Aspire Gusto Mini & Element NS20 Pods
A vaping hardware review today and this is the Aspire Gusto Mini and Element NS20 Pods. This was supplied by popular UK vape vendor; E-Cigarette Direct. They have been in the vape business since 2008, being one of the first vape vendors in the UK. Their website is nicely put together and stocked with some really great E-liquids and vaping hardware. Shipping is very quick and they offer free UK delivery on orders over £20. You can also buy vape gear by visiting one of their many stores in the UK which you can find here.
I’ve got the Aspire Gusto Mini Kit and also a few boxes of the Element NS20 pods to try out, that are exclusively made just for the Gusto. I’ve been testing and using this for over 2 weeks now with daily use, so will give you my thoughts if I believe it’s worth the buy. If you’ve not heard of the Gusto before, it’s a Pod system for mostly mouth-to-lung vaping, utilising the Nicotine Salt side of the market. The ‘closed’ pods are put inside the little unit.
The Aspire Gusto Mini comes in a small black cardboard box. A Gusto graphic is at the top of the box with the title, alongside the Element NS20 Nicotine Salts branding. Each side of the box contains the Aspire logo and one side has a batch number. The top and bottom sides of the box includes a ‘scratch and check’ authenticity and Mobile Barcode. A ‘Powered by NS20’ print also appears on each of these sides. The bottom of the box (inner carton) has printed details of Aspire’s contact info, the Gusto Mini colour and the contents inside the box. The top of the box pulls off to reveal the inner carton. The inner carton contains the Gusto Mini inside felt packaging. This pulls up to reveal a user guide, warranty sheet and a charge cable in more felt packaging, which protects the box contents.
The Gusto Mini takes it’s own Pods. These are very easy to add by sliding off the side of the Gusto to reveal the Pod chamber. A silicone tab is pulled down off of the Pod to activate it, letting the juice down to the coil. The manual says to leave for 2 minutes to saturate the atomiser within the Pod. It then simply slips into the chamber on the inside of the Gusto.
The Gusto Mini unit is quite small at 60mm length, 47.5mm wide and 22mm thickness. The top has a removable 510 drip tip so you can change it out for any 510 tip size if you prefer a different one. The front-side has the main fire button which is quite a good size and is a nice clicky button. Under that is the small indicator light and the USB charge port. On each side (this panel that slips off to reveal the pod chamber) is printed ‘Aspire Gusto Mini’ and ‘Powered by Element NS20 Designer Nic salts’. On the back is a cut-out window that displays the E-liquid amount within the Pod, so it’s easy to see the levels as you vape. My Gusto Mini is in Grey but there is also Black, Blue and Red available on the E-cigarette Direct website.
The Gusto Mini powers on by pressing the fire button 5 times. The small indicator light flashes 3 times to signal power on or off. The Gusto is a conventional ‘press to fire’ as opposed to automatic draw by puffing, on some Pod systems. The battery is a built in 900mAh lipo and it lasts well into the next day, with my level of vaping. Charging is very quick, taking between an hour or two to fully charge via the USB lead. There is some good safety on the Gusto with short circuit, over discharge and over-heat protections. There is also a 10 second cut-off when firing the unit. The wattage is set for around 17 watts at full charge.
Element NS20 Pods
I have two flavours from the Elements NS20 Pod range to try in the Gusto. One is Pnk and the other is 555. Pnk is a Pink Lemonade flavour and 555 is a Tobacco. There are currently 5 other flavours in this Pod option on the E-cigarette Direct website; Frost (which is probably the most popular from what I’ve seen), Honey Roasted Tobacco, Green Slushie, Strawberry Whip and Watermelon Chill. All are at 20mg Nicotine Salt strength. These are also available from Element in conventional bottle format to use with other tanks.
The Pods are supplied in a box of 3. The main box is white and contains all printed warnings, batch number, best before date and info on how to install and activate the Pods. There is also a small sheet inside with these warnings and instructions. Each Pod has it’s own small box inside with mostly the same details as the main box, printed on the outer. The actual Pod is a 4.2ml size, pre-filled with 2ml of E-liquid. Coil heads are rated at 1.5 ohms, so a perfect level for mouth to lung vaping.
I would recommend the Gusto as a perfect starter kit for cutting back or quitting cigarettes. This, coupled with the NS20 pods that deliver a good quick hit of Nicotine via the salt base, make this perfect for smokers. It’s also a great kit for vapers looking for a small stealthy device to get that hit of Nicotine when needed. After using this daily for a few weeks, directly after using the Mi-Pod, I actually prefer to click a power button to fire the device. I prefer the way it pretty much instantly fires to deliver, as opposed to giving it one or two puffs to heat up the coil on an automatic draw system. The draw itself on the Gusto is good, it’s quite a loose draw for a predominantly MTL device, but perfect for how I vape (it’s quite comparable to the Aspire Breeze which I am a big fan of).
The flavour is good. When I say good, I mean it’s not a ‘brilliant packed full of flavour’ vape. I think this is more down to the coil within the Pod, but it’s not muted and gives a good enough flavour to vape (this is where I think the Breeze edges this). I have only had the two Pod flavours in this though (will be ordering up some Frost to try out) and both flavours gave good enough flavour. Pnk was a nice Pink Lemonade, not over-sweet and made a good all day vape. The 555 is probably one of the better Tobacco flavours I’ve tried and comes quite close to that woody taste of a conventional Cig (a good one for looking for a smoking alternative). A box of 3 Element NS20 Pods is currently £9.99 at E-cigarette Direct and I think this a good price. The juice does actually run down quite quick from only a little device.
There is info on the internet on how to refill these closed-Pods. I tried it, as I had a normal bottle of Element Strawberry Whip to re-fill one of the used Pods. The re-filling was easy but I didn’t seem to get good flavour when vaping it re-filled. It was only after one refill and I was getting a burnt coil taste. I’ve heard you can get a good 5 refills before the coil burns out but I didn’t even get that far. There is also two problems I’ve found when re-filling. You can’t get a good clean out of the last flavour, so that comes through for a while after refill. Also, if the coil burns out after refilling it, it’s pretty much impossible to salvage the liquid after. It’s an option if money is tight and you can’t afford to buy refills all of the time, but bear this in mind.
All in all, I like the Gusto Mini a lot. The size and feel of the unit is good. It vapes very well and the flavour is pretty good. The Pods are easy to install and change and a good price for refills (the option is there if you want to risk refilling with other juice). The price is very good at nearly half the price of the Mi-Pod (though remember you need to pay for the Pods on-top).
My score: 8.9/10 – A great little ‘Closed Pod’ stealth vape and a good starter for smokers alike. A good collaboration between top brands Aspire and Element.