Everything old is new again. At least it is at SMOK’s design facilities, where their team took elements from each of its flagship models over the past few years, and melded them into a hybrid box mod known as the T PRIV. The new SMOK T PRIV 220W TC Kit, at just $59.95 at Vapor Authority, is available now in several colors, with more on the way.
Featuring the colored lights and top-mounted display made famous by the X-Cube II, the clicky, improved firing bar from the Alien, and the striking, angular design choices from the H-Priv, the SMOK T PRIV represents a interesting evolutionary step for the product line.
But, is that enough to warrant another SMOK mod purchase? Let’s dive in and see.
No, it isn’t broken...
After opening the traditional SMOK packaging, the first reaction most will have when seeing the SMOK T PRIV is anger towards the mailman. With a jarring, erratic cutaway chassis, the mod looks cracked, as if someone struck it with a blunt object. However, once removed from the box, the stark, industrial design comes together to make a strong first impression – especially when compared to the smooth lines and seamless curves of most other mods.
(Quick side note: In a vaping world full of Aliens, Predators and Revengers, why didn’t SMOK name this sharp-edged device something more robotic, like “Transformer,” or “Cyborg?” A missed opportunity, if you ask me, because SMOK T PRIV doesn’t really match up with this design.)
The mod surprised me with its size and heft. The preview pictures implied a palm-friendly device similar to the Alien, but the dual-18650 T-PRIV is slightly taller, considerably wider, and noticeably heavier than SMOK’s current champion.
While not quite as boxy as the H-PRIV, or as rotund as the GX350, this isn’t a mod you’re going to forget about in a front pocket, either. Its aluminum frame is actually just a hair smaller than the recently reviewed iJOY Captain – but that device had larger 20700 batteries to accommodate.
Fortunately, this extra real estate means there’s more than enough room to hold 25mm tanks and RDAs. UNfortunately, the raised lip that protects the screen prevents the use of anything much bigger than that.
Measurements aside, the SMOK T PRIV feels great in the hand. The cutaways have rounded edges, and never get in the way of a comfortable grip. Even when compared to its more ergonomic brethren, the T PRIV’s buttons are easily accessed, and the firing bar has a nice throw, sans all the clangy metal racket the H-PRIV gave us last year.
Unfortunately, the up/down control buttons – while perfectly placed – are flimsy, and have a noticeable rattle when shaking the device. They are responsive and have a decent feel, but considering how many different technologies SMOK packs into their devices, are buttons really a major production hurdle?
The rest of the kit offers a nice bundle for the asking price, as SMOK have included a matching Big Baby Beast tank, micro-USB cable for onboard charging and firmware updates, spare glass, an extra Baby coil, vape bands and the usual bag of goodies. All you need is some e-liquid, a few 18650s, and you’re vaping in seconds.
Show me the light!
Well, THAT explains the T-PRIV’s jagged cutaways. After a few years, SMOK has reintroduced LED lighting into their design scheme. Though not as customizable as the X-Cube II’s app-enabled, limitless RGB color wheel, there is a nice selection of backlight hues to choose from within the menu.
Some are gaudier than others, but all paired perfectly with my silver and black test model, with a gentle white glow being my personal preference. Given the wide range of T-PRIV colors available, and the different flash and pulse effects at your disposal, the backlight allows users to make their mods as freaky or as subtle as they desire.
Though it sounds gimmicky, the LED isn’t overly bright, and the soft light emitting from beneath the frame gives off a nice effect.
If bells and whistles aren’t your thing, the light show can be turned off. But much of the aggressive frame styling centers on using the light, and seems a little strange without it. Either way, the LED had no noticeable effect on battery life, and I came to enjoy it the more I put it to use.
Growing menu, shrinking screen
Maybe I’m spoiled, but after spending a considerable amount of time with the Alien (not to mention several of its imitators), I’ve become quite accustomed to those larger, more detailed OLED displays. Yes, many companies tend to cram too much information on there, but that’s always preferable to navigating menu trees just to check battery amps or coil resistance.
The T-PRIV has an updated top-mounted display, which contains wattage/temperature, dual-battery indicators, resistance, voltage and puff duration at a glance, so this isn’t exactly a step backward.
But it is nonetheless difficult to read at a glance.
Obviously, the LED lights and cutaways on the chassis made this a necessary design choice, but I found myself wishing one side of the device contained a 0.96-inch screen on more than one occasion.
