Chinese vape manufacturer SMOK is well known for their imaginative design, and product backstories that are literally out of this world. Their latest offering is the highly anticipated T-Priv, available as a stand-alone mod, or paired with the TFV8 Big Baby tank as a starter kit.
The T-Priv combines a form factor reminiscent of the H-Priv with an aggressive future aesthetic. The outer shell of the mod is a hollowed-out chassis with deeply engraved detailing. Under that layer sits the LED panels – fully customizable – that illuminate when you vape and fire the device.
The specs sheet looks very similar to other recent SMOK offerings: dual 18650 batteries, wattage up to 220 W, TC mode for nickel, stainless and titanium, and firmware upgradable. A quick search online finds the T-Priv selling as a stand-alone from $50 up to $72, and as a starter kit from as low as $57 in some China shops.
Let’s take the T-Priv for a vapetest and see how it performs!
Disclaimer: We received the T-Priv kit from SMOK for the purpose of this review.
The T-Priv kit ships in the now-standard packaging we have come to expect from SMOK. You get the TFV8 Big Baby tank and two coils, the V8 Baby Q2 and T8, to start you off. The usual spares come with the kit too – o-rings, a spare juice inlet, vape band, and spare tank glass. The T-Priv ships with the 2 mL version of the TFV8 tank in the EU. The user manual is comprehensive, and covers the feature range of the kit.
The only extras you’ll need are some 18650 batteries, and that all-important e-liquid to vape on.
The T-Priv is available as a stand-alone mod, or paired with the TFV8 Big Baby tank. This is a reliable, if somewhat thirsty, sub ohm tank that comes as standard with a range of SMOK products these days. For the rest of this review, we will deal primarily with the T-Priv mod itself. For my thoughts on the Big Baby tank, check my review of the GX2/4 kit, as well as Bill Herbst’s review of the Baby Beast tank.
The T-Priv is one solid mod that makes a beastly first impression. There’s no button rattle to speak of. The firing bar has a similar soft, short throw to the recent GX2/4 mod.
The OLED display is situated on the top side of the mod, similar to the G320 and the H-Priv. Although the glass covering the display takes up half the space up top, the display itself is a fraction smaller than we’ve seen on previous SMOK offerings. I measure it is 18 mm from corner to corner, or 0.7 inches. This cramps the menu some in comparison to other SMOK mods. Everything is perfectly legible, but the displays on the G320 and GX2/4 are brighter. The screen sits on a raised bevel a couple of millimeters higher than the rest of the mod. You’ll be able to fit an atomizer or tank up to 25 mm on it without overhang, or interfering with that raised edge. The positive 510 pin is gold-plated and spring-mounted. I’m yet to encounter any connectivity problems with third party atomizers.
Of course, it’s the T-Priv’s deeply engraved outer shell that steals the show here. Sitting somewhere between some 80s wildstyle graffiti and a vengeful Decepticon, the exterior is all aggressive, hard angles and dynamic edges. At present, the T-Priv comes in seven color options, with a further seven on pre-sale. The paint on the mod has a metallic sheen to it, similar to the GX2/4. Our red sample looks great. The “rainbow”, or 7-color, less so. If you’re after a true anodized effect, look elsewhere. As with their OSUB 80W mod, the colors look airbrushed on. But perhaps it’s that auto detailing that has inspired the pre-sale run of new colors.
Sitting beneath that is a layer of white plastic which is lit up by nine LEDs. This lights up while you’re firing the mod. You can change the colors, transition effect, and exactly when they glow in the settings menu.
The battery door is easy to open and close. The battery contacts are gold-plated for conductivity. Both the door flap and the inner terminals are clearly marked with their respective positive and negative positions so you know how to insert your batteries. Although it’s not mentioned on the spec sheet, you can charge the T-Priv via the USB port. The T-Priv offers just under 1 amp internal charging. This offers vapers on the road extra flexibility. However, I would advise to always use an external charger.
For a lot more information on the technical performance of the T-Priv, be sure to check out Daniel DJLSB Vapes’ comprehensive breakdown of the device.
If you’ve seen one SMOK menu interface, then most of the features on the T-Priv will be familiar to you. SMOK offers users a comprehensive range of options that will be more than enough to satisfy someone looking for a decent box mod starter kit.
The OLED screen display is noticeably smaller than on recent offerings such as the G320, Q-Box, or GX2/4. However, the loss of OLED real estate has been compensated by paring down and simplifying what you see on screen.
Wattage can be adjusted in .1 increments from 6 – 100 watts, and 1 watt increments thereafter. In TC mode, you can cycle between Fahrenheit (moves in 10° steps) and Celsius (5° steps). To switch from one to the other, simply cycle up to the top or bottom of either range, and the temperature type will swap over.
I used the T-Priv with a variety of atomizers and tanks for this review, including the TFV8 Big Baby tank, the Ammit 25 RTA, and the Nova RDA from BMI. I typically used 70/30 VG/PG blends and like to vape between 65 – 80 watts.
The T-Priv has a very short ramp-up time and felt accurate, for the wattage range I used it with. It’s a sturdy mod that won’t fit every hand comfortably, and feels like it needs to be paired with a suitably imposing tank or atty to really finish off that killer impression the body makes. If you want to go whole-hog you could pair it with the TFV12 (like Austin Lawrence did the other day). That feels like a better match, proportionally, than the TFV8 Big Baby tank.
The firing button is easy to reach and quite responsive. I prefer a clickier button, but this firing bar is a lot more satisfying than the smaller wedge on the GX2/4 at least.
The effect of the LED lights will be lost on most any vaper who uses the T-Priv during the day. It’s somewhat ironic that you can’t see the lightshow you’re creating. Even in a pitch-black room the effect is blocked by the hand that covers half the mod when it’s being fired.
But for what it is, the T-Priv performs in much the same way as other SMOK products. Meaning: it does what it’s supposed to do. One reservation I have is that getting lit with the T-Priv will drain battery life.
The T-Priv will draw heads and split opinion. But it follows SMOK’s logic of creating eye-catching, interstellar inspired devices to the next level. Simply put, I’ve never seen a mass-market box mod quite like it before.
While aesthetics is totally subjective, form is always form. This isn’t a mod for the easily intimidated, or small of hand. It’s chunky, it’s large, and it’s a bit of a brick in the hand. Firing with the thumb or forefinger works whether you’re left or right handed, so that’s cool.
I understand why you’d position the screen up top, but it limits the size of the atomizer you could fit, which is a shame for such a chunky mod. If you’re using an RTA, or if your sub ohm tank leaks, chances are that e-juice will get on the OLED display.
Long-term, the crevices between the outer shell and the LED panels will collect grime and gunk, and I can imagine the T-Priv being tricky to clean.
Ultimately, the problem with “innovative” is that it dates quickly. The T-Priv may be a standout device right now, but in a year’s time? Will you still be rocking it?
As this point in the game, SMOK are honing in on the aesthetics of their products, while functionality remains the same. I can’t see anyone buying the T-Priv kit for the wattage range or the minimal ohm resistance in TC mode. This one is all about the look, and the lights.
What I can say is that the T-Priv performs reliably, in the same way as other recent SMOK products. What you make of the design is up to you.
I wouldn’t use this mod, or keep it in the rotation – I prefer my attys to take center stage, and I don’t need LED lights any more than a Neanderthal needs an electrician. But that’s just personal preference. The functionality is good, and if the look appeals to you, go for it…
And let me know in a year’s time how the paint job is holding up.