Provari – The Rolls Royce of Advanced Personal Vaporizers?
Reading over our review of the ProVari mini from last June (here) I decided that rather than reiterate much of what was written back then, and update it to include the newest technological improvements with v2.5, that it would be interesting to take a look at some of our preconceived notions about this legendary APV. So, what you will read below is stream-of-consciousness stuff, things I have thought about, considered, and considered some more. – JM
And… It Begins
If you were to type the word ‘Provari’ into our search box you’d find that the word pops up more often than any other APV, probably by a factor of 10. Yet of more than 300 articles written in the past 12 months there is only one review for the Provari. That review, on the ProVari mini (black) was written last June, and since that time every writer on staff has referenced the ProVari in many articles since then. The reason? Because when you get down to it there is nothing out there that comes close to the quality and performance of a ProVape ProVari. Why is that?
It seems that almost every day some company is announcing or releasing a new vaping device. In the past couple of months alone there must have been a dozen or more APV’s introduced. Some of them we’ve written about, some of them we haven’t yet. Some we may never review. After a while it becomes more difficult to write about APV’s because most of them perform at the same level and offer the same feature set. There is only so much you can say about a VV/VW APV.
The last time I got anywhere near excited about an APV was when the first Joyetech eVic arrived in the office. The eVic promised to be something altogether new; and it was. The eVic is, in my opinion, an honest and sincere effort on behalf of Joyetech to release an advanced personal vaporizer (APV) that would deserve the spot at the top of the mountain. In many ways it succeeds as a top-notch APV; originality, sophistication, the melding of the APV and the computer, and even the design. It is, in many ways, a great APV. I’m proud to own one, a gift from SmokenJoey with the name Spinfuel engraved along the side. Every time I use it I notice the engraving, think of SmokenJoey, and I smile. (This is a good man).
For Julia it’s the red brass ZMAX (rev 2) she received from Jon. For Tom it’s the new VAMO (thedigitalcig) that he can’t quite stop talking about. Jason has a thing for his Anytime CVI and Lambo v4. (MyVaporStore) Keira refuses to use anything other than her eVic (a gift from Julia), while Lisa, Dave, and Jon Locke all love their various Spinners and Twists. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not the only thing they use. We have a community shelf where we have all kinds of APV’s, mini-ecig batteries, simple eGo’s and a few bottom feeders, and any of us can come and take, or ‘check out’ whatever we want to use at the time, but we have all chosen one (or two) that we call our own, that leave the office with us, that we us to vape while we are alone, at parties, or in public.
Despite having access to all this hardware, running through each staff member like an underground stream is one undeniable truth; if they could they would ditch the APV’s they have now, in a New York minute, if they had the opportunity to own a ProVari.
I hear this kind of stuff all the time, and it’s unsettling. I’ll be the first one to admit that for an electronic cigarette (man I hate that term), the ProVari is definitely at the high-end of the price scale. But from the way you hear people talk about it, and from what I read in the vaping community, you would think that a ProVari is so prohibitively expensive that in order to afford one you’d have to sell a kidney. And that just isn’t true.
A brand new ProVari (full size) in one of several colors is $179.95. The satin silver ProVari is $159.95, and the ProVari Starter Kit, with 2x 18490 AW High Drain batteries, 1x Battery Charger, a 5 pack of Boge SR Cartomizers, and a metal drip tip to use with those cartomizers, is $211.95.
If you buy a $179.95 ProVari you are buying the body only. No batteries, no charger, no nothing extra. Compare that to the Joyetech eVic, body only, through MyVaporStore, and the price difference is around $90 (body-only eVic is $87). Add some taxes to the overall price and maybe we’re looking, at most, at a $100 price difference.
While a hundred dollars more than another top-end APV is nothing to sneeze at, perhaps there is another reason so many people long for a ProVari and never make the attempt to actually buy one. Maybe there is something else going on, something more psychological than financial. There was for me back in the beginning of my own vaping history. So it begs the question then; is the ProVari an APV for the “everyman and everywoman”?
Let’s examine that question a bit.
Before we do, let’s all agree that there is literally no one, anywhere, who believes that the ProVape ProVari is NOT the best APV on the market. There may be an APV or two that offers more electronic features, variable wattage might be one, or a software suite for the computer platform of your choice, with upgradable firmware through a personal computer, but no one believes for a minute that for build quality, materials, workmanship, dependability and accuracy, that there is anything better than the ProVari.
