Hotcig DX200 review by Dan Willis

Review Date: 
17.02.2016

Hotcig DX200

The Hotcig DX200 is Hotcig’s first attempt at a DNA200 mod, and price wise, it’s one of the more budget friendly DNA200 units out there. It packs a 900 mAh LiPo pack that can be removable, with the option to upgrade to higher capacity LiPo packs, a spring loaded 510 connector and small, palm friendly form factor.

Of course, the key selling point here is the DNA200 chip built into the mod, so let’s see how Hotcig’s DNA200 effort fares!

Specs

  • Material: Aluminum alloy
  • Output wattage: 1 - 200W
  • Temperature control: 200 - 600F ( typical: 450F )
  • Built-in DX200 battery: 900mAh ( 10Wh )
  • Atomizer resistance, temperature sensing wire: 0.1ohm ( typical )
  • Atomizer resistance, kanthal wire: 0.2ohm ( typical )
  • Input voltage: 9.0 - 12.6V ( typical: 11.1V )
  • Input current: 0.5 - 23A ( typical: 9A )
  • Output voltage: 0.5 - 9V
  • Output current, continuous, max 50.0A
  • Output current, instantaneous peak 55.0A
  • Screen on current: 18mA
  • Quiescent current: 4.5mA
  • Screen size: 0.91 inches OLED display wattage, battery level, temperature, voltage and resistance
  • 510 spring loaded threading connection
  • 26mm base diameter

What’s in the Box?

The Hotcig DX200 comes in a very interesting wooden box, and inside there is:

  • Hotcig DX200 DNA200 mod
  • USB Cable
  • Power cord
  • imaxRC B3 Pro Easy Balance Charger
  • User Manual
  • Gift Bag

Looks

There is a very premium look about the Hotcig DX200, and the build quality overall is top notch for a budget DNA200 unit. It’s smaller than it first appears in pictures of the unit, and fits really nicely in hand. At the top of the unit there is a spring loaded 510 connector to allow for a flush fit for your atomisers, the screen is large and clearly readable, and the buttons are a particular highlight here, as they feel very solid and certainly not cheap!  The only thing I didn’t find particularly appealing about the looks of the DX200 was the Hotcig logo plastered down the side of the unit, which isn’t easy to get off without damaging the finish of the unit.

The LiPo battery pack is actually removable allowing you to charge it via the dedicated charger, or you can swap in another compatible LiPo pack. Having multiple battery packs means that you can have a supply of charged up battery packs ready to swap in so you can continue using your Hotcig DX200.

Evolv DNA200 chip and Escribe

The Hotcig DX200 sports the new Evolv DNA200 chip, which is arguably the most advanced chip on the market at present. Reason being, is that this chip can be infinitely customised to your preferences, provided that you have access to a Windows PC with Windows XP or higher. It is also highly recommended that after downloading the Escribe software you ensure that you have the latest Escribe software update downloaded, which you can find http://www.evolvapor.com/software/SetupES.exe#sthash.y91XS34u.dpuf

You can also familiarise yourself with how to navigate Escribe by using the online training simulator provided by Evolv, which is a handy tool in allowing you to understand the basic nuances of Escribe without diving in head first to it. You will find it http://www.evolvapor.com/guide/story.html#sthash.sgmczqa5.dpuf

There is an incredible amount of customisation present within Escribe. Stat junkies can get their fill with plenty of graphs and statistics on how the Hotcig DX200 and the battery itself are performing, you can customise the home screen to read out the information you want, add your own custom graphics to the boot up screens and warning messages, configure the Preheat to give your coil a boost in temperature control and set up 8 different individual profiles allowing you to switch between your preferred settings on the fly. This is a great feature as you can have an individual profile for each of your 8 favourite atomisers, and with a few clicks of a button bring up your preferred settings for that atomiser quickly. There's a huge rabbit hole to disappear down with Escribe, and it's an amazing piece of software for customising your DNA200 device.

