Ouch. That was my key takeaway from the first time I held the Voopoo Alpha One box mod. Not only because of the sharp, angular corners of the device, but also because the overall throwback design made me think of an original Sony Walkman. Which I am old enough to have owned.
One of the above pain points might just be my middle age coming to light. But the other one played a big role in forming my opinion of the Voopoo Alpha One mod. Read on to find out why.
Initial impressions of the Voopoo Alpha One
It’s funny that the tagline on the Alpha One box claims the contents are a “next gen vape,” because the overall name of the game is retro, baby. From the pinstriped sliding box, to the device’s 1980s VCR aesthetics, everything about the Voopoo Alpha One screams neon and big hair. You can practically hear Motley Crue blaring from the speakers.
Heck, even the little card advertising the Gene chipset uses the term, “Born for fever.” If that isn’t an ‘80s line, I don’t know what is.
Jokes aside, the throwback look certainly makes a strong first impression. The razor sharp edges, large but minimalist fire and control buttons, and ripple-textured battery door don’t look like anything else on the market right now. It’s a box, in every sense of the word, but it’s a stylish one.
The bomb-proof 510 connection is secured by two hex screws, and has stylish, but subtle airflow channels beveled into the metal. The spring-loaded, gold-plated pin accommodated every tank I used on the Alpha One, with nary a gap to be had.
The bottom of the device is spartan, but has a nice cross-shaped vent section to redirect some heat from the rest of the anodized frame.
Operating the Voopoo Alpha One
Picking up the device might change your opinion, however. Even without batteries, the Voopoo Alpha One is a heavy device that leaves an impression of its own – right in the soft spots of your palm.
Maybe my hands are delicate – it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been accused of this – but the Voopoo Alpha One might be the most uncomfortable mod I’ve ever used. Once I put a pair of 18650s in, the Alpha One only dug deeper into my palm, and firing it forced me to position the back end flat against my hand, limiting its portability considerably.
The fire and operation buttons are stiff, but extremely clicky, and feel wonderful to engage. There is no button rattle, or any loose play to think of, further cementing the Alpha One as a well-built, pristinely machined box mod.
The display screen is similarly minimalist, but displays the vitals in a clear, concise way. Perhaps I’m being spoiled by some more modern displays, but I’m getting a little bored with these narrow screens and serpentine menu trees. Yes, it’s all done in a familiar manner, but there’s no denying the experience is antiquated.
That said, the Alpha One’s proprietary Gene chipset is a potent board with near-DNA performance, right down the eScribe-like PC software app to help define temp curves and fine-tuning. In addition to all the standard modes – wattage (up to 222 watts), temperature control, five custom TCR presets, custom logo entry, and my favorite new feature, the Love Mode.
Love… exciting and new…
The Alpha One’s uniquely named Love Mode can be activated in the main menu, and can be used between 160 and the 222-watt device limit. What it does is allows vapers to take longer, more measured draws when vaping high wattages. Using pulsed rather than uninterrupted power, Love Mode softens the impact of persistent high-powered hits.
Personally, I liked it. I never consistently vape at this level, but when testing some new tanks and RDAs, this mode allowed me to test more frequently without becoming uncomfortable.
Another notable addition that seems to get lost in the shuffle is the ability to vape the Voopoo Alpha One in pass-through mode, while using the speedy 2-amp onboard charging! This sounds like tech boasts from 2013, and I still prefer external charging. But to be honest, I forgot how much I missed such simplicity in my vape devices.
Vaping the Voopoo Alpha One
Putting this monster box mod into action proved to be more satisfying than the rough exterior would let on. The Gene chip was extremely accurate in recognizing new coils, gauging coil resistances, and throwing up warnings whenever appropriate. Plus, it might be the fastest-adjusting chip I’ve seen to date, scrolling from 20-220 watts in record time.
Using a standard Kanthal build in my iJOY Captain RDTA, reading at 0.42 ohms, the Alpha One recognized my new build right from the outset, and fired it up almost instantaneously. The Alpha One immediately offered a wash of smooth, uninterrupted power, even at lower wattages. In fact, I’d venture to say it’s one of the most powerful devices I’ve used in some time, never once getting a low-powered hit, or a misfire.
Ramping up the power to 140 watts, using a lower-resistance coil, I noticed things began to get a little warm, but the Alpha One never once wavered, and the chassis stayed cool, even after longer pulls.
As always, I also needed to test the upper limits of the device’s capability. And I’m thrilled to report it works as advertised, delivering 222 watts of unreal power. It wasn’t the most pleasant vape for the build I had on the atomizer, but it WAS consistent, steady and flawless.
Doing the same thing in Love Mode, revealed just how strong the Voopoo Alpha One chipset is. Though the pulsing was noticeable at the top-end of this spectrum, it served its purpose, allowing me to vape some seriously low builds, for much longer than I normally would, with no negative reactions.
Bringing things back to earth, I found the Voopoo Alpha One was best around 100 watts, where the device got a chance to stretch its legs, while still keeping cool to the touch.
In temp control, I found the Alpha One to be a solid performer, though the wattage caps at 80 watts – practically 1/3 of the device’s capabilities. Adjusting coils and temperatures using the onboard menu was fine, though it was much more pleasant to use the Gene software on my PC.
Overall, the TC mode was more than adequate, and the suite was fully featured. But there was nothing worth reporting here above and beyond the usual mod specs – perhaps a little disappointing considering the versatility of the chipset.
I have to say, the Voopoo Alpha One (and the Gene chipset) also featured some of the best battery life of any mod in this class. Vaping it consistently north of 120 watts, two 18650s lasted me nearly nine hours of consistent vaping. And the onboard charging was snappy, even when taking the occasional drag as a passthrough device.
I might not use the Voopoo Alpha One very often, because the stark, angular design is just a little too uncomfortable for my hands. But this is hardly a condemnation of the device. Even with the retro exterior and sharp corners, the vape quality of the Voopoo Alpha One is excellent, with very few complaints beyond the design.
Advanced vapers should feel very comfortable giving this retro-looking mod a modern workout.
VooPoo Alpha One Specs and Package Contents
Voopoo Alpha One Specs:
- Material: Zinc Alloy
- Wattage: 5-222W
- Size: 89.5x54x25mm
- Output Voltage Range: 0-7.5V
- Lowest Resistance in power mode: 0.05ohm
- Lowest Resistance in TC mode: 0.05ohm
- TC Mode: SS,NI,TI,NC
- Color: Black/ Gray / Pearl Chrome
Voopoo Alpha One Contents:
- 1x VooPoo Alpha One 222w TC Box Mod
- 1x Micro USB Cable
- 1x User Manual and Warranty Card