Early on in the vaping industry’s urgent ramping up to higher-power box mods, Chinese vaping manufacturer Sigelei was quick on the draw, first with a 50-watt box, then a 100-watt, and soon after with a 150-watt box mod. The 150W mod was reliable, built like a brick, and much-praised in the vaping community, among reviewers and users alike. All those Sigelei mods were simple, almost Puritanical boxes, just rectangular metal with pretty sharp edges. But they worked well.
That bloom however, was quickly off the rose as temp control chips took over and manufacturers (Chinese, mostly) scrambled to design and produce vape mods with higher power, better ergonomics, and more pleasing aesthetics. Sigelei’s hulking dinosaurs may not have gone extinct, but they quickly faded from view.
Now, however, Sigelei has seen the light. They’ve assessed their stiff competition, and they’re back in the game with a new contender — the Sigelei 213 TC box mod — with a new design, higher power (why 213 watts? Who knows?), and the requisite temp control that is now standard industry-wide. Few, if any, companies would be caught dead releasing a regulated, high-power box mod today that didn’t offer Temperature Control.
Let’s see how Sigelei has done to meet the challenge.
The recommendation of this mod has been rescinded. Scroll down to the conclusion to see Bill's update.
Well, friends, the Sigelei 213 mod ain’t cheap. Prices online are in the range of $90–120. What? I’m not sure that’s viable pricing in the current discounted vaping marketplace, but Sigelei will find out. Maybe Sigelei is counting on their past reputation for producing heavy-duty, bullet-proof mods to justify the high price. Be aware that some vendors are bundling the 213 mod with two 18650 high-drain 20A batteries, so factor that into any considerations of price.
My, my. Sigelei has certainly come a long way since the bulky, boxy designs of their 100W and 150W mods. The 100W Sigelei was 7.9 cubic inches in volume, while the new Sigelei 213 is a mere 5.5 cu in — 1/3 less than older brother. That difference is even more apparent in the hand. The Sigelei 213 is a rounded rectangular box with slightly convex, bulging sides. That shape allows atomizers and tanks of varying diameters up to 25mm to fit without overhang. The shape also makes the device comfortable to hold with very good ergonomics.
The design is what I’d call faux military, with an aluminum frame covered by a skin of gun-metal gray zinc alloy complemented by smooth, black carbon-fiber material. The 213 comes in gray/black or a more striking version with gold zinc alloy. I was sent the gray/black version, which has a definite, almost weapon-like overall aesthetic.
Despite it’s relatively compact size, the 213 has some heft, weighing in at 7.8 oz. with batteries. That’s typical for dual-18650 mods (which are used here in series), but nowhere close to the 11 oz. of a loaded triple-18650 Wismec RX-200. While attractive, the overall look and feel are less about beauty than durability, and I’d bet that was an intentional strategy by Sigelei’s design team.
The display and adjustment buttons are located along the edge of the front, with the asymmetrical firing button and USB port (for recharging batteries and firmware upgrades) wrapped around on the short side. The fire button is not only clicky, but slightly metallic-sounding. That wasn’t disconcerting to me, but I did find it unusual. There’s no button rattle at all, and only a tiny, almost inaudible amount of battery rattle.
The display screen is clear and very bright, with white characters on a black background for info alongside black-on-white category designations. Information includes real-time numeric battery charge (for each battery) and amperage. I appreciate such comprehensive information. A bar on the display graphically indicates remaining battery strength in total and real-time sag when firing in addition to the precise numerical values shown.
Menu operation is characteristic of most high-power TC box mods on the market today. Three clicks of the firing button puts the menu on the display, and from there, it’s a combination of up, down, and firing buttons to move to and select or specify all the various options. Sigelei has packed a LOT of options into this chip.
The Sigelei 213’s chip offers the full set of bells and whistles — Temperature Control for all the major wire types (nickel, titanium, and three different stainless steels for TC, plus Kanthal for straight wattage mode), with five user-adjustable TCR values (temperature coefficient of resistance) and TFR values (temperature factor of resistance).
Some vapers like to preheat their coils before inhaling, so the Sigelei 213 even implements a Preheat menu setting to allow the user to program different power settings at chosen increments of time (in seconds), removing the uncertainty factor of holding down the firing button and waiting to inhale. That allows a very specific curve of preheating, ramp-down, or ramp-up.
The chip also allows the user to Read/Display the atomizer resistance (presumably when the coils are cold) and to Lock the resistance to insure accuracy in TC mode. Locking the temperature of cold coils shouldn’t be considered optional, by the way, since it’s necessary for Temperature Control to work correctly. If you use Temp Control, always Read the cold resistance of your atomizer coils, then Lock it in.
If you happen to mess with the settings so much that you become confused, the chip even allows restoration of default factory settings for the entire set of menu options all at once. Presto! You’re back to Square One with no harm done.
The mod feels slightly underpowered to me. That’s a purely subjective opinion, since I don’t have an oscilloscope or other sophisticated electrical test equipment. Using the Infinite Whizzer Sub-Ohm Clearo tank that I reviewed recently, the vape quality I got from other similar box mods at 60 watts required 70 watts on the Sigelei to match. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t think that’s a big deal, since any high-power mod has more than sufficient headroom, but the small disparity I experienced felt sufficient to note.
Overall, the Sigelei 213 performed like a champ. No misfires, delays, or other funny business.
My one serious Con for this device is the fact that in TC mode, the lower resistance limit for firing is 0.1 ohm. Most similar mods these days fire down to 0.05 ohms. That won’t matter for most vapers, but the kind of person most likely to purchase the Sigelei 213 happens to be someone who might build below 0.1 ohm. I really don’t know what Sigelei was thinking when they let that slip through. With the exceptions of that and the high price, everything else is great, so I hope Sigelei will correct the low limit TC resistance to 0.05 ohms in atheir first firmware upgrade.
Sigelei is making a bid to return to the box mod limelight with their 213 mod. My main criticism is that the 213 seems expensive compared to its competition. But who knows? Perhaps the Sigelei 213 will still be standing strong and vaping proud when its cheaper rivals have failed or been relegated to the trash heap. Time will tell.
Recommended, especially if you come across a good sale price.
When I wrote my review of the Sigelei 213 on March 19th, numerous reports from users had begun to appear in various forums (mainly ECF) about problems with the box mod. I didn’t know about them at the time and encountered none of them in using the unit I was sent to review. At that point, people reporting problems assumed that Sigelei would address them in a firmware update.
Since then, much has transpired, none of it good. Many units from the first production run clearly have numerous bugs in the controller chip, some of them major, involving temp control glitches, superimposed screens, and misfiring. So far, Sigelei’s response has been less than we would hope. No firmware upgrades will be made available, a “fix” for TCR problems (involving changing Fahrenheit TCR calculation to Celsius) has not worked for some users, and now Sigelei has come out with a “Fuchai 213” version built with cheaper materials at half the price of the original.
Sigelei holds that the problems of the original 213 have been addressed and fixed in the new version, but that remains to be seen. Even if true, a new, cheaper version provides no consolation for customers who purchased the original, for which Sigelei supports neither returns nor repairs.
Even thorough reviews can’t test all the functions of a sophisticated temp control mod with so many different options, so purchasers of products become de facto beta testers. If my review contributed to anyone’s decision to purchase a Sigelei 213, I apologize.