Hcigar HB 40 Review
The Hcigar HB 40 variable wattage box mod is made by Shenzhen Hcigar Technology, and it is the first Chinese made regulated device to feature an authentic Evolv DNA 40 board with temperature limiting technology.
The name Hcigar is well known within the electronic cigarette community however, they are most notably known as a trade brand and manufacturer of high quality clone devices. Over the last six months there seems to be a boom in originally designed regulated devices coming out of China. With the exception of Eleaf and Yihi, most of those original designs have seen only moderate success in the US and European markets.
The Hcigar HB 40 box mod entered the market with a fair amount of buzz, as well as an equal amount of doubt and hesitation with regards to the claims of housing an authentic Evolv DNA 40 chip. While the authenticity of the Evolv DNA 40 board has been verified and confirmed, the HB 40 also ran into some issues with poor grounding, raised 510 connection issues, and a smoked display screen that left a lot of vapers leery of this otherwise promising new box mod. The good news is that the current batches of the Hcigar HB 40 have addressed the grounding, 510, and display screen issues. But is the HB 40 a worthwhile purchase?
The Hcigar HB 40 box mod featured in this review was provided by Focalecig.com for the purpose of this product review. The Hcigar HB 40 is presented in a clear plastic clam shell case which includes the HB 40, a retractable USB charge cord and a user manual. The Hcigar HB 40 retails for $100.00USD at Focalecig.com.
HCIGAR HB 40 SPECIFICATIONS:
- Brand: Shenzhen Hcigar Technology
- Type: Temperature protected variable wattage box mod
- Material: aluminium
- Connection threading: 510 (spring loaded)
- Battery compatibility: 18650 (single) not included
- Diameter: 23mm
- Height: 95.4mm
- Width: 49.5mm
Evolv DNA 40 temperature sensing/limiting board features:
- Output Power: 1 to 40 Watts
- Output Voltage: 1 to 9 Volts
- Output Current: Max 16.0 Amps
- Atomizer Resistance (Standard Wire): 0.16 Ohms to 2.0 Ohms. Typical: 0.7 Ohms
- Atomizer Resistance (Temperature Sensing, Cold): 0.10 Ohms to 1.0 Ohms. Typical: 0.4 Ohms
- Temperature Limit: 200F to 600F
- Input Voltage: 3.1 Volts to 4.3 Volts
- Input Current: 0.5 Amps to 16.0 Amps. Typical: 8.0 Amps
- Variable Wattage 1 – 40 Watts (0.1 increments)
- Buck/boost conversion (step down/step up)
- USB Charging (can use as a Passthrough)
- Spring loaded copper center pin
- Stainless Steel Threads
Traditional VW box mods are not usually my thing however, when I first saw the Hcigar HB 40 box mod I was immediately attracted to the aesthetic and styling of it. While only similar in style, the HB 40 reminded me of the ACESMOK 50 box mod that reviewed some months ago, which also happens to be an original Chinese made box mod.
The Hcigar HB 40 is made from aluminum with an anodized finish that comes in silver and black. In my opinion the silver color plays a lot more like white than silver, which I don’t really mind in this instance. The aspect of the device that really catches my eye is the button and display screen arrangement which is placed vertically on the left/front side of the box.
I have heard some criticism from vapers regarding Hcigars choice of button/display screen arrangement, but I rather like it. For one, it gives this box mod a unique appearance which sets it apart from typically styled rectangular box mods, and I do feel like this arrangement elevates the overall aesthetic. Being that I am right handed the fire button placement falls perfectly in line with my thumb, although left handed users will have a different experience.
This box has a clean looking finish, and a light weight feel. There is a tiny Hcigar logo on the bottom right side of the box, and a larger HB 40 logo printed on the back cover. Some users will be especially pleased to see that the usb charging port has been placed on the side of the HB 40, and not on the bottom.
The 510 connection has stainless steel threads and a copper spring loaded contact pin. The diameter of the well around the 510 connection is spec’d at 23mm however, the stainless steel well with air channels is around 18/19mm. Atomizers with a 22mm diameter do fit without any hangover, as shown below. The Lemo RTA, which is 23mm in diameter does have a tiny bit of hangover at the front of the box, but it is not too unsightly.
The magnetic back door on the HB 40 box mod is only “ok”. The magnets used to hold the door in place are strong however, I feel that the magnet placement needs to be improved in order to eliminate the slight shiftiness of the back plate. I think that 3 magnets placed across and the top and bottom (left, center, and right) of the box/back plate would probably take care of the play in the back plate.
The internals of the Hcigar HB 40 look the same as most box mods with the battery sled on one side, and the chip board and cover on the other. I have seen photos of the chip board with the warranty cover removed and this box is very clean inside. There are several photos of the HB 40’s chip board on the internet, so if you would like to see them it will be easy to find with a quick google search.
There is a battery removal ribbon installed in this box, so battery installation and removal is easy so long as you remember to install your battery on top of the ribbon. Being that this is a 40W variable wattage box you must use a high drain battery that is rated for 15A or more in order to operate this box safely. My batteries of choice are Samsung 20/25-Rs, and LG HE2s.
