If you’ve read any of my reviews over the last few months, you know I’m kind of prickly toward setups that are overly complicated, often for the sake of just being different, rather than to improve the vaping experience. So, when SMOK came to the table with its most minimalist rig to date, I paid attention. The SMOK PRIV V8 is a sleek, streamlined, direct wattage mini mod that does what it does very well, even if it all but eliminates control over the experience. For just $31.95 through Element Vape, this is one well-put together vaping kit.
What’s in the SMOK PRIV V8 Kit?
SMOK is known for top-quality, no-nonsense packaging and design, and the PRIV V8 doesn’t break the mold here. Inside the cube box you’ll find the PRIV V8 mod, a Baby Beast tank, two M2 coils designed for use with this direct wattage device, a replacement glass section, manuals, spare parts, and a USB cable. No frills, just function, much like the mod itself.
Taking the PRIV V8 out of the box, experienced vapers will be taken aback by the sheer LACK of controls and screens, because – save for a pinhole sized indicator light – there are none. This 80mm tall device features just one input button, the clicky and responsive full-length fire bar, meaning the device’s chipset is entirely responsible for reading the coil, setting the wattage, and letting you vape without concern.
The single-18650 PRIV V8 is just 34mm long, and the well-implemented battery door furthers the streamlined aesthetic. The overall design is akin to SMOK’s recently released ProColor mod, with a durable, high-gloss paint job, and an altogether solid feel. At just 24.5mm wide, the PRIV V8 isn’t optimized for large tanks, but the included Baby Beast (equipped with “M” type coils) is a perfect fit.
Using and Vaping the SMOK PRIV V8
Normally, I’d include a section on a mod’s operation, but the “set it and forget it” PRIV V8 really doesn’t have much functionality beyond the standard five-click on/off. That said, the fire bar is nicely clicky and responsive, and the device ramps and fires almost instantaneously.
The SMOK PRIV V8 is purported to fire up to 60 watts, but as a direct wattage device, the maximum power is largely dependent on the strength of the 18650 you install, and the resistance of the atomizer build. The rest is determined by the SMOK PRIV V8 – and for the most part, it does it well.
We don’t need to do a comprehensive review of the included Baby Beast tank, but the 0.25-ohm M2 coils it comes with warrant a mention. Optimized for use with direct wattage devices, but technically okay to use with standard VW devices, as well, these low-wattage coils require very little power to get up to heat, but still produce a very satisfying combination of vapor and flavor, while sipping power.
Both of the included M2 coils read precisely at 0.25 ohms, and are rated for 30-50 watts. Though I don’t have the means to measure power output of the PRIV V8, I definitely noticed it was cooler in use with these coils than with other atomizers.
There was also a smoother draw with the Baby Beast than with any of the other MTL and direct lung atomizers in my collection. It’s clear that SMOK designed this an an all-encompassing kit for casual vapers who want a no-fuss setup, and in this instance, the included equipment is, by far, the best way to enjoy the PRIV V8.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a true test if I didn’t try to (safely) push the limits a little, and the PRIV V8 was mostly up to the challenge. When using my brand new Digiflavor Aura RDA, featuring a 0.18-ohm Kanthal build, the PRIV V8 clearly needed to ramp up the power to keep up. The diminutive mod became slightly warm after a few rounds of chain vaping, but never uncomfortable.
However, the battery life under these conditions dropped precipitously, as the PRIV V8 was pushing its max capabilities. Even with less-frequent draws, I barely got two hours from the mod before I noticed severe drops in puff quality and vapor production. Swapping in a fresh battery brought things back to where they needed to be, but the PRIV V8 wasn’t really designed for this level of use.
On that note, I really missed having a display of some variety. Sure, this is a minimalist device, but considering how power levels fluctuate depending on coil and battery power, a warning screen would have been welcome… especially considering newer vapers are likely the target market.
Next, I swapped in a Baby Beast tank with a standard Baby X4 coil at 0.15 ohms, This coil was rated for 35-70 watts, and performed well for about a half hour of moderate vaping, before power once again dropped. Clearly, the PRIV V8 was pushing this coil to its upper limit, as well … even when it would have been fine 10-15 watts lower.
Though I tried many different low-wattage setups, and all worked fine, it was nonetheless pretty obvious that the PRIV V8 was meant to work with the included products, because the vape quality was considerably better when they were married.
The SMOK PRIV V8 isn’t for everyone, and probably could use a little more descriptive text on the box for vapers confused by what this device is meant to be. I also feel the SMOK PRIV V8 would be better positioned as a stealth mod for experienced vapers, since users should understand WHY the device works better in certain setups than others, and why they can’t just slap any tank or RDA on here and hope for the best.
But, as a direct wattage device with minimal input, this is a mod designed for simplicity and portability. In that sense, it’s a win, as the included tank and coils make for an attractive, highly enjoyable combination.
SMOK PRIV V8 SCORE
SMOK PRIV V8 Mod: B+
SMOK M2 coils: A-
Kit Value: B+
PRIV V8 Features and Package Contents
SMOK PRIV V8 Specs:
- Mod Material: Zinc alloy
- Mod Size: 24.5*34*80mm
- Standby Current <200uA
- Input Voltage：3.4V-4.2V
- Charging Current:600mA-700mA
- Tank Size: 22mm(D)x53mm(L)
- Capacity: 3ml
- Tank Material: Stainless Steel
- Thread: 510
SMOK PRIV V8 Starter Kit Kit Package Contents:
- 1 x PRIV V8 MOD
- 1 x TFV8 Baby Tank – 3ml
- 1 x V8 Baby-M2 0.25ohm Dual Coils (pre-installed)
- 1 x V8 Baby-M2 0.25ohm Dual Coils
- 1 x Replacement Glass Tube
- 1 x USB cable
- 1 x User Manual
- Spare Parts