Introduction: The Alpha Base Kit from VIP
VIP started out making cig-a-likes and moved on to refillable tanks and box mod style devices.
The battery part of this device houses a 3000mAh capacity battery and is charged via the USB port on the rear of the mod.
In the specs inside the instruction leaflet it says the mod is “Variable Voltage 4-3.2V”. I am assuming this automatically adjusts or simply drops with the battery output remaining as I can see no way of manually adjusting this.
You also get the Alpha Mini tank in the kit (not the same tank as used on the Alpha Mini device though – just to confuse matters!).
The tank has a 2ml capacity and comes with 0.5ohm and 0.3ohm coils.
You can choose from Silver or Black versions.
As usual even though this device was sent through free of charge for review – I can only report back on the experience I got from the device I received.
Right time to get vaping!
What’s In The Box
- VIP Alpha Base battery
- VIP Alpha Mini tank with 0.3ohm coil head installed
- 0.5ohm coil
- Braided Micro USB cable
- Spare glass
- Size: 24x124mm (approx – measured including drip tip)
- Battery: 3000mAh (internal)
- Tank capacity: 2ml
- Coil resistance: 0.3ohm or 0.5ohm
- Battery life indicator
- Output: 4-3.2V
- Adjustable airflow
- Top fill tank
Build Quality & Design
I received the Alpha Base kit in black.
The battery and tank match perfectly with some branding in Silver.
This is a chunky mod which is not very tall and does have some weight to it.
The mod (battery) part is pretty simple – just a single fire button which is square and has a back light and nothing else to adjust or faff with.
The tank is a bit annoying really – it has “VIP” and the VIP triangle logo on it but you can never get them to line up with the front of the mod – not a deal breaker but if you like things to be “right” it will make you frustrated.
Also there is a small gap between the bottom black part of the tank glass and the tank base which shows through in silver. Again spoiling the looks of the kit.
The tank has a similar airflow adjustment to the Alpha Mini kit. However it is even more difficult to fathom out on the Base model.
Again nothing in the instructions about how to adjust this sadly, so it is a bit trial and error.
The airflow inlet (B) is just below the drip tip and even rotating the top cap of the tank doesn’t adjust it – it just unscrews the top cap. So you sort of have to try and grip the smooth bit (A) over the air inlet and turn it. Not very good really. I found in the end sticking my nail in the slot and using that to lever the adjustment across – not great. The adjustment ring is really stupidly tight to turn as well.
The drip tip is a total mystery as I could not remove it despite unscrewing and tugging at it. It came out a bit then wouldn’t go back bloody in – sitting at a stupid angle. But I managed to get it right in the end but it still keeps popping out again.
The kit arrives with the battery and tank not connected. So simply screw the tank onto the battery.
- Power on / off – 5 clicks of the fire button
- To vape – hold down the fire button
- Short circuit protection – light will flash 5 times and power supply will be cut off.
- Low voltage protection – below 3V the LED indicator will flash 3 times and the device will not fire until recharged.
- Puff duration – if the fire button is held down longer than 10 seconds the light will flash 3 times and the device will not fire. This is to prevent danger or damage if the button is accidentally activated say in a bag or pocket.
- Pass-through – you can vape on the device whilst it is charging.
How To Charge The Battery
- Using the included USB cable install the small end into the USB port on the battery.
- Install the larger end into a suitable USB outlet.
- The button back light will come on whilst charging and go out when fully charged.
How To Fill The Tank
- Unscrew the top cap of the tank.
- Fill with e-liquid by letting it flow between the coil and the glass – do not add e-liquid to the coil centre hole.
- Only fill up to the “Max” line marked on the tank glass.
- Replace the top cap.
- If first refill on a new coil head leave to stand for 15 minutes for the cotton in the coil to absorb the liquid.
How To Change The Coil Head
- Only change the coil when the tank is empty or empty it beforehand.
- Unscrew the tank from the battery.
- Unscrew the tank base.
- The coil is a push in style – if you are like me the second you take the tank base off the coil falls out onto the floor or your clothes.
- Place a new coil into position – it probably won’t stay there though so quickly put the tank back together before you drop it!
- Add e-liquid to the tank as described above.
- Wait 10-15 minutes for the cotton in the coil head to absorb the e-liquid.
Although the tank in the Specs and on the box is called the “Alpha Mini Tank” – it is not the same tank as the one on the VIP Alpha Mini kit. Yep confusing much? The coil heads for the Alpha Base and Tense kits are not compatible with the Alpha Mini Kit.
How Does the VIP Alpha Base Kit Perform?
Flavour & Cloud Production
This is a Sub Ohm vaping kit therefore you need to make sure you are using the correct e-liquid.
