Kanger Subox Nano
No one, and no one company, can hit a homerun every time. Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t try to hit it out of the park whenever you’re at bat, but sometimes, however rarely, the job doesn’t get done. For Kanger, that rare ‘swing and a miss’ goes out to the new Subox Nano Starter Kit. It’s not a huge disappointment, it’s just not as good as I had hoped it would be. But I’ll get into that in just a few minutes.
The original Subox Mini has been a major hit with vapers this year. We reviewed it back at the end of May and it received high marks from us and many other product reviewers. We called it a game-changer in so far as it being a full box mod/subohm tank in one affordable unit. The Subox Mini was a modified Kanger K-Box and Subtank Mini, and the performance and reliability was well worth the modest price of roughly $60.
Before I give you my impressions of this new Subox Nano, let’s take a look at the some of the specs. A full list of the features and specs will follow at the end of this review.
The Subox Box Mod
First thing to note is that the Subox Nano lacks Temperature Control, so if that is a deal killer for you can I recommend the similarly priced Joyetech eVic-VTC Mini or eLeaf iStick TC60W? Both have excellent temperature control technology if that’s what you’re looking for. No? Well, then let’s continue.
The Subox box mod has a maximum wattage output of 50W. The range is 7w to 5w in 0.1w increments. Considering that the starter kit comes with the Subtank Nano-S and a 0.5-ohm (for lung hit vaping) and 1.5-ohm OCC (for mouth-to-lung vaping) you won’t crank it up beyond 50 watts even if you could. If you replace those coilheads with the Kanger 0.3-ohm OCC’s that 50 watts should still be enough. I know when I vape with the 0.5-ohm OCC I keep it at about 30-32 watts even with 100% VG eliquid from Vape Organics.
Two of the Subox Starter Kits come in what can only be called “Colors of Easter”; purple and pink. There is also a black model, though I haven’t seen it in person. The mod itself uses replaceable 18650 high-amp (20A+) batteries. Even without the battery installed the Subox mod feels heavy. The finish on the box mod is high gloss, while the Subtank Nano-S has a more matte-like finish, though the color matches perfectly.
The metal used to construct the Subox Nano body is aluminum. I say that only because it is listed in the specs. I don’t doubt it, but I can say that it is a heavier aluminum than I seen used in other devices.
Battery Life – Using my old standby batteries, the Sony VTC4 (30A), the battery life seems somewhat shorter compared to several other box mods I use.
Basic Functions For Operating The Subox Nano
To turn the mod on or off just do the 5-clicks-fast routine. Once you turn it on you’ll see the words “Kanger Tech” on the lo-res OLED display. The Subox then goes into Standby mode. The OLED display shows the current battery level, the resistance of the OCC, and the current wattage setting. To move up and down the wattage scale use the small + and – buttons to do so. Pressing both the + and – buttons together at the same time will change the orientation of the display. Charging the Subox is done through the included Micro USB cable, which also allows for pass-through vaping. Best bet would be to have a few extra 18650 batteries on hand and a Nitecore charger because recharging through the USB port takes roughly 2.5x longer than directly charging the battery in a Nitecore D4. The battery cover is magnetic and works as well as the Subox Mini, or even the Joyetech and eLeaf competitors, although there is an ever-slight cover rattle that the Subox Mini and Joyetech/eLeaf products don’t have. It’s not as bad as the IPV D2 by Pioneer4You, but it is noticeable at first.
Like the Subox Mini and the KBox, the Subox Nano features short circuit protection, atomizer protection, battery orientation protection, PCB over temperature protection, which will shut the unit down if the internal (battery) temperature gets too hot. It will also flash “Temp High” in the display.
The Subox Nano has a vape cut off time of 10-seconds, which is perfectly reasonable. (That’s one long drag!)
Now, let’s move to the Subtank Nano-S
The first question I had when we received the Subox Nano units was the “S” designation on the Subtank. I am tempted to say the “S” means Shit, but I’ll refrain from saying it.
I may be completely wrong here, but when I look at the specs, and examine an actual Subtank Nano and Nano-S at the same time, I know that the Subtank Nano (sold individually) is a much better tank than the Subtank Nano-S that comes with the Subox Nano.
The Subtank Nano tank is a 304 stainless steel and glass tank with a 3mL capacity for eliquid. The Subtank Nano-S that comes with the Subox Nano Starter Kit feels like a base metal tank with a plastic tank. It feels cheap, and unlike the Subtank Nano the Nano-S came apart in my hands every time I unscrewed the base to refill it. The airflow controller is difficult to adjust and when you do manage to turn it the bottom base, when attached to the Subox turns with it more often than not, unless you’re pushing down on the tank at the same time. The Stainless Steel Subtank Nano feels much richer, finer, and a direct descendent in the Subtank family. The Nano-S feels like a cheap clone. But, having said that, it is my duty as a reviewer to state that the “official” specs for the Subtank Nano-S are identical to the specs of the ‘real’ Subtank Nano. (If the tank in the Nano-S is actually glass, you can bet it’s a much thinner glass) …
Last word on the Subtank Nano-S tank is that I see it advertised as having dual airflow slots. The ones we received have only one. I tend to think that many vendors are copying and pasting the specs from the actual Subtank Nano and using it for the Nano-S.
