The iTaste MVP V2 sees Innokin improving on the old model in terms of design and functionality, but is the new incarnation all it’s cracked up to be? We put the VV/VW mod to the test in our iTaste MVP V2 review to find out.
Is it worth buying?
The iTaste MVP V2.0 has such a good reputation for a reason: it’s really an awesome VV/VW mod. There are several minor issues, but they’re unlikely to seriously affect your day to day vaping, and when you consider the low price it hardly seems to matter all. If you’re a just-switching smoker who’s tried vaping out and likes it, it’s hard to think of a better recommendation.
It’s easy to use, definitely affordable, with plenty of battery life and enough versatility to stay with you for a long time on your vaping journey. For dedicated vapers, this is all still good news, and unless you’re into sub-ohming or want something with more flexibility to push the wattage, it’s still hard to see many problems with the MVP 2. It’s not perfect, but if you’re in the market for a VV/VW device and don’t have the original one already lying around, it’s definitely worth the investment.
Box mods don’t often win beauty contests. They’re inherently blocky and often seem a little big, and the standard, battery-friendly cylindrical design of most mods is ultimately preferable for many. If you’re in the market for a straightforward but dependable VV/VW device and don’t want to break the bank, it might pay you to reconsider a box mod. The iTaste MVP packs some serious battery life (2600 mAh), is compatible with pretty much any atomizer you throw on it and it’s generally got a stellar reputation with vapers. At less than $60 for the MVP V2.0 pretty much anywhere, with two iClear 16s, beauty ring and USB charger (as low as $45.16 as of January 2015 – on FastTech), it definitely looks like a bargain.
Innokin is a well-known manufacturer, with other products like the iTaste 134 and SVD also being widely favored by VV/VW vapers, and they’re based out of Shenzen, China. Don’t let that put you off, though; they claim a dedication to quality and innovation, and although there are some minor gripes, there’s a reason they often come recommended. The first edition of the MVP had a lot going for it, but Innokin’s most recent version also has useful features like an ohm-reader and variable wattage mode, as well as making some more minor design changes.
With things like the regular parade of new iPhones and other consumer electronics, the natural question to ask is whether it’s worth getting the updated version at all when you can probably pick up the old one for cheaper ($39.99 for the original MVP kit at Fasttech), not to mention whether there are better models on the market. Does the MVP V2.0 do enough to really make it worthwhile?
What You Get
The MVP V2.0 kit comes in a rectangular plastic case, with your device looking proudly out at you from the upper level, sitting in a foam block with a dark blue, patterned metal “frame” around it. Inside you get a couple of instruction manuals – one for the iClears and another for the MVP itself – two iClear 16s (you can get it with an iClear 30 too, if you prefer), a USB charging cable and a beauty ring. Aside from some small differences in components, the setup is pretty similar to the original MVP kit.
Design and Compatibility
The current MVP looks pretty much the same as its predecessors, a rectangular box mod with a fire button on the front, large side, charging ports on the bottom and a connection for your atomizer on the left of the top side. The finish is different, though, being less shiny than the old incarnation and less prone to picking up finger-marks. I got mine in carbon black, but they’re also available in titanium blue and “rugged” steel, as well as a textured-effect black option. On the face of it, the unit is fairly slick in appearance; despite the inherent blockiness of the box mod style it’s quite thin, measuring just under 13/16 of an inch back to front (23 mm).
Some have complained about the logos, one stylized “iTazte MVP” logo one on the front and an iTaste minimalistic flame design on the back (alongside the cringe-worthy “taste it, love it” tagline) and a little one on the fire button. Although the back one shouldn’t be there (or should at least be smaller) it isn’t so bad overall. The “CE” and “don’t-put-this-in-the-normal-trash” marks are taking it a little far, but you get used to it quickly. There are loads of logo-free skins (from the basic to the outlandish) you can use if you really don’t like the look of the thing.
The fire button is the most notable design change from the original MVP. Where it used to sit flush to the surface of the device it now sticks out pretty prominently, making it much easier to find the fire button without even having to look what you’re doing. The metallic silver button sits inside an LED frame, which lights up green, amber or red to give you a vague idea of battery level at a glance.
The bottom features a mini-USB input (slim, like those for Android phones), a switch for the charger functionality and an ordinary USB port. The switch does seem to protrude out a little, but it doesn’t really affect the stability of the unit; it wobbles when you set it down, but it doesn’t topple over unless you’re careless, like most mods.
