Innokin Cortex 80W TC mod is the latest addition to the already impressive line of products and the first one that uses the advanced IKARNO S1 microchip, marking their rite of passage into the temperature control game. The device is a beast and features such as ultra-low power consumption and 5V/2A lightning-fast charging make it one of the best buys on the market.
Is it worth buying?
I’d really like to say that Innokin Cortex 80W TC is a perfect vape mod but sadly I can’t – it’s not perfect in my case but that might be due to some of my idiosyncrasies. However, I will say that if you’re not nit-picky as I am you will be perfectly satisfied with this device – actually, you’ll probably love the whole kit.
The functionality is there, performance is more than solid, and design is top-tier, as I’ve come to expect from Innokin. The issues that I have with it can be easily overlooked as ramblings of a peculiar guy who has to find a flaw in everything. Personally, I’d totally invest money in it and if you’re looking for a quality TC kit at a reasonable price I suggest you do the same.
Innokin Cortex review has been a long time coming but it’s here now and I’m happy to say that this renowned manufacturer delivers once again. Cortex 80W TC mod is the latest addition to the already impressive line of products and the first one that uses the advanced IKARNO S1 microchip, marking their rite of passage into the temperature control game. It’s an ideal device for most vapers since in addition to temperature control it also incorporates variable wattage functionality. I will admit, I expected Cortex TC to completely blow my mind but I had to curb my enthusiasm slightly since some slight issues did crop up during testing. Nothing detrimental of course – the device is still a beast and features such as ultra-low power consumption and 5V/2A lightning-fast charging make it one of the best buys on the market.
You can buy the Innokin Cortex 80W TC iSub-S Kit for $68.95 from DirectVapor.
* Dry hit protection here is a double edge sword, or at least it proved to be in my case. I’m not sure is it a faulty device or something else, but the screen did show a ‘No Liquid’ warning once or twice when there was clearly still some in the tank. However, it’s not a huge issue and it’s definitely something that I’m sure Innokin will get to the bottom of with future series. Mind you, this might turn to be a nonissue for everyone but myself – it’s entirely possible I got a device with a bit of a personality.
The Box and the Goodies
Let’s dig in into the Innokin Cortex 80W TC Kit review. First thing’s first: the packaging. I won’t go too deeply into it but the packaging is what I’ve come to expect from Innokin. They pride themselves with superb design so it’s only logical that the package in which everything came was stylized to perfection. A protective sleeve on the box is embossed with product name over a red glistening surface. Yours might come in differently colored – it’s going to depend on the color of the mod you’ve chosen. I went with red.
Remove the sleeve and open the box to get to stare upon the beauty that is the Cortex TC and the iSub S Tank. Both components are nestled securely inside a foam insert that fits them perfectly. No juggling or moving means that the mod and the tank can difficultly be damaged during transport. In the lower part of the box you will find the rest of the package.
The Package Includes:
- Cortex TC Vaporizer
- iSub-S Tank
- Ni200 TC Coil – 0.1ohm
- iSub Clapton Coil – 0.5ohm
- iSub Horizontal Coil -0.5ohm
- Delrin Drip Tip
- Micro USB Cable
- Spare O-Rings
- User Manual
- A VERY IMPORTANT Leaflet
- Innokin Sticker
Now, that VERY IMPORTANT leaflet is in all-caps because I really want you to read it! Basically, it tells you not to vape in TC mode with any coils other than TC compatible ones. If you do not heed this advice you will be jeopardizing your health, so don’t risk it.
Also, take the time to read through the manual, especially if you’re new to vaping or TC vaporizers. It will save you time and possibly money since it might prevent you from screwing something up.
Design and Feel of the Innokin Cortex TC
I’ve already mentioned that I’m partial to the looks of this mod. Once you take it out of the box you will notice why. The surface is not rubberized as I’ve come to expect from higher-end manufacturers but instead has a sort of a matte finish on top of a robust aluminum material. I was a bit skeptical at first but this solves the problem of slippage excellently.
I got a matte red mod but you can have your pick between red, blue, black, and white; all are equally gorgeous. With OLED screen on the bottom, the sides of the Cortex are clear and clean, featuring only a small CORTEX imprint on the side and a CE warning on the back of the device.
It sits great in the hand and its ergonomic design really makes for an easy use. The lower part of the device sits perfectly on the bottom of your palm, making it maneuverable and the button easy to reach – for everyone except me, as you’ll now get a chance to read.
Now it’s time to mention the first of the cons: the Innokin fire button. Depending on how you hold the device you will be manipulating the fire button with either your thumb or your index finger. I always vape with the tip closer to my mouth – some will say I have it backward but I think of it more as a positioning preference. This means I’m using my index finger to fire the device up.
The problem with this is that the fire button is completely flat against the mod. It’s not protruded or indented the slightest bit – usually, a slight variation in comparison to the device is enough to guide my finger to the right place. With this one, I was missing it more often than hitting it at first. After a bit of time, I got used to it but still, some sort of a guideline on the button would have been appreciated.
Again, since I’m constantly getting told that I’m doing it wrong, this might prove to be an issue that’s affecting only me, so take it with a grain of salt.
The Vaping Experience
I’m actually pleased that Innokin Cortex gives you the option to choose between Temperature Control mode Wattage mode. Not everyone is keen on TC even though more and more vapers are becoming accustomed to it. Innokin was late to the game so I’m guessing that’s why they decided to go with both modes.
For testing purposes, I’ve started with TC mode since the mod came with a pre-fitted Ni 200 0.1ohm coil. Absolutely no problems – no odd ramp-ups, enjoyable flavor, and lots and lots of vape. Coil resistance is going to fluctuate a bit (barely noticed that thanks to the concealed screen, thanks Innokin) but after checking online I found out that that is to be expected. This happens due to the particularities of the chip and to avoid it you need to fire up the tank initially and allow the resistance to get locked into memory.
