In for review we have the new Artery Cold Steel AIO RBA version…
You can also get this in pod form, so just keep in mind that this review is about the RBA version, the body is identical, but they use a different pod.
You might remember that the Cold Steel brand used to be made by EHPro.
Due a restructuring, Cold Steel is now branded as Artery (with the original Cold Steel 100 and 200 remaining under EHPro).
This is the second Cold Steel product from the Artery brand, after the AK 47 Pod kit.
What Can We Expect From the Artery Cold Steel AIO?
As mentioned up the top, this is the rebuildable version of the Cold Steel AIO.
Whereas a lot of manufactures of AIO’s allow you to put a rebuildable section in to their existing pods, with various compromises, Artery has redesigned the pod to take a dedicated rebuildable.
Unfortunately this means that the RBA version has half the e-liquid capacity of the the standard pod (2ml vs 4ml) as the deck takes up a lot more space than a coil does.
I’m quite interested to see how this works, as I often feel like the the rebuildable section of AIOs is there more as an afterthought.
So does it live up to it’s promise? Let’s find out!
As usual, this was sent over for the purpose of review (thank you) however I am not influenced by freebies, and I shall report back honestly on what I find!
Inside the Box
- Cold Steel AIO Mod
- Cold Steel AIO RBA Pod (including RBA desk, preinstalled)
- 510 Adapter
- 18650 Adapter
- Pre-made Coil (Ni80 Triple Fused Clapton)
- Spares Bag including Allen Ken, Deck Screws, and O-rings
- User Manual
- Warranty Card
- Dimensions – 28 x 39.1 x 106.5mm
- Weight – 190g
- Material – Zinc alloy + PCTG
- Power Output – 5-120W
- Resistance Range – 0.1 – 3.0Ω
- Battery – 21700/20700 or 18650 with included adapter
- Capacity – 2ml (4ml for non RBA pod)
Design and Build Quality
The Artery Cold Steel AIO is available in 4 colours, Black (which I received), Stainless Steel, Copper and Gunmetal.
Artery Cold Steel AIO – Body
It’s very industrial feeling! Not overly heavy, but it feels very rigid and solid and in the hand.
Obviously it’ll be a fair bit heftier when you put in a 21700 battery.
The ridges that run down the device make it very easy to hold, quite grippy. Feels almost like it should be the magazine of an assault rifle. Imagery that Artery definitely lean into when you see cross hairs popping up on the screen as you power it on!
On either side you’ve got airflow holes to supply air to your pod, because they’re so high up, you’re unlikely to end up blocking them, no matter how you hold the device.
Down on one side you also have “Cold Steel AIO” moulded into the body, with “Designed by Artery” printer underneath.
Artery Cold Steel AIO – Base
Turning it over you can see your battery door, which is a screw down cap type.
It has a large negative indicator on the inside, with the regulatory marks on the outside, inside the tube there’s a positive indicator.
As usual for a 21700 device, there’s an 18650 adapter sitting inside when you get this.
One thing I did notice about this is that it feels like it grinds a little when you’re screwing it down. It’s not the most reassuring threading in the world, as it feels like you’re cross-threading.
You also have a USB C charging port on the base.
I’m never terribly keen on a charging port being at the bottom, as it means you’ll have to lie down your device to charge it.
However you can always avoid this by using an external charger, which is what I always recommend.
Artery Cold Steel AIO – Pod
To remove the pod from the device you’ve got a push marking with an arrow on the rear.
It’s not immediately clear what you’re supposed to do here, so the trick is to push in on the tab, and then push up.
The pod itself is made from slightly smoked PCTG, so it should be fine with all e-liquids.
The fill hole is on top behind a sliding plastic cover, and I found this to be a bit of pain. It’s got quite high walls on either side of the fill port, so it’s not easy to see where you’re putting the tip of a bottle.
Add to this, if you end up over filling it, or end up with an airlock, you can quickly end up with a lot of e-liquid filling up the small cut out.
It’s OK to do with smaller 50/50 bottles, but anything chubby with a short nozzle, is going to be annoying.
At the top it’s a relatively wide bore 510 drip tip, I did test some of my own drip tips in it, and one thing to watch out for is it’s quite a loose fit. So you may find that if you put your own drip tips on, that they wobble about a bit.
Flipping the pod over you can see the airflow control ring on the base of your deck.
This confused me so much to being with, because it feels more like a tank than a pod (due to the deck) I was expecting an external AFC. Instead we have the same kind of AFC you see on a lot of pod systems.
Removing the deck is easy enough, you just pull it straight down and out.
Artery Cold Steel AIO – Deck
This was a bit of a surprise seeing the deck for the first time.
I’m use to the deck in a pod kit being… tiny, instead, this one has a deck that wouldn’t look out of place on a single coil RTA.
There is absolutely tons of airflow coming up under and around the coil, and with the positive being on one side and the negative on the other, with 4 places to secure your coil, it doesn’t matter if you have legs pointing the same direction, opposite directions, or if your coil is wrapped clockwise or anti clockwise.
It’s a minor thing, but it’s definitely a pro in my book, as I hate to get a device and realise that my coil is wrapped the wrong way round!
I’m not going to do a full build tutorial on this one, but you can see that it’s pretty easy to do.
With the small adapter you get in the box, you can add a standard 510 to the deck so you can put it on a build tab.
