In today’s hyper-paced vaping market, with a myriad of new devices emerging daily, it is difficult to stand out from the crowd. Manufacturers are vying for your attention and hard earned cash by introducing new technologies, new form factors, slick marketing, and overall designs. Is being different just for the sake of being different enough to part vapers with their money? At first glance the subject to this review, the Atom Vapes Revolver Subxero Kit, looks sort of different – certainly since most manufacturers are entrenched in the box mod form factor. The Revolver is a telescopic ,”regulated”, variable voltage mod which looks like a mechanical tube mod with some splashy graphics. Do the Revolver and the included Assassin sub-ohm tank really bring anything new to the table? Read on to find out.
The Packaging and Included Stuff
The Revolver kit will show up on your doorstep in some very nicely produced packaging and contains some unexpected goodies. The packaging is of the double box variety. The outer box features the branding, product specs, and scratch off authenticity code.
The inner box contains the good stuff which includes the Revolver mod, the Assassin tank, and a couple of Bullet coils (sensing a theme here?). Also included are some vape bands, decals, a small cleaning cloth, USB charging cable, extra tank glass, user manual, and warranty information. Nicely packaged, indeed.
A note regarding the user manual: it’s pretty terse. Granted, the Revolver isn’t a complicated device to use but some technical specifications would have been nice. This is pretty much all of it:
Atom Vapes Revolver Specifications:
- Variable Voltage: 3.5V, 3.7V, 3.9V, 4.2V
- Operating Wattage: 60W maximum
- Minimum atomizer resistance: 0.2Ω
- Charging: Micro USB
- Telescopic battery tube: compatible with 18350, 18500, and 18650 batteries
Revolver Mod Features:
- Spring loaded 510 pin
- Auto power down after period of inactivity
- Pass through (vape while charging)
- Battery overcharge protection
- Atomizer resistance protection
Assassin Tank Features:
- 6ml liquid capacity
- 23mm diameter
- Adjustable airflow on atomizer base
- Drip tip with adjustable airflow
- 0.2Ω vertical Clapton coil heads
The Revolver Mod – Build Quality and Usage
Let’s get the aesthetics out of the way first, shall we? You’ll likely either love how this device looks or hate it. It’s not my particular cup of tea but if you appreciate a lot of the recent mods with “splatter” graphics, you’ll probably like the Revolver. Okay, on to build quality.
The Revolver feels like a solid device. It feels very much like handling a mechanical tube mod. The paint work is a little rough in spots but not egregiously bad; the finish for the most part is reasonably well done. The button has a very nice tactile click and I rather like the triangular shape. The telescopic battery tube threads in and out with some squeakiness but is not overly crunchy – certainly not buttery smooth though. The inside of the mod and battery tube appear a bit, um, grungy. Probably of no practical consequence but I did notice it. I’m guessing, based on weight, the mod is constructed mainly from aluminum. However, details from the manufacturer are sparse.
Using the Revolver is a pretty straight forward affair – after inserting your battery positive side up and screwing in the battery tube, five clicks of the fire button will turn the device on (or off), and three clicks will change between the four available voltage presets. A microUSB port is located near the fire button for onboard battery charging. And we get to my first issue with this device – the location of the charging port. The charging port is protected by a small rubber plug which can feel a lot like the firing button if you aren’t looking at the mod while firing it. As you can see in the pictures above, the plug is nearly inline with the firing button. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to fire the device using the USB plug. While I didn’t try any other atomizer other than the supplied Assassin tank, the Revolver does have a spring loaded 510 pin which presumably will accommodate the atomizer of your choosing. There are four LEDs located next to the firing button which serve as the voltage setting indicators.
Upon issuing the five clicks to power up the Revolver, the four LEDs will flash green. When clicking three times to change the voltage, the LED for the selected voltage will flash. However, there is some bleed over to the other LEDs so it is not always clear which setting you are choosing, especially if you are not looking directly straight at the LEDs. The LEDs are also not marked with their respective voltage setting. From the bottom, the settings are: 3.5V, 3.7V, 3.9V, 4.2V. While not a complicated device, it’s also not very intuitive.
When firing the device the selected voltage LED will illuminate green while the remaining LEDs will illuminate red to indicate the battery charge state. When the battery gets low all four LEDs will flash red and the device will power down. Additionally, the four LEDs will flash red while charging.
The Revolver has a telescopic battery tube which allows the use of 18350, 18500, and 18650 batteries. This device also ships with the Assassin tank and 0.2Ω coil heads. Before I commence with the long story, here’s the short story: do not use the supplied atomizer with 18350 or 18500 batteries. If you do, you are going to vent a battery.
