Tom McBride And The Heimdall Clone
There are many reasons for not to wanting to review, or even own, any type of clone in the electronic cigarette industry. The reasons against owning one are based primarily on personal safety issues, including but not limited to; ‘inferior materials, manufacturing shortcuts, and time to market.’ – Any one of these reasons can cause a serious problem, unless you know the clone maker or trust the vendor that has made the decision to sell it. I won’t even get into matters that have always been a huge concern of mine, like ‘intellectual property rights’.
The reason(s) for considering a review or a purchase of a clone has to do with, well, one thing. Price. The HEIMDALL STYLE MOD clone being reviewed today is $170 less than the original Heimdall from the Philippines.
The Clone is here to stay
As long as high-end mechanicals are in the $200 and up price range, and as long as China remains firm in their desire to clone anything and everything they can, clones in the eicgarette industry are a reality that won’t go away anytime soon. And most vapers are fine with clones, prefer them actually, so that desire will be sated one way or another.
The number of people that can afford a high end mod is tiny when compared with people that want to vape with a high end mod, and when presented with two devices that look the same, and vapes the same (or appears to), most people are going to go for the clone. You can’t really blame them, high-end mod makers do not go out of their way to explain (justify?) the high price of their mods, and clone makers are getting better and better at ripping off the specs of the originals.
The Clone and the Counterfeit
Spinfuel’s attitude about clones is still an attitude in progress. Our real problem lies with companies that produce counterfeits of popular products made by companies that have spent a lot of money in R&D only to see it ripped off and presented as the real thing, right down to the barcode. At least when dealing with clones the manufacturer identifies the product as a clone and doesn’t try to hide the fact. Admittedly, both practices leave a nasty taste in my mouth, but clones are the lesser of the two evils.
Features of a $25 HEIMDALL STYLE MOD CLONE510 threading connection Floating 510 center pin Brass contacts Adjustable positive contact Bottom spring-loaded firing button, with reverse-threaded locking ring Laser engravings 21.8mm diameter Full set of tubes (18350, 18500 &18650) Houses single 18350/18500/18650 battery (batteries sold separately)
Specs for the HEIMDALL STYLE MOD (clone) are as follows…
SIZEDEPTH: 22MM HEIGHT: 82MM WIDTH: 22MM WEIGHT: 0.202g
THE REAL HEIMDALL Mech Mod – $200
The Heimdall mechanical mod is a product of a Philippines, by a company called Vape Jam. The Feature Set for this $200 mod is as follows:
Heimdall Mod by Vape Jam Mods
As you can see in the photos, they look very much alike, the Heimdall clone is a nearly a 1:1 clone, with fine differences based on the quality of the brass used in its construction, the silver plating, the ‘number’ on the tube, and so on. In addition, instead of being massed produced in an assembly line in China the Vape Jam Heimdall is built with extreme care in small lots. They are, without a doubt, hard to find, and the Heimdall is a high-end mod of incredible fit and finish.
Heimdall Clone vs. Heimdall Original
I owned an original Heimdall for a couple of months, until a friend of mine made the jump to mech mods and he instantly fell in love the Heimdall. I have way too many devices anyway, so I gave it to him.
Since I had experience using the real Heimdall I was the obvious choice to review this clone… I guess.
My Experience With The Heimdall Clone
It’s true that the Heimdall clone suffers from a bit of battery rattle, the center pin isn’t as precise or as moveable as the original Heimdall, and, if I remember correctly, the silver plating isn’t as thick. Another thing I noticed about this $30 clone is the tube and caps do not screw together like the hot-knife-through-butter smoothness of the real Heimdall, but it isn’t bad either. Would you expect any different?
Where it matters, performance, the $200 Heimdall and the $30 Heimdall clone are so close most vapers, yours truly included, can’t tell the difference. I’m not saying there isn’t a difference, what I’m saying is that the differences are undetectable to the average vaper and can be mostly seen when hooked up to certain testing equipment.
To put it as simply as possible, would it matter to you if a high-end mech mod, costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $200, output precisely 3.7v every single time you pressed the firing button? Would you accept a lower-end device, costing in the range of $30, that output 3.69v 90% of the time and 3.71v the other 10% of the time? What about drop off? How much of a difference would it make in your vape experience if the $200 mod had virtually zero drop off while vaping and the $30 clone experienced slight drop offs while vaping?
A mechanical mod is really a very simple device. The purpose of every mechanical mod is also simple: to send uninterrupted, accurate, power to the atomizer. A good mech mod does so safely, consistently, and accurately. A good clone should do the same thing. It doesn’t take $200 and more to build a device that can do that, and do it extremely well. That’s not to say that a product like the original Heimdall isn’t worth the $200 price tag, if you’re looking for more than the simple performance of a mechanical mod.
The High-End Mech Mod – In Brief
A high-end original mod maker nearly always uses superior metals, and assembles them with the utmost care, exacting precision, and with real passion to build and sell a product they can be proud of… and the owner can be proud of. A high-end mech mod will last decades and its performance may never degrade.
The Low(er)-End Mech Mod Clones – In Brief
A clone costing a fraction of the real thing can, and often are, made of the same materials used in the original high-end device. When this happens the shortcuts are made in the quality of the materials.
A high-end mech mod may use 99.9% silver for its plating and a clone may use 82% silver. A high-end mech mod may use 18k gold contacts and a clone may use 10k gold contacts. Both companies claim silver plating and gold contacts…but which one will provide a cleaner line for power transfer, which one will last longer?
The original Heimdall mod uses Australian brass; it’s supposed to be a higher quality brass than the brass used in the Heimdall cline. It’s supposed to be refined purer to provide a longer lasting tube. (Brass is not as good as copper as a contact point however, but when used for construction it can last a lifetime)
But, honestly, when I researched “Australian Brass” I came up empty. I may not be the best Google researcher so if anyone has any links to studies or anything else that explains the superiority of Australian Brass please post it below. But my point is this; suppose Australian brass is much higher quality brass than the brass used in making the clone’s tubes, how much of that matters?
I can tell you with confidence that both devices feel like quality products, but the Heimdall original feels better. The threading in the real Heimdall is smoother, almost silky, but then the clone’s threading is much better than some junk devices I’ve used in the past. The contacts in both units are good. The biggest difference that you might notice if you had both of them in front of you is the ‘finish’. I don’t have any real complaints about the black finish on the Heimdall clone, but when compared to the original Heimdall you can tell which one has the more expensive, the more lasting finish, and it’s the original Heimdall.
Using a few different RBA’s over the past month, including a Fogger clone I had received with the Heimdall clone, as well as a few others I have here, my ‘vape experience’ was nearly as good as I remember of the original Heimdall. Then again, the biggest difference in any vape experience using a mech mod and an RBA is going to come from the RBA and the coils, not the device that sends power to it. That’s just the truth, plain and simple.
In the end, I find myself torn between the high-end mods and their clones. If I could afford it easily I would have the very best of everything I own, but that’s not likely to happen any time soon. I suppose when it comes to electronic cigarettes and other vaporizers, what it comes down to is how far down the rabbit hole you are. Is the act of vaping so much a part of your life that spending $170 more for a device that looks the same, and vapes nearly the same as the less expensive one make sense to you? I can’t answer that, only you can.
This is a YouTube review I found in late April of this year. The video goes into excellent details of the quality and workmanship that goes into the real Heimdall, and it was the video that inspired me to try one out
To be fair, here’s a video I found recently that reviews the Heimdall clone with accurate information, and opinion.