Flashy, flawed, fail-prone, forgettable...
In Spanish, “velas” roughly translates to “candle,” which somewhat makes sense considering the Pioneer4You iPV Velas has a club-worthy LED light show built into the chassis. Of course, I also found out that “velas” is used in Spanish to describe a “vigil.”
Sadly, like a vigil, this review isn’t a happy occasion…
First, the Non-Flashy Looks...
After opening the plain white iPV packaging, you’ll find the 120-watt Velas mod, a USB cable for onboard charging and firmware upgrades, and the usual array of instructions and warranty cards. Pioneer4You also included replacement stickers for the front/sides of the device, which we’ll get to in a bit.
Taking the Velas mod out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice is how light and almost hollow the device feels. Though the lanky, narrow Velas has metal where it counts, the soft plastic backing and LED side sections dramatically reduce weight in the hand. The end result is a device that feels a touch flimsy – almost as if it would crack, rather than chip, if dropped on a hard surface.
Putting a pair of 18650s into the battery slots helps rectify the flimsiness issue, but after spending so much time with weighty, more substantial mods, the iPV Velas still feels more like a toy than a vape device. It IS comfortable, though, which should appeal to people tiring of angular boxes or cold metal exteriors.
The Velas itself is strangely put together. The “primary” color you choose only comprises the front plate of the mod. The rest of the design features the same gray/gunmetal plastic rear battery door on all models, alongside an odd pair of tan stickers with a textured, cubic pattern.
Yes, these are the same stickers I found replacements for in the box, which led me to believe they wouldn’t last too long under regular use. Turns out, they were right. After just a few minutes in my jeans pocket, the pointed top and bottom ends began to curl like jester shoes.
I appreciate Pioneer4You thinking ahead of the curve. But the inclusion of these decals also seems to indicate they simply weren’t well-made. For the record, I found the device more attractive without the stickers in place, but that’s just personal preference.
When Flash Hinders Function…
For the second time in a week, I had to test a mod with a raised lip around the 510-connection. And for the second time, this design choice led to compromised performance. On the Velas, the “lip” is actually a huge portion of the device, and it’s high enough to block airflow on tanks with bottom AFC rings. There IS a gap between the tank and the mod to allow air through, but I noticed a more restrictive inhale on multiple occasions.
The press-fit 510 connection seems sturdy and shouldn’t pose any issues under normal use. Though it seems as if the Velas’ wide, centered connection can accommodate larger atomizers, anything larger than 25mm would press right up against the afore-mentioned lip.
Hit the lights… then break them...
The most obvious design element for the iPV Velas box mod is the LED light bar on both sides of the device. But, in contrast to similar mods with LED lights, the Velas offers no control over how they work.
Unlike the recently reviewed SMOK T-Priv, which allows for user selection of colors, flash patterns, and even turning the feature off entirely, the iPV Velas automatically launches its 7-color disco show every time the fire button is engaged.
The flashing pattern is erratic, with some colors displaying brighter than others, and no rhyme or reason to the presentation. It’s oddly unsettling, and doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the mod’s aesthetics. Having neon colors reflect off of tan stickers doesn’t create the most visually appealing look for a mod, and it all comes across as a little childlike for an adult device.
The only functional use of these lights is how they flash in rapid succession when battery levels get too low. But, this isn’t really a necessary feature, considering the screen displays the same warning in plain language.
If there is a way to turn off the LED, I couldn’t find it using the onboard menu. Speaking of which…
The “Other” Display…
The pedestrian OLED screen does a fair job of showing the standard array of settings, including wattage/voltage, coil resistance, puff count, lock/unlock status, battery level and puff strength settings. The problems start occurring when trying to navigate the unclear menu, especially when the poorly translated instruction manual does little to help.
For nearly 10 minutes I tried to enter the menu using the five-click method, and learned I needed to be a little quicker than usual, after locking and unlocking the device countless times. Once I was in, I was greeted with a “Power On/Off” screen, sans any explanation how do one or the other. So, naturally, I repeatedly powered off, much to my frustration.
I eventually figured out how to navigate to the right settings, but often found myself zigging when I should have been zagging, faced with starting over once I went deeper in the unintuitive menu tree.
To make things worse, when using the Velas on two different occasions, the screen prompt randomly jumped from the wattage controls to the puff power settings, bringing me from “standard” power to “high” then the “custom SXI-Q” setting, which brought the wattage down to 10.5 for no explicable reason.
