Vapor Shark rDNA 40 Review

Vapor Shark rDNA 40 review

Review of Vapor Shark rDNA 40 with Evolv DNA40 Chip

The Vapor Shark rDNA is a variable wattage device featuring the latest Evolv DNA 40 temperature protected chip, and is made in the USA by Vapor Shark. The Vapor Shark rDNA is the third iteration of the Vapor Shark line of variable wattage box mods, and it is distinguished by its slightly larger size, housing the newest Evolv DNA 40 chip, and a removable LG-HE2 2500mah 18650 battery. Vapor Shark is both an online, and brick/mortar retailer with 7 locations spread out along the East Coast. The Vapor Shark R-DNA retails for $189.99 USD.

The Vapor Shark rDNA is packaged in a hard, clear plastic gift box which includes the rDNA 40 with LG-HE2 18650 battery pre-installed, and micro USB charging cord.

Buy a Vapor Shark rDNA Mod:

VS collage 1

VAPORSHARK rDNA SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Brand: Vaporshark
  • Material: Cast-Zinc Aluminum alloy
  • Type: variable wattage APV
  • Connection threading: 510 with spring loaded pin (gold plated)
  • Diameter: .95in
  • Height: 3.25in
  • Width: 1.67in
  • Weight: 4.5oz/189grams

New features include:

  • LG 2500mah 35A 18650 Battery
  • Gold plated, Spring-loaded center pin
  • 1.0 – 40W (Evolv DNA 40 temperature protected chip)
  • Supports 0.16 ohms and higher
  • Integrated wireless charging, with available Micro-USB port
  • Matte Black
  • Magnetic Battery Door and ejection ribbon
  • Reverse polarity protection

BUILD QUALITY

The Vapor Shark rDNA 40 brings with it a few upgrades from the DNA 30 version, which includes the obvious Evolv DNA 40 chip, a magnetic back door, and the LG-HE2 2500 mah/35A 18650 battery. The rDNA is available in two colors which are black, and gray. Like the Vapor Shark DNA 30, the newer 40 watt version of this device is made from cast zinc aluminum alloy. The feeling of the box is solid, and sturdy, although if I did not know better I might think that this device was constructed from a sort of heavy duty plastic. Even as the device feels sturdy, and durable, it does not feel like a metal alloy to me.

The fire button is located on the left side of the device, and it is a large dome shaped “metal” button with a pronounced clicky feeling. The fire button is quite comfortable to use, although for me it has a slightly toy button feel. I would have preferred to see a stainless steel button on a device at this price point. The wattage up/down buttons are placed low on the device, and they protrude by about 2mm from the body.

On the right side of the body there is the Vapor Shark rDNA logo. On the back of the device there is a magnetic battery door, with a raised gripping section to aid removal of the magnetic door. There are also two hex screws which hold the chip board cover in place.

VS collage 2

The micro USB charging port is placed neatly on the left lower corner at the front of the device. At the top of the device around the 510 connection there are four wide, and deep air channels cut out. The 510 connection has very clean threads, with a gold plated spring loaded contact pin.

The DNA 40 display is located on the bottom of the device and is protected by a raised lip that surrounds the screen. Depending on your level of awareness when setting the VS down on a table, you may experience some rocking of the device. This device can stand in a stable manner however, you need to be mindful to not set the device down on an angle.

VS collage 3

On the bottom side of the magnetic door there two depressed slots that allow the door to slide off when you use the gripping pad on the top of the door. The device is pre-installed with a brand new LG-HE2 2500mah/35A 18650 battery, which sits on top of an ejection ribbon to assist battery removal. Due to the very snug fit of the battery, you will absolutely need to use the ejection ribbon. After shooting these photos, I made the mistake of not installing the battery on top of the ejection ribbon and it was truly a struggle to get the battery back out.

The internals of the VS are very clean, and meticulously assembled. Not a spot of glue, or a wire to be seen when the magnetic door is removed. There are two round magnets which hold the back door in place, and they are very strong magnets. When the back door is installed there isn’t any sliding or shifting of the door, it is held perfectly in place.

