The V-MOD from Vapage is a bottom feederjuice box e-cigarette that allows you to carry around both your e-cigarette and e-liquid all in one compact package. The V-MOD is probably in the middle of the pack from a price standpoint coming in well under the cost of some of the costlier juice fed e-cigarettes out there. The kit provides a good combination of performance and functionality.
What's in the Box?
The V-MOD comes in starter kit form, it does not come with batteries (the company says they will release a kit including batteries and a charger in the future.) The standard kit comes in the obligatory magnetic latch presentation box that is the standard for most e-cigarette kits on the market. Lift up the lid and this is what you will see inside:
Inside the box
1 V-MOD chasis and aluminum shell
1 aluminum cone
2 e-liquid bottles (3ml, 1 with storage cap)
2 Silo cartomizers (2.2 Ω)
2 rubber drip tips
One each of the bottles, cartomizers and drip tips are pre-installed into the unit, the extra parts live in their own cozy foam cutouts inside the box. The kit also comes with a glossy instruction sheet. My model also came with an upgrade kit consisting of new gaskets and a drip cup (more on this in a bit). Newer versions of the kit should have these extra bits pre-installed.
There are essentially 3 parts that make up the V-MOD: An inner chasis, an outer shell and a cone that holds the other two pieces in place. Once fully assembled the outer aluminum shell gives the whole thing a very solid feeling. This is likely due to that shell sliding over the internal part like a sleeve eliminating seams along the side of the device.
The overall design also introduces a lot of curves and swooping lines; while this is in the juice box category of e-cigarette mods, I wouldn't really call it boxy at all. The shell features a fairly ergonomic design with the button located on the top, but at a slightly lower level than the cartomizer opening.
A window type opening on the side allows access for bottle squeezing and is similarly devoid of angular lines. Buttons are minimal, only the spring loaded fire button is exposed. The on/off switch is eliminated by using the ignition button itself. Twist the button clockwise to enable the button, counter clockwise disables the button preventing accidental misfires.
The inner chasis is where the actual mechanics and inner workings of the device lie. The V-MOD is a purely mechanical e-cigarette so there are no wires, but rather a somewhat elaborate system of metal connectors to complete the circuit between the battery and the cartomizer. The other side of the chasis, below the atomizer connection is the fitting for the e-juice bottle.
The actual juice feed system does not use tubes or needles to deliver the e-liquid up to the cartomizer. Rather, the juice feeds into an intermediate chamber below the atomizer. Liquid is then delivered from the chamber to the cartomizer as the second step of a two squeeze process. Tilt the e-cigarette down and gently squeeze to fill the chamber, hold it upright and squeeze again to deliver the juice.
UPDATE: Vapage has released a new version of the V-MOD. This greatly increases compatibility. Most 510 cartomizer and atomizers are now compatible (rendering this section fairly obsolete, but I'll leave that here anyway).
The juice chamber system is only part of the equation that makes the feed system work on this device. The other half, and one of this device's few weaknesses, is the use of specially designed cartomizers. The cartomizers have small slots on the bottom edge through which the e-liquid uptake occurs.
Note the venturi
Most other bottom-fed systems will shoot juice through the hole in the middle of the battery connector of the atomizers which most atomizers have. Most atomizers and cartomizers do not have venturis (the term used by Vapage to describe the slots.) This design makes the cartomizers at least partially proprietary.
The good news is that the Silo cartomizers work very well so the issue may not be as show stopping as you may think. Even better is that the company also makes an atomizer that works even better than the cartomizer on this device. The atomizers are hybrid 306/510, meaning they are a 306 style atomizer in a 510 body, and are available in a variety of resistances (I used 1.5 Ω on mine).
The bottom feeder models work on most other bottom-fed mods, and there is even a standard version without the venturi slots available, which is sold at Clouds of Vapor. Regular 510 atomizers and cartomizers will also work on the V-MOD, but the juice feeder system will not work to keep them topped off, you'll have to do that yourself manually.
I'd have to say the first thing that struck me about this e-cigarette was the size of the device. I was honestly expecting something much larger when the package arrived. The Vapage device is a little bit shorter than an eGo battery and a little bit wider than two of those batteries placed side-by-side.
Petit, as far as these things go
This diminutive footprint (along with the ability to disable the button) make this device very pocket friendly. This thing just hides away in a shirt or pants pocket, and the cone covers the entire atomizer, eliminating any worries about breaking the atomizer. The drip tip may come off in pocket because the rubber is so flexible, but replacing it with a standard metal or derlin 510 drip tip will fix that problem.
