Our Aspire Plato review takes a look at the all-in-one style vape mod: is it the perfect mod for new vapers, or does the reality not quite live up to the marketing hype?
Is it worth buying?
The Aspire Plato is a solid device for just-switching smokers or relatively new vapers, as well as any longer-term vapers looking for a device that performs well without requiring too much tinkering.
It isn’t the perfect device if you’re looking for the very best vapor production and flavor and are willing to use something a bit more complicated, but taking its intent into account, it’s hard to top what it has to offer. The only thing it’s missing for the intended market of newer vapers is the ability to vape as you charge, but if you can cope with the wait while charging and have another device to use (even if it’s just an eGo), for the price of $59.99 it’s a fantastic deal.
All-in-one style devices are rapidly gaining popularity, integrating a tank and mod within a single unit to produce devices that are ideal for those new to vaping. The Joyetech eGrip, iStick Basic, Kanger Nebox and similar devices all incorporate a tank alongside the device, and now the Aspire Plato joins this line-up as one of the options for an all-in-one vaping device. The device features a 4.6 to 5.6 ml tank (depending on the coil you have installed), and the option of either sub ohm or higher-ohm coils, and you can pick it up for $59.99. But does it have what it takes to help smokers move away from combustible cigarettes, or attract vapers accustomed to separate devices? We’ve taken a look at what the device has to offer for our Aspire Plato review.
What You Get
The Aspire Plato All-In-One Starter Kit comes in the standard-style box, with a picture of the device on the front and your chosen color indicated on the back. Inside, the device is held in a plastic tray on the upper level, and below it you’ll find a spare central stem and coil, two drip tips – one steel and one Delrin – an 18650 Aspire-branded battery, a couple of spare rings for the tank, a USB charging cable, a tool for removing the central stem and coil portion of the tank and a user manual. This is a nice selection, providing everything you need to start vaping with the Plato aside from some e-juice.
The Aspire Plato is a box mod style device, with curved edges at the back and at the top and bottom of the front edge, which also holds the LCD display screen. The device has a fairly unassuming appearance, with everything being a solid color, and only a small “Aspire Plato” logo on one of the flat faces of the mod and the “CE” mark on the bottom. Above the screen, there’s a circular fire button and below it the two adjustment buttons form a thin rectangle. The look is completed by the drip tip, with either the black, wider option or the thinner, steel option extending from the 510 connection at the top. Overall, the appearance is pretty basic – which definitely isn’t a bad thing – and you can pick up the device in black, grey, white, blue, rose gold (like mine), pink or lavender.
The Aspire Plato mod opens up with the removal of the curved shell covering the two larger faces of the device, which is held in place with four magnets. Inside, there’s a slot for your battery – with the positive and negative points marked – and the tank on the outer edge, with a long stem and coil in the center and two openings for filling the device at the top and bottom. The drip tip section is directly above this, and below – on the bottom edge of the device – is a small airflow control system, which opens up two curved, oval slots under the tank.
You access the coil through the top of the device. After removing the drip tip, you use the metallic tool provided (or just a coin), which fits into two slots on the edges of the 510 connection and allows you to unscrew the coil section and pull it up out of the device.
Coils: The sub-ohm coil has a design like those for the Aspire Cleito, with a long tank section and extended wicking ports, and the coil and stem forming a single unit. For the higher-ohm coil, the stem has a screw-point on the bottom, which you attach the smaller, BVC-style coil to by screwing it into place. This setup is a little smaller – with the central bore of the tube being thinner – which increases the tank size from 4.6 ml (as it is with the sub ohm coil) to 5.6 ml.
Airflow Settings: The airflow control has two openings, and a small bar in the center which allows you to adjust your setting. This is a pretty intuitive system, and for new vapers the available airflow settings are great, offering options suitable for both mouth-to-lung (smoking-like) inhales and direct to lung inhalation (preferred by many longer-term vapers).
Overall, the design of the Aspire Plato is excellent, cramming a lot of great features into a compact unit, keeping things simple enough for new vapers while managing to offer enough to keep longer-term vapers happy.
Aspire Plato Features
Features: Despite being a beginner-friendly device, the Plato has a lot of features on offer. The basic feature is variable wattage, with the option to set your power anywhere from 1 to 50 W in regulated mode. The device has tons of different options, though: when you power the device up or press both adjustment buttons simultaneously, you’re presented with a menu that allows you to choose either wattage or temperature control mode. Within the wattage mode, you can choose regulated mode or bypass, with the latter working more like a mechanical device and firing at a wattage determined by the charge remaining in your battery and the resistance of your coil.
TC Mode: For temperature control mode, the Aspire Plato supports both nickel and titanium coils, and allows you to set the readout in either Celsius or Fahrenheit. You can set the temperature anywhere from 200 to 600 °F. This is the standard range of temperature settings, which is really more than you’d need in most situations. Before you enter TC mode, it also confirms that the coil is at room temperature (which is important for proper calibration).
Locking Feature: There are several other features too, such as the ability to lock the device (with five quick presses of the fire button), several safety features – including short circuit, low resistance (below 0.1 ohms), low battery and a 12 second cutoff for long puffs – an automatic display flipping feature so it’s always the right way around, and upgradeable firmware via USB.
