Vaping trends come and go, but I never thought I’d be discussing the use of ABS plastic as one of them. Yet, in just the last few months, I’ve reviewed quite a few of these lightweight mods. Some of them were great, like the Hugo Vapor Rader Mage (reviewed here). Others were weak, like the Sigelei VCIGO K3 (reviewed here). Then there are some I’m still figuring out… like this one, the Vapor Storm Puma.
The Vapor Storm Puma is an interesting cat (pardon the pun). This squatty, triangular/hexagonal vape mod hits a lot of the right notes on first impression. For starters, the soft-touch plastic results in one of the nicer-feeling mods in a while. Whereas the Rader Mage and VCIGO were more plasticky, the Vapor Storm Puma has an almost velvety sheen to it, which really makes it sit nicely in the palm.
Visually, the Puma is going to be a polarizing device, depending on which of the color/pattern schemes you decide upon. My oddball test model was named “Old Story,” which I guess ties into the weird, old newspaper design aesthetic, featuring headlines, ads and a whole bunch of very strange words.
(Seriously, the side of my mod says, top to bottom, “For You,” “LONDON,” “GOOD morning OK Today How GOOD for you TODAY” closing with an equally confusing, “YES.” If this is how your morning paper looks, I highly recommend a subscription to the Washington Post.)
This pattern extends over the plastic fire key and operation button, all the way around the mod. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I would have loved a design that even moderately reminded me of … oh, I don’t know… a puma? Maybe it’s me…
The 1.3-inch display, on the other hand, is fantastic. No, it’s not color, or high-res, or even that pretty. But for the limited real estate available here, Vapor Storm did a hell of a job cramming a metric TON of information here, in a very legible manner. Similar to iJOY’s old “Captain” screen format, the Vapor Storm Puma gets this part very, very right.
On the flip side of the coin is the weak, barely-there battery door, which is technically held in place by magnets, but might as well be connected by nothing but prayer. Before I could hit the fire key the very first time, this door had already fallen into my palm. A firm squeeze of the back panel seemed to rectify the problem, but ultimately, the magnets lose out to gravity every time. (It doesn’t help that the door cutaway doesn’t seem to fit the device as intended, either.)
Thankfully, the buttons themselves are firm and responsive, even for plastic construction. Not only is the tactile feedback good, but they’re also responsive, leading to a very fast-ramping mod.
I hate to start a section with a negative, but after a half hour of using the Vapor Storm Puma, I noticed the side of the mod has a cutaway that says “VAPES” in giant block letters. Not “PUMA.” Not “VAPOR STORM” – hell, not even “LONDON GOOD MORNING OK TODAY HOW GOOD FOR YOU TODAY.” It just says “VAPES” for no discernible reason whatsoever.
Yeah, it’s ridiculous, which shouldn’t be surprising for a silly looking mod like the Puma. But I have to list this as a low point, since it seems mod designs are just getting more and more random, in lame attempts to stand out on shelves.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so hung up on aesthetics, but as an advocate for vape products being taken seriously as alternatives to smoking, designs like this do nothing to support the cause. Instead, they’re childish, toy-like and counterproductive for our industry.
Thankfully, some of the other design elements do make sense – whether or not they’re intentional. Not only does the solid, press-fit 510 have nice grooves for venting and e-liquid capture, but the shallow cutaway behind the tank also creates a nice reservoir for stray juice, keeping it out of the battery chamber and electronics.
I DO wish Vapor Storm centered the 510 connection more. Not only would it make sense given the shape of the Puma, but it would also allow for this reservoir to reach all the way around the top of the mod, rather than just the back. If there’s ever a Puma 2, I hope they consider balancing the design a bit further.
Perhaps the biggest highlight comes from the intuitive menu system, in the form of COUNTLESS modes and operations. In addition to the standard wattage and temp control functions, the Puma has three TCR slots, bypass mode, custom curve and more. Navigating to and from these settings is a breeze, and even the greenest users will manage to get their mods set up right with minimal fuss.
It’s rare that a mod is so questionable on the outside, and so excellent beneath the surface, but that’s exactly what the Vapor Storm Puma has accomplished here. Nearly flawless execution of a proven menu system and operations.
Vapor Storm Puma Specs:
- Voltage Range – 6.4V – 8.4V
- Resistance Range – 0.06Ω – 3.0Ω
- Coil Supporting – Kanthal, Ni200, Ti, SS316
- Wattage Range – 5W – 200W
- Material – Plastic
- Currant Range – Max 50A
- Temperature Range – 100ºC – 315ºC/200ºF – 600ºF
- Bypass Mode – with the ability to go up to 230W
- Fast Balanced Charging – DC 5V/1.5A
- Size – 80.7mm/43mm/40mm
- Weight – 70.6g
Vapor Storm Puma Contents:
- 1 x Puma 200W Box Mod (Without 18650 Batteries)
- 1 x Micro USB Cable
- 1 x User Manual
- 1 x Battery Safety Card
- 1 x QC Inspection Card
Speed and power – two things I love in my music, and my vape devices. And while the Puma doesn’t look very rock and roll, the performance is outstanding. For starters, the ramp time is second to none – a bold claim, consider how today’s devices are near-instant when firing.
Plus, in a nice touch, Vapor Storm included a five-level Fire Speed Control setting, in case the default is a little too potent for new users. Me? I wouldn’t tinker with a thing. Fire. Vape. Repeat. No waiting, and no struggle to get up to speed.
The Puma is also extremely comfortable to use for long stretches. Not only is the material light and soft to the touch, but there’s a strange sense of durability here, like it would survive a stiff drop to the pavement without too much concern. Maybe it would even improve the “word salad” design scheme used on my test device. (Kidding, kidding… sorta…)
More importantly, the Puma is comfortable to use from a control perspective. One handed operations are a snap, thanks to the straightforward menus, precise button response, and accurate wattage and temp settings. Though I didn’t spend a ton of time in TC modes, I enjoyed how easily the Puma recognized my coils, noticed new atomizers and made adjustments on the fly.
Still, with power performance this potent, I see the Puma appealing mostly to power users. And with 230 watts of legitimate power underneath this thin plastic exterior, they’ll find a lot to like here. The design might not be as demonstrative as some bigger-name devices, but I find it hard to believe there are many mods firing stronger than this.
Like I said at the beginning, the Vapor Storm Puma is an interesting cat, with some confusing design choices on the exterior. I won’t lie, I think my test model is strangely ugly, and I would have much preferred a solid color that better matched my tanks and RDAs.
But none of that mattered once I fired up the device, because even with a gaudy coat of paint, on the inside, the Puma is a thing of pure beauty.