Vandy Vape Pulse AIO Kit
Supplied by Sourcemore for review
$56.99 – Using Discount Code: PAIOK
A lot of people have been eagerly awaiting this kit since news of its development first leaked, I got my hands on one thanks to the friendly folks at Sourcemore to test. So is it a pulse raiser or a flat-liner?
Some of the features are interesting:
- 80W max power
- Compatible with VVC Coils
- 5ml e-juice capacity
- USB Type-C charging
- Tank can work in most boro style mods
- DIY RBA tank with curved airflow
- Compatible with 21700/20700/18650
- Adjustable height of the positive table
- Easy to customize button and plates
Some of the standout features for me are Boro tank compatibility, 21700 battery and an included RBA deck.
- Size: 55.6*97.5*28.2mm
- Operating Voltage: 3.2V-4.2V
- Power Range: 5-80W
- Resistance: 0.05-3.0ohm
- RBA Pod Capacity: 3.7ml
- Charging Current: 1000mAh
- Pre-built Pod Capacity: 5ml
- Colours: Black, Frosted White, Frosted Green, Frosted Black, Frosted Red, Frosted Blue
The Pulse AIO Kit comes in quite a large box which indicates there’s going to be plenty of goodies inside, Vandy Vape always bundle generously.
Taking the lid off already reveals a generous bundle with a second pod/tank (RBA is pre-installed). The presentation is good, and there’s another layer underneath.
- 1* Pulse AIO Device
- 1* Pule Vessel RBA Tank
- 1* Pulse Vessel Pre-built Tank
- 1* Wrench
- 2* VVC Coil
- 2* 24ga Ni80 Coil 0.4ohm
- 1* Accessory Bag
- 1* Coil Lead Guide
- 1* QC Type-C USB Cable
- 1* Instruction Manual
- 1* 18650 Battery Adaptor
I am really impressed with what’s included, and big props to Vandy Vape for including the RBA in the kit instead of forcing people to buy it separately.
Billet Box Big Elephant In The Room….
Now I can’t really go further without addressing the blatant Billet Box ‘inspiration’ copycat styling. There have been several lookalikes and even exact clones of the high end (and high priced) Billet Box, SXK shamelessly copied the original. AIO (All In One) style is now quite familiar, but the Pulse AIO is a strange one as in it’s like an upgraded 2022 BB only made from plastic and produced by a mainstream manufacturer. There are so many similarities but I feel every detail has been looked at and improved to some degree. I’m sure it will be a contentious issue for the purists but for me I’m very interested.
If you have never heard of the Billet Box then you’re in for a bit of a treat as the Pulse AIO is a very versatile vape kit for stock coil or DIY with a wide selection of 3rd party tanks/boros/bridges readily available.
The PULSE range is traditionally made of a plastic construction, and the AIO is no exception, metal is only used for electrical connections and fasteners. Naturally this makes for a very light kit and you notice that straight away. With no battery in, it feels a little cheap though, but I thought that of the original PULSE squonk mod and I came to love it for the lightweight feel.
I opted for the Frosted White version as I like seeing the internals of stuff, and looking at how Vandy Vape have refined this design is quite impressive. One of the main problems with a BB is the damage that a leaking tank can cause to the screen and electronics, Vandy Vape have sectioned the screen and control board into its own compartment where juice cannot reach it.
The overall shape is very basic and is nothing special to look at, but the transparency gives it a bit of style and makes it more interesting. One of the obvious benefits of the transparency is the e-liquid visibility, with the supplied tanks you can see it through three sides.
To access the tank, battery and controls, the panels are removable and held in place magnetically, there’s a little notch in the base of them to get a fingernail in to lift them off. They fit really well and I’ve experienced no wobble or creaking.
With the panels removed, you get access to everything, fitting a battery, access to the tank, and on the other side are the controls and screen.
One of the main features I welcomed are the battery options, especially that it will take a 21700. If you want to use an 18650, then there’s a matching battery adaptor which actually looks pretty good. The battery orientation markings are quite hard to see, but the positive goes to the larger contact at the bottom (think of it as fitting the battery upside down), the negative connection is at the top (which leads to the top thread). Removing the battery is pretty easy with both panels off as you just push it out.
To remove the tank, you have to either loosen off or remove the top nut where the drip tip goes, there’s a key tool provided for this or just use a coin. Once this is removed, the tank will just fall out so be sure to do this in your hand or a soft surface.
You have two different tanks included in the kit, one is for stock coils and the other is an RBA rebuildable. I opted for the stock coil one first as that was the fastest way to get started.