Other than the color options, the menu system remains largely unchanged from SMOK’s countless other mods. Which means it is clear, user-friendly and precise, and remains a benchmark for other companies to follow.
If only SMOK added an “enter” button, of sorts, to activate a command, instead of relying on the time-honored, but flawed practice of holding down the fire button to make a selection. Maybe next time, SMOK.
Flash AND Substance?
If you’re getting impatient, let me cut to the chase: The SMOK T PRIV vapes really well. With 220 watts of proposed power listed on the box, I’m thrilled to report that this mod fired accurately at this point, with no noticeable increase in heat anywhere on the aluminum frame, and no misfires or warnings. While it consumes a lot of battery power at this wattage, volume vapers looking for a few high-powered puffs should have no problems pushing the T PRIV.
Under more typical use in wattage mode, the T-PRIV performed as well as the Alien, with smooth, uninterrupted puffs at a wide range of outputs. There is virtually no ramp-up time, even on ultra-low-resistance builds, and I noticed no power spikes or drops when chain vaping.
When using the included Big Baby sub-ohm tank, performance was excellent all around. We don’t need to review the tank again, but it should be mentioned that SMOK has become quite good at bundling its myriad tanks with appropriate devices, and this combination is no exception. Unlike so many “kits” that seem designed to promote another proprietary coil system, this package looks and performs very well together.
Unfortunately, I encountered a few hiccups when switching to temperature control. While 99% of my time in TC was enjoyable, there were three separate instances of the mod randomly jumping out of temperature control and back into wattage, which could become dangerous if you’re not paying attention. It’s not surprising that a mod does this occasionally, but it is the first time I faced such an issue using a SMOK product.
Let’s end on a positive, shall we? Without an ounce of exaggeration or hyperbole, the T PRIV has the best battery life of any high-wattage, dual-18650 device I’ve seen. After more than five hours of testing, chain vaping and – yes – playing with the color light show, I still had enough power to carry me through an evening in my friend’s yard, where there was no shortage of vaping on my part.
When the cells began to get a little low on the indicators, the mod continued to perform as if they were fresh. You should never let your battery levels drop too low, but I’m confident the T-PRIV would have given me another half hour or so, when other mods might have already tapped out. Make no mistake, the T-PRIV will be a regular companion on long road trips or getaways.
SMOK T PRIV REVIEW CONCLUSION
I have to say, of all the products that have crossed my desk for review this week, I was least excited about reviewing the SMOK T-PRIV. Not because I expected the worst, but rather because I fully expected this to be “another SMOK mod” with the same menus, functions and performance.
But the T-PRIV’s combination of flash and function comes together in an oddly beautiful way. Other than a few minor missteps with temperature control, the T-PRIV did everything I asked of it, with battery life to spare. For the first time since its “Alien invasion” I feel SMOK has created a worthy successor to that throne.
No, it’s not perfect. The control buttons could be sturdier. The screen is a little small. The device’s unique design might not appeal to some. And something this wide should definitely accommodate 30mm atomizers.
Valid criticisms, to be sure. But somehow, it still feels as if I’m splitting hairs. The kit’s performance and value offered for this price of $59.95 at Vapor Authority– is difficult to argue. And I’m certainly not going to try.
SMOK T-PRIV Mod: B+
SMOK Big Baby Beast sub-ohm tank: A (reviewed here)
SMOK T-PRIV Kit: A-
SMOK T PRIV SPECS AND FEATURES
- 1 x T-PRIV Mod
- 1 x TFV8 Big Baby Tank
- 1 x V8 Baby Q2 0.4-ohm dual coil head (pre-installed)
- 1 x V8 Baby T8 0.15-ohm octuple coil head
- 1 x replacement glass tube
- 1 x USB cable
- 1 x user manual
- 1 x spare parts
SMOK T-PRIV Mod
- Height: 86.6mm
- Width: 48.1mm
- Depth: 32mm
- Net Weight: 210g
- Power Range: 6W – 220W
- Voltage Range: 0.5V – 9.0V
- Resistance Range: 0.1-3 ohm (VW) / 0.06 – 3-ohm (TC)
- Temperature Range: 200℉ – 600℉ / 100℃ – 315℃
SMOK TFV8 Big Baby
- Capacity: 5ml
- Height: 56ml
- Diameter: 24.5mm
- Net Weight: 60g
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Thread: 510