E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

4stars

SMOK RPM80 Pro Review

SMOK was one of the first vaping companies to get into the pod mod game, and they’re doubling down on efforts to grab as much of the market as possible. After the SMOK RPM40 and the RPM 80 pod mods, the Chinese manufacturer has launched the RPM80 Pro, a direct competitor to VooPoo’s Vinci X, which is powered by a removable 18650 battery. Let’s have a look at it:

A Look at the Contents

The new SMOK RPM 80 Pro comes in a rectangular cardboard box with a picture of the pod mod, as well as pictograms of its main features on the front, and a list of contents, and the usual nicotine warnings and age restrictions on the back. The packaging is very similar to that of the RPM40, which is not surprising.

Inside the box, we have SMOK’s newest pod mod, a spare refillable pod, which is actually slightly different than the one already attached, a micro-USB charging cable, as well as a usr manual. Both pods have coil-heads pre-installed, and SMOK is also selling a compatible RBA base separately, if you like building your own coils.

Design and Build Quality

I never got a chance to try the SMOK RPM80, but I did review the RPM40, and I can tell you that the new RPM80 Pro is a very different device altogether. Not only is it powered by an external battery, but it also has a completely different design, different display, and the power output is double. That said, the RPM80 Pro is compatible with RPM40 coil-heads – well, at least one of its pods is – so if you’re thinking of upgrading, you can still use your old coil-heads.

The SMOK RPM80 Pro measures 118mm x 32mm x 26mm, and weighs just under 100g, without a battery included. It is made primarily of zinc alloy and a plastic material; it comes in a variety of colors an patterns, from carbon fiber, to resin and even a rather good stabilized wood imitation. I honestly think all of the available models look really nice, although the quality of the actual materials could be better.

Just like the SMOK Trinity Alpha pod system, the RPM80 Pro I received for review features this resin-like panels that are actually just plastic. To be fair, SMOK has uppde its game from the Trinity Alpha, which looked kind of cheap, but it’s still way too glossy, so it’s easy to tell that it’s not real resin. The same goes for the stabilized wood version. Nothing wrong with plastic, but if VooPoo  found a way to use real resin on its Navi pod system and still keep the price low, I’m sure SMOK could do the same.

The control panel of the RPM80 Pro is apparently identical to that of the original RPM80 pod mod. The configuration is the classic one  – a large fire button near the top, a rectangular color display, two small + and – buttons, and a micro-USB charging port near the bottom. The display is on the small size for what is a pretty large pod mod, and not quite as vibrant and detailed as that of the Vaporesso Target PM80, for example.

The battery door on the bottom of the SMOK RPM80 Pro is hinged, as we usually see on advanced vape mods, and can be secured in place by pressing down on the door and pushing it inwards. It doesn’t rattle and I’ve never once had it pop open accidentally in the week that I’ve been using it for.

One of the most interesting things about the new SMOK RPM80 Pro is that it comes with two types of refillable pods. You can tell which is which by checking the top-fill port cap on each – one says RMP, while the other says RGC. The latter is the new style of of pod, which features all-new conical mesh coils, as well as a built-in air control ring, while the former works with RPM40 coil-heads. As you’ve probably already guessed, these two pods work only with their respective coil types, there is no inter-compatibility.

Regardless of which style pod you prefer, you should know that they both have the exact same capacity (2ml), same fill system and same 510-style drip tip. They both have the same light tint that allows you to see the juice level inside at all time, and attach to the mod with the same magnets. The only thing that is different is the style of coil-heads and that one of the pods has an airflow control ring.

Speaking of magnets, the SMOK RPM80 Pro has the strongest pairs I have ever seen on a pod system, or on any vaping device for that matter. After attaching the pod, I literally have to struggle and pull with all my strength to detach it. I don’t know if it’s just the magnets, or if it has some other way of keeping the pods in place, but it requires a lot of strength to detach them. Too much, if you ask me, plus there is very little real-estate to grab on too when you’re pulling.

The pods both use plug-n’-play (PnP) style coil-heads, which are really easy to pull out and put back in through the bottom. Although the coils of the two pods are very different in design, they both have the same wide bottom that is very easy to grab and pull out.

All in all, the SMOK RPM80 Pro looks and feels like a very robust pod mod. The glossy exterior doesn’t look like it’s going to hold up well in the long run, but as far as functionality goes, this device feels very solid. SMOK isn’t necessarily known for making high-end products, but this pod mod definitely looks and feels like one.

