E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

3_5stars

Innokin Proton Mini Review

[drpcoupon name="Innokin Proton Mini" exclude="expiration,rss"]

The 235W Innokin Proton was one of the most well-received vape mods of 2018, so it comes as kind of a surprise that the experienced Chinese manufacturer waited more than a year to release a compact version of it. But here we are in December of 2019 and the Innokin Proton Mini has just hit the market, so let’s check it out and see if it lives up to the reputation of its predecessor.

A Look at the Contents

The Innokin Proton Mini comes in a book-style folding case, inside a flimsy cardboard wrapper featuring a picture of the device on the front, and a list of contents, the usual warnings, manufacturer contact information, and a scratch-and-check authenticity sticker on the back. This was my first time testing an Innokin product in a really long time – since reviewing the iTaste MVP 2.0, in 2015 – but I was really surprised by the quality of the packaging.

Folding open the cardboard case, we have the Proton Mini mod and the included Ajax sub-ohm tank, as well a spare coil-head and spare glass section in the box on the right, and on the left we have the other accessories – micro-USB cable for charging and firmware upgrades, user manual, some o-rings for the tank, and a battery safety card.

Design and Build Quality

If you liked the look of the dual-battery Innokin Proton, you’ll probably like the Mini as well, since it’s essentially a stubbier version of the original. Measuring 74mm x 45mm x 30mm, the compact mod is made primarily of zinc alloy, and comes in six different color combinations, from the classic black, to pink and crystal blue.

Starting at the top, we have a centered 510 connection – one of the few changes introduced in this version of the Proton – with a gold-plated, spring-loaded pin. The connection feels very solid, the protective plate around it prevents any accidental scratching of the paint job, and the perfect placement allows it to accommodate atomizers up to 28mm in diameter without any overhang.

The Proton Mini features the same large display and navigation joystick as the original dual 18650 Proton. There is no conventional fire button, instead we have a clicky firing bar on one of the narrow sides of the device, which allows you to fire just by giving the mod a light squeeze. The firing bar was originally introduced by SMOK on their Alien 220W mod, and they’re still using it today – check out the SMOK Morph for example – but it’s nice to see it adopted by other brands as well.

Opposite the firing bar on the Proton Mini we have an almost identical decorative panel. Luckily, you can tell which is actually the bar by the proton logo on it.

I like the display of the Innokin Proton Mini, it has a nice size for such a compact mod, the resolution is decent and the interface is well-thought-out, but one thing I definitely don’t like is the heavily tinted protective screen. It makes the display look dim, even though I’m pretty sure it’s actually bright enough, and in direct sunlight it makes the screen very hard to see. The weird thing is that the original Proton suffered from the same flaw, yet Innokin didn’t bother changing it.

The iconic joystick of the Proton Mini is one of the most appealing things about it, but I personally found it a bit frustrating, at least in the beginning. The thing that really irritated me at first was the accidental presses on the joystick when trying to just push it to one of the four sides. It’s a short joystick and if you have large fingers you will undoubtedly press it by mistake every once in a while. That wouldn’t be a big deal if pressing it wasn’t actually the confirm button, but since it is, you often have to change settings before going back to what you were trying to do.

I got used to the joystick after a couple of days, but I still press it by mistake every now and then. It’s a nice idea that eliminates the need for + and – adjustment buttons, but as far as I’m concerned it’s not exactly the ideal alternative.

I was surprised to see no venting holes on the bottom of the Proton Mini, or anywhere else for that matter, but if anything should go wrong with the built-in battery, I guess some of the gas can escape through the micro-USB port under the joystick. Unless you have a cable plugged in, in which case…

Overall, the Proton Mini feels like a very solid, well-built device. It has a nice weight for such a compact vape mod, there is no rattling or wobbling whatsoever, and it has a very ergonomic design that makes it comfortable to hold. I’m not too crazy about the joystick and the tinted protective plastic over the display, but otherwise it’s a very nice device.

Menu System and Navigation

The Innokin Proton Mini menu offers a lot of things to mess around with, but at the same time it’s very easy to navigate through thanks to a very intuitive interface. After turning the device on, by pressing the firing bar three times in rapid succession, all you have to do is press the joystick three times to enter the menu.

Once in the menu, you will presented with a list of sub-menus, starting with “Coil”, where you can choose between wattage mode and temperature control for the usual three supported materials (titanium, nickel and stainless steel), then “TCR” (temperature coefficient of resistance), “Curves” (curve mode), “Bypass” (unregulated bypass mode), “Memory” (several memory modes to configure), and finally, “Settings”.

