The ZQ Trio RTA is the first ever tank from the company, so I was very interested in reviewing this one!
More specifically, it’s a mouth to lung rebuildable tank atomiser, with three airflow rings.
I honestly had never heard of ZQ before I reviewed their Essent last year.
As a chunky single 21700 box mod, I kind of expected their first thank to match up to it. So 25 or 26mm, maybe a stock coil direct lung sort of tank.
Turns out it’s none of those!
What Can We Expect From The Trio by ZQ?
The ZQ Trio RTA is a diminutive 22mm tank, so it’s going to fit nicely on the majority of mods out there without worrying about overhand.
It only has a 2ml capacity, which makes sense as it’s the maximum allowable in TPD areas. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be any way to expand this, but that might change in the future.
It’s unique selling point is that it has a, slightly bonkers, three airflow control rings! This gives you a total of 143 different airflow combinations.
As I always bang on about, airflow is one of the most important things to get right, and especially with a mouth to lung tank it can make all the difference.
The real question will be whether this is genuinely useful, or just a gimmick to help it stand out.
This was sent over directly from ZQ (thank you) as usual, this in no way affects my score, and I shall report back honestly with what I find.
Inside The Box
- Trio RTA
- 2x Drip tip – Narrow Bore (preinstalled) and Wide Bore
- Spares bag with o-rings, spare deck screws and screwdriver
- 0.5Ω Pre-Built Coil
- 0.8Ω Pre-Built Coil
- 2x Shoelace Cotton
- User Manual
I’m afraid I don’t know what the coils are made of, as ZQ don’t put that information anywhere.
But the 0.5Ω looks to be a fused clapton, whereas the 0.8Ω is a simple twisted wire.
ZQ Trio RTA Specs
- Dimensions – 22.5mm x 54mm
- Weight – 65g
- Airflow – 3x Airflow Control Rings (Bottom, Side and Top)
- Coil – Single Coil
- Capacity – 2ml
Design and Build Quality
The ZQ Trio RTA comes in three different colours: Black, Stainless (reviewed here) and Gunmetal.
Ultem fans will be happy, as all three colourways use an ultem window and drip tip.
The ultem tank section and tip of the wide bore drip tip do unscrew, so it’s certainly something ZQ could potentially change in the future.
In fact on their website there’s already a picture of a larger tank section in a clear material, as well as a matching section for the drip tip.
As with the Essent, it comes in a very nice black cardboard box, with gold accents.
ZQ Trio RTA Body
All of the threads on this tank are nice and smooth, there’s no crunching or grinding.
The one thing to be careful of is the Ultem tank section, as that’s plastic screwing on to metal.
If you decide to unscrew it, or ZQ offer options to change it in the future.
Be very careful as cross threading will destroy the threads on ultem.
ZQ Trio RTA Drip Tips
It’s a tiny thing, but I always really appreciate it when a company gives you a choice of drip tips.
In this case there’s a thinner bore, more suited to mouth to lung, as well as a wider bore that will suit restricted direct lung.
My first minus point has to go to a bit of bad luck on the mouth to lung drip tip.
Firstly I discovered that one of the o-rings had a slight bulge in it, so it wouldn’t seat properly and got squidged out the side. Easily fixed by swapping out for one in the spares bag.
More worryingly, when I looked down the drip tip I could see something inside it. A quick bit of work with a set of tweezers and I pulled out a tiny sliver of metal!
This was lodged inside of the drip tip, and I don’t want to imagine what would happen if you accidentally inhaled it.
This just reinforces the fact that when you get a new tank you should always give it a thorough clean and check over before vaping it.
We don’t have a scoring section for Quality Control, so I’m afraid this will lose some marks on Build Quality.
It’s probably incredibly unlucky this happened to me, but I can only review what I receive.
ZQ Trio RTA Top Cap
The top cap is threaded, with a handful of ornamental marks that allow you to get a grip on it. I wish they were a little more pronounced, but I’m nit picking.
It is quite a lot of unscrewing to get the top cap off, about two and a half full rotations.