Temperature control with the Evolv DNA200 chip is quite possibly the best temperature control experience yet and if temperature control is your thing, you’ll want to get your hands on a DNA200 device as soon as you possibly can. What gives the DNA200 such a huge edge over the competition is not just the ability to dial in the coefficients for specific TC wires through Escribe, but a feature called Preheat. Preheat applies extra power to your coil until the coil is up to the selected operating temperature, shortening the delay between pressing the fire button and vapour becoming generated. You can customise the strength of this through Escribe from 1-200w, making ramp up times instantaneous and a huge difference to your vape, and as Preheat is temperature based, you will not overheat or burn your juice. Having the preheat set to 200w and vaping with a Titanium or Stainless Steel coil is really something else!

Keep an eye out as we will shortly have a full, in-depth guide into the DNA200 chip and the Escribe software, packed with plenty of tips and info on how to get the best out of Escribe and this chip. Stay tuned!

Performance

The performance of the Hotcig DX200 is driven by the stellar DNA200 chip, which means that you have an infinitely customizeable device in the palm of your hand, more so than any other out there at present. Once you have loaded in your settings from Escribe, you won’t really need to adjust or customise anything through the mod itself, bar the temperature limit and your power setting.

As with any DNA200 device, 5 clicks of the power button will lock and unlock your Hotcig DX200 unit as it will never switch completely ‘off’. There is no real menu system to speak of, as everything is customised via Escribe on your computer, however holding down the plus and minus buttons will lock your power- a very handy feature which prevents the power setting from being changed. With the power locked, hit either up or down twice, and this will allow you to scroll through 8 different profiles allowing you quick access to your favourite presets. Holding fire and plus will allow you to lock in your resistance when using a temperature control coil, and when using a temperature control coil holding up and down for two seconds will allow you to adjust the temperature limit of the unit as once the temperature limit is displayed you subsequently simply press up or down to adjust this. If you wish for the temperature to be displayed in Celsius, then adjust the temperature down past as far as it will go in Fahrenheit and Celsius will then be displayed. Temperature control can be disabled by adjusting the limit past 600 until it reads ‘OFF’.

When attaching a new atomizer to the Hotcig DX200, the DNA200 chip will prompt you to confirm whether you are using a new or existing coil, you will need to press up if a new coil has been attached, and down if the coil is the same as the one you were using previously. The DNA200 chip uses the resistance of the atomiser to calculate the temperature of the coil, and continually looks to see if a new atomiser has been connected. When using a temperature control coil you want to ensure that you have waited until your atomiser has cooled to room temperature otherwise temperature may read and protect incorrectly until the atomiser has reached room temperature.  

Battery life unfortunately isn’t the Hotcig DX200’s strongest point. It has a removeable 900 mAh LiPo pack included, which if you prefer to vape north of 30w is unlikely to get you through a full day’s usage. Thankfully, Hotcig have moved to rectify this by making higher capacity LiPo packs available for purchase. It does have a very long charging time should you use a computer to charge this, coming in at roughly six hours, if you charge via a wall charger or the supplied dedicated LiPo balance charger, this shortens charging time considerably to a couple of hours.

Conclusion

The Hotcig DX200 represents a really good option for those wanting a DNA200 mod, but are on a tight budget. The only downside for me that I have experienced so far, outside of the ‘Hotcig’ logo down the side of the unit, is that the battery life is pretty short, however I have seen that Hotcig have attempted to rectify this by making additional higher capacity Lipo battery packs available for purchase.  It’s not going to be for those that enjoy vaping at high wattages for an extended period of time, due to the battery limitations, however vaping at moderate wattage will get the best out of the battery.

Overall, it’s a feature rich unit thanks to the inclusion of the DNA200 chip and the build quality feels really solid, it’s a unit I have very much enjoyed using and at the price it is available for, you can do no wrong by taking a punt on this!

**Note** - bit late getting this review up.  It is based on the initial release. Newer versions have improved on what is already an acceptable DNA200 device.

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 Dan Willis
Article by Dan Willis
Dan was an early adopter of vaping as a way to quit smoking and has seen and done pretty much all there is to see and do in the vaping world! From Ego batteries to mechs and from rebuildables to pods there isn't much that Dan hasn't tried.