The screen is much the same as the older model – a reflective, soft-cornered rectangle with two buttons to the right – but owing to the new variable wattage function, the top button now says “P” (for power) and the bottom “U” (because “V” for voltage didn’t apparently occur to the designers).
For connectivity, you can use a clearomizer straight out of the box, with the eGo threading exposed, but you also get a beauty ring so you can use 510-threaded atomizers without ruining the overall look. On the old MVP, the ring had a “skirt” at both ends, meaning it went over the edges of the mod and made vapers with latent OCD freak out about neatness, but this was also rectified, so it’s now flush at the bottom. I may joke, but it did look messy before and this is genuinely an aesthetic improvement. There are two air-holes drilled into the ring for airflow too.
Overall the MVP V2.0 comes out well in this area. There are minor issues, but it’s nothing you don’t forget about after you’re used to it, and Innokin has definitely made some little improvements to the old design.
iTaste MVP Features
The features on the MVP V2.0 are fairly basic, but they do everything you need and add some the older model was missing. The unit now has a resistance checker, which will tell you the resistance of a coil even if it’s not willing to fire it, the reading is preceded by an “A” so you know you’re reading your atomizer resistance. The same double button-press also shows you the current voltage of the battery, so you have a more precise reading of your charge level. This is preceded by a “U” for voltage, more understandable on a figure-eight style display.
The addition of variable wattage is another notable change, and although it isn’t exactly difficult to put in, it’s a nice addition for those who prefer working with wattages. Wattage is adjusted in 0.5 W increments and voltage in 0.1 V increments, and the device will remember your settings – so you can set one voltage and one wattage and have them both saved for when you come back to it. There’s also a puff counter, which is a completely useless tool for many vapers (at best I have an idle curiosity about how many puffs I’ve had in that day), but for those wanting to reduce their vaping this could be a good thing. It has three figures, but you’d need to recharge the battery before you reached 999 anyway.
There’s plenty of protective features built into the MVP V2.0 as well, with short-circuit and over-discharge protection to ensure you don’t damage the battery, a 10 second cut-off for a continuous press and the expected ability to be switched off for being carried around. The device also works in pass-through mode when charging, whenever the light turns green you can vape it, and even from a completely drained battery this doesn’t take too long.
A final little feature is that you can use your iTaste MVP to charge other electronics that take mini USB (fat or thin) or iPod-style docking connections (the iPhone 5 and others with the modern design aren’t supported). This isn’t useful in everyday life, but if you get stuck somewhere with a dead phone battery (or experience a long power cut like Steve K had) it is a great feature. I only had to use it once, but out of curiosity I allowed it to sacrifice all its power to my phone to see how well it worked. You can get a full or near-full battery, depending on the device you’re charging, that is, but if you want to still be able to vape it’s useful for giving yourself enough battery to make a phone call or send a text. I’d sooner drain my phone battery than my mods, but it’s a useful feature in its own way regardless.
The voltage range you can set with the MVP V2.0 is from 3.3 to 5 V, and the wattage range is 6 to 11 W. This may be a little annoying for some high (or very low) power vapers, but most users won’t have an issue with its capabilities. The amp limit you’re allowed to draw is 3.5 A according to the manual, which is quite measly in comparison with what you can pull from most 18650 batteries, but for anyone but low-ohm coil builders it’s unlikely to come up. The device may refuse to fire some coils, but when you reach limits it might just deliver a lower voltage than you set it to in order to stay within the hardware limits. If you’re big into sub-ohm building, you might find this too irritating, but micro-coils often come out in the comfort range of 1.8 to 2.2 ohms and you can still get the whole 5 V with a coil of 1.5 ohms or more.
The range is pretty good unless you’re big on the cloud-chasing aspect of vaping. Running at 9 to 11 W with a 1.8 ohm micro-coil offers plenty of vapor for my tastes, and pushing it to 5 V (13.9 W) goes even further. If you really want to push your power even higher, and you know how enough to do so safely, then you’d be better off with a mechanical mod anyway.
The MVP 2 works really well in everyday usage. First off, the battery life is excellent, easily providing two days of ordinary vaping and standing up to a day or more of basically chain-vaping. The 2600 mAh really makes the difference to the whole device, making it something you can happily take around with you that generally performs well and works with whatever atomizer you’re likely to use, but where running out of battery is not a serious concern. If you’re out all day, all you have to do is pre-charge it and you’d have to do some serious chain-vaping to need to do so again. The changing LED color gives you a visual warning, too, so if you can’t charge you’ll know when to start being economical with your vaping.