It’s a bit of a faff to change the coil. Obviously you first need to remove the tank, then you need to pull off the airflow ring. Once removed, you will need that tool thingy again to pry out the old coil. The coil is a press fit so just push the new one in and replace the airflow ring, you can either fill it up now or do it once it’s installed in the mod.
The tank simply drops into the space in the mod and you need to tighten up that top nut again (using the tool or coin), it needs to be reasonably tight but not overtight so don’t force it. Also be aware which way round the tank goes in as the filling bung needs to be on the outside.
So with a battery fitted, coil fitted, and e-liquid filled up, it’s almost ready to vape BUT don’t press fire just yet as by default it turns on to the maximum 80 watts! That will cook your coil, so the first thing to do is dial down the wattage to suit the coil:
I used the VVC-60 0.6ohm and set it to the lower end of 11 watts to break it in, eventually working up to 23 watts which suited me.
For such a tiny chipset, there’s still a reasonable amount of functions:
- POWER = Variable Wattage
- Bypass = Automatic Voltage
- TC (Temperature Control) – SS, Ni & Ti (f or c)
- VV – Variable Voltage
- 5 x Fire = Turns Device On/Off
- 3 x Fire = Option Select (Up/Down button to choose and Fire to confirm)
- 4 x Fire = Wattage selection when in TC modes
- Fire & UP = Locks adjustments
- Fire & Down – Flips screen 180 degrees
- Press & hold Up/Down = Enters submenu:
- RST = Reset puff counter Y/N
- VER = Firmware version (currently 3.0.0)
- TCR = Set Temperature Coefficient of Resistance manually
- SMART = Auto detects and sets wattage to suit coil (adjustable within limits)
- NORMAL = Select this if you want to disable SMART
- Press ALL 3 buttons = turns screen Off/On (device still fires)
SMART is ideal for novices and stock coil users as it won’t let you stray into any of the other modes if you press ‘3 x Fire’ so there’s no risk of accidentally entering modes you don’t understand. It still allows a limited adjustment of wattage up or down but within the coils limits.
To disable SMART; you will need to go into the submenu and select NORMAL.
I have mixed feelings of the RBA, it’s brilliantly simple to build and wick but there’s a design flaw in the silicone base gasket and it ends up being too loose to hold it together.
I got around this issue by NOT filling the tank until it was fitted and screwed down into the mod, far from ideal but I got to enjoy the RBA at least. This problem also means you need the tank empty before you remove it.
The included coils are more for RDL/DL users, but I wanted to try it for MTL since the stock coils didn’t suit MTL either, so I wrapped my own Ni80 coil at 2.5mm diameter. There were consequences to my choice, however, as the wicking was a bit thin in the juice ports.
The tank simply pulls apart to get to the deck, and the airflow ring unscrews to reveal a 510 thread so you can build on an ohms meter or mod.
The ‘coily’ type jig makes it easy to trim your coil for the right height. The build deck has four holes so will take coils wrapped in either direction (nice!). Fitting and tweaking the coil was just so easy and was very pleasing.
Wicking was intuitive, simple cut at the edge of the base and it’s the right length to tuck into the ample juice ports, no need to thin out the cotton. One thing though, I would say 3mm would be a minimum diameter as my 2.5mm ended up a bit sparse in the juice port and I’ve had a bit of flooding as a result. Lie and learn, my next build will be much better but this one still worked pretty well and didn’t leak.
So one of the other big benefits of this system is that it accepts ‘Boro’ tanks and a variety of other equally standard sized tanks and pods as well as different RBAs often referred to as ‘bridges’ which fit into a boro tank. There’s so many to choose from whether you like DIY or stock coils.
Here’s a few of mine, I have many more but my 2 favourites are the Qbix and the Vaporesso/PnP tank.
Stock Coil Pod
So the stock coils to start with. First I tried the 0.6ohm in the vain hope it would do a borderline MTL. It was simply too much power and heat for MTL. I did manage to close off the airflow ring to get a reasonable draw, but it was far too hard to adjust once fitted. So to set it up to RDL/DL draw, I had to remove the pod to adjust the airflow which was a faff, but the better news is that this coil gives a rather decent RDL vape, the draw is smooth, the flavour is good, and I found 25 Watts gave a warm vape.
So with the conclusion that the provided pod and coils were aimed at DL users, I moved on to the 0.3ohm VCC30 (30-45 watts). At the low end, it was similar to the 0.4ohm, but approaching 40 watts it really came alive for flavour. The airflow was pretty good fully open, slightly restrictive but still what I class as a DL draw, you can close it off to RDL.
