INTRODUCTION ______________________________________________________________________________ Hello everyone, and welcome to Pizza Dave’s Vape Reviews. Today I am going to step out of the norm and cover something I have never reviewed before. That item is the VC4S battery charger by Xtar. This is one of their latest chargers, one of which isn’t even shown on their site yet. As a VC4 user before this review, it gave me a solid baseline on the comparison side of things, so I will be able to touch on what makes this one different, as well as talk about my overall mindset regarding this charger. Let’s get right to it, and as always, I will have my final thoughts down at the bottom. DISCLAIMER: This device was sent to me by Xtar for review. WHAT YOU GET ______________________________________________________________________________ 1 Xstar VC4S charger 1 USB cable 1 Charger carrying pouch Paperwork PHOTO1 PHOTO2 PHOTO3 PHOTO4 PHOTO5 OPERATION AND USE ______________________________________________________________________________ Sooo…where do we begin? This is one of the latest chargers of Xstar, which has become a relatively popular charger amongst vapers. I have been using a VC4 for about 18 months and have had a relatively positive experience. Like the VC4 before it, the VC4S utilizes an external 2-amp DC power supply. One of the changes from the VC4 is that they went to a micro-usb plug, instead of a round DC port. I like this change, as it is easy to replace or find when on the go, where the round port before needed to stick with the device. The charger has a few different options for how fast it will charge. When connected to a 2-amp charger, placing batteries on the outer two slots will charge at 2 amps, but will also charge 3 or 4 batteries at .5 amps per battery. If connected to a 3-amp quick charge power supply, one could insert a battery into 1 slot and charge at 3 amps. I wouldn’t really recommend that, as it is a heavy strain on the battery and they warm up to a point that I am not super comfortable with, even if it may be safe. For most users, all you need to know is to plug it in to a 2-amp power supply and pop the batteries in. For people who want to know a little more about the batteries, there are options for that. Pressing the left button on the charger will cycle through misc. battery information. Cap – Capacity Curr – Current IR – Internal Resistance Pressing the right button will cycle through different charging modes. Charging Mode Grading Mode Storing Mode Charging mode is just like it sounds. It will charge batteries up to their peak voltage, depending on the type of the material the battery is built from, as it senses the type as well and is compatible with Ni-MH, Ni, CD, and Lithium-Ion IMR, INR, and CR batteries. Grading mode essentially charges the battery, then discharges the battery, and shows DONE at the end. I honestly don’t know what anyone would use this for in any practical use. The storage mode essentially charges batteries up to a level which is considered the “safe” level for storage. For Lithium-Ion batteries, it will charge to 3.7v. If the battery is inserted with voltage lower than 3.7v, it will charge up to 3.7v. If a battery is inserted at a voltage greater than 3.7v, it will discharge down to 3.7v. DISPLAY ______________________________________________________________________________ The display on the VC4S, like I mentioned above, shows quite a bit of information. It has a bunch of functions and shows more information than many even would care about. One change from the VC4 is the fact that all 4 batteries are displayed at the same time. The original showed just two battery bars, so one would have to toggle between what they wanted to see. Not anymore, as you can see the voltage, mah charged, and the amperage at which the batteries are being charged. I like this display a lot more than the old, just because I can see it all at a glance and not have to toggle through information. To conserve power, the screen dims down after 1 minute, and tapping one of the buttons will brighten it back up again. If you want it dimmed down quicker, you can hold down one of the buttons to dim manually. FINAL THOUGHTS ______________________________________________________________________________ So…. what do I think of the VC4S? Well, they made some solid changes to this over the original, but it still may not be for everyone. I like that it shows all sorts of information, much more than some other chargers out there. The display really is a win on this thing. It isn’t overly large either, and that comes into play big time when you look at some of their design goals, with one being portable. That becomes obvious when they include a carrying pouch and brag up the use with different USB sources, so you aren’t stuck on a wall charger. Being micro-usb means one could use this charger on a car ride, or off a large juice box. It makes it a bit more versatile. For me personally, I would like to see an AC version of this box, since all of my batteries get charged on my work bench in my garage. Sure, Xstar makes some AC chargers, but none that are quite like the VC4 and VC4S, so it’s a bit of a catch 22. One of the biggest cons with this charger, I have dealt with on the VC4, and that’s the need for a solid external box. I often would look up, and find my batteries charging at less than .3-amps a piece. I found that the DC power supply had to be a good one, which can add up in a hurry if you want something made of quality ($25 for my Samsung for example). If you don’t have a good 2-amp DC power supply laying around, it is an additional cost to use this charger. Other than the lack of a DC power supply, I really like this charger. I have been using the VC4 faithfully for 18 months and it keeps on kicking. I have taken it with me on flights, taken it with me to work, and taken it on long car rides, and it just keeps on charging. The plethora of options and information displayed on this charger is a huge pro. I can’t stand chargers that have a few battery bars, so I love seeing the full voltage at which my batteries are at. This is especially helpful when using mech mods, as it is nice to know roughly where the voltage is at what one thinks they are getting “weak”. The storage and grading modes don’t serve a huge purpose for me, but I could definitely see this being great for someone with a ton of batteries laying around that may not all get used all the time. So, I dig the charger, but do I like it more than the VC4? I see no reason to do an upgrade from a VC4, as the changes are minimal and the VC4 is still a great charger. Do I see this being better than other chargers out there? Yes, as it displays a lot, and has a lot of options, where some other chargers fall short. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PROS Versatile charging operation Lots of information display on the screen Fits tons of battery types and sizes Portable Reliable (based on my 18+months of steady use with the previous model quality) CONS Requires external DC power supply Some extra options may confuse users Poorly written manual Smaller display characters than previous model _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ Thank you all for reading and thank you to Xstar for sending this my way for review. This is just barely hitting the market, so prices aren’t listed anywhere. The older one can be had for less than $20 online, so I don’t see this being much more than that. I paid $40 for mine from a brick and mortar, so I expect prices to be close to that. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ Pizza Dave – Delivering real reviews, with no extra toppings _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ REVIEW CRITERIA: I use each item for about two weeks to ensure I have collected enough data to adequately write a review. I use the same e liquid in tanks or rdas throughout all my reviews to ensure that I am comparing apples to apples between all modern equipment. I do not post reviews until I feel confident that I have used it enough to give an educated review. The reason I started doing reviews was due to poor purchasing decisions in my vaping infancy about two years ago. Back then, I purchased several different pieces of hardware without really enjoying it and I hope my reviews can guide people into spending their hard-earned money more wisely than I did! ****Keep in mind that some items I receive may be pre-release and not in retail packaging. Quality may be less than the finished product and what is in the package may differ from the retail package as well.