I’m super pleased that Innokin decided to go with direct current power output. If you’ve been using TC mods that rely on pulse you will notice quite a difference in the Innokin Cortex TC mode as the coils will heat up evenly and deliver a great vaping experience.
Fahrenheit temperature range is from 300 F to 600 F. It can be manipulated by the */- buttons on the screen. Simply hold the button for three seconds and the numbers will start to flash. The temperature is adjustable in 5 degree increments – I found it perfectly reasonable but vapers who prefer more control over the experience might lament the fact that they are not able to manipulate it in 1 degree increments. I didn’t find it necessary at all.
The Centigrade temperature range is from 150 degrees to 300 degrees. Repeat the same process as with Fahrenheit to adjust the temperature to your liking.
Also, you can expect no issues in the wattage mode. Depending on the liquid you’re using there might be some small problems when going above 60 Watts. The vape becomes quite hot and it’s difficult to enjoy it, at least for me. I like a slightly colder vape so anywhere between 35 to 50 Watts worked for me the best. Wattage range adjusts in 0.5W increments and the adjustment process is same as in TC mode.
Now, switching between TC and Wattage mode can be slightly troublesome. This is where we come to issues #2 and #3 with Innokin Cortex. The screen is on the bottom which makes it a bit difficult to get the info you need when vaping and to adjust the settings while on the fly. Of course, you can tip it without consequences using the iSub-S Tank but other tanks might not be so forgiving.
Keep in mind that Cortex remembers the last settings so you will have to switch between the modes whenever you change a coil. Holding down + and fire button for three seconds will throw you into TC more. Doing it repeatedly will switch between Fahrenheit and Centigrade but holding down – and fire button will put you in Wattage more.
Now, when in TC-mode you will have to select the coil before you attach the atomizer that has TC coils. Cortex TC handles Ni 200 and Ti01 wires when in TC-mode so make sure only to vape on those. Otherwise, you’re risking damage to the device.
Con #3: selecting the coil is really a pain. I think this is probably the biggest issue I have with Cortex TC. To get to the screen that allows you to choose, you need to press down on + and – function buttons simultaneously. Since they are on the bottom screen Innokin didn’t have too much space to maneuver them. They are small and spaced just enough to make it impossible to hit with one finger and a pain to press with two. It still takes me two or three tries every time I give it a go! Still, once you get there simply use +/- buttons to pick a setting and confirm it with the fire button.
Quality and Durability
There isn’t really much to say about the quality of build of this particular device. I’ve never had an issue with any of Innokin mods and I don’t expect any with this one as well. So far it’s holding up great. Its sleek finish doesn’t have a single scratch on it either – and I dropped it once!
I did have concerns about the screen, though. Other than being impractical for me I was afraid that it was going to get all scratched up and fast. But luckily, the bottom sides are protruding ever so slightly so that the screen never comes into direct contact with a surface once you set it down.
I was just about to write that nothing jiggles or rattles on the device when taking a puff from Cortex dissuaded me. The function buttons do give off a slight metal-y sound when you place the device close to your ear and give it a shake. I know, I’m nit-picking but it’s true!
Battery and Energy Conservation
Innokin Cortex 3300mAh battery is all that can be desired from it. Dependable, quick to charge, and long-lasting; you will have a tough time running it low in a single day. It lasted me the entire day constantly, and Cortex was the only mod I was using during this testing period.
Innokin recommends charging the device with a 2A wall charger but this nifty little thing is not included in the kit, which is really a pity. I wouldn’t really mind paying a little extra just to avoid the hassle of ordering it separately. Of course, you will get a mini USB cable with the kit but it would be nice to make use of the super-fast charging feature that comes with the charge. I don’t really have a huge issue with it though; the mod charges quite fast using any decent charger just make sure it’s a compatible one.
Now, while Innokin says that the device supports passthrough vaping – meaning you can use it while it’s charging – I really wouldn’t go that far. Two out of three times when a ‘No Liquid’ warning flashed on my screen were when the device was charging. I’m not saying that there is definitely a correlation there but it might be that the device gets slightly bent out of shape while charging and shows wrong readings.
While browsing the Internet I came across a quite confident statement by Innokin. They claim that the Innokin Cortex TC features an ultra-low dissipation and can theoretically be left on standby for nearly 7,500 years! I’m a bit skeptical on that but can hardly test it, right?
The Innokin iSub-S Tank
I won’t go into the Innokin iSub-S tank too deeply but can hardly write a comprehensive review without touching upon it. I like it, a lot. The capacity is 4.5ml and the top fill system is executed to perfection. Everything is a tight fit and I’ve experienced no problems with it.
Filling is easy; simply twist the top of the tank, just below the drip tip and it will part to reveal two small holes. What’s great about it is that the system operates as a double-close, meaning that steel covers the holes both on the inside and the outside once you close it. There really is no way for you to spill unless you damage the tank in some way – which is going to be pretty hard to do seeing how it’s excellently made.
The airflow adjustments are made by twisting the bottom part of the tank which is also very cleverly designed. The air holes appear on both sides and you can completely open both or tweak it so that only a portion of one is exposed while the other into small holes. It really lets you hone in there for a perfect vaping experience.
What I do have a slight issue with is the overheating of the tip at higher temperature settings. Even with the Delrin tip that comes included in the package it was a bit uncomfortable vaping when I would crank up the temp. Not too much, but noticeable, which struck me as odd since Delrin tips should be more resistant to heat build-up.
Here's the full Innokin iSub S Sub-Ohm Tank review.