The Kanger Subox Nano Starter Kit will be the product most people will buy, not the individual components. That makes all kinds of sense, but there will be the need to pick up a couple of Nano tanks to use down the road. Both the Subtank Nano and Subtank Nano-S have the 18.5mm diameter so both fit nicely. I strongly recommend buying the actual Subtank Nano when the time comes rather than another Nano-S, unless keeping the color matching ideal is important to you. Not that there’s a difference, or much of a difference, in actual performance, but the Subtank Nano will last longer.
The Subox Nano I used for this review came from Vapor Authority. Vapor Authority offers excellent pricing, and the Starter Kit there is $59.99. Now let’s look at two recent products I reviewed that in my book are much better products.
The eVic-VTC Mini (not carried at Vapor Authority right now) – is priced at $56.95 at MyVaporStore. This is a 60-watt temperature control box mod that comes with the eGo ONE Mega tank. All the features and specs are nearly identical to the Subox Nano except that the eVic-VCT Mini offers 10 more watts and temperature control. It also sports a high resolution, horizontal 4-line display that knocks all other box mod displays off the shelf. At $4 less, it’s a much better buy.
The eLeaf iStick TC60W – this will be available shortly at Vapor Authority, and will sell for right around $50 when it becomes available in the first week of October. This Starter Kit comes with the well respected MELO 2 tank, a tank I really like. Again the specs and features exceed the Subox Nano and includes more wattage and temperature control.
Is the Subox Nano too little too late?
In my opinion, yes, definitely. First, the price is too high when comparing Joyetech and eLeaf competitors. Temperature Control is here to stay, so instead of producing a smaller Subox Kanger should have added temperature control to the Subox Mini and the Subox Nano.
The Mega Tank offered by Joyetech is a better tank then the Subtank Nano-S, and the MELO 2 tank is better than both of them combined.
Today, in late 2015, $50 buys a lot of box mod + tank kits. Does Kanger truly believe that with competing products like the eVic-VTC Mini and the iStick TC60W, products that offer more features and more wattage, that vapers will pay the extra money for something that is technologically inferior, but smaller and come in purple or pink? Maybe, or maybe the Subox Nano was already in the pipeline before either Joyetech or eLeaf products were released.
I can’t, and won’t, tell you which product you should buy. Nor can I ignore what I know to be true. I’ve used all 3 products, extensively, and there isn’t any way I could justify telling someone that the Subox Nano is a better buy than the eVic-VCT Mini or iStick TC60W. As far as I can tell, the only reason anyone should buy the Subox Nano is that the buyer simply has to have a purple, or pink box mod with matching tank.
Kanger Subox Nano Kit Features:
- Aluminum Construction
- Glass Tank – thin glass
- Sub-Ohm and Standard Resistance Vaping
- Organic Japanese Cotton in the OCC’s
- Variable Wattage
- Variable Voltage
- Two-Line lo-res OLED Screen
- Uses External 20Amp+ 18650 Battery (Not Included)
- Magnetic Battery Cover
- Ergonomically Designed
- Single Airflow Control Valve
Kanger Subox Nano Kit Specifications:
- Tank Capacity: 3ml
- Thread: 510
- Coil Type: Bottom-Plane-Dual-Coil (BPDC)
- Tank Material: Glass
- Casing Material: 304 Stainless Steel (???)
- Height: 2 inches (51 mm)
- Diameter: 0.75 inches (19 mm)
Kanger KBOX Nano:
- Threading: 510
- Available Colors: Black, Purple, Pink
- Minimum Atomizer Resistance: 0.3 ohms
- Battery Compatibility: IMR 18650 (20A minimum)
- Wattage Output: 7W – 50W (in 0.1W increments)
- Height: 3.2 inches (82 mm)
- Length: 1.5 inches (40 mm)
- Width: 0.86 inches (22 mm)
What’s In The Box?
- 1 x Kanger KBOX NANO Box MOD
- 1 x Kanger Subtank Nano-S
- 1 x OCC Atomizer Coil (0.5 Ohms)
- 1 x OCC Atomizer Coil (1.5 Ohms)
- 1 x USB Charging Cable (Matching Color)
- 1 x User’s Manual
- 1x Matching color battery sticker
- 1x Quick-Start card
- 1x Authenticity Card
Grade: C- Why a C-? – For what it is, when compared to competitors offering, the Subox Nano Kit is sorely overpriced. The Subtank Nano-S tank is a downgraded Subtank Nano. While it performs okay, the battery life isn’t what I expected. The only happy buyers will be vapers than do not like, or haven’t seen, the Joyetech eVic-VCT or eLeaf TC60W Starter Kit that are, on average, $10 less and feature more than the Subox Nano.
We like Kanger products, and the Kanger Subtank Mini is still our most used sub-ohm tank. We know Kanger can do better than this, and they should. Here’s hoping Kanger has something in the wings that will reflect the real talent we know Kanger possesses.