A VV/VW e Cigarette Review
When I tell people that I collect ZMAX e-cigarettes, if they know the name and they’ve seen them, I sometimes get a look that sort of implies some kind of sexual innuendo. I kind of “Of course you do…I mean just look at them. They are the most ‘phallic’ looking e-cigarettes of the bunch aren’t they?” And, being a good sport an all I go along, “ha ha, yes yes I suppose so.” then I roll my eyes, turn and walk away. Weirdoes. If they knew me at all they would know that is the least of it, the phallic shape is the most uninteresting aspect of a beautiful ZMAX.
ZMAX and ZMAX Mini Specs At A Glance
- Variable Wattage – ZMAX allows you to select the wattage from .3w to 15w in 0.5w increments.
- Variable Voltage – ZMAX allows you to select the voltage from 3.0v to 6.0v in 0.1v increments.
- 5amp Power! – ZMAX has full 5amps of power!
- Pulse Width Modulation – ZMAX’s utilizes Pulse Width Modification for minimum power loss during usage
- Regulated voltage output – ZMAX gives you a consistent vaping experience regardless of how much battery power is left.
- Auto Short Circuit Protection – ZMAX will auto shutdown if your battery voltage or atomizer resistance is too low, if the current is too high, or if the battery is inserted improperly.
- Built in Battery Voltage Meter – ZMAX LED display shows voltage of battery. You can easily see when the battery needs recharging (3.3v).
- Built in Atomizer Resistance Meter – ZMAX LED display shows the resistance of atomizer/cartomizer. You can check the resistance of your atomizers and cartomizers in just a few clicks.
Up until last week my favorite, and most used ZMAX, was the Red Brass colored one, a ‘Rev 2’ ZMAX that gives the user a great vape time after time. Then, Jon at MyVaporStore, the official supplier of vape gear to Spinfuel, sent me the new ZMAX Mini with an extension tube, in Metallic Blue. I took the extension tube off, inserted a new 18350 battery, and I’ve been enjoying the same great ‘vape’ that I get from my other ZMAX’s, but in a shorter, handier version. If you’ve wanted a ZMAX but just couldn’t make up your mind yet, the new Mini could very well change your mind.
The SMOKTech ZMAX Mini has the same diameter of .8 inches (7/8” exactly) as other ZMAX models, but the height without the extension attached is just 3 and ¾ inches tall and fits in the palm of most hands. Well, not Keira’s because she’s so ‘petite’ but certainly mine and most probably yours. In Keira’s hands it looks like a full size ZMAX.
The Blue Metallic color is a gorgeous shade of blue. It’s a deep blue, with hints of a silver-like aurora escaping from the surface. Of all the shades of blue, metallic blue is my favorite. It’s so rich looking, so serious looking, and it reflects a sort of gentleness to it. The finish feels like a matte, dry finish, not exactly slip-free like some rubberized paints used on batteries, and not glossy like other batteries.
While the ZMAX Mini comes in a couple of other colors, ones I’ll add to my collection over the next two or three months, the blue metallic is the most special, most sought after color in the ZMAX line. SMOK also makes a Blue Metallic full size ZMAX that I also have. The words “ZMAX Mini” is written in silver paint across the side near the display window.
The ZMAX As eCigarette
The ZMAX battery connector is very versatile, using both a native eGo and 510 threads. (Those words I just typed are words I had to include in order to get the official facts straight, but don’t think that you can use a wide array of eGo clearomizers.) The ZMAX does not have outside eGo threads, so it you’re thinking you’ll be able to use EVOD-type clearomizers and the like, you won’t. When I talk to my friends and fellow Vapers I talk about the ZMAX being a 510-thread e-Cigarette and nothing more. Most of the dozen or so 510-thread devices I’ve hooked up to various ZMAX’s have all fit flush, some did not, but they still worked fine.
With the extension cap off the ZMAX Mini you’ll use a flattop 18350 IMR LiMn batteries. The ZMAX Mini is not compatible with “protected” batteries. With the extension attached you’ll use an 18650 flattop IMR LiMn unprotected battery. For review purposes I used a long-lasting Panasonic 3400mAh battery (NCR18650B) that I had purchased for my JoyeTech eVic. Once I was satisfied with the operation of the ZMAX with the extension on I then removed it and proceeded to use the ZMAX as it was intended, as a Mini. Please don’t attempt to use other types of batteries.
IMR ‘cells’ do not have protection circuits built in, and they should never be discharged below 2.5 volts or cycle life/performance will be reduced. Maximum charge voltage is 4.25 volts.
When you buy the ZMAX Mini, or other ZMAX’s you do not get batteries, charger, or anything else. MyVaporStore has paired up several batteries and chargers that work terrifically well with the ZMAX. I purchased a couple of the Efest LUC Charger with an LCD display a few months back for $31.00. Works great and you have to love the large readout of the voltage and the blinking charge level indicator. Once its charged you know it by the charge indicators staying still and the voltage reading reaching the max. 4.2v for both the 18350 and 18650 batteries I used for the review. (When the batteries reach 3.3v its time to recharge them) The prices for the batteries are priced out in pairs, so if you buy the Efest IMR 18350 800mAh for $11.85 you’re getting two of them.
Putting together a ZMAX Mini Starter Kit from MyVaporStore
The ZMAX Mini in Metallic Blue is priced at $74.12.
