I do know Charlie, I would say we’re acquaintances. I was never taken with the design of the original Flask, but always respected what Charlie was doing. I first met him before he had his first prototypes out for the Flask, and I really can’t say how much I respect the impact he’s made in the market and how well Vape Forward are doing.
I purchased this mod for myself, though, because I feel like this is going to be an important market segment, and we may see further developments as regulations come online worldwide and make it more difficult for smaller studios to stay in business.
- Price: $90.00
- Battery: Single 26650 or 18650 w/included adapter
- Output: 1-100W (0.1 Ohms to 3.5 Ohms in VW)
- TC: Ni200, Ti (01 I’m guessing?), SS (316L I’m guessing?); 100*C-315*C (0.05 Ohms to 1.0 Ohms in TC)
- Dimensions: 30mm wide, 85.3mm tall, and 46.5mm deep.
- Chipset: Custom Joyetech
- Firmware upgradeable? Yes.
- 510: Spring Loaded
Introduction, Impressions, and Appearance
The Stout comes in a textured presentation box, which has the Vape Forward logo around on the individual boxes (for the micro USB cable, etc) and the largest box. Every piece is attractive and on-message as far as telling you who this came from, but it could be a little nicer.
When I first picked the Stout up, I had expected a rather dense item, but without the battery inside of it it is lighter than anticipated. That’s not good or bad, it is what it is. It has made me curious about how the other VF models feel without batteries in them. Once the 26650 is in there it has great heft, which I certainly enjoy. Overall, the Stout feels good. It’s comfortable in the hand, and it has a reassuring weight. For me, it lets me know it’s there without being an oppressive hand-eater (as the VTR of yore could be). The black finish is smooth looking and feeling.
The battery life has been wonderful. I picked up a pair of green Efest 4,200mAh batteries when I ordered this, and the 40% increase in battery life over my usual LG HG2s is super noticeable. I catch myself using the Stout later in the evening and realizing I have loads of battery life left, so that’s really great.
The buttons are interesting. Initially mine were rattley, which was suboptimal. After a while (when I wasn’t looking) they just stopped rattling – so that’s good! There is some play, but you need to be firm to get them to move noticeably. The fire and adjustment buttons all feel good, there’s a good tactile click. The fire button sounds hollow-ish, but the adjustment buttons have a good peppy click-sound to them that I do enjoy.
I have a weakness for unique design mechanisms on mods, and the door for swapping out the batteries certainly pleases. Swapping a battery is easy, quick, and mechanically satisfying. It’s just a fun door to play with! I do think the battery tube could stand to be a hair deeper because a lot of popular 26650 batteries such as Efest greens and Orbtronics don’t fit, and keep the door from closing as it should.
The mod is perfectly comfortable to use either with my index finger or thumb on the fire button. Overall, it’s comfortable and fairly handsome, so there isn’t too much to complain about as a workhorse ergonomically, mechanically, and aesthetically.
The software is simple to navigate, and the instructions in the manual are easy to follow. In TC mode, the temperature adjustments are the default adjustment and main feature on the screen, rather than the wattage (hint hint, Evolv). The resistance reading could be a little larger (if you have bad eyes, it may be a bit of a struggle), but the screen is overall a good size.
But now…things get a little hinky.
I use TC. It is an enormous development for the industry, and it has a lot of potential for improving not just things like coil or wick durability, but also for keeping users from being exposed to byproducts from overheated coils. At this stage in the game, every manufacturer absolutely should have a flat signal DC output figured out. Quality of the VW experience shouldn’t even factor in at this point.
The temperature control on this mod does not work. It miscalibrates whether or not you fire on a fresh coil, it has no way to force recalibration (to get the mod to ask if it’s a new coil – I’ve only made the message appear 3 times), and it can misread your temperature by over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That is entirely unacceptable for a TC mod. The most accurate I could get the mod to work was when it was misreading by “only” 60 degrees. Swapping between Celsius and Fahrenheit did not solve any issues, nor did loading a firmware update. This brings me to an important point:
If the feature doesn’t work, don’t include it.
The whole point of an instrument is to indicate something your senses aren’t the best at checking, and this instrument is about the equivalent of a speedometer reading “stopped”, “going”, and “fast”. It’s unbelievably frustrating.
The Stout is a fine VW device, and there isn’t anything wrong with that, but if you have this marketable feature (TC), you need to prepare to be judged on it. Everything else works just fine; the buttons, battery latch, 510 connector for atties that get their airflow through the 510, all of it; it just falls on its face where I wanted, needed, and hoped it would succeed.
The Stout comes with an 18650 battery sleeve adapter, instruction booklet, warranty card, and micro USB cable. Everything has the very nice, understated Vape Forward logo on it or the box it comes in, and it just adds a little bit of character to the package.
The micro USB cable is fine – nothing to write home about, similar to what you get in just about everything else. It functions as it should for firmware upgrades.
The instruction card is detailed, and discusses how to change modes, change temperature readouts, change settings, et cetera, et cetera, and it reads in plain English. It doesn’t read like a rushed translation, so it’s rather nice on that front relative to a lot of gear we see coming over from overseas (although I admit, this isn’t the problem it used to be).
In addition to the Stout having TC for Ni200, Ti, and SS, it has VW mode and a few memory bank slots. The instruction booklet does not address how to use these. I understand the value of having a few memorized profiles, but honestly if you’re not going to discuss it in the instruction booklet, why even have the booklet? For many (yours truly included), this is going to be their first mod with that functionality; the booklet fails to address them, and that really detracts from the user experience.
The 18650 adapter goes a little wrong, too. Mine likes to shake around inside the sleeve, which is maddening. It works, but it can be frustrating.
The Stout is so close on so many counts to really blowing me away. If:
- The instruction manual included all the directions,
- The TC worked,
- The 18650 sleeve better fitting,
- The battery well a little deeper, and
- The fire button a little more substantial sounding
Then this device would be a slam dunk; if the TC worked, then it would be a plain old winner!
Now we get to the all-important question…“Who is the Vapor Flask Stout for?”
It depends on your market! If you don’t regularly spend $80+ for your mods, then it is for someone who wants:
- A competent variable wattage device, and nothing to do with TC.
- A handsome, well-designed, and ergonomic device.
- A device that has lots of battery life.
If you regularly purchase high-end, or authentic devices, it is the above things, but it is also:
- A handsome beater.
The Stout certainly gets more things right than it gets wrong, but at this stage in the game, that is simply not a strong enough criterion for me to wholeheartedly recommend something. It needs to get its key features right, especially as this comes as a sort of showcase for Joyetech’s best technology.