Name: Ares 2 MTL RTA (Innokin) – Atomizer – received by Phil Busardo
Type: RTA Atomizer
Colors: Black, Silver
Price: ~ € 30
Innokin Ares 2 MTL RTA: just a restyling?
I think the Ares MTL RTA atomizer can be considered one of the most successful low-cost MTL devices released in the last three years. I affirm this not only because of its very respectable performances, but also because, without any official sales statistics, I note that its presence in vape shops all over the world is still quite widespread, demonstrating how successful this RTA has been and continues to be despite more than two years have passed from its release.
Innokin, the Ares manufacturer in collaboration with the famous youtuber Phil Busardo and Vapingreek (aka Dimitris Agrafiotis), recently decided to release the updated version of Ares, the version number 2. The official release of Ares 2 has coincided for me with a very welcome surprise. A few weeks ago I had the honor of being personally contacted by the vaping guru Phil Busardo who, having noticed that his atom was used in several past reviews on this blog, he offered to send me the shiny new 24 mm Ares 2. What an honor! Thanks Phil!
I start as usual by looking at the content of the package.
IN THE BOX
1 x Ares 2 RTA tank 24 mm
2 x Spare pre-built coils
1 x Cotton & wire set
1 x Spare screw set (flathead)
1 x Phil’s build tool
1 x Dimi’s build tool
1 x Screwdriver set
1 x Spare glass tube
1 x Spare o-rings
1 x Spare drip tip
1 x vape band
1 x Quick start guide
DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
Compared to the older brother, the Ares 2 not only maintains a good workmanship but even improves it with the implementation of some significant construction details: the sliding top cap for refill, the addition of a silicone membrane to protect the e-liquid refill hole, the detents for the airflow control, the improved seal performance of the o-rings and finally the slightly brushed stainless steel finish. The solidity and the material quality of the Ares 2 are immediately evident. And in addition, although it is a subjective evaluation, the product aesthetics appears more appealing, thanks to a more aggressive and modern design and to the carving on the base, which also improve the grip of the device when you have to disassembly it. At first glance it seems that the pupil surpassed the master in terms of design and manufacturing quality.
Innokin has produced the Ares 2 in two different versions, one with a diameter of 24 mm and 4 ml of capacity and a second version with a diameter of 22 mm capable of containing 2 ml of e-liquid. Diameter apart, the Ares 2 D22 and Ares 2 D24 have the same technical specifications: the height is 54.4 mm with the delrin drip tip and 58.7 mm with the stainless steel drip tip (in both cases excluded the 510 connector); the weight is approximately 70 grams, not exactly featherweight, but it’s a further evidence of its robustness.
The main parts of Ares 2 atomizer are four: drip tip, top cap with bell, glass tank and base with deck.
The two drip tips supplied (delrin and stainless steel) have both a flared shape and identically dimensioned inlet and outlet holes (diameter 3.6 mm). The black delrin drip tip differs from the stainless steel drip tip as it is lower (12 mm) and has a small protuberance at the bottom that serves as a block for the top cap sled. The steel drip tip is a classic 510 with a height of 16.3 mm.
The top cap, that makes a single piece with chimney and bell, features important innovations compared to the previous version, and I would add, they are significant improvements. The sliding top cap movement is very dry, precise and free of any lateral play. The refill slot has been protected with a soft silicone membrane (a common solution in many tanks) which prevents accidental liquid spills even if the atomizer is overturned.
The shapes of the bell, broad and rounded, and the chimney, short and slightly narrower than in the first Ares version, are substantially unchanged. After having observed the small but significant upgrades on the upper part of the atom, now let’s take a look at the more important and consistent improvements on the deck and the base. The deck, a dual post with opposing slots, is the same as its older brother, although the slotted screws of the first version have been replaced by two more handy cross-head screws.
The side plates, designed to protect the air hole under the coil from e-liquid remains, are now higher and can also be used to place the coil in the correct position on the deck. Last but certainly not least, the hole under the coil was implemented with the Cross Air Flow Control (CAFC) system.
By turning the CAFC with a small slotted screwdriver, it is possible to change the size of the hole under the coil from a larger slot running the length of the coil to a tiny hole.
