A warning before we start the review: The Cloupor Mini has been reported to have a problem with the battery causing a "melt-down" or "shorting" in certain circumstances. From what I understand, this is mainly when vaping while pass-through charging. Cloupor have acknowledged that a small number of the Cloupor Mini's have been reported to have this issue. Click here to view pictures of a unit I inspected after it melted down. Please note that we have acquired a second unit for more intensive long-term testing. Our article on this intensive testing is here.
When I first saw the picture at the right on the Cloupor website and in marketing documentation, I immediately thought of a doctored-up picture. How can a replaceable 18650 Advanced Personal Vaporizer with all those features be so small?
Well, I have one in hand now. I used a Samsung 25R 18650 battery and it is sized exactly as you see in the photo. This thing is not small, it's tiny. And, it's full featured.
This is miniaturization at the extreme. I need to emphasize how compact this is: the Samsung 25R battery has a slightly thicker vinyl case than most 18650 batteries. The Cloupor Mini has a lift tab ... the thickness of the battery, plus the thickness of the lift tab make it so that the magnetic back doesn't quite fit. I had to fold the lift tab and tuck it off to the side to get a perfect fit ... the tolerances on this are extreme.
While on the subject of the magnetic back cover, the back does come up either by sliding it downwards or you can insert your thumb nail in a tab at the bottom and lift it up. The back cover does have machining for fit ... it does not slip around or move while using it.
The unit at the left is the one I received. It is the silver version ... there are only two colors to choose from, the other is black (as shown at the right).
I usually ask for the black versions of any mod, but with this one being so small, I wanted a slightly better match to the brushed stainless clearomizer I was planning on using.
The OLED screen is a distinct improvement over other mods. It's high contrast and very easy to read ... the pictures show a white lettering, it actually has a slightly blue tinge. It's the familiar layout we have come to know from Cloupor (and many other similar devices). I like the buttons, they are wider than I expected and flat. Easy to find, easy to press with a slight amount of button rattle.
The entire top appears to be brass or gold-plated with an adjustable 510 connector. The box has a philips-head screw driver included. There are indentations for air flow ... the picture at the right is not accurate. The air flow indentations do line up with the 510 connector edges (at least in the one I am reviewing).
The threading is incredibly smooth.
The top connector is centered on the width, but offset towards the front (where the buttons are). I used a KangerTech Subtank Mini that is 22 mm in diameter. It was completely flush along the sides, but did overhang by 1.4 mm on the front ... to put that in perspective, it's about the thickness of the firing button. No big deal.
The bottom of the Cloupor Mini has a micro USB port and one single vent hole. Cloupor does claim the Cloupor Mini is pass-through charging – but I would not recommend that in view of the battery problems reported on a small portion of these devices. I do have other Cloupor products (Cloupor T6, Cloupor T8) and have never had any issues with them – I don't expect any with the Cloupor Mini either, but caution is prudent. The first time I used up the batteries, I replaced it with a freshly charged battery (from an external charger). Once that battery was used up, I was able to plug in the Cloupor Mini micro USB port and have an eye on it throughout the charge cycle. I had absolutely no problem charging this with the micro USB (I did not use it pass-through to vape while charging). The device remained cool to the touch while charging, there were no odors or any other issue while charging.
The Cloupor Mini is really comfortable to hold. Compared to any other replaceable 18650 battery mod, this is tiny and light. I angled it slightly, put my index finger on the top and used my thumb over the fire button. That puts the tank on a path with my thumb and nearly hides everything except for the top part of the tank. About the only aspect of this that I found unusual is that I noticed the fire button didn't fire occasionally. I looked into this and noticed that pressing the fire button on an angle towards the top may not "catch" the micro switch inside. However, when held as I noted above, I had no firing problems.
The Cloupor Mini is as full featured as you can get – even some features not available on other larger devices. It supports both Variable Voltage and Variable Wattage. You can switch between the two by pressing the fire button and - button for two seconds. Even the OLED screen can be viewed left or right and you switch between the two by pressing the fire button and + button for two seconds. Whether in variable voltage or variable wattage mode, you can lock your selection by pressing the + and - button simultaneously for two seconds. The range of your settings are all in 0.1 increments too.
The only other replaceable 18650 advanced personal vaporizer on the market is the Pioneer4You IPV Mini. They have similar features, the difference is in size and weight – and that's what the choice is based on. Comparing this strictly by size to devices like the iStick is not really applicable. The Cloupor Mini's features win hands down.
So, what's the verdict? Is it worth it? It is an amazingly small and feature rich device. I like using it and find it accurate – and I like how "stealthy" it is. The only reluctance in making a call like this is the reported problems. I do want to point out that Cloupor has issued a statement claiming this affects only 0.1% to 0.2% of these devices and they are replacing the defective devices. I am not sure I take that at face value, but I do find Cloupor to be a reliable company. You'll have to make your own call on this.
Update - February 19 2015: We cannot determine what is causing the melting of the Cloupor Mini. Cloupor should have designed this unit to protect users regardless of how they are used or how they charged. Cloupor should have built in the necessary safety to protect you and keep you safe. Issues like this should NOT be happening.
We are now getting reports that the Cloupor Mini are melting down without firing and/or idle.
We do not recommend the Cloupor Mini. If you purchase one of these units, please be cautious. We find Cloupor's claims that only 0.1% to 0.2% of Cloupor Mini units they have shipped out are reporting problems to lack credibility.
And, here is Cloupor's response. Click Here. Please note that we have acquired a second unit for more intensive long-term testing. Our article on this intensive testing is here. And, it does appear that Cloupor's response to this issue is valid.