Kanger XLUM Starter Kit Review – My history with Kanger products is nearly as long as my history with vaping in general. From the moment I put down my ash-tipped cig-a-like for something more substantial, the Kanger Subtank was the first thing I had in my cart. (I still own and use it to this day.) But in recent years, Kanger has taken a backseat to more aggressive and innovative companies. Until now, because thecKangerTech XLUM kit might indicate a late-game shift by the venerable vape company.
Around the web, I’ve seen the XLUM described as “psychedelic” and even “radical.” I won’t go that far, but it’s a definite change of pace for the more-conservative Kanger. And for the most part, it’s a decent stylistic shift that speaks to an interesting future. Let’s see why.
The first thing you’ll notice about the 200-watt XLUM is the surprising lack of heft. Though the mod has a sizable footprint, there’s very little density to the lightweight aluminum frame. I didn’t think the XLUM would even survive a short fall, but a few clumsy minutes later and I was proven wrong, with the device not only handling a shot to the concrete, but not even getting a scratch along the way.
The lesson here? Light does not always mean “weak.”
After that, you’ll probably notice the dramatic design aesthetic, starting with the giant “X” design across the face of the mod. At the center lies the round up/down control button (which you WILL confuse for a fire key more than once… I promise), just below the triangular, full-color TFT display. The adjustment button is highly responsive, but because of its small-ish size, don’t be surprised when a few keystrokes go awry – you’ll get used to it, but a longer, bar-style button would have been better suited here.
Though I wish it was much brighter, especially in daylight, I liked the basic TFT screen. The triangular screen area gives off the impression of something more “high tech” than this basic display actually is. Sure, it conveys all necessary information clearly, and the menu system is linear and functional. But for a mod positioning itself as “forward thinking” the display seems a little behind the times.
That said, newcomers will have no problems getting right to work. And since the chipset is pretty bare bones in terms of options, there isn’t much risk of people getting in over their heads when making adjustments. This is true, even in the minimalist temperature control menus, which remove a lot of the customization tweaks that have become standard on high-wattage devices, in favor of a basic, “set it and forget it” format.
The actual fire key is on the side of the device, and has a nice throw to it, even if the aluminum seems a little thin and weak when first using the mod. I never experienced any troubles, though, so I imagine it’s something you’ll get over pretty quickly.
Below the center button is a triangular LED light display. Um. Yeah. If that’s your thing, this one is particularly bright and attention-getting. Thankfully, it can be turned off [ED: Don’t say it…] and I fully encourage everyone to do that within five minutes of opening the box [ED: Damn it!].
But even with the inherent LED blindness, my biggest gripe with the exterior is the loose and flimsy magnetic battery door, which came off in my pocket nearly every time I tried to take it out. While the magnets are decent, there’s too much “non-magnetized” area to hold it in place very well.
Kanger XLUM Mod Specs:
- Dimensions – 86mm by 48mm by 30mm
- Weight – 120g
- Dual High-Amp 18650 Batteries – Not Included
- Kanger MCU Chipset
- Wattage Output Range: 10-200W
- Voltage Output Range: 0-8.0V
- Atomizer Resistance Range: 0.05-3.0ohm
- Temperature Range: 100°-315°C / 200°-600°F
- Ni200, Ti, Stainless Steel Compatibility
- TCR Mode
- Aluminum Zinc Alloy Body Construction
- Intuitive 0.91″ OLED Screen
- Oversized Firing Button
- Two Adjustment Buttons
- Magnetic Battery Door
- Detachable Structure
- Micro-USB Port
- 510 Connection
- Available in Space Grey, Blue, Red, Rainbow, Silver Black
Kanger XLUM Tank Specs:
- 28mm Diameter
- Weight – 50g
- 4mL Bubble Glass Tank Capacity
- Push-To-Slide Top Fill System
- Superior Stainless Steel Construction
- Pyrex Glass Reinforcement
- PEEK Insulator
- Kanger XLUM Coil Family Line
- 18ohm NR Mesh Coil – Rated for 40-60W
- 2ohm R8-OCC NiCr – Rated for 30-140W
- Dual Bottom Airflow Control – Adjustable Valve
- 810 Widebore Drip Tip
- 510 Connection
Kanger XLUM Kit Contents:
- 1 XLUM 200W Mod
- 1 XLUM Tank
- 1 Replaceable Bulb Glass
- 1 0.18ohm NR Mesh Coil
- 1 0.2ohm NR8-OCC NiCr COil
- 1 O-Ring Set
- 1 Micro-USB Cable
Normally, I’d use this space to shine a little light on a special feature of the mod. But today, I need to change the story a bit. Because the included XLUM tank was a major disappointment, in an otherwise solid, decent-performing vape mod kit.
