Friday, 20 May 2016

Review: Aromamizer V-RDA & Squonkmod by Steamcrave

Some vapers I know have been squonking for years claiming this is the future of vaping. For those unfamiliar with the term squonking here's a definition for you from the urban dictionary (where else would you find one?):
The act of squeezing e-liquid from the reservoir of a bottom-fed e-cig mod up into the atomizer.
Now for some reason squonking haven't really become mainstream. I'm not sure why. What you're essentially doing is connecting a tank to your dripper, and many of those that use drippers do it because they like to fiddle with it and change flavours a lot ... might be one of the reasons. On the other hand, it gives you the option to have a device with the benefits of a dripper when it comes to flavour, large juice capacity and probably leak free. And who knows... when Kanger also have released a squonkmod, maybe it's time will come.

Steamcrave have already impressed me with the Aromamizer family and I've done reviews of pretty much the whole family. So when I wanted to try out squonking it was only right that I started with their squonkmod and the V-RDA atomizer.

In the box(es)
The V-RDA and Squonkmod can be purchased as a bundle but it will still come in two separate boxes. You can also buy the squonkmod separately (of course) or bundled with some of the other RDA's in the Aromamizer family that supports squonking.

Squonkmod:
  • The Squonkmod with one juice bottle installed
  • Spare bottle and tube
  • USB charging cable
  • User manual
    Aromamizer V-RDA:
    • Aromamizer V-RDA with the glass barrel section installed
    • Black delrin driptip
    • Stainless steel barrel section
    • Allen key
    • 510 driptip adapter with spit-back protection
    • Squonk-ready center-pin (the standard one is installed)
    • Spare o-rings and screws
    Specifications

    Squonkmod: 
    • Juice Bottom feeding
    • 10ml Juice bottle built-in
    • Power mode and TC mode, my version supports Ni200 but newer version also supports Stainless Steel coils
    • Single 18650 battery
    • Magnet battery door
    • Voltage: 3.1~4.2V
    • Output voltage: 1-9V
    • Output power: 7-60W
    • Resistance: 0.1-4.0ohm
    • Temperature adjust: 200F - 600F
    • Charging: 5V/1000mA
    • Dimensions: 59*88*26mm
    • Gun metal color
    Aromamizer V-RDA:
    • 25 mm diameter
    • 22.4 mm diameter build deck
    • Stainless steel 304
    • 47.5 mm height
    • 2-post velocity style deck
    • Adjustable "cyclone airflow"
    • Bottom feeder or normal dripper
    Look and feel

    When it comes to looks the Squonkmod and the V-RDA is a perfect match. The 25 mm diameter V-RDA sits perfectly flush on the mod. The V-RDA looks pretty cool using both the glass and the stainless steel barrel section. I prefer the glass though, and as for the other Aromamizer family members with glass sections, you can get colored glass for this one as well.

    The Squonkmod feels light weight, but still pretty solid. There are some button rattle but not something that bothers me a lot. The display is clear and easy to read, and I like the way it tells you it's charging and when it's fully charged (You'll see "Charging end" on the display)

    In use

    Quite a lot of atomizers comes with Velocity style build-decks nowadays, and there is a reason for that. It's a dream to build on. The one in the V-RDA is quite big and you can fit some pretty big coils in there if you want to. The atty comes with both a normal center pin, so you can use it as a normal dripper, and a squonk pin to use with any squonk mod. The airflow is adjusted by twisting the ring at the top-cap so it will lift from the "tank-section" letting more air down into the spirals that goes on the outside of the atty and enters the bottom of the chamber. The whole thing is easy to take apart and clean.

    The mod does not require a master degree to operate either. It has the standard 5 click to turn it on and off, you switch between temp-control and normal mode by holding down fire and up buttons and you adjust either power or temperature using the up and down buttons. The door covering the battery and squonk bottle is kept in place by some pretty strong magnets, and I had no problems with it falling off accidentally, it can actually be a bit tricky to get off but no problem once you get used to it. Re-filling is also quick and easy, just take the bottle out (tube and all), refill and plug it back in.

    It's the first time I try squonking, and I quite like it to be honest. It takes a little while to get used to how much and how often you need to squonk to keep your wicks perfectly saturated, but once you get the hang of it it's a great way to vape. Unless you totally oversquonk and flood your atty, and then put it upside down, there is no leaking issues at all. I've kept the mod in my pockets upside down, laying on the side and it has been thrown around in my backpack but I've had no leaks. I still get the occasional dry-hit though, especially after having vaped on other devices for a while and then switch to this, cause I forget to squonk.

    Performance

    The V-RDA is an awesome RDA. You get the fantastic flavour that I've been getting used to from my RDTAs. According to Steamcrave their "cyclone airflow" is supposed to enhance flavour. I have to admit that I'm not an expert on how airflow affects flavour, but what I do know is that Steamcrave is doing something right, cause they have managed to create a great tasting atty.

    When it comes to the squonk mod, I'm not totally convinced be honest. I mean it's not really bad, and it works pretty well if you don't try to push it to hard. I guess that is the problem for me, I get the feeling it is not strong enough to run the V-RDA at it's full potential. First of all the V-RDA has a pretty big deck allowing for some pretty big builds that would need more than 60W. Also, running the squonk mod at 60W, I've tried some clapton builds, will drain your battery in no time. I get much more vape-time on my SX Mini M class running on 60W with basically the same build. I also tend to get the "check atomizer" message when it's just been turned on, it almost seems like it uses some time to "find" the atomizer. When running the mod at 60W on around 0.4 Ohm clapton build I get the "low voltage" warning after just a few puffs and then I have to turn down the watts to be able to vape on.

    Now I'm running a 0.6 Ohm dual coil (think it's 28AWG) and at 40W I get pretty good performance and pretty good vape time. In other words... I kind of like the mod, the way it's built and the design ideas behind... but I feel it is too weak. So what I'm left with is that the squonkmod is a good device, but it doesn't have the power to get the most out of the V-RDA. If you're running at around 40W, maybe lower as well, you'll probably be happy with it, but if you build for 50-60W I don't think you will.

    However, I now see on steamcrave.com that a new version of the squonkmod will be sold after May 15th, which has already been, so my version is out of date. The new version will also support temp. control on SS coils, which is good cause I really can't be bothered to even try it with Ni200... such a pain to work with. It may be that they've done other updates as well that might solve some of the issues mentioned above.

    Pros and cons 

    + Awesome flavour
    + Large juice capacity
    + Easy to refill and clean
    + No leaking ... at all
    - Squonk-mod is a bit too weak for the V-RDA (IMO)

    Conclusion

    I love the V-RDA and I think the squonkmod is quite a good design but I think it's a bit too weak. The V-RDA will allow for some really tasty builds, but in my opinion you need more power to run it at full speed. The Squonkmod is priced at $59.99 right now and the V-RDA at $39.99. However the best option if you want both is the bundle at $79.98, which is a bargain if you ask me. So to conclude, the V-RDA is an awesome atty and the Squonkmod is a good device but could use a little tune up to match the V-RDA. If the mod had been a bit stronger and more stable at full power I'd say this is a great kit.

    Thanks to Maggie at Steamcrave for offering a decent discount, making this review possible.

    Vapour UK


    Disclosure:
    • All my reviews are my honest opinion even if I am affiliated with the company manufacturing or selling the product. 
    • This review does not contain affiliate links.

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