Our Innokin Proton review takes a look at the 235 W, dual-battery box mod. It’s packed with features, boasting a new style of coil and a stylish color display, but is it worth picking up?
Is it worth picking up?
The Proton Plex kit is a great option for vapers looking for excellent performance in a user-friendly package.
It might be a little advanced for newer vapers, but this is more because the extensive functionality and capability of the device wouldn’t really be needed, rather than it being too complicated or having a big learning curve. On the whole it does everything it sets out to in style, looking great and being comfortable to use all the while.
If you’re in the UK, you can pick up the kit from E-Cigarette Direct for £64.99, and for US vapers, DirectVapor has the kit for $76.95. It isn’t the cheapest kit you can pick up, but for something of this quality you’ll definitely be happy you did.
Innokin has been putting out game-changing vaping devices since the launch of the first MVP, and the good news for the community is that they show no signs of letting up. Few devices show how far the industry has come in five years as well as their new device: the Proton. Working from dual 18650 batteries and offering up to 235 W of power, the device incorporates a large, color display with a joystick to control the main functions, and it comes in a kit with the unique Plex tank, which makes use of the new Plexus coils to boost flavor and vapor production to impressive levels. But as vapers know, the reality of the device often doesn’t live up to the marketing hype. So is the Proton really a stand-out mod, or is it all style and no substance? Read our Innokin Proton review to find out.
What You Get
The Proton comes in a well-presented box, with the inner section opening up like a book to reveal your mod, the tank (with a coil installed), a spare coil, a USB charging cable, a spare glass section for the tank, a quick start guide, a vape band and a selection of spare O-rings. Although it isn’t the most well-stocked starter kit you’ll come across, all you need to add is a couple of high-drain 18650 batteries and some e-juice and you’re ready to start vaping.
Innokin Proton Review – The Design
The Proton has a unique look, largely thanks to the sizable display screen and the single joystick control just below it. The mod has a pretty standard rectangular shape but with cut corners, the screen on the front face, a textured design on the back and a firing bar on the left edge. It comes in a selection of colors, white (as pictured), gun metal, black, red and blue, and each one looks great, although the black blends in best with the screen. The branding is also pretty minimal, with Innokin printed at the bottom of the tank, Proton at the top and nothing else to mess up the overall appearance. The Plex tank also fits in with the mod’s look perfectly, with the metallic rainbow coloring matching the detail on the mod and the resin drip tip topping the whole thing off.
The screen is a 1.45-inch color display, and it’s very well-presented, making it really easy to see the main facts about your setup. From the home screen, your main setting is displayed front and center, additional information below (including you’re the mode you’re in, your coil’s resistance, the firing voltage and – in TC mode – your ramp-up wattage) and two icons showing your battery life for each cell in the top right. You can get more detailed information on your battery life, the resistance and the number of puffs you’ve taken by pressing the firing bar and moving the joystick control to the left. Through the menu, you can change the main color featured on the screen, from blue (the default) to white, purple, red, pink or green.
Joystick and Firing Bar Controls
One of the most unique things about the design of the Proton mod is the joystick control used for adjusting settings and navigating the menu. It’s located just below the display screen and moves up, down, left and right, with an audible click when you move it so you know you’ve done so successfully. It doesn’t really take much getting used to either: resting your thumb on the joystick and moving it in any direction is easy and pretty intuitive. The firing bar is less unique – since devices like the Smok Alien series use it – but the squeeze-to-fire operation definitely makes the Proton more pleasant to use.
The battery compartment on the Proton is accessed through a simple swinging door at the bottom of the device. To open it up, you use the indent on the door to push it outwards, then it swings open at the hinge. Inside the compartment, there are positive and negative labels so you know which way to insert the batteries, and there are corresponding labels beside the gold-plated contacts on the underside of the door, although these are admittedly a little hard to see. Overall, this part of the device works just like it should, although the markings on the underside of the door could definitely be clearer.
The Plex Tank replaces the Scion II tank included with the original version of the Proton, but it’s definitely an improvement when it comes to what it can do. The Plex has a 2 ml capacity as standard, but with the wider glass section you can change this to 4 ml. The structure of the tank is much like most on the market, with the coils screwing into the base section of the tank and leading up a short chimney to the wide-bore mouthpiece. There is also a really simple top-filling system, where you push the mouthpiece and top cap section off to the side to reveal a filling port.
The coils themselves are the most unique element of the Plex tank, with the mesh-like coils visible on the inside of the atomizer heads drastically increasing surface area in comparison to other coils. The included coils have different designs – the 0.13 ohm Scion coil has three different sections, while the 0.15 ohm option just has one large mesh Plexus coil – but both of them make use of essentially the same high surface area coils. The Plexus coil takes this a little further, but both offer essentially the same benefits.
Innokin Proton Review – the Features
Variable Wattage up to 235 W
The Proton can put out a substantial amount of power: up to a massive 235 W. There isn’t much to say about this: personally, I’ve never needed to vape at 235 W and it’s hard to imagine anybody being disappointed about what it can do, especially from just two batteries. You adjust the wattage using the joystick control and as with most modern Innokin devices, you need to press the joystick in one direction and hold it to activate the option before making adjustments. It moves in 0.5 W increments, and if you hold it down it scrolls through the options much more quickly. This is great – many devices still use 0.1 W increments but you don’t really need such fine control, so this makes it much easier to dial in your ideal setting.
