Here’s a look at the latest Luxotic device from Wismec. If you’re not familiar with the Luxotic line it’s based on a series of squonk mods with a somewhat luxurious and exotic look. The original was a protected mech style mod which pretty much instantly became a classic. It was followed by one of the more configurable devices on the market the Luxotic MF and later a dedicated dual battery version that resembled the Reuleaux series of devices called the Luxotic DF. Now Wismec has released what is likely my favorite Luxotic device yet, the Luxotic Surface.
|1 x||Wismec Luxotic Surface|
|1 x||Glass Tube|
|2 x||User manual|
|1 x||Mesh heater|
|1 x||Warning card|
|1 x||E-liquid bottle|
|1 x||Spare parts bag|
Listed features and specs:
|Thread type:||510 spring loaded connector|
|E-liquid bottle capacity:||6.5ml|
|Cell type:||high-rate 18650 cell (discharging current should be above 25A)|
|Output mode:||VW/Bypass/TC-Ni/TC-Ti/TC-SS/TCR mode|
|Output voltage range:||0.5-9V|
Packaging and contents:
The kit comes packed in a pretty standard black coloured box with an image of the device on the front and a listing of the contents on the back. Also on the back is a bit of company info as well as an authenticity check sticker. Inside the Luxotic Surface and the Kestrel RDTA are nicely presented and well protected by a thick black sponge. In the kit you get the Luxotic Surface, the Kestrel RDA, a spare glass tube, two user manuals, a warning card, a spare mesh heater, a spare e-liquid bottle, some cotton and a bag of spare parts. In the bag of spares you also get a little blue screwdriver, an Allen key, a non-squonk pin for the Kestrel, some spare screws and some spare O-rings. It comes with everything you’d need to get started but doesn’t include any bonuses like alternate drip tips or things like that.
The Luxotic Surface Mod:
The Luxotic Surface uses nearly the exact same profile as the original Luxotic BF and when placed side by side the new Luxotic Surface is only about a millimeter taller. It’s still a single 18650 device but now it’s regulated. At a glance you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the same device but there are definitely a few changes in design from the original. Starting at the top It uses a near identical SS 510 connection with super smooth threads and a nice gold plated 510 squonk pin. It’s not exactly spring loaded but it does travel a little bit to accommodate most atomizers. Down the face of the mod the removable magnetic door is now a shiny plastic with bold patterns as opposed to the honey comb design of the original. The squonk hole has moved as well where before it sat directly over the bottle it’s now moved forward a bit toward the working edge of the device but still gives good access to the super squishy silicone squonk bottle. Playing around I discovered the door from the original BF will fit perfectly on the Luxotic Surface but leaves a slight gap on the leading edge since that’s where the new squonk hole lives. I did find that removing the bottle was just a tiny bit more difficult than the original but with the bottom magnetic grill and removable door it’s still pretty convenient compared to some other squonk mods on the market. The 6.5ml bottle is pretty much the same as the original and works the same way with a rod that goes in to the bottle instead of a rubber tube like many others. I personally appreciate this type of bottle as it makes it really easy to top it up, just pop it out and fill it, no caps to unscrew or anything. It would be nice if they included some kind of cap so you could take a spare bottle with you but unfortunately no such thing exists for these bottles that I’ve seen.
On the working face of the device are located the fire button, screen and adjustment buttons. The Fire button is oblong with little dimples texturing the face of it which is echoed on the adjustment buttons. They remind me of the dimples on a golf ball and add a nice bit of grip to the buttons. The fire button is easy to find and press with either the thumb of index finger. It’s got a nice click to it and on mine there isn’t’ any kind of rattle or play to it. The OLED screen which is only 0.49″ is rather small but easy enough to see and read and manges to squeeze in all the appropriate information we like to see like resistance, volts, watts and a simple battery bar. The adjustment buttons which sit below the screen share a similar design to the fire button with the little dimples dotting their faces. I’m still amazed that they somehow managed to squeeze a regulatory chip inside the little sealed box that lives in the top left corner of the opened device.