Now, I’m by no means an iPV veteran, so my troubles might stem from inexperience. But I don’t remember previous Pioneer4You devices being this clunky and erratic. A better set of instructions would have gone a long way toward solving this problem. Instead, I resorted to YouTube – unacceptable in this day and age.
A week later, and I still don’t have the Velas controls quite figured out, which has caused me to pass on using it more than once.
And when it works?
I could handle all the visual and menu oddities in the world if the mod vaped like a champ. Unfortunately, the Pioneer4You iPV Velas mod has more than its share of performance issues – most notably, in how it fires. And that’s surprising, considering the iPV Velas uses a SX410 chipset from YiHi – a company known for quality vape technology.
It is refreshing that Pioneer4You made the Velas a dual-18650 120-watt mod, rather than erroneously pushing it to handle 200 watts. That said, I had trouble taking the Velas to THIS upper limit for any length of time, as the mod struggled to keep up at anything higher than 100 watts. Like I always say, that’s more than enough power for most vapers – myself included. But 120 watts is well within a expected vaping range these days, making this somewhat disappointing.
When vaping within my normal range – 60-80 watts, on average – the Velas performed as expected. The puff power settings were distinct, and made a noticeable difference in flavor intensity at each level. And when the Velas wasn’t randomly jumping menus, it offered a solid, decent vape.
I should mention that the “Eco” power selection offered flavor and vapor nearly identical to the “Standard” setting, and there was no noticeable battery life improvement as a result, so you can probably skip this option.
The gears began to creak at 90-100 watts. I noticed the device warmed considerably at this power, and before long, misfires began to occur using a variety of tanks and RDAs. I also noticed when I tipped the device horizontally while inhaling, the power would occasionally cut off mid-puff. I checked the batteries, but they were secure and fully powered. Once I released the fire button and re-engaged, it worked fine again.
Going to 110 watts and higher amplified these problems, with the device alternately displaying atomizer and overheat warnings at random. Again, releasing the fire button and re-engaging put a band-aid on the problem, but I had no idea what was truly causing the issues.
The iPV Velas features a full compliment of temperature control options, which includes the usual SS316, Ni200, titanium and TCR settings, alongside the chip-specific SX-Pure selection, which uses the onboard SXI-Q menu for custom temperature curves. It’s complicated to access and enable, but there was a noticeable boost in performance once it was figured out.
That said, the iPV Velas was most reliable when asking the least of its potential. By that, I mean it functions best as a straight up, mid-range wattage mod. The less I tinkered with menus and settings, the more reliable and satisfying it was. In fact, once the “testing” portion of my review time was complete, and I found a wattage that suited me, the Velas worked well enough.
Finally, it should be noted that the iPV Velas had better-than-average battery life, even after wrestling with menus for much of my testing. A pair of freshly charged 18650s should take the average vaper through a full day, provided the mod isn’t being used at higher wattages.
Despite a strong lineage of time-honored vape devices, Pioneer4You simply missed the mark with the iPV Velas. As an entry-level mod, it’s erratic and difficult to use. As a novelty or conversation piece, it offers a strange light show with limited aesthetic appeal. As a multi-featured, higher-wattage device, it’s underpowered and has a physical design flaw that negatively affects performance.
The Velas’ does have two saving graces. First, despite its awkward looks, the light weight and soft feel of the battery door make it very comfortable in the hand. Second, when used in wattage mode at a moderate setting, the Velas does its job adequately, with frugal battery consumption.
But it begs the question: Is being “adequate” some of the time enough to stand out in a crowded vaping marketplace? Doubtful.
Even with its bargain price (as low as $35 from some online vendors), the Velas has several quirks that ruined the experience entirely. And because of that I won’t be throwing a candlelit vigil for the iPV Velas. Instead, it will be relegated to the growing Potters’ Field of failed mods residing on my desk.
Pioneer4You iPV Velas Mod Specs:
7-color LED Strip
YiHi SX410 Chip
Temperature Control: Ni200(Nickel) / Ti(Titanium) / SS316(Stainless Steel) / TCR
Output Wattage: 10.0 – 120.0W
Output Joule: 10J – 120J and 212 – 572 F / 100 – 300C
Resistance: 0.05ohm – 1.5ohm (Joule Mode)
Resistance: 0.15ohm – 3.0ohm (Power Mode)
Requires (2) 18650 High Amp Batteries (Sold Separately)
SX-iQ Control System
Powerful, Standard, Soft, Eco and SXi-Q
Micro USB Port for Charging
Reverse Polarity Protection
Low Resistance Protection
Low Battery Voltage Protection