VAMO Rev 5 by KSD
The first time we wrote about the VAMO electronic cigarette was when it reached Rev 2, and I was duly impressed with it, to a point, and for a while… Then Tom dropped it and shattered the small plastic/glass cover over the LED readout display. From that moment on I was no longer impressed.
Tom used it for a while, it worked okay, despite the fact that he couldn’t see the settings, but any admiration I might have had for it ended. Soon Tom tossed it in his Vape Drawer and has since moved on to bigger and better devices, including a ProVari and most recently an iTaste 134.
Sometime later we received the VAMO Rev 3. This one had swirly grooves running from the top to the bottom, and had a cheap chrome-like finish. It was so cheap looking we tossed it in the supply closet and forgot about it. after a while we got around to reviewing it, but we took our time. The reason we did review it later on was partially because it was a light month for reviews on hardware. Still, no matter what, Tom stayed loyal to the VAMO. His reviews were always truthful, as he saw it, and the VAMO has always been a decent VV/VW device, so he did a good job with the review.
Enter VAMO 5
When MyVaporStore (the official vape gear supplier for Spinfuel eMagazine) sent a VAMO Rev 5 for review a couple of weeks ago I was actually surprised. It’s been out for a while, and it’s not an APV we had any real interest in reviewing sine Tom went on his sabbatical. After doing a little research on the VAMO 5 I could see that we needed to review it, for no other reason than to revisit this ‘franchise’ of a brand, but more importantly, to find out how much, if any, it had improved.
Now, I am a ‘general optimist’ when it comes to the ecigarette industry, so I was genuinely hoping to see a much-improved VAMO. To jump from a Rev 3 to the Rev 5, well, there had to be several improvements, right?
As it turned out, a VAMO is a VAMO, so I made the decision to use it for a couple of weeks, off and on, and then sit down and write a review.
VAMO 5 – A New Day
VAMO Contents: VAMO V5 does not Include Batteries or Clearomizers, just the device in a light brown box. There is an instruction manual, but absolutely no indication of the company that makes it. None. Nada. Zilch.
Seeing as how there is more than one company making the VAMO, I wondered how this VAMO was considered a Rev 5? The only writing on the actual VAMO body is the letters “CE”, which means Conformité Européenne. Those two letters may make things easier to sell in the EU and the US, but I have no idea what it really means. Oh, it also has the RoHS stamp on it as well. I have seen a lot of SMOK products come in in the same light brown box, including the SMOK Galileo we recently reviewed from Vaporetti. so it took a little hunting to find out which company had made the one we were reviewing.
KEBO, KSD or SMOKTEK (not SMOK)
We learned the company that makes this particular VAMO Rev 5 is KSD. We tracked it down by Googling the phrase on the box “VAMO Enjoy smoking anywhere at anytime”, and sending an email to MyVaporStore and flat out asking them. But, KEBO and Smoktek also make a VAMO.
When I was a teenager China was a police state, and it was a rare when a piece of video was successfully smuggled out of the country. Everyone wore Mao suits in China, it was definitely a scary place to see on the evening news as a young kid. Today just about every single item we all own has a “made in China” stamp on the bottom. Yet, even with these huge changes in the country I find it difficult to believe that there is very little regard for intellectual property rights, and copyright infringement in the Chinese culture, on everything they make, isn’t a big deal. So I suppose that finding put that more than one company puts out a VAMO shouldn’t surprise us.
The VAMO 3 that we received last year was packaged exactly the same way, light brown box, same wording, the whole thing. Yet I have no idea what company made that one. Comparing the two though it’s easy to see that the Rev 3 looks and feels like a knockoff.
I dug the Rev 3 out of the stockroom a few days after the VAMO 5 arrived and compared them. While they looked the same, except that the new one was stainless steel and had no grooves carved into it, and much heftier than the Rev 3, it (the Rev 5) feels a lot better in my hand. It feels better balanced and even the display glass fits more flush to metal tube (though not perfectly flush), and the threads on the metal tubes don’t squeak like they do on the Rev 3. The VAMO 5 seems to be a much-improved product.
Here at the specs listed for this VAMO Rev 5
Variable voltage / wattage
It has the VAMO Rev 2 Body with a Rev 3 PCB + removable top “beauty” ring.
It has a removable tube so that you can use an 18650 battery, or an 18350 battery. It’s stackable with two 18350’s, but you didn’t hear that from me. I’d never advise that. Batteries can be flattop or nipple-top.
The voltage ranges from 3.0V to 6.0V, in .1-increments.
You can test Atomizer’s resistance, and display voltage.
Atomizers with resistances of 1.5~5.0ohm can be used.
It has a protected battery feature and voltage/wattage ‘power’ ranges from 3W—15W, in increments of .5w
It’s a 510-thread connector but can handle eGo threads a well. Removing the beauty ring allows the eGo connection to get more air. It works pretty well with Aspire and X.Jet clearomizers with the ring off. With it left on the clearomizers choke off and it take a mighty drag to get a halfway decent vape. I don’t advise it, remove the well.
It features only RMS (so they say, but that’s not exactly true. Just hold down the right button for a few seconds and up pops ‘Average Mean’ setting.)
Finally, it is protected against a short out by shutting itself down.
Differences between the Rev 5 and previous models (made by whoever) are few. The “beauty” ring has a larger opening for wider clearomizers. There may be differences in the drop off voltage or other things I didn’t test for, but from a end users point of view there aren’t many things that seems to have changed.
