Vape Forward Vapor Flask Stout Review
In this review we are going to cover the new Vapor Flask Stout, one of the three new mods in the Vape Forward line. It is joined by the Classic and the Lite in the new lineup. This mod was provided by the awesome team over at Vapor Beast for the purposes of this review.
The Vapor Flask Stout is a 26650 battery mod, however, since Vape Forward is forward thinking, they actually include an adapter to use the mod with an 18650 battery, albeit with slightly reduced capabilities (lower max wattage). This review will be based on using the mod with an 18650 battery and the adapter, as I don’t own any 26650 batteries.
With a current sale price of $89.95 (Use coupon “YEAHBABY” for 10% off) at the time of this writing, it is a bit higher priced than many other mods, but still competitive in the sub $100 category. Not only that, but it has the legendary name of Vape Forward behind it and the power of the Wismec/Joyetech chip inside it.
Packaging – In The Box
The packaging for the Vapor Flask Stout is a very nicely done black box with silver lettering and Vape Forward logos. Inside the box is the Vapor Flask Stout, set in the traditional form-fitting soft foam, an 18650 battery adapter, professional looking, multi language, instruction booklet, authenticity “scratch off” card and USB charging/update cable.
The Vape Forward user’s manual, or at least the 6 pages of the English section of it, is well written. Unlike many other mod manufacturers these days, these guys chose to do a real, multi page booklet instead of the cheap little folded papers that are so common in sub $100 mods. If the other languages are translated as well as the English versions, then there should be no question on how to use and operate this mod.
My review sample, as provided by Vapor Beast, came with scratches and a faulty chip. I immediately contacted Vape Forward directly, and after a few email exchanges with them, they agreed to send out a replacement for this review. As a result, this will be the first time I will cover customer support as a category in the review of the product. The remainder of the review will also be based on the replacement mod, not the original one I received, as EVERY company will have its faulty products, no matter how good they are.
Opening the box, the first thing I saw was the beautiful Stainless Steel finish of the Vapor Flask Stout nestled in its protective cradle of foam. Taking it out of the box, the next thing I noticed was the unusual battery door design. The entire base of the mod is a hinged, pivot type of design and the door rotates far enough to install a 26650 battery (or the included adapter and an 18650 battery) without any problems. The front face of the mod houses a rounded, glossy black control panel that contains the stainless steel buttons, display, and USB charging port.
The Vapor Flask Stout is really wide in order to account for a 26650 battery, and it tapers down to a standard 22mm front panel with slightly concave sides. While it does feel nice in the hand, I do wish that Vape Forward had tapered it to 24mm, since the 22mm front just feels a little too thin compared against the really wide back face. 24mm would also have left a little bit of room for some of the newer and larger tanks and drippers with little to no overhang off the top of the mod.
- Size: 46.5*30.0*85.3mm
- Thread Type: 510 thread
- Cell type: High-rate 26650 cell (discharging current should be above 35A )
- 18650 Conversion Tube
- Output Mode: TC-Ni/TC-Ti/TC-SS/VW/Bypass Mode
- Output Wattage: 1-100w
- Resistance Range:
- 0.05-1.0ohm for TC-Ni/TC-Ti/TC-SS mode
- 0.1-3.5ohm for VW/ Bypass mode
- Temperature Range: 100-315°C/ 200-600°F (TC-Ni/TC-Ti/TC-SS mode)
- Colors: silver, black, white
- Firmware upgrade V2.00 adds the TC-SS(specifically for SS316 coil) and TCR(Temperature Coefficient of Resistance) modes, which change the resistance range: 0.05-1.5ohm for TC modes. Which allows you to manually adjust the TCR Value
Fit and Finish
This mod arrived flawless, no scratches, dents or dings anywhere that I could find. The brushed stainless steel is perfect. The display is a small 2 line display, it has to be to fit in the 22mm rounded front of the Stout, but it does its job and shows you the important information. It appears to be covered with a lightly tinted plastic overlay which reduces the brightness. The 510 stainless steel connector is spring loaded and has the signature Vapor Flask single airflow groove, for tanks that still require bottom air flow. The battery door itself is unique in that it is a pivoting hinge and the entire bottom of the mod swivels open to insert or change batteries. I have heard from others that it is possible to tear the battery wrap if you aren’t careful when installing batteries, however, in my testing I have not seen any signs of damage to any of my battery wraps. The fire and adjustment buttons appear to be stainless steel, and provide nice feedback when pressed. The USB port is front mounted on the lower front face of the mod.