VS collage 4

FUNCTION

As previously mentioned this latest edition of the Vapor Shark rDNA features the new 40W temperature protected chip made by Evolv. It is necessary to distinguish between what has become the common reference for this chip which is “temperature controlled”, and what it in reality the chip is, which is temperature protected and limited. Before going further into the function and modes of the Evolv DNA 40 chip, let us first look at the chip specifications.

The temperature protection feature of the DNA 40 is not the only upgrade available with this chip. The Evolv DNA 40 chip now has a buck and boost converter with a minimum voltage output of 1 volt, and a maximum of 9 volts. The minimum firing resistance for standard Kanthal wire is now .16ohm, and the wattage output range is 1-40W. The maximum firing resistance for Kanthal wire is 2.00 ohms. The minimum firing resistance for NI200 wire (the wire required to use the temperature feature) is .10, and its maximum is 1.00 ohm.

We also see an increase in the maximum current output of 16A, with an instantaneous peak or burst current output of 23A.

DNA 40 spec sheet

The new DNA 40 temperature protected chip is intelligent and it will automatically detect when either Nickel or A-1 Kanthal wire is installed to the Vaporshark rDNA. To use the temperature feature you have to be using NI200 Nickle wire in your atomizer. When the chip detects Kanthal wire, the screen display will appear just like the older DNA 30 display with battery indicator, resistance, voltage, and wattage setting. Likewise, when the chip detects NI200 wire the display will change to battery indicator, resistance, temperature, and wattage setting. The intelligent chip will also display a message on screen to acknowledge the change in atomizer detected when switching from a Kanthal to a NI200 build, and vice versa.

Most of the “Mode” settings (locked, stealth, left/right) are accessed/changed in the same manner as the DNA 30 chip. The one exception is the wattage lock mode which is now set from the unlocked position by holding down the wattage up/down buttons simultaneously. The temperature protection setting is accessed from the “locked” position by holding down the wattage up/down buttons. The default temperature setting of the DNA 40 is 450F, but you are able to set the temperature protection from 200-600F using the wattage up/down buttons once you enter that menu option.

The possible error messages that can appear on the display screen for the DNA 40 chip are as follows:

  • – Check atomizer
  • – Shorted
  • – Weak battery
  • – Temperature protected (means the coil has reached the max temperature protected setting during a single puff)
  • – Ohms too high
  • – Ohms too low
  • – Too hot

VS collage 5

PERFORMANCE

As previously mentioned you have the option to use standard A-1 Kanthal, or NI200 wire builds with the Evolv DNA 40 chip. What I like about the DNA 40 chip is that the temperature protected feature is an “option”, not a must use feature of this device. So for those who are not interested in temperature protection, you can still use this device without ever utilizes Nickel wire and the temperature protection. Kanthal wire users will still have the benefit of several chip upgrades including the higher wattage output, the lower firing resistance, and the new buck/boost circuitry with voltage output as low as 1 volt, and as high as 9 volts.

One thing to keep in mind while useing this device in temperature protected mode is that wattage output is manipulated in order to stay within the temperature protected setting. For example, if you have your device set to 400F, firing .10 ohm (NI200) at 30W, once the device detects that you have reached the 400F (which could happen within seconds of hitting fire button), the device will self-adjust the wattage output down in order to stay within the 400F limit set for the device. On the display screen you will see the wattage output rolling down and up in a pattern that is reminiscent of a pulse width modulated frequency.

Working with pure Nickel non-resistance wire was very interesting indeed. The wire itself (30 gauge) was very thin and exceedingly pliable, and it doesn’t stiffen up like Kanthal wire does when torched. Nickel wire takes shape easily, and loses its shape just as easily, so you don’t want to be too rough with it after your coils are wrapped. For my first Nickel build I used 30 gauge NI200, with a 6/7 wrap (dual coils) on a 3mm steel tool bar. I had to laugh as I was installing the thin leads into the ginormous 3mm post holes of my Mephisto RDA … it reminded me of the punchline to an off-color joke “it was like trying to feed a whale a tic tac”, lol.

