Sunday, October 25, 2015

REVIEW: The Aspire Odyssey Kit V1 with the Pegasus and Triton (with charging base and RTA kit)

What do you call an absolutely beautiful mod from a top rated vaping company that refuses to work? How about an RTA system that makes using NR-R-NR atomizers like the Ithaka seem like a walk in the park?

Garbage! You call them garbage.
I'm sorry to sound so negative about this device, and this early in the review, too. I can't help it, though. I am extraordinarily disappointed in this kit.

Of course, the kit is beautiful. It's presented in a very nice box, The brushed brass finish on mine is stunning. The adjustment dial feels and works great. The fire button is quite responsive and clicky. The battery door is - and I've said this before - the best I've ever seen. The tank's top fill works flawlessly and is leak-free. The airflow is pretty good, too. The charging base is nice - solid and stable - with just one minor design flaw.

So, with all that, why would I still be disappointed?

For starters, the mod is supposedly automatic. When you attach an atomizer, you're supposed to fire it for three or four seconds. That's supposed to be long enough for the mod to identify the wire used and switch the the appropriate mode. If this worked, it might be OK, but only OK. There are some times I want to build low (and the tank is supposed to support low builds), and the device just refuses - REFUSES - to switch out of temperature control mode. In the testing of this device, I've burned through a half a dozen coils in the RTA section. In order to switch to power (wattage) mode, then, I've had to remove the coil, put in a different coil, fire the mod to get it to switch, remove that coil and reinstall the other coil. You can also tote around another atomizer and do the same thing instead of swapping coils all over the place. I initially thought to just reset the mod, but there's a memory feature that keeps the last build held in memory even when the battery is removed for a good long time.

It does switch to Temperature Control mode reliably, though. I'll give Aspire that. I just can't get it back to power mode as easily.

When in use, when it will set properly, when the coil is working as it should be, the mod is a dream to use. The display is bright and clear and auto-rotates so there's no fumbling through menus to determine left- or right-handedness. A slow turn of the adjustment dial increases the temperature or the wattage. The device fires just as it's supposed to without delay or hesitation. It feels solid and good in the hand with only a couple pointy bits that you'll have to work to get to dig in to your hands... It's actually pretty nice. When it works.

Then there's the RTA kit. What a complete, and total piece of &%$*^#(@^!!! Instead of building a horizontal coil between two posts (like virtually every other RTA kit on the planet), you are supposed to leave one leg pointing up into a small hole in the cap. Another leg is supposed to be pointed down into a tiny hole in the base. Tiny tiny tiny flat tipped screws are then used to trap the wires. The screws are so very tiny that I've broken the screws - sheared half of the top of the screw head on one side of the slot right off. The coil itself is positioned between the two sections which are screwed together after wicking. The position of the coil is such that you cannot pulse it to remove hot spots or pinch. This means using only spaced coils. The wick holes are above the coil, so the wicking material has to be tucked into the coil and gently poked and prodded into place before assembling the coil. Then the wire is fastened in the base and all you have is a prayer that tightening the screw will not twist or dislodge the wire or wick assembled above. Want to rewick and dry burn your coils? Ain't gonna happen.

I suppose it might be said that I am a novice at building coils. I don't think that's the case, however, as I have coils I've built and I am using in 58 atomizers. Everything ranging from simple, single coil macros to dual chains to six-strand braids to staged claptons. I've built the NR-R-NR Ithaka multiple times. I've built several different kinds of configurations in Genesis atomizers. Coils are not my problem. This RTA section is!

The also-ran company Anyvape has an RTA deck that ships with the Segatank and another that ships with the Furytank, and both are immeasurably better than this. Eleaf has an RBA head coming out for the Melo tanks that looks a lot like an upscaled version of Joyetech's CLR heads, and looks to be better. I expected more from Aspire.

I will give them one thumbs-up for the RTA kit. They include a screwdriver and coil jig of sorts along with a card detailing what coils should come out to when wound to their specifications. That's kind of damning praise, however, when one of the reasons to use an RTA is to use coils other than those provided.

But, let's ignore the RTA deck and look at this as a subohm clearomizer. If you choose to use the Aspire coils - the Atlantis coils that are used in dozens of different atomizers and manufactured by about that many any more - it's better. Almost, but not quite, great. The airflow is acceptable in that it can be closed down to Mouth-To-Lung tight or opened up to comfortable, but not quite RDA airy, Lung Hit. Additional airflow can be added through the drip tip adapter which can further cool the vape. Unfortunately, that also mutes the flavor. It stops short of great because the tank cannot be fully disassembled for cleaning, repair or replacement of damaged parts. If you break it, you must replace the entire tank.

I'd like to tell you that they got the charging base right. They almost did. It's solid and weighty and does not slide easily. I can put it on my desk and not worry about the mod being knocked over or sliding off the edge of the table, and it's getting charged while it's sitting there being pretty. The bright display almost doubles as a night light, with the slow rise and fall of the battery indicator that takes over the entire screen when charging. But, the charging port for the base is right in front, under the display. It's not on the back. It's not on the side. It's in front. You either have to deal with the charging base having a cord jutting out in front of it, or have the mod facing away from you where you cannot see the charging indicator. It's a small gripe, but it could have been fixed so very easily.

If I lost or damaged this device tomorrow, would I replace it? Not on your life. I cannot recommend its purchase. I regret having purchased it in the first place. I wouldn't even give this away because the frustration created by the "automatic" coil selection and the faulty RTA kit would ensure that the recipient would hate me for the rest of their vaping life... or they would go back to smoking cigarettes.

  •     Finish 7/10 - There are a couple sharp spots, but even those are not too bad. The design of the device itself and the base is basically good. The tank that cannot be disassembled, on the other hand is only so so. The RTA is, hands-down, the worst I've ever laid eyes on. The battery door is the best in the business.
  •     Form 9/10 - Even with all of its issues, the device is comfortable to hold and use. The unsightly cord at front of the charging dock annoys me, though.
  •     Function 5/10 - Although it does occasionally work as advertised, it only seems to do it when using extremes where coils are concerned. Low builds it wants to read as temperature control coils regardless of the materials they're built with and higher resistance coils it wants to read as Kanthal. This leads to a seriously bumpy vape when you're switching coils - if you can get the mod to switch out of one mode for another at all. When is does read and register as it is supposed to, it is a nice vape. Getting there, though, is not fun. Staying there can be less than fun, too.
  •     Final - 7/10 A very low C grade.