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Pioneer4You IPV V3-Mini Review: A Pod System Like No Other!

Spyros Papamichail
August 20, 2019

Product intro and specs

The IPV V3-mini is an innovative device produced by Pionner4You, a veteran vape manufacturer. The name is a bit misleading, as both the IPV V1 and V2 were standard variable wattage vape mods. In essence this vape can be categorized under the pod systems umbrella, but it is much more than that. It is the first compact automatic-squonk vape, and pairs an internal battery temperature controlled vape mod with a tiny disposable bottom fed atomizer. On top of that, the mod is powered by YiHi’s ESS driver and the SX635J board—YiHi needs no introduction as they’re known for making some of the most accurate TC chipsets on the market.

It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. In fact, in a sea of pod vapes that perform at a similar level, the V3-mini feels like a breeze of fresh air. But does it also perform well enough to get a recommendation? Keep reading to find out!

Pioneer4You sent me these kits free of charge for the purpose of this review.

Price: $69.95 (at Element Vape), $9.95 for a pack of two pods (at Element Vape)
Colors: Black/magical (M1, M2, M3), black/texture (T1, T2), gunmetal/carbon (C1), black/carbon (C2)

Kit contents

  • 1 x V3-mini device
  • 1 x Elf ADA atomizer (0.3 ohm)
  • 1 x USB cable
  • 1 x E-liquid container
  • 1 x User manual

Specifications

  • Powered by YiHiSX635J Chipset
  • Battery Capacity: 1400 mAh
  • liquid Container Capacity: 3.5 mL / 2.0 mL
  • Resistance atomizer 1: 0.3 ohm (two adjustable wattage levels: P1: 12-15 watts; P2: 22-25 watts)
  • Resistance atomizer 2: 1.0 ohm (two adjustable wattage levels: P1: 6-8 watts; P2: 10.5-12.5 watts)
  • Output voltage: 3.2-4.2 volts
  • Temperate control range: 180-260 °C (356-500 °F)

Build quality and design

I received two IPV V3-mini kits and four extra boxes, each containing two Elf ADAs; I’m guessing ADA stands for “automatic dripping atomizer”, but “D” may also be for “disposable”. In essence, this is a closed system; the connection is proprietary, so the atomizers can only be used with the IPV V3-mini mods and vice versa. On first glance, the V3-mini looks like a tiny dripping setup. But looking closely you’ll notice a liquid container at the bottom. Simply put, the V3-mini is an automatic squonker, but more on that in the following sections.

The IPV V3-mini mods I got are the black carbon fiber one (C2) and one of the black Texture editions (T1). The device feels very solid and the metal construction adds some weight to it. The full kit weighs around 140 grams with the bottle full, and the mod measures at 78 mm x 46 mm x 16 mm. Build quality on these mods is excellent, period. The T1 is easily one of the best-looking devices I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding, and everybody that saw it agreed that it is striking. It is unique and it really looks like a piece of art! There are no moving parts and no button rattle, and the fact that the plastic squonk bottle feels like it’s made out of glass is adding to the mix. Even the silicon gasket of the bottle has a premium feel to it!

The Elf ADAs on the other hand are not a miracle of design—it feels like they were designed with utility in mind. They are made out of plastic and their color and 14 mm diameter make them look a little bit awkward on top of the mod. If it was up to me the Elf ADAs would have been black, but that’s just my opinion. Asking around I got mixed responses, but the mod is certainly the star of the show here.

Using the IPV V3-mini kit

The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the squonk bottle and fill it with e-liquid up to the “max” line. You can do that through the larger of the two holes or, if your e-liquid bottle comes with a dropper, you can remove the silicon gasket altogether. Then push the bottle back in the device and screw the atomizer on the mod.

Once everything is in place you can click on the fire button three times to unlock the device (note that the device does not turn off, so you’ll need to click three times to lock it if you want to put it in your pocket). If you fire the atomizer straight away you will get a “no liquid” error and the device will automatically start squonking. You can drip some e-liquid through the mouthpiece to get things started quicker, but there’s also the option to squonk manually, using one of the two smaller buttons (the one that’s closer to the fire button). If you keep it pressed it will keep squonking juice, so make sure you don’t flood the atomizer. If you do, keep the other small button pressed for a while—this will channel liquid back into the squonk bottle. The device will automatically squonk e-liquid every time you press the fire button, which will also make it vibrate lightly.

In order to enter the menu, you need to press the fire button five times. There are three parameters to set while using this device. The first one is the power level (P1 and P2), which sets the wattage depending on the atomizer you are using. For the 0.3-ohm atomizer, P1 fires at 12-15 watts and P2 at 22-25 watts. For the 1.0-ohm one, P1 fires at 6-8 watts and P2 at 10.5-12.5 watts. Then you can change the temperature and pick to have it in Celsius or Fahrenheit. To set and the rate under which the auto-squonking system will pump liquid (between 15 and 60) you’ll need to return to the home screen and adjust it by clicking on the smaller buttons.

Performance

I tested both atomizers currently available for the IPV V3-mini:

  • The 0.3-ohm nickel-manganese Elf ADA designed for lower nicotine strengths and restricted DL vaping (included)
  • The 1.0-ohm stainless steel Elf ADA, designed for higher strength nicotine salts and MTL vaping (sold separately)

An important thing to mention is that you should avoid the 0.3-ohm atomizer if you have an allergy or sensitivity to nickel. As for manganese, I honestly don’t know if it is fine to use in coils. I personally trust the engineers of Pionner4You, and don’t think they would use materials that can be harmful at the temperatures the device may reach. But I can’t advise for or against it; it’s up to you.