Before we go any further, I put the Assassin tank on my ohm meter to see what the actual resistance is:
Okay, 0.22Ω. Pretty close to the stated spec of 0.2Ω. I’m going to use my reading for the calculations. It’s worth noting that manufacturing variances which may cause the resistance to be lower than the stated spec will further increase the current drain of your selected battery. To obtain the numbers below, I used the excellent Steam Engine battery drain calculator (note: some of the numbers are rounded but without impact to the data as a whole). The first table assumes the Revolver is actually outputting the selected voltage. Also, the Revolver is labeled as being capable of outputting 60W. I’m assuming the maximum output current to the atomizer is capped at around 16A to provide the 60W limit. The numbers in the table showing calculated power beyond 60W are theoretical. These numbers will also show the battery drain values for a full charged battery (4.2V) and a partially charged battery (3.8V).
The most important data here are the battery current drain numbers. Even at the lowest voltage setting on a full charged battery, the current drain exceeds any available 18350 cell and matches the most robust 18500 cells. Even with a diminished battery charge, the current drain numbers would dictate the use of a nothing less than an 18650 high drain battery. If you intend to use the Revolver with smaller form factor batteries, please do so with a safe atomizer resistance, not the Assassin and it’s 0.2Ω coil head. Read more about sub-ohm Vaping Safety here.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s look at the *actual* output voltage the Revolver sends to the atomizer.
As indicated in the table above, you can see the Revolver is not delivering accurate voltage commensurate with the voltage setting. Even with the discrepancies, the Revolver is making enough power to warrant using only 18650 high drain batteries if used in conjunction with low atomizer resistances. I encourage all readers to visit the Steam Engine page linked previously and run the numbers to make sure of safe operation of this, or any, vaping device.
The Assassin Tank – Build Quality and Usage
Next up is the tank included with the Revolver Subxero kit – the Assassin. The tank is accompanied by two 0.2Ω coil heads which contain vertical Clapton coils. I have to admit, I think that’s pretty cool. The tank breaks down into numerous parts as shown in the pictures below.
The coil heads are enormous and have huge cutouts for e-liquid flow and a massive air channel.
As much as I’m not super crazy about the aesthetics of the Revolver mod, I think the Assassin tank looks pretty awesome. It is covered in knurling giving it a very industrial, no-nonsense appearance. The Assassin features adjustable airflow at the base of the atomizer as well as the drip trip. The air flow control ring on the Assassin moves freely with a nice clicking feel. Once set, the air flow control won’t move unless you move it. The components of the Assassin tank all fit together nicely with no issues. I’d say the build quality of the Assassin tank is very good, easily on par with similar sub-ohm tanks on the market.
Like most clearomizers, operation is pretty simple. Simply unscrew the base of the atomizer, screw in your coil head, and fill the tank portion being careful not to spill liquid down the chimney. Add a few drops of liquid directly into the coil head for priming purposes. The specs list a 6ml capacity which I think may be overstated. Like some other sub-ohm tanks, you cannot fill the Assassin to full capacity due to the chimney design.
Atom Vapes Revolver Subxero Kit – The Performance and Conclusion
I suppose this is where the rubber meets the road. I’ve identified several issues I have with the Revolver mod, the most notable the ability to use 18350 and 18500 cells which do not have the continuous current drain rates necessary to use the Revolver as intended with the Assassin atomizer. I’ve also shown that the Revolver does not output the full voltage selected in most cases. So, how does it actually vape? Like a beast, that’s how. When it comes right down to it, when the devices are used together in the proper (safe) manner with an appropriate battery, the Subxero kit will make copious amounts of fog. The Revolver battery, regardless of the voltage tests, drives more than enough power into the Assassin to produce a full, satisfying sub-ohm vaping experience. The Assassin tank, with the AFC wide open, flows a staggering amount of air. Combined with the massive vertical Clapton coil heads, the Assassin delivers very good flavor and more than enough haze to fill the room in a hurry. For the issues this kit has, it really does bring the goods come vape time.
Time to wrap this up, I guess. If you haven’t guessed, I’m not very impressed with the Revolver mod. It is essentially an overgrown variable voltage eGo battery with a serious design flaw – the telescoping feature which allows various battery sizes. It is unnecessary and potentially dangerous. No where in the materials did I find any mention of battery safety which I consider a pretty careless oversight by the manufacturer. The Revolver should have been made as an 18650 device and only an 18650 device. If there are additional safety measures built into the Revolver chip, I sure couldn’t find them listed anywhere. Between the minimalist user manual and lack of online technical information about the Revolver, it’s really kind of a guessing game as to what is going on under the hood.
The Revolver Subxero Kit features slick packaging, “deadly” product names (I’ll refrain from making a bad joke here), splashy graphics, and superfluous doodads (vape bands, mod decals). It seems the designers and marketers had everything in mind with the exception of safety. It’s not all negative though, I really do like the Assassin tank and when paired with the Revolver and a suitable battery, the vape experience is very good. It’s just a shame that more emphasis wasn’t put on safety. I can see beginner vapers being drawn to this kit and ending up in a world of hurt by using the wrong batteries. Hopefully Waidea and Atom Vapes will take note and at least start to include literature on battery safety. A venting battery can ruin your day in a hurry.