By a miraculous series of events, I managed to get a hold of a Box Reborn by Limelight Mechanics. I missed a randomizer, and a very nice guy (now my friend) gave me his spot. I didn’t get on board with my erstwhile unicorn the DNA 40 Box, and by the time I got a line on one, I had kind of outgrown the DNA 40 board. I paid for the Box Reborn and for a spare set of panels out of my own pocket, and I am extremely excited about it. The Box Reborn included the Tube Atty (also by Limelight), but I will be reserving a separate review for that.
The reason why I put in the title that this isn’t really a review is because I adore this mod. The instant I found out about it, I needed it. Dejan from Limelight has been enormously helpful, and customer service is clearly a priority with Limelight.
Todd brings up an interesting point in his review of this same mod. This mod is one out of 99 and that’s it. There won’t be more. As with anything, not everyone will be able to get all the things they want, and I happen to have lucked into being able to get one (even outside of the already RNG based way they’re distributed), and I was lucky enough that my finances lined up so I could purchase one.
This will be more of a dissection of the design and materials. It will be structured like a review, but the avenue of attack will be a little different.
- Price: $550 (includes panels, Tube Atty, and calfskin case)
- Chipset: DNA 200 Board
- Dimensions: 80mm tall x 50mm deep x 25mm wide
- Battery: 950mAh 3S LiPo (10.545 Watt Hours)
- Accessories: Stone panels (+$30/pair), stabilized wood panels (+$50/pair)
There is a lot to be said about the DNA 200 and eScribe (a lot of that being how much better eScribe has gotten over the last 6 months), but that can be contained to its own post. Let it suffice to say that I am considerably more appreciative of this chip than I was before.
A quick word about battery life, the 950mAh LiPo cell in here is just a hair shorter than a 3,000mAh 18650, so take that for what you will. It’s enough for a full day for me since I’m a sub 20W vaper, but maybe not for everyone.
The stock panels are stone, of a variety of your choosing. I decided to go with the Jeera Green panels myself. More about the stone panels later, because they are a major source of why I think this mod is great.
The frame of the mod is a brushed stainless steel that curves kind of gently around the corners. It’s extremely comfortable to hold even for extended periods of time.
The button caps are placed directly above the DNA 200 control board as far as I can tell. They’re flush with the mod and made of the same material, but because of the screen and where the atomizer attaches (nearer the button side) it’s really quite difficult to lose track of where they live on the mod (so no feeling around to look around for them). The primary con against the buttons, though, is that it can be a little difficult to get both adjustment buttons pressed down to change menus and settings.
The 950mAh 3S LiPo battery is held into place with user removable brushed aluminum bracket-frame things. You just need a little hex wrench to get them out of the mod, and once your battery reaches the end of its life, it doesn’t sound like much of a task to replace the battery.
Inside, the board and some of the internals are held in place with ebano wood. It is definitely not ebony since this is quite a soft wood, and my Google-fu has kept me from finding out what exactly that wood is. That said, the touch on the internals is quite nice. The wood is engraved indicating that this is the first batch, so that makes me wonder if there will be more runs in the future.
The big takeaway though, is that the inside is as handsome as the outside. Cable management is tastefully hidden, and whenever you take the panels off to swap them you are met with a clean and attractive view instead of just a vision of the guts.
The panels are very important to consider from the perspective of the materials used. The Box and Box Reborn have their panels swapped out with very strong magnets, and the way the magnets are attached keeps things quite stable even if there are some slight gaps. You choose your stock panel material from a variety of stones and you’re off! The choice of stone (which was available for the first DNA 40 Box from Limelight) was and remains a novel choice. You simply don’t see it frequently in the higher end scene where stabilized/hybrid wood reigns supreme.
The stone is attached to metal panels. When you want to change out your panels, you poke a tool that resembles a SIM card ejector into the bottom of the mod, pop up the bottom of the panel and that gives you enough traction to change it out!
Beyond the stone offerings, even the stabilized wood materials available are unique among the others that dominate the market. Most of them have excellent dye penetration with stainless steel accents. The metal borders within the panels have allowed Limelight to use multiple wood sections in each panel choice, so it’s not just one single block used. On all of my panels, once they are in place they don’t move a bit. Once they are in place (even with a few slight gaps), nothing rattles or scoots around. Once your panels are on they are staying on.
Overall, the panels that Limelight Mechanics have created for the Box mods are quite distinctive among the rest that I have encountered so far, and achieving market differentiation in this day and age is really a great feat.
The calfskin case that the Box Reborn comes with is one of my favorite things about this mod. It’s very soft, looks good, fits well, and feels quite sturdy. The one time I took the Box Reborn out of my house for a day trip, I kept it in the case all day and felt like it was adequately protected. The only downside is that it can be a little slippy when using the wood panels because they are thinner than the stone panels and the case has to fit around both.
