The OLC Stratum Zero is without doubt absolutely stunning as to if it vapes as well as it looks…we shall see in this review.
I’ve been on a bit of a mosfet kick recently (see what I did there?) and I’ve been very much enjoying tube mods with chips.
Now I know that the mech purists out there will be tearing their hair out, but if you’ve been curious about these, then I recently picked up one of the sharpest looking out there!
What Can We Expect From The OLC Stratum Zero?
OLC are Russian modders that have been creating some seriously impressive bits of kit since 2014.
They are probably most well known for their squonkers, but have also made some beautiful regulated devices as well.
The Stratum Zero came in three different configurations originally:
- The Classic, matte finish, with 18650 Battery Cap and 22mm Top Cap only
- The Elegance, matte finish, with 18650 and 21700 Battery Caps, and 22mm and 24mm Top Caps
- The Prestige, polished finish, same accessories as the Elegance
For this review I have the Prestige Edition.
The only other difference between the three editions, is the engraving of the “0” on the side switch, and the logo at the base.
For the Classic the 0 is engraved, the Elegance has the engraving reversed, with the 0 standing in an engraved black box.
Whilst the Prestige has the same reversed engraving, but instead of a black box, it has a fine cross-hatch detailing.
There are a couple of other variations out there, including the Ornament, which has very detailed engraving down the whole mod – the Crystal, with a textured finish – and Black versions featuring PVD coating of the Ornament, Prestige and Crystal.
I picked up this mod from Vapstor for my own personal use.
In The Box
- Stratum Zero Mosfet Mod
- 18650 Battery Cap (installed)
- 22mm Top Cap (installed)
- 21700/20700 Battery Cap
- 24mm Top Cap
- OLC Mosfet V2.0 (installed)
- 2x 18650 Adapters
- Authenticity card with serial number and edition
One of the things I love about high end devices is their packaging, and the Stratum Zero certainly holds it’s own here.
It comes in a smart black wooden box with a latch, and when you open it, everything is beautifully laid out in front of you.
The mod comes preinstalled with the 18650 battery cap, and the 22mm top cap, but the additional sizes have their own cut outs.
The one (tiny) thing that detracts from it, is that the authenticity card, which is actually a piece of metal, with the same size and engraving as the switch, is in a little plastic spares bag type of bag.
This looks slightly cheap in the packaging, compared to the sumptuousness of the rest, but please note I’m only talking about the bag.
An engraved piece of metal for your authenticity card?
- Dimensions: 25.7mm diameter x 80.8mm (21700) / 75.2mm (18650)
- Weight: 65g
- Power Output – Direct output from the battery
- Battery – 18650 or 21700/20700
What is a Mosfet?
Mosfet is actually an acronym, standing for Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor.
I’m not going to go into much detail here, but what it allows is a small switch, that doesn’t have to handle the full power of the battery, to then let power flow from the battery to the atomizer.
Additionally mosfets can have some protections built in, as there can be conditions that allow the mod to not fire when the switch is pressed.
I’ll be covering the protections the Stratum Zero comes with later.
Design and Build Quality
The mod comes in 3 pieces, 4 if you count the mosfet.
Even with the slightly longer 21700, this is a very small mod.
In fact whilst one of the reasons that people love mechs is their small size, by not having a big bottom switch, this manages to be smaller than the Timesvape Keen, which is the smallest 21700 mechs I’ve used.
It’s made of stainless steel throughout, and the Prestige edition has a slight polish to it.
Not mirror finish, so that it collects tiny scratches and dust, but very smooth.
All the threading is clean and screws together perfectly with no crunching or wobbles.
OLC Stratum Zero Top Cap
The top cap is curved in, and has walls that rise up 1mm above the base of atomizer to create a seamless look.
You have the option of either a 22mm cap, or a 24mm cap.
You cannot fit anything more than a 24mm atty on this because of the recessed connection, so keep this in mind.
There is the tiniest gap between the top cap and body, and for the life of me I can’t work out why.
Removing the mosfet allows the two pieces to screw together absolutely flush, but with the mosfet in place, there is a gap of about half a millimetre.
I would never normally pick up a mod for something this minor, but for such an expensive mod, it seems strange that they couldn’t engineer it to marry up perfectly.
Unscrewing the top cap and you can see the mosfet sitting at the top.
This tiny little disk is the “brains” of the mod, so you want to be careful with it!
It is sealed against liquid ingress, but I would still treat it gently.
On the plus side, if you ever do have a problem with it, it’s easy to replace.
But if you don’t have a replacement, then you won’t have any way to fire your mod.
Personally I always buy a spare for a mod with mosfet, as you have no idea how easy it will be to get a hold of one 3 or 4 years down the line.
This is the Version 2 of the mosfet, described as “military grade”, there is now a V3 version (currently available in the Black version of the Zero) which has an LED integrated to let you know the lock status, short circuit alert, etc.
