E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

3_5stars

Vaporesso Target PM80 SE Review

Following the success of its Target PM80 pod mod, Chinese manufacturer Vaporesso recently launched a Special Edition variant that not only features the same high build quality of its predecessor, but also a series of improvements, like external battery compatibility as well as an ingenious airflow control which the original PM80 lacked completely. Let’s check it out:

A Look at the Contents

The new Vaporesso Target PM80 SE comes in the standard Vaporesso packaging, a rectangular cardboard box in the color of the device in side, with a picture of the pod mod on the front of the box, and a list of contents and technical specifications on the back.

Inside the box, we have the Target PM80 SE sitting in a plastic holder next to a spare PM80 refillable pod as well as two different coil-heads. At the bottom of the box you;ll also find a micro-USB charging cable, a user manual, as well as a small bag of rubber plugs, which are meant to be used to block off the airflow slots on the mod for a more restrictive draw.

Design and Build Quality

As I mentioned in the introduction, this SE version of the Target PM80 pod mod has the same excellent build quality of the original, featuring a slick zinc alloy body, and a glossy paint finish. I’m not too crazy about the quality of the sticker on the review sample I received, though. It’s the same as the one on the Vaporesso Xtra vape pod, but I liked the carbon fiber imitation on the first Target PM80 a lot more, to be honest.

Design-wise, the PM80 SE looks virtually identical to Vaporesso’s first Target PM80, with the only notable differences being the size – the SE version is visibly taller, to be able to accommodate an 18650 battery – the addition of a battery door on the bottom, and the display. Everything else is the same. It uses the exact same 4ml refillable pods, same coil-heads, and the buttons and front panel are identical. So if you liked the look of the first one, you’re going to love the SE variant too.

Unfortunately, the screen Vaporesso went with on the Target PM80 SE is a step backwards from the original PM80, in my opinion. While the original pod mod had a vibrant color display which made it possible to change colors, this one is black and white and frankly unimpressive looking. It offers all the information you need, like power output, battery life, atomizer resistance or puff counter, and it even shows the recommended wattage range for every coil-head, it just isn’t the nicest display to look at.

The new PM80 SE pod mod uses the same refillable plastic pods and coil-heads as Vaporesso’s original PM80, but introduces a bunch of small rubber plugs meant to go into the airflow cutouts on the sides of the device, to make the draw more restrictive. That was my main gripe with the Vaporesso Target PM80, the lack of airflow control, and this is the Chinese manufacturer’s attempt to deal with that. It’s not the most impressive airflow control system, but it’s a lot better than nothing.

There’s not a lot more I can say about the design and build quality of the Target PM80 SE that hasn’t already been covered in my review if the original PM80 pod mod. All you need to know is that it’s a bit taller and takes a single 18650 battery instead of a built-in battery.

Menu System and Navigation

One of the things I liked most about the original Target PM80 was its smart feature suite. Luckily, Vaporesso kept all of them for the SE version as well, and you can access them all from the menu, by keeping the + and – adjustment buttons pressed down for a couple of seconds.

You will be able to choose from the several different modes, including Smart Mode, where the mod will automatically set a recommended power output depending on the resistance of the coil, standard Variable Wattage mode, and Variable Voltage. There is also a Default option, which, when selected restores the factory settings of the pod mod. That’s about all there is to the menu, but trust when I say it’s a lot more than you’ll find on other similar devices.

You can also lock the buttons on the pod mod by pressing the power button three times, to make sure it doesn’t accidentally fire, and turn the device on or off by pressing the fire button three times in rapid succession.

Battery Life and Performance

Unlike the original Vaporesso Target PM80, the SE version doesn’t have a 2,000mAh internal battery, but a battery compartment for a replaceable 18650. Unless you’re a complete “noob” when it comes to vaping, you probably already know the advantages and disadvantages of external batteries. They make having to wait for the device to charge a non-issue, at least when you have spare batteries, as you can just replace them on the fly, but on the flip side, the devices are slightly larger and you need to carry the spares with you, preferably in a dedicated plastic case, to prevent short-circuits.

