Lavabox DNA 200 by Volcano review by

Review Date: 
18.12.2015

Lavabox DNA 200 by Volcano

The Lavabox by Volcano is a stylish and compact device that includes a genuine Evolv DNA 200 chip. This device has the ability to go from 1-200W of power at the touch of a button, not to mention the epic amount of customization on offer that Evolv’s dedicated software suite brings you. The Lavabox features a 3 pack LiPo battery that is rated at 900mAH. The DNA 200’s are the latest generation of mods currently available and feature the most advanced chip designed which makes for an outstanding vape experience!

After reviewing the VTBox 200 I found that I had really grown to enjoy using DNA 200 devices and they really have some brilliant features so I knew I should get my own. The Vaporshark simply did not appeal to me but I am sure it is a great mod in its own right, I just don’t like the screen on the base of a mod. The Lavabox due to both its looks and form factor was the only one that said “Buy me please” and a quick trip to Grey Haze helped me part with my cash. Service from Grey Haze was as always excellent and I had the device within 48 hours. So let’s take a good look at the Lavabox and see if it is something you might want to add to your mod collection.

Lavabox DNA 200 features

  • Billet Aluminium construction
  • Small form factor
  • Output Power 1 Watt - 200 Watts
  • Output Voltage 0.5 Volt - 9.0 Volt
  • Output Current, continuous 50 Amps
  • Output Current, instantaneous peak 55 Amps
  • Temperature Limit 200°F - 600°F
  • 3 Cell LiPo battery 900mAh
  • Genuine Evolv DNA 200 chip
  • Fully customizable via eScribe software
  • Up to eight individual profiles can be stored in memory
  • Spring loaded brass 510 pin
  • Replacement coloured grips allow for further personalisation (sold separately)

What’s in the box?

  • 1x Lavabox DNA 200 box mod
  • Warranty card
  • User Manual
  • 1A balance charger (2 pin adapter required)

The box itself is black just like the mod and it’s a nice durable box that should keep your Lavabox well protected when not in use. Of course I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to be using it but who knows. The manual is decent and the information is clearly conveyed.  The included warranty card is valid for 90 days should a fault develop. The 1A balance charger is clearly American since it is only has two pins so you will require an adapter if you wish to make use of it.

Lavabox DNA 200 styling and build quality

Without a doubt the styling of this device rocks! It is exceptionally well designed and has a wonderful form factor. It feels ideal in the hand and is very comfortable to hold. It is a relatively small device so is perfectly suitable for people who prefer something a little bit more discrete.

The build quality is magnificent and the device is constructed from billet aluminium which makes it rather light.  The design in my opinion is the epitome of stylishness, not to mention the fact that it comes in black! The Lavabox features a brass 510 pin that is spring-loaded and all my atomizers sit flush without exception. At the top of the device you will notice that there are grooves so as to provide airflow for atomizers. The grooves also come in handy should you have any leaks since they should keep juice away from the 510 pin. Of course it goes without saying that using leaky atties on an expensive DNA 200 device is not the wisest move but mishaps do occur on occasion. I am certainly guilty of that happening once in a while and I can be quite messy when it comes to using RDA’s.

The side of the mod features awesome rubber grips that are removable which means the mod is very unlikely to slip out of your hand. If you are not a fan of completely black mods you can buy replacement grips which are available in red, white or blue, just in case you want to jazz up your mod! I couldn’t resist getting the red grip because red and black always look brilliant together. The grip is secured by four Philips head screws which seem decent but they are quite small so be careful when unscrewing since you wouldn’t want to lose them. Once unscrewed the grip comes off easily and replacing it is just of case of slapping a new grip on before replacing the screws and tightening them up, dead easy!

The front of the device features the main display which is well presented and clear to read. It is reasonably bright but the smoked screen cover does mean it is not as vivid as some. The screen material is a little prone to scratching but since this is a black mod you shouldn’t notice it too much. The screen features all of the typical information that you might require such as wattage, temperature, coil resistance and voltage. In addition the battery is displayed as well as the resistance lock when enabled. Of course this being a DNA 200 device means that the display is fully customizable in eScribe so you can choose to have it show whatever information you want. In my case I tend to run tanks with Kanthal builds on the Lavabox so I have changed the temperature display to show the exact battery charge percentage. You have to admit any form of customization is an impressive feature but DNA 200 devices have it in spades!