The base of the Ares 2 features an important technical innovation as well concerning the bottom airflow selector. First of all a fifth hole of 0.8 mm diameter has been added so now there are five airflow control holes: 0.8 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.5 and 2.0 mm in diameter. The holes are located on a plastic plug and not directly on the stainless steel base.
As for the first version, the air selection ring is equipped with a 12 x 2.3 mm slot for multiple selection, and a single hole with a diameter of 2 mm. The detents for the airflow control ring facilitates the selection of the desired setting and also prevents accidental unwanted rotations.
COILING, WICKING AND FILLING
I must say: it’s very easy to rebuild the Ares 2, even for those who have little experience with this kind of vaping systems. Thanks to the tools designed by Phil and Dimitris, building a coil and positioning it correctly on the deck it’s easier then ever. The steps easy and simple to follow so that’s almost impossible to do something wrong. As with almost all RTA-atomizers, a little more attention is required for rewicking. Not so much for the length of the cotton ends – you can keep it longer on the bottom of the deck or simply cut them – but for the density.
It is advisable to fray the cotton a bit so that it’s not too pressed into the wick slots. As for the e-liquid refill, it is noticeable the improvement compared to the first ARES. The sliding movement of the top cap is now much more precise (if you use the black drip tip you have to remove it) and the refill is very simple thanks to the large filling slot protected with an anti-leaking silicone membrane.
PERFORMANCES AND FLAVOUR
The technical performances of the Ares 2 are impeccable and the atom has no weak point in my opinion. I think its added value is the airflow control which, thanks to the combination of the air holes on the base and the new CAFC under the coil, offers infinite solutions in terms of airiness, from a very tight and contrasted draw to a classic restricted flavor chasing. With no doubt the Ares 2 is more MTL oriented than the first version.
The draw is always fluid, linear and above all extremely silent, just as valid and sufficiently ergonomic are the two drip tips that deliver a good performance and do not snow any condensation. Personally and contrary to what I imagined, I found the black delrin drip tip more comfortable, despite being shorter than the stainless steel one.
I tested the new Innokin jewel with the three aromas recently made by The Flavourist in collaboration with the Italian manufacturer Officine Svapo. These are three natural tobacco extracts, because in Italy every MTL atomizer must first pass the litmus test of the organic tobacco. And because testing a MTL RTA with a rather complete range of organic tobacco, which are generally more refined and rich in facets, also allows us to understand with which types of e-liquids the tested device fits best.
With Poncho, a medium-intensity single tobacco with characteristics similar to a Virginia but less sweet and with more body, the Ares 2 has shown an unexpected harmony: despite the tendency to emphasize the sweetest nuances of this tobacco, the Atomizer didn’t miss the body and depth of taste offered by this e-juice.
With Il Monco, a blend of medium strong dark tobaccos, the atom showed some difficulties both in revealing the characteristics of the individual tobaccos composing the blend and in showing their aromatic intensity and strength.
Lastly, with Agua Caliente, a blend of tobaccos flavored with American sweet potato and blackcurrant extracts, Ares 2 has shown an absolutely perfect aromatic performance, exactly as expected: ability to facet the individual components of the recipe and to enhance them in the different phases of the puff: from the initial tobacco tone, through the roundness of the sweet potato in the heart notes and the slightly acidic cues of the currant in the tail.
In conclusion, for the tests I personally carried out and for the technical characteristics of this atomizer (wide and round bell, short and narrow chimney), we can easily say that apart from the tobacco flavours, the Ares 2 is an enough versatile MTL RTA, though perhaps it gives its best with all kinds of creamy e-liquids.
With Ares 2 Innokin did not carried out a simple restyling of the atomizer, it worked on a product that features clear improvements and corrections of imperfections present in the first version instead. The result is in my opinion excellent and I’m not afraid to consider this atomizer one of the top in the category of low cost MTL tanks. The Ares 2 is worth much more than its approx. 30 euros selling price, not only for its performance but also for the truly remarkable equipment range.
The next step? As Italian I can only hope that Innokin will decide to produce in the future a MTL even more specific for certain types of organic tobacco extract. They will just need to implement some small features on a well-tested and reliable structure.
Recommended to: Skilled and hardcore vapers.