Starss Defender 80W TC Kit

Discussion in 'Regulated Mod Reviews' started by Timwis, 4/9/19.

  1. Timwis

    Excellent Member

    4.5/5, 2 votes

    Timwis Elite Vaper

    United Kingdom
    Hi Ecigssa members, In this review i take a look at the Defender 80W TC Kit from Starss. The Defender 80W TC Kit was supplied for the purpose of this review by Rebort from Starss.



    Starss mainly come to the attention for their recent pod devices most noticeably the Bravo, but in the past have also designed a few mods. The Defender Kit comprises of the very familiar looking Defender Mod which was available in the past on it's own as simply the Starss 80W TC Mod and the Defender Tank which uses mesh coils and has a propeller top-fill design. The Defender is described as having a Hybrid Stone construction with Gold accents in the way of face plate, 510 plate, battery plate, visible battery tube through the spine cutouts and fire button.

    The defender has power, bypass and TC modes and the colour screen can be customised by altering the RGB values. It's a gorgeous looking device and for those that cry out but it's not an original design please read the next section then i'll crack on with the review!


    It's The CKS VR Stride! Or Is It?

    Apart from the cut-outs extending completely around the spine (giving it superior ergonomics) and a less busy working screen the Defender is identical both aesthetically and functionality wise including the menu system to whatever VR Stride you might of seen in the past.

    This nearly left me with egg on the face as i originally was going to criticise the copying of the Stride which Asmodus couldn't seem to make their mind up who they were in collaboration with as it was released in various reincarnations the most recent to my knowledge being the CKS VR Stride.

    I did some research to find out just how identical the devices are and noticed on all the other Stride devices including the CKS Stride when the battery plate is removed it clearly say's "Designed by Starss" and also any videos for the Starss 80W TC Mod (the original name of the Defender) are previous to the stride so actually the Defender isn't a copy but is the original and still available!


    In The Box



    1 x STARSS Defender Mod
    1 x STARSS Defender Tank
    1 x STARSS V8 Mesh Coil 0.5ohm(pre-installed)
    1 x Spare 5ml glass
    1 x User Manual
    1 x Micro USB Cable
    1 x Battery Warning Card


    Aesthetics and Ergonomics

    The Defender Mod and Tank are packed in separate cardboard boxes and an outer cardboard sleeve binds the 2 together to complete the kit. In my opinion the device looks stunning in all colour versions with what is said to be an Hybrid Stone (not sure of the actual material) finish with plenty of shiny metallic Gold sections, the stone type material is polished and looks great when the light catches it! I received the Green version but it's also available in Black, Blue, Red, and Dark Green, all versions come with a Gold Defender Tank.

    The top has a cut corner where it meets the face of the device and on this slant is where we find the large, domed, Gold fire button with Gold rim. The face of the device has an indented Gold coloured metallic plate which has the Starss logo etched top followed by a decent sized colour screen, this is followed by round, Gold navigational buttons and finally at the bottom a micro USB port. The rest of the body of the device is the Hybrid Stone finish apart from the spine having 3 large cutout sections which extend partially around the sides, the cutouts reveal the Gold outside of the battery tube. The base has a Gold coloured sliding plate with grooves for finger grip and venting, moving up top we have a Gold coloured 510 plate with inner and outer rim, the 510 is Gold plated and spring loaded.

    The Defender is a thumb firer all the way with the fire button being in the perfect position and cutouts are perfect for resting your 3 main fingers while also giving grip.



    Defender Tank Specs and Features:

    Size: 26 x 53.5ml
    Capacity: 5ml
    Coil: V8 Mesh Coil 0.5ohm
    Also 0.2ohm Mesh Coil available
    Propeller top-fill design
    Bottom airflow
    Thread: 510
    Colour: Gold



    Defender Tank Overview

    The Defender Tank comes in Gold only which matches the metallic parts of the device, it's 25mm at it's base and 26mm at it's widest. This slight bulge to the glass is barely noticeable and unless looking closely you would think it's a straight glass however the bulge is still enough to give the Defender Tank a 5ml capacity, a spare glass is also included.

    The included coil is a pre-installed 0.5ohm kanthal (i beleive) mesh coil but although there is also a 0.2ohm Mesh coil option for the tank it's not included in fact the pre-installed coil is the only one provided which is just not good enough. The coil screws into the base section and the top of the coil has threads which screw on to the chimney when screwing the tank secure, the glass is secured and sealed top and bottom by o-rings.

    The tank has dual airflow slots with stoppers and when i first received the tank the control ring squeaked like a Mouse every time i turned it which went right through me, i also couldn't seem to remove it to try lubrication to solve the problem. In the end just out of desperation i aggressively adjusted the airflow stopper to stopper as quick as i could for a good minute which seemed to of adjusted the squeak out as afterwards adjusting is now silent and the Mouse hasn't returned.