Which just goes to show how much we’ve become used to slide open, or bayonet top fill.
Underneath the top cap, you have two generously sized, kidney shaped fill holes.
ZQ Trio RTA – Top Airflow Control Ring
When I first saw this tank advertised, this is the bit that confused me the most.
The top airflow control ring has some nice knurling on it, and has three equally sized holes (1mm).
It stops at fully open and fully closed, but it is possible to push this up if you take the tank to pieces so that it doesn’t.
If you find yours spinning freely, just take the top cap off, take off the airflow ring, and make sure that it is lined up with the notch.
The confusing part is that any air coming in from this airflow, doesn’t hit your coil at all. In fact the airflow from this ring is just to allow you to have a more open, airier draw.
Obviously as it’s not going to touch your coil, this extra air won’t have any flavour or vapour on it.
So we shall see if this means it looses flavour down in the testing.
ZQ Trio RTA – Tank Section
The main section of the tank is stainless steel, in whichever of the three colours you chose, with Trio engraved on one side.
Although I’m not normally a fan of obvious branding, I actually don’t mind this.
I think in part because it doesn’t have any colour added to it.
But also because it looks like an ornamental detail when you glance at it, rather than a big bit of branding.
Below the metal section is your ultem window to keep an eye on your e-liquid. I know a lot of people don’t like ultem due to the colour, but I’ve always been a fan.
Plus it’s phenomenally resistant against aggressive e-liquids, and can’t shatter like glass.
ZQ Trio RTA – Middle & Base Airflow Control Rings
Not one, but two airflow control rings are at the bottom of your tank.
They each have 5 differently sized pinhole openings, 0.8, 0.9, 1.9, 1.2 and 1.5mm. So plenty of choice.
The upper one is side airflow for your coil.
The air goes in through the base, then comes up through the walls on either side of your coil.
You’ll be able to see the holes for this airflow when we look at the deck.
The lower one is bottom airflow.
This comes up directly underneath your coil, and the aperture on the hole underneath your airflow is 1.5mm.
ZQ Trio RTA – the Deck
The deck is very easy to build on, with offset, flat-head, post screws.
There’s a little lip on either side of the screw so it doesn’t matter (within reason!) how long or short your coil is, as the legs can go on either side.
Your wick ports are nice and big, with three little holes for your e-liquid to get in.
In this photo you can see both the bottom airflow, that comes up through a 1.5mm hole directly under your coil. As well as one of the two side airflows, that comes out the solid wall next to your post screws.
It’s a neatly designed deck, and looks like it should be plenty easy to build on.
ZQ Trio RTA – Base
On the base you have a gold plated 510.
Mech users note that the positive pin is barely protruding at all, so I do not recommend using this on a hybrid!
Safety out of the way, you have your usual regulatory marks as well as the ZQ logo and a serial number.
How To Build the ZQ Trio RTA –
- Unscrew your deck screws
- Place your coil and clam it under the screw heads
- Use a coiling jig or screwdriver to straighten up and align your coil
- Trim your coil legs as close to the deck as you can to avoid shorts
- Dry fire your coil and rake it with ceramic tweezers to get it glowing evenly
- Feed your cotton through the coil
- Trim your cotton so that it will fall into the juice wells without being so much that it clogs the three tiny juice holes, thin out as necessary
- Once your cotton is placed, prime it with eliquid
- Once it’s assembled you can reattach the main tank section
How To Fill The ZQ Trio RTA –
Unscrew the top cap to access your fill ports and fill with you preferred e-liquid.
Although this tank doesn’t have any juice flow control, I never had any problems with liquid being pushed out the airflow holes when you reattach the top cap. Wicking is key!
If you do run into issues where you have e-liquid coming out your airflow holes, there’s an old trick that can help.
- Close all your airflow holes
- Fill it
- Start to screw the top down until you feel the threads starting to bite
- Turn the tank upside down and screw the top cap on fully
- Open your airflow control rings
- Turn it back up the right way
But as I say, if you get the wicking right this shouldn’t be a problem.
How Does the ZQ Trio RTA Perform?