The small size does equate to a bit of trial and error trying to figure out what the most comfortable way to hold the device while vaping. The grip wasn't quite natural for me at first, and while the exterior is curvy enough with no sharp corners, the edges are flat and caused a little bit of discomfort. A little bit of use was all it really took until my hand sort of found a comfortable grip on its own accord.
UPDATE: The improved V-MOD no longer has the leaking issues mentioned below. However, the squeezing techniques are still recommended, though not quite as critical.
Relax, the spot on the desk is a reflection
Operating the juice feed mechanism on the V-MOD similarly took a little bit of practice. The trick with this device I found is a gentle squeeze is key. Too hard and excess e-juice will seep out of the feed chamber and into the innards of the device.
The method I found to minimize the seepage was to essentially follow the included directions. Point the drip tip at a downward angle and squeeze gently until you feel the bottle resist, point the tip straight up and squeeze (again, a gentle hand here). I added an additional step of taking a good stiff puff on the thing without pressing the button.
This extra step draws any juice out of the holding chamber that your squeeze may have missed as well as help the atomizer's wicking process. The draw also clears out the catch cup should there be any liquid lurking down there. The catch cup is a new addition to the V-MOD and part of the upgrade kit I mentioned earlier.
The upgrade kit includes that catch cup, a small silicone disc, along with a new silicone gasket to slide onto the outside of the cartomizer. These upgrades were done to minimize some of the liquid seeping issue that plagued earlier versions of the device. I can attest to the effectiveness of the upgrade.
That little disc makes all the difference
Originally I sort of ignored the extra little bag of stuff, excited to try out the V-MOD. I quickly found that the device had some issues with liquid finding its way to the innards of the device. Whenever I opened it up to change the battery or add juice, I found myself having to mop up a fair amount of liquid from the insides.
While adding the gasket was kind of tricky, it was well worth the effort. After adding the drip cup, the leaking went down considerably but didn't totally stop. Turns out I had a bottle problem as well. After swapping bottles to change flavors, I found there was pretty much no seepage from that point forward.Fortunately, this device has no electronics, not even a light. If you do have a leak from over squeezing or a rogue bottle, it's a simple matter to wipe the juice that does build up. You can (and probably should occasionally) rinse the device in water after removing the battery and atomizer to give a good cleaning.
Models shipping in the near future will come with the new gaskets and catch cup pre-installed.
I sort of alluded to this earlier, but I find the V-MOD to be a very competent performer. The included silo 2.2Ω cartomizers are reasonably decent producing moderate vapor and good throat hit. I did find the draw a little bit loose on the Silos, but Vapage said customers will soon be able to select different draw levels for their cartomizers.
Inside the Silo
Aside from the venturi I mentioned previously, there's one other odd trait I found with the Silo cartomizers. They only have about half the filler of a normal standard sized cartomizer. Looking inside the cartomizer, the filler only comes about halfway to the top of the unit. This sort of makes sense because the cartomizer was built for a juice feeder.
Switching over to a 1.5Ω AMG atomizer however changes the performance quite a bit. The AMGs are a bridgeless 306 atomizer stuffed into a 510 style body (with the venturi holes of course). The steel wool around the heating coil holds quite a bit of e-liquid, and in fact should be liberally primed by dripping several drops into the atomizer before first using it on the feeder.
Well used 1.5 atomizer
Once I had my atomizer good and broken in, the performance was very impressive. The vapor was pleasingly warm, and while not as plentiful as some other devices I used the vapor felt thicker, it's sort of hard to quantify. Flavor reproduction was very pleasant and I at least think I detected a stronger throat hit than the cartomizers.
Battery life with the low resistance atomizers was of course somewhat diminished. The device uses fairly small batteries (14500) but I still got several good hours out of a charge. It should also be noted that this device can take two 14250 3.2v batteries for 6 volt use as well with higher resistance atomizers. Just make sure to get the 3.2v and not the 3.7v batteries.
Too Long; Didn't Read
The V-MODis a small and easily pocketable bottom feeding juice box. The design is attractive and thanks to the outer aluminum sleeve, feels incredibly solid. Performance is excellent, especially when paired with one of Vapeage's low resistance atomizers. Despite the feed system only working with slotted cartomizers or atomizers, this device is worthy of consideration. The fact it's priced well below other high performance juice feeders doesn't hurt either.Purchase the V-MOD from Vapage