    Up top we have got what looks to be a very nice Resin 510 drip tip but is quite short, their is no tapering from the top section of the tank to the drip tip so lips will constantly be touching the tank which i really don't like especially once a tank gets hot! Not a problem, i thought as i can just fit my own drip tip but then found it's fitted like a sleeve over a protruding tubular section with o-rings so a proprietary fit which is a big con for me personally.

    I do like the idea of the top-fill method, it's like a 3 blade propeller design and when turning (we have an arrow on the top section to show the direction to open) 2 of the 3 blades reveal they were covering silicone lined fill holes (it's less than a quarter turn), just press your nozzle into one hole to fill while air escapes from the other. From shut empty tank to shut full tank this must be as quick and easy to fill as any tank available but we have a problem! When turning the top to open or shut it's loose and i mean very loose, if this was much tighter or better still locked this would be one of the best tanks for filling instead i will not use the tank out and about when it will spend time in my pocket because it isn't a case of if but rather how often this tank is going to open in someone's pocket!



    Defender 80W TC Mod Specs and Features:

    Size: 90 x 45 x 26mm
    Hybrid Stone and metallic plate
    Wattage Range: 5.0W - 80W
    Battery: 1 x 18650 Cell (Not included)
    Temperature Range: 200°F - 600°F / 100°C - 315°C
    Continuous output current: 15 - 20 amps
    Atomizer resistance range: 0.1 - 3.0 ohms
    Battery input voltage range: 3.3 - 4.2 volts
    Conversion efficiency: 93%
    Shutdown current: 0.3mA
    Output Modes: Power (Wattage), Bypass, Temp Ni/Ti/SS, Soft Mode
    Display: 0.99-inch LCD Screen
    Charge: Via Micro USB Port
    Ergonomic shape for easy carrying
    Customizable Colour Display
    Thread: Spring-loaded 510 Pin
    Colours: Black, Blue, Red, Green, Dark Green



    Fitting The Battery

    The Defender accommodates an 18650 battery and has a sliding plate with a ridge that slides on and off the base of the device like on a rail system, the plate also has generous venting. With the plate removed we can see "NEG" clearly printed to show the 18650 needs to be installed negative contacting the plate, when sliding the plate into position the battery needs pressing down on the spring loaded contact with a finger until the plate has slid over the battery. The plate then has 2 notches that lock into place to the front of the device making it very secure. We have no movement from the door or battery rattle whatsoever, excellent job!



    The Display

    Being a device that was originally released about 3 years ago i'm impressed by how sharp the display is allowing all the information to be clearly read despite parts of it being in small font. The Display is colour with a single colour for fonts and accents and another colour for the background, both are fully customizable in the menu system.

    Top left we have the mode which is followed underneath by the voltage, when in temp control or Bypass watts is displayed instead of voltage and while taking a vape the time of the vape is displayed before changing back to voltage or watts. Next we have the wattage when in power mode, temperature when in TC or Voltage when in Bypass. Further down to the left we have the resistance and underneath the word "PUFF", to the right we have amps and the puff count underneath.

    Finally central at the bottom of the display we have a segmented circle outline for battery status indication, in the centre of the circle we have battery status as a percentage.



    Navigating The Defender

    The Defender is the usual 5 clicks of the fire button to turn on and 5 clicks to turn off. Once on i was met by the already described bright, sharp display, the only combination key press feature i can find is both navigational buttons pressed together locks the resistance. To enter the menu system is 3 clicks of the fire button which brings up the following options:

    Work Mode
    Temp Power
    Working Time
    Auto Off
    Puff Info
    Colour Palette

    When choosing Work mode the options are Temp Ni, Temp Ti, Temp SS, Soft Mode, Power Mode, Bypass Mode and Exit, simply choose the mode and the device goes to that working screen. Choosing Temp Power allows wattage to be set for temp control and Working time is where you set how long you want the vape time cutoff between 5 and 10 seconds. Auto Off is how long the device is allowed to be idle before automatically powering down and Puff info is where you can reset the puff counter.

    Colour Palette is a feature i really like as rather than just choosing which colour you want the display you have an RGB palette for both font colour and background allowing you to be really creative, the colours and shades possible are countless.

    All screens in the menu system have an exit option and navigation is done using the navigational buttons while fire is select. Temperature adjusts in 10 degree increments and wattage in 1W increments, when holding the button down it scrolls at a nice speed and everything Round Robins!



    My Experience Using The Defender Kit

    I will start with the tank which is so close to being very good but has a couple of issues which means now i have tested it and wrote the review i just wouldn't bother using it again. The initial squeaky airflow control ring did disappear after a while never to return so really is not an issue as far as i am concerned, my issues with the tank are up top.