Apart from that last one, all the presented sub-menus are different operating menus, from the standard wattage mode, to the curve mode where you can create a custom power curve in 0.5-second increments. I don’t mess with TCR or bypass mode, but if you think you have the know-how to do that, they’re available.

In the “Settings” submenu you can adjust a series of secondary parameters, like the time and date, reset the puff counter, change the color of the font on the home screen, display the temperature in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit, update the firmware of the device, and even upload your own custom screensaver image. You’ll have to download a software and connect the Proton Mini to a computer to do that, though.

All in all, the menu and navigation of the Innokin Proton Mini are top notch, but where I hit a brick wall was trying to adjust the wattage/temperature. Usually, you’d be able to do that with the + and – buttons, but we don’t have those here and the joystick didn’t seem to work either. Well, it turns out that it does, you just have to know what you’re doing and Innokin didn’t find it important enough to explain.

To adjust the power/temp. on the Proton Mini, you have to first keep the joystick pushed up or to the right until the settings on the display start to blink, and then you’ll be able to flick it either up and down or left and right, to adjust the power from 6W to 120W, in 0.5W increments. From 100W to 120W it only works in 1W increments, though.

Also, to adjust the wattage in temperature control more, you have to first keep the joystick pushed down for a few seconds, until the small wattage icon start to blink on the screen. These are all important things to know, but for some reason, the Innokin user manual doesn’t even mention them.

Battery Life and Performance

One of the main advantages of the Proton Mini vape mod is its 3,400mAh battery capacity, which surpasses that of most devices in its size category. The large capacity also enables a maximum power output of 120W, when most other mods this size are only capable of 80W or 100W.

The Proton Mini features 2A fast charging, as well as vape-while-charging technology, which allows you to vape while the device is charging, although that included battery safety card does mention that you should only use vape-while-charging when the battery is above 10% charged.

Performance-wise, I can’t fault the Proton Mini in any way. It fires extremely fast, the firing bar is nice and clicky, the custom curves mode seems to be very accurate, as does the simple wattage mode. I didn’t test the temperature control feature at all, as I simply never use it, and I don’t know anyone who does, but I’m sure you can find some review of it online.

To be honest, in this day in age, it’s rare to find a vape mod that doesn’t work as advertised anymore. They all fire in an instant, their chips have evolved to provide a stable and accurate power output all through the draw, so I find that there is no point in praising them for working as they should.

The Tank

The included Ajax sub-ohm tank is a 24mm atomizer with an e-liquid capacity of 5ml (2ml for the EU market). It uses Innokin’s 3D coil-heads, which turned out to be decent, if somewhat unimpressive. The pre-installed 0.16Ω coil-heads struggled to keep up at 80W, despite having a recommended wattage range of 50W – 80W and featuring these really large wicking slots. The flavors became muted when doing several consecutive hits, and while I never experienced dry hits, I could feel that the coil-head wasn’t always saturated enough.

The second coil-head (0.35Ω) fared much better, and I actually recommend it over the lower resistance one, as it produces plenty of vapor as well, the flavor is just as good, and it also saves battery life as its top recommended wattage is 55W. It’s a slightly cooler vape, but if that’s not a problem, it will keep your mod working all day without having to recharge.

The Ajax tank uses a type of PnP (plug-and-play) coil head that are pressed in through the base and don’t require any threading. I didn’t encounter any leaking problems with either of the included coil-heads, but there is no guarantee that you won’t either. Sometimes a manufacturing error can cause problems, and quality control in this industry isn’t the best.

One thing I didn’t like about the Innokin Ajax tank was the liquid I found when opening the top-fill mechanism. The gasket around the port and the metallic around it were all covered in a liquid that I can only assume was machining oil. That’s not something I want to see when examining my brand new sub-ohm tank… I cleaned it, obviously, but I’m not sure many people clean their new tanks, so that oil can become a health issue.

Conclusion

The Innokin Proton Mini is a nice, compact vape mod featuring most of the features we saw on the original Proton dual-battery mod. It’s ergonomic, the build quality is top-notch, and the performance is worthy of the Proton name. I did have some issues with the stubby joystcick, and I don’t much care for the tinted display cover, but all in all, I would say that it’s a very nice device. The Ajax tank is nothing to write home about, but it’s definitely a decent sub-ohm tank.

This kit was sent to me by NewVaping, for the purpose of this review. They currently have the Innokin Proton Mini in stock for £49.99.[drpcoupon name=”Innokin Proton Mini” exclude=”expiration,rss”]

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