I’ve now been testing the ZQ Trio for several weeks.
I’ve tried a number of different builds, and various e-liquids from 70/30 VG/PG Berry Ice by Simple Vape Company, to 50/50 where I’ve used HKD’s Psycho.
ZQ Trio RTA – Airflow and Cloud Production
OK, there are apparently 143 different airflow combinations… no, I’m not going to write them all up!
If you get this tank, my honest opinion is that you should test it out thoroughly until you find what works well for you!
Having said that I’ll go through some of the things I’ve noticed.
With all of the airflow set to maximum, it’s comfortable restricted direct lung. On a 1 to 10 scale with 1 being cheek poppingly tight, and 10 being fully open, it’s a 7.
If you close down the top airflow, then it becomes a bit more restrictive and goes to a 6. Still a very a nice restricted direct lung.
Clouds are pretty decent as well, though this is still primarily a mouth to lung tank.
Mid Settings on Bottom and Middle Airflow
Playing around in the middle of the airflow settings, you really can fine tune your vape a whole lot.
There’s a different quality to the airflow from the side and bottom airflow, and so you can have a lot of fun switching between the various options.
In this range it becomes a loose mouth to lung tank, or a very restrictive direct lung.
Shutting it right down so that it is only the 0.8mm airflow hole on the bottom airflow, it’s a pure mouth to lung tank.
It doesn’t feel like it closes down as far as it might, but it is still pretty tight. On the 1-10 scale this is now a 2.5.
One of the reasons for it not getting as tight as it can, is always going to be a problem with tanks that rely on airflow rings.
As the diameter of the airflow underneath your coil has to be wide enough to allow all the air to go through.
As it’s a 1.5mm under your coil, even though you are taking less air in, it has the opportunity to spread out a bit and become less focused.
This isn’t really a criticism, as it is just the way things work!
ZQ Trio RTA – Flavour
Testing this out I was really impressed with flavour and versatility of this tank.
Very Little Air
Everything closed, with the bottom airflow on the smallest setting, it was giving me a really smooth full flavoured MTL vape.
Both simple round wire, and mouth to lung focused claptons gave me absolutely great flavour.
Switching over to the side airflow only, the flavour dropped off a little, so my advice would be to use bottom airflow if you’re only going to have one open, and use the side airflow to augment it.
Opening it it up to the middle sections, for a loose mouth to lung or restricted direct lung inhale, the flavour really shines. Based on my testing this is where I’m happiest with this tank.
Both high VG and 50/50 e-liquids are able to be vaped very comfortably with a lot more flavour on the higher VG juices than I am used to from mouth to lung focused tanks.
Finally opening everything up gives you a really solid, semi restrictive direct lung vape. Flavour is still really good.
One thing that’s worth noting is that although the top airflow doesn’t contribute anything to the flavour, crucially it also doesn’t take away from it.
So if you do want some more airflow, don’t be shy about opening it up.
It’s effectively the same as “slipstreaming” which is an older mouth to lung technique where you allow some extra air in around the edges of your drip tip.
- Great flavour
- Really versatile from MTL to restricted DL
- Nice fit and finish (also see cons)
- Only 2ml, not really their fault as it is a TPD restriction, but I hope for an extension kit in the future!
- Quality Control was an issue with mine unit, no one wants loose shards of metal in their drip tips!
Final Review Verdict
So that was the ZQ Trio RTA.
For a company that has previously only made pods, I am incredibly impressed with this little tank.
So many tanks purport to allow you to get a good mouth to lung vape and direct lung. But what usually ends up happening is that they can’t do either very well.
ZQ bucks this trend with a tank that is incredibly enjoyable throughout it’s airflow range. Although it can’t quite manage the absolute cheek popping tightness of a very focused mouth to lung, it covers a really useful variety of airflow options.
I feel slightly bad that my version had a quality control issue with the loose metal in the drip tip, because aside from that the build quality is top notch and would have merited another 2 points.
It’s unlucky, but it would be wrong to pretend it didn’t happen.
For a company that seems to have come from no where, I’m very impressed with the quality of what they have been putting out.