Once installed the dual coil build metered out to .10 ohms, and I began my trial with the temperature protected settings at 200F, and 16W .. which got me absolutely nowhere as the temperature protection kicked in within 1 second of hitting the firing button. I continued to play with the temperature settings until I finally landed back the 450F default setting, and 25W, which seemed to work for me. At temperatures below 450F the vape was cool to the point that I could not even feel it, even as there was plenty of vapor being produced, which I could only “see” on the exhale.

VS collage 6

The Vapor Shark rDNA has a nice size that handles well during use. I was a little concerned about the wattage buttons due to their position, and degree of protrusion from the body on the device however, my concern was for naught. In spite of my ring and pinky fingers sitting near the wattage buttons during use, I never had occasion to accidentally change the wattage setting. The fire button has a ring around it that turns blue when the switch is activated. While the fire button is comfortable to use, the sound, and feel of the buttons material doesn’t read “expensive” to me. But it is a responsive switch, and I did not experience any misfires while using it.

The vape quality that I experienced with the Vapor Shark rDNA at 450F and 25W is about the same vape that I get with other DNA style devices at around 12-17 watts, which is vaping my norm. I have heard some vapers report that they experience a weird taste with Nickel wire, and I did have a few moments where I thought that I “may be” experiencing a metallic after taste. I am not firm on whether I did or did not have an after taste with Nickel wire because of the e-liquid I was using (fruity dessert type). With this particular e-liquid sometimes I feel as though the e-liquid is messing with the ph balance in my mouth after several days of vaping it even with Kanthal wire.

With the new specs of the DNA 40 chip, specifically the changes in min/max voltage output, I wanted to test the voltage output with an inline 510 meter. Unfortunately, that was not possible. You will see in the photos below that my inline meter could not get any read on voltage output from the Vapor Shark rDNA with both Kanthal and Nickel wire builds. That being said, based on my actual vaping experience, I have no reason to believe that the voltage output of the Evolv DNA 40 chip was in any way inaccurate.

The one thing about the VS that I do not like is the display screen being on the bottom of the device, which I found to be especially aggravating while I was testing out the different setting, and trying to fire the device while monitoring what was happening on the display screen at the same time. I really didn’t like having to turn the device upside down in order to monitor display activity, which is something that I do a lot during normal use as well. Also, with the display screen placement at the bottom of the device, you would not want to pair a Genesis style atomizer with the VS.

VS collage 7

OVERALL

I am aware that there have been a significant amount of defective Evolv DNA 40 boards that have gone out with the Hana Modz, Vapor Shark, and Vapor Flask V2 mods. I have also read reports of more than one person going through as many as 3 brand new Evolv DNA 40 boards in a row due to defect. I have not had any performance or display screen issues at all with the Vapor Shark rDNA that I received for review. However, the number of reported defects is large enough that it has to be stated. The good news is that I have heard that all of the companies mentioned above have been nothing less 100% cooperative, and supportive in accepting defective returns, and replacing boards, and devices for anyone who has encountered an issue.

I admit that when I first heard of Evolv’s temperature protected DNA 40 chip, that I was not very interested in it, and had initially panned it as a “gimmick”. Being that I usually vape within the low to mid wattage range, temperature protection is not something that I felt like I needed, or wanted. The same is also true for the higher 40W capacity. However, after I received the VS for review I decided to watch Phil Busardo’s video interview with Brandon from Evolv, (see video here) and it did shift my perspective on the usefulness of the temperature protection feature a bit. With new information available about the potentially hazardous effects of extreme temperatures in combination with the e-liquids we use in vaping, it makes a lot of sense to me that temperature protection would be the next step in innovation as it pertains to regulated devices.

Even as I still feel that I do not need temperature protection for the way that I vape at the present moment, this does not mean that my other fellow vapers do not need it, or want it. Temperature protection aside, there are other upgrades offered with the Evolv DNA 40 chip that I know many vapers do want, namely a lower firing resistance, higher wattage output capacity, and the ability to step down voltage output.

