Name: Ratel Rebuildable Pod (Vaporesso) – Pod Mod/AIO – received by Heavengifts
Type: Pod Mod/AIO
Colors: Resin Blu, Resin Red, Resin Green, Resin White, Carbon Fiber
Price: ~ € 70
Mechlyfe launches Ratel, a pod system for the most experienced vaper
Today, in an absolute Italian preview, we will review the first rebuildable pod system equipped with a 18650 battery. The device is called Ratel and is produced by the Chinese company Mechlyfe. It is not really a one-of-a-kind device, but the combination of its main features makes it in a sense such; for this same reason it is also difficult to classify it in a unique way. In fact it is sufficient to observe Ratel, to understand how this product can be considered a pod system, but perhaps more precisely an AIO system or even a compact box mod.
As usual, we start by observing the contents of the packaging of the product received.
IN THE BOX
1 x Ratel rebuildable Pod
1 x Screw driver
2 x MTL fused clapton coil
4 x screws
1 x O-rings bag
1 x USB cable
1 x Organic cotton pad
1 x User manual
DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
Ratel has an aluminum body, a plastic battery compartment and side panels (fitted with a window to control the e-liquid level) in resin or carbon fiber for the “carbon fiber” model. The construction quality of this device is in our opinion more than good, not having found big imperfections in its finishes. The side panels house precise and firmly (thanks to the internal magnetic surface) to the body of the mod and are free of any unpleasant play or movement. The lateral side of the box is also well done: the buttons are large, solid and easily accessible, just as the display is pleasantly bright. All very clean and essential.
In terms of aesthetics, Ratel is a simple mod with the shape of a classic box mod, a parallelepiped a little high but also quite narrow. Even if the design is certainly not among the most sought after and innovative, the device looks pleasant, even if we have to note its being in the hand a little too angular and of considerable bulk, especially if we think of Ratel as a pod system.
Ratel measures 118 x 26 x 42 mm and weighs about 175 grams (including battery); these numbers confirm what was said just above, namely that the product of Mechlyfe certainly cannot be considered compact and manageable, which is another reason to consider it a device suitable for advanced users.
The Mod turns on/off with the usual 5-click sequence within 2 seconds, while the “+” and “-” buttons allow you to change the vape settings and choose between new or old coil. Pressing the fire button three times quickly you have access to the settings menu with the following modes:
- Power (P) from 5 to 80W;
- Volt (V) from 0.5 to 8V (the maximum selectable voltage is however always dependent on the value of resistance, for example a coil of 0.3 ohms will allow the max to set 4.9V);
- Bypass (B) function in mechanical mode;
- TC mode steel (S) temperature control mode for stainess steel from 100 to 315 ° C;
- Nickel TC Mode (N) temperature control mode for nickel from 100 to 315 ° C;
- Titanium TC Mode (T) temperature control mode for titanium from 100 to 315 ° C.
Of course, Ratel does not lack the usual and essential protection functions, from low voltage, to overtime, to overcharge, continuing with protection from too high temperature, or too low resistance and so on, while unfortunately we have noted the lack of key lock option, even if, due to their shape and positioning, the risk of accidental pressure should be avoided.
Another fundamental element of this device is the cartridge, made of semi-transparent smoked plastic material with a capacity of 4 ml in the standard version and 2 ml in the TPD version. The cartridge is held in its seat thanks to an adapter on top of the mod on which the drip tip 510 is inserted. It is this adapter that, once properly tightened, closes the circuit between the pod and the battery.
Inside the pod there’s the rebuildable Ratel deck; to access it you will need to unscrew the adapter on top of the mod, remove the cartridge from its housing and then unscrew the base of the deck. Before examining the deck, let’s take a quick look at the unscrewable base of the RBA section which is equipped with an airflow ring (a slot of about 10 x 2 mm and a single hole with a diameter of 2mm). The two different air openings are designed respectively for a flavor chasing vape and a MTL vape.
The deck (only 13 mm in diameter) is a classic dual post GTA with parallel towers and 2 mm holes; the screws to tighten the wire are sheared. A third central turret also with a slotted screw acts as a lateral air regulation system, in addition to the bottom airflow under coil with a 2.5 mm hole.
COILING, WICKING AND FILLING
How easy is it to regenerate, house the cotton and refill the Ratel pod? For the avoidance of doubt we say it right away: it is relatively simple for experts, much less for those who are not very confident and familiar with rebuildable systems.
If installing a coil with the two parallel towers is rather easy, the same cannot be said about the housing and positioning of the cotton, which without ever being too compacted, will be inserted inside the two appropriate side slots and cut into low, placing it gently on the bottom of the deck. It is important that the cotton (again, not too pressed) fills the entire surface of the deck slots.
To refill the pod with your favorite e-juice, even if it is a technically possible operation with the pod housed in its own compartment, we can advise you to carry out the refill by removing it from its housing, to avoid dangerous e-juice leaks near the 18650 battery.
The manufacturer has equipped the cartridge with a curious silicone “L” shaped cap, undoubtedly comfortable to be lifted, but which goes annoyingly to rest on the airflow ring, complicating its unscrewing when you want to proceed with a new build. After releasing the silicone cap, filling the cartridge is quite simple, even if you have to tilt the cartridge and insert the e-liquid slowly.
To conclude this paragraph about coiling, wicking and filling operations, we say that with this system it is not possible to access the deck and make a new build with the cartridge full of e-liquid.
PERFORMANCES AND FLAVOUR
The Ratel circuit, even though it did not possess first class characteristics, appeared to us in every way functional and sufficiently reactive; one thing is certain: the 80W of maximum power that can reach are far too many for the purposes for which this system was designed, namely MTL vape and flavor chasing vape (DL).
In MTL configuration with a closed side air, Ratel has a puff a little too airy to fully satisfy an MTL purist. Certainly it is possible to reduce the airflow opening but we have noticed that with the progressive reduction of its size, the puff becomes gradually more noisy and characterized by an annoying whistle. In addition, we noticed a certain amount of e-juice condensation on the internal mod panels. The e-liquid condensation is a fairly common problem in pod systems, but in this case it seemed a bit excessive.
To minimize this problem, it becomes more essential than ever to perform a perfect wicking, even if, again, the problem is not completely solved, as the device tends to overfeed (the chimney has many e-liquid inlet holes) especially in the presence 50/50 e-liquids, those that are more suitable for MTL vape. Too bad because in spite of all this, in our opinion the aromatic performances are excellent also with different types of extracted tabacco e-juices (mainly flavored tobacco, light blends and single tobaccos).
In DL configuration (with air inlets open on both sides and from below), Ratel is at its best, while preserving on the one hand the excellent aromatic performances observed in MTL, and on the other hand not highlighting the problems of noise and e-liquid leaks which we talked about above. Although the supplied drip tip has a rather medium internal hole (about 5mm), abundant feeding helps to produce a satisfying and dense clouds.
Ratel by Mechlyfe is to be considered an advanced AIO system much more than a rebuildable pod. Despite having excellent aromatic performances, especially in flavor chasing, the device is not perfect. We found some defects and situations that do not facilitate their use, and even its dimensions are not to be underestimated. We hope that in the future the manufacturer can make improvements to a device that despite its not exactly competitive price, remains interesting and with high potential.
Recommended to: hardcore vapers.