When I first primed and filled the XLUM tank, I was cautiously optimistic. All the usual elements of a modern sub-ohm performer were there – good capacity, nice airflow, mesh coil system, etc. And for the first few dozen puffs, all was well in the world. The flavor was moderately good, and the vapor production was ample.
Then I realized my vapor might have actually been smoke, coming from the white-hot surface of the XLUM tank’s metal exterior. With just a handful of deep draws at 65-75 watts, the heat radiating from the glass section was searing to the touch, while the widebore driptip was unusable for several minutes. Lowering the wattage didn’t help much, since by the time I reached a comfortable temperature output, the 0.18-ohm mesh coil was barely registering under low wattage.
(For the record, the other included coil – a 0.2-ohm Nichrome offering – didn’t fare much better.)
I took the tank apart, cleaned it, checked the PEEK insulator to ensure it was seated properly, reassembled, and hoped for the best. But hope is where the dream died, since the XLUM tank was practically unvapeable after a few puffs at a time.
I’ve tested hundreds of tanks over the years, but have never had a companion device fail so badly, especially at such moderate wattages. And considering this is a 200-watt vape mod, the pairing made little, if any sense, in this kit. I feel like the coils have potential, based on what few puffs I enjoyed before the rapture, but the odds of me trying them again are pretty slim.
Let’s hope this was a fluke, and that my test model contained a bum tank, because I had some high hopes for Kanger’s latest. Given Kanger’s longstanding reputation for quality, I tend to believe that’s the case.
Observations While Vaping
I may have never really gotten to enjoy the XLUM mod with its intended sub-ohm tank, but that doesn’t mean the mod couldn’t perform. Nope – with every other tank I used from my collection, the XLUM proved to be a damn good high-wattage vape device, showing smooth ramping power, no weird behaviors at higher elevations, and a surprising amount of battery efficiency.
In wattage mode, I was able to easily hit the 200-watt mark without any hiccups along the way. And when I stayed above 150 watts, I didn’t see the battery life drop precipitously like in so many competing devices. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not looking at DNA-type efficiency here, but the no-nonsense chipset allow for a streamlined, “fat-free” vape experience, delivering users only what they need, and nothing they don’t.
I can’t speak for KangerTech, but I’m getting the impression that the thinking behind the XLUM kit was “the future lies in the past.” Because for every forward-thinking design element, there’s a decidedly old-school, proven concept to counter it. Temp control is there (and works well!) but those seeking custom heating curves and preheat tweaking are going to be disappointed.
Instead, choose your coil type, set a temp, and let the XLUM do its thing. No muss, no fuss, no worry. Truth be told, part of me thinks the excess and fluff associated with TC vaping is why many users don’t even bother with it anymore. Maybe if we went back to Kanger’s approach, more people would see the benefits of vaping this way.
Beyond the MCU chipset performance, the XLUM is a solid, decent vape. The hollow-feeling body and slightly wide form factor aren’t going to win any awards for comfort, but those with larger hands shouldn’t have any concerns. Likewise, the round, rocker-style adjustment button makes it too easy to slip up, but that’s largely a matter of preference, rather than a design flaw.
The KangerTech XLUM kit is a tale of two experiences. The mod is solid, and points toward a potentially interesting next chapter for one of the oldest names in vaping. While the XLUM mod isn’t likely the pinnacle of their planning, I expect this format will be fine tuned and evolved to meet the standards of modern vapers.
Unfortunately, the companion tank was a complete disappointment. Because I think it was a fluke, I’m omitting the score from this review. Should KangerTech send another for a follow-up test, I’ll be sure to report back with an accurate score. But this flamethrower of a sub-ohm tank never allowed me to even form a hypothesis, much less an opinion.
If you have the option to check out the XLUM, definitely give it a test run to see if it’s a fit for your needs. But definitely be cautious before investing in the kit, in case my experience with the XLUM tank wasn’t a one-time occurrence.