Real World and Gut Feelings
I was not overly impressed with previous VAMOs, especially when I began using electronic cigarettes from Innokin, ProVape, and SMOK. Tom used to feel about the VAMO like Julia does for the ZMAX, to each his or her own, but it was never something I was ever blown away by. But it does do a decent job for the price.
It works, and it works just as well as other $50-$80 VV/VW APV’s, so I suppose that if you’re looking for a $50 VV/VW device and you like the looks of the VAMO then you’ll be quite satisfied by the Rev 5.
The buttons are fine, though they do move around ever so slightly, but no more than many other devices. There is nice click to the buttons, better than the earlier models. And finally, the menu system is virtually the same as the earlier models, but easier to read with its OLED display. Holding an the Rev 3 in one hand and the Rev 5 in the other you can immediately tell it is ‘machined’ better, finer.
Click and hold both buttons brings up the menu system, then click up, click down, click off and on, and click and hold to change from VV to VW and to read your atomizer, and so on. It’s not quantum mechanics here. (Click and hold both buttons for several seconds longer than you might otherwise will bring up the RMS/Average Mean function)
Tell Us How You Really Feel
I don’t know really. I used both the Rev 3 and Rev 5 during this review, each with both an 18650 and 18350 batteries, and from the point of view of a normal Vaper I could not tell the difference between them. Both went through the motions fine, though, again, the Rev 3 felt cheap physically, compared the Rev 5. And remember, I am a normal Vaper; I don’t make it a habit to hook it to machines and test variances of voltage drops. I’d love to be able to do that, but the time it requires is too much for me. Thankfully, there are others in the field that do test with all kinds of equipment.
Maybe I’m suffering from e cigarette overload, or maybe its because I’m was hoping for more. I began using the iTaste 134 Mini this morning and I think that might have been a mistake. You’ll understand once you see the review on the Mini. The differences, besides the variable-wattage-only in the 134 Mini, are vast.
PRICE AND VALUE – I believe in the adage that you get what you pay for. While the Rev 5 feels much better, works fine, and seems to be accurate in its voltage and wattage readings (by use), I’m not feeling really good about any VAMO lasting any Vaper more than a year, year and a half tops. If you’re looking for a $50 VV/VW you can do a lot worse than the VAMO 5, but I can’t help feeling that it’s worth saving up for a more expensive device that will last you years.
Those Other Reviews
I know there are others that have reviewed the VAMO 5 and given it good grades, and that’s fine. Hell, I’m giving it a good grade for what it is. But as far as I see it, if you own a VAMO of any model before v5 there is no real reason to upgrade to this one, if it’s still working anyway, unless you want a different finish or you just want to upgrade for the upgrade.
If you are looking for a VV/VW there are many choices out there that do a good job, are aesthetically pleasing and they function well. What makes the VAMO any kind of a contender?
If you’re a VAMO enthusiast you’ll like this version better than any of the others that came before. If you’ve never owned a VAMO you haven’t missed much, and buying a Rev 5 as your first VAMO purchase isn’t really a bad choice, for the price.
An electronic cigarette that offers variable voltage, variable wattage, battery protection, atomizer protection, multiple battery options, RMS and Mean Average metering, and more, is pretty commonplace today, but few are $50 devices. If you’re going to go for price and as many features as that price will allow the VAMO 5 is right up your alley.
If you’re willing to spend more to get a much longer lifespan for your device, then maybe you need to look around at other devices. I can’t come out and say it’s a great buy or a lousy buy. I can’t find anything really negative about it, nor can I find anything to get excited about.
From where I’m sitting, the VAMO 5 is an adequate electronic cigarette. It does everything it says it can do, and it does it as good as you could expect. It is a much-improved model on the outside, and it’s certainly priced affordably. Giving it a Letter Grade, the VAMO 5 by KSD is a solid C.
Official VAMO 5 Specs (from MyVaporStore)
- Variable voltage: Adjust the voltage output from 3.0 to 6.0 volts in 0.1volt increments.
- Variable wattage: Set the preferred wattage (from 3 to 15 watts) and the VAMO V2 will adjust the voltage automatically no matter what atomizer you use.
- RMS Out: RMS provides a more accurate voltage output.
- 510 Threaded: Compatible with 510 atomizers, cartomizers, Vision Ego Clearomizer 2.0, eGo CE4 PLUS V2, Vision Vivi Nova Tanks, SMOKTech DCTank and Kanger Clearomizer
- Can be used with single 18650, single 18350 or two 18350 (flat top). This device is not compatible with protected batteries.
- Atomizer resistance check
- Battery power check
- 18650 mode: 5-1/2″L x 7/8″D
- 18350 mode: 4-1/4″L x 7/8″D
- Cutoff Timer: When you press the power button to use the device for 10-15 seconds or more, the device will turn off automatically.
- When a single batteries voltage is less than 3.2v or dual 18350 batteries voltage is less than 6.4v, the screen will display LO v, which indicates that the batteries need to be recharged.
- Atomizers at 1.2ohm or less, the screen will display LO Ω, which indicates that you need to use a new atomizer at higher resistance.
- Atomizer short circuit the screen will display LO v.
- Incorrect battery installation protection. The device will not work circuits will be protected.
- Max current 5A
- Minimum resistance 1.2 Ω
- Thermal Monitoring
- Correct Polarity Signaling
- Heavy Duty Micro-switches
- Vent Hole in Battery End Cap
- Battery End Cap ‘fail safe’ designed to ‘give way’