Temperature Control with Ni200, Ti and SS Coils
The Proton has a full-featured temperature control (TC) mode, which supports all common TC coil types, and it also features an adjustable TCR mode. This last mode allows you to adjust the response of the TC mode to suit your preferences or your specific coil setup. Using the menu system, you can set the Proton to display temperatures in Celsius or Fahrenheit, and if you hold the joystick down when you’re on the home screen, you can make easy adjustments to the ramp-up wattage. This is really all you could ask for from a temperature control mode, so there’s nothing to complain about here.
Bypass and Curve Modes
There are two additional wattage-style modes on the Proton. The first of these is bypass mode, which makes the mod function like a mechanical device, so the output is determined by the remaining voltage in the battery. This means that the wattage will reduce as your charge decreases, but some vapers prefer it because it tends to offer a more responsive vape.
The other mode is called “Curve.” You can use this to adjust the wattage you’re vaping at over the course of your puff. For example, you can set the device to start at 80 W and then decrease to 60 W throughout your puff, or you could have it start off lower, reach a peak in the middle and then drop off again. There are four profiles which you can adjust, accessed through the menu. You tailor the curve by moving individual points in your draw to different wattages. This takes a little while to set up, but it’s quite straightforward and I personally find the mode much more useful than bypass mode once you’ve got it set up.
The Menu System
The menu on the Proton gives you access to the more complex features and allows you to switch modes. Clicking the joystick in three times takes you to the menu, and you navigate through it by moving the joystick up and down and clicking it in to advance, using the firing bar to return to the home screen at any time. The options from the menu are fairly self-explanatory, but they include some handy extras like the ability to set when the cutoff point for continuous firing is – from 3 to 18 seconds – and how quickly the screen shuts off when you don’t do anything with the device.
As well as the adjustable cutoff for continuous vaping, the Proton features all the expected safety features, including reverse battery protection (if you put them in the wrong way around), a maximum current limit (40 A) and low resistance protection (a minimum of 0.05 ohms). You can also easily lock the device by holding the joystick to the right while pressing the firing bar. This all ensures that you vape safely, provided you use appropriate – high amp limit – batteries with the device.
Innokin Proton Review – In Use
Performance – VW Mode
The performance from the device in wattage mode is hard to fault. It’s really responsive, with only a split-second delay between pressing the firing bar and the device activating, and it works really well throughout the wattage range. The Plexus coil performs really well too, with exceptional flavor and vapor production throughout the recommended range, and the lower-ohm Scion coil is also hard to fault. The Scion coil is probably slightly less flavorful, but realistically the performance from both in combination with the Proton is excellent.
Performance – TC Mode
The Proton works really well in TC mode too. The simple layout and the easy adjustment of the ramp-up wattage make it really easy to get the TC functionality working to suit your preferences. The drop-off when you hit the maximum temperature is barely-noticeable, so you get a smooth, consistent vape throughout your draw. Overall it does really well in TC mode, and if that’s how you vape you’ll be very happy with the Proton.
Refilling and Changing Coils
Refilling the Plex Tank is an absolute pleasure. The top of the tank is labeled so you know exactly which bit to push, and when you do, the center portion smoothly slides off to the side to reveal the filling hole. The coils are quite big in comparison to the tank, so you do have to tilt the tank a little to avoid the juice pooling up in the top and reaching the level of the fill hole. However, this doesn’t take long to get used to.
Changing your coil is about as easy as it is on any device you care to mention. You unscrew the base of the tank to get access to the coil, and then all you have to do is unscrew the old coil and screw the new one into its place. The coils are easy to prime too, with windows around the side and big openings in the top so you can pre-soak your wicks.
In terms of ease of use, the Plex Tank is really hard to fault.
Day-to-Day Vaping with the Proton
The Proton is quite easy to settle into using. The joystick system is really simple and intuitive, and even the menu system does what it’s supposed to without any annoying idiosyncrasies. When you screw a new tank into place (or change coil, or just remove and replace your tank), the mod asks you whether it’s the same coil, or prompts you to choose a mode if not. This means that most of the time you don’t need to go to the menu to change modes, although you can if necessary.
It’s also pretty portable as far as dual-battery mods go. It’s bigger than many devices on the market, but the shape isn’t too blocky and it can easily fit into a pocket or bag. The rounded, cut corners make it a comfortable fit in your hand, and the firing bar means it’s really nice to vape with in general. There’s no need to rest your thumb or finger in a specific position, you just squeeze and vape.
Issues with the Proton and Plex
While almost everything about the device works well, there is one issue that has to be mentioned. The top-filling system on the Plex Tank is really good when refilling, but it can be a little bit annoying when you’re travelling with the device in a pocket or bag. You can easily lock the mod, so you won’t fire accidentally, but all it takes is a push on the mouthpiece and you can open up the tank. This doesn’t happen much, but I have found myself with juice leaking into my pocket on a few occasions. Other devices with similar filling systems – for example, the TFV tanks from Smok – have this same issue, but it is annoying none-the-less. If there was some type of locking system on the tank this could be avoided.
The Proton and Plex Tank are both beautifully put together. Everything from the construction of the mod down to the moving parts and threading is reliable and well-made. It feels a little fragile because of the large screen and the slight rattle of the firing bar, but it seems like it would stand up to an occasional drop pretty well.