Introduction – The Smok I-Priv 230W VC Kit
Today we’re having a look at the SMOK I-Priv voice controlled mod.
Look…Shenzhen’s Smoktech will always hold a special place in my heart, after all, it was the Alien 220W that officially turned me into a sub-ohm vaper. They have steadily released wave after wave of hard-hitting and, some might say, flashy as hell vaping devices, some of which were huge hits (pun-time), some of which were epic misses.
The Smok Stick V8 revolutionized the AIO market as we learned that…even from an AIO, you could get flavour and clouds for absolute days.
Their TFV12 range of tanks is a staple in the vaping world and I dare say that their TFV12 Prince is one of my favourite tanks, I now have no less than 5, including the new Cobra edition which I can’t wait to review for you next week.
Needless to say, I was pretty darn pumped when I discovered I’d be receiving their voice controlled I-Priv kit for review, which also comes with the magnificent, fog-machine beast that is the TFV12 Prince.
I was floored when I switched on the mod and it called me master for the first time, in a rather disturbing machine voice but, as you’ll soon see, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for me with the Smok I-Priv 230W Kit.
What’s In The Box
- 1 X I-Priv
- 1 x TFV12 Prince Sub-Ohm Tank
- 1 x V12 Prince Strip Coil Pre-installed, 0.15 Ohm1 x V12 Prince Mesh Coil 0.15 Ohm
- 1 x Dual 18650 Battery Adapter, Pre-installed
- 1 X Replacement Glass Tube
- 1 x USB Cable
- 1 x User Manual and VC pocket sheet
- Spare Parts
Features I-Priv Mod
- 95.5 x 56 x 35mm
- Wattage 1-230W
- Input voltage 6.4-8.4V
- Output voltage 5-8.2V
- Temp Control 100-315 Celcius
- AI Voice Control For Certain Commands
- Round Colour TFT Display With Various Colour Settings
- ‘Torch’ LED and ‘Disco’ LED from the bottom of mod
- Run s on dual 20700 or 21700s, or dual 18650s with the adapter
- Mods: VW, TC and Memory
- ‘Dual Battery life indicator
- Firmware Up-gradable
- Available in black, red, prism gold, prism blue, prism chrome, green, purple, prism rainbow (I have purple and prism blue!)
Features TFV12 Prince Tank
- 63 x 28 (with bubble glass) mm
- 8 ml capacity (2ml for TPD countries)
- stainless steel
- 60 g
- 510 threaded
- lock and swivel top cap
- top fill
- cobra drip tip
Build Quality & Design
Now, when I say that I am the unrivaled flash queen of the Southern hemisphere I might be exaggerating slightly, but when I say that the SMOK I-Priv mod is the unrivaled flash king of box mods, I am not exaggerating in the least.
Made to look like the muscle toned warrior suits of comic book lore, complete with arc reactor and serious bling factor, the I-Priv is as in-your face as it could possibly get. And that’s before it starts talking to you.
Chiselled abs and broad shoulders come to mind when facing down this bling fest…and the metallic finish, particularly in the prismatic colour options, is intense. Not every vaper likes this sort of thing but you know me, I’m not complaining.
I opened the black, neat Smok box and asked…”What the F***?” to whoever was listening. The purple I-Priv ‘blinged’ at me, chrome-framed arc-reactor screen, chrome buttons and two long chrome panels either side its chiselled magnificence, one of which is the clicky-ass fire button.
There’s not a square centimetre on the whole mod that isn’t busy. Smok branding is visible just above the screen in front and an I- priv logo dresses an extended shield shaped inset on the back, the shield is covered in that cobra skin design that’s all over everything the brand releases lately.
On the base of the mod you’ll find the USB port, an odd spot for sure, as well as a massive Led torch on the side of the base.
The top of the mod has what can only be described as shoulders, inbetween which there is a recess, with a small SS seating and a deep, springy 510 connection. Any tank wider than the Prince’s 24mm will overhang.
