Aspire Dynamo and Nepho Tank Starter Kit Review – Coming off the recently released SMOK E-PRIV (reviewed here) and SMOK SPECIES Starter Kit reviews I had little confidence in the Aspire Dynamo and Nepho Tank Starter Kit. At the end of the review process (about 8 days total) I admit I found more to like than to dislike.
You see, a handful of years ago Aspire was one of my favorite vape gear brands, and I was excited every time they released a new product to the vape community. But then, well, the luster of all-things-Aspire worn off, and not even the powerhouse sub-ohm tanks Aspire built, like the ever expanding Cleito Sub-Ohm line up could win me back. What I believed once, that Aspire was one of the best mod and tank builders in the industry, was beaten back by the likes of premium mod makers like Lost Vape, Geek Vape, Vaporesso, and even SMOK, Eleaf, Joyetech, and the always improving iJoy… Aspire just seemed to drift away from my attention. Even the various Aspire Speeder Kits felt joyless, uninspired, and limp. Perhaps that’s why Aspire is moving full steam ahead into the pod mod ultra-portable market like the Aspire Breeze.
Pricing the Aspire Dynamo and Nepho Starter Kit
It is difficult, if not downright impossible, for Aspire to justify the price of the Dynamo 220W & Nepho Sub-Ohm Starter Tank after seeing, using, and reviewing both new SMOK starter kits mentioned above. That’s not to say that the Aspire Dynamo isn’t a good box mod, or that the Nepho isn’t a good sub-ohm tank… they are, they are very good performers and I’ll get to the reasons why in a bit, but at more than $70USD, (at introduction) it is priced higher than the superior E-PRIV and SPECIES Kits, while the performance of all three are so very close.
If you are an Aspire fan then the Dynamo mod is going to be impressive, and the new Nepho sub-ohm is surely going to be a ‘notable’ addition to your vape gear collection. I like both the mod and the tank, but if I had to choose, I’d go with the E-PRIV every time. But enough of that, let’s get down to business.
Feature Highlights of the Aspire Dynamo
The Aspire Dynamo 220W Starter Kit is a good addition to Aspire’s line vape mods and sub-ohms. Based purely on performance both are excellent devices. The Dynamo Mod’s chipset features an accurate temperature control suite, TCR modes with 3 memory slots, a Bypass mode, and a large 2” TFT circular screen. As Aspire moves deeper into the 2X700 battery mods, the Dynamo Mod runs on dual 20700 or 21700, as well as dual 18650’s using the nicely done silicon sleeve that holds both 18650 cells. And, no matter which cells you decide to power the Dynamo with, the maximum wattage output remains 220W. The Dynamo can fire down to a low resistance of 0.1-ohm, and up to 3.0-ohms. It’s USB port and cable (included) allow for both charging and firmware updates, according to the included manual. I’ve yet to see any updates for this mod, but I trust the manual.
The Aspire Dynamo Box Mod has a 2.0″ circular TFT (Twisted Film Transistor) Color Screen that is used to display all the necessary information a user needs, as well as the menu system to set various modes and whatnot. The default watch face is unusually unattractive, but I’m happy to report that while in the settings modes you can choose from nearly a dozen different faces, sort of like an Apple Watch. (sort of) I chose an elegant grey background with Roman Numerals. Check out the video at the end of this review for a look at all the watch face choices.
Working the Menu Settings isn’t nearly as intuitive as I think it should be, but once you get into the menu a couple of times it does get easier. The Dynamo Mod uses the a different on/off system. In any case, once the user inserts the batteries the device powers up with some cute animations. To turn it off the user presses the fire button (located on the upper side of the mod) 5 times in quick succession. That locks the mod. To shut it down, the user then presses the fire button while locked for 2 seconds and the Aspire Dynamo shuts down. Then, to power it back up, it’s a simple 5 fast clicks. There is also a stealth mode, simply click the fire button 3 times quickly.
Going further into the settings, the user presses the fire button and the “up” button on the adjustment bar at the same time and the main settings category shows up; Date, System, Time, and About. The user moves between these main categories using the “up” and “down” adjustments, then clicking the fire button to go deeper into that category and set the desired parameters, including the mode, time, and face plate.
The Aspire Dynamo Mod is constructed with a lightweight Zinc Alloy, designed for durability. The dual battery bay is accessed from the bottom, by way of a hinged door. The user pushes the battery door outward to release it from the catch, then lift up. Whether the user decides to use 2x 20700/21700 or 2x 18650’s, securing the battery door take a bit of effort. I urge caution when securing the door lest you break it, or the latch.
Lastly, the spring-loaded 510 connection is centered, the mod has plenty of venting; on both sides of the mod and on the battery door, and the mod itself is available in a Camo finish, gray, purple, red, and rainbow. I never owned a “camo” mod before so I picked that one for this review.
