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  • 4 Post By Schtoo

Thread: More stuff. AL85, Peerless, Nugget, Smart tank, Geekvape wire, attack of the clones.

  1. #1
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    More stuff. AL85, Peerless, Nugget, Smart tank, Geekvape wire, attack of the clones.

    Well, I been at it again. Bought more stuff, and right now, it looks like I can stop looking for 'gear' and simply use up what I have, at least for the foreseeable future. About the only thing now is maintenance and maybe duplicate, maybe...

    So, in order of introduction;

    The Smok AL85, the baby alien. I got this specifically for the OBS Engine, as that tank being 25mm in diameter won't sit nicely on any of the other mods I have. The AL85 however takes it wonderfully, with the barest (and not offensive) hint of overhang near the fire bar. If you have an 25mm tank that could live on a single cell mod, this is the one, size wise at least.

    Size wise, if you put a silicon sleeve on a Pico, the Alien is the same size while naked. SO just a hair bigger all round, and it makes a huge difference in that it'll take those 25mm tanks and they'll look 'right' on there. Nice big screen, reasonably easy to use interface, works really well. That's not without it's own little quirks though. I took this one out the other day, large phone sharing the same pocket and every time I pulled the AL85 out, all the settings were screwed up. Even 'locking' it would give problems as the 'unlock' is the up-down buttons pressed at the same time, which is easy to do especially for something large and flat like a phone screen. There's an autolock setting, which might be better, but I didn't use it. Either way, I'd like to be able to have 5 clicks to turn it off for pocket use which would also disable the front buttons. Other than that, in use it's simple enough to plug and play, doesn't go off on it's own once initially set up and works really well. Looks are subjective, but I like it. I didn't get the red-gold I wanted, ended up with black-red, which is fine. I've heard that Smok paint doesn't last, but this seems to look as new after a month of constant use so I'd say they've discovered good paint and are using it. And 'like new' means exactly that, I could wipe off the finger marks, stick it back in the box and nobody would know it had ever been used.

    The fire bar is new to me, seems to be fine and it's well made overall. So very good.

    However I do have a Pico, which is pretty much the same thing. Of the two, I use the Smok more (because Engine), but I can't say either one is 'better' than the other, except in particular circumstances.

    The Pico is more compact, and the battery 'cap' is better, as in nicer machined. The AL85 isn't bad, but noticeably less refined (crunchy). As you are always at that cap, it's something you notice. Build wise, 6/half-dozen. Functioning, as supplied I think the AL85 is actually better than the Pico and is simple but also more easily adjusted/fine tuned when putting on a new tank as you go along. It'll check the ohms, ask if it's a new coil then lock (and I mean LOCK) the resistance in. You can choose what mode to use (VW, VV, TC in SS, Ni and Ti or 'memory' mode) and if using TC, it'll ask what TCR you want to use, which I like to be able to choose and it does this as you select the TC mode. If you don't know what this means, don't worry. Use it as is and it'll be fine. The Pico is similar, but getting to the fine adjustments isn't as easy I don't think, and you can't choose the TCR on the simple settings, you need to get into the 'user' settings to adjust that. But a Pico with Arctic Fox firmware, much more adjustability than the AL85. Also the Pico lives in a pocket without doing anything but just sitting there quietly.

    And on a battery change, the AL85 needs to be turned on every single time. The Pico automatically fires up on a battery change (I think!). Small detail, but I prefer it to fire up by itself. More than once (every damned time) I'll change the battery and forget to turn it on and wonder why it's not working...

    TL;DR? Either are good. If you don't need 25mm tank capability, the Pico is more compact and more pocketable. The AL85 is more configurable as standard and maybe nicer in the hand and nicer to actually 'use'. It's a hard choice, but if you're considering the Pico, you must also look at the AL85 as well. If I had to keep just one, probably the AL85.

    The AL85 came with a TFV8 Baby tank. Works well, desktop only though. No pockets. That cap will open up and you will not like it. This is a very, very good tank and I can see why this family of tanks is so popular. Does chew up coils though, but the performance is worth it if you allow a budget to replace coils frequently.

    Along the way I answered a questionnaire for Health Cabin about Geekvape's Peerless and Medusa tanks, and they offered up a prize of some Geekvape wire. I won it.

