Hardware Review: Michael Mod from Asvape

Transcript:

The Asvape Michael mod was sent to me for the purpose of this review by Ave40.com, so big thanks to those guys.

Let’s jump right into the review and talk specs.

  • Size: 60x28x91.5mm (it’s about 3.5 x 2.5 inches and 1 inch wide)
  • Fires from 5-200 watts
  • Requires 2 x 18650 batteries
  • The chassis is made of zinc-alloy
  • The artwork is created using a water-transfer printing process
  • American-made chip called the VO200
  • Modes: wattage, temp control, bypass, and variable power control.
  • Temp control supports Titanium, Nickel, and SS316
  • Firmware upgradeable
  • Safety features: low battery protection, low resistance protection, reverse polarity protection, and short circuit protection

Presentation / Box

They really stepped up in the design department all the way down to the box. When you pull it out of the box, you’ll find a work of art plastered onto a heavy-duty device.

Well, I think it’s a work of art. I’ve seen some people call it ugly, and I can see how some people might think it’s gaudy or tasteless, but I think it looks really cool. We all have our own preferences when it comes to art.

There are two versions of art available; The Devil’s Night and The Walking Dead. There’s also a much more expensive stabilized wood version. I have the Walking Dead model.

According to Asvape.com, The Walking Dead model was inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video. Supposedly Asvape hired a famous artist to hand-paint the original design in the theme of zombies. I can’t find any information about who this famous artist is, but that’s what they claim. Everywhere I looked, people say the art is designed by a famous illustrator, but nobody says who it is. Why would you not tell people who it is? I would think that’s a selling point. My guess is he’s not famous. Famous or not, I think they should have given the artist more credit, like a signature on the art or battery door. Or even on the website.

The firing button also has some nice fine details. It’s in the design of a seal or a crest. It features the Asvape initials and is surrounded by the words “Aequitas” and “In Asvape We Trust”. Aequitas is Latin for justice, equality, and fairness. I’m not sure how that relates to this device, but Latin is cool, so I kind of like it, but I think “In Asvape We Trust” is cheesy.

You’ll also find some more fancy art engraved into the top around the 510 connection. I have no idea what this is supposed to be, but it makes me think of some sort of alien design, like crop circles or something. It looks nice. The one thing I don’t like about it is that if I over drip, the e-juice gets into all the little cracks and I have to really dig in to clean it out.

One difference between the Walking Dead model over the Devil’s night version is that The Walking Dead version is one full piece of art. It’s different on both sides. The Devil’s night version is mirrored on each side. It still looks really cool, but just something I noticed.

So that’s the design, now let’s look at the device build

Device Features

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that it’s really big. The first thing my wife said when she saw it was that “it’s sooooo big,” almost as if she was disgusted by it!

She’s not a vaper though and I’m used to using big box mods, so it doesn’t bother me.

She’s right though, it’s a pretty big device and might turn some people off. It’s way bigger than other popular dual battery devices on the market like the SMOK Alien or Wismec Predator 228. It’s about the size of some of my older devices like the Pioneer4You IPV4 or Smok XCube II.

Although it’s a big device, it doesn’t seem so big that it’s hard to hold. It’s also not that heavy for such a large device, even with batteries in it.

One side has grooves. This makes it really comfortable. I think those grooves were smart. It makes it ergonomic. And if you like to fire with your thumb, the slant on the top near the 510 seems to be a really comfortable place for the index finger.

It’s made of metal and covered in a rubbery, plastic sort of material. The Asvape website calls it airframe skin, but that might be a poor translation from Chinese because I can’t find any information about anything called airframe material. And they have poor English translation all over their website and user manual, so that could definitely be it. Anyway, the rubbery material is really nice though. It’s not just a thin sticker. You can also feel the texture of the design, just slightly. It really gives the device the feeling of high quality. The only con with the rubbery material is that it’s not grippy and actually a little slippery. That’s subjective though. It might not bother you.

It has nice clicky buttons. Some people like that and some don’t. I like it. They aren’t loose or squishy. And the up and down buttons look like a part of the design rather than actual buttons, which I think works great for aesthetics.

The one issue I’ve noticed with the firing button is that it can be slightly rotated. I don’t like that. It makes me worry that it might eventually break. The button does rattle though. It just rotates a little.

On the bottom, you’ll find a sliding battery door with venting holes. Under the battery cover, you’ll find a serial number and a small magnet. I’m really not a fan of that door. It just slides off way too easily. Mine doesn’t rattle but I’ve seen reviews of others that do. I think Asvape should have used more magnets or maybe stronger magnets to keep it in place. I worry that the door might slide off in my pocket although it hasn’t yet.

You can fit up to 28mm diameter atomizers on the Michael before you get overhang, so that’s nice. The 510 is also spring loaded.

It has a really nice crisp LED screen too, but it’s hard to see in the sunlight.

And the buttons protrude just slightly so they are easy to find.

You can also charge your batteries within the device if you want. I always recommend charging removable batteries in an external charger for safety reasons, but this does have balanced charging capabilities if that’s what you’re looking for. This doesn’t have a passthrough charging feature though, so you can’t vape while it’s charging.

Menu

Ok, let’s quickly cover the menu system.

Five clicks turn it on. Once it’s on, press the fire button 5 times again to get into the menu.

