Not every vaper wants to carry an arsenal of 18650 batteries around with them. While a dual, triple, or even quintuple(!) 18650 box mod (looking at you, Kangertech) may be convenient, that kind of gear gets heavy. There’s a parallel market for small, pocket-sized devices that deliver decent clouds and flavor, and fit in the palm of your hand. That’s why SMOK has come out with their new QBOX kit, a 1600 mAh mod paired with the TFV8 Baby tank. This thing is tiny – somewhere between the Mi-One and the Vaporesso Tarot Nano mini box mod. The QBOX kit offers SMOK’s comprehensive menu functionality, 1600 mAh battery life, and a generous 0.96 inch OLED screen. I’ve seen the kit online selling for under $40.
How does a cloudy tank like the TVF8 Baby fare on a mini mod like the QBOX? Let’s give it the road test and see what’s up.
Disclaimer: We received the SMOK QBOX Kit from SMOK for the purpose of this review.
The QBOX kit comes bundles with the TFV8 Baby tank and two coils. Also included are the usual spare parts, user guide, and a couple of vape bands. Sadly, no replacement glass tank. SMOK has released an “EU edition” in parallel with a reduced 2 mL capacity. I doubt this will successfully jump the necessary hurdles to be TPD compliant, since it would also need to be child-proof and “tamper-evident”.
The QBOX kit comes in a variety of color options which match with the included tank. The Baby tank in “full-color” has a cool anodized finish to it. However, the mod has a sprayed-on, gradient type effect and looks a bit off-brand standing against the tank. The other finishes have a glossy, reflective sheen to them and look great. The firing and up/down buttons are large and free from button rattle.
Anyone who’s used a SMOK device will be familiar with their easy-to-use menu functionality. The 0.96 inch OLED display provides a good overview of your vital stats while vaping. The device powers on and can be locked with five clicks.
Three clicks takes you to a range of menu options: Mode, Puff, Setting, and Power.
Under Mode you can toggle between wattage and temperature control mode, selecting draw strength and coil type (Ni200/Ti/SS). You can also round-robin between Celsius and Fahrenheit in TC mode.
The Puff menu displays your total number of inhales, has a limiting function, and allows you to reset the counter.
Setting allows you to enter stealth mode, adjust contrast, manually change the ohm resistance value of your coil, and has a download function for new firmware as and when that’s available.
To power off the device you have to go to Power and manually select this. The system automatically detects when you put a new tank on the device, and asks to confirm the new coil type.
Screen brightness is more than adequate for indoors. Under strong sunlight, you’ll be shielding it to see what’s going on. One issue I have is with selecting certain menu options, for example when confirming a new coil. It’s unclear which option is the selected one (heads up: it’s the darker one). This feels a little counter-intuitive since we’re normally used to a selected option being the highlighted one. But I digress…
SMOK has modified their TFV8 coils for this kit to operate within the wattage range of the QBOX mod. The new parallel coils are called Baby M2, have 0.25 ohm resistance, and operate best between 30 – 50 W. Of course, your Q2, T8, X4 and RBA cores for the Baby tank will also work in this setup. The question is, how would you power them adequately in a setup that only reaches 50 watts?
Bill reviewed the TFV8 Baby tank in detail last year. I can only concur that the tank is great for clouds and flavor. I’m concerned about the longevity of the coils, but in the week that I’ve vaped on this setup, I’ve only noticed a minor reduction in flavor. The TFV8 is a fairly thirsty tank, but the innovative swivel top cap release makes for one of the easiest refilling methods I’ve seen.
The tank feels like a decent marriage between vapor, flavor, and wattage capacity. I’d place it in a similar category to Vaporesso’s Veco One tank and arguably Joyetech’s Atopack Penguin in terms of performance.
The QBOX mod is another story however. As much as I like a small, stealthy device for sub ohm vaping, I have a couple of reservations about the QBOX. For one, the 1600 mAh battery is only good for 120 puffs (averaging 2.5 seconds) at 50 W. Vaping at 40 W the mod drained from a fully charge to empty after 133 puffs.
That wouldn’t be so bad – I mean, it’s only 1600 mAh right? But charging the device takes around 1 hour 45 minutes. Now, if you’re out and about, maybe you wouldn’t vape this much. But if you vape more than that, you’ll need a place to charge the device – and wait.
Then there’s the charging port. It’s located on the underside of the device, meaning you’ll have to lay the QBOX on its side to charge it. If you have an RBA core installed inside, make sure you close off the airflow holes, otherwise, it’s going to be a sticky mess. Besides, a lot of people have complained that the TFV8 tank leaks. I’ve not had any problems with it, but it’s worth pointing out.
SMOK’s QBOX kit represents their entry into the mini box mod market – and they’ve really gone small on this one. On the plus side, the QBOX mod comes bundled with the TFV8 Baby tank, which will be a plus for many people. This could be a great alternative to lugging a G320 kit around with you all day. I have some doubts about the longevity of those TFV8 coils, but the tank has performed well so far, producing a pleasant mid-wattage vape with decent clouds and flavor to rival the Spirals Plus tank.
However, there’s the battery life and charge time to consider. A 1600 mAh battery will only last you around 130 puffs at 40 W before it drains out. Coupled with almost 2 hours to completely charge the device, the QBOX kit isn’t quite the mobile solution users may have had in mind. Marginally larger devices (like the Tarot Nano) pack 2500 mAh battery life into a similar form factor, also offering a wide wattage range.
I recommend this device if you’re a diehard SMOK fan, or someone who vapes on the go and needs a small device that won’t see intensive use. Otherwise, maybe hold tight till SMOK ups the battery capacity and offers 2 amp charging…