The back of the mod is made up of a magnetic panel, easily removed thanks to a thumbnail opening at the bottom. The 3 magnets are large and very effective.
Removing the cover, a neat battery chamber is revealed, for dual 20700s, 21700s or, using the plastic 18650 adapter that you find inside the mod, dual 18650s. Fitting 18650s into the mod with the adapter is a tight squeeze situation that leaves you worrying about your battery wraps, for sure.
I pop in a couple of 20700s and almost have a stroke.
“HELLO MASTER…I AM YOUR NEW WARRIOR.”
It says in a loud as hell, female machine voice, before switching off again. I five click to start up and again, that loud voice declares its undying allegiance to my flash flag. I am sure to be the queen of vaping, with this thing at my side.
The screen has a sort of lens glass on it, making it look particularly sci-fi when viewed from an angle. Before I toggle the settings off, I am greeted by a LED light disco display of note, issuing from the base of the mod. You could feel like the freaking man, or you could simply feel like a flashy turd, it all depends on what sort of company you’re in, I suppose.
There’s no technical way to explain the external shape of this mod so…I guess this time I’m gonna have to let the pictures do the talking.
The TFV12 Prince Tank
I was more than pleased to get yet another TFV12 Prince tank for my collection, you can never have too many. This is a SICK sub-ohm tank with a SICK range of coils to suit every type of cloud chasing flavour lover. I especially love this tank’s massive 8ml capacity and it really is one of my go-to tanks at home.
One minor complaint is that the Prince has a noisy airflow…it literally sounds like some kind of a space suit breathing apparatus. It’s not possible to take a hit without disturbing the peace ever so slightly. Please refer to my full review of the tank here
Please note that the coilheads included with the I-Priv Kit are different from the regular tank when sold separately… and I will review them fully in the Coils section of this article!
How Does The Smok I-Priv Perform?
First up, let’s discuss the AI or VC function of the I-Priv mod, seeing as that seems to be the main selling point. Peeps, I’m sad to say that the VC on my Purple I-Priv actually worked for all of 10 minutes before cashing in its chips for good.
There is a little microphone icon that appears on the screen of the mod, in red, when the mod is in VC mode and ‘listening.’ Unfortunately, my mod listened to me for a few minutes…and it was a happy few minutes, and then that icon went white.
I checked settings over and over and spoke to the mod in every pitch and volume I could muster but alas, it had obviously changed allegiance.
Now I suspect that the tiny little microphone wires came loose during transit to the far corner of the globe that is South Africa, where I live. Nevertheless, I still attempted to get a response for a number of days, going through all the commands, shouting, whispering, singing… feeling like an epic f***tard by the time I gave up.
Smok was very quick to replace the damaged goods, after instructing me on possible troubleshoots, to no avail…but when a blue prismatic version arrived, I discovered in dismay that this mod was even less of a listener than the previous.
Both mods still speak when they start, power down or change certain settings but neither one has a working ‘listening’ microphone.
Concerned that I was doing something wrong, I took both devices to a local vape dealer who also had some of these on his shelves. Everyone behond the counter had a go, trying different voices and concluding that both mods are indeed completely deaf. I decided not ask for a replacement, since I imagine that after two fails most buyers would change their order.
As for the mod’s performance otherwise, well that is a different matter entirely.
First I want to talk about some of the mod’s other extras. The LED lights, which can be toggled to torch mode or disco mode and to just about any colour, well…they’re very handy when braaing in the dark (that’s a very rugged form of BBQing that we South Africans do every other day)…so I actually really like that addition.
I am always looking for a torch and my cellphone irritates me.
The screen, which manages to squeeze all the necessary info into a tiny little circular area, is awesome. I love the huge range of colour themes as they completely alter the look of your mod when you change them and I also love the way the ‘arc reactor’ comes to life and turns in a flashy display when you take a hit…it is unnecessary, but then so is Game of Thrones, so are Jaguars and so is Cream in Tea.
