Their first foray into temp control devices comes in the form of the Cortex TC mod.
What Can We Expect From The Innokin Cortex Mod?
A clean looking device with the IKARNO S1 chip and one Innokin have taken there time to release in what quickly became a crowded market in the late stages of 2015.
So… With the wait Innokin must have this temp control mod nailed? Lets take a look with our hands on review.
If you are new to vaping with temp control check out our beginners guide to TC here.
In The Box
Like all the latest Innokin products the packaging is simple, yet beautifully done. Open the box and you will find:
- 1 X Innokin Cortex TC Mod
- 1 X iSub S Tank with 0.1 ohm Ni200 TC Coil (Temp range: 180 – 270ºC / 356 – 518ƒ)
- 1 X 0.5 ohm Horizontal Coil (Watt Range 25 – 35W)
- 1 X 0.5ohm clapton Coils (Watt Range: 30 – 70W)
- 1 X Delrin drip tip
- 1 X Pack of O Rings
- 1 X Micro USB Charger
- 1 X Cortex Quick Start Guide – Take A Look At The Quick Start Guide (PDF)
- 1 X Cortex User Manual – Take A look At The User Manual (PDF)
Just a quick note on the user manual and quick start guide to say it’s great to see Innokin provide an easy to understand user guide as well as addressing best use in safety terms.
Something that should be a standard but I’ve seen so many times this is an area that many other companies don’t provide enough information for.
- 3300 mAh Battery Capacity
- Wattage: 6 – 80W
- Ultra low standby power consumption
- High efficiency / Energy Conserving
- Fire coils down to 0.1ohm
- Direct Current (DC) Signal for stabilized power output
- Temp Mode: 150 – 315ºC / 300 – 600ƒ
- Precision Temp Control +/- 5ºC
- IKARNO S1 TC Microchip
- Even Coil Heat Up
- Dry Hit Protection & Detection
- 5V 2Amp Fast Charging supported with separate wall charger
- Height: 95mm
Build Quality & Design
Out of the box the Cortex is immediately impressive. The coating that Innokin have used has a great grip and feel in the hand, I can only describe it as a matte powder coating finish but it may be something entirely different!
The mod as a whole actually looks very simple but it is these types of designs that float my boat, I’m not really one for big bright logos or appliqued flames running up the side of a mod. Simple and clean all the way.
The form factor, while seemingly simple, has been carefully considered. First the rounded edges make the for a comfortable device in the hand. Then we have the signature ‘3 groove stripes’ (found on the Endura T22) that run vertically down the the side of the mod that pretty much act as a guide for your hand to find the almost completely flush power button on the side.
The Micro USB port is located on the side at the bottom of the mod so can be stood up right while charging.
The base of the box mod is where the main control buttons and display are located. Not ideal for me but what it does do is allow for a bigger OLED display and it’s is a clear one at that.
I was initially worried that this would get scratched from continually setting the mod down but there the screen set back into the mod very slightly which prevents the screen making contact with my table. So all good there.
Innokin and quality of build have gone hand in hand for a few years now and the Cortex TC mod falls in to line. The mod itself feels solid and all the buttons have zero rattle.
After a couple of weeks of use and carrying around I have found the OLED screen has also remained scratch free.
How Does The Cortex Perform?
The Cortex comes complete with the iSub S tank and the IKARNO S1 TC chip is compatible with Nickel, Titanium and Kanthal coils so those looking for Stainless Steel this isn’t for you.
You will also need to select the type of coil you are using in the settings so remember to do this if swapping coils.
The iSub S is a new tank not dissimilar to the Apex in the way it functions. It has a nice top filling function and incorporates the easy swap coil system that makes swapping coils over (even when the tank is full) an absolute breeze.
The 3300 mAh battery has been developed with energy saving features which of course is a great thing. In real use I was easily getting just over 1.5 days of moderate vaping.
Depending on what wattage/temp you vape at and of course your vaping habits this will differ from user to user.
Charging is simply done via the USB charging cable supplied which also allows you to vape whilst charging. Fast charging is also supported by way of 5V/2A wall charger. This is not included in the kit and if you use a wall charger be sure it is compatible!
The main screen displays the following information when any button is pressed:
- Real coil resistance
- Type of coil currently selected
- Battery level indicator
- Temp setting
- Puff timer
First Lets Take A Look At How The Cortex TC Mod Works
- On/Off: 3 clicks of the power button in quick succession
- Selecting the coil mode: Hold +/- buttons for 3 seconds. The coil selection screen will appear with a choice of Ni (Ni200) / Ti (Titanium) / W (Kanthal wattage mode). Scroll through the settings using the +/- buttons and press the power button to select required mode.
- Further info screen: Press +/- together to display current coil resistance / current battery voltage / puff counter
- Change from ºC to ºƒ: Press power button and ‘-‘ together to swap between the two temperature readings.
- Selecting wattage/temp setting: Press and hold either the + or the ‘-‘ button. Watt/temp setting will flash. Then use the +/’-‘ buttons to scroll up and down to preferred setting. Settings move in 0.5 increments.