To be on the safe side usually you need a higher VG e-liquid. We tell you all about PG and VG proportions in our guide.
Also its better to use lower nicotine strengths as you don’t require such a strong nicotine hit with sub ohm equipment.
I used my usual Stika Bombz Fruit Salad e-liquid which is 6mg Nicotine and 80%VG.
I quickly found out this was a bit too thick – the wicking holes in them coils are tiny and I got dry hits.
Sadly now I am trying to find an e-liquid with 70%VG to use in here. Thankfully I still had some Kiwi Kool left from the lovely IVG e-liquid range. Also I tried the Urban Sky e-liquid in here too as that is 70% VG.
I usually set the airflow in the mid position to start with and test it out at max and min too.
With the airflow fully closed there is a slight amount of air coming in but very little. Fully open it is still pretty restricted with a whistle too. This made my poor dog pretty confused bless her.
I filled the tank and left it overnight to soak in – not deliberately I add – I had forgotten I had filled it!
Anyway the next day I picked this beauty up and topped the tank up a bit more and took my first vape.
Usually coil heads can take a tankful or two to “bed in” and get the full flavour.
However this was beautiful from the first vape I took. Wow. Flavour comparable with some mesh and ceramic coils I have used.
Sadly this all went boobs up after 2 vapes in a row – yep dry hit time.
So if you see above I had to change over to a thinner e-liquid. This time a 70% VG to see if things improved.
Now I am not getting the flavour I had before – it may be that the coil was damaged from the thicker e-liquid however the cotton still looks pretty white and clean.
Sadly I am still getting dry hits. I think the tiny wicking holes in the equally tiny coils are really not cut out for thicker liquids.
I will try this tank and coil on another mod at low power. Either the dry hits from the thick e-liquid ruined the coil or the battery is kicking out too much power for this coil.
I am unable to rate this coil sadly for flavour or clouds.
In fact this coil is behaving much better than the 0.3ohm coil.
It definitely doesn’t feel as powerful or warm but there is a good taste.
Good flavour and getting the menthol hit coming through well with this coil.
This is pleasantly vapable you know – feels a touch underpowered but no dry hits and plenty of flavour.
There is a reasonable amount of vapour but not a lot.
Tank On A Mod
Well out of curiosity I tried this tank on a Variable Wattage Mod – the Vaporesso Revenger Mini in fact. So I tried both coils and this is what I found.
Looking closely at the tiniest writing known to man on the coil heads I did see a rating:
- 0.3ohm – 35-40W
- 0.5ohm – 35-40W
0.3ohm Coil On A Mod
I started off at 25W and went all the way up to 40W and got good flavour and clouds. There were no dry hits until I took it up to 50W. So this makes me think the Alpha Base battery might be taking the power too high for this coil?
0.5ohm Coil On A Mod
This was the total opposite. On the Alpha Base battery this felt very underpowered. I found 20W on a mod was similar to using this with the battery it was supplied with. I managed to take this to 35 and 40W and found the performance to be a whole lot better.
The battery life will depend on which coil and tank you use the battery with.
The mod is designed to automatically adjust to the tank and coil it came with so I probably wouldn’t use a different tank on this to be on the safe side.
As the 0.3ohm coil didn’t want to play I could only do a battery life test on the 0.5ohm coil
I found I got altogether around 8.5 hours of vaping. In the last 30 minutes of this the LED was pulsing when fire was pressed and the performance was pretty poor.
- It didn’t leak
- When used with 70% VG e-liquid the 0.5ohm coil did perform quite well.
- Tiny wicking holes in the tiny coils meant dry hits with 80% VG e-liquid.
- Airflow adjustment is very fiddly
- Instructions do not state how to adjust airflow or best PG/VG proportions to use.
Final Review Verdict
The VIP Alpha Base Kit didn’t really impress me sadly.
The 0.3ohm coil didn’t perform with 80% VG e-liquid and nothing on the website or instructions warned against using this. In hindsight I perhaps should have noticed how tiny the coils were – but if I can make this mistake I am sure many other people will.
The 0.5ohm coil with 70%VG liquid performed well – good flavour but not much vapour and felt a touch under-powered.
The design of the tank does have some flaws – the very miniscule coil heads and the stupid airflow design with no instructions on how to operate it infuriated me further.
The instructions on this kit need to make it clearer what e-liquid is recommended and I think the coil heads still need some work as they are too tiny to perform against similar sub ohm vape pens on the market.
After trying the tank on an adjustable mod the battery of the kit seems to be regulating its output weird. It was under-powered for the 0.5ohm coil and seems to have been over-powered for the 0.3ohm. Very strange as the tank performed way better when not used with the battery it came with.
Sorry to be so negative but I have used a lot better vape pens for a similar price.