Operation wise it’s quite similar to an OG Reuleaux with five clicks to turn the device on and off and three clicks to get in to the mode selection screen. The device has options for VW, Bypass, TC-Ni, TC-Ti, TC-SS and TCR mode. When in TC mode you can switch between Temp and watts by clicking four time. Pressing both adjustment buttons locks the keys while pressing fire and up brings up the submenu which has options to select the sub parameters like puff, time and amp, lock resistance, turn on/off stealth mode, set a preheat value, set the screen timeout value, check the firmware and hardware version as well as check the actual voltage level of the battery. Pretty standard stuff for a Wismec device. Of course it also contains all the usual protections like over-charge, over-discharge, 10S cutoff, short-circuit, over-current, reverse polarity and temperature protection so in nearly any case it should remain safe. Powered by an upgraded Avatar chip it’s intuitive and simple to operate, fires up to 80W in under 0.001 seconds and nearly anyone who’s used a regulated Wismec device in the past will feel right at home using it.
The atomizer that comes with the kit is called the Kestrel, yes like the bird. It’s essentially an RDTA with a rather interesting new design that incorporates a mesh heater much like we saw in the Cubis Max from Joyetech a sister company to Wismec. It’s essentially a mesh grill that acts as the coil but in past implementations it relied on top airflow to scoop vapour off the top of the coil whereas this new design sees airflow drawn across the mesh heater for significantly better flavour and even better vapour production. The new design also splits the heater in two essentially creating a dual coil configuration but only using one heater coil. A high-temperature plastic splitter separates the two sides while also directing airflow across the heater. It’s most likely made of delrin or some other high temp resistant plastic and so far it’s not melted or contributed to any abnormal tastes like burnt plastic or anything like that. Wismec states the 0.25ohm heater should last up to three months but doesn’t actually specify a recommended wattage range. I found it worked well around 50-60W producing plenty of vapour and great flavour to boot. It might seem a bit odd attaching an RDTA to a squonk device but many users find it adds a nice little reservoir between squonks.
At the top of the RDTA it’s got a thick resin 810 drip tip that should match up nicely with the device. Because it’s so thick it’s not the widest bore but it still gives plenty of airflow and is comfortable on the lips. The top cap which also acts as the airflow control can be turned to adjust how much air is let in. The topcap is dimpled much like the buttons on the device which adds to the matchy matchy factor but also provides a bit of grip. The inside of the top cap isn’t exactly concave but with such a short distance to travel it’s likely not needed. Taking off the cap also reveals the side fill port for the small tank that sits below the deck. It’s wide enough that nearly any tip should fit but I found when taking the cap off the outside of the tank would always be wet and needed to be wiped off before putting the cap back on or it gets squeezed out the sides. Towards the bottom of the atomizer you can actually unscrew the tank portion for quick and easy cleaning which is a feature I always look for in an RDTA. A gold plated squonk pin completes the tank but it also includes an non-squonk pin if you want to use the RDTA on a regular device.
Build, wick and Performance:
The Kestrel comes pre-built and pre-wicked so the first time you go to use it it’s just a matter of juicing it up and away you go. However when it comes time to clean the heater coil or replace the cotton you’re going to need a very tiny screwdriver. The gold coloured screws that secure both the plastic diffuser as well as the heater coil are minuscule so it takes a steady hand to get them in and out. It’s not difficult by any means but it can be a bit tedious if you’re in a hurry. You first undo the two screws securing the plastic diffuser then gently lift it out along with the heater element. This reveals a rather thick strip of cotton that sort of spans the base of the deck and then hangs down in to the two juice wells that lead to the tank. Just like a standard RDTA but using significantly more cotton. I found you can just cut a strip from a square cotton pad about a half inch wide and it should fit nearly perfect in the slots. Once your cotton is in place and tucked in to the two wells just replace the heater coil and screw the two little golden screws back in. It can get a bit messy when doing maintenance on the tank but for the most part it’s a fairly simple operation.
I believe this is the third or fourth device I’ve tried that uses this mesh heater technology and I have to say this is the most impressive design so far. My biggest complaint with them has been the top airflow design which tends to mute the flavour but with the Kestrel the airflow comes in low from the sides and sweeps across the heater drawing the vapour up with it. I get considerably more flavour and vapour from this setup and so far I haven’t felt the need to swap atomizers since the kit arrived. Flavour is full and the clouds are satisfying!!
This is by far my favorite Luxotic device yet. It’s incredibly well built, regulated, looks fantastic and comes with a rather interesting RDTA. I even have to admit that I was quite impressed with the performance improvement of the mesh heater in this new design. I think the Luxotic Surface would be well suited to both new users just getting in to squonking and seasoned vapers alike looking for a well made and solid performing squonk kit. This one easily made it in to the regular rotation and I imagine it will be here to stay for some time. Great job Wismec the Luxotic Surface is an incredible device!!