So It Won’t Listen…But Can It Vape?
Besides the fabulous coil heads included and the incredibly awesome TFV12 Prince tank, this mod is a powerhouse.
I’ve had a lot of issues with the responsiveness of Smok fire bars and other buttons in the past but all buttons on this mod are extremely responsive and I appreciate that I never have to do anything twice when it comes to that.
The ramp time is totally negligible and I really feel that Smok have done themselves proud with the wattage performance on this device. Unfortunately, most people choosing to order or buy the Smoktech I-priv will be doing so based on their inherent need for a mod they can talk to…one that listens.
In spite of the thrilling ten minutes of microphone time I had with my TWO I-Privs, it is clear to me that the standard and sturdiness of the hidden microphone with its teeny little microphone wires, leaves a good deal to be desired and, in spite of the brand’s swift replacement of the first faulty device, something has gone horribly wrong.
Voice Commands… Working All of a Sudden?
Oddly, my purple I-priv burst into life out of nowhere, while my mother and me were engaged in conversation around the table. It was memorable but we almost died of shock.
The mod was about 1.5 metres from either of us and, although no one actually said anything that even sounded like ‘Hello-I-Priv,’ it jubilantly declared that it was indeed, in our presence. “Okay I-Priv…don’t worry, we see you.”
I seized the opportunity to then issue as many commands as possible, given that the red microphone icon was flashing, showing me that I was finally being heard.
None of the three commands I managed to call out were ignored, but they were not properly followed either.
For example, one of the commands given was Lock Device…I-Priv raised the wattage. I definitely feel uncomfortable about the prospects for scorched coils and lungs if I-Priv has a habit of increasing wattage when not actually told to.
New atomizer readings are accurate and immediate.
I found resistance readings to be on point and the feel of wattages, throughout the range to be very believable, if not actually a bit more intense than average.
I tested the same coil heads, in the same TFV12 Prince, at the same airflow settings on a range of dual cell mods, all at 70W power and was impressed with the fire power on the I-priv, really not bad at all. I’m still using the mod now, in spite of its deafness. It vapes great!
I tested TC and preheat functions thoroughly and found no oddities or inaccuracies…the preheat works like a charm, in fact.
It’s such a pity that the VC is not yet an exact science, because then I’d have been hooked on this mod. I mean, why WOULDN’T you want a talking, listening vape mod…honestly…?
Basically, the Smok I-Priv kit is an industrial fog machine of the most anti-stealth variety and, seeing as there are so many happy purchasers out there who DO have functional VC (to an extent) from their I-Privs, I don’t blame you if you feel you should take a chance on this flash pile…you will have to duck to avoid crows and bower birds.
How To Operate the Menu System
- Five clicks on, power down through menu
- Three clicks to access menu
- 5 clicks to lock and unlock
- Scroll to Voice Setting to change robot voice or toggle VC on and off
- A VC command sheet is included in the box
- Scroll to LED setting to toggle LED colours and behavior
- Screen Settings will give you various screen theme options
- Fire to select, + and – to scroll
How To Replace The batteries
- Remove the magnetic battery cover panel on the back
- If using the adaptor for 18650s, ensure your batteries are inserted correctly and be careful of your wraps when pushing in the tight fitting adaptor
- Otherwise, just pop in your cells according to the symbols in the chamber
- Make sure you replace the door the right way round
Okay, well, my I-privs obviously take after me when it comes to following instructions, so I guess there’s not much expenditure there…at least not from the VC function…but actually, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the excellent battery life on this lot.
Even with that incredibly flashy screen, which goes balls when you take a hit, as well as the epic disco light display that issues from the base of the mod, the I-Priv still has super battery life.
I’d say roughly 7 hours on dual 18650s…and up that by an hour to an hour and a half as you up your battery types, to 20700s or 21700s, vaping between 70 and 90 W. Of course your time may differ depending on your vaping habits.
