By Cody Turner
In a market full of electronic cigarettes it’s tough to differentiate between quality and what is just the current cool device that will break in a few months. I have been a vaper for more than three years and have seen a lot of devices come and go. One trend that I truly believe will stick around are devices that use wattage for the power to the atomizer. Namely, we’re talking about DNA 20 devices.
If you are interested in the world of wattage but do not understand what it is, here is a simple analogy. Adjusting a device’s voltage is like driving a manual transmission car; you need to fine tune the voltage output to find the performance that you desire out of your atomizer. Devices with wattage are like having a car with cruise control; you set the device to what you think tastes the best and forget it. In most cases, you can take any atomizer, clearomizer or cartomizer and put it a device and it will, theoretically, vape the same. Even if the “toppers” have different resistances (ohm).
Now, with a general understanding of how wattage can be beneficial for you, you now can search for a device. Your search will bring up a plethora of devices such as a Darwin, Opus D, -Z-max, etc. As an enthusiast vaper, I have used an array of devices at one time or another and I would recommend that you to look to the modding community for a device solution that is equally as good, if not better, than the mass produced devices for about the same price.
Matt Olmstead or Fazed is a modder who has turned his passion for the exploration of electronic cigarettes into a business with a whole lineup of devices that use the Evolv DNA 20 chip. One conversation with him will have your head spinning with all sorts of new terminology to ponder. I have the FZ-mini, which he sells on his site, www.fazedboxmods.com, for $200. Considering the fact that many DNA-based devices sell for more than $250 a pop, Olmstead’s devices almost are a bargain for the quality craftsmanship and technology. He even has a cheaper DNA20 device that takes two 18650 batteries being offered at only $135.
The FZ-Mini is of a very simple design, constructed of a small durable aluminum case with black hard plastic bumpers around the top and bottom. It features: two buttons, a screen, a rugged 510 connection, a “fire” button and a mini USB charger on the bottom. The two buttons on the front are simple and have one purpose—to adjust the wattage up or down. The screen cut out is large enough to read the entire DNA20 screen, which a few devices have failed to do. The 510 connection has a sturdy feel with a rugged metal look. Every “topper” I have used fits beautifully on the device.
The “fire” button is a stainless steel button that is very tactile with a reassuring click, something many vapers prefer in a device. And finally, the charging port. The mini USB port is placed on the bottom of the FZ-Mini which can make it a turn off for vapers who like to have their mod stand up while charging. I personally like it on the bottom because it allows me to charge and continue using the device while I am using my Galaxy S3 car charger without having a cable in the way. The device is powered by a 1900 mAh LiPo battery, which may not seem like a lot of mAh, but with the power usage of the DNA being so efficient, I have noticed a very long battery life out of the FZ-Mini.
As for the actual DNA 20 chip, its simplicity puts other advanced personal vaporizers (APV’s) to shame. The DNA20 works similar to an eGo battery. Five-clicks on and five-clicks off. When you “turn on” or unlock the device, you are ready to go. Everything you would ever want to know is right there on the DNA-20 screen. No more menus! The screen displays your wattage setting as the larger number, while also having the resistance (ohm) of the “topper” you have on the device next to it. When you actually fire the device it shows you below the resistance reading what voltage is being pushed to your topper of choice. Honestly, that stuff doesn't really matter. I usually tell people who are new wattage device users to just move the wattage up or down based on how its tastes to you. Is it a little burnt? Give it a few clicks down. A little weak? It’s as simple as a couple of clicks up. The FZ-Mini is laid out to allow you to be able to adjust to taste in an instant.
As you can see, a DNA 20 device is a very simple yet complex device. Simple in the aspect of being able to “set it and forget it” and complex because it is a “newer” technology for most vapers. I have found that new technology generally scares people away, but this is something that you should not pass on.
My time with my FZ-Mini has been absolutely fantastic. It has become my all-day device demoting my Provaris and mechanical mods to the vape shelf. I have personally been getting anywhere from one to two days of usage off one charge with varied wattages for different “toppers.” I have used the FZ-Mini with many different topper with each performing very well. Some of my favorite setups were: with a protank set to 7.0 watts. This setup worked flawless and because it was at such a low wattage I got an extremely long battery life for a 1900 mAh battery. My second favorite setup was a Grand Vapor Trident dripping atomizer using dual coils at about .9 ohms set to 15 watts. This setup gave me amazing performance with the security of knowing if anything goes wrong, the DNA-20 will shut itself down unlike the current trend of low ohm unregulated vaping. I even enjoyed it with a simple atomizer to taste new e-liquids. At the price point of $200, it is a large purchase, but I feel like this device will be versatile enough that it will be all I need in vaping for a long, long time.
If you are interested in the FZ-Mini or want to check out other mod’s Olmstead makes, check out www.fazedboxmods.com.