Pulse AIO.5 Kit by Vandy Vape
Review by Jen_Turista
Vandy Vape Pulse AIO.5 Kit – the Pulse AIO Refreshed?
It wasn’t that long ago when Vandy Vape released the Pulse AIO (review available here on the blog), which took the vape market by storm! It pretty much bridged the gap between a proper AIO and the unfortunate high pricing of such. It allowed vapers to experience AIOs in a new way, with both stock coils and the ridiculously good Vessel RBA, and without shelling out the big bucks.
So, today we shall be looking at VandyVape’s refresh of the Pulse AIO, which is the new Pulse AIO.5. It is again made in collaboration with Tony B, a popular YouTube vape reviewer. Off the bat, it looks very much like its predecessor, however, it does come with improvements as per Vandy Vape. We’ll go through them in the course of this review.
This kit was sent to me for review purposes by the very generous folks at Sourcemore.com (much love, Joyi!). Sourcemore is one of the biggest vape retailers based out of China that sell pretty much everything you could ever need for vaping. They run crazy sales and promotions from time to time, and the one for this kit is the use of the code “PAIO5K” to get you a cheeky discount off of this kit.
Indeed, as with progressive releases, the Pulse AIO did have to parry its share of criticisms, most notably the mod’s plastic shell breaking with not-so-excessive pressure. So much so that Vandy Vape, to their great credit, actually issued a statement (of sorts) to address the issue and promise replacements under warranty for those affected. I thought this was really classy of Vandy Vape, as they chose to meet their challenges head-on, rather than hide under the fine print of Ts & Cs that some companies unfortunately do.
So, without further ado, let’s get this review started! As always, I shall be looking at this device as an average vaper, as most of you guys reading this review will be!
Packaging and Contents
I was sent the standard version of the Vandy Vape Pulse.5 AIO Kit, containing a whole host of accessories sure to get the vape enthusiast going!
- Pulse AIO.5 device that uses an external 21700, 20700, or 18650 battery.
- Pulse Vessel RBA Tank.
- Pulse Pre-built Tank.
- 2 x VVC stock coils: 1 x VVC-600.6 ohm coil (18-26 W); 1 x VVC-30 0.3 ohm (30-45 W).
- 2 x 24 gauge 0.4 ohm Ni80 coils.
- Coil lead guide.
- USB-C cable.
- Accessory bag.
- 1 x wrench.
- 18650 adaptor.
- Round button set including matching patterned panels.
- User manual.
I should mention that the Pulse AIO.5 kit also comes in a version without the Vessel RBA, which costs a bit less.
The salient features of this kit are, well, on quite a long list too!
Pulse AIO.5 Device:
- Still made from PC, but this time, Vandy Vape upgraded it using Lexan EXL1414T for a more reinforced frame and body. I am not a materials science specialist, but from what I can find in the interweb, Lexan is a thermoplastic expected to be durable to heat and impact. So, I can see why Vandy Vape made this step up!
- Not only that, but Vandy Vape also added further support to the 510 nut by surrounding it with metal, that is in a teardrop shape, and is secured onto the frame with a screw.
- Goes from 5- 80W in power in 1W increments.
- Operating voltage of 3.2 V to 4.2 V, which is kind of tame considering it can use a 21700 battery. But bearing in mind the device is still mostly made from polycarbonate, I can understand why this limit has been put in place.
- Reads 0.05 ohms to 3.0 ohms.
- Modes include wattage, TC (SS, Ni, Ti), bypass, voltage, and smart mode.
- Measures about 56 x 98 x 28 mm. It is fairly more robust than other AIOs, but that’s mostly because of its ability to take in 21700 cells.
- Has 1A charging via the USB-C port under its OLED screen.
- The positive pin is adjustable, making it compatible with most of the other boro tanks out on the market.
- If you own or did own the original Pulse AIO, the Pulse AIO.5 is wholly and completely compatible with all of the original Pulse AIO’s accessories! So that 3D-printed splatter panel you have done special? Yep, that will work with the Pulse AIO.5, no problem! Especially since you get the parts and tools to swap out the buttons. Awesome, right?!
Pulse Vessel Prebuilt Tank:
- Has a 5mL capacity.
- Coils are installed/removed from the bottom.
- Side fill hole towards the top of the tank.
- Airflow control via a rotating metal ring at the bottom with 2 cyclops holes.
Pulse Vessel RBA:
- Has a 3.7 mL capacity.
- Single-coil RBA with 180-degree airflow.
- Side fill hole towards the top of the tank.
- Airflow control via a holed, rotating piece of plastic that screws onto the RBA’s 510 pin.
Impressions and Experience
Now, this is as compact as it can get! The kit comes in a very nice, patterned white box, with a transparent window in front to show the kit, and another behind it to show the bonus round button set (button, inner panel, and pair of matching mod panels). This box is adorned with information like box contents, manufacturer information, and kit features and extras.