    So I have a mess of wire, a LOT more than I thought it was and a lot more than I'll ever need. It's good wire, lots of choices, reasonably priced and worth a look. The spools are very good as well and, well, once I run out of the wire I have or want something I don't have, these will be the first option I'll consider. Heck, I've added to the collection already with some plain and SS clapton that wasn't included in the prize. Thanks a heap to HC for this, it pretty much obliterated my concerns about wire and what to get.

    Anyway, the questionnaire asked which of their new tanks I'd consider buying and I said the Peerless RDA, because I wanted a proper, real, RDA. So I ended up buying one and it's pretty good. I have a basis of comparison of one, and that one isn't very good, but the Peerless is pretty good and works really well. Price is excellent as well, so if you want to 'drip' into that world, I think it's a good option. Cheap, simple, works really well.

    The posts are a little 'odd' though, as they don't have 'holes' as much as 'slots', which do need some fiddling with to work well as the wires will move around a little until you lock them down.

    Next, Nugget II micro-mod. I saw one of these at W&W over the new year, and kick myself for simply not slapping down the $50 and getting it on the spot. I corrected that error and for what I have planned for this mod, that correction was a very good idea.

    It is not the smallest mod going, but it's darned close. Smaller in height and width that a Pico by a noticeable margin, 1mm wider. It's about the same size as 2 packs of tic-tacs (I think) side by side, so it's really small. Works well, has all the TC modes you could want and adjustability in those settings to make any tank work well with it, so long as the tank only needs 50W or less. It's a small metal box in appearance and feel and overall is a solid little thing, nuggety? Got a bit of weight to it though, so not a toy at all. Buttons are solid and don't rattle and I really like it. As it's only got a small battery in it (1500maH), it'll do all it can to preserve battery power so dimmable display and auto-shutoff are almost essential, but charging takes an hour or so in real life usage. I'm not using this as a regular doohickey, only for out of the house adventures and it hides in a jeans pocket with ease. Very happy with this one.

    But the Nugget is small, so needs a small tank. The Nautilus X is a very small tank, the Pockex SS coils fit it (TC! and it works!) and that gives you a very, very small profile tooter. But there is a smaller tank out there, the Hotcig 'Smart' tank. The entire tank with drip tip and 2ml capacity comes up to the base of the drip tip of the Nautilus X. Alone, either are really small tanks. Side by side, the NautiX is 'big'. The Smart tank is a really, really tiny tank. It'll do from zero-air-draw to restrictive DL, has good flavour and vapour production (in a limited way), and it's very good considering how small it is. Comes with a nice little case as well. I use this on the Nugget, and the top of the battery cap on the AL85 or Pico comes to halfway up the Smart tank on the Nugget. I can hide the entire thing in my not very large hands.

    The reverse threaded fill cap is genius as well. Never disassembles itself when it's time to refill, airflow adjust works well and the coil seems to be holding up as well as expected. Only 1.2 and 1.8 ohm options there, Kanthal (?) only, but it's a vertical coil with external wicking so lets enough air through it to work nicely. NO LEAKS! Not a drop, anywhere, ever. Had it in my pocket while driving and walking around all day, and nothing but a little pocket fluff in the air-hole.

    The pair together, stylish, simple and a really good combination. Good, no, Great thing in a small package. Just need to find something equally compact and stylish to refill with because the battery easily outlasts the tank. I'm running it at 12-15W, which means that even the small battery lasts a goodly time.

    (Go with this if you want something that matches the size of the newest small box units, but outclasses them in every aspect imaginable.)

    Lastly, 2 clones. First clones I've ever got. One was a Kayfun V5 clone, the other a NarDA clone. They work, they're well (enough) made, they were cheap and lack the polish of the real deal I'm sure, but the subtleties are lost on me. They work well enough that if I have the chance to buy a real Kayfun V5, I might actually do it. The NarDA, no, I wouldn't buy a real one. The clone works, and is priced right for how complicated it is, which is not even the slightest bit complicated. Both from Fasttech, and based on my experience of a single order, I think I'll not bother again unless I want to try some more clones...

    Hope that all helps someone.

    Stu.

