SXK Kayfun V5 Clone

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Only took 7 months for me to break my new year’s resolution. Was able to stay away from ordering any new vaping hardware through some will power, help from a few benefactors sending me items to try, and of course by there not being any new items that really begged me to part with my hard earned money. Yesterday received one of my two pre-orders, the Kayfun V5 Clone by SXK (Infinite). This also marks the first time I bought the clone version of any rta before owning the authentic. Enough of my rambling, let’s get to the details.

Packaging-

As you can see the SXK clone comes in a near identical box(es) as the actual Svoe Mesto. Honestly think the only difference is the blue on the clone is a shade darker than the authentic. Once open you see the two smaller boxes, one containing the Kayfun V5 Clone  assembled with the glass tank, the other with the steel tank and extra orings, screws, and the magic little blue screw driver. Unlike the authentic the extras come in a opaque wrap instead of a clear plastic resealable bag. The instruction manual is also folded up and inserted behind the two little boxes, instead of inside the accessories box. Still if you didn’t know better it could easily be passed off as an authentic. Hoping no sites or shops take advantage of this.

Device itself-

As expected from SXK the machining on this RTA is top notch. All the threads are buttery smooth without any burrs or deformities. The logos are etched on, and line up properly to the same spots as the authentic. The airflow control ring is a little firm the first few times you adjust it, but after a short break in period it moves easily but not so easily that you’re going to disengage and turn it in your pocket. Everything else from the juice control to the top cap moved flawlessly. No issues with the deck screws, they came up easily without stripping the head, and caught the wire perfectly. Didn’t have any machine oil or debris of any kind, though did still clean it before use. The only differences I can tell visually from the authentic to the clone are the etchings are not as deep on the clone and the insulator is an off white/beige color instead of pure white as on the real deal. That and of course the SXK logo etched into the afc ring.

Performance-

The Kayfun 3.1/lite set the gold standard for MTL vacuum rta’s a few years back. The 4 was a step forward and three back. It was plagued by being over engineered. Too many moving parts, which lead myriad of issues. Svoe Mesto fixed a lot of the 4’s issues with the Kayfun Mini V3. This is the refinement of that design. The only knock I can give the V5 is to some it will be too airy. It has as much airflow on its lowest setting as a wide open Kayfun Lite + (as in the air control screw removed). Unlike every other top fill vacuum designed rta’s I’ve tried (save the 4 and Mini V3) it does not leak after filling it. Only leaking issue I’ve had is by having the juice control too wide open for the juice I’m using. A key thing to note on the V5 is that unlike the 4 which you could top fill or fill from the bottom of the juice chamber, the 5 is really top only. I had a hard time getting any syringe larger than a 22G into the holes.

Now I know I’m reviewing a clone, not the actual device. My lone caveat to that is have gotten to handle a legit V5, and have a good friend in the vaping world with a real one who after sharing pics and a few phone conversations has agreed with me there is very little difference between the real and the clone. It’s a situation much like with the Kayfun lite + before it where there was almost no way to tell at first glance or actual use the difference between the real and clone. The boxes on the lite gave it away, the engraving on the bottom did as well, but that was it. With the SXK version the lines are even blurrier. It truly is top notch. I’m not saying don’t buy the real one if you can afford it or find it stock, but if your money is tight, or you have a hard time justifying the $120+ price tag, you can get the same experience for almost a 6th of the price. That’s a win in my book.

VR Approved

IPV D2 Review

Our good buddy Joe Cloudie sent me an IPV D2 from Pioneer 4 You about a month a half ago along with a care packet for my mother in law. We’ve talked about it a few time on the podcast, and after some extensive use and testing, can finally do a full write up review.

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The IPV D2 is what I refer to as rounded box mod. It’s not a tube, not a box, but a hybrid of the two. This makes it more comfortable in my opinion than a true box, but still prefer a tube. It’s made from high quality aluminum (not my words, P4Y’s. My guess it’s a 3xxx series, but can’t say for certain), with stainless steel 510 connection, and a brass spring loaded positive pin. Has a U shaped battery door that is held in place with ball bearings, and comes with a silicon cover as you can see from the pic above. I have a feeling the cover will become more important as time goes on as the door is already easier to remove now then it was when I first started using it. The D2 is powered by the SX130 chipset from YiHi, which is able to do up 75W/8V on a single 18650 high drain cell. At 3″ tall this is a very compact mod. Also features a charging port, but we’ll get into that later. Enough of the specs, let get into the real world numbers.