And because of everything that comes with this kit, it is probably the heaviest kit box I’ve received in a long time! That plus its compact size is all good news to me as it means (drumroll…) minimal packaging wastage!
The kit and all the wonderful extras that come with it are all neatly packed inside the box. Even if the package contains really tiny parts that may get lost easily, everything was very easy to find when unboxing the contents.
Off the bat, what immediately stood out to me was the square button. It is actually done in a very eye-catching manner! It’s a small detail, but the change in shape was nice and the metal surround of the button now has the heartbeat design of the Pulse engraved. I thought that was really a nice touch!
A. Pulse AIO.5 Device
On the outside, almost everything about the Pulse AIO.5 looks identical to the original Pulse AIO, apart from it coming with a square button by default. However, especially in the Frosted Blue finish I received, it still looks a treat!
There’s almost no branding at all on the device apart from the heartbeat design on the button and Vandy Vape/Tony B’s logo on the plastic over the circuitry. Some might think it looks simple, whereas I think Vandy Vape made the right branding choice here and went for subtle rather than loud. I’m really digging this finish and design!
The device itself is very light, owing to the PC materials used. But, of course, with a 21700 cell installed and a full tank, it then has a weight to it. Nothing too heavy, though, and the kit will still be very much at home in one’s pockets or bag. On the hand, the smooth finishing makes for a very comfortable vaping experience, along with the considered placement of the fire button.
Up top is a removable 510 drip tip that sits over the locking wheel nut, which threads in and out to secure the tank into the device. This drip tip is a fat 510- definitely not the one used for MTL vaping- but was still relatively comfortable to use.
In front of the device are the big (and customisable) fire button, screen, adjustment buttons, and USB-C port. It also has an elongated slot that you can use to push remove an installed battery easily. At the “rear” of the device are the compartment for the tank, space for the battery with polarities marked, and an area where the device circuitry is semi-visible (due to the frosted finish). And on the side of the tank compartment are vent slots and holes to draw air into the tank.
There are panels that cover the front and back of the device, and they secure it via strong magnets. There’s also a slot for inserting fingernails underneath to get these panels off the device easily.
The small but bright OLED screen has a simple yet functional display, showing power/temperature/voltage level, ohm load, puffs, and battery life in bars.
Operating the mod is easy enough:
- 5 clicks of the fire button to turn on/off.
- 3 clicks of the fire button to cycle through the different modes, up/down buttons to go through these options and fire button to select the desired option.
- The fire button and up button to lock/unlock the adjustment buttons.
- The fire button and down button flip the screen orientation. This feature, I don’t really get, as I can’t imagine anyone wanting to flip their screen when using this device. But I could be wrong!
- Up and down buttons pressed simultaneously bring up an option to reset the puff counter, view the software version, and choose between TCR, smart, or normal modes of operation.
The mod fires quickly and steadily, whether the prebuilt tank or Vessel RBA tank is used. All in all, I can’t really fault it, and I did try to find obvious cons with it. It’s a great device to start exploring the “boro” world of vaping, and not spending a fortune in the process!
Another great thing about the Pulse AIO.5 device is its customisability. This kit already comes with an extra set of panels and buttons. Now, removing and reinstalling all of these parts is pretty straightforward enough, just make sure that you don’t overtighten any of the screws as they are very, very small. And because of the size of the screws too, I would recommend using a proper tool for them rather than the one provided- using the proper tool will save you bags of time!
B. Pulse Vessel Prebuilt Tank and VVC Coils
This tank is like the “cheat mode” of the Pulse AIO.5 kit. I say that because, for this kit to be enjoyed fully, you’ve really got to go into the DIY space (and there’s a relatively easy way of DIY-ing anyways).
The Pulse Vessel pre-built tank is so simple to use and maintain by just plugging the coils in and out. The tank is completely transparent to ensure visibility of the coil and e-liquid levels, however, if you’ll use coloured panels, then of course you’d need to take a panel off to fully see.
The fill hole is secured from leaking by a grommet and is adequately sized to accommodate most e-liquid bottles. The tank is secured into its corresponding spot in the AIO using the threaded metal part of the drip tip set and using the provided tool. Saying that, and this is very important, secure tanks (any tank) into the Pulse AIO.5 carefully and apply just enough force to make it stay in place and to ensure correct coil reads. This way, you won’t overexert pressure on the metal nut of the drip tip set, avoiding future problems with the AIO frame. I don’t think Vandy Vape explicitly say this, but taking this precaution just makes sense since the frame is still made from PC.
The airflow control ring was effective in regulating airflow, but you won’t really get an MTL vape with the coils supplied (you’d need to get the higher-ohms VVC coils. But, indeed, another pro of this tank is its compatibility with the whole VVC coil platform, giving many options to the vaper!). This ring was actually rather tight in the unit I received, but it did loosen up a bit over time, to have just the right tension I would expect from an airflow control mechanism.