    I like the look of the drip tip i just personally do not like my lips constantly resting on top of the tank even though the Defender Tank doesn't get too hot, i don't find it comfortable and really wish it was a standard fit giving me the choice of drip tips. The top-fill is the real issue for me and while i found it quick and easy and liked it when using the tank in the house i just wouldn't take the Defender tank out and about as it's just a case of how often e-liquid will end up everywhere, there is a good chance mine is looser than most but i can only review what i received.

    I have had this kit a few weeks using it a couple of days here and a couple of days their etc while also testing other products and tested the device with the supplied tank indoors but while out and about used it in temp control with an RTA. While the device doesn't have the firing specs of more modern devices it does make me wonder just how quick do we really need the device to fire as long as ramp up is decent. When firing there was no noticeable delay and in both power and SS modes it performed admirably. When using in SS TC Mode it gave a smooth vape (maybe some computer graph will say it has a wavy line so not a smooth vape but thankfully humans vape, computers don't) and i let the tank run dry a couple of times and the anti burn kicked in just fine. I don't really know how much if at all not having TCR is a con as i have never entered a TCR value into a device ever (as you can tell i'm a novice at best with temp control).

    I am happy the device is just 80W and when bumping the power up it's giving 80W or very close to it. As i said before it's a pity about the loose top-fill because the supplied coil gave cracking flavour from the off and put off doing the review until the flavour just started to drop off and longevity is what i would expect (pretty much bang on average) so no worries their. Not receiving the 0.2ohm coil or even another 0.5ohm is very disappointing as all kits/tanks should come with at least 2 coils. The quite narrow bore for a sub-ohm tank helped with smoothness and flavour and i found the coil at it's best with airflow 2 thirds open at just 30W for a really flavoursome restrictive lung vape.

    I love the large domed fire button which is in the ideal position for thumb firing and gives a luxurious sounding click, the device just looks first class and feels great in the hand. Having RGB palettes for both the font and the background is a feature i love and the colour variants you can create are endless but does the device have any cons? well, yes a few which really how petty or major they are will be entirely subjective.

    Although a big pro for having the battery status as both a segmented circle and percentage it became very noticeable how unevenly it gave this information. It stays on 100% for longer than it should then reduces very slowly, when it got to 50% i was thinking this device is mega efficient as i'm already happy with the life the 18650 battery has given but then it reduces at a rate of knots and goes from 50% to 10% in less than an hour of moderate vaping, then for some reason it stops firing displaying low voltage while the percentage still say's 10% (every time whatever wattage i vaped at), the next con is the device is not firmware upgradeable so no way of addressing this problem. The Auto Off option sets how long the device can be idle before the device shuts down with the maximum being 90 minutes which personally i'm happy with but really a feature like this should have an option to disable it. The only other thing i noticed i personally couldn't care less about but as i noticed it will mention it in case it's less petty to some. On most devices that have a puff counter it only registers a puff when the fire button is pressed for a full second, 0.8 seconds or in a few cases 0.5 seconds as they assume that a proper puff is at least going to take this time. The Defender registers any press even if just 0.1 second so going into the menu system is 3 puffs, powering down is 5 puffs and if messing around in the menu system doing something like altering the font and background colours the puff counter goes up considerably even though you haven't even took a vape.

    Apart from that it's pros all the way, despite the inaccurate battery status indicator it felt i got better than average life from an 18650 battery, the device will accommodate a 25.5mm atty flush so the vast majority of atty's that would suit a single battery device will sit nice and although i never recommend it the device does support on-board charging if it's your only option.




    Excellent build quality
    Stunning looking device
    Hybrid Stone luxurious finish
    Gold coloured metallic accents
    5 colour options
    Large domed fire button on slant
    Ideal ergonomically for thumb firing
    Fired without noticeable delay and decent ramp up (even if not at the lightning speed of more recent devices which means every time you use the fire button for anything like entering the menu system it fires when not wanted)
    Scrolls in 1W increments at nice speed
    User friendly menu system
    Back option on every screen and everything round Robins
    Bright, sharp display that can be customised
    RGB Palette for font and background
    Performed well for me in both power mode and SS
    Bypass Mode
    TC Mode's
    Atty's up to 25.5mm will fit without overhang
    Gave above average battery life for single 18650 device
    Supports on-board charging (if that's your only option)
    5ml Capacity
    Spare glass
    Above average flavour
    Smooth airflow
    Very quick fill method (but does have problems)


    Top-fill loose
    Proprietary drip tip
    Inaccurate battery status indication
    Not firmware upgradeable
    Auto off can't be disabled
    Any slight press of fire button registers a puff (worth mentioning but personally couldn't care less)
    Only one coil included
    No coil specs given other than resistance (pretty certain it's kanthal mesh)

    I would once again like to thank Rebort from Starss for supplying the Defender 80W TC Kit for the purpose of this review.

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