Last year we predicted that 2019 would be the year of the pod. That certainly seemed to be the case, with a huge range of pod devices, both closed and open, hitting the market.
Now in 2020 this trend is evolving with the introduction of more powerful and sophisticated devices which marry the simplicity of pod systems with the power of sub-ohm vape mods.
At the time of writing the Smok RPM80 (the upgraded version of the Smok RPM40) is yet to land in the UK, but we’re fortunate enough to have a sample that I was able to prise out of a colleague’s hand!
I’ve been using the pro version of the Smok RPM80 while writing this post (photos are of the standard Smok RPM80), but other than the replaceable 18650 battery and the size, there’s not much difference between the Smok RPM80 and the Vaporesso RPM80 pro.
At 102mm long, the Vaporesso PM80 is significantly smaller than the Smok RPM80 Pro (118mm). The drip tip of the Vaporesso PM80 just pokes out of my hand, while the Smok RPM80 extends out several centimetres.
I don’t find that a significant issue myself, but fans of compact devices will prefer the Vaporesso PM80. Do note the standard Vaporesso RPM80 (pictured below) is slightly shorter at 109mm.
Both devices power up to 80 watts, which is impressive for a pod system. The Smok version can go as low as 1 watt, while the Vaporesso pod mod goes down to 5 watts – but to be honest I struggle to think of a time when you would need to use less than 5 watts.
The Vaporesso Target PM80 comes with three airflow holes on each side of the pod. These provide an airy vape very suitable for direct to lung vaping, but unfortunately are not adjustable and wouldn’t be suitable for vapers who prefer a more restricted vape.
The SMOK RPM80, on the other hand, has a single airflow hole and provides a more restricted vape. One plus with the SMOK RPM80, though, is that the RGC coil comes with adjustable airflow, which can make a significant difference to the vape.
I’ve been using the Vaporesso Degree a lot recently, and I really like the filling port which allows you to fill the device without removing the pod. Unfortunately, the Vaporesso PM80 doesn’t come with this capability, and to fill you need to remove the pod from the device and take the rubber bung out.
In contrast, the Smok RPM80 has a bung at the top of the pod which allows for easy, speedy refilling. Definitely a win for the SMOK podmod here!
In terms of vapour production, when used at similar settings there isn’t a huge difference between the two devices. The key difference is the airiness in the vape, giving the Vaporesso Target PM80 a slight edge for fans of direct-lung vaping, while the Smok RPM80 wins out for fans of a more restricted vape.
Smart Variable Wattage Mode: Definite plus for the Target PM80
A neat feature that comes with the Vaporesso Target PM80 is a smart variable wattage mode, which automatically selects the best wattage for your coil. This is a great feature for vapers who are new to high powered vaping and should reduce the chance of a burnt out coil.
Of course, more advanced vapers may still wish to adjust the power manually – but even then, the ideal wattage range suggested on screen is a handy guide.
This makes the Vaporesso Target PM80 a great choice for vapers who are less experienced but still want to enjoy an airy, DL vape.
To go with the increased power, the Target PM80 offers up a choice of two GTX Mesh coils, which come in either 0.2 or 0.3 ohm coils. However, the Smok RPM80 comes with a far wider choice of coils.
The Smok RPM80 RGC Pod can be used with a 0.17 ohm conical mesh coil, but the Smok RPM80 RPM Pod can be used with all existing RPM40 coils, with resistances of up to 1.2 ohm.
All that power means a small battery would quickly be used up when using the device at higher wattage ranges. The Target PM80 comes with a fixed internal battery with 2000mAh capacity. That’s pretty good for a pod system, and should last most vapers the best part of a day.
However, the Smok RPM80 wins out here, with a choice of a fixed internal battery with 3000mAh capacity or, with the Smok RPM80 pro, a replaceable 18650 battery.
The Vaporesso PM80 comes with a bright TFT screen. This is noticeably brighter and crisper than the Smok RPM80. That sounds like a clear win for the PM80, but I prefer the layout on the Smok pod, which makes it easier to read the information. On balance, the Vaporesso Target PM80 wins, but it’s close.
Which one should you choose – Smok RPM80 or Vaporesso PM80?
The Smok and the Vaporesso Target 80 watt PodMods are both excellent vapes which are pushing the boundaries of pod systems. While there’s no clear winner with the devices, I’d recommend the PM80 for vapers who are new to high powered devices and would appreciate smart wattage mode as a guide, and for vapers who prefer a loose direct-lung style of vaping.
However, the Smok RPM80 will suit vapers who value battery life, and who prefer a more restricted vape. It’s also the only one of the two which can provide both a mouth-to-lung vape and a direct-lung, and when used with the RPM pod and a higher resistance coil provides superb battery life.