Category Archives: Hardware

Hardware Review: The Heatvape Invader Mini

invader-mini

The Invader Mini is an older device that was really popular somewhere around mid-2015. I never ended up getting one when it was popular, but it was something that I always wanted. Well, a few months ago I saw vendor having a clearance sale on these for only $10 so I finally picked one up.

When the Invader Mini first came out, I watched a lot of reviews and they all showed how awesome and durable the device is. People have recorded videos showing the Invader Mini being run over by cars, taken outside thrown as hard and far as possible, and even submerging it underwater. YouTube reviewer “Fresh03” did a water test during one of his entire live shows, and if you’re familiar with his shows then you know they usually last around 2-3 hours.

In all of the tests I’ve seen, the Invader Mini came through working perfectly so I’m not going to do any of those tests. I’m just going to talk a little bit about the device and give you some of my thoughts on it.

Specs

  • Colors: Black, Blue, Grey, Yellow, Green, and Purple
  • Waterproof Level: IPX4 (safe from splashed water from any direction)
  • Materials: Zinc Alloy + Silicone + Brass
  • Output Power: 1W-50W
  • Output Voltage: 1V-9.9V
  • Ohm Limit: 0.1-1.0 Ohm in TC Mode, 0.16-2.0 Ohm in wattage mode
  • Requires 18650 battery (not included)
  • Price: Originally around $60, can be found for around $10-$20 today
  • Product weight : 0.215 kg
  • Product size (L x W x H) 4.21 (tall) x 1.49 (front to back) x 1.18 inches (left to right)
  • Temperature control: Nickel wire only
  • Shockproof

What Comes in the Box?

  • The Invader Mini
  • User Manual

Look and Feel

It feels very comfortable in the hands for the most part, but I it feels a little uncomfortable when firing it with my thumb, with the firing button facing towards me. I much prefer firing it with my index finger, with the device facing outward. That’s just personal preference, though.

Another annoyance is the rubber piece at the top of the device that looks like a button. I keep accidentally pressing it thinking it’s the firing button.

Battery Chamber

The battery tube is a thick, solid metal tube. There doesn’t appear to be anything that could break or wear down in there. It looks extremely durable and high-quality. The biggest con with the battery compartment is that there is no indicator showing which direction the battery goes into the device. Using typical battery configuration, I assumed (correctly), that the positive end of the battery faces the 510 connection.

510 Connection

The 510 is not spring loaded, which means that if your atomizer doesn’t have a long enough 510 pin, it might not make a good connection. This would have to be an extremely short 510 pin to cause an issue and is not at all likely, but it could happen.

Because the pin is not spring-loaded, this also means that many atomizers will not sit flush on the device. Heatvape considered this and smartly included an adjustable ring at the top of the device that allows you to adjust to remove gaps.

The reason Heatvape did not use a spring-loaded 510 was so that the device would be water-resistant. If the 510 was spring-loaded, water would be able to get through to the chip. It’s a minor inconvenience to have a great feature like water-resistance.

Function

It works great! I’ve used the device for several months now with no issues at all. It also seems to fire at the 50 watts they say it does and I’ve used it with many different atomizers and haven’t had any problems with it not firing.

The biggest con with functionality is that the menu system is extremely confusing. Having to lock the device before changing some of the settings makes it very difficult to use and not at all intuitive. Without a user manual, some of the devices features would probably never be figured out by someone who hasn’t used the device before. Heatvape really should have come up with a better menu system.

Another drawback is that the Invader Mini does allow the user to fully shut off the device. It will turn off automatically after a few seconds and will fully shut down after an hour without use, but there’s no way to manually force the device to fully turn off without removing the battery.

Temperature Control

The Invader Mini does temperature control only with nickel wire. I’ve tested it various situations:

  • Coils only
  • Coils with dry cotton
  • Coils with soaked cotton

With coils only and no cotton, the temperature control worked well enough not to heat up the coils hot enough to turn red, which is exactly what we want.

With dry cotton installed, the cotton did not burn at all. Again, temperature control worked perfectly.

