“Let them have vape pens and massive clouds!” – focus group, early 2017
For the person new to vaping, the options are looking good right now. Since the beginning of 2017 several big manufacturers have brought out starter kits aimed at sub ohm vaping. We’re talking about devices that offer ease-of-use – usually a single firing button is all you get – at the expense of more complicated functions, such as temperature control and variable wattage. But then not every beginner wants a technical interface or needs performance down to increments of a watt, right?
Kangertech has just released their all-round starter kit, the AKD K-Pin. In doing so they’ve revisited their SSOCC coils, a system dating back to early 2015. The starter kit is a 24 mm diameter vape pen with telescoping mouthpiece, set output voltage and comes with two 0.2 ohm SSOCC coils. The K-Pin puts out 2000 mAh battery life, visualized below the firing button through the 5 LED pins that light up. The K-Pin sells for around $30 online from a variety of vendors. Replacement coils in packs of 5 are widely available for about $10.
Let’s try out the K-Pin and see how it fares in comparison to similar offerings on the market right now.
Disclaimer: We received the Kangertech ADK K-Pin from Kangertech for the purpose of this review.
Kangertech AKD K-Pin Gallery
Kangertech AKD K-Pin Specs and Features
- K-Pin kit
- 2 x SSOCC coils 0.2 ohm (recommended range: 25 – 60 W)
- Micro USB cable
- User manual
- Size: 24mm x 134.5mm
- Weight: 132 g
- Battery Capacity: Built-in 2000mAh battery
- Output voltage: 3.2V – 4.2V (full power output)
- Tank Capacity: 4 mL (EU version 2 mL)
- Coil: SSOCC SS 0.2ohm
- Minimum coil resistance: 0.15 ohm
- Available Colors: black | white | red | yellow | blue
- Charging: Micro USB charge port DC 5V/1000mAh
The AKD K-Pin is packaged in a flip-top box and comes with a comprehensive, multi-language user manual, micro USB cable, and two SSOCC coils. Both have a resistance of 0.2 ohm, so no option straight out of the box for variation. However, SSOCC replacement coils are widely available in 0.2, 0.5 and 1.5 ohm and should work with the K-Pin tank. As you can’t vary the output of the mod, I wouldn’t go over 0.5 ohm, however.
In line with current trends, Kangertech has released two versions of the K-Pin – a 4 mL and 2 mL “TPD compliant” version. Now, to truly pass TPD compliance tests, the 2 mL tank would have to be leak-proof, resistance to breakage, and feature some kind of child-proof lock. The K-Pin tank is encased in metal housing and thanks to its top-fill method indeed seems watertight. However, by simply unscrewing the mouthpiece/integrated top cap you can access the fill chamber (great for vapers, not so great for jumping regulatory hurdles). Kangertech may have to tweak their design if they really want a device that can be sold on the EU market.
The tank and battery are detachable, so both parts of the K-Pin can be used in other setups. The mod itself can power coils down to 0.15 ohm. The airflow ring is located at the top of the battery unit. This consists of three evenly spaced inlets, 6 mm wide by 2 mm tall. This airflow is non-adjustable, so you’re stuck with it as is.
The K-Pin has a smooth, medium-glossy finish in a variety of colors. The sample we received came in blue (more like teal). All other detailing is finished in black. The build quality of the device seems solid, with no loose connections or button rattle. The micro-USB port is located on the side of the device, on the same level as the firing button. I like side-mounted USB ports. No laying the device on its side to charge it! The 2000 mAh battery went from empty to fully charged in about 2 hours.
There is only one button to operate the K-Pin. Five clicks turn it on and off. Press to fire. The button sits practically flush with the device, and is set into the black tab running along the length of the battery unit. Remaining battery life is displayed in the form of five small LED pins towards the bottom of this tab. They remain lit for as long as you hold down the firing button.
I was a bit confused by the mouthpiece at first. The outer ring has three indentations which can be gripped. Slide counter-clockwise, and the actual mouthpiece telescopes out. Kangertech claims this aids “hygienic and freestyle vaping”. However, for a simple starter kit the mouthpiece is finickity, tricky to disassemble, and there’s no 510 drip tip adapter. On the plus side, as Twisted points out, it is definitely something to fidget with if for some reason you don’t have a spinner yet!
How it performs
For this review, I’m vaping Cloud Corp NI’s Strawberry Cheesecake e-liquid, at 3 mg/mL nicotine and 75/25 VG/PG. Thanks to Blair and Reece for the sample!
After priming the coil with a few drops of e-liquid directly to the cotton, filling up the tank and letting it set for 5 minutes, I vape on the K-Pin.
The first thing I notice is the draw, somewhat limited for a sub ohm device. It’s not a true direct lung hit, but rather a restricted one. That works fine for me (I was not expecting a Cleito 120 or TFV12 here) but it does have an impact on vapor production. As such, you can expect a similar performance to Vaporesso’s Veco One Plus, and a plethora of other devices that operate in this mid-wattage range.
With the primed coil, I experience almost no spit back, and after vaping about 8 mL of e-liquid, I’m yet to experience any dry hits. The sample we received came with the 2 mL tank, which means a fair bit of refilling. Thankfully the plastic mouthpiece has metal threading attaching it to the tank, so there’s no risk of the threading wearing down. Refilling is simple and straightforward. The space between the chimney and outer tank diameter is wide enough to get most nozzles in there.
One issue I have is the threading and airflow ring connecting the tank to the mod. It can be easy to accidentally unscrew the tank without its base, especially if one part is screwed in tighter than the other. The non-exchangeable, non 510 compatible mouthpiece/drip tip feels like a gimmick to me. It consists of three separate moving parts, and if it breaks, you’re SOL as it’s not available separately.
But hey, it’s not leaking – and that’s got to be good news!
- Easy top-fill method
- Replacement coils are (still) widespread and easy to obtain
- Fidget-ready drip tip if that’s your thing
- Hella easy to use
- Decent flavor and vapor for a mid-wattage starter kit
- Non-adjustable airflow
- Mouthpiece / drip tip is not easily replaceable
What would it take to create the perfect sub ohm starter kit? In my opinion, that device would need battery life of at least 2000 mAh, an easily accessible top-fill, customizable drip tip, a range of coil resistances, great flavor, and adjustable airflow. Kangertech’s K-Pin fulfills most, though not all, of those criteria. Perhaps the biggest sticking point would be the non-adjustable airflow. This restricts you to Kangertech’s “ideal” settings. Luckily, that setting ain’t bad.
To figure out if this is something for you, it’s worth looking at products aimed at a similar niche: Vaporesso’s Veco One Plus, SMOK’s Stick V8 Baby kit, Innokin’s T20 vape pen and Joyetech’s eGO AIO (even the Atopack Penguin fits in there) all offer similar functionality. Ultimately, what you go for will come down to personal aesthetics and how customizable you want your vape to be.
For what it is, there is little to fault in the K-Pin. I can imagine this being a suitable setup for someone who is new to vaping, or new to sub ohm vaping, who wants to blow some clouds without too much fiddling around. If you don’t mind the mouthpiece and the airflow, go for it.