The functions are simple to use once you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with how things work everything should be straightforward.
The function buttons on the base of the Cortex are a little on the small side and can initially be a little fiddly to use but once I got used to the way things worked it became less of an issue for me over time.
Ni200 Coil Performance in Temp Control Mode
I am vaping Ripe Vapes Monkey Snack for this review which is a peanut butter and banana e liquid which isn’t my normal go to juice but one that definitely surprised me. Anyway.. After priming the coils, filling the tank and letting it settle for 5 minutes I took my first drag at 225ºC.
Straight off the bat the flavor was excellent.
Moving through the temp settings I settled at 240ºC and the coil and iSub S tank worked flawlessly with no pulsing due to the DC functionality. After a week of vaping in TC mode I found it to be stable and had no issues.
When the Cortex detected when the tank was running empty it won’t fire and shows a ‘No Liquid’ on the OLED display. If you also attempt to fire the mod (in TC) with e-liquid in the tank but do not take a drag it also shows the ‘No Liquid’ message.
The only thing I found was that the resistance of the coil did fluctuate a small amount on the OLED screen. It didn’t make a noticeable difference to the vape and I have since found that the Cortex needs to have an initial fire of the coil for the chip to lock the resistance to it’s memory.
Kanthal Clapton Coil In Wattage Mode
The Clapton coils have a recommended range of 30-70W. I mentioned before how easy it was to swap these coils out with the easy swap system which allowed me to change to the Clapton with a half full tank of e juice. Quick and easy.
Again the flavor coming through on this coil is excellent, I personally prefer a cooler vape so found my personal sweet spot around the 40-45W mark which still provided a nice warmth to the vape with plenty of clouds. The flavors all came through well for a flavorsome vape.
The iSub clapton coil and the juice I was vaping handled increased wattage up-to 70W but this was too warm a vape for my tastes.
Of course as with any of these coils you will need to experiment until you reach a setting that fits your needs and the e liquid flavor you are using.
Very impressed with the iSub S tank and the Cortex handled everything I tried with ease.
For those that prefer to build their own coils Innokin will be releasing an RBA deck for the iSub S tank to keep an eye out for that!
I was reading an interesting press release regarding the ‘Ultra Low Static power Consumption’ that the Cortex features.
Here is what they had to say:
The CORTEX has an unrivaled average use of just 50nA. Theoretically this means the device can remain on standby for up to 66,000,000 hours / 7,500 years.
With such an ultra-low dissipation, the engineering teams worked together to further improve long term energy conservation, and improve the quality of the device.
Due to time constraints I haven’t been able to test the theoretical standby time out :).
Great to see that Innokin are developing this kind of technology in their products though.
What I Like
I’m a big fan of the design and aesthetics of the Cortex TC mod, the coating used provides a nice tactile device and the rounded edges work perfectly to make a comfortable mod in the hand.
The buttons also have no rattle that adds to the overall solid feel of the mod.
The iSub S tank when used with both the kanthal and temp control work great and the Ikarno S1 chip does a great job of providing a consistent vape in TC mode. Both provided impressive flavor and vapor production.
The kit comes with many extras including three different coil options.
What I Dislike
I suppose ‘dislike’ is too strong a word as there really isn’t anything that would put me off buying the Cortex but there are a couple of things that I’d say were very minor ‘dislikes’.
The first is the OLED screen being located on the base of the mod. When I was getting used to the settings it wasn’t ideal but after using the mod for an extended period of time this didn’t bother me at all. It also makes for a beautiful looking mod!
After all, if I am using the iSub S tank I have no issues just turning the mod upside down if I needed to check or change settings. Something that I didn’t need to do much, if at all, once I was at my preferred setting.
If you are running an RDA on there it may cause some issues and may put some off having to tip the mod.
The second is that the function buttons on the base were to begin with a little awkward as they are quite small. Again, once I was used to the way the functions and settings were selected it wasn’t a major issue.
Final Cortex TC Review Verdict
What can I say, Innokin have done it again producing a fantastic temperature control device. The Cortex TC mod is not just a pretty face but it also performs a treat in all the coil settings with Innokin’s Ikarno S1 chip running the show.
Both the Ni200 coil and Kanthal provided a excellent results.
Paired with the iSub S tank it really is a mod that would be a device I could see myself using day in day out. With the number of vape mods available today the choice is a difficult one for vapers shopping for a new temperature control device.
If you are reading this, I would recommend you put this on your shortlist.
- Quality build. No button rattle
- I really like the coating they have applied. Feels great in the hand.
- Large, clear OLED screen
- Easy to use
- Temp control was stable and worked very well
- In wattage mode the Kanthal Clapton coils gave more of the same great performance
- Isub S tank easy swap coils and top fill design make it a user friendly tank
- Good life from the 3300 mah battery
- The OLED screen on the base may not be to everyone’s liking.
- Function buttons can initially be awkward to use.