To compare the two atomizers, I ran them at 400 F on the higher power preset (P2). With a bit of trial and error I got the best results setting the squonk rate at 35. Note that this number needs to be set according to the rate at which the atomizer vaporizes e-liquid—if you go with P1 or lower temps you should go lower, while P2 and higher temps may require going much higher, especially on the 0.3-ohm ADA.

With these settings, the included 0.3-ohm ADA gave me a warm and surprisingly flavorful restricted DL vape when using a regular 3 mg nicotine juice with the airflow fully open. I usually vape 2 mg in sub ohm tanks and rebuildables, so my first thought was to try it with 6 mg. Turns out that 6 mg was too high for this device, as it produces much more vapor than what you’d expect from its size. I’d also note that both 0.3-ohm atomizers I tried were whistling a bit when fully open and that the mouthpiece would get hot when chain vaping. Lowering the temp helped, but I lost a bit of flavor, so I went back to 400 F.

The 1.0-ohm atomizer did not get warm at 400 F, even with the airflow set at one third of the way open for MTL vaping. I tried this one with 9 mg regular nic (I usually vape 6 and 9 mg on MTL atomizers) and even that felt a bit too high. I also tried it with the 30 mg nic salts that I use in most pod systems, and wished I had some 20 mg as I couldn’t take more than a couple of puffs in succession. I didn’t get as much flavor as I got from the lower resistance coil, but it still was much better than a traditional pod system. The only issue I faced was that the draw of this atomizer is not my style of MTL. The hit feels a bit undefined, similar to the hit of the Lost Vape Orion pods or the Berserker RDA with its wider inserts. But some people seem to like this type of hit, so if you belong in this category then it may be up your alley. I ended up using it for restricted lung draws and traded off some flavor for the extra battery life that comes with the higher resistance.

As for the performance of the mod, the squonking system and dry hit protection are excellent. I tried to get a burnt hit out of it, and I almost managed to do it with the squonk bottle empty and the temp set at 500 F. I did get some dry hits right before the “no liquid” error, but the wicks looked fine from the top and while the flavor was kinda nasty, it didn’t feel like a burnt hit. In other words, you’ll have to try hard to fool the TC of this kit when it comes to dry hit protection.

Battery life and charging

The IPV V3-mini houses a large 1400 mAh battery and battery life is impressive. I managed to go through 3.5 fills of the squonk bottle when using it with the 0.3-ohm atomizer. I’d expect a couple of extra refills if you’re using the 1.0-ohm one.

It took the IPV V3-mini approximately 50 minutes to fully charge through its micro USB port (it’s placed at the bottom of the device). I actually had to test it twice, as it seemed to me that the device kept charging even when the battery icon was full. Turns out it wasn’t, and you can safely remove the charging cable when the battery icon is full, regardless of the charging sign that’s next to it. The device also supports pass-thru charging, so you can use it while it’s plugged in.

Pros / Cons

  • Innovation makes it one-of-a-kind
  • Excellent build quality
  • Great design (especially on the T1 edition)
  • Premium feel
  • Feels solid and sturdy
  • Highly adjustable (temp/squonk rate/power levels)
  • Excellent dry hit protection
  • Auto-squonking works great
  • Excellent flavor on the 0.3-ohm ADA
  • Satisfying restricted DL draw on both ADAs
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Squonk bottle is easy to fill
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Charges fast
  • Closed system (may actually be a pro)
  • Some uncertainty on the nickel-manganese coil
  • 0.3-ohm ADA not suitable for those with nickel allergies
  • 0.3-ohm ADA mouthpiece gets hot at higher temps
  • A bit of whistling
  • ADA design not up to par with the mod
  • MTL on the 1.0-ohm ADA lacks defined throat hit
  • Only one atomizer included in the kit

Verdict

The IPV V3-mini is not the best vape I’ve ever had, and I’d go as far as saying that if you prefer a tight MTL with a defined throat hit, you may have to look elsewhere. But if you enjoy a restricted DL draw, you will sure get great flavor and vapor production out of this device (especially if you are fine using the 0.3-ohm nickel-manganese coil). When I want something like that, the IPV V3-mini is the device I reach for.

I would have loved a rebuildable ADA, but the fact that the V3-mini is working exclusively with TC and is fine tuned for the pre-built atomizers makes me think it won’t happen. Unless the firmware is upgradeable (couldn’t find anything over at Pioneer’s website) and they decide to give it a power mode. Fingers crossed!

But where this device shines is innovation. I can’t remember the last time I opened a box and got genuinely excited by the design and functionality of a vape. This is a platform that Pionner4You can build on, and push pod systems forward. It feels like a game-changer and I really hope it ends up being one.

Recommended.

My first attempt at vaping came back in 2009 on some of the first cigalikes to ever reach Europe. A couple of attempts -- and vaping tech generations later -- I managed to quit smoking in 2016, and have since then developed somewhat of an obsession with all things vaping. When I am not consuming vape reviews I am either tinkering my NBA fantasy teams or playing board games with friends.

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