First up - I bought this mod with my own cashmonies, for my own personal use. It's not a review unit - it's a production model. None the less, I'd still like to give a mention to Grumpy Vapes in Cardiff (the vendor that I bought the mod from), who had the it in the post the afternoon I ordered it (and subsequently, at my house the following morning). Great stuff!

Last year saw Volcano making a comeback out of ancient vaping history with the DNA 200 powered Lavabox. I got one of those in December (2015) and I'm still a big fan of it.

This year Volcano decided to follow that up by putting the Lavabox on a photocopier, hitting "reduce by 20%", and chucking a DNA 75 and a spot for an 18650 in it. BAM! New model!

And... that's it. That's a Lavabox M. Thanks for coming everyone!

I could leave it at that - but seriously...

First impression - it's well packaged, comes with a nice manual and a USB cable. That's nice, but uninteresting.

Taking the mod out, the immediate thing that jumps out is just how light it is. The Lavabox M weighs in at just 141.6g (with an LG HG2 18650. 97g without battery) - that makes it lighter than a VTC Mini (163g with same battery).

The Lavabox M is a little bigger than the VTC Mini in every way - however it's still in the same "ballpark".

(Apologies for the censoring, but I can't be bothered changing the logo on the VTC Mini or retaking the photo... and the logo is exactly what you think it is . If you really must see the uncensored version - copy the image location, paste it in a new tab, and remove the "?1" off the end).

The main part of the body is aluminium, and the grip section (battery cover) is a tough plastic which is helping to keep the weight down. I do have some minor concerns about the durability of the grip section long term - however there are replacement grip sections (in a range of colours) available. And that said - I've been using the DNA 200 Lavabox for almost a year now, and the grip on that is yet to show any signs of wear at all - however I also don't remove it on a regular basis, unlike the grip on the Lavabox M.

Unlike the grip on the DNA200 Lavabox, the grip on the Lavabox M is held in by four strong rectangular magnets in the usual spots (top and bottom of the grip and mod). While the magnets are strong enough, and there is no play in the grip - the top magnet on my grip isn't seated 100% correctly, and I wouldn't be surprised if it pops out in a few months time. Of course, this is a common thing to happen across a variety of mods, and is just a case of gluing the errant magnet back in to place.

The grip can feel a bit odd to remove at first. Due to the grip covering much of the mod, you're a bit limited in the places you can hold on to. Once you've done it a few times you get used to it though. It's slightly more annoying than other magnetic battery covers - but not by much.

Similarly - due to the mod's shape, inserting and removing a battery is also slightly more awkward that other mods. Again - it's something that you quickly adapt to. Just push it straight into the mod and let the mod guide the battery in - once you do that, the battery goes in easily. It's not a major negative - it's not too stiff, the negative is spring loaded so most batteries fit, and it doesn't eat battery wraps or anything really nasty like that. There's no battery ribbon, however you really don't need one as you can get a good, solid grip on the battery for removal.

Moving on to the mod itself - the fit and finish are just like the DNA 200 version. Volcano haven't cut any corners for the mini. The aluminium has the same durable finish (my DNA 200 Lavabox doesn't even have any "table scratches" on the bottom - even after a year), there's no rattles, the plastic screen cover sits nice and flush, and the button feel is similar the larger version (both are actuating the buttons on the DNA boards).

My Lavabox M has taken a few very nasty drops, smacked up against some metal objects, and the finish on the aluminium has fared very well. The tinted plastic on the front however is still quite scratch prone.

The 510 is also the same as the bigger version. It's spring loaded, and the threads are stainless steel. I haven't had any issues with the 510 on the DNA 200 Lavabox (the sprung post still springs, and the threads are still perfect), so I don't expect any trouble with the 510 on the Lavabox M either. Oh, and the 510 sits flush with the mod, so there's no problem with atty gap.