There are a few issues that do stand out to me. For starters, the up and down adjustment buttons (+ and -) have a substantial amount of rattle and can be quite annoying. Not only do they rattle, the protrude further than I would prefer, making it easy to accidentally press the while simply trying to maintain a grip on the mod, or change settings on their own when stuffed into my pocket. There is a substantial amount of battery rattle when using the 18650 battery adapter. More technically correct is battery adapter rattle, as the battery itself doesn’t seem to move once the door is closed. I’ve also heard from several people that not all 26650 batteries are created equal and thus not all work with this mod.
The Vapor Flask Stout is powered by the Joyetech chipset, and as a result, using it is almost identical to every other mod with this chipset in it. I did use the word almost because it has been customized for the Vape Forward line. Specifically, when in temperature control mode, three clicks will allow you to change the wattage setting and 4 clicks will allow you to change mode between Ni, Ti, SS, Bypass (my favorite mode), and Wattage. After doing the update to the latest firmware, version 2.0 as of right now, you also gain the ability to switch to custom TCRs. I could find no solutions to the annoying button rattle, but I did have to do some fixes though for the battery adapter noises.
More maddening than the button rattle, at least until you do something about it, is the battery rattle when using the 18650 battery adapter. This rattle could have been avoided, it is simply a poor design flaw with the battery adapter that leads to the rattle, essentially the battery adapter is about 3-4mm too short and slides freely up and down in the tube, bouncing off either end. The battery adapter also has two O rings around it that help to cushion side to side blows, but had they been a slight amount thicker, then the battery adapter would likely not slide around in the battery compartment. Ultimately, the really annoying battery rattle could have been avoided with a simple fix in the design, by either putting on O rings that are large enough to hold the battery adapter snugly in the battery compartment, OR, making the battery adapter just a touch longer to fill the space completely. Either of these would have kept the adapter from sliding and making a lot of noise. Never fear though, there are a couple of quick and easy fixes that will help reduce or remove the battery rattle problem.
The first solution would be to replace the O rings with thicker versions. This will effectively “wedge” the battery adapter inside the battery tube, making it far less noisy. Despite searching high and low through my spare parts, I don’t have any thicker O rings to try, so I will have to wait until I get a chance to check out the local hardware store and see if I can find some that might do the trick. Instead, I personally went for the second solution described below since I had the materials on hand.
The second solution takes a piece of “fun foam” and an exacto knife. Use the battery tube as a template to draw two circles, and an 18650 battery to draw concentric circles in the center of the first two circles. Next, take an exacto knife and cut out the center circle, then trim the outer circle. Peel off the paper and stick the fun foam circles on the top and bottom of the battery adapter. Essentially you have created 2 gaskets to fill the additional 3-4mm of space and get the adapter to fit snugly in the tube.
I suppose there is a third option available if you own a 3D printer, you could print a new adapter that is long enough to properly fit in the tube, although purchasing a 3D printer to make this adapter is a bit of an overkill.
The front mounted USB port is convenient and easy to use. Given the placement, it is possible to leave the mod standing while plugged in for charging. I don’t personally recommend charging batteries in the mod directly, as I find that a battery charger does the job quicker and potentially better myself. If you do need to charge in the mod though, you don’t have to lay it down to do so.