Overall this pod performed well for RDL/DL. It’s a pity it didn’t do MTL so well, but there are coil options (0.9ohm &1.2ohm) available. it was a shame they didn’t include an MTL option though.
Using the coils at the lower end, I did notice some flooding, and a little seeped down into the airflow ring but none reached the bed so far.
Again I tried the RBA with an MTL build, in hindsight I know a 3mm or even a 3.5mm diameter coil would have wicked better but I just went for it as I was more interested in the airflow. I was actually pleasantly surprised as I got a pretty good MTL draw, and flavour was superb at 12 watts. The airflow control ring was fiddly though as again, it looked more suitable for RDL/DL with one airflow hole and a threaded ring that was very hard to see adjustment, so it is another one that had to be adjusted outside the mod. My wicking was too small so eventually I was flooding the deck but I’m putting that down to user error, and I know the next build will be better.
The included coils were 0.4ohms and clearly aimed at DL users with large 4mm diameter Ni80 coils but I didn’t test those. Judging by the way the MTL build performed, I can see it doing equally well. The build deck is just superb with the airflow designed to wrap air all around the coil, and it is one of the easiest decks to work on for coil fitting/tweaking and wicking.
That design flaw with the base seal kinda ruins it, but as long as you only fill it up once fitted into the mod, you should have no problems.
As far as vaping with the device, I enjoyed the experience. The fully loaded weight with the battery and full tank came out around 180g and it felt good with it. The fire button lends itself more towards thumb firing, but you can flip it round for index finger firing although that feels a little awkward. The fire button always seemed easy to find due to the metal outer ring feeling tactile.
Despite the frosted design, you can’t read the screen through the panel. At best, you can make out the battery bar.
Battery life wasn’t as good as I expected for some reason, it could have been down to me messing around with the controls and menus a lot though, but a 21700 should last most of the day. The charging is a little slow (1 Amp), but I charge separately anyway and carry a spare so battery life was never an issue.
I haven’t tried TC mode yet, but Vandy Vape have always been pretty good at it in their other devices, so I will pop in a suitable build at some point.
Part of the Billet Box scenes appeal is the customisation options to make your BB unique and to add style. Vandy Vape have adopted this trend and have released optional bits n bobs to customise including panels, control panel, and fire button, along with coloured screws. I wasn’t sent any so I couldn’t check those out, but I will likely look into buying some and I will probably 3D print my own panels too.
I did fully strip down all the plates and button from it, and it’s very easy to do, but there’s a lot of tiny screws so make sure you do it over a tray or something as it’s very easy to drop and loose screws. It will only take you a few minutes to swap over parts.
Overall I do like the PULSE AIO, and it fits well into my Boro tank devices, but this is the only one that takes a 21700. It doesn’t quite have that Billet Box luxury feel though, due mainly to the plastic construction and it being slightly wider in your grip, but depending on what boro/tank/pod you choose, they will all vape pretty much identically so it’s just another delivery device as far as that goes.
As an AIO (All In One) device, it might come across as a bit of a faff for new users as it’s not as simple as the current gen of pods or pod mods, but for me all that fiddling and fitting is part of the charm of these devices, and the variety of vape you can get by swapping tanks gives it great versatility.
There’s a couple of niggles, but I feel Vandy Vape and Tony B did a great job of taking the best elements of the BB and refining them to bring it up to date. The plastic construction is either a plus or negative depending on your tastes, but for me the Pulse AIO firmly belongs in the Pulse family even though it’s not a squonker.
(Here it is next to the original Pulse BF)
- Very generous bundle
- Stock coil and RBA pods included
- 18650/20700/21700 options
- Clever little multi-tool
- Ideal bundle for DL/RDL vapers
- Frosted versions give good e-liquid visibility
- RBA building and wicking is a dream
- Wide variety of 3rd party pods/boros and tanks available
- Good functionality and easy navigation
- MTL users have generally been ignored
- RBA base gasket is defective
- Drip-tip doesn’t match
- AFC rings are hard to adjust once fitted
Putting Billet Box comparisons aside and judging it as its own AIO, I think the PULSE AIO is a great little kit. The design is current gen and is very easy to navigate. There’s room for improvement but nothing deal breaking for me, and I’m very happy to have it in my collection.
If you don’t like playing around and prefer simplicity, then this kit might not be for you, but I think you’re missing out on an interesting side to vaping. There’s a reason the original Billet Box has remained popular as it’s almost a hobby in itself.
Score: 8.5/10 – Vandy Vape still have their finger on the Pulse