Accuracy- Was not surprised at how on point this chipset is. YiHi has been putting out some really great boards over the past year plus, and the SX130 is no different. The biggest issues were at low wattage. 7W was 8.1-8.5W on a build sub 0.5Ω. On higher resistance no such issue, and was accurate across the board afterwards within .03W. Even the Evolv boards can be off within .01W of their setting, it’s a very negligible amount. I have yet to meet a vapor who can tell the difference between 21.31, 21.33, and 21.3W. It’s Ohm reader is also pretty accurate. On my fluke the dual coil I’m running in the Aqua 2 from the pic above is at 0.62Ω, getting ranges from 0.6-o.64Ω. Using it on my DNA30 device see very similar numbers 0.59-0.63Ω to be exact. It can indeed hit 75W on low builds. You’re capped at 8V or 25A, which ever comes first. Keep that in mind.

Battery performance- I’m not a fan of the cell phone style battery indicator. It really means nothing to the user who tracks when they charge their cells to get maximum lifespan. As usual pulled the battery and checked it after every significant drop in battery power. At roughly 3/4 the battery is at ~3.91V off load (OF), 1/2 ~3.73V OF, 1/4 ~3.48V OF, when it auto cut off the battery read at 3.31V OF. That was at 10, 20, 30, and 40W. At 50W+ the battery stopped functioning at 3.46V. Was using a pair of Sony VCT4’s and AW 1600Mah IMR cells for the testing. The D2 features a USB charging port, would not suggest using it. Did a few tests with it, batteries would end up either being over charged (4.31V) or significantly undercharged (3.88V). It’s better to pull it, use a quality charger, and put a fresh battery in.

Temperature Control- The SX130 chipset is limited to titanium and nickle wire if you so chose to use this feature. I’m not a big fan of it, and in fact waiting on a buddy to send me 6″ of nickle was the big delay on this write up. It works as well as any other temp control device I’ve used in the past…. Which means it doesn’t. Even though I had it set to 350°F, using an infrared thermometer would see temps as high as 461°F and as low as 244°F. Until we have a device with a temperature sensor lead going to the atomizer, not just an algorithm guessing the parameters, it will just be a selling gimmick and nothing more. This doesn’t just apply to the D2, but every single temp control mod on the market.

Durability- Still can’t say the long term, but can say in the short term I’ve dropped the D2 multiple times without any real issue. The negative contact over tab over the spring got a little bent on one causing it not to make good contact anymore on smaller cells, simply pulled it back into place. No scratches or dings to speak of. The only item as I alluded to earlier is the battery door using ball bearings to hold it in place. They have already caused some wear on the door itself, and am quite sure as time goes by they will fail to hold the door in place completely. This is where the silicone cover comes quite in handy. It’s a pain in the butt to put on at first, but after 20-30 times of taking it on and off loosens up.

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Final thoughts- Despite the few faults, you’ll be hard pressed to find a mod with as many features as the D2 at its price point. You can find them regularly for $40 on-line, usually around $50-60 at a B&M. 75W, small form factor, accurate chipset (in wattage mode), good build quality, and a spring loaded 510. There are mods six times the price on the market that can’t claim the same. Vapor Reporter Approved.

VR Approved

Vape Wild- Menthol Type and Fire Mammoth

Menthol Type- When I ordered this it was only available in 70/30 mix and couldn’t be included in the sampler pack. As of today that is no longer the case, and this goes for all the flavors in the tobacco line. Good job Vape Wild, was very happy to see this. Anyways, on to the juice itself. The profile on this flavor is spot on. Opens with a nice blast of cool but not sweet menthol, then the dry tobacco undertone shines. Ends with a nice minty menthol note. It is indeed very close to a certain RI style cigarette, the only thing I would change is it needs to be a little harsher. Throat hit was very strong, 24mg easily felt like 36mg. Vapor production was exactly as you would expect from a 70/30 blend. This performed very well in all wattage testing. On a kayfun got it to 23.2W before the tobacco flavor was muted, on a genny 33.7W. It was harsher on the kayfun, so that was my preferred set up. On the doge got it 95.5 before all I could taste was menthol. Color was not green as in the pic, but more of a very opaque tan. Being that this was my favorite cigarette, and I have spent more money and time trying to find the perfect replicate of it than I care mention, can say it’s the 2nd best I’ve ever tried and it’s close. I want to order a bottle of this with a flavor boost, and review again. 97/100, no doubt I’ll be ordering it again. This and Creme de Menthe have become my two new favorite flavors.