Stock Coil Performance
While the Prince Tank, bought separately, includes the Q4, X6 and T10 coils in the box (review for those here)…the I-Priv Kit features the flavour punching V12 Strip and Mesh coils, respectively. Both options are 0.15 Ohm coils.
V12 Prince Strip Coil
Let’s start with Strip Coil, shall we? With a range of 40W to 100W and a recommended range of 80 to 90W…the flavour on this unique, perforated steel strip coil is out of control!
This has to be one of, if not the most flavoursome coil from Smok’s range of Prince compatibles, with vapour to match, then at least one of the most delicious.
The trouble I found with this coil is the fact that, even though I kept one of these coils (the second Strip coil I received with my replacement kit) at a wattage of well below its recommended setting for the entire course of its use…I began to taste an unpleasant burned flavour after less than a week.
I was sure to keep the wattage locked low and also know that I wasn’t overdrawing in any way. Chainvaping, sure…but not to the extent that the tank would heat up, so I was really disappointed by its lifespan.
I removed the coil and gave it the old coilhead rrejuve treatment but alas, it had lost its colour for good and still tasted burned, a taste which got considerably more severe with every hit.
Taking apart the ruined coilhead, I quickly learned the cause….definitely the result of the sharp metal edges on all of the strip coil’s little perforations, edges like this will be likely to scald cotton, so maybe Smok should look into that.
I unwrapped five strips of padded cotton, each with three prominent burn holes right through them…shaped to match the black scorch marks on the actual strip. Ouch…my poor lungs.
V12 Prince Mesh Coil
As for the Mesh V12 coil, with it’s 40-80W range and 60-70 recommended wattage. What can I say…mesh is where it’s at as far as pre-made coil heads are concerned, in my opinion.
Flavour is just off the charts, truly in a league of flavour we would have dreamed of on a non rebuildable tank, say, 18 months ago.I love to vape this coil at 70W.
Both coilheads are THIRSTY, to say the least, but what do you expect, given the cloud-chucking, flavour punching beauty of the TFV12 Prince?
These coilheads are entirely worth having…such scrumptious flavour. I just hope Smok can look into extending the lifespan of the cotton and strip coils.
- Great metallic finish and awesome prismatic (two colour) effect
- Superb flavour and cloud on both included coilheads
- Top performance, airflow and capacity from the Prince TFV12
- Bright, round colour screen is very effective and pretty, plus, loads of theme options!
- It talks…and even when it refuses to be commanded, due to microphone fault or just voice issues, it still says hello and ‘seriously?’ when you ask to power down. I think that’s just awesome and most certainly will have my eye on the next AI mods to hit the shops.
- Great bright LED torch slash disco light display, because why not?
- Super battery life
- Magnificent, high voltage/wattage performance, through out the range, with lightning fast RAMP and responsive chip
- Very disappoint that VC commands ceased working on my first one and didn’t work at all on the replacement
- V12 Strip coil head has a tendency to scorch in the cotton, due to sharp, heated edges on the strip mesh
- Prince tank has a very noisy airflow
- Odd positioning for the USB port, under the mod
Final Review Verdict
If this were a regular TC mod which just sells itself as having a pretty funky round, colour screen, I’d be giving it a much better score. Unfortunately, this mod is advertised as a VC mod and I had nothing but a downer, even after getting the faulty device replaced.
I really do enjoy the sharp performance of this mod, as well as the flavour and cloud production on the V12 coil-heads. I’m on the fence about the over the top flashiness of the mod and, although I find the shape to be supremely ergonomic, the ‘shoulder pad’ design is somewhat freakish and certainly, some would put it on the ‘tacky’ shelf. This kit works though…it works really well, just not in the Voice Command department, as advertised.
Would I buy this if I lost/broke the device? Well, yes…as long as I could get one with working VC.