Aspire Dynamo 220W Box Mod Features:
- Dimensions – 91mm by 49mm by 34mm
- Dual High-Amp 20700/21700 Batteries – Not Included
- Optional Dual High-Amp 18650 Batteries – Includes Battery Sleeve
- Maximum Wattage Output: 220W
- Supports Ni200 Nickel, Titanium, and Stainless Steel
- Bypass Mode
- TCR Mode – 3 Memory Modes
- Ni200, Titanium, Stainless Steel Compatibility
- 2.0″ TFT Color Display – Doubles as Firing Button
- Hinged Bottom Battery Door
- Delrin Wide bore Drip Tip
- Intuitive Firing Button – Doubles as Screen
- Two Adjustment Buttons
- Ventilation Holes on Bottom
- Automatic Cutoff Protection
- Short-Circuit Protection
- Over Discharge Protection
- Overcharge Protection
- Overheat Protection
- Battery Reversal Protection
- MicroUSB Port
- Spring-Loaded 510 Connection
- Available in Dark Grey, Red with Black, Rainbow, Purple, Camo with Black
Aspire Nepho Sub-Ohm Tank Features:
- 25mm Diameter
- 4mL Maximum Juice Capacity
- Superior Stainless-Steel Construction
- Pyrex Glass Reinforcement
- Aspire Nepho Coil System
- 0.5ohm Kanthal Nepho Coil – Rated for 65-75W
- 0.15 Mesh Nepho Coil – Rated for 60-75W
- Base Coil Installation – Press Fit
- Childproof Push & Sliding Top-Fill System
- Knurled Triple Adjustable Bottom Airflow
- 810 Delrin Wide bore Drip Tip
- Stainless Steel 510 Connection
Aspire Dynamo 220W Starter Kit Includes:
- 1 Dynamo 220W Mod
- 1 Nepho Tank
- 1 0.5ohm Kanthal Nepho Coil
- 1 0.15 Mesh Nepho Coil
- 1 Spare Glass Tube
- 1 Dual 18650 Battery Silicone Adapter
- 1 USB Cable
- 1 Spare Parts Bag
- 1 Warning Card
- 1 User Manual
- 1 Warranty Card
The Aspire Nepho Sub-Ohm Tank
Included in the Starter Kit is the Nepho Sub-Ohm Tank. With this tank Aspire introduces a new mesh coil option, and the tank itself holds 4mL of eJuice. The tank is equipped with a childproof top-fill (the user must life up the top cap to release the slide-away top) and it has three adjustable airflow slots.
The Starter Kit includes two coils for the Nepho sub-ohm, a 0.5ohm Kanthal Nepho Coil, rated for 65-75W, and a 0.15 Mesh Nepho Coil (also Kanthal) rated for 60-75W. The tank has the 0.15 Mesh coil preinstalled, and my Dynamo Mod reads the coil as 0.17-ohm. My optimal wattage for this coil is 72W, near the top-end of the range.
Mesh coils are all the rage these days, and with good reason. Mesh coils allow for a huge increase of wire surface among the cotton wicking. Mesh coils bring more flavor and much more vapor clouds to the table, and the Nepho sub-ohm and its coils are clear proof of this.
Kanthal produces the best flavor fidelity, or the most authentic anyway, and combined with a “mesh” system and pure organic cotton, the flavor intensity is marvelous. Combine the mesh coils with the ample airflow from the three airflow slots and you have the makings of huge clouds of thick, aromatic vapor. The Nepho Sub-Ohm is absolutely a big performer… but thirsty as hell.
As I am used to larger eJuice capacity tanks, lately 8mL with the new SMOK V12 Prince in particular, I found myself refilling the Aspire Nepho after less than an hour of vaping. The eJuice is vaporized so quickly that after a 10-second pull from the 810-wide-bore Delrin Drip Tip you can actually see a decrease in the eJuice level through the glass.
Vaping with the Aspire Dynamo & Nepho Starter Kit
What can I say here; the performance of both the Mod and the Sub-Ohm were spectacular. These days it’s hard to find a mod that isn’t pretty damn decent, and even harder to find a sub-ohm that doesn’t deliver at least a “good” vape experience. The Dynamo and Nepho combo are better than decent, better than good.
At first, the Aspire Dynamo Mod seemed somewhat difficult to use, but it isn’t. As I mentioned earlier, getting into the menu is somewhat different than most mods I’m used to, but once I got used to it, it was simple goings for me, as it will be for you should you decide to pick one up.
The 510 connector and the threading on the Nepho are nicely constructed for a smooth, silky attachment and flush fitting. Even with a totally flush tank to mod the airflow slots turn easily and adjusting the amount of air that hits the coils is precise and easy.
The watch face I chose gives the Dynamo an elegant appearance, but once I touch the fire button the watch face disappears and reveals fairly ugly orange and light blue rings surrounding the wattage/temperature, ohms, voltage, ramp up setting (soft, medium, hard), and amperage. I was hoping that if Aspire went all in on a color TFT display, they might also allow for some color customization of these rings. As far as I know, and trust me I looked hard, I saw nothing that could change the light blue and orange rings.
Included in the Starter Kit is a well-written English manual that is fairly easy to read and understand. I recommend a thorough reading of the manual before you begin vaping.
Lastly, I have to reiterate the thirstiness of the coils in the Nepho Sub-Ohm. At first, I tried to blame the relatively small eJuice capacity, but after a while, and many tank refills, I had to accept the fact that like many other Aspire Sub-Ohms, this one will drink up your juice quickly, but in return you’ll get huge clouds and amazing flavor. I’m certain the Aspire Nepho Sub-Ohm will wind up on our Late-2018 Best Sub-Ohm Tanks list.
Oh, how I wish I was telling you that the Aspire Dynamo and Nepho Starter Kit was $20 cheaper than it is. If it was less expensive, if it matched the price of the SMOK E-PRIV, I would have scored this starter kit an A+, based strictly on performance and build quality however.
I’m not thrilled with the circular 2” TFT display, and I dislike the light blue and orange rings… a lot. I do like the fact that the Dynamo can handle 2×700 cells and 18650’s, and I believe the Nepho Sub-Ohm was the right choice for the Mod.
A reviewer must constantly remind himself or herself that it is the quality of device, the performance, and the price/value that we must judge, not our particular aesthetic choices, or whether it is worse or better than another product. We can tell you what we think, I can say I like the E-PRIV a lot better, but when it comes down to whether or not the Aspire Dynamo and Nepho Sub-Ohm make up a good Starter Kit, it’s all about the three; quality, performance, price. For that reason; I score the Starter Kit;