VR Approved

Fire Mammoth- Ordered this in a 50/50 blend at 24mg. Fair warning to everyone- Do not use this in any clearo, poly-carbonate tank, etc. It will destroy them. I figured it would before the test, but tested to prove it. Sure enough that old carto tank is now officially dead. This juice opens up with a fiery cinnamon, think a red hot candy or fireball, and ends with icy menthol. It’s all throat hit from start to finish. 24mg felt like some of my 48mg+ concoctions. Vapor production was lower than what one would expect from a 50/50 blend, but I find that to be a common theme with cinnamon based flavors. On the kayfun was able to push it to 30W with no issues, Genny 52.2W before I just couldn’t take anymore, Doge 143.2W before I threw in the towel. The flavor held in all of these, but as I turned up the power, so did the throat hit. In other words your personal tolerance is what will determine what wattage you vape it at. Color was not the light blue as in the picture, but a reddish yellow. This juice gets a perfect score in my book of 100 because it is exactly what Vape Wild claims it is, but this juice is not for everyone. Throat hit and cinnamon junkies will love it, those who like mellow or sweet flavors will not. That’s a mark of a great juice to me, a love or hate relationship.

VR Approved

All in all of the 8 flavors I ordered, only 1 was a miss. I have to say that’s a really good ratio, much better than a lot of the companies I’ve tried in the past. If you’re looking for good juice at a great price, you’d be hard pressed to find a better vendor than Vape Wild.

 

3 more Vape Wild juices

Creme de Menthe– Ordered this in a 50/50 blend at 24mg. Of two minds on this particular juice, as anyone who has listened to episode 48 knows. Was expecting a sweeter spearmint with a nice chocolate undertone from the name and description. What I got was a very cool menthol smooth mint blend with just the slightest taste of dark cocoa at the end. It missed based on the description, but once I moved past the initial disappointment in it not being what was described, loved what it ended up being. I went through the 10ml’s of this in less than 7 hours (had just started using it when we recorded). Vapor production was exactly what you would expect from a 50/50 blend. Really strong throat hit on this one. 24mg felt more like 36mg. This flavor performed equally as well on both a kayfun and genny style set up. Was able to get it to 30.5W and 31.2W before flavor breakdown. On the high air flow RDA got it up to 148.4W before the nuances began to fade and bleed into each other. Have to give this a 91 out of 100, despite the fact it misses the mark description wise. To this point this is my favorite juice Vape Wild makes. One thing to note, it’s not green like in the picture, it’s more of a very light pink/peach.

VR Approved

Ice Cold– As with the others, got this in a 50/50 blend at 24mg. This juice is exactly what the name implies. It’s a very cool menthol. Wouldn’t call it overly smooth, but it’s also not what I would call harsh. The only comparison I can give is it’s like vaping a sweet menthol cough drop. Vapor production is exactly what you would expect from 50/50 blend, throat hit is amazing. 24mg hit more like 40mg. Being TH junkie thinking of ordering this with the flavor boost to see if it will be a decent substitute for those days I break out the 48mg+ juice as I continue to try and lower my nic intake for my wife. This one performed better in a genny than a kayfun, and not just wattage wise. Throat hit was stronger in a genny. Pushed it to 30W in the kayfun with no issues (highest I’ll push any juice in that RTA), got it to 44W in a genny. On the Doge was able to push it to 221.8W before the flavor began to become a bit muted. Give this juice a 95/100, it really is almost the perfect juice for menthol lovers. It’s my second favorite Vape Wild juice thus far. Wouldn’t be a full review without noting the color, this juice was completely clear, not the light blue as in the picture.

VR Approved

Reds Type– This being of their tobacco line only comes in a 70/30 pg/vg blend. From the description was expecting a very harsh tobacco flavor like that of a certain M brand, or WTA type flavor. I didn’t get that at all. To me (and as always taste is subjective, goes for every juice I review) it tasted much more like maple syrup with a woody undertone. It’s not bad, but not at all what I expected. Vapor production is a little higher than I expected from a 70/30 blend. Throat hit was lacking for this type of flavor profile. Expected a 24mg to feel more like 30+, instead could tell it was 24mg. The flavor was more pronounced on a kayfun, the woody undertone shining through more. On a Genny really only got the maple syrup notes. Hit 24.1W on the Kayfun, 23.2W on a genny before breakdown. On the Doge got it to 77.9W before all the nuances disappeared. Give this one a 63/100, simply because it didn’t really taste like tobacco…

 

Vape Wild Goblin Energy & Candy Cane

Two more 10 ml bottles of juice down, two more reviews of Vape Wild juices. Let’s get straight into it…