The Lavabox features three buttons which are exquisite to use because they feel especially soft and you only need to press lightly to get an instant response. There is absolutely no rattle with these buttons at all and they feel highly durable.

At the bottom of the front section of the mod is the Micro USB port and due to the location it means you can thankfully charge this device while it is standing upright. In addtion the device supports pass-through so you can vape while your charge. The base of the device features the words “Designed in Hawaii by Volcano” and while it is designed in Hawaii it is actually manufactured in China, just in case you wanted to know. Battery ventilation is amply provided by twelve air holes so definitely no issues there.

The LiPo battery pack is housed in a cavity beneath the removable grip and it is replaceable should a fault ever occur. All in all apart from the front which as mentioned is a little prone to scratches this is a fabulous looking device that will suit all vaping fashionistas to a tee! Seriously though it does look really swish and the replacement grips (sold separately) do allow you to customize it to a degree.

Operating procedure

As we all know this is a DNA 200 device featuring a genuine Evolv chip so it follows exactly the same operating procedure as other DNA 200’s like the VTBox 200 that I recently reviewed.

  • Five clicks of the fire button to lock/unlock
  • With the device unlocked hold down the plus and minus buttons to lock the power. Press the plus or minus button twice to open up the profile menu
  • With the device locked hold the plus and minus buttons to allow you to change the temperature. Adjust temperature with the plus and minus buttons
  • With the device locked hold the fire button and plus button to enable resistance lock

Like anything new your very first DNA 200 device will take a little getting used to but before long it will all become second nature.

Should you wish to really tweak the devices functionality you can download eScribe from Evolv and even if you don’t want to heavily customize it you will still require that program to initially configure the Lavabox correctly. Bear in mind eScribe requires a Windows PC with an operating system of XP or higher. You can download eScribe from here:

http://www.evolvapor.com/software/SetupES.exe

It is important that you set up the Lavabox correctly so as to make sure the battery capacity is correct. Rather than badly rehash someone else’s work check out Volcano’s initial set up guide here:
http://www.volcanoecigs.com/blog/evolv-escribe-use-with-the-lavabox-dna-200.html

In addition to that we also have our own POTV starter guide coming soon to help orientate you with some of the DNA 200 features.

Any further information you might require can be found on the forums and if you have any issues then always ask, don’t suffer in silence because we want you to get the most out of your device!

Since this uses an Evolv chip the Lavabox functions superbly and it is exactly the same as any other DNA 200 currently on the market. Through the use of eScribe you can alter whatever parameters you want according to your own personal whims and fancies. The customization on offer is mind blowing and the majority of users will never need to understand most of it, I know I certainly don’t. Of course if you are more technically inclined you will find yourself in a veritable playground of graphs, statistics and information overload that you can relish with giddy satisfaction!

For most users setting up the battery correctly is the only real task, as is creating yourself a couple of useful profiles. Considering you can have up to eight different profiles saved in memory for various atomizers will certainly save you a great deal of hassle adjusting things every time you chop and change (I was going to say screw on and screw off but that sounded wrong and somewhat rude).

Lavabox DNA 200 performance

In terms of vaping performance the Lavabox offers an exemplary vape and I honestly do feel that the accuracy of the chip makes for a far smoother one. I know I am not imagining it because if I take my Prometey III having recently vaped it on my iPV4S and screw it on to the Lavabox I get a noticeably better vape. Now it is not a huge difference possibly as little as 10-20% but it does seem to be more consistent in general.

Of course temperature control is where the DNA 200’s really excel and the Lavabox is no exception offering dependable performance and unswerving accuracy in terms of resistance monitoring. No matter the Ni200 coil fitted atomizer, be it a Freemax Starre Pro or a Sense Hydra rest assured this kind of device will give you a quality vape!

