Artery Cold Steel AIO Pod Mod Kit
Offer Price = $27.79 using code: CSAP
One of the things I like about ARTERY is they always come up with unique designs that stand out from the crowd. The new Cold Steel Pod/Mod is no different, and I was keen to get my hands on this to review. Having previously tested the Artery Nugget GT Pod/Mod, I already knew how good their coils were so I opted for the RBA version of the Cold Steel AIO.
- Size: 39.1 x 28 x 106.5mm
- Materials: Zinc alloy + PCTG
- Battery: Single 21700/20700/18650 battery (not included)
- E-juice capacity: 2ml
- Wattage range: 5-120W
- Voltage range: 0.5-8V
- Resistance Range: 0.5-2Ohm
- Charging port Type-C
- Display: 0.96-inch colour screen
- Colour: Black, SS, Gunmetal, Cooper
The Cold Steel comes in quite a natty rigid box, almost too good unless you plan on storing the Cold Steel but that would be a waste. That said, presentation is important and the packaging certainly left a good impression.
Opening the box, you’re presented with the actual pod/mod and a box with the extras. On first glance it looked pretty sparse, but there was one really nice welcome change to what was included, instead of a usb cable, they included a 510 adaptor plate. Bear with me as I explain why. In a previous review I moaned about the lack of Artery including the 510 adaptor and that I would rather they skip the usb cable which I personally would never use as I charge my batteries outside of the mod. USB cables are ten a penny but you had to make a separate purchase to obtain a 510 adaptor, so now they included it in the box, it is a big pro for me. I’m not being pretentious that my review comment on this issue changed anything as I doubt Artery would have even seen it, but I’m not the only one to mention it and it shows Artery have paid attention to their customers.
After saying that, I suspect the actual reason was they had to include the 510 adaptor to enable fitting the RBA coil. If so, then they are tight arses for not including a usb-C cable :p
Artery Cold Steel RBA Kit Comes With:
- 1* COLD STEEL AIO Mod
- 1* COLD STEEL AIO RBA pod (RBA Including)
- 1* COLD STEEL AIO Mod 510 Adapter
- 1* Pre-made Coil (Ni80 Triple Fused Clapton)
- 1* 18650 battery adapter
- 1* RBA 510 adapter
- 1* Allen key
- 2* Hex screws
- 2* O-rings
- 1* User manual
- 1* Warranty card
Looks and Ergonomics
The industrial look of the Cold Steel really appealed to me, and there’s a lot of interesting detailing gone into the overall design of the mod.
It also feels as good as it looks and the name suits it really well, the size is quite large for a single cell device but the 21700 battery capacity makes up for that. It feels pretty weighty with a battery fitted, but not too heavy if that makes any sense. The brushed finish metal is smooth and doesn’t show up fingerprints.
It has a whole metal and black vibe to it, and the pod/tank is well matched. The 510 adaptor plate is also black and matches up well.
The fire and control buttons are metal and ergonomically shaped, though they do feel a little too light/responsive in operation and I can see I will need the locking function more with this mod as it will easily pocket fire/adjust with the slightest touch.
The pod mounting area looks well sealed. Along with the spring loaded positive and negative pins, there is also another pin for the rather quirky ‘E-juice Test’ feature (more on that later).
The battery cap is located at the base and is unscrewed quite easily with a nice smoothed finger tab. On the inside of the cap is a clearly marked white and black negative sticker for battery orientation. The cap screws in well and doesn’t protrude so the mod stands up well.
The pod or 510 plate fitting is achieve by a thumb tab. I really like this method as it feels solid, which is more important if you are using your own tank on the 510 adaptor. It feels really secure but nice and easy to remove when required.
I have used quite a few RBAs for pods, but this one really impressed me a lot. The build deck is easy to build on but the airflow design really stands out and is quite different for a pod. It looks more like an RDA/dripper, curving around the underside of the coil for a good surround airflow effect.
Everything about the RBA was impressive. Using the included 510 threaded adaptor and the 510 adaptor plate, you can properly work on your build using the pod/mod. The build deck allows for left or right hand wrapped coils, and the clamping method is very effective, making fitting your coil simple. In fact, you can get away without using a coil rod. My OCD for perfection was the only reason I used one to tweak it.
The Ni80 coil also impressed me. This coil is quality and really well wound and solid, making it very easy to work with and space out if required. After clamping, trimming and strumming out the hot spots, I turned my attention to the wicking. The coil is 3mm inside diameter. Judging the wick length is intuitive as you fold over the leg to just above the base of the wicking channel and snip accordingly. I found it easier to saturate the wick fully and ensure it fitted into the channels before fitting it into the pod. I found I didn’t need to thin or prune the cotton any, but you can perhaps trim of the top at 45 degrees if your cotton is too thick.
Once primed, simply unscrew the adaptor and push fit the RBA into the pod, paying attention to the locating flat areas. The whole process was so easy and quick, and that made it really stand out as one of the easiest RBAs I’ve worked with. It is also intuitive which will make it ideal for novices.
As usual I try to suss out mods without resorting to the manual, and the Cold Steel was easy enough as the menu was common sense and simple to work out all the functions. It took me no time to explore all of its features.
