Aspire Plato Starter Kit Review, Key Features, & Problems
Aspire Plato Starter Kit Contents
There is a LOT of stuff in this box, but it is all pretty necessary I think. Here's what you get:
My Aspire Starter Kit Review
The Aspire Plato I received is the "Grey" finish. It's a matte, dark grey, brushed finish that looks really nice, has great texture for gripping, and overall feels pretty good in my fingers. The screen is pretty small, and comes with a screen protector over it to keep it safe during shipping. The "All In One" concept is great, put the tank, battery, and everything except the drip tip inside the mod, and everything you need is in one small package. The overall implementation is ... well read on to find out. Suffice it to say for the moment that this small mod feels like it would be good for a brand new vaper or anyone wanting a stealth vape.
Aspire Plato Specifications
I could not find the traditional specifications chart on Aspire's website, so the list below is a compilation of specs based purely on what can be pulled from Aspire's advertising.
- Small even with drip tip installed, 100mm x 50mm x 23mm
- Wattage Range From 1.0W – 50W
- Temperature Control Range From 200°F – 600°F / 100°C – 315°C
- Coil Resistance Minimums:
- 0.1 ohm in VW mode
- 0.2 ohm in Bypass mode
- 0.05 ohm in TC mode
- Adjustable Airflow
- Multiple Coil Options
- Nautilus BVC
- Aspire Claptons
- Single 18650 Battery (Included with kit)
- 4.6ml Juice capacity with Aspire Clapton coils
- 5.6ml Juice capacity with Nautilus BVC coils
- Two fill ports for easy filling and emptying
- Firmware Upgradeable From Aspire here
The Fit and Finish
Upon picking it up, the first thing I noticed is that the battery door shifts around a lot. It is reminiscent of the battery door from my D2. It is a "U" shaped design that slides onto the mod, but unlike the D2 it's held in place by magnets instead of friction. This is somewhat problematic though, as it is not a snug fit, which is what causes the door to shift so easily. In the middle of the back edge of the "U" shaped door is a small slit, which is supposed to be for checking the level of the juice in the tank behind it. In reality, the slit is too small to be useful, and it is just as easy to pull the sloppy door off to view the juice level in the tank itself.
The fire button is a silver metal disk. While it doesn't rattle, it does spin freely beneath my finger, making a really annoying "metal on metal" sound. For me, that is almost (but not quite) as bad as battery rattle. I would have preferred to see the button fixed in place rather than rotating, but that's just a preference thing.
Below the fire button is the small display. It is usable enough, with a battery indicator, the working voltage (when you hit the fire button), the ohm value of your coil, and the wattage setting. The coolest thing is that it is designed for left AND right handed vapers, no matter which way you hold the mod, the display has a sensor that will cause it to flip to be right side up when you are looking at it.
Underneath the display is where you will find the Up and Down adjustment buttons. In Aspire's version, these are combined into a single "bar" style setup, which I am not a huge fan of this style, and worst of all, they are reversed from the more traditional layout with the Up button on the left and the Down button on the right. I've been vaping long enough that this really just felt wrong, and was very difficult to get used to.
Removing the battery door reveals the battery tray and the tank setup. The tank assembly's all in one design is one of the Plato's best features, but also one of the biggest failures. The entire assembly is held together with the coil assembly. However; when you remove the coil, the entire thing falls apart in your hands. If you aren't careful the glass tank could easily fall to the ground and shatter. Aspire did not think this through, and failed to include a spare tank in the package. Thankfully, when mine hit the floor the first time, it did not break, otherwise this would have been a very short review.
The base of the tank goes all the way through to the bottom of the mod, so that if there happens to be a leak, it will (theoretically) leak straight down through the airflow adjuster mounted on the bottom of the mod. I did have one pretty serious incident of leaking, I filled the tank, vaped for a bit, laid the mod down, and when I picked it back up, juice was coming out the side of the battery door. With the all in one design, it was a real pain to clean up as I had difficulty getting a cloth in behind the tank to wipe down the mod. It would have been better if the tank were empty, as I would have just taken it all apart, but with juice in it, that is not feasible. Had I set the mod down on it's base, standing upright, it probably would have leaked out the bottom as designed. The base of the tank also doubles as the small dial for adjusting the airflow.
