Introduction – The Luxotic Surface Kit by Wismec
Thew Wismec Surface Squonk kit is from a brand that most experienced vapers amongst you will be well familiar with by now.
Their Reuleaux range of mods has been a vaper’s staple since the brand’s inception and over the years, they’ve released numerous high performance mods that have impressed vapers on all fronts.
Amongst their latest releases you’ll find the Wismec sinuous V80 and the Sinuous V200, along with the cute Wismec Reuleaux Tinker and, a little less recently the Luxotic BF Kit, which I had the pleasure of reviewing and which I really enjoyed.
That said, I was pumped to get my hands on the Luxotic Surface Kit which features the kestrel Squonk RDTA (which is a new thing altogether, for me) and looks striking with it’s funky designs and compact, portable size…but did it impress me in other areas too? You’ll have to read on to find out.
What’s In The Box
- Wismec Luxotic Surface Mod
- Wismec Kestrel RDTA
- Spare glass
- Mesh heating element
- Squonk bottle
- User manual
- Size: 78×25.5×43.5mm
- Battery: Single 18650 (not included)
- Output: 1-80W
- User modes: PVW, Bypass, TC (Ni, SS, Ti), TCR
- Display: 0.49in OLED
- Squonk bottle capacity: 6.5ml
- Resistance range: 0.05-3ohm
- Upgraded Avatar chip set
- Instant fire – 0.001 seconds
- Multiple circuit protection
- Size: 24×36.7mm
- Capacity: 2ml
- Mesh heating element
- Long lifespan heating mesh
- Side refilling port
- Side airflow control
Build Quality & Design
I believe my first words on opening the standard, black Wismec box packaging and laying eyes on the tiny but solid looking Luxotic Surface kit was, “F*ck yes!” The gorgeous design of my Unistar (colour) Luxotic and the matching drip tip on the kestrel RDTA really make this kit pop on first impressions.
Wismec Luxotic Surface Mod
Okay, so the Surface is very similar in shape and dimensions to the Luxotic BF Kit which I own, the only difference being rounded edges, instead of squared off edges and the fact that the Surface is about 1mm taller and narrower when you’re facing it from the squonk bottle side.
Visually the mod differs in that there’s no brushed metal finish…the chassis, apparently, is a mix of zinc alloy, ABS, POM and a bunch of other acronyms which are, I hear, safe to use. The entire kit is black, with just the removable front panel and the drip tip in the design of your choice.
Colours are super bright and attractive and the mod feels weighty but comfortable in hand, with the finish appearing to be completely scratch resistant.
The back of the mod has the Wismec brand cast into the middle, with a sort of double Y shape surrounding the brand as a sort of grip texturing.
The top of the mod is clean save for an SS tank seating with a deep, spring loaded, high quality BF connection.
Because the Luxotic, which houses the Avatar chip, is regulated and full featured, you get a control panel down one side with an almost rectangular, thumb tip sized fire button, with a fine dot texturing and a muffled but very much present click.
Below that is a 0.49” OLED screen which displays pictorial battery level, wattage, resistance and voltage.
Below that are two side-by-side adjustment buttons with the same texturing as the fire button and all controls and screen are placed within the upper half of that one narrow side of the mod.
This mod does not support onboard charging, so there is no micro USB port.
Like the original Luxotic, the Surface has a magnetised grid at the base, which you remove, along with the magnetised front panel, in order to slide out and refill the silicon squonk bottle which is inside.
In the Wismec Surface mod, this little metal grid, which has a tab at the side for access, actually has a very noticeable shift when you try to wobble it…it clicks from side to side, which is not great.
The decorated side panel stays on with the help of 3 huge magnets and is removed to reveal a snug chamber for one 18650, with a small box that houses the chip and such and a silicon squonk bottle below that.
The bottle has a nice SS cap and, to my pleasure, slides down and out the bottom, leaving behind a silicon stopper, which will eliminate leakage within the mod and a long SS tube which ensures you draw your juice from the very bottom of the bottle.
Unless you are careful, the battery chamber screen or decorated panel tends to go in at an angle when you try to replace it, you have to align it carefully in order to let the magnets snap it back on in perfect position.
Now, the squonk RDTA is by no means an innovation, since Asmodus did it in the Nefarius, as well as iJoy With their Combo Squonk RDTA, amongst others…however, I have never used one of these myself.
What is definitely new here is the mesh plate that this RDTA employs, which, allegedly, is not only super durable, but also replaceable, with a spare which is included in the accessories here.
The base of this RDTA, which has a BF 510 connection at the bottom (can be replaced with a regular pin) is basically just a thin SS disc, with enough thickness for a single o-ring to seal the glass in place.
Above that is a small tank section, down into which a sheet of cotton drapes on either side, with a mesh plate element fitted over the cotton in the chamber, and a covering contraption which screws in above the plate to hold it in place. This contraption also channels airflow through the side airflow slots and over the top of the plate.
It sounds weird and it is weird but it looks like it might work, although I am not sure why they have allowed this sealing piece to cut across the top of the plate and effectively seal off the airflow over a large portion of its surface…that seems like a bit of a waste which might hinder flavour production.
Above this 2ml tank section you see the chamber which has a single piece top cap and outer barrel, tapered at the top to a very nice looking resin drip tip, which looks like an 810 from the outside but actually has the opening size of a 510 inside.
The bottom of this barrel features the same indented dot texturing as the control buttons.
There is a small, 5mm airflow slot either side the barrel and, when you pull that barrel off, a fill slot is revealed on the side of the inner barrel, for when you’re using this RDTA in a non-squonking capacity.
It’s easy to mistake the fill slot for one of the airflow slots when you replace the top cap after a look at your coils, so just watch out for that.