Through the use of profiles and value tweaking the Lavabox like any DNA 200 can be configured to work with atomizers featuring Titanium coils if you wish.

The only potential deal breaker with the Lavabox is the battery life. Let’s be honest with ourselves here just because a DNA 200 is capable of delivering 200W that doesn’t mean that is the optimum wattage to run it at. The capacity of the Lavabox's LiPo battery is 900mAh and when you configure it in eScribe it states 9.9 hours as the maximum possible usage time. Of course in actual fact you are going to get less than that.

I tend to run my Prometey III RTA on the Lavabox at 18.5W. The coil in the tank currently has a resistance of 0.9ohm so with that wattage I’m pushing 4.17V. In actual practical usage terms I would say with the Lavabox fully charged I get somewhere in the region of 8-8.5 hours but that allows me a good variety of moderate to heavy use.

Alternatively if I run the Freemax Starre Pro at 45W with a temperature of 240°C which is typical for most temperature control builds then I probably get somewhere in the region of 5-6.5 hours but it does depend a lot on how often I am vaping. If I am really hitting it then clearly like anything else the battery will drop faster.

Clearly if you were to run at very high wattage you might get very little actual vape time and this might put off people that love to run their drippers at 120W+. At this stage in the vape upgrade game many people are running dual 18650 devices that can offer 150-200W of power and get a reasonable amount of vape time so in my honest opinion the Lavabox isn’t really suitable for them. Of course if you really love the design then it is certainly worth it from that point of view because it’s a very reliable DNA 200 but you may become frustrated if you have to charge it often. From what I understand you can recharge the battery at whatever percentage you want so you don't need to let it fully drain to the point where the device states "Weak Battery". For anyone who runs their atomizers at more modest wattages then the Lavabox is probably ideal with an excellent form factor and it does look exceptionally cool!

The next thing I must point out which is somewhat minor for me but might be a let-down for you is the claim that the Lavabox balance charger allows for 2A charging. I have news for you, it doesn’t. The only device currently on the market that features 2A charging is the Vaporshark because it includes a daughter board which allows this functionality. Volcano have retracted this claim of late and I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt by saying that I think they have simply changed their mind somewhere in the device's development and have been somewhat slow to tell people about it. 

To date I have never managed to get a full charge within 90 minutes and in actual fact full charge takes about 2-2.5 hours. It is entirely possible that something isn’t configured properly and I since I own this mod myself and use it often I will continue to investigate and share any information with you. If by any chance you find out something new regarding this I would really appreciate it if you share it with me. DNA 200's are new to us all so this is still a learning experience.

I have read various comments on Reddit and elsewhere that suggest that a Micro USB cable that is capable of supporting 2A makes for faster charging. I am also pretty certain that I got a much faster charge when I used my phone charger so something is not quite right.

It is important that you are made aware that none of this affects the overall performance of the device but if you are someone that needs your device to charge quickly then this may be an issue for you. For me I don’t mind in the least since I have other devices I can happily use while the Lavabox is charging but a faster charge would ideally be desirable if possible.

Conclusion

The Lavabox is a stunning mod with the reliability of Evolv’s DNA 200 chip and all the inherent functionality and customization that allows. In terms of form factor, style and comfort to use this is a stellar device but the 900mAh battery capacity means it won’t be ideal for everyone.

For anyone who uses their atomizers at modest wattages this is a brilliant piece of kit but for anyone who demands high wattage, vapes often and wants a large battery capacity then this device is not really for them.

I knew what I was getting when I made this purchase and this was the only DNA 200 device that heavily appealed to me. I am not disappointed at all because it has been superb and at the end of the day I bought it more for the excellent reliability and accuracy a DNA 200 chip offers. The battery capacity is personally a non-issue for me and doesn’t lessen the device in any way.

At the end of the day nothing can dispute that this is a lovely little mod that has the same excellent form factor of a Vaporshark (but without the 2A charging) at a reduced price. If the Lavabox suits your requirements it is certainly well worth picking up!

The Lavabox DNA 200 can be purchased from Grey Haze.

 

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