Aspire Plato Starter Kit Usage
When you install the battery in the Aspire Plato, it goes through an initialization sequence that allows you to select between Temperature Control mode and Power mode. If you select Temperature Control, then you are offered a choice of Nickel (NI), or Titanium (TI). There is no option to adjust the TCR of any of the preset coil modes, nor are there any manual TCR modes. If you select Power mode, then the options are for Bypass mode or Regulated mode. Selecting Bypass mode turns the Plato into a mechanical style mod and delivers the full power of the battery when you hit the fire button. Selecting Regulated Mode makes the Plato adjustable from 1 to 50 watts. The problem with this initialization sequence design is that it happens every time you take the battery out and put it back in. Worse, if you select the wrong mode at first, the only way to go back is to take the battery out and go through it all again. There is no way to change modes once a mode has been selected. It would be nice if there was a way to store the initialization settings and change them at will, without going through the full sequence every time.
The tank itself seems to be an overly complex design. The entire assembly is held together purely by the pressure of the installed coils. If you fail to properly tighten down the coils, the Plato will leak out of the seals, but if you tighten them too much, you run the risk of pressure breaking the glass tank section. Filling the tank is pretty easy. When you remove the battery door to reveal the tank, you will see 2 orange caps. One is at the top of the assembly and the other is at the bottom. Simply remove one or the other and insert the tip of your dropper or needle bottle into the hole and fill. Changing coils, however, is a real pain if there is juice in the tank. The juice needs to be drained first, and in order to do that, you need to open both of the caps and pour the juice out through the top hole. Once the tank is empty, then you can use the special tool provided to unscrew the coil from the tank assembly. Simply unscrew it until it is loose, then lift it straight up and out of the tank. Just be careful not to drop the glass tank in the process. If you happen to lose the special tool, you can use a dime instead. Personally, I think the design is over engineered and too complex to be worth the trouble, especially for a brand new vaper.
The Aspire Plato comes with a 1.8 ohm Nautilus coil pre-installed. As expected, if you have ever used a Nautilus tank, the flavor from the coil is pretty good. It's good enough that the design is still very popular, years after it's original release. In fact, the coil is still very popular to this day amongst vapers that like Mouth To Lung (MTL) style vaping. The other coil for the Plato is a new proprietary .4 ohm Clapton coil design. This coil design strays very far afield from almost any other coil design I've seen to date. It is a single unit that runs the entire length of the tank and has the top of the tank, chimney and coil all in a single unit. On the one hand, it works pretty well and produces better flavor and much more vapor than the Nautilus coil. On the other hand, it is a proprietary design, and at the time of this writing, there isn't anything other than the Clapton coil available. You can get them at Aspen Valley here for $4.95 each, and even cheaper if you are a member of their "Peak Program".
This leads to the most crucial of Aspire Plato problems -- the temperature control mode. As of right now, Aspire does not produce a temperature control coil suitable for use with the Plato. They do not make NI/TI Nautilus coils, nor at present do they offer any temperature control coils in the new proprietary design. Aspire also does not offer an RBA head for the Plato, so you are stuck with only what they offer in their current coil selection.
It seems like Aspire is not sure what market they are targeting with the Plato kit. The mod itself seems to be advanced enough for everyone from the new vaper to the advanced user. However, there are some serious issues with this for any target market. Let's break this down into two categories, the new vaper and the intermediate/advanced vaper.
- Starter kit would not be bad for a brand new vapor, with some caveats:
- Tank system overly complex for a new vaper
- TC mode not advised for new vaper
- 50 watts *might* be too much power for new vaper
- Nautilus 1.8 ohm MTL
For beginners, I think the Kanger Evod 2 is a better option.