Menu System and Navigation

The main competitor of the SMOK RPM80 Pro is undoubtedly the VooPoo Vinci X, probably the most advanced pod mod on the market right now. That thing has a lot of interesting features, from smart resistance detection, to the tracking of your vaping habits, so is SMOK’s latest creation “smart” enough to challenge it? Well, from the standpoint of technological features, not really.

The RPM80 Pro is a lot more simplistic of a vaping device that I expected it to be. You basically have a fairly basic home page, where you have the current wattage, battery life, as well as several secondary indicators (resistance, puff counter, puff timer and voltage) and a grid of color squared which represents the colors available for the font.

You change the wattage by using the + and – buttons, and you can change the color of the text on the screen by pressing the fire button and the + button at the same time until you reach the one you like the most. You can also lock all the buttons by pressing the fire button three times in rapid succession, or lock just the + and – buttons by keeping them pressed simultaneously for a couple of seconds. There’s also a way to clear the puff counter, by pressing the fire button and the – button, but that’s about it.

Not really the advanced technology I expected to discover, so in this department at least, VooPoo definitely has the upper hand.

Battery Life and Performance

Unlike the regular SMOK RPM80, which is powered by a built-in 3,000mAh battery, the new RPM80 Pro requires an external 18650 battery – sold separately – to work. That offers extra practicality, as you can carry spare batteries with you and switch them on the fly, whereas with the regular RPM80, you need to charge it in order to use it again.

I’ve been using my review sample both with LG HG2 batteries and Sony VTC5A batteries, and I’ve been getting very similar vaping times with both. With the new RGC coil-head, at 65W, I’ve been getting about 5 hours out of a single battery. Your time may vary, depending on how often you vape, and the set power output.

Luckily, the SMOK RPM80 Pro features both fast charging (2A), and passthrough technology, which allows you to vape while the battery is charging. I don’t recommend on-board charging unless you absolutely have to, though.

When it comes to performance, we need  to talk about each type of coil-head separately. For some reason, SMOK decided to throw a whole new type of coil-head into the mix, which actually performs a lot differently than the previous model.

The RPM coil-head included in this kit is one of a whole line of RPM coils that have been around since the release of the RPM40 pod mod. It’s a mesh coil, it works well, and has a recommended wattage of 25W. That’s very low power output, so if you want to save battery life and still get plenty of vapor and decent flavor, this is definitely the best choice out of the two included coils.

On the downside, 25W may not be warm enough for some people, myself included. Plus, the RPM coil-head is only compatible with the refillable pod without adjustable airflow, so if you think the draw is too loose or too tight, there is nothing you can do about it.

The new RGC coil-head, on the other hand, works best at much higher wattages (40W – 80W), is much longer, which essentially means it has a longer strip of mesh, and works with the adjustable airflow pod. Now, to be fair, this isn’t the best airflow control system I have ever seen, I mean you can only close down the air intake so much, but it’s better than nothing.

You will never get the air intake low enough to use this device in MTL mode, but the airflow control system can help make the draw airier or more restrictive, according to your preference. The hotter vape is a pro in my book, as is the better flavor. It’s not on a whole other level, to be honest, but the flavor on the RGC coil-head is definitely a bit better than what I get with the RPM one.

Bottom line, both coil-heads have their pros and cons, and I think it was good on SMOK to include both types in the same kit, so people can decided which they prefer. I’m not really sold on the two different pods though, I would have much rather preferred to see one type of pod compatible with both coil-heads.

As a whole, the SMOK RPM80 Pro works as intended, the new IQ-80 chip activates the battery instantly, and seems to be fairly accurate in reading the resistance and outputting the imputed power. I haven’t had any major issues with it, technological, leaking or otherwise. The only thing I’ve struggled with at first was the pods not connecting to the mod completely. You need to press down on them, after the magnets make contact, otherwise the draw will be more airy than usual.

Conclusion

The RPM80 Pro is the latest entry in SMOK’s line of pod mods, and it’s definitely an impressive device. I like the build quality and the heft of it in the hand, performance is not bad either, but I still don’t think it’s quite on the level of the VooPoo Vinci. The airflow is better implemented on those devices, the display is much better, and that smart resistance reading feature is sure to save beginners some money in unburnt coil-heads. Performance-wise, the two manufacturers are pretty much on par, but VooPoo’s pod mods are better overall, in my opinion. However, that’s just my personal opinion, and it doesn’t take away from the RPM80 Pro’s strengths at all.

The SMOK RPM80 Pro was sent to me by Vapesourcing, for the purpose of this review. They currently have it in stock for just $25.99, the best price I could find for this kit.

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