I also noticed that the tapered part of the top cap does not conceal a domed internal space but rather a solid, infilled section which diminishes the airspace above those coils.
I’m seeing a lot of elements here which look as if they will restrict the airflow, that small inner space, small airflow slots and a narrow, possibly sub-510 drip tip. Let’s see how she vapes.
All the tools are included for removing the seal and changing the coil, as well as an extra coil/mesh-plate, cotton sheets, o-rings and an extra squonk bottle. No cable is included as there is no onboard charge here.
How Does The Wismec Luxotic Surface Perform?
Okay, so…as I suspected, airflow is extremely tight on this set up, combined with a high noise factor when you draw that gets worse the tighter you set that airflow.
On the flavour front, I’m disappointed to say that this is not the kind of flavour I would expect from a mesh and RDTA combo.
I’m currently vaping a DIY vape juice, coolant creme soda flavour, in two tanks, one is the Kestrel, the other is a regular sub-ohm tank with mesh coils at the same resistance and at the same wattage and I’m disappointed to say that the flavour is particularly muted on the Kestrel…even compared to the regular sub ohm tank.
Dripping onto these coils alleviates that problem but this is not a dripper, because of the narrow opening in the drip tip which traps your juice…it’s supposed to be an RDTA though, but it’s not really rebuildable and it isn’t a dripper. Hmmmm.
I think that the tiny perforations on the mesh plate may be responsible, combined with other factors like the obscuring of surface area on the plate and the positioning of the airflow over the top of the plate. It just isn’t satisfying, flavour wise.
Vapour production is good but the vapour is dull, with a lack of flavour…sorry!
As far as squonking and convenience goes…with this RDTA squonker setup to supposedly make things easier….it doesn’t.
I’ve found that only the first squeeze on a full bottle works to fill the tank, after which a vacuum is created inside the silicon bottle, which you then have to expose by opening the mod and try to squeeze at the very bottom of the bottle…which barely helps, actually.
Every single time I use it, I have this issue and it is, therefore, much less than convenient.
Another inconvenience is the little grid cover at the base of the mod. I can see this thing getting lost in future, as it has a tendency to slide off and dislodge when in use, in a bag or in a pocket.
I also found that, after one or two squonk bottles full of my regular juice was done, a heavy residue lay all over the mesh plate, probably seriously affecting flavour, which is not good to begin with and which I have not noticed with the same juice on other coils.
I find myself getting plenty dry hits here, thanks to a squonker that really fills the tank and a mesh plate that vapourises at a high rate, draining a just wet wick very quickly.
Beyond that, controls are responsive, with accurate new coil readings and solid, accurate feeling power performance.
TC, on the other hand, feels cold all round, the temperatures just feel lower than they should, for both Ni and SS.
Controls are intuitive, hand feel is good and heat distribution and resistance is great, right through the device’s range.
How To Fill
If filling manually:
- Pull off the barrel
- Fill through the side fill slot…not one of the airflow slots
- Replace the barrel
- Remove the base grid and the front panel
- Slide the bottle out the bottom
- Replace, pushing until the stopper seals the bottle in
- Replace the panels
- Squeeze until the tank fills up
How To Change the Coil
- Remove the barrel/top cap
- Unscrew the two microscopic screws but don’t remove them, as they are difficult to deal with when loose because they are tiny
- Pull out the sealing piece once the screws are loose, holding upright to keep the screws in place
- Remove the mesh plate
- Remove the wick and replace that if necessary
- Replace the plate
- Replace the plastic sealing plate
Stock Coil Performance
The mesh heating plates, which clock in at 0.25 Ohm but quickly rise in resistance with the muck build up on the plate, quite simply don’t float my boat.
I’ve been vaping this coil, which is now at 0.3 Ohms, at 60 W and juice consumption and vapour production are massive…but without the flavour.
I wanted to love these coils but unfortunately the lack of flavour defeats the purpose of an RDTA and a squonker for me.
The quick muck build up on the coils (which isn’t the result of the juice I’m using, but more a result of excessive dry hits and a very fine perforation which maybe doesn’t allow particles through the coil, actually leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Ease of build
Wismec are calling this an RDTA but there is nothing DIY about it, as you can only fit it with these mesh plates, which I don’t fancy at all. Refitting is easy enough, but the screws are near microscopic.
How To Operate the Menu System
- 5 clicks on
- 5 Clicks off
- 3 Clicks to enter Mode Menu
- Left or right to scroll
- Fire to select
How To Replace The batteries
- Remove the coloured front panel
- Remove the battery
- Replace according to markers
- Replace the panel
Battery life is average and what you would expect from a single 18650 vape, giving me about 6-7 hours of solid 60W vaping.
- Scratch proof finish
- bright and attractive decorative finish
- ergonomic size and shape
- Solid power performance
- Good vapour production
- It’s not really a Rebuildable, is it
- The narrow drip tip opening is not sufficient for use as a dripper
- Flavour is very poor
- Very rapid muck build up on the mesh plate
- Lots of dry hits
- Vacuum forms inside the squonk bottle when you squeeze, making filling the tank almost impossible
- The metal grid on the base dislodges and comes off in pocket’s, bags and hand
Final Review Verdict
I wanted to like this, it looked so good on the SURFACE but that is where the goodness ends. I find vaping on the kestrel RDTA and Luxotic Surface mod both frustrating and unsatisfying and I am sorry to say that I simply can’t recommend it. Difficulties squonking and a near complete lack of flavour have just left me with a (literal) bad taste in my mouth, sorry! If you’re after a Luxotic, go for the BF model instead.
Would I buy the Wismec Surface squonk mod kit if I lost/broke the device? No, I would buy myself something that does what it’s supposed to, instead.