 

Goblin Energy- Ordered this in a 50/50 blend at 24mg (same for all the samples, but will say it every time). I’m a big fan of Monster energy drinks, preferring the taste to that of red bull, so figured would give this one a go. Was not disappointed. Smelled like it, and tasted just like it. Best way to describe it for those who haven’t had it (and remember taste is subjective) is think of a lager with a much sweeter theme running through it. Vapor production was what you would expect from a 50/50 blend. Throat hit was very mild actually. Even at 24mg it hit more like an 18mg juice. This flavor also did better in a kayfun than a genny style rba, took a few extra watts of power to get the same profile. On a genny topped out at 18.8W before flavor breakdown, 19.1W on the kayfun. Pushed it 66.4W on the Doge before the nuances started to fade. Give this a 81 on a scale on 100. I can’t say it will ever be an all day vape for me, but I don’t drink energy drinks all day either (maybe one every 3-4 days). If you’re a fan of Monster though, you really can’t go wrong with this one. One side note, this juice is too a different color than the pic. Was a lovely shade of pink.

VR Approved

 

Candy Cane- Ordered this in a 50/50 blend at 24mg. I’m a big mint fan. When it comes to peppermint like mine more on the dry side. This being named candy cane expected it to be on the sweet side, was wrong. Was very happy to be wrong. Really my only complaint when it came to Candy Cane was the flavor was a little muted no matter what I put it in. Think next time will order it with a flavor boost. Vapor production was a little light for a 50/50, more like a 60/40. Not surprised because that’s the usual case with most peppermints. The throat hit was hard on this one, 24mg feeling more like a 32mg juice. Sure boosting the flavor would provide more (which I’m really looking forward to trying). This one actually tasted stronger on a genny, the only one so far I can say that about. Was able to push it to 25.6W before flavor breakdown, 27.7W on a kayfun. High airflow test on the Doge proved very well, got this one up to 154.7W. 85 on a 100 point scale, the high wattage test really brought out the flavor, had it tasted like that on my standard set up would have given this a 95/96 rating. It’s just that good. Will be ordering this again. The juice is actually clear as well FYI.

VR Approved

Wait, a juice review?

While Rocco and I are striving to make 2016 the year of DIY, feel it’s always good to have a back up plan. Especially since I’ve been trying for almost a year now to get my menthol tobacco mix (personal favorite flavor) down right, and each time come up just a bit short after steeping… Could order my go to flavor from where I always have, but at this point unless they put it at 80-90% off, just can’t justify giving them the money. It’s not that the juice is expensive, but that I can’t support their “business practices”. Which puts me back where I was 5 years ago trying to find a reliable, inexpensive juice company with good flavors. Did some internet searching, asked a few friends in the vaping world, and even watched a few juice reviews and created a list of a few vendors to try out.

The first on my list is Vape Wild. $16.99 (US) for 6 10ml bottles of juice (sample pack), free shipping on orders over $30, and from what I had heard- good flavors. Vape Wild offers their juice in 0-24mg nicotine, and you can chose what blend of PG/VG (save on the tobacco line, they’re 70/30). You can also add a 50% flavor boost if you so chose, even on the samples. Quickly put together a 6 pack of my favorite profiles, added a bottle of their red tobacco and premium menthol tobacco (the tobacco line is not available in the samples sadly) so I could get the free shipping. They arrived in 2 days time, only catch being you had to let the juice steep for a week or two (they do have a pre-steeped line). That two weeks is up, so will be giving a rundown on each juice as I try it. Keep in mind taste is subjective.

Chocolate Mint- Ordered this in a 50/50 blend at 24mg. Unlike the picture above, the color of this juice was a dark brown. Not an issue, just something to note. Going in my hope was that it would be a dark chocolate mix in the vein of a York Peppermint Patty. What I got was more of Andes Mint vibe, milk chocolate with a sweeter mint. A great flavor none the less. I’ve gone through the 10ml’s in a span of a few days (rotating it with a few other juices), and could easily see myself ordering more. Something interesting to note, found the flavor was more pronounced on a kayfun style setup compared to a genny at the same wattage. Might order it with a flavor boost next time to see if that changes. Found the sweet spot being 18.2 watts on a kayfun, 20.3W on genny. Using a high air flow RDA (Doge v2) was able to push it up to 75 watts before the flavor began to break down, muting the chocolate and only really tasting the mint. Vapor production was what you would expect from a 50/50 blend, able to produce a thick vape no matter the set up. Throat hit is what you would expect from a 24mg mint juice, not much harder than usual kind of like a 26mg. The nic does most of the work in that department. I’m not sure where Vape Wild gets their nicotine from, but would venture to say it’s a good quality source. It’s not peppery at all. If I had to give it an overall score, would put it at an 84 out 100. A little more chocolate in the mix would is really the only thing I would change about it. Value wise, at $6.99 for 30ml’s, you’d be hard pressed to find a flavor this good at this price point.