But getting back to the question, “Is the ProVari for everyone” let’s take a look from two vantage points for perspective.
Vantage Point One: Is the ProVari for “you”? – By that I mean, do you think you should own a ProVari? Forget about the price for a minute, we can agree that the ProVari is expensive when compared to other APV’s, but for most adults that used to blow through a ton of money buying poisonous tobacco products a hundred bucks is not the end all be all of financial destruction. For “most” Vapers saving up an extra $100 in order to buy that ProVari is not an impossible task and it might be done in as little as a week to a couple of months. Remember, I said most people, not everyone.
So, if we buy into the premise that the price difference, while substantial, is not insurmountable, why do so many Vapers long to own a ProVari?
Could it be more about “deserving” a ProVari?
Time for a little humble pie: I may have decades of experience in writing and publishing, but when we launched Spinfuel on March 1, 2012 the total time I had been vaping was 4 months. And that first 4 months was restricted to using Blu Cigs. I thought they were the best eCigarette in the world. After I hired our staff, or rather kidnapped my staff, from our New Hampshire office and brought them down to Florida, I then began to experiment with other mini-eCigs like Green Smoke and South Beach Smoke. My knowledge level in electronic cigarettes was minimal at best.
We published our first review for the ProVari mini on June 28th, 2012. (here) I spent a few weeks with it before publishing the review. I infamously referred to voltage as ohms and ohms as voltage, and a few other now-embarrassing mistakes. Looking back, my feelings at the time were that the ProVari was over my head. I swear I believed that I was not worthy of owning a ProVari because I had not yet paid my dues. At the time I wrote the review my total experience with eCigarettes was just 8 months.
It kind of felt like I was more like a spoiled teenager that receives a $100,000 car at the age of 16, or attending an Ivy League college because my family connections got me in, not my SAT’s instead of having enough experience to get the most out of a ProVari.
That’s kind of silly, isn’t it? I mean really, it’s an electronic cigarette for god’s sake, why feel intimated over it? Honestly? Because it was the best, it was American designed and manufactured, it was, and remains, an example of what we can achieve when we set out to develop the finest “X, Y, or Z” in the world, and here I was, barely 8 months in and I had already been fortunate enough to own one. I didn’t feel like I deserved it.
Is this something others might think when they talk about ‘longing’ for their own ProVari? Do other people believe that they have not yet earned the privilege to vape with a ProVari?
Vantage Point 2: “Is the ProVari for them?” – Let’s assume for a moment that you and I, and a handful of others, had an exclusive club for ProVari owners. Like the clubs or organizations for Corvettes, or fine cigars, or high-stakes poker, the ProVari provokes exclusivity.
One day we are all sitting around in our private club vaping our ProVari’s and talking about eLiquids and RBA’s and how they just perform or taste better when vaped with a ProVari, when all of a sudden a few newbie Vapers walk in, ProVari’s in hand, and they sit down with us. After a couple of minutes they try to join in the conversation, only their knowledge is very shallow and they begin to ask questions and make statements that are completely wrong. How world you react?
Do you accept them into the group, happily answer all their newbie questions, remark on the newbie statements, welcoming them with open arms…or are you offended that these spoiled newbies have purchased a product they don’t yet deserve, and that they have no clue as to what the ProVari is really all about. Do you feel as though they have invaded the sanctuary usually reserved for people like yourself, people that have paid their dues, learned all they could about the intricacies of vaping, and skimped and saved over many months in order to buy the only APV that matches their level of understanding, their level of education?
Here’s The Point
The point I’m trying to make is this; The ProVape ProVari is the only APV that causes certain people to react much differently than they would if they owned or vaped with something less than a ProVari. Is it justified or not? Is the ProVari for anyone that can afford it? Is there an elite user base of people who feel superior to those that use anything less?
What does it mean?
Is it marketing hype that causes this level of desire or longing for a ProVari? Is it something more tangible? Does this level of respect for a vaping device deserve this much devotion?
It certainly isn’t the marketing is it? Other than a few banner Ads here and there, ProVape spends very little on self-promotion. That leaves word of mouth. The ProVari has earned its respect because it is, in actuality, everything people say it is. Maybe, just maybe, the ProVari deserves all the allocates it receives because it really is the best, most accurate, most well built electronic cigarette ever made.
That being the case, is it okay to long for a ProVari? Is it okay to believe that a ProVari must be earned? Is it okay to form a bond with other ProVari owners? And finally, is it okay to place the ProVari on a mantle representing the excellence of an American made ingenuity?