And finally, with soaked cotton. The temperature control allowed the device to fire until the cotton dried out, then would not push enough wattage to burn the cotton.

In all three tests, the temperature control worked great.

Pros and Cons

These are all opinions and may or may not be pros and cons to you, depending on what you’re looking for in a device.

Cons

  • Can’t completely turn it off without removing the battery
  • The user manual is not accurate
  • Temp control only supports nickel wire
  • It’s heavy
  • It only goes to 50 watts
  • Battery screw cap is a little hard to unscrew
  • You cannot charge the device with a charging cable (would negate water-resistance, so makes sense)
  • Non spring-loaded 510
  • The menu system is confusing
  • Single battery devices run through battery quickly at high wattages
  • Pros

    • It’s extremely durable
    • It’s practically water-proof (though not technically rated as waterproof)
    • The top cap is adjustable to remove gaps between atomizers
    • Temp-mode works great
    • Buttons are nice and clicky
    • Battery screw cap is airtight
    • Removable battery

    Overall, this is a great device. It’s durable and rugged. It’s shockproof, practically waterproof, and can fire up to 50 watts. It’s a device that would work great on an outdoor trip, such as when kayaking, or regularly on a physically demanding job such as with construction work.

The M Terk RDA Might Have a Weak 510 Screw

mterk-rda-broken

The M Terk RDA looks like a really nice RDA, but the 510 pin is made of thin copper, which turns out might be fairly easy to break.

Mark “Vapan Fagn” found this out personally and posted a picture on his Instagram page, which seems to have caused a bit of drama among his followers. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering it.

You can also see Mark talking more about what happened at about the 56-minute mark of this video:

Mark said that he wasn’t even being rough with it when it snapped. If you take a look at the 510 pin you can see why. It’s extremely thin. It’s about as thin as post screw. That probably wouldn’t be a problem with other types of metals but copper is a soft metal, which is great for conductivity, but it’s not very durable.

People are saying that Vape Amp, the company who makes the M Terk, should have used bigger screws for the 510.

Something worth noting here is that in this specific situation, Vape Amp firmly stood by the quality of their products. They were professional about responding to Mark Fagan’s Instagram picture of the broken product and sent him a replacement quickly.

If you’re still willing to risk a broken 510 or having to deal with a return, you can get the M Terk RDA at Vape Amp. They are little pricey though! It’ll set you back $90 for the black version and $95 for the red and black.

Hardware Review: Vaporesso’s Estoc Tank

HeavenGifts.com sent me the 4ml version of the Estoc tank, dubbed the Estoc Mega, for the purpose of review.

Get this tank from HeavenGifts.com at the following links (affiliate):

Watch the video or read the review below.

I’m guessing that Vaporesso named this tank after the estoc sword, which is a type of long sword that doesn’t have sharp edges, but has pointed tip. It was designed for thrusting and was invented in the 14th century. There’s your history lesson for the day!

There are two sizes of the Estoc tank available; 4ml and 2ml and they come in either black or silver colors.

The 4ml tank, which is called the “Mega,” costs $19.00 U.S. and the 2ml model costs $18.50

Replacement coils come in packs of 10. The 0.4 ohm and 0.5 ohm traditional clapton coil pack costs $16 and the 0.5 ohm ceramic coil pack costs $18.

In the box you get the tank, an extra replaceable coil, a replacement glass tube, and two protective covers – one red and one gray.

Vaporesso claims that it’s a leak proof system, and based on my experience with it, I agree. I’ve been carrying this tank around and I haven’t had any leaks at all. I’ve even stored it sideways in my backpack throughout the day and overnight without any leaking whatsoever.

It has a delrin drip tip, which is pretty standard. It’s not a wide bore, but it’s large enough to get an airy draw.

It comes with what they are calling “protective covers,” which I believe are designed to protect your lips from getting burned if the tank gets hot. I haven’t found a need to use them. The tank doesn’t seem get hot enough to need the covers and I don’t put the atomizer that close to my lips anyway. The covers are nice for changing the colors of the tank though, for example if you have a red device that you want to match the tank to.