Below you will see a few size comparison photos of the Hcigar HB 40 and the Waidea Vaporflask clone, and Yihi SXmini. The HB 40 is taller than the Waidea Vaporflask, but is the same height as the SXmini when measured to the top of the SXmini’s 510 connection. The Hcigar HB 40 is wider than the SXmini, but more narrow than the Vaporflask.
In terms of ergonomics, I prefer the hand feel of both the SXmini, and the Vaporflask. However, when I compare the HB 40 to other square/rectangular styled box mods, I find that the button placement on the Hcigar HB 40 makes for a more natural hand feel/grip — if you are right handed. Left handed users would not feel the same, and rightfully so.
Being that the Hcigar HB 40 does house an authentic Evolv DNA 40 chip, of course the basic functions and menu interface are the same as the Vaporshark rDNA that I reviewed a several months ago.
Evolv DNA 40 features:
- Power (Wattage) Lock — from unlocked position hold wattage up/down buttons simultaneously
- Display screen left/right mode — from locked position hold fire button and wattage up button
- Stealth Mode — from locked position hold fire button and wattage down button
- Resistance Check – automatic
- Standard Kanthal Wire Atomizer Resistance : 0.16 Ohms to 2.0 Ohms
- Ni200 Temperature Sensing, Cold Atomizer Resistance: 0.10 Ohms to 1.0 Ohms
- Temperature Limit: 200F to 600F — from locked position hold wattage up/down buttons simultaneously to access the temperature menu.
The default temperature setting for the Evolv DNA 40 is 450 F, so the device is pre-set to this temperature protection setting upon receipt. The Evolv DNA 40 does have flash memory, buck/boost conversion, and is pass through capable so you can vape while recharging the battery.
As previously mentioned, the Hcigar HB 40 display screen is no longer smoked, so I didn’t have any issues with outdoor visibility of the display screen. Out of curiosity I did compare the display screens of the Evolv DNA 40 and the Chinese made DNA 40 chip since this is the first time that I have an authentic Evolv chip on hand at the same time as the ChDNA 40. While the Hcigar HB 40 display is crystal clear, the Waidea Vaporflask display screen is a bit brighter.
The Waidea Vaporflask does scroll through the wattage settings much faster than the Evolv DNA does, but that is not necessarily a good thing. Neither chip will round robin once the max wattage setting of 40W is reached.
I have used the Hcigar HB 40 side by side with the Waidea Vaporflask for about a week and half to see if I can get a sense of which chip board has the better performance based on real world use. For the most part I find that both chip boards perform the same even as the Hcigar HB 40 has the advantage of firing direct from sleep mode which is a huge plus for many vapers.
As far the chip feel during vaping, I do feel that the Evolv DNA 40 chip has a “flatter” feel to the vape, which mirrors how I felt when I first tried the Evolv DNA 40 in the Vaporshark rDNA. It is not a bad vape at all, it just feels a little flatter in terms of the power output when compared to the Waidea Vaporflask clone, at least to me. The Evolv DNA board otherwise performed very well in Ni200 and Kanthal mode, and as I had expected based on my prior experiences.
As the Temperature protected devices continue to gain in popularity, I also continue to see questions and opinions expressed regarding the “temperature protected” mode of these boards, specifically regarding when and why the device goes into temperature protected mode. I did touch on some of the reason for this in my Waidea Vaporflask review, but let me just say again that there is no reason to be concerned if your your device is always hitting TP mode, or if it typically does not. The variables of the atomizer used, build resistance, e-liquid, wattage/temperature, etc all play a role in when, and why the device will hit TP mode.
For the sake of those viewers who have not yet ventured into the new world of temperature sensing/limiting devices, I made a short video consisting of 6 video clips to show the variances in the display screen activity and temperature sensing of the HB 40 box and the Waidea Vaporflask clone.
Video clip 1&2 — the same .18ohm Ni200 build fired at 450F/25W on both the HB 40 and Waidea VF. This build was approximately 1 month old, was fired when cold. Both devices hit TP mode within 3 seconds of firing.
Video clip 3&4– two different atomizers with new Ni200 builds at .12/.13ohms and fired at 450F/20W. Neither device goes into TP mode after 8-10seconds of firing.
Video clip 5&6– same .12/.13ohm builds as above fired at 450F/30W. Only the HB 40 goes into TP mode after 8 seconds of firing.
The Hcigar HB 40 is a decent choice for anyone who is the market for a device housing an authentic Evolv DNA 40 at a more reasonable price point. While the Hcigar HB 40 is not very expensive, I do take some issue with the MAP enforced $100.00 price tag because I do feel that the HB 40 is slightly overpriced for what it is.
Just as I felt about the Vaporshark rDNA, the Evolv DNA 40 chip is the hero in this equation, not the box. The box itself, while good looking, does lack a bit in terms of a high quality feel in my opinion. The quality of this enclosure is average at best, and it would not be a stretch for me to say that I have had equal, and higher quality enclosures on more moderately priced regulated devices.
That being said, the Hcigar HB 40 is currently the cheapest regulated device on the market housing an authentic Evolv DNA 40 chip, and there is still something to be said for that.