Every couple of days when it does need a charge, you can use it in pass-through mode ordinarily as soon as you plug it in. You have to wait five to ten minutes if it’s completely drained, but then you can continue to vape to your heart’s content. At first it might switch back to amber “don’t vape” mode, but it stays green shortly afterwards – when it tried it I waited just under seven minutes before it was stable. Obviously charging takes longer if you’re still using it, but unless you’re really going for it it’s not too noticeable. The manual claims four hours from flat, which seems about right with no vaping, and you only add 30 minutes or so if you pass-through vape. It also switches off when it’s done – it doesn’t mean you should overcharge but it at least offers some protection.
The size means it can usually fit into a pocket and doesn’t take up too much bag-space, too, and it’s easy to switch it off with three quick presses of the fire button to prevent accidental activation. Core functionality is also easy to get to grips with, checking the resistance and battery level with a double button-press, pressing and holding either “P” or “U” to go to the wattage or voltage changing modes, respectively and hitting the fire button when you want to vape.
This all explains why the MVP is so easy to keep going back to. It’s dependable, durable, versatile and portable; something you can pick up in the morning and be confident you’ll be able to use throughout the day. Even if it’s the only device you have it’s hard to imagine many situations where you’d have to go without a vape for very long that wouldn’t ultimately be your fault for not charging it up/bringing the cable with you. With a tube mod the same confidence generally comes with carrying a spare battery around or getting something high-capacity and you can have the same sense of dependability that way. The iTaste is just easier to take around with you because of the shape, and its self-contained simplicity is very appealing. It might not be the best mod in the world, but you’ll undoubtedly make good use of it.
It isn’t all good, though. The settings buttons could function a little more intelligently to make it more intuitive to use. You can only scroll one way because the “P” button is for wattage alterations and the “U” button for voltage; they don’t double as up and down keys when you’ve selected a mode, pressing the other one will just switch you to the other mode. This means if you want to go down you have to cycle right around, which can be a little irritating if you decide to reduce a little bit more after already dialing one in. There is no auto-scroll to make it easier; you have to press every 0.1 V increment to come back around.
The puff counter is a tad irritating too, popping up before you reach the voltage or wattage setting as if Innokin is trying to force you to appreciate the MVP’s features. A short press of either buttons shows your current puff, and you have to hold it down to enter the VV/VW modes. It doesn’t matter if you don’t care how many puffs you’ve had in the past day; you’ll find out. If you’re guilty about how much you vape this may be like having your own personal Jiminy Cricket harassing you all day long, but I just let the information wash over me like white noise, adjust my settings and vape away. Both of previous points have been minor issues, but they’re regular annoyances could have been easily avoided.
A more serious issue you may run into is the MVP not working with certain atomizers or clearomizers. There are a couple of solutions to this; the problem is often that the center pins aren’t making contact. If possible, it’s best to just adjust the connection on the clearomizer, tank or atomizer so it’s just a tiny bit longer, but you can also very carefully pull up the pin on your MVP. The problem doesn’t crop up too often, and it’s easy enough to sort out on a clearomizer, but it can be very annoying to get “non” messages on your MVP and then move it over to any other device and be vaping away with no issues.
The new fire button was a sticking-point for some early reviewers like Phil Busardo (quite literally), because it was too stiff for comfortable usage, but this issue has been corrected since. The button is undoubtedly a little harder to push than most other mods, but the difference in effort is tiny – you don’t need Herculean thumbs, just like you don’t need any special strength to operate your TV remote. When you get used to holding it – with the side of your thumb resting naturally on the fire button – it’s as easy to fire as any other mod. It could be that some devices are still worse for this than others and I lucked out, but most people don’t seem to have issues any more.
So there are some problems with the MVP V2.0 in use, but overall it’s hard to seriously fault. The connectivity issues are the most worst, and they’re easy enough to avoid or rectify. What you’re left with, aside from a few idiosyncrasies, is a brilliantly performing VV/VW mod that can easily serve as your sole device.
The sturdiness of the MVP V2.0 is hard to escape, and it gives the device a feeling of being well-made. According to Innokin, the manufacturing process is closely monitored, and while some occasional users always end up receiving a dud device, the quality is hard to call into question. The button issue is a good example for this, since there was evidently some flaw in the first run of devices that was rectified immediately. The only signs of imperfect manufacturing you may notice are the connection problems and a slight rattle to the “P” and “U” buttons. Other than that, it seems every bit as tough and well-made as it looks. Innokin don’t supply products direct, so your warranty depends on where you purchased the device.
Read our recent post on the best vv/vw, mechanical, and box mods and best vape pens for other popular mods you can try.