VR Approved

Don’t kid yourself, it’s always about the money

I got into a nice little twitter discussion yesterday about nicotine gum. As we all know ecigs have been under attack for using certain flavors that some feel are appealing to children, even though you can get nicorette in fruit chill, cinnamon surge, and other enticing flavors for those underage (my favorite gum growing up was big red, my friends loved fruitstripe). This lead to further discussion about how a certain drug store chain that no longer sells cigarettes has said gum on display at the end of candy aisles and right up front with the check out candy. That company being of course CVS. I had a lot more I wanted to say, but twitter isn’t good for long points. I’ve been sitting on this topic for over a year. Rocco and I have glanced on it on a few podcasts, but for reasons always kept it short. No more.

Last year CVS made major waves in the industry when they decided to no longer sell cigarettes or any tobacco product for that matter. It was heralded by the media as an ethical move of great sacrifice of dollars to practice what they preach- helping people live longer healthier happier lives. They were putting people’s health over profits, something rare in the corporate world. Too bad it was all a lie.

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CVS was a convenience store/pharmacy. I say was because in 2007 they merged with Caremark. What is Caremark? Only the country’s largest Physician Practice Management (PPM) and Prescription Benefit Management (PBM). In case you don’t know what a PBM is, here’s a quick rundown-

PBM’s are a Third Party Administrator (TPA) of prescription drug programs for a number of different insurance providers (think Kaiser, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, etc.). Their purpose is to process and pay for prescription drug claims. There’s more though. They’re responsible for developing and maintaining formulary. They’re also responsible for making contracts with pharmacies. If you have or ever had a plan where you could only get your scripts from X drug store, this is why. Also on their long list of responsibilities- they negotiate discounts and rebates with drug manufacturers.

See the conflict of interest here? CVS provides the drugs on the retail side, while Caremark has it’s hand in the pricing, manufacturing, and determining where you can buy your drugs from. Big shocker people with Caremark as their PBM have to go to CVS for their medicine. It’s all the actions and practices of a drug cartel, only because it’s government sanctioned and deemed legal, it’s considered smart business practice by it’s share holders and CEO. I digress though.

In 2010 we saw the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The most ironically named health care plan in history. My wife’s insurance for example has gone from $200 to $240 to if she keeps her current plan $328 in the span of three years. It’s really a tax, one that you get penalized for if you don’t have insurance. In other words it put the government in bed with the insurance companies and with health care. For the other major PBM’s this wasn’t an issue at all. They had no conflict picking up those government endorsed contacts for prescriptions. CVS/Caremark (now CVS Health) that wasn’t the case at all…

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Their selling of cigarettes and other tobacco products was a major roadblock at getting to all that sweet influx of capital. This is what fueled the decision to no longer carry them, not health. They loved throwing numbers at people, saying how they knew this move would cost them billions of dollars, as much as 3 billion to be exact. What they didn’t tell you is that number was gross, not the net sales of cigarettes. If people really knew how much was made off a $8 pack of cigs their head would spin. A majority of the cost of a cigarette for the consumer is tax dollars, both state and fed. There’s little profit to be made (which is why we’re seeing the attack on vaping, the government isn’t happy their income stream has been disturbed). The real loses for CVS was in the subsequent sales that went along with the pack of analogs- chips, candy bars, and soda. That loss is covered though as well. As of today CVS is projected to make over $13 billion from the ACA contracts and prescription sales. Even if that is gross sales figures, it’s still four times as much as they made off cigs and cigars. In other words they made more money off not selling them.

What about vaping though? That’s something you will never see sold in a CVS as long as they aren’t FDA approved. Until they won’t affect the said ACA contracts, they will be treated as a tobacco product. In fact they’ve made their anti-vaping stance loud and clear to their employees, letting them know if they are caught vaping on store grounds it’s a terminable offense. Their anti-nicotine in every way save for one- CVS has no issue selling FDA approved NRT items. They even go so far as to merchandise them on a power wing at the end of candy aisles in some stores, and having them displayed promptly on the front check out magazine racks in reach of anyone taller than 3 feet. Anything for a buck right?

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