To get into the manual TCR adjustment menu in order to set your custom TCRs, this is what you have to do. Click the fire button five times to turn the Vapor Flask Stout off. While it is off, With the device hold the fire and the up buttons simultaneously for four to five seconds. The device will turn back on in adjustment mode. This will allow you to switch between the three memory presets, hit the fire button when you are on the one you want to adjust, which will then switch you into the field for changing the TCR value. The up and down buttons will adjust the TCR value. When you get to the value you want, hit the Fire button again to set it. To access the TCR you just set manually, it’s as simple as changing modes. Click the fire button 4 times and then use the up and down buttons to maneuver between modes until you get to the setting you want and hit the Fire button to select it.
The Vapor Flask Stout’s performance is flawless. No matter what mode you put it in, it fires exactly as expected every time. When used with a 26650 battery, it is theoretically possible to go as high as 100 watts. I say theoretically as I don’t have a 26650 to test with, so I cannot confirm this. What I can confirm is that the mod will allow me to set the wattage all the way to the maximum 100 watts. The Vapor Flask Stout, as already discussed, has the same chipset as many of my other mods, so the stellar performance is no surprise. This mod functions and performs just as well as my two daily drivers, the VTC Mini and my Cuboid. The one noticeable difference is that battery life in this mod seems to be slightly diminished from that of my VTC mini, I get about an hour or so less vaping time with the Vapor Flask Stout.
Given the VF Stout’s heritage, the update software looks and functions exactly like the other products in the Wismec/Joyetech line. It isn’t a pretty Windows or Macintosh appliation, it is a command line program that harkens back to the old days of MS Dos, although in my testing that does not have any impact on actual functionality for updating the mod. The one update available at the time of this writing adds in SS316 and the ability for manual TCR adjustment.
I worked with Matt over at Vape Forward to get a replacement for the flawed initial copy of this mod that I received, and he was fantastic. He knows the product inside and out, and was able to confirm my issues with the chipset over the phone. Once confirmed, he explained the Vape Forward process for shipping out replacements, and it’s pretty simple. First you ship the old, defective mod back to Vape Forward, they confirm that it is defective or damaged, then they ship you the brand new mod. There is, however, no mechanism in place to give them credit card information and have the new mod shipped in advance of sending the old mod back. Overall, customer support and service is exceptional, and they are ready to stand behind their product.
While it does have some issues, I do really like the Vape Forward Vapor Flask Stout so far. It is a beautiful mod, the stainless steel finish with black front face is a timeless look and looks classy with both stainless and black tanks. The tapered design is nice in the hand, even if it is a little slimmer than I would have preferred, but that is a preference and not a flaw. Power management, that is to say, battery life specifically, even though slightly worse than my Joyetech eVic VTC Mini, is still exceptional. The mod has a solid feel to it, not too light and not too heavy. Button placement is ideal for me, although I don’t like how far out the buttons protrude, they do feel good under my fingers. The display is fairly small, but quite usable, although under the tinted plastic it’s a bit hard to see in the brightest lighting conditions, like walking around on a sunny day. As mentioned, the chipset is the rock solid Wismec/Joyetech design and allows for firmware updates. Future updates may add more functionality as it is released, keeping this mod relevant for a long time.
I don’t care for button or battery rattle in any mod, and this one has both. It’s sad to say that at least one of these could have been overcome in production just by making the battery adapter a little bit longer so that it fits snugly in the cavity when in use. The upside is that there is a simple fix, that only takes a couple of minutes to do. I have no idea how long the battery door “swivel” design will hold up. It feels quite solid and has functioned flawlessly thus far, but it is a new, unproven, design that could potentially introduce a point of failure in long term usage.
The bottom line is this: If you don’t like boxy mod designs, and want a solid mod with excellent features and performance, then this mod is for you. It may cost a little more than it’s boxy counterparts that I have compared it against, but it definitely is not a traditional boxy shape. It seems well built and stainless finish has put up with all of the abuse I’ve put it through so far. Provided the chip doesn’t fail, it should provide excellent performance for years, assuming you continue to use it that long.