The VVC coils in the kit are decent stock coils. For both the VVC-60 and VVC-30, they provided good flavour (7/10) and surprisingly warm vapes, even at relatively low wattage. If you guys know me by now, you’ll know how much I love a warm draw! 😊
I recommend using e-liquid with no lower than 70% VG with these coils, and sticking to the manufacturer’s recommended wattage ranges to get the coils performing to their fullest. I tested these with both fruit and dessert-flavoured e-liquids, and they were able to handle both beautifully. So as far as stock coils go, these are definitely more than good enough to do the job!
C. Pulse Vessel RBA Tank
The Pulse RBA Tank is of the same size and looks as the pre-built tank, with the most notable difference of employing an RBA. It is also a side-fill tank with a grommet and has adjustable airflow at the bottom.
The RBA section is a straightforward, boro-type RBA in my eyes. It connects to a chimney to join the rest of the tank, and has a 510 pin at the bottom to help in coil installation. There are many things about the Vessel RBA that I really like, and the 510 pin being readily available is one of them. I love how Vandy Vape simplified it and got rid of any extra accessory or pin that other boro RBAs sometimes require. I tend to lose these small parts over time and so this ready 510 RBA design is awesome for someone like me!
The chimney has four holes at its base where the e-liquid goes into the wick through gravity. Up top is a generously-sized and short chamber for maximum flavour from the coil. Because the chimney diameter was wide, I wasn’t really able to get a true MTL vape from the RBA. So, at least in my experience, I can say that the Vessel RBA is mostly for RDL and DL vaping.
The post-less build deck is for a single coil, with ample space that would be fine with a 3mm ID coil or even more than that. However, I would caution using over 3 mm ID coils on this build deck due to how it sits when combined with the chamber; shorts may be an issue for big and beefy coils in this RBA.
There are four post screws on the build deck, which means its flexible enough to use coils wrapped clockwise or counter-clockwise. Again, a great pro for me as I’ve seen some build decks basically dictate the kind of coil to be used – not the awesome Vessel RBA!
Airflow comes from the bottom and under the coil, via 18 holes that are sat on a curve and in a 6 x 3 formation, almost like “hugging” the coil. This was a really nice design choice from Vandy Vape and Tony B as the flavour was quite maximised with this type of airflow design!
Building on this deck is really easy and very beginner-friendly, especially with the coil lead guide included in the kit:
- Remove the plastic airflow ring at the bottom to expose the 510 pin.
- Choose your coil and trim the coil leads per the tool (6 mm).
- Secure the leads to opposite corners.
- Adjust the position of the coil to your preference and make sure no part of the coil (apart from the leads) is touching the metal. I liked my coil sat about a few millimetres above the airflow holes for optimum flavour.
- Pulse the coil to work out hot spots and dry burn oils. In my case, I like using spaced coils as it gets around the hot spots issue, plus in the case of the Vessel RBA, the horizontal axis of the RBA is long enough for a nicely spaced coil.
- Once the coil cools, wick it with just enough cotton and trim to the edge of the base.
- Straighten out the cotton but don’t thin it out too much. This RBA is quite good on the wicking.
- Tuck the wick into the wells, making sure no cotton is sticking out.
- Prime the build with e-liquid, and reinstall with the rest of the tank. Don’t forget to thread back in the plastic airflow control ring!
And you’re done! As for the flavour from this RBA, it is just awesome (8/10)! The short chamber really helps with getting the flavour to the mouth quicker, so the flavour is dense and bold. The tank didn’t leak whatsoever for me, even if I left it standing for an entire day. There was some condensation, as expected, but it was very minimal and hardly noticeable until I cleaned the device.
One thing I will say is to make sure that the tank is fully reassembled and installed in the device before refilling. This is the safest way to do it because the deck just sort of sits under the rest of the tank; it is not secured by any standalone screws or threads. So, by doing this, you can avoid spilling or the tank coming apart on you when you fill it with e-liquid.
Overall: Yay or Nay?
The Pulse AIO.5 Kit gets a resounding Yay from me! Yes, perhaps in terms of performance, it’s not that different to the original Pulse. But the upgrades made to this kit and everything that comes with it make it still a worthy vaping investment to me.
I would recommend this kit to vapers experienced in DIY because the full potential and use of this kit is really unleashed with the Pulse Vessel RBA Tank. Of course, vapers wanting to dip their toes into DIY would be a good audience for this kit as well, due to the very simplified rebuilding process with the Vessel RBA.
Vapers who want the flexibility of using stock coils from time to time will also find the Pulse AIO.5 kit to meet their needs, due to the more than decent Pulse Vessel Pre-built tank included in the kit.
The Pulse AIO.5 device itself feels solid and sturdy, and the use of upgraded materials helps reassure that it should stand the test of time. What’s more, the fact that it is compatible with all original Pulse AIO accessories makes it an interesting proposition to those that own the original Pulse AIO!
Once again, my sincerest thanks to Sourcemore.com for allowing me the privilege to review the Vandy Vape Pulse AIO.5 Kit! Go check it out here on the Sourcemore site and don’t forget that code at checkout as mentioned at the start of the review!