Introduction: The Alpha Mini Kit from VIP
The VIP Alpha Mini kit is a new starter kit from the people over at VIP E Cigarette.
They have released the new Alpha range consisting of two vape pen starter kits – the Alpha Mini MTL starter kit and the Alpha Base Kit which is a sub ohm vape pen. They have also released a box mod kit that was very good, the VIP Tense, reviewed here.
For this review we have the weeny little Alpha Mini which is for Mouth to Lung (MTL) vapers – basically those using high nicotine or nicotine Salt e-liquid. A MTL kit usually has tighter airflow to mimic the sensation of smoking tobacco and can be lower powered as the nic hit comes through the use of higher nicotine liquid.
The Mini has a 800mAh battery and runs a 1.4ohm coil. The tank is 1.8ml capacity and is top fill.
This is a refillable kit so no e-liquid is included with the kit – make sure to buy some suitable liquid to get you started!
No other controls other than a fire button and airflow adjustment to deal with so should be a nice simple back to basics style kit.
You can choose from Silver or Black versions.
Thank you to VIP for sending this kit over for review – as always my opinions are my own based on the performance of the actual kit I received.
Right then time for some nicotine action!
What’s In The Box
- VIP Alpha Mini battery
- VIP Alpha Mini tank with 1.4ohm coil head installed
- Spare 1.4ohm coil
- Braided Micro USB cable
- Spare glass
- Size: 18x104mm (approx – measured including drip tip)
- Battery: 800mAh (internal)
- Tank capacity: 1.8ml
- Coil resistance: 1.4ohm
- Battery life indicator
- Adjustable airflow
- Top fill tank
Build Quality & Design
I received the black version of the VIP Alpha Mini kit.
Oh lord it is tiny! The tank looks like it was made for a dolls house!
A note about the instructions – whilst they are pretty amazing I did find there were a few questions they didn’t answer…
- “Adjustable airflow” was stated on the specs but nothing in the instructions about how to do it
- Does the light stay on whilst charging, go off when fully charged?
- Coil head material
Anyway I found the airflow adjustment by chance and I watched the bloody thing charge to see if the light went out when it was finished – and it did!
This is tiny and lightweight but very very cute.
The vape tank is well built and I experienced no leaking at all.
The drip tip is like a tiny straw but it is a metal flange on the top cap covered with a black sleeve so you can’t fit your own drip tip on here.
It is a very neat looking kit, the black components all match, with small branding in silver.
The square fire button also has a backlight and the button clicks and operates in a responsive way.
Very neat little puppy this.
The device comes in two separate parts – the battery and the tank. Simply screw them together, charge the battery and fill the tank and you are ready to go.
- Power on / off – 5 clicks of the fire button
- Adjust airflow – the airflow inlet is within the drip tip – if you rotate the top cap of the tank (A) the slot (B) will open/close to restrict/open the airflow.
- Battery capacity remaining – the LED light will flash 3 times and the device will not fire when the voltage drops below 3V – time for a charge.
- When the battery level is below 30% remaining the LED will flash briefly as a warning.
- Pass-through – this device has pass-through capability – so you can vape whilst charging.
- Puff cut off – if the fire button is held down for longer than 10 seconds the device will cut off – this is to prevent accidental firing whilst in bags/pockets etc.
- Short circuit – if a short circuit is detected the light will flash 5 times and cut out.
How To Charge The Battery
- Using the swanky braided USB cable install the small end into the USB port of the Alpha Mini and the large end into a suitable USB outlet.
- The LED light will light up during charging and will extinguish when fully charged.
How To Fill The Tank
- Unscrew the top cap – this may take a few more turns than you expected as this is also the airflow adjustment ring too.
- When cap is removed squeeze e-liquid into the tank at the side of the coil head – between the glass and the coil. Do not add liquid to the centre hole of the coil.
- Replace the top cap and adjust the airflow again to your preference.
How To Change The Coil Head
- You will need to empty the tank before a coil change.
- Remove the tank from the battery.
- Turn the tank upside down and remove the tank base.
- The coils just pulls out and pushes in.
- Replace the tank base and fill the tank as described above.
- Leave the tank to stand for 5-10 minutes for the coil to soak up the e-liquid.
This was a bit fiddly to be honest.
The coil pulls out or in my case falls out the second you remove the tank base from the tank.
Opening the new coil and removing from the packet somehow the bottom connection came out so I had to try and push this back in – and this coil is tiny.
Again putting a new coil in it keeps falling out until you screw the tank base onto the tank.
How Does the VIP Alpha Mini Kit Perform?
Flavour & Cloud Production
This kit is a Mouth to Lung kit with 1.4ohm coil heads so therefore is designed for high nicotine or nicotine salt e-liquid.
Read our MTL vs DTL guide if you are unsure what type of vaper you are/will be.
I have my normal 50% VG/PG 12mg nicotine e-liquid so I tried this first.
As I also have some 50/50 VG/PG Nic Salts e-liquid (Salt Nix Northern Tobacco – the same flavour as found in the VLaddin Pods I loved) so will try this too!
If you want to understand more about the VG and PG proportions in E-liquid have a read of our Guide to PG and VG.
With each test I set the airflow to the mid position to start with and adjusted accordingly.
You can fully close the airflow off to pretty much nothing and in the fully open position it is still very restricted.
50/50 Standard High Nicotine E-liquid
Now in the Alpha mini so far the taste isn’t really there that I was expecting.
However I do get a good throat hit and more vapour than I thought would be happening.
After a few tank fulls the flavour has improved but it still isn’t as good as some pod mods I have used. Quite a muted flavour and still a touch of cotton taste.
There were no wicking issues and this gave no dry hits at all when primed correctly.
Sadly a nasty bout of Tonsillitis interrupted this review – but my gob is working again you will all be pleased to hear so let’s chuck some of the stronger stuff in this tank!
50/50 Nicotine Salt E-liquid
I found the flavour stronger in this and much more of a throat hit.
This device seems to be happier with Nic Salt e-liquid but again still quite muted flavour wise compared to other devices I use the same e-liquid in.
There was a lot less vapour with this e-liquid I did find.
As I was using strong nicotine e-liquid in this I couldn’t do a full session of vaping until the battery died as I would have been vomiting up my dinner.
So I did small bouts and added the time together to give a rough idea of the battery life.
In total I got 9 hours of vaping. In the last half hour of this the performance really dropped and the light on the fire button was sort of pulsating when it was pressed.
When the battery has totally discharged the light on the fire button flashes when pressed and the device will not fire until recharged.
- Very cute and tiny
- Quick to charge
- Well-built good quality
- Good throat hit
- Great battery life
- Whilst the instructions are pretty good they are missing a few details
- Cannot replace the drip tip
- Removing top cap to refill loses airflow adjustment
- Muted taste
- Fiddly coils
Final Review Verdict
The VIP Alpha Mini is a very basic starter kit – so putting on my “starter vaper” goggles you could do a hell of a lot worse.
But sadly I do think you could do a hell of a lot better really.
For those new to vaping the Innokin Endura T20-S or T18 or Joyetech Exceed D19 are far better vape pen style kits. As mentioned above I use pod mods which have better vapour and taste than the Alpha Mini too. These pod mods are also pretty much the same price.
The VIP Alpha Mini just feels… well.. a bit dated you know.
It is perfectly acceptable and by no means terrible. But I have had the luxury of using a lot of starter kits in the last year and this just doesn’t reach the same level as a lot of newer stuff. If you bought this and hadn’t tried any other kits you would be perfectly happy as it gives a good throat and nic hit and will definitely do the job.
So to sum up – OK – but you could get better for the same price.