Alternatively (like I did) you can use this, and the 510 adapter for the device, and build directly on the mod.
When the pod is mounted back on the device you can look straight down the drip tip and see your coil, as it’s so close to the mouth piece, I’m hoping we get lots of almost RDA like flavour!
Screen and Controls
You’ve got a relatively small but clear black and white screen, the fire button is above it, and the +/- buttons are underneath.
Controls are pretty simple, 5 clicks on/off, with 3 clicks of the fire button to enter the menu giving you these options.
- Power Mode
- Temp Mode
- Voltage Mode
- By Pass Mode
- Curve Mode
- Power Lock/Unlock
- E-Juice Test
Most of these are fairly self explanatory, and some of them have sub menus.
For example, Power Mode gives you the option of Soft, Normal or Strong, and Temp Mode has Nickel, Stainless Steel, Titanium or TCR.
What’s more interesting is the Power Lock/Unlock and E-Juice Test.
Artery Cold Steel AIO – Power Lock
With the power locked, the device will set a maximum wattage based on the resistance of the coil.
I personally hate these modes, so I always turn it off. But it’s nice that it’s there to keep people within a more-or-less sensible wattage range when they’re starting out.
Artery Cold Steel AIO – E Juice Test
E-Juice Test is a totally new one on me, and I had to look in the manual to see what it was, turns out it’s a dry burn protection.
Now most manufacturers that include this sort of function, rely on temperature sensing to cut the power when it can sense a dry burn.
The downside is that this be a little temperamental, and it only works with certain wires (those that work in temp mode).
Artery has gone a totally different way. Rather than sensing the resistance of the coil, there is actually another connector within the pod that measures the amount of e-liquid so it can tell when it’s running out.
I tested this and it works surprisingly well!
Because of where the sensor is positioned (towards the back of the pod if the fire button is facing you) it can be a little sensitive to angle.
So if you tilt it towards you a lot when you’re relatively low on e-liquid, it will cut in sooner than it needs to.
Obviously this will only work with the pod, as there’s no way for it to test this with a tank when it’s mounted using the 510 adapter.
How Does the Artery Cold Steel AIO Perform?
Airflow and Cloud Production
Right out the gate it’s obvious that this is not designed for mouth to lung!
Direct lung, or restricted direct lung is the order of the day here.
To be honest, that should come as no surprise having seen the massive amount of airflow on the deck.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is really tight, and 10 is fully open, this is about an 8. There’s a little bit of restriction, but you can easily manage a full direct lung inhale.
Although I dislike having to take the pod out every time I want to change the airflow, I found there actually wasn’t much point in doing that. Even closing it down so there was only a quarter of the airflow, it didn’t change the draw much at all.
Despite the honeycomb airflow on the deck, I found it to be quite a turbulent vape.
It’s also really noisy, with a constant high pitched “whoosh” whenever you inhale…Not exactly stealthy!
Artery Cold Steel AIO Flavour
I’ve tried a range of builds in this now, on the basis that there must be some secret sauce to get it to perform.
Sadly if there is, I still haven’t managed to crack it!
I used the fused Ni80 coil that came supplied first of all, despite the fact I’m not the biggest fan of Ni80.
Then went on to some of my favourite fused Clapton stainless steel coils.
No matter what coil I put in it though, I could only get the flavour to a level I would describe as “good enough”.
It’s OK, but it doesn’t really pop.
On more complex e-liquids with various flavour notes, I found I couldn’t really distinguish them very well.
And on simple e-liquids with one dominant flavour, everything just felt a little washed out.
As always, this part of the review is quite subjective, and your mileage may vary depending on what coil you run and the e-liquid you use.
As a Mod?
The Cold Steel AIO also comes with a 510 adapter, so if you prefer to use your own tanks then you can do.
Obviously some of the clever features (like the e-liquid level check) won’t work, as there’s no way for it to communicate with your tank.
However, I actually liked this better as a mod than I did as an AIO.
Not sure that’s what they would want to hear, but it’s the truth. As a mod, it’s a decently small single 21700 mod. Nice rigid feel to it, and you can fit up to a 24/25mm tank on it without any overhand.
- Clever e-liquid level check
- Easy to build and wick
- Nice to use as a mod
- Filling is awkward
- No external AFC
- Flavour is only “ok”
Final Review Verdict
That was the Artery Cold Steel AIO, now for my final thoughts.
In all honesty, there are some things that I really quite like about this.
The deck is really easy to work with, and unlike most other AIO kits that have a rebuildable section, they haven’t tried to cram a deck into the space the coil will normally take up.
However, because you have to use a totally different pod, I would have liked to have seen them lean into this a bit more.
There’s no reason to keep the airflow control on the base of the deck if you’re redesigning the whole pod. I can’t believe there wasn’t some way to manage a proper external AFC.
I’m also not entirely sure who this is aimed at.
If I were looking to get a decent rebuildable, I’d get an RTA and a small 21700 mod, that way I’ve got flexibility.
Alternatively if I already owned and liked the non rebuildable version of this, I might consider picking up the RBA section and pod to give me some more options.
But buying an AIO that is only compatible with a rebuildable section, unless you then buy a secondary pod to take coils? That seems a little weird.
Are you using this one or thinking of buying it?
Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below…