersed in the experience this device provides.
Powered via its pass-through function for most of the first day, the device performed admirably with the exception of a single flaw. Had this flaw been minor, I would have mentioned it only in passing; but it isn’t minor, and so I think it appropriate to go into some depth regarding it.
Dry hits. I would get them regularly but seemingly at random. I tried to time their frequency to determine whether it was simply my style of vaping that was causing them, and although I think it’s certainly a strong contributing factor, I don’t believe it’s the primary contributor to this problem.
If you “chain vape”, I believe there’s a strong likelihood that the Ovale eLips-C is going to give you a dry hit in short order after you begin a “session.” I’m able to take one long drag on the device and have it perform spectacularly for a device of this class, with amazingly vivid flavor, strong throat hit, and thick, voluminous vapor.
But on the tail end of a second drag of equal duration — approximately 2 seconds — I get this harsh, faintly singed border on the flavor I should taste. A third drag is simply inadvisable, and remains so for about a minute unless I pop the mouthpiece off, then unseat and reseat the atomizer spike in the tank a few times.
And I simply don’t feel like I should have to do that, certainly not in 2014.
However, if used sparingly, the Ovale eLips-C performs like a champion. A tiny, tiny champion. Slipped into an inside jacket pocket, it’s so unobtrusive that it’s easy to forget it’s there until you get the craving to take a few drags.
But again, it’s my opinion that the best use case for the eLips-C, as of 2014, is as a small, stealthy backup PV to keep on hand in the event that your primary PV runs out of battery power. As a device oriented toward the Vaper who may find him or her wanting a device that provides a very satisfying and extremely discreet vape, the eLips-C is probably one of the best candidates available.
Recommendation & Conclusion
This brings me to my recommendation: is the Ovale eLips-C for everyone? Based on my experience with the device, in conjunction with its generally high asking price, my answer is: No. There is simply better performing, if not as stylish, alternatives available, and they can be had for less money for Vapers that require a stronger PV, one that can keep up with my style of vaping.
Having said that let me assure you that as far as Ovale LLC goes, the company offers those alternatives in spades. For instance, the Ovale eVic, an original design BY Ovale, and licensed to JoyeTech (or some such thing) is an amazing vaping machine with all the electronics and bells and whistles you want, including a software interface with your computer (Mac and PC). Ovale LLC is also a manufacturer of the eCab, a cig-a-like electronic cigarette that sells for $52 and offers a whopping 360mAh in a tiny body. Lastly, there is the Ovale eMini, which is the more famous JoyeTech eRoll, which sells for $69.99. We hope to be able to bring you reviews of ALL Ovale products over the next few months, including their eLiquids.
Summing up, it’s my opinion that the Ovale eLips-C, while exceedingly stylish and well built, is simply too hampered by a badly aging atomizing system (one that still provides extremely accurate flavor performances) at a price point which has become disproportionately high for what the device provides, unless, like Keira Hartley-Barnes, the ergonomics, performance, and stealthy mode is exactly what you need. Read Keira’s take on the Ovale eLips-C here.
The eLips is as unique as any e cigarette can be, and for Vapers that own them and vape with them, we hear nothing but great things. So let me spell out which kind of Vaper, in my opinion, will appreciate this device and which Vaper might not find it to be a good value:
If you like your device extremely small yet quite powerful for its size, if you are not a moderate to light Vaper, and if aesthetics is extremely important to you, the Ovale eLips-C may be well worth the asking price.
On the other hand, if you’re comfortable carrying a larger device with more power and eLiquid capacity, if you are a heavy Vaper, and if price point is a higher priority for you than aesthetics, you would very likely be happier with another device, perhaps the Ovale eVic.