With regards to the Vapor Shark rDNA itself, I have to be honest in that while I find the VS to be a solid and sturdy feeling device that has functioned properly according to design, and without issue, that I genuinely find the hype surrounding this device to be very overrated, most especially at its price point. When I handle and use the Vapor Shark rDNA I get “$79.99”, not $189.99. There is nothing particularly special, interesting, or innovative about the box design of the Vapor Shark itself. I was impressed by the Evolv DNA 40 chip way more so than the box that houses it. I feel that box designs like the Vapor Flask V2 do a better job at commanding their higher price point.

That all being said, I truly believe that value is subjective, and just as it is with beauty, value is also in the eye of the beholder.

VS final photo

ProsCons

  • Evolv DNA 40 chip


  • Display screen placement

  • Value (what you pay vs what you get)

Where to Buy a Vapor Shark rDNA Mod

<p>Nicole Lea is a committed vape gear enthusiast of 3 years, who is dedicated to informing, educating, and guiding the vape community in this amazing world of electronic cigarettes.</p>

38 COMMENTS
  • Sammy ash 12/08/2014

    Superb review and thanks for calling it as you did , i also feel it’s way overpriced for what you get .

    I saw you mention the chip is upgradeable on the 30 watt devices which is true , however, Vapor Shark charges $100.00 to upgrade the chip which to me is also outrageous.

    I am not interested in temp protection , i vape low wattage , up to about 15 watts tops.

    It’s a very overrated device which is ridiculously overpriced imo . Some vendors are offering Hana style enclosures with the authentic DNA 40 chip now , with a better warranty and at nearly half the cost of a VS .

    Their service prices are extremely high as well . No thanks

    • Big John 01/15/2015

      Overpriced! Total nonsense! This device shines with quality. Also to state that you dont want temperature protection as you vape at 15W is simply nonsense also – you will get burnt wicks and bad tasting juice at much lower power than 15W. Temperature protection is awesome, no more dry hits, you can vape until totally dry (it would appear that the taste diminishes but the vapour is still there when your atomiser is getting dry), no need for transparent tanks in kayfuns etc as you can just vape it dry then refill without fear, the list goes on. An amazing device and has to be tried to believe it. The form factor of the rdna40 by vaporshark is ‘just right’, the new version has no issues with the screen and has bigger and higher resolution letters and numbers – coil resistance, voltage, temperature and power are all displayed at the same time alongside a battery indicator. The battery indicator is rather confusing though as its not clear what it measures, however, the battery lifetime seems on the mark. With the recall or return of the version 1 devices, the version 2 rdna40 by vaporshark truly is the beginning of the future of vaping. Just buy it, you will not be disappointed, and like me you can put all your clones away, you simply wont look at them again. And contrary to what Nicole says, building with nickel wire (I used 28 gauge) is very easy indeed, in fact much easier than regular kanthal as its much less springy and holds its shape and position really well.
      In summary, a very high quality, well priced, highly effective device – the future is now indeed!

      • Evil Vape King 05/02/2015

        I agree 100% with your comment. I have gone through 4 mods and I saw Phil Busardo’s video and decided to take the hit on the price and I am so glad I did. I think you should have gotten paid to do the review. No matter what you vape at the thing that counts is the quality of your vape and how much $$$ it will save you in the long run. This is going to be the only mod you’ll ever need. This is what vaping is supposed to be. You won’t regret it.

  • Paul (Nailz) 12/08/2014

    Thanks as always for your review Nikki 🙂

    I was thinking about getting a VS next year, thought it be good to have one really solid device, but now hearing a lot of problems with the the new chip and reading your review, just doesn’t seem anywhere worth what they are selling it for, bring the price down to under $100 I might be tempted, but otherwise I spend my money else where.

  • TotlKaos 12/09/2014

    Sx Mini does not have the temp control so with the SX Mini at the same price point I’m still going for the VaporShark. The next price level of a DNA 40 is the Hana. That is $60 more than this mod and has no benefit to it other than it is bigger. After that you have the Vapor Flask.. At least you can get the VS and Hana without paying a flipper but the Flask is a difficult mod to find.. Sorry the VS is a good mod and the price point is were it should be.

    • John C 12/09/2014

      It’s a given that you will have the people who bought into the hype disagree Nicole but i think you hit the nail on the head , it’s a $100.00 device at best.

      If others feel differently thats fine but they clearly do not understand a fair price when the come upon it .

