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Alien AL85, an iStick Pro with the finish of an Alien 220

The Alien AL85 is the single battery version of the Alien 220. Smoktech didn’t change the winning formula of Eleaf’s iStick Pico for the design except for the position of the battery lid, located next to the 510 pin. The format is successful, it allows reducing the overall size when the clearomizer is in place. The finish of the AL85 is similar to Alien 220 with the same carbon parts. All in all, the result is pleasant to the eye.
The Fire switch is located next to the 510 pin. The box complies with any diameter of clearomizer up to 26 mm but starting at 25 mm, the outter edges overhangs on the Fire switch side. The micro USB plug is ideally placed under the Fire switch, it can be used to charge the battery or to upgrade the firmware while leaving the box in upright position.

The OLED screen is on the side, it is the same as for the dual battery version. It is wide and easily readable, displaying many information. In power mode it shows: Watts, Volts, Ω, Amps, mode, chipset temperature, battery level, Puffs count and even the duration of the last puff. It is a lot, maybe too much?

Technical review

The main characteristics of Smoktech’s Alien AL85 are:

  • Length: 71 mm
  • Diameter: 27 mm
  • Width: 48 mm
  • Weight: 120 g
  • Power range: 1 – 85 W
  • Battery: 1x 18 650 (not included)
  • Rechargeable via micro USB
  • Resistance range: 0.1 – 3 Ω in power mode; 0.06 – 3 Ω in Temperature control mode
  • Vaping Modes: Power, Temperature control (Ni, Ti and SS), Preheat, Memory Modes and drawing effects
  • Temperature control range: 100 – 310°C
  • Firmware 1.0.7 upgradable via micro USB
  • Material: zinc and carbone
  • OLED screen
  • Connectivity: 510 on spring
  • Colors: Gunmetal, Champagne, Black & Red, Silber, Blue, full color, Red & Gold, Black & Pink

The packaging includes:

  • 1x Alien AL85 box mod
  • 1x USB cable
  • 1x user manual

Excellent grip

The grip of the Alien AL85 is definitely excellent. With the lateral Fire switch, it is impossible to miss it, it is just huge. However, to be successful, the action must be frank because the switch is hard to press.With a weight of 120 g, the Alien AL85 is just heavier than the Pico but its screen is larger and its chipset more performant.

At first, you have to insert the charged battery, the positive side down, after unscrewing the cap, next to the 510 pin. A “-” sign is drawn inside the cap to recall that the negative side must be at the top. Screw threads are not of very good quality but this can be done relatively easily.

Usable and complete Chipset

To switch on the box, you need to quickly press the Fire switch 5 times. Three quick clicks on the same switch give access to the menu and the “+” and “-” buttons are used to navigate in the options. This gives access to the different vaping modes, to a puff counter, to the parameters and to the Power mode that  allows to switch off the box. Once selected the option, a quick click is used to navigate in the sub-menus, and a long click one the Fire switch is used to validate your choice. In the temperature control mode, it is possible to modify the TCR after the coefficient of resistance is selected.

Alien AL85 also proposes shortcuts to quickly change the vaping mode, by pressing simultaneously on the Fire switch and the “-“. In Power mode, Fire and “+” allows the user to change the attack: soft, normal or hard. This option plays on the power at the beginning of the puff. In Temperature Control mode, Fire and “+” allows you to select the power with the “+” and “-“.

in Settings, you can also choose the Stealth mode that save battery power by switching off the display. It gives access to several parameters like Screen lock, brightness or tune the resistance value if it has been affected by heat.

Alien AL85 and Merlin Mini (Augvape), 24 mm in diameter

The Alien AL85 is fully usable and presents no severe issue. The Fire switch is of good quality and very responsive. The Fire switch, converted in a trigger, allows right- or left-handed people handling the hardware without problem because it can be activated with either a finger or the palm of your hand. It battery autonomy is correct for a single battery box. You can enhance its longevity by switching to Stealth mode or by decreasing the brightness.The Memory mode keeps in memory eight user profiles in power mode by selection different wattages. To lock the device, five quick clicks are needed. To switch off, you need to go to the Power mode and select OFF. It is less intuitive than using the conventional “five click” but you will get used to it.

In summary

The “+”:

  • Very good compactness/power ratio
  • Good usability
  • Good finish
  • Performant chipset
  • Big OLED screen
  • Accepts clearomizers up to 25 mm in diameter

The “-“:

  • For design, Eleaf’s iStick Pico and Smoktech’s Alien AL85 are alike

Conclusion

Rating of 4.5/5. Smoktech’s Alien AL85 is a good compromise between compactness and performance. It is in fact an update of the iStick Pico. It reuses a very similar format, although a bit larger to accept 25 mm clearomizers, embarks a much better chipset and sees the “+” and “-” switches under the OLED screen and not under the box, for a price only € 10 higher than the Pico. A very good choice for vapers looking for a compact, powerful and performant box.

Name of Reviewed Item: Alien AL85 – Smoktech Rating Value: 4.5 Image: http://www.vapingpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Box-Alien-AL85-Smok-2.jpg Review Author:Review Date:
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Julien Sellier

Journalist covering international vaping news.