  2. #2
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    In what's appearing to be a monthly thing, as in I spend up 1/3 of what I used to spend on stinkies (no, actually, they're cheap here so about the same!), I've got another bunch of stuff arrived, all being used, and the stuff in this review has now been well used for a month.

    'Using up what I got' lasted for a whole 4 weeks. I'm such a sucker...

    So I guess it's update time? This one was nowhere near as popular as the previous review thread, conversation wise, but it seemed to be well read so here we go.

    The Amok AL85 is still bopping along nicely, and now I'm more used to it, I'm liking it more than I did originally, but I've also identified some not so great aspects to it.

    The good points, running TC you can tweak the TCR (Temperature Co-efficient of Resistance) each time you switch to it, which is a nice thing to have IF you use different TC compatible coil materials like I do at times. Seems to be kind to it's battery, which also seem to last a goodly time (but not that long really) and it doesn't seem to get warm ever, unlike the Pico. It's just working like it's supposed to, and that's a good thing in itself I suppose. I'm still using it all the time so it can't be that bad, right?

    Bad points, TC can be a little flaky with some tanks, but not too bad. It's reliant on a TC compatible tank*. The battery cap can be a pain to get off at times as well. If there's a fault, it'll shut down until the tank is disconnected and empty fired, so burning in a new coil is hit and miss and if you strum with something conductive while it's awake, you're going to be unscrewing the tank. Just won't push through. The finish, which seemed to be holding up nicely, is no longer holding up as nicely. The adjustment button is missing paint, there's a small scratch on the fire bar. Otherwise, it's doing fine. If Smok is reading this, undercoat/primer does actually work and you should use it...

    (*, I've found that some tanks that tend to retain heat in their coil chamber tend to misbehave on TC more than those that lose heat between toots. To a point, TC just doesn't work on 'hot' tanks. It's hard to pick which are which on sight.)

    Basically, it's a really good, user friendly unit and a great alternative to the Pico, except the Pico is cheaper. But this will take a 25mm tank without drama and it looks a heap better I think, than the new Pico 25 as well.

    Wire? It's wire, I'm working my way through it.

    Peerless? It's a dripper. I drip liquid and toot it. There's not much to it, it works like it's supposed to. Nothing to report. If you don't use it for a while, the airflow control/cap can lock itself to the main body but I suspect that's not at all unusual.

    Nugget II? I'm doing my best to wear this thing out, because how I'm using it (under 20W) it just works. Reliable, super compact and the most pocketable thing I have. And if someone sees it, it's usually topped off with something silver so it all looks classy. TC works great, and I cannot really fault it at all. It's maybe not for someone who needs lots of power or will need an exceptionally long life between charges (unless you're lightly tooting), but as a backup or travelling doohickey, there's this thing and, well, I can't think of anything that'll match it in terms of how well it works, features and size. I love this thing. It's the high end counter to the super simple, super compact units that are somewhat popular as a stealth device.

    The Smart tank, it's what's often on the nugget so I've got the smallest tank on one of the smallest mods, and they work really, really well together. Doesn't seem to chew through coils too quickly and as a bonus, the coils can be rebuilt pretty easily. The inner hole is 3mm, so any 3mm tool will work and I've currently got a SS coil in there, which means I also get TC on that tank. Ups it from merely great to awesome. It's not for cloud chasing, but because it is so small and compact, punches out good flavour. In some cases, it's overpowering flavour wise which is not as great as it sounds but it's easy to dial back a liquid (dilution!) than it is to chase more flavour out of a tank.

    It still has not leaked, but if you slightly overfill it will push liquid into the air system under hydraulic pressure. Leave a gap, no problems. Clears pretty easily as those tanks that 'go hydraulic' are wont to do.

    Clones, they're clones. Use them to try before you buy the real deal...

    And that's about that.

    Again, I hope someone finds some value in it.

    This update, because on first run through everything is shiny and new and lovely, but on reflection not everything is rosy and beautiful. Very important as a tank I thought was good but flawed when new has ended up being the first tank I've permanently retired and want nothing more to do with. Regular readers won't need many hints on what been dumped...

    You could read that as "hindsight is 20/20" or "familiarity breeds contempt". Whatever, some stuff gets 'old' and what never gets old is what you try to find and hold on to.

    Stu.
    Last edited by Schtoo; 12-06-17 at 01:06 PM.

 

 

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