Council of Vapor (COV), most notable for creating the Royal Hunter RDA, has now entered the world of regulated mods. I’ll admit: I didn’t see this one coming, maybe that’s because their new 40 watt COV Mini Volt is small enough to hide behind a 30ml bottle of juice! With all the recent success of the 200 watt giants, such as the triple 18650 powerhouse known as “Reuleaux,” Council of Vapor answers with the most adorable, itty bitty mod this world has ever seen. I made a joke before the COV Mini Volt arrived, that I wouldn’t be surprised to find it in the dryer one day along with some loose change; but after seeing it for the first time, it instantly became clear that this was a realistic possibility. Look at your thumbs side-by-side…and even that’s probably bigger than this little guy, yet it can push out 40 watts and fire down to 0.2 ohms! A year ago, the comparable iStick Mini was dropping jaws with a measly 10w of muscle; times are most definitely a-changin’ (queue the Bob Dylan)!
COV Mini Volt Features
- Max Power: 40W
- Minimum Resistance: 0.2Ω
- Internal 1300 mAh Lithium Ion Battery
- USB Charging (cable included)
- Rubberized Paint and Real Carbon Fiber Finish
- 3 Power Ramp Modes: Soft, Standard, and Power
- Short Circuit, Low Resistance, and Overheat Protection
I’m fairly confident the folks over at COV intentionally used the packaging to further dwarf the size of the device, as the COV Mini Volt itself only occupies about 1/3 of the actual box. I found that to be rather clever, considering my first reaction was a blend of laughter, awe, and confusion—it’s just so stinkin’ tiny…you could probably put it on a keychain! Aside from that, it’s pretty much their usual deal: a hard-shell plastic box sealed with The Council of Vapor emblems/stickers, gold text and graphics stamped over black backing, etc. If you appreciate a slick presentation, just buy it…buy all their stuff! END OF REVIEW.
If I’m being honest, it was this aspect that ultimately drew me in. Regardless of mixed opinions over the performance/prices of some their other products, Council of Vapor can usually be relied upon to deliver a quality piece of machinery, and they certainly upheld that standard with the COV Mini Volt. With smaller mods, attention to detail is even more crucial, but I think even the harshest critic would be hard pressed to find fault with this one. Its sleek design and black-on-black finish are especially easy on the eyes. The rubberized paint, reminiscent of the Sigelei Fuchai, seems quite durable; but in combination with the real carbon fiber grip (yes, I did say “REAL carbon fiber”—big difference) and the result is a wonderfully tactile little mod that not only feels good and stays cool in the hand, it looks pretty cool too.
Most of the negatives I could say about the COV Mini Volt could be conversely related to something positive—or possibly intentional—rather than mere design flaws. The buttons are very solid, no rattle at all; however, they’re also somewhat stiff which becomes increasingly bothersome with regular use. The spring-loaded 510 pin has a lot of action to it, but also seems a bit flimsy (and may be contributing to some issues I’ll address in the next section). It’s also important to note that, while it may look cute as button all on its own, there’s a limited group of tanks that won’t look awkward sitting on top. When paired with most average-sized tanks, I’m reminded of Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, singing, “FAT GUY IN A LITTLE COAT!” At only 55mm in height, the best tank matchup I could find for it was the Super Tank Mini (52mm with drip tip), and even that was pushing it. It’s definitely something to consider if you plan on using a tank. Thus far, it’s been marketed primarily with the Royal Hunter Mini and other shorty-styled RDA’s, which seem to be the most suited companions for such a miniscule device. That being said, it also offers pass-through charging with a bottom USB port. I realize it’s become customary to whine about the location of the USB port, but in this case it does present issues. Assuming this mod is more suited for drippers: how are we expected to utilize the pass-through charging if we can only set it on its side while plugged in? Answer: remove the atty, balance the mod on the edge of a table, or just hang onto it; not exactly ideal IMO. On top of that, with the limited capacity of the internal battery, pass-through is even more of a necessity. It’s hard to find any logic behind it. To be fair though, I don’t exactly know what’s going on under the hood and perhaps a bottom USB port was the only option, but that doesn’t make it any less inconvenient.
Before the distinction between pros and cons blurs even further, I should preface with what I believe was its intended purpose: to be a stealthy/portable/pocketable mod in the event that such a thing is necessary. All of the features that lend themselves to annoyance could likewise be interpreted as part of this specific intention. So forgive me if I sound contradictory, but there’s a lot of subjectives with this one. The COV Mini Volt seems to stand boldly on the side of purpose rather than convenience, it’s ultimately up to you to decide which of these holds more weight.
The display: very impressive considering it’s about the size of the average digital watch’s 4-digit screen, yet it’s remarkably easy to read. Overall, I say, “BRAVO!” but…there’s still a few things on my wish list. (1) A rotating display would’ve been nice since it’s actually upside down when used in the most comfortable firing position (ideally, I’d have liked the display and 510 connection completely switched around). (2) No VV or any voltage indication whatsoever. (3) No round-robin when adjusting the wattage. (4) Only a 2-digit ohm reader, and a lackluster one at that. I frequently found that the ohm readings were inaccurate and would even bounce up and down as if constantly trying to decide. It’s not a matter of the atomizer being screwed down too hard or light, I could really only fix this by finessing it into the perfect position. Maybe I’m alone with this issue, but the culprit here is likely that suspect 510 pin I noted earlier.
The COV Mini Volt also has several locking features, including a 10-minute sleep timer, so after 10 minutes without use, you gotta do the old “5-click” to boot her back up. Also, in order to adjust the wattage or power ramp, you have to first hold down a succession of 2 buttons. Again, these are things that lend to the aspect of portability; they do, however, tend to become annoying with regular use.
I’ve been seriously impressed by what this little thing is capable of. Nowadays, 40w is considered child’s play. Admit it: we’re all power-hungry, right? Even I had to ground myself and accept that I actually do vape in the 32-40 watt range quite frequently…I just like having that extra 165 watts of wiggle-room in case I need it. I found the best results were with resistances of at 0.5Ω or more, anything below that was mostly underwhelming.
The power ramp feature, which can be adjusted from SOFT-NORMAL-HARD, really surprised me. I always thought that sort of thing was unnecessary, but it does present some value here. There’s an obvious little bump between each level which is helpful in dialing in that perfect vape. There’s also no noticeable firing delay—you squeeze, it delivers (although it will ramp up slower in the “SOFT” mode). As mentioned, the battery-life is minimal. When used exclusively, it never lasted me much longer than 2.5-3 hours (at 0.5-0.7Ω). Not too bad, all things considered.
I realize I’ve been a bit “Jekyll and Hyde” with this review, but that’s just the nature of the COV Mini Volt. Do I recommend it? YES! NO! It all depends on your expectations and what you’re looking for. It definitely succeeds in being a truly portable/travel-friendly device. It also provides a lot of value for the money ($35-$45), I like to think of it as “the most gorgeous mod that no one ever sees.” But its conveniences do comes with a price: inconvenience in other areas such as comfort and ease of use. It’s like any other travel-sized item: handy in a pinch/gets the job done. Would I use it every day? No, not likely…but that’s just me.