The plus and minus button will navigate through every mode available. Every screen will also show you the “System” setting. If you navigate to the system setting in any menu and press up, you will exit the menu. If you press down, it will turn off the device.

If you do three clicks instead of five, you’ll lock the device. This is strange because the lock symbol pops up every time you go to enter the menu on 5 clicks. If you go the menu fast enough, it doesn’t actually activate the lock, but it’s a little jarring every time I do it. I think Asvape should have found a cleaner solution of implementing the lock feature.

Modes

Power / Wattage

Power mode is your typical wattage mode. It works like you’d expect. You can change the wattage from 5 watts to 200 watts. This mode accepts atomizers built at 0.08 to 3.0 ohms. So it can go pretty low if you like to use sub-ohm builds.

Temperature Control

I haven’t messed around with temp control because I don’t use temp control, but all of the reviews that I’ve seen online say that it’s pretty accurate.

Temperature Control mode has built-in presets that support Titanium, Nickel, and SS316. There are two sub-modes within temperature control; NC and AC. AC is Automatic Control. You set the type of wire you’re using and it supplies power at what it thinks is best. You can’t set the maximum temperature yourself in this mode. NC is Normal Control, which is like how most temperature control devices work; you set your coil type and adjust the max temperature.

The one feature I would have liked to see is the ability to change the Temperature Coefficient of Resistance (TCR). That way you could adjust the TCR values for any type of wire. This is firmware upgradeable so maybe we’ll see that in the future.

Temp Control mode supports atomizers built between 0.05 and 3.0 ohms.

Bypass

Bypass mode is almost like using a mech mod. As far as I understand, this mode still has some safety features in place. Anyway, Bypass mode doesn’t allow you to adjust any settings. It pulls power directly from your batteries as if you were using a mech mod. So if you want more power, you have to build your atomizer at lower ohms to draw more power from the batteries.

Bypass mode works with atomizers built between 0.25 and 3.0. So they aren’t letting users super sub-ohm in this mode.

Variable Power Control (VPC)

And finally, Variable Power Control mode, or VPC. This is a really cool feature that lets you create a custom curve of power. From my tests, it seems like each dot represents about 2 seconds. The final dot is 8 seconds.

So let’s use an example of how this works. You can set the first two seconds to 80 watts, then drop the next two seconds down to 70 watts, then to 60 watts, and finally 50 watts. Or you can start the vape out cool at 40 watts and gradually increase to 80 watts. Or whatever you prefer. You can set each dot anywhere from 5 watts to 200 watts.

You can store up to five different presets so that you can always pick which curve you want to use.

To exit the menu, hold the fire button for two seconds and then press either the plus or minus button.

Feel and Performance

This device fires fast and immediately. There’s no noticeable delay whatsoever.

The buttons work fast too. You can make wattage adjustments really quick. For people like me who have low patience, this is a great feature.

The battery life also seems very good. It doesn’t seem to be draining battery power while it’s off and it isn’t using up a ton of power while I’m using it.

The VO200 Chipset

The VO chip was created by VO Tech, an American company based in Riverside, California. This chip was designed to be on par with or better than Yihi chipsets and DNA chipsets.

You also have the ability to edit the chip to add your own personalized logo. You’ll need to install the VO chip editing software, which is the same software you need to update the firmware. From videos I’ve seen, it looks easy to use. The only drawback is that it’s Windows only. I use a Mac, so I wasn’t able to try it out.

I’ve also looked at some reviews of the VO chip and it looks very cleanly built and manufactured with the highest quality in mind. One review said that it appears to be even higher quality than the DNA200 board. This reviewer, who goes by Mr17G, tested the VO75 board and found that at every setting, it’s putting out the max wattage that it claims to be. He has charts to prove it. It does seem to drop slightly as the wattage goes up, so the higher you go, the less likely you are to get the max power during the entire hit, but he says the drops are negligible. He even tested the power curves and found that each curve was very accurate.

The VO Chipset by itself costs $70 for the 75-watt chip. I’m not sure about the 200-watt chip because it doesn’t look like it’s available anywhere to buy. As far as I can tell, the VO200 model has only been made available to Asvape. That will probably change in time, but I think, for now, Asvape is the only manufacturer using it.

Final Thoughts

I only have a few issues with it. First the price. At $110 it’s pricey, but if you consider the manufacturing quality and the fact that the chip itself probably costs more than $70 each, it’s understandable.

The rotating fire button is also questionable but doesn’t seem to be a big deal.

The menu system isn’t very user-friendly and could use some fine-tuning, but also not a huge deal.

The one thing that I really dislike is the battery door. It just slides off too easily. Everything on the Michael mod is high-quality except the loose door feels cheap.

But the Michael has pretty much every feature that a vaper could want; adjustable power curves, temp control, bypass mode, and a super fast and accurate chip. The one big thing missing is a TCR feature for temp-control.

Because of its advanced features, large size, and high price, I’d say this is more for a hardcore vaper or collector, but I’m sure anyone could get the hang of it. Personally, I love it.

So big thanks to Ave40.com for sending it to me. You can pick it up the Michael Mod from Ave40.com for $110. They carry both the Devil’s Night version and the Walking Dead version.

Another big plus about buying from Ave40 is that they take Paypal and offer a free shipping option.

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