Add a pair of Samsung ICR18650 2600mAh flattops – $19.89
Add a pair of Efest IMR 18350 800mAg flattops – $11.85
Add a battery charger, the Efest LCD LUC Charger – $30.95
Total High-end Starter Kit = $136.81
Naturally, if you already have batteries and chargers laying about then you won’t need to buy them, but if you don’t I would definitely recommend this package, it’s high quality stuff, and a good price for what it essentially two ZMAX’s, a standard and a mini, two sets of batteries and a charger you won’t have to worry about for a long, long time.
The ZMAX Rev 2
The ZMAX Rev 2 is a Variable Voltage / Variable Wattage (power) tube-shaped e-cigarette. The voltage ranges from a low of 3.0v to a high of 6v. You can increase or decrease voltage in .1v increments. Wattage (Power) extends from 3w to 15w. Increasing or decreasing wattage (power) is done in .5w increments. This is all pretty standard stuff these days for VV/VW devices.
About VV and VW
For those of you not that familiar with the differences between variable voltage and variable wattage (power) think of it this way; Setting your device to “Wattage” is like putting it in “automatic”, you choose the wattage or “power level” and the device will choose the correct voltage, mathematically speaking anyway. Putting the ZMAX in the variable voltage setting is like setting it into “manual”, where you choose the voltage you want to send to the atomizer. The vast number of Vapers could easily use wattage as a “set and forget” setting, but many Vapers like to tweak their voltage and hunt for the ‘sweet spot’ in voltage that provides the best vape for that individual.
The display puts out nice blue colored LED’s, large enough to read easily. A single button directly below the vertically horizontal display window controls all the adjustments, including the on/off capability.
The Menu shows you the resistance (ohms) of the atomizer/cartomizer you have attached, the current voltage or wattage setting, the remaining battery power, and a low resistance warning (anything below 1.2ohms will sound the alarm). The ZMAX is also equipped with short circuit protection so it can be effectively used to test the voltage of your wrapped coils. And no, there is no ‘puff counter’; deal breaker isn’t it?
None of these features are exclusive to the ZMAX; pretty much all VV/VW devices are equipped with these features, and more. For instance, lots of the newer devices today won’t let you slip a battery in the wrong way, but with the ZMAX Mini you still can (not that you would want to). It will alert you to the fact, so you won’t go and ruin the ZMAX and/or the battery, but it won’t physically prevent you from inserting a battery upside down and screwing the cap on.
So, why the ZMAX?
First, the design of the ZMAX is sleek, efficient, and wicked good looking. It just works, and it looks good doing it. I’ve been using the Red Brass ZMAX for many months now, without a single issue. Moving up and down the voltage or wattage is a breeze, changing from Voltage to Power (wattage) is easy, and the settings you need are just a few clicks away. A ‘click’, by the way, that has a nice solid ‘click’ sound and function. With the ZMAX Mini doing everything with one hand is just so much easier.
For myself, the ZMAX, and now the ZMAX Mini, is perfectly situated to my way of vaping. My favorite tank to use the ZMAX is the SMOKTech DCTank, a carto-tank that looks fantastic on top of the device. I’ve used everything from a simple 510 cartomizer to the new iClear 30S and haven’t ever had an issue with any of them.
There are dozens upon dozens of VV/VW choices on the market, and I like a lot of them, and I love a few of them. But the ZMAX, with its sleek lines, etched grooves, bright LED display, and the tactile feel of a good solid button, are enough to pull me to it whenever I’m doing non-Spinfuel related vaping, which is all the time.
I feel sort of dorky saying this; but I will go into my home office and pick up one of the ZMAX devices depending on my mood. Yellow Brass, Red Brass, Metallic Blue, Chrome, Stainless Steel, and Black (Gold lettering!), I’ll pick one that fits the way I’m feeling. Most of the time it’s the Red Brass because that’s the fanciest looking one, then Yellow Brass, then Metallic Blue. “Bad Mood” days are for the black one. Since adding the Metallic Blue ZMAX Mini, I’ve barely used the others. I love the mini size of it, and I know now that I’ll pick up each new color as they come out, so I can get back to my ‘mood choices’. I’m hoping to add Yellow and Red Brass Mini’s to my collection soon-ish because its just so much more comfortable using the Mini than the full size version (they are available now), and the full size version is very comfortable indeed, so just imagine what the mini feels like in your hand.
The ZMAX e-Cigarette is a solid, high-quality product that offers the standard array of features found in the today’s modern APV’s. The decision to buy a ZMAX over, say, an eVic or iTaste SVD is more about aesthetics than the electronics. Most APV’s in the $75-$100 level have high quality electronics in them. What first attracted me were the looks, and then I got to know the device and fall in the love with it.
If you like the look of the ZMAX and you’ve wanted a nice VV/VW APV that will last and last, I highly recommend the ZMAX Mini. If you think the “less than 4” tall” might be too short for you, or using an 18350mAh battery won’t give you enough vape time, then the full-size ZMAX is also an excellent choice.
A full size ZMAX Rev 2 is $89.95 at MyVaporStore while the ZMAX Mini, with the extension tube, is $74.12, right around a $15 savings. Before you buy one, check your battery inventory and make sure you have a couple of “flattop” batteries; the button tops will not work.