Pass-Through Vaping: One thing that’s missing and a notable absence for a beginner device is the lack of the ability to vape while the device is charging (pass through vaping). This would have been a useful feature for anybody who only has one device, which will include quite a large proportion of the vapers who’d use a device like the Plato.
Despite that limitation, the Aspire Plato is rich with features, and has everything most vapers would need in a device, and more than enough for just-switching smokers.
Although this Aspire Plato review has covered the main features and design elements of the device, the most important thing is how it works in practice for the day-to-day needs of a vaper.
Ease of Use: The biggest benefit of the Plato in use is that it’s very easy to use. For the vapers this is tailored to – either recently-switched smokers or vapers looking for something low-effort to use – the Plato ticks all of the necessary boxes in this area.
Getting Started: Setting up the device is very simple. You remove the central stem with the included tool or a coin and then either use the whole-stem sub ohm coil, which just needs to be inserted into the spot, or just screw the small Nautilus coil into the end of the other stem and insert the whole thing in the same way. You access the interior of the device by removing the outer shell, which comes off really easily thanks to the magnetic closing system.
Refilling: For refilling, there is a yellow plug covering a fill-hole towards the top of the device, which you simply uncover to get access. Then all you need to do is insert the dripper top of your juice bottle in there and fill up. Of course, you should leave the juice to soak in for a few minutes before you start vaping to avoid dry hits and burnt wicks.
Vaping Performance: When it comes to actually vaping, the Aspire Plato does an excellent job. The vapor production is excellent, especially with the sub ohm coil and the airflow opened to the maximum. The coil is rated for 40 to 60 W, and although it performs well at slightly lower wattages too, the setup really comes into its own at the suggested power settings. For the higher-ohm coil, lower settings are recommended, but the performance is still solid, and suits just-switching smokers well with the airflow turned down to support mouth-to-lung hits. The two mouthpieces included can also help to tailor the performance to suit these coils, with the Delrin option paired with the sub ohm and the metallic option for the higher-ohm coils.
Vapor and Flavor: The flavor of your juice also comes through clearly, with either setup but particularly so with the Cleito-style coils for the sub ohm setup. Long-term vapers might prefer a sub ohm tank or rebuildable setup for both flavor and vapor, but for the type of vaper the device is aimed at – either just getting started with vaping or moving up to more capable devices for the first time – both the flavor and vapor are considerably better than what you’ll be used to.
Temperature Control: The temperature control is a key feature for many vapers these days, and the Plato does exceptionally well on this front. The output in TC mode seems very accurate, and it still provides a hard-hitting vape even on the lower settings. This may be due to a high ramp-up wattage, which is supposedly changeable when you connect to USB, but how exactly you do this wasn’t clear, to say the least.
The Firmware: The firmware is upgradable, but whether this is actually a good idea is debatable. I upgraded to version 5, and was a little dismayed to see the support for Titanium coils removed (along with bypass mode) and replaced with variable voltage. In other words, a useful function (and one of questionable value) was replaced by something effectively equivalent to variable wattage. I downgraded to version 3 to get it all working in the way I wanted it to again. The whole process wasn’t particularly user-friendly, and until they’ve managed to do something actually useful with it, I wouldn’t bother.
Battery: If you’re a beginner vaper or are new to mods, you might also be concerned about dealing with the battery. Most devices comparable to the Aspire Plato come with in-built batteries, which basically means that you just charge with a USB cable and don’t have to deal with anything else. For the Plato, the battery is removable, which may be off-putting, but in practice all you have to do is insert it once, then you can charge via USB and not have to deal with it again. The benefit of the Plato’s approach is that you can keep a spare battery, which is invaluable if you’re going to be out of the house for a long time. Plus, changing the battery is easy anyway; it’s just like on any other electronic device really.
The included battery is pretty good, too, with a 2500 mAh capacity and a maximum continuous current output of 20 A. The capacity is a measure of how long the device will last between charges, and the 2500 mAh is enough to get most vapers through a day of use. Although this is less important in this case (because the device has in-built safety limits), the 20 A maximum continuous output is the most current the battery can support, and you’re unlikely to approach this unless you’re a serious cloud-chaser, and you’d need to be using it in another device to need to worry about approaching the limit.
If you’re happy with the all-in-one nature of the device – which means you’re limited to Aspire coils and the in-built tank – there is very little to complain about with the Aspire Plato all-in-one kit. I’ve had some minor leaking from the airflow holes at the bottom of the device, but this is absolutely minimal, and if there were more glaring issues with the device it would have barely been worth mentioning. Similarly, the vapor production drops notably when you’re nearing the end of your battery life, but all you have to do is recharge to regain the excellent performance. The biggest downside, as mentioned earlier, is that you can’t vape while charging.
Overall, the Aspire Plato All-In-One starter kit is a fantastic device in day-to-day use; it’s easily portable, simple to use and a solid performer regardless of mode.
The Aspire Plato is well put together, overall. The contained structure of the device means it stands up well to accidental drops, and all of the moving parts are sturdy and reliable. They could have probably gone with something better than a rubber plug for the juice-fill hole, and the removal of the central stem is a little too stiff at first, but overall everything works as it should.