• May 28, 2024

Impeccable Performance

 Impeccable Performance

Credit: Mike Huml

Credit: Mike Huml

Although technically a pod system, the Drag X from Voopoo is a cloud-chasing mod that uses a proprietary connection.

By Mike Huml

The Drag X from Voopoo is the latest pod-mod to hit the market, and it has deservedly garnered attention for its looks and performance. Although technically a pod system, it’s better to think of the Drag X as a cloud-chasing mod that uses a proprietary connection in lieu of a 510 connection. Without a doubt, the Drag X is sure to please those looking for large clouds in a small package and no hassle.

The mod section of the Drag X is expertly crafted to look sleek but with a rugged feel. Matte metal is contrasted with polished trim and a leather grip that is a joy to hold and behold. Three-button operation with limited menu options keeps the Drag X from becoming too complicated while still retaining much of the customization that allows for fine-tuning to personal preferences. To complement this, Voopoo’s Gene chip works as a sort of faux temperature control to suggest the best wattage and eliminate burning due to low e-liquid or an excess of power.

The Drag X can provide a minimum of 5 watts and a maximum of 80 watts of power to each of the two available coils, with each having its own recommended range. The tank section is removable, as is the coil, and it’s clear that the tank is intended to be semi-permanent while the coils are continuously replaced. The tank itself is a single piece of plastic with no removable mouthpiece and is held in place with strong magnets.

This makes it very convenient to refill the tank or replace the coil. One only needs to pull off the tank and turn it upside down to reveal the fill port and coil. Filling requires removing the silicone plug, and coil replacement is as easy as sliding the old coil out and the new one in.

Airflow is adjustable, and air intake is located toward the top of the mod section. Large air holes are situated on either side and are adjusted by sliding a peg on the far side of the device, opposite the fire button. This works extremely well as adjustments are easy to make but unlikely to happen accidentally. While more comfortable as a thumb-firing device, the airflow will never be obstructed while firing with either the thumb or forefinger.

Airflow ranges from restricted to wide open, allowing for restricted lung hits and huge, unrestricted lung hits, but the Drag X does not cater particularly well to the mouth-to-lung crowd. Like most devices, it is possible, but the experience will be less than stellar. Both coil varieties feature a large airflow path that will cause mouth-to-lung drags to be harsh on the throat and produce little vapor.

The Drag X will come with a 0.15-ohm coil and a 0.3-ohm coil, which both use a mesh heating element for maximum surface area. This is fantastic for flavor, vapor production and usable power range. The 0.15-ohm coil features a larger airflow path for open lung hits while the 0.3-ohm coil is a bit narrower and works better at slightly lower wattages for restricted lung hits. Direct-lung vaping is the name of the game with the Drag X, with the only question being, “restricted or wide open?”

Based on anecdotal testing, the 0.15-ohm coil performs best between 40 watts and 80 watts while the 0.3-ohm coil is ideal for 25 watts to 45 watts. Additionally, the 0.15-ohm coil features a metal “shield” over each juice inlet that keeps too much liquid from saturating the coil and leaking. Voluminous lung hits require more e-liquid at any given time, but with a vertical-style coil with such a wide airflow path, there is very little room for wicking material, which can easily lead to dry hits.

Voopoo has done its research, and by restricting the juice flow just right, the 0.15-ohm coil never leads to dry hits, even when vaped multiple times in succession, and never leaks when left idle. It’s the perfect amount of juice flow for VG-heavy liquids. Voopoo’s Gene chip also acts as a safeguard against dry hits, automatically detecting if the coil gets too hot and stopping power.

This can be seen when the button is held without taking a drag—after about half a second, the device stops firing. This has the potential to be frustrating, but because of Voopoo’s due diligence, this never interferes with normal use, only kicking in when the tank is running on empty or if the device is fired accidentally.

The Drag X runs on a single 18650 battery that can be removed and replaced or charged internally with an included USB Type-C cable. This is the main downside of a device such as this: An 18650 battery simply cannot last very long providing high power to such a low-resistance coil. The tank holds 4.5 mL of e-liquid, and the battery will need to be charged at least twice before the tank runs out of juice, particularly when approaching the 80 watt maximum.

The vape quality is excellent, but it is difficult to envision the Drag X as being an all-day vape unless the user is carrying extra batteries or a charger along with the device. This can be mitigated by using a lower power setting or opting for the 0.3-ohm coil instead of the 0.15-ohm, and lower wattages actually do not hinder the experience very much. Due to the use of mesh heating elements, 40 watts produces just as much vapor and flavor as 80 watts but with slightly less heat.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of energy, 80 watts is just too much for any 18650 battery to handle in the long term. It’s just the way it’s always been and always will be until a new, revolutionary battery solution becomes available. Luckily, both coils still work extremely well at the lower end of their respective ranges, and this will increase battery life dramatically with virtually no cost to flavor or vapor production.

The menu system is simple and easy to use, while the screen is bright and easily legible. Pressing the fire button five times will turn the Drag X on or off, while holding the fire button and the plus button simultaneously will lock it—these are essentially the same function. The Drag X cannot be fired or adjusted while locked. Pressing the fire button three times will toggle between Smart mode and RBA mode.

While a rebuildable coil option is available separately, both modes will work with the included coils. RBA mode simply disables the Drag X’s automatic shutoff. If for some reason that feature is hindering the vape experience, it can be disabled by switching to RBA mode, and the Drag X will no longer automatically stop firing when there is not enough liquid or when the button is held down inadvertently.

In terms of aesthetics and build quality, the Drag X looks and feels like a solid piece of hardware. Multiple color options are available, and all of them find a beautiful compromise between leathery ruggedness and metallic sleekness. The buttons are clicky and tactile, the airflow adjustment is firm but smooth and the magnetic tank is removed easily yet nothing rattles or wobbles whatsoever. The size is also just about as small as an 18650 device can get, and that puts the Drag X more in the “small mod” category than in the “large pod system” category.

Overall, the Drag X is the perfect device for either advanced vapers who want something more portable than a multi-battery powerhouse for quick excursions, or anyone who wants to sample cloud-chasing without the need for rebuilding or more robust, complicated systems. The only thing holding the Drag X back is the battery, which is no fault of Voopoo’s.

Many 18650 batteries start to falter when used at upward of 50 watts, particularly at low resistances, and there is no way around that. Luckily, batteries can be swapped or charged very quickly, but this is definitely a device that would benefit from a 21700 battery option.

For a small increase in girth, the Drag X would be able to benefit from its full wattage range for much longer periods of time, and that is where this device truly shines—cloud chasing. Being barely a pod system, the Drag X stands on its own as a fantastic cloud-chasing mod that is only being held back by battery restrictions. The vape quality is impeccable, usage is simple and intuitive, and the build quality is impressive. It just does not last very long. Knowing this allows for workarounds such as carrying the USB charger or extra batteries, and that’s why the Drag X doesn’t really work as a pod system.

Pod systems are meant to be simple and effective, and having to carry extra accessories undermines that. However, as a small pocket tank of a cloud-chasing device, the Drag X undoubtedly succeeds. Cloud chasers always want more. More vapor, more flavor, more power. In this case, a little more power may actually be warranted, but that shouldn’t dissuade anyone from giving the Drag X the chance that it deserves.