This tank uses Vaporesso’s all new EUC coil, which stands for Eco Universal Coil. This new coil system is designed to make replacing coils easy. All you do is drop the coil core into the atomizer and put the tank back together.

The core is very small and uses much less metal than most other replaceable coil heads on the market. This is supposed to save money and reduce waste, hence the Eco part of the name.

You can get the EUC coils in three options:

  • Ceramic SS316L 0.5Ω 25-35W (Included, Installed)
  • Traditional EUC Clapton 0.4Ω 40-50W (Included)
  • Traditional EUC Clapton 0.5Ω 35-401W (Sold Separately)

Vaporesso says that their coils deliver cloud-sized vapor with the purest flavor. I’d say that’s a fairly accurate description. You aren’t going to blow massive clouds with this tank, but you’ll get a nice amount of vapor. And the flavor I’ve been getting has been excellent. I get the best flavor with the ceramic coil, but the flavor from the cotton coil is really good too.

The Estoc has an easy top fill system. You can leave it attached to your device and unscrew the top of the tank and fill it up. The glass doesn’t slip off the deck so there’s no worry of the juice pouring out.

It has bottom airflow adjustment. The airflow can close down to a very tight draw and open enough to get a nice straight-to-lung draw.

It’s a 22mm diameter tank and fits well on most 22mm mods. I’ve tried it on the iStick 50w, the iStick 100w TC, the Wotofo Chieftain 220 watt mod, the Smok XCube II, the little VPark 30w, and the Fuhattan tube mech mod. It looks great on all of them, except for the Fuhattan because the Fuhattan is 24mm in diameter.

Final Thoughts

It’s a great looking tank. I really like the way it looks on everything I’ve used it with.

The airflow isn’t great for mouth-to-lung vaping, because even with the airflow closed as tight as possible, it still has just a little too much airflow. I’m sure vapers who like restricted airflow would enjoy the tank though.

If you’re looking for a lot of airflow, this tank has it. It’s not like a competition RDA or anything like that, but the airflow should satisfy most people.

If you normally vape at really high wattages, say 80 watts or higher, you might need to raise your nicotine levels with the ceramic coils since they can’t be used higher than 35 watts. The 0.4 ohm cotton coil on the other hand, can go up to 50 watts, which provides a more satisfying experience for people who like hotter vapes, such as myself.

I really like how simple this tank is. It’s easy to assemble and there’s nothing confusing about it. There aren’t a bunch of little parts that you need to worry about losing.

I was really surprised by the flavor output of this tank. The flavor was strong until after I vaped about 16ml’s through it. It was still working fine at that point, but the flavor production has just slightly lower than when the coil was new. The cotton coil seems to be about the same.

I’ve been looking for a tank that can handle fairly high wattage, that offers good flavor, that looks nice, and most importantly, a tank that doesn’t leak. This one so far meets all of those things and I really like it.

You can get this tank from HeavenGifts.com in either the Black Model or Silver Model (affiliate links).

Update: Full Review of the Kanger KBox 200 Watt Temperature Control Mod

kanger-kbox-200

DirectVapor.com sent me the Kanger KBox 200 for the purpose of review.

Check out my quick look video below or scroll down for the in-depth review.

Quick Look and Unboxing

Full Review of the KBOX 200

Specs & Features:

  • Available Colors: Black, Red, White
  • Dimension: 22 x 56 x 84mm (W x L x H)
  • Operating Wattage: 7W – 200W
  • Temperature regulation of 1000 times per second
  • Supports Nickel, Titanium, Stainless Steel and Nichrome Coils
  • Minimum Atomizer Resistance: 0.05Ω
  • Battery: 2 x 18650 (Not Included)
  • USB Upgrade Function

Coil Master DIY Kit V2 Review

Coil Master sent me the Coil Master DIY Kit V2 for the purpose of review.

Before I received this DIY kit, all of my coil building tools were thrown into a little drawer that I keep next to my desk. It’s kind of like the junk drawer that most people have in their kitchen. I try to keep it organized, but it continues to get messier as I take supplies in and out of it.

Continue reading Coil Master DIY Kit V2 Review