The main body of the mod has an hourglass shape which is really comfortable to hold. With the mosfet sitting at the top of the mod, you press the switch by pressing in on the side panel that has “Stratum 0” engraved on it.
Running down either side of the text are two cuts that allow this whole section to push in slightly by bending near the base.
The engraving on this section means it’s really to identify by feel, and I never found myself hunting for more than a second or so.
OLC Stratum Zero Battery Cap
Finally at the base of the mod you have your battery cap.
This will come preinstalled with the 18650 cap, but you can swap that out for the 21700/20700 cap.
Engraved on the bottom is the OLC logo with “Vape Manufacturer Since 2014”.
One quibble I did have is that since the threading is on the outside of the mod, you are going to get a tiny gap between the main tube and the cap.
This definitely isn’t major, and with batteries varying slightly in length, it’s pretty unavoidable without some other way of taking up the slack.
If I hadn’t known what these were before opening the box, I would probably have been a bit confused by the two rubber rings that are included!
These are actually for if you are using an 18650 battery, they go around the battery, and get ride of the sideways movement you’d have putting an 18650 into a space for a 21700.
The difference in height is accommodated by the different end cap.
This is a single switch device like a traditional mech, but unlike a mech it has a 3 clicks on/3 clicks off.
I’ve had experience with other mosfets not always recognising clicks, and sometimes requiring a couple of goes.
This was never an issue with the OLC Stratum Zero though, and every time I clicked it on and off, it responded as expected.
The switch itself is on the side of the tube near the top, parallel cuts in the stainless steel mean that the section with the mods name, presses in due the metal bending slightly near the bottom.
Whilst that sounds like it’s going to give you a spongy switch, this is anything but, as the actual switch is on the mosfet and is incredibly clicky and satisfying.
OLC Stratum Zero Protection
Because this has a chip, you do have some protection.
However my advice with any device like this, is to treat it like a mechanical mod, and if you don’t know your ohms law, how to build to a specific resistance, and battery safety, then I wouldn’t recommend this.
That said, the protections you get are:
- Reverse Polarity Protection
- Over discharge (cuts off at 2.65V)
- 10 second cutoff
- Short Circuit Protection
The minimum resistance the mod will fire is dependent on the battery, and will go down to 0.07Ω.
However I do not recommend building anything this low!
But it is nice to see that it can handle lower resistance builds, as a lot of mosfet devices won’t fire below a 0.2Ω.
How Does the OLVC Stratum Zero Perform?
As primarily a MTL vaper, I popped on my Kayfun Lite 24mm (2019) for the majority of my time with this.
I used VandyVape’s Microfine Fused Clapton wire to make a coil that settled at around 0.55Ω.
There’s really not much to say about this, as despite the mosfet, this is almost as simple as a mech. However my thoughts on a couple of things are below.
Read more: Mouth To Lung (MTL) VS Direct To Lung (DTL)
This thing fires instantly, there’s really not much else to say!
As soon as you press the button, you get the full power of the battery.
I kept on having to remind myself there was actually a chip in there, because aside from it being a side switch, rather than the bottom switch, this feels just like using a mech.
OLC Stratum Zero Voltage Drop
Unfortunately I don’t have a the tools to test this, but whatever voltage drop there is, seems negligible.
With an MTL tank, you would probably never notice, so I also tested out a couple of RDAs with between a 0.15 and 0.2 coil.
Firing these it performed perfectly, and certainly felt like I was getting the full power of the battery.
Read more: Best RDAs
- Beautiful fit and finish
- High quality mosfet
- Performs like a mech, with some additional safeties
- Slight gaps between body and top/battery caps
Final Review Verdict
This is an interesting review for me, as it’s the first time I have published a review on a piece of equipment I bought for myself.
It’s important that you know this, because whilst we always say that freebies don’t influence our reviews (and they don’t), it’s also important to remain impartial when you are reviewing something that you have bought, and spent not inconsiderable money on.
There’s always a temptation to make something sound perfect, to justify the fact that you bought it.
I don’t like the term “high end” much, as it sounds like it is an exclusive club.
In reality, it’s mostly the cost of these that tend to keep their numbers small.
Lots of people can afford a £200+ mod, but not many are actually going to want to spend that sort of money, when in terms of what they do, you can get mods for a quarter the cost that do more.
In fact, if you want a mosfet single battery mod, both Cthulhu and Ambition Mods have come out with nice 18650 tube mods, that fill a similar role (I own these as well).
I hope that my review has been fair, and that you’ve got a better understanding of this mod.
It’s not perfect.
But it is possibly one of the nicest pieces of kit I’ve gotten my hands on.
The only points it loses are whether I would want to spend that sort of money a second time if I lost it, I don’t regret spending it once, but I would have to think seriously if I ever lost it!
As well as losing a half point for the tiniest of gaps on the two end caps.
Is this a mod you’re using or looking to buy?
Let us know in the comments below!