Hotcig R150 Intro
The R150 is a 150 watt, dual-18650 box mod from Chinese manufacturer Hotcig. Hotcig also markets mods using Evolv’s DNA200 and DNA75 chips.
The R150 is built with a proprietary temperature control chip that has one quite unique feature: the chip is sealed and supposedly waterproof and liquid-proof. As far as I know, that’s a first. We’ve seen waterproof cases before, but never a waterproof chip.
Hotcig R150 Gallery
Hotcig R150 Specs and Features
- 1 x Hotcig R150 150W TC Box Mod
- 1 x User Manual in English and Chinese
- Output: 1W-150W
- Temperature Range: 300-600F/100-300C
- Coils Supported: Ti
- Coil Upgradable
- Coil fine adjustable
- support atomizer 0.1-3 ohm
- Powered by Dual 18650 battery
- Micro-USB port and general 510 connector
- Aircraft Model aluminum alloy attached with abalone
- Shell as case
- Size: 90*55*25mm
As of the writing of this review (21 June 2016), the Hotcig R150 was brand new and unavailable from any online American vendors. In fact, I found it for sale from only a single Chinese online retail vendor for $99.00, and it was not in stock there. So, $99.00 is essentially a pre-order price. I’d expect the R150 to be available from U.S. vendors within a month or so.
Impressions and Remarks
Let me open with both praise and criticism.
I like the Hotcig R150. In fact, I like it more than almost any other box mod I’ve reviewed for Vaping360 thus far. It’s not the most sophisticated mod by far — for instance, the chip has no user-adjustable TCR for temp control. Nor is it the most ergonomic mod I’ve seen or used. Really, it’s just a rectangular box with rounded corners. So, why do I like it so much?
Basically, the R150 feels rock-solid. I don’t know if it’s truly built like a tank, but it sure feels like that. The weight is just right — enough heft to feel substantial, but not so heavy that the weight is distracting. And, although the shape is just a simple box, that simplicity is part of its appeal. All the corners are sufficiently rounded to make it comfortable to hold in an average-sized hand. Nothing in the mod shakes or rattles, including batteries, battery doors, and the firing/adjustment buttons. That’s true of any number of box mods on the market, but somehow the R150 feels better than most. Perhaps it’s the smooth design, where I can’t feel any seams.
In addition, the R150 comes with removable front and back panels that not only function as battery doors, but also aesthetic enhancements. The unit I was sent for review came with three sets of doors, in abalone shell under clear acrylic, leather, and carbon fiber. Each set has two sturdy doors with four magnets each. The doors come off easily but snap onto the body very securely. Each style gives the mod a different look. Hotcig intends to offer many door styles available for separate purchase, and that’s a nice option.
The frame of the R150’s case is made of aircraft-grade (T6) aluminum alloy and comes in two brushed finishes, either silver or black. My review unit was black. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it “classy,” but I liked the black finish.
The R150 is also firmware upgradeable via USB (only for PCs, however; Mac folks like me will have to find a PC user to upgrade their devices), and the mod performs beautifully. But more about that in a moment.
User Manual of the Hotcig R150
My criticism is not about the mod at all, but the included manual: I’ve seen user manuals from Chinese companies that are written in bad “Chinglish,” but the R150 manual is among the worst I can recall. It’s a mystery to me why Chinese companies don’t hire someone who speaks and writes good English.
Not only is the manual’s English laughable, but it’s terse and provides precious little information beyond the most basic instructions. For instance, besides Nickel, Titanium, and 316 stainless steel wire, a fourth temp control setting is called “Ww”. Nowhere is this explained — not in the manual, nor on the Hotcig company website, nor anywhere else I could find online. I’m sure we’ll find out eventually what that is, but, so far, no one seems to know.
Finally, I didn’t see anything in the manual about reverse battery protection, which could be a serious criticism if the R150 doesn’t have it. I didn’t insert the batteries incorrectly to find out, however.
Curiously, while the chip is advertised as “waterproof” and Hotcig company videos on YouTube show the mod being operated with the chip removed from the case and submerged in water, the manual states:
This product is adopting a chip with water proof function, but it does not mean that this product is water proof. If any liquid penetrate (sic) into the product from the slots or USB port, please stop using it immediately and contact with your local authorized dealer of R150.
I guess that means not to submerge the entire case. Either that or Hotcig is legally covering their butts against lawsuits.
Menu navigation left much to be desired. An engineering nerd might love it, but a regular person is likely to have trouble. The sequence and combination of button presses was complicated, confusing, and difficult for me to get right with any consistency. Even after days of vaping the R150, I still couldn’t master the sequences every time. I never did manage to get the resistance lock to turn on, and I still don’t know if I was doing something wrong or if the chip in my test mod was faulty.
Also, the fast scrolling speed was way, way too fast. When holding down the up or down buttons to adjust wattage or temperature, the first three seconds of changes were moderate, but suddenly that pace ramped up to lightspeed that was completely uncontrollable. C’mon folks, this is chip programming 101. It’s completely unnecessary and just plain sloppy work.. Once past those aggravating hurtles, though, and with everything set as I wanted it, the actual vaping experience was flawless.
I tested the R150 in straight wattage mode and in TC mode for both nickel and stainless steel. I don’t use Titanium or Nickel wire, but I have some factory Nickel coil heads for the Freemax Starre, so I can check the vape quality in Nickel with those. The R150 passed in all modes with flying colors.
Firing was instant, with no delay at all, and the wattage seemed accurate to me. The lack of user-adjustable TCR values could be a deal-breaker for some advanced vapers, since that option is quickly becoming standard for temp control chips. I’ll give Hotcig a pass for that omission, however, since the atomizer’s measured resistance can be adjusted. Also, performance in Temperature Control with the fixed presets was very satisfying, so I felt no need to apply custom TCR values.
The 510 connector has smooth stainless steel threads and a springy gold-plated positive pin. All the atomizers and tanks I tried mounted perfectly flush. The battery sled is simple but very clean, as is the entire internal design. Batteries can be USB-charged, but swapping them out is quick and easy. The display screen is bright and clear.
The chip itself must be extremely efficient, for battery life was considerably better than on most dual-18650 mods. That impressed me.
I feel divided about the Hotcig R150 150W TC Box Mod. It is simultaneously brilliant and sloppy. On the plus side, I’m very drawn to the look and feel of the mod. The optional front and back panels are beautiful, well-made, and easy to change. Vaping performance is all I expect of a TC mod. And yet, the operating manual is a joke, and I hate the menu navigation and ridiculous fast scrolling speed.
Do the pros outweigh the cons? I’m not sure. I do know that our hearts open to some people in spite of their failings, flaws, and fallibilities, so I’ll give the R150 a positive recommendation in spite of my criticisms: I love this mod.
I’ll also assert that certain designers at Hotcig should get a raise for doing great work, but whoever was in charge of programming the R150’s chip deserves to be fired immediately.