Published on April 28th, 2013 | by Trick5
King E-Pipe by Beautiful
Beautiful King E-Pipe
Summary: A great-looking pipe with multiple configuration options, but a near miss with a battery meltdown has us very concerned.
We’ve had a few chances recently to pick up Chinese-made e-pipes at what looked like pretty good prices. First there was the Oakley X Cube, which you may remember we didn’t find particularly impressive. Then there was the Fortunecome F-106, which also didn’t score very highly. Most recently, the King from Beautiful arrived. Is the third time the charm? Let’s find out.
We received our King E-Pipe as part of a kit from Beautiful which contained the pipe itself, a plastic mouthpiece, an assembled carto tank with punched cartomizer pre-installed, a second spare cartomizer, a battery charger, a spare 510-to-510 adapter, two 900 mAh 18350 batteries, and an instruction booklet. All of this came rather nicely presented in a foam-lined gold and black gift box.
The King E-Pipe supports a couple different configurations right out of the box. The first, and easiest to set up, is to use the included carto tank. Since it already has a cartomizer in it from the factory, the only setup required for this configuration is to fill the tank, screw it onto the King’s 510 connector, and pop in the mouthpiece/drip tip. Unscrew the brass top of the pipe, at the top of which is a small brass button used to fire the King, and drop in one of the included 18350 batteries, and you’re off and running.
The second configuration, using an XL-length cartomizer, is somewhat more complicated. In this configuration, the 510-to-510 adapter pre-installed into the pipe’s shank must be removed, and a cartomizer inserted in its place. Then a black plastic ring is pushed over the top of the cartomizer, and the drip tip inserted. While this may sound relatively simple, in practice it was a bit frustrating. Most of the problem came from the black ring that extends the shank about an extra half-inch and hides the end of the cartomizer: it was very difficult to fit into the end of the pipe’s shank. Of our two Kings, we were only successful at doing this with one of them. On the other, the ring just would not fit into the shank, no matter how much we twisted and shoved. The other fit, but only after pushing really hard. This, of course, leads to a second problem: if we decide to take that piece back out, it’s probably going to involve a pair of pliers, which probably won’t go well for that plastic ring.
Thankfully, given the size and shape of the King e-Pipe and the basic, flat 510 connection at the end of the shank in “tank” mode, the only reason to use the cartomizer configuration is if you really want the King to look just like an analog pipe (or at least an analog pipe with a big brass lid over the bowl). The included XL-length cartomizer tank works just fine and fits very well, but any 510-based atomizer device could be used on the King. The shank has a large enough diameter that we’ve seen photos of the King with atomizers as large as a SmokTech RSST looking right at home on the e-pipe.
The King, however, is not without its flaws, some of which are fairly significant. We mentioned the issue with the carto adapter ring earlier, but we’ve also found that the drip tip connector on the mouthpiece fits very loosely on everything we’ve tried it with, including the tank and cartomizer provided with the King. While replacing the O-ring with one we had lying around has helped considerably, not everyone is going to have spare O-rings to do that with.
A more serious issue, however, may be the battery and switch mechanism. While we have had no trouble with our two test units, one other person who acquired his King E-Pipe in the same group buy as our reported shortly after receiving it that the unit would sometimes fire without pressing the button. Not long after came a report that he later went to pick up the King and found it to be too hot to touch, and after it had cooled he opened it to find the spring had collapsed. This, obviously, is the last sort of thing you want to find a mod ever doing, as it can lead to battery explosions. That didn’t happen in this case, thankfully, and apparently the King in question is still operational, but it’s certainly got us keeping a close eye on ours. We haven’t heard other reports yet of the same type of malfunction, but it’s very concerning.
One other cosmetic issue with the King E-Pipe: the black sandalwood ones have some inconsistencies in coloring. Ours, for example, has a small patch of blonde-colored wood on the rim of the bowl, and a similar defect (though much larger than ours) is visible in the spring collapse photo above. However, many may not mind this at all, and see these blonde patches as adding a little extra character to their King E-Pipe. If you’re not a fan, we suggest not choosing the black sandalwood unless you can get assurances from the vendor that the coloring is consistent.
Build Quality: 1.5
While the individual parts of the King E-Pipe seem to be well-enough constructed, we did find a few quality issues with the King E-Pipe, including a loosely fitting mouthpiece, a cartomizer adapter that fits so tightly we couldn’t get it to connect on one of our two Kings (and may not be able to get it out of the other without damaging it), and inconsistencies with finish on the black sandalwood unit.
Perhaps most concerning was another owner’s experience with his King self-firing, leading to dangerous overheating and a spring collapse. While we can’t be sure how common this sort of malfunction might be with the King, it is a very serious one.
The King E-Pipe has a very classy, clean look, both in the cartomizer and tank configurations. We did, however, experience a small gap between the tank and the head on one of our units, and the finish inconsistencies in the black unit as noted above.
The padded gift box puts the packaging of the King E-Pipe a cut above that of other units we’ve reviewed.
The broad shank of the King and its use of a removable 510-to-510 connector present multiple configuration options for the King, and allow it to be used with any atomizer with a 510 connection (though some options, obviously, will look much better than others).
The performance of the King has been moderate to low with the included components. Much of this is probably due to the use of a single 18350 battery and the high resistance of the included cartomizer (ours measured as high as 2.9 ohms). While Beautiful suggests not using cartomizers lower than 1.7 ohms, 2.9 is high enough to severely limit vapor production and flavor, and we suggest using lower resistance cartomizers than the ones provided.
While not easy to find at retailers, the King E-Pipe kits we have seen out there seem to be selling in the $90-$110 range. While the kit does include a pair of batteries and a charger, as well as a couple spare parts, we’re not sure those justify the relatively steep price of this pipe, particularly when its rather significant flaws are factored in.
We purchased ours through a co-op at $52 for the black sandalwood, and $47 for the red. At those prices we’re relatively pleased with the purchases, but had we paid retail prices we would probably not be quite so happy.
Overall Score: 2.9
Spring collapse photo by Craig Marino