I’ve been using the Target PM80 SE with one of my trusty Sony VTC 5A batteries, and I recommend you get a similar high-quality battery as well, both for optimal performance and safety. Battery life will vary according to your vaping style and battery capacity, but you should get better “mileage” out of the SE version than out of the original PM80, as most suitable 18650 batteries have over 2,000mAh capacity.

Sadly, Vaporesso hasn’t yet switched to the USB C standard, while most of its top competitors have. It’s certainly not a deal breaker, but USB C looks like the future of the industry, so being late to the party isn’t exactly ideal.

Performance wise, the Vaporesso Target PM80 SE is very similar to the original PM80; they use the same refillable pods and coil-heads, the airflow slots are the same, and the two even look almost identical. Still, the Special Edition gives us a chance to present the various improvements Vaporesso has introduced in the last few months. They are technically available for the standard Target PM80 as well, but they weren’t available when we published the review.

The thing that really impressed me about the Target PM80 SE kit were those little silicone plugs that go into the airflow slots to restrict the airflow. I was skeptical about them at first, but after trying them I have to say they actually work very well. Airflow control was the thing that the original PM80 desperately needed, and while this wasn’t the system I personally had in mind, it proved to be really good.

You can plug up just one of the airflow slots on the mod if you just want a more restrictive direct lung draw, or both if you want a surprisingly tight, almost cigarette-like mouth-to-lung (MTL) vape. What’s great about this simple system is that because each slot is made up of three individual small holes, you can actually adjust the tightness of the draw by plugging up or unplugging individual holes. These small adjustments really make a difference in the overall vaping experience; I personally like vaping in MTL mode with the new GTX 0.8Ω coil-heads with five of the six air slots plugged up, but I prefer a really tight vape, so you may want just four or even three covered slots.

Another notable improvement is the addition of a GTX RBA base. VooPoo’s RBA base for the Vinci and Vinci X pod mods has been so popular that it had inspired other manufacturers to make their own for their proprietary pod mods and AIO systems. We recently reviewed the Druga Narada Pro by Augvape, it had an RBA, and now the Vaporesso PM80 has one as well.

Personally, I’m not so hyped about pod mod RBAs, I find them cumbersome to work with because of their size, and besides, if you’re really into building coils and playing with rebuildables there are so many better options to choose from than a pod mod. The main advantages of this sort of device is convenience, and installing a coil on a tiny RBA is anything but convenient. It can be downright frustrating, especially of you lack patience and experience.

But far be it for me to make the new GTX RBA seem like a con rather than a pro. This can definitely be an asset if you’re into rebuildables, especially with the now-adjustable airflow control, and it even comes with a 0.7Ω coil to get you started. It’s on the small side though, so you will have to do with a 2mm diameter coil, 2.5mm at most.

Finally there is the new 0.8Ω coil-head, which works great for MTL. It’s not the highest resistance for this style of vaping, but it’s definitely an improvement over the other available options. Plus let’s not forget that the Target PM80 pods are compatible with VooPoo’s extensive line of PnP coil-heads.

Conclusion

The new Vaporesso Target PM80 SE isn’t all that different from the original PM80. In fact, apart from the external battery and the different display, everything else is pretty much identical. It even works with the same pods and coil-heads, and the improvements discussed in this review are also available for the standard Target PM80 pod mod as well, including the RBA base and the airflow control plugs. So if you already have a PM80, or if you’re thinking of buying one, there is no reason to opt for the SE, other than the removable 18650 battery. That’s my opinion, anyway.

The Vaporesso Target PM80 SE was sent to me directly by Vaporesso for the purpose of this review.

Pros
  • great build quality
  • external 18650
  • RBA compatible
  • several vaping modes
  • improved airflow system
Cons
  • taller than standard version
  • too similar to the standard version

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