Revenant Cartel 160 Mod review

Is the Revenant Cartel 160 a customizable powerhouse...or just another pretty face?

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Revenant Cartel 160

Cartel 160 Intro

Out of a collaboration between Revenant Vape and Cartel Mods comes the Revenant Cartel 160 Mod which delivers 160W of customizable vaping power. The mod offers the expected suite of temperature control options (see the full list of specs below), along with a few less common features, listed here:

  • Smart VW – Detects a new atomizer and sets the wattage to an optimal power. The user may still adjust the wattage at any time, and the setting is saved until the atomizer is removed and replaced.
  • Custom Curve of Wattage (CCW) – CCW allows you to set up a custom vaping curve that changes in 0.5 second increments to your preference.
  • Custom Curve of Temperature (CCT) – Much the same as the CCW function, this allows custom vaping curves in temperature control mode.
  • Bypass – Allows use of the Cartel 160 as a mechanical device.

Revenant and Cartel have taken all of this vaping goodness and wrapped it in your choice of colorful resin or stabilized wood with brushed stainless steel accents, and the end result ensures that each mod is as unique as its owner – in both form and function.

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Cartel 160 Gallery

Cartel 160 Specs and Features

Kit Content

  • Revenant Cartel Mod
  • USB charge/upgrade cable
  • 25mm stainless steel ring with Revenant logo

Specifications

  • Size: 95.2 x 51.2 x 26.2mm
  • Output modes: Smart VW/VT/TCR/BYPASS/CCW/CCT
  • Output wattage: 5-160W
  • Resistance range: 0.05-5Ω
  • Temperature range: 100-315℃/200-600℉
  • Voltage range: 0-8.5V
  • Battery: Two lithium 18650 (not included)
  • Display: 0.91” OLED
  • Front Micro USB port
  • USB upgradeable firmware

Notable Remarks

The Cartel 160 used for this review was resin with an uninspiring swirl of purple, pink and white, though the matte finish was pleasantly silky to the touch. The mod feels well made, but there just wasn’t any real “WOW factor”. I had hoped to get a stabilized wood sample, but no joy.

Upon installing a pair of Samsung 25R batteries I immediately noticed that the hinged battery door latched fine but did not close flush with the bottom of the mod. I tried pairs of Sony and LG batteries with the same result. It’s a minor quibble, but on a $150 mod I expect better – the door on my $35 Cuboid closes flush…just sayin’.

Performance

Revenant Cartel 160

I attached an RDA with dual claptons at 0.48Ω to the Revenant Cartel 160 and it detected the atomizer, asking if this was a “new load” or “old load”. I selected “new” and the Smart VW feature set the power to 35W, which seemed a bit low for the wire mass of the claptons, so I dialed it up to 50W and got a decent vape. Next I went to 80W and of course got tons of vapor as expected. I don’t have the lungs for much more, but briefly went as high as 100W and the mod performed flawlessly in VW mode.

Digging deeper into the menus, I fussed with the CCW mode and set up a curve to to hit the claptons hard for a couple seconds and shorten the ramp time, then drop to my preferred wattage. It worked great, and I could see that the possibilities are nearly infinite. You can set up a roller coaster wave if you want, with each 0.5-second interval alternating anywhere between 5-160W (I don’t know why, but you could), and do it all on the fly, without a PC.

Next, I swapped the RDA for a sub ohm tank with a single 0.5Ω Kanthal coil and as expected the mod asked if this was a new or old load. I selected “new” and the Smart VW feature set the output to 32W, which was just about perfect for my taste.

I’m not certain how this mod determines optimal wattage with the Smart VW feature, but based on the results I got, I suspect it merely checks resistance and assumes single wire coils. For example, it selected 35W for dual clapton coils at 0.48Ω, and 32W for a single Kanthal coil at 0.5Ω. The single coil vaped fine at 35W, but the wire mass of the claptons required a wattage much higher than the recommended 35W to produce satisfactory vapor.

To put the Revenant Cartel 160 through its temp control paces, I filled another sub ohm tank with a watermelon e-liquid and selected TC Ni mode. With the 0.15Ω nickel coil set at 200℃ the mod gave me a sweet flavorful vape with good density and just a hint of warmth. Perfect for the fruity liquid, and, of course, no dry hits. As with the CCW node, I navigated to the CCT mode and it performed exactly as promised.

Likes

  • Performance
  • Ability to make semi-complex changes with no PC

Dislikes

  • Smart VW not always on point
  • Battery door
  • Resin is merely OK (give me wood baby)

Verdict

OK, admittedly, this is not an Evolv DNA 200, yet having the freedom to make semi-complex adjustments on the go is a cool feature if that’s important to you, and the Cartel 160 mod does enough to satisfy most vaping demands and a bit more.

But the pressing question: Is it worth the near $200 retail price? Even though VaporDNA has it on sale for $149.99, it is still high… even on sale!

For me, a 160W stabilized wood TC mod at $150-200 seems like a pretty nice deal, and I suspect they will disappear quickly. Conversely, the resin version is much more pedestrian, even underwhelming.

For my dollar, there are other mods offering better looks and greater value. One example of a stunning new mod that will be available in resin and stabilized wood is the soon to be release Sigelei Swallowtail. It is hands down a screaming value at 70 bucks and a real looker. Granted it’s only a 70W mod, and offers no customization but it makes an unquestionable design statement at 1/2 the cost of the Revenant (when the Revenant is on sale).

Being able to develop custom vaping curves and ramp times just isn’t that big of a deal for me, and if it were I would already own a DNA 200 and be up to my elbows in EScribe.

And if all you want is a box with some unique features there’s also the 150W Hohm Wrecker G2 which actually does temperature limiting with Kanthal, so yeah, there’s other interesting options in the market.

As always, you guys are the ones who will ultimately decide. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Gary Joseph

Gary is a retired technical writer residing in the metro Detroit area. Besides vaping, and writing for Vaping360, some of his other interests include motorcycling, watch collecting, bicycling and fitness.

  • Tony Glock

    This thing only outputs up to 5 volts? Is that a typo?

    • Gary Joseph

      It’s 8.5V as listed in the specifications.