        • Patrick 03/28/2015

          I have a couple of clones, I think they are garbage. They don’t last, unless it’s Hcigar or Ehpro, the knockoffs are just as cheap as you’d expect for the low price. The vapor flask clone is a joke, looks like my first radio I built when I was a kid.

  • Tam Semreh 12/09/2014

    Great review Nicole,
    Something else the VS rDNA 40 has is a built in Qi charging system, I know of no other DNA40 mods that have this feature. Cordless charging may appeal to some, or some may see it as a gimmick. I find the price point for this American made device to be good. Like you said price is subjective to the buyer.

  • John C 12/09/2014

    Oh, another thing that really shocked me , VS claims it’s zinc alloy , i would of kept that under my hat , how unimpressive .

    • Big John 01/15/2015

      all I will say its a real weighty device, much more solid and much heavier than the Hana devices. The unit is coated with some sort of rubbery coating so you cannot tell what metal or alloy its made from. Also the silicone vaporshark skins are truly delightful both in quality and feel, if you buy a rdna40 then a sharkskin is a must in my book.

  • FrackenVape... 12/09/2014

    I was interested in purchasing a VS this coming tax return season, was waiting till then because of its asking price. I would have been my 1st upgrade from my MVP2, So what box mod would you suggest if not the VS?

  • John T. Schmitz 12/11/2014

    Vapor Shark prices their products fairly, especially since it is an easily-obtainable and well-constructed device. I’ve seen a lot of people mention a $100 price point being appropriate; however $100 +/- buys you a Sigelei or a Pioneer4You or an Innokin or something similar, not an Evolv-powered device manufactured by a reputable company in the USA; and similarly, a Hana or a ProVape P3 or a Vapor Flask fall in the $250 – $300 price range. Vapor Shark is in the middle. It is an affordable device that will give you outstanding performance for as long as you need it to. Is it a perfect device? No. Nothing is … but it is priced fairly according to what else is out there. Then again, as you said, value is subjective–something is only worth what someone will pay for it. A Vapor Flask is damn near a work of art and I’d love to own one; however, it’s not worth $300 to me. And $200+ mech mods? All the buttery-smooth threads in the world aren’t worth that kind of scratch. Not for a metal tube, not for me. Finally, it’s worth noting that the VS DNA 30 is currently on sale for $99 and the VS rDNA 30 is just $139. But anyway, nice review. Thanks.

    • John T. Schmitz 12/11/2014

      A quick follow-up. I did a Google search and looked at more than a half-dozen DNA-40 devices, none of which were priced lower than $200; in fact, the two cheapest (the ProtoVapor XPV & the Dark Star) were $209+. As far as I know or can tell, the Vapor Shark is the lowest-priced DNA-40 device on the market at $189–and that’s pretty hard to condemn as “unfair,” no matter who you are. But yeah, that’s still a lot of money for most folks; however, the actual Evolv chipset can be purchased for $60, then add an enclosure and parts = DIY for less than $100. There are plenty of great tutorials out there and even sites that sell kits.

        • John T. Schmitz 12/11/2014

          Agreed. Value IS subjective. I ordered the VS rDNA 30 when it was full price–$189–and I think that it was worth every penny. It has performed superbly every day since. If I had waited, I could have either had the DNA 40 for the same price or saved $50 … but that’s life. I think that it’s spectacular that the VS DNA 30 and VS rDNA 30 are now being offered for $99 & $139, respectively. I have recommended the Vapor Shark line to a lot of people so far, and everyone has loved them. A colleague down in Texas loves the rDNA 40 so much that he bought two of the things.

          By the way, I agree with you on the firing button–it works, but it has an almost “toy” feeling to it. I’d like to see the hardware beefed up a bit. And the screen placement? Maybe not the best choice to put it on the bottom, but it doesn’t bother me. Once I dial in my settings, I don’t care.

          You did forget to mention a few positive features in you review, to wit:

          1. Soft limiting. The device will fire–safely–even when an error is detected, such as a weak battery or low resistance.

          2. Integrated wireless charging. A lot of people have said they love this. With previous versions, a person had to purchase a separate card and place it under the shark skin, meaning that you had to choose either wired or wireless charging and fool around with an external card. The rDNA 40 has the wireless card inside the case, leaving the micro USB port open. The charging base is still sold separately, but clocks in at just $25.