- Intermediate/advanced will probably find the following limitations to severe to make it really a useful setup:
- 50 watts might not be enough power
- TC mode is good addition
- Coil selection is severely limited
- NO TC COILS AVAILABLE
- NO RBA HEAD
- PROPRIETARY COIL SYSTEM
If you've read this far, then you very likely have the same question I do, why does this mod even have temperature control? I can only speculate that Aspire will eventually expand into making coils with temperature control capable wires, but until this happens, the feature is purely marketing fodder, at least as far as Aspire's concerned. There are a few aftermarket NI and TI coils that I was able to locate online, however, since I don't have any and didn't order some, I was unable to test this feature of the mod.
Aspire Plato Performance
If you can overlook the issues I've already noted, then the Aspire Plato performs well enough with the Nautilus coils to be a decent starter kit for a new vaper, with a little bit of room to grow into the sub ohm coils. It's fairly consistent, at least for a nicotine delivery system, decent enough to be a viable alternative to smoking. With the 1.8 ohm mouth to lung coils, the mod doesn't produce huge clouds, but the flavor isn't too bad. Switching over to the sub ohm setup does improve the vapor a bit, the .4 ohm coil definitely helps in the vapor production department. Unfortunately it seems to change the flavor a bit. If you are not a heavy vaper, then the 2500mah battery should last a fair amount of time, especially with the 1.8 ohm coil and less than 20 watts, but I do recommend picking up some spares. If you need a recommendation, the LG HG2s or the LG HE4s are very suitable options. The Plato Performs well enough for a starter kit, consistent enough to be a viable option to smoking. For intermediate/advanced vapers, This is probably not the right mod.
Okay, so there is a firmware update available that fixes some of the problems, but reduces the capabilities, kind of. Updating the Plato was not a simple task, it took me multiple attempts to get the computer to actually recognize the mod so that I could update the firmware. Once updated, I went through the familiar initialization sequence and immediately noticed that the TC mode ONLY has NI now, TI is gone. I further discovered that Aspire has also removed the ByPass mode, replacing it with a variable voltage setting. This is the first firmware I've seen that actually changes the way a mod works as well as reducing it's capabilities rather than increasing them. On the plus side, I no longer have to go through the full sequence when putting the battery back in, the updated firmware now stores the last used settings and simply asks if it is a new atomizer, if you say no, all your previous settings are still there, and you are ready to vape. Ultimately, removing a non usable "feature" really isn't a loss, it is simply perplexing.
The Aspire Plato might not be bad as a starter kit for new vapers, if it weren't for all the complexities. The tank assembly is overly complex to be included in a starter kit, and the mod is too proprietary to use any other tank. There are too many unusable features built into the Plato for it to be a great starter kit, some even seem to be there just for the sake of having features. The fact that you have to setup the mod every time you take the battery out is abysmal, and will do nothing more than really upset all but the newest vapers that don't know any different. If you can update it, this issue goes away, but good luck with the upgrade process. With a maximum capability of 50 watts, the Aspire Plato is definitely not the right mod for a cloud chaser. Without any temperature control coils, it is also not the right mod for a growing cross section of the vaping community. In the end, it really is only good for a small subset of vapers, those that are looking for a small, pocket friendly device that doesn't do much more than deliver nicotine.
The biggest saving grace for the Aspire Plato is that Nautilus coils are readily available, but at 1.8 ohms, no more than 15 watts MAX are really necessary, 50 watts is overkill for them. Construction is lightweight, and the all in one design is convenient, to a point. The movement of the battery door is inexcusable. This has been a problem across the industry for as long as I have been vaping, it is really annoying that mod producers just don't get it and continue to release mods with issues that are easily corrected with an ever so slightly modified door. The lack of temperature control coils is astounding, given that they released the mod with the ability to use them. I do wonder what Aspire's long term plan for this mod is, will they continue to develop coils for it, or is the removal of TI and Bypass modes from the settings a sign that they have written it off? Only time will tell what happens with this mod.
There are many Aspire Plato reviews that disagree with my assessment. Here's a video review that has a different, more positive, overall review of the Aspire Plato Start Kit. It's up to you, dear vaper, to draw your own conclusions.
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