The presentation box the mod came in is fantastic. It is wooden with a sliding top that has a tight fit, but smooth motion to open and close. Inside, the panels and mod are protected by a leather sheet and foam pad. Everything is in its place and was well protected through the long trip over from Serbia.
A brief word about the Tube Atty – it is handsome and fits well on the mod. I’m excited to take a critical view on it and use it in a dedicated fashion so I can gather my thoughts around it. There are some common opinions I have come across already, but I don’t think people are looking at the big picture.
The Box Reborn also comes with an atty plate protector in the form of a clear sticker, but I couldn’t get it centered right so I just gave up on it. I don’t plan on my Box Reborn going anywhere, so nuts to atty swirl.
Another interesting tidbit is that the LiPo battery is that it is user serviceable. The battery, once it has run its lifetime course, is replaceable. I think it requires a hair of soldering, but that is excellent to know! The DNA 200 is a board that has stupendous staying power, the limited lifetime of an integrated LiPo cell is the only big issue that many people have with the DNA 200 (outside of its price).
This is my first formal examination of UX, user experience. All of the bill of materials stuff is tackled, and it has all come together in an extremely handsome device.
The ergonomics of the Box Reborn are quite nice. It is not petite, but not stout. Its 25mm diameter I thought might be a little problematic, but my hands fit around everything. The corners aren’t sharp, and the steel frame curves gently to fit in my hand.
As stated above, the adjustment buttons can be a little hinky. It can be hard to lock power to do a variety of the DNA 200’s functions because the buttons are a little close together and it can be hard to tell when both are depressed. That said, accidental adjustments haven’t happened once on me yet.
The fire button, though, is my favorite. When I posted a first impression on a forum, I described it as “touching God’s nipple” and I will maintain that position because it truly is fantastic. It’s a large button, but it doesn’t take much effort to push down. Being a little off center won’t keep the mod from firing or keeps the action from feeling any less smooth.
It’s kind of the direct opposite of the Dani Extreme V2+’s little nubblet button. Both are great, but the Box Reborn’s button is a joy. It has smooth action from all angles and you know it’s going to work whenever you hit it. It’s the same kind of assurance you get when you use a Provari.
The whole Box is a little hefty. It’s not a chore to use it, but it does convey the heft that you expect from a premium thing (interestingly, I got to use a Juul for a little bit a while back and I was disappointed with how flimsy it felt in my hand, especially given that it’s a little pricey for what it is).
I mentioned a little earlier that the battery is user serviceable, and getting the battery out of there isn’t hard at all. I had the probably-not-great idea to get up in there when I first got the Box Reborn to see what it was like. I don’t have to do it, and likely won’t have to replace the battery for a year, but it gives me a certain sense of assurance knowing that the battery can be replaced, and that kind of peace of mind is really special when using a multi-hundred dollar device with a LiPo battery.
If I had only one word to describe the Box Reborn, I think it would be graceful. It is understated, timeless, simple-yet-elegant, user serviceable, and made with quality materials by quality people.
Despite the fact that this is not a review per se the question “Who is it for?” still deserves asking.
Who is this for?
The Box Reborn by Limelight Mechanics is for:
- The technically oriented (by virtue of the DNA 200 board)
- Those who want a desk mod
- Folks who want a high end mod, but not something necessarily flashy or avant-garde
- People who appreciate quality craftsmanship
- Someone who wants a mod that will last (the DNA 200 and replaceable LiPo give great staying power to the Box)
If you want something that has a truly unique profile, this is not the mod for you. If you want a mod that you don’t have to be involved with, the Box Reborn is still not for you. If you need more than a single 18650’s worth of battery life, the Box Reborn is not for you, either. If you don’t want to deal with a LiPo battery, it’s sooooo not for you.
For me, however, the Box Reborn is the complete package. A single 18650 really gets me through the day, so battery life is not an issue. I’ve gotten more into using eScribe than I had with my HFO DNA 200 (and the software really has taken huge leaps forward over the last 6 months). It’s handsome, panels are easy to change, and rock solid.
This is why I wanted to write an analysis of the design and material choices on the Box. It’s everything I could need and I knew that when I purchased it. Barring some egregious manufacturing issues, I knew I was going to be a fan.
Hopefully this article still performs a service to my readers and perhaps even to the modders out there. I hate articles and “reviews” that are people just bragging about the new gear they got, and I hope that with each article (except maybe mail calls and progress updates) helps contribute to the pool of knowledge in the industry.
If you hate this kind of article or have suggestions on improvements, please let me know! I hope, though, you enjoyed it.