The hand feel on this mod - much like on the DNA 200 Lavabox before it - is just fantastic. The Lavaboxes are deceptive mods - they look chunky in photographs and on desks, but in the hand they manage to feel a lot smaller than they are. I find the Lavabox M very comfortable to hold and use - both triggering and as a thumb press, and I have really small hands (... or very large hands, depending on whether I'm a short man or a REALLY BIG fairy ). I personally find the Lavabox M more comfortable to use than other, smaller mods that are more boxy in shape, like the VTC Mini.

So what's inside the mod? It's a DNA 75!

I won't go into details about it (there are enough detailed reviews on the DNA 75 out there), but in general I've found the TC stability on the DNA 75 to be just as good as that on the DNA 200 (when using the same material csv files, of course).

The only drawback I've experienced is that the DNA 75 isn't quite ballsy enough to get those crazy dual tiger coils and other such thick, heavy, multi-strand coil builds up to temperature fast enough. But that's expected - it's only a 75W board, made to be used with a single 4.2V cell. The DNA 75 was designed to be configurable, stable, have a small form factor, only require a single battery, and be efficient - and it hits all those marks really well.

One opportunity Volcano missed with the Lavabox M - they didn't make use of the DNA 75's on-board LED light. Although you can kind of see the LED behind the fire button at some angles, there's no specific area on the face of the mod or on the fire button itself for the LED to shine through. So if you wanted to get your blinky rainbow disco on - I'm afraid you're going to have to look elsewhere. This is a pity - it would have been nice to see the LED through, say, a clear section in the fire button or something similar.

Speaking of the front - just like the DNA 200 Lavabox, the screen can be a bit dull even at full brightness due to being covered by tinted plastic. I have no trouble reading it indoors, and at night it's a pleasure to use - but reading it in direct sunlight can be a quite difficult, if not impossible at times.

I personally don't mind the duller screen - I do a lot of vaping in the dark, so I'm forever putting my mods in to and out of stealth mode (Yes, there ARE actually people that use stealth mode a lot!). With the Lavaboxes, I find that I can sometimes get away with vaping without the stealth mode on. The tinted plastic seems to cut the screen glare in a way that just turning down the brightness doesn't.

The biggest gripe I have with the Lavabox M is that the mod arrived unconfigured. I was a bit surprised by this, as Volcano did cop a bit of flack for exactly the same thing over the Lavabox DNA 200. However, given the rush to bring it to market ahead of the FDA cut off date, it's forgivable. I do hope Volcano release the official numbers for the mod internal resistance and case analyser results soon, though it is absolutely usable on the defaults with an internal mod resistance of 0.006 ohm.

So, to wrap it up...

Things I like :
  • It looks sexy
  • It's small and light
  • Magnetic grip section / battery door is convenient
  • No play in grip / battery door
  • Battery easy to remove, does not eat battery wraps or insulators
  • Great configurability
  • DNA75 is great to vape with, does TC very well
  • Durable finish (just mind the plastic on the front)
  • Solid and reliable stainless steel threaded 510

Thing I'm a bit annoyed about :
  • Battery cover / grip can be slightly annoying to remove
  • DNA 75 on-board LED not utilised
  • Tinted plastic front may scratch
  • Magnet at top of grip section seated slightly out, may pop out in the long run
  • Mod arrived only partially configured in EScribe

Being a DNA75, it is a bit on the pricey side compared to other non-DNA 75W single 18650 mods. At $150 AUD shipped, the Lavabox M is also in the same price bracket as an entry level DNA 200 (the Hotcig DR200 can be bought for $150 AUD shipped after MAP code, and is a great mod for the price). However - what you lose in power, you make up in unique looks, overall fit and finish, and the convenience of using 18650 batteries.

All in all, I like this little mod a lot. It has seen quite a lot of daily use, and has stood up well to some really nasty drops (and flings!). It's one of my main go-to mods when I'm going out and about, and I'm sure it'll be staying in my rotation for a long time to come.