Artery have progressed nicely with the Cold Steel, and the new chipset has more features than I have seen in previous devices. The screen is also nice and clear, bright enough for most scenarios, though I suspect it will struggle in bright sunshine (I will have to wait a while before I see that again).
I haven’t tested temp control mode, but I have tried all the other features. The ‘Curve Mode’ was impressive and very fast to configure, though in everyday use I found the pre-sets more than adequate. I enjoy using ‘Bypass’ mode so I’m glad to see this included.
I’m not certain if this is unique but it sure is to me. The Cold Steel has a feature to measure your juice level via the additional pin connection so I was keen to put it to the test. It’s worth noting this won’t work with the 510 adaptor as your chosen tank will not have the required connection, it only works with the pod. That aside, there’s a small pin on the inside of the pod that protrudes, and by some evil magic, it knows how much e-liquid is left in your tank. It also constantly measures it and a drop icon on the screen goes dark when you’re running low. Eventually it will prevent you firing if the level has run out and prompts you to refill. Enough of the blurb, does it actually work? It does indeed! I tested it constantly and only refilled when prompted, which was quite often due to its poxy 2ml capacity. The thing is, as much as I admired this feature, I didn’t find it very useful in everyday scenarios. It’s so easy to see the juice level yourself, and with the RBAs wicking ports being so low, you can almost run it dry with the feature turned off (the drop icon still works). You can also cheat it to think your juice level is higher depending on what angle you hold it at (a bit like a car fuel tank on an incline).
The Cold Steel auto detects the coil resistance and sets your wattage accordingly in Power mode (Variable Wattage), but you can manually adjust it. The adjustment scrolling is quick and responsive, it also round robins once you hit the max or minimum wattage. I went with the default 26 watts for my 0.39Ω build, which was a little low for my tastes but fairly accurate at guessing the recommended wattage range for the ohms. Once I had chosen my desired wattage and preheat setting (I selected HARD), I was really pleased with the vape I was getting, warm and very flavourful with smooth airflow, but I did find it a little ‘whistly’ noise wise. The vape reminded me more like a well wicked RDA which is a good thing as the wicking kept up really well when chain vaping. Checking my wick after a few tankfulls, I was also impressed how clean everything looked (a good sign of wicking keeping up), and hardly any of the cotton was singed, despite me hammering it.
I’m really impressed with this RBA version. I initially thought I would end up ignoring it and favour using the 510 adaptor with my own tank, but I will most definitely be using just the RBA pod.
The airflow control is noteworthy on the RBA addition. There is no need for silicone plugs as the coil base has an airflow ring which works really well. DL vaping goes from really loose down to a tight restrictive DL. In fact, it closes off really well that I suspect a MTL build would work in it (something I will try on my next builds).
As for the mod, I can’t fault its performance and battery life using a 21700, I was easily getting a full day from it at 30 watts. I enjoyed using it as it felt so good in the hand, and the fire button lends itself to either finger or thumb firing but it felt most natural using your index finger.
I reluctantly swapped the pod to the 510 adaptor and popped on an RTA. The beauty of this system is you can easily swap between the two. There’s nothing noteworthy of saying about it in mod mode as it performs exactly as you would expect from any variable power mod. The main thing was how good and natural it looked in this configuration. Tanks up to 24mm diameter looked right at home on it. I ended up with a surprising setup due to recently reviewing the Vandyvape Berserker V2, this just looked so damn good on it. The whole silver and black thing, along with the proportions, just worked for me so I’ve ended up with a DL RBA pod and a MTL tank option so I get the best of both worlds when I am out and about.
The photo at the bottome of this review is with a Vandyvape Pyro on it. The tall tank looked better than I thought it would, in fact there weren’t many tanks that looked wrong on it. Dripper RDAs looked especially nice on it, though I would favour single coil attys due to the single cell battery, but a 21700 should still deliver enough power for most sub-ohm setups.
I liked the ‘look’ of the Cold Steel AIO but I wasn’t expecting to like the whole package as much as I do. The industrial styling appeals to me and finally there is some decent functionality from Artery’s chipset along with some rather cool features such as the Juice Level detection. By the time I was approaching the end of the review, I was really struggling to find any cons. The inexpensive price tag makes the Cold Steel even more attractive.
Bearing in mind I’ve reviewed a lot of products this year, the Cold Steel is one of those items I am left actually loving. In my days of overspending and buying a ‘spare’, I’m certain I would have ordered another. More to the point, if I had borrowed this to review I would have most certainly bought one. If you like the looks and enjoy a weighty mod along with DIY coil pod, then I can’t see you going wrong for the money.
- Industrial metal styling
- One of the best pod RBAs I’ve tried
- 21700 battery option makes it very versatile for sub-ohm users
- Included 510 adaptor makes for a handsome mod
- Superb airflow control
- Easy to build RBA
- E-juice level detection
- Feels good in the hand
- Bland 510 drip tip
- Airflow whistles while it works
- Dilemma of pod or mod (I chose to flip between both)
Final thoughts and score
It’s great – buy it, enough said.
Okay perhaps I should elaborate. The cons are so minor that they will become irrelevant. This is no game changer, but if you like its looks, then I really think you can’t go wrong with this cracking kit. If it was just the pod version, I don’t think I would have been as impressed, the versatility of the RBA kit with the 510 adaptor really makes it special.
Score: 9/10 – Bargain of the year.