          3. Shark skins in many color options. These really dress up the look of the device and protect the case. They have a pleasant, powdery/smooth texture that make this mod more comfortable to hold than any other I’ve used.

          Anyway, thanks again for your review. I appreciate what this website does and I link to it often.

  • chris 01/02/2015

    https://www.fasttech.com/products/1/10012060/2055800-vapor-shark-rdna-30w-vw-variable-wattage-apv-box

    this is right on your price point, its from china and is a clone. i would like to a see a side by side no bias review of the real one and the clone, you say the vaporshark feels like $79.99 well this clone is $60 so go for it and report back what you find and see what a $60 vaporshark clone gets you for your money

    thanks

  • nor way 01/16/2015

    Thank you Nicole. You are hands down the best reviuwer alongside with PBusardo. Great

      • nor way 01/29/2015

        Happy to hear that. It is well diserved. I think I have to wait out for another evolve powered device. Hug

  • Chris C. 03/01/2015

    I purchased the Vaporshark rDNA40 for several reasons. One, it’s made in the US. I support US manufactures. Two, I love the size, performance and weight of this device. I own several vw devices, and to me, the Vaporshark is hands down, the best device I own. Yes, it’s pricey. But like with everything else made today, you get what you pay for.
    For those of you that are faulting the product based on it’s price, you should continue purchasing the cheaper devices. They do have their place. I’ll continue spending my hard earned money on quality products that offer value.

      • Patrick 03/28/2015

        Your not a fair reviewer, your clearly in love with the knockoffs and don’t mind buying the same device repeatedly after it breaks. Thumbs down, I’m sorry.

  • Ryan 03/12/2015

    I think the disagreement here is because the Vapor Shark rDNA version reviewed here is the older version with the first generation DNA 40 chip and without the grippy rubberized coating that is on the newest version of the Vapor Shark rDNA. The one I have has the newest “large screen” DNA 40 chip in it which is the size of the entire bottom of the device. Also the version reviewed does not seem to have the same rubber coating that is on the newer version, but i could be wrong about that. As far as price point the Vapor Shark that I own is well worth the $190 price tag it is a higher end device and you can tell as soon as you put it in your hand.

  • Prom 03/28/2015

    I can honestly say that if the rDNA 40 V2 is my first VS device I bought, I think it’s worth every penny but the problem is the price shift from the older device to the newer one. Coming from the first DNA30 ($169) then to rDNA30 ($189) then finally to rDNA40 V2 ($189) I can’t help but to feel like I’m paying too much for them. Having said that, if we put all things into consideration, this newest V2 comes with dna40 chip ($50), batttery ($8-$12), housing with better coat compared to most box mods out there, probably cost the company about $10+ to make, then add the additional features like wireless charging, reverse battery protection (which is very useful because despite my best effort to be really careful in installing a new battery, I still managed to fry my rDNA30…), larger screen, magnetic battery door – If all those still doesn’t add up to the hefty $189 price tag, consider the other costs like production, overseas and US labor, marketing, and shipping costs. US based company upkeep is not cheap. After putting everything into consideration, VS probably making about 20 – 30% margin on each device and that’s considered a healthy profit to maintain for VS or any company to be able to stay afloat and expand. After putting everything into perspective, and despite of how I feel about the price shifts, I think it’s a decent price.

  • Al Boardman 05/30/2015

    Whatever happened to “Just having a vape”? Agree with all above/or below that say price is subjective. Ultimately though, we vape for health, we vape to save the money we used to waste on cancer sticks. My personal thought is that $189 is very, very expensive to a lot of people, especially those as Prom initially mentioned that bought previous versions.
    Temperature control is also subjective, not a requirement and more of a luxury. If it can fire a $40 tank that I can replace the coils in and I didn’t need to sell a kidney to get it….I’m all for it.

  • vaping smurf 06/20/2015

    anyone know anything about the new vapor flask from vapor shark only 189$ says still built solil 6061? Any thoughts

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