The Rafale-X RDA, from the makers of the beloved Uwell Crown Tank, is the first atomizer on the market with a build deck that includes a neutral post. This allows for some really interesting builds, primarily high resistance builds with larger wire. There’s no doubt this atomizer is innovative, but the bigger question is, how does it vape?
The machining is quite good and above average for an atomizer in this price range. The o-ring tolerances are perfect, pulling the top cap off is easy, but it definitely won’t fall off in your pocket. The ASB drip tip o-rings are tighter than the deck o-rings so you won’t accidentally pull it off when taking the top cap off. With that said, it’s still loose enough to take off when you're specifically trying to. I didn’t find any burrs or visual defects on the one I received either. Overall, I was relatively impressed with the machining.
*The anti-spitback drip tip will be referred to as the ASB drip tip throughout the review to keep it from getting too wordy. This is how is it advertised by Uwell as well.
This is the innovative part of this atomizer, it may look like another split center-post build deck, but functionally, it is very different. Like every other two-post atomizer on the market, you have a positive- terminal on one side and a negative-terminal on the other; where it differs is the existence of a neutral-post in the center. You can think of this as a dummy-post since it doesn’t really do anything, but that’s exactly the magic behind it!
The idea behind the neutral-post is that it allows you to create builds that would normally have a very low resistance and have them read much higher, giving you more options in high voltage applications such as series mechanical box mods. A typical dual coil build on a split center-post deck will take the resistance of each coil and cut it in half; the exact same build on this atomizer will take the resistance of each coil and add them together. So what would be a 0.25 ohm build made of two 0.5 ohm coils on a typical atomizer will come out to 1 ohm on this one. A quad coil build made of four 0.5 ohm coils would typically come out to 0.125 ohms, but here, it will come out to 0.5 ohms since you have two 0.5 ohm coils in series with each other (measuring 1 ohm) in parallel with another set of of two 0.5 ohm coils (1 ohm in parallel with 1 ohm equals 0.5 ohms).
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh8EmCujjaU ]
Performance-wise, this doesn’t change anything, all you’re doing is trading current for voltage. You won’t get any more flavor or better battery life. It doesn’t matter whether you’re firing a 1 ohm coil at 50 watts or a 0.5 ohm coil at 50 watts, the battery life will be identical. In the first case, you’re pulling 7.07 amps at 7.07 volts and in the second case, you’re pulling 10 amps at 5 volts. With a 3000 mAh battery, that’s 12 minutes of battery-on time or a total of 144 five-second pulls in both scenarios.
So what’s the point of this? It’s all about decreasing the current draw for a higher voltage which allows you to do more creative things on a series mechanical box, something that has been becoming more popular lately.
Building the Rafale-X is about as easy as every other split center-post deck out there with one caveat: you need to wind the coils in the opposite direction when building horizontal coils. This is because the neutral-post in the center of the deck sits lower than the outer terminals, unlike every other atomizer I’ve seen. They’re usually either level with each other or the holes in the center block are a bit higher than the outer terminals. If you wind the coils in the wrong direction, you will have to do some crazy lead bending in order to get them mounted and sitting parallel with the deck. If you wind them in the correct direction, the leads will go in perfectly without any bending required. This can take some getting used to if you normally wind the coils over the top of the screwdriver instead of underneath it.
The slots are oriented vertically, which I find a little odd. While the deck is designed with space in mind for exotic builds, the slots limit you to a smaller wire width. This is a con for those who like to build wide framed-staple coils and other variations of multiple-strand claptons. On the other hand, it makes bare wire builds much easier since the leads can sit on top of each other. I was able to mount quad 24g coils in here with room to spare.
The phillips head screws don’t like to hold that great of a connection; when doing a quad coil build, I had a difficult time wiggling the excess leads loose because as I would twist the wire around, the screws kept coming loose. This was a major annoyance for me.
The juice well is of average size, but the 24mm deck allows you hold more juice than a 22mm deck with a 4.5mm deep well. With that said, the high power builds this atomizer requires for good performance will make that seem like it’s not enough. This definitely isn’t an atomizer where you can drip and go since you will be dripping every five or six pulls. Over-dripping will certainly cause some leaking as well; I found myself over-dripping quite frequently since I was trying to minimize the number of times I dripped within a vaping session. On top of that, the ASB prevents you from dripping straight into the drip tip since the juice will collect on the sides and will cause spitback, completely defeating its purpose.
The airflow controller is extremely simple as there really are only two different options; one slot on each side or three slots on each side. This isn’t a huge deal because I find with these two options, the draw is tuned nicely for cloud chasing when wide open and flavor chasing when using the single slot on each side. However, some sort of airflow controller would have been nice since this is a standard feature nowadays.
The draw is pretty smooth and pleasant and has just the right amount of restriction in both settings. Wide open, it allows for a loose, airy draw with very little restriction. The restriction is very slight, but it gives a good feel; it definitely doesn’t feel like you’re simply pulling air directly into your lungs like the Mutation-X wide open. Wide open it, it’s just a hair tighter than the Twisted Messes² RDA wide open. With the smaller airflow setting, you get a nice restricted lung hit that feels tight, but not excessively so. I would say it’s just a hair tighter than the Aeolus Lite with only one large air hole open.
I like the look of this atomizer but at first sight, the height ratio of the atomizer to the drip tip section is a little awkward; the drip tip section just looks a little too tall. When you take the ASB drip tip out of it, it looks much better, but you lose one of the nicest features of this atomizer. Other than that, I like the subtle logo; it’s there but it’s not screaming at you. On top of that, it still has it’s own unique look with the shape of the airflow slots and the small ridge at the base of the drip tip that breaks up the shape and prevents it from being too rectangular. I also like the two-tone look of the ASB drip tip on the rest of the atomizer; I received the black version which has a stainless steel ASB but the stainless steel version comes with a black ASB. Overall, it looks pretty nice, but could look even nicer if the drip tip section wasn’t so tall.
I started off with the recommended ‘flavor build’ as described in the included manual: 7.5 wraps of 24g Nichrome-80 around a 2.5mm bit using the neutral posts and it came out to around 0.9 ohms. Using a single slot on each side, the flavor was mediocre and vapor production was decent. That prompted me to try something more my style on this type of atomizer: a quad vertical build using the neutral posts with 24g Nichrome-80, 8.5 wraps around a 3mm bit and it came out to around 0.53 ohms. I had to set the airflow to wide open in order to handle the heat, but the flavor was a bit better and the vapor production was insane.
The ASB drip tip system works really well, I haven’t had the slightest amount of spitback in any configuration.
Even though they say there is a flavor mode, I would say this atomizer is suited more for cloud chasers than anything else due the larger chamber and the wide bore of the drip tip.
Overall, the Rafale-X RDA is a breath of fresh air in a world filled with two-post and split center-post build decks. Yes, it resembles a split center-post deck and you build it the same way, but the higher resistances allow for some builds that were just too low to feel safe firing. With that said, the performance of this atomizer is pretty average and just can’t compete with something like the Tsunami RDA, whether you’re cloud chasing, flavor chasing or both. However, if you have a series mechanical box mod and are looking for something to allow you more creative freedom with your builds, definitely check this atomizer out.