When you name a product after a powerful fictional character from a beloved work it better be powerful itself, and have at least some of the characteristics of its namesake. UD has named its very first starter kit after one of the most powerful evil characters in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, the Balrog.
Tolkien’s balrogs were able to shroud themselves in flame, darkness and shadow. They were huge, destructive and ferocious. UD’s Balrog includes a 70 watt, temperature control mod and a 3 ml capacity, top filling tank with adjustable air flow. Each bears the name Balrog.
The UD Balrog Starter Kit comes with both the tank and the mod, so I’ll look at each individually and then come back and rate the starter kit as a single unit, since that’s the way it’s marketed.
The Balrog Mod
The mod is both variable wattage and temperature control. In variable wattage, or “Power” mode, the Balrog has range of 5 – 70 watts and will fire standard coils with a resistance of 0.2 – 3.0 ohm. In temperature control mode the range is 200° F – 600° F and 95° C – 315° C and will fire Ni 200 and titanium coils with a resistance as low as 0.15 ohm.
There are three buttons on the front of the Balrog, the fire button and then below the display the “+” and “-” buttons. Press the fire button five times to turn the unit on or off. To enter the menu press the fire three times. The menu is pretty intuitive with three main sections, “TC Mode,” “Power Mode” and “System.” To select an option press the fire button, to move between options press the “+” or “-” buttons.
In “TC Mode,” or temperature control, you can choose whether you’re using a Ni 200 or titanium coil. The next option is Fahrenheit or Celsius, and then you can select your temperature setting with changes in 1 increments.
If you select “Power Mode” or variable wattage, for use with a standard coil, you’ll then exit the menu and adjust wattage from the main screen, in single watt increments.
The “System” menu allows you to change the orientation of the display or enter stealth mode. In this menu you can also view and clear the puff counter/timer and set the temperature sensitivity.
In temperature control mode the display shows battery level, selected temperature and scale (Celsius or Fahrenheit), the type of coil you’ve selected, resistance of that coil, volts and your selected maximum wattage, which you can adjust from this main display.
When you’re in variable wattage or power mode the display will show the battery level, resistance of your attached coil, volts, a highlighted “P” to indicate power mode, and your selected wattage setting.
You can lock and unlock the Balrog mod by holding in the fire and “-” buttons simultaneously. In lock mode the mod will not fire and you are unable to enter the menu or change the wattage settings.
UD suggests that when you attach a new coil and/or switch from a standard coil to a temperature control coil you initialize the base resistance by holding in both the “+” and “-” buttons.
The UD Balrog mod is powered by a single 18650 battery, that’s not included. There’s a micro USB charging port on the front of the unit, just below the “-” button. The Balrog has a spring loaded 510 connector and cotton condensation collection ring around the connector.
The Balrog Tank
The tank has a capacity of 3.0 ml and is top filling. Simply unscrew the top of the tank and fill it with ejuice through the hole in the side of the chimney connector. At the base of the tank is the airflow control ring. Simply twist it to open or close more of the airflow port.
The Balrog tank comes with what UD refers to as a heat-proof drip tip and a heat sink. The starter kit comes with three coils, a 0.15 ohm Ni 200 coil, and two kanthal coils, one rated at 0.5 ohm and one at 1.8 ohm.
What’s In The Box
- 1 X Balrog mod
- 1 X Balrog tank
- 1 X Ni 200 0.15 ohm coil
- 2 X Kanthal coils, 0.5 ohm and 1.8 ohm
- 1 X Replacement Pyrex tube
- 1 X USB charging cable
- 1 X Mod strap
- 1 X Accessory kit
- 1 X User manual
Performance: When a company packages a mod and a tank as a kit, and when they each have the same name, you’d expect them to not only work well together, but each to take full advantage of the characteristics of the other. You’d expect. Unfortunately with the UD Balrog Starter Kit, this is not the case. Each unit, the tank and the mod, work well enough on their own, but they seem oddly mismatched as a pair.
The heart of any tank is the coil or coils that will fit it. And one of the key features of any coil is its ability to wick ejuice fast enough to keep up with your vaping and the power supplied to it by the mod you’re using. That wicking ability is determined largely by the number and especially the size of the ejuice ports in the body of the coil.
The UD coils that come with the Balrog have four ejuice ports, a healthy number. But they are some of the smallest ports I’ve seen on a coil in quite some time. They are dwarfed by the ejuice ports on coils for Kangertech tanks, the SMOK TFV4 and even the UD Zephyrus.
My guess is that it’s these tiny ejuice ports that contribute to the relatively low suggested operating range of the coils. The Ni 200 coil has a suggested range of 200° F – 450° F or 95° C – 230° C. The 0.5 ohm kanthal coil has a range of 20 – 38 watts and the 1.8 ohm coil is suggested for use at 15 – 22 watts. Go much above those upper limits and the coils can’t keep up and you’ll get a burned taste. Matter of fact, with the 0.5 ohm kanthal coil I was getting a burned taste above 25 watts.
As long as you know those limits, and stay within them, the Balrog tank works pretty well. My question is why would UD make a tank specifically for use with a mod and not allow it to take full advantage of the power of the mod. The Balrog mod has an upper temperature setting of 600° F and 315° C, and an upper wattage output of 70 watts.
The Balrog tank performs adequately, but with more robust coils I’d expect better vapor and flavor production. On the other hand, the Balrog mod performs very well. I used it with a Kangertech Subtank Plus Black Edition with a Ni 200 coil and the results were very satisfying.
Features: On the plus side of the features is the top filling and airflow control of the Balrog tank. Temperature control, variable wattage with an upper limit of 70 watts, an intuitive menu system and that condensation collection ring are all nice features on the Balrog mod.
Features that are less than stellar include the shortcoming of the coils I discussed in the Performance section. And the ejuice fill port is in an awkward spot on the tank.
Quality: I hate to keep coming back to this, but those coils are a major quality issue for the UD Balrog Starter Kit. Not that they’re terrible. As long as you stay within (or under) the suggested ranges they provide decent, if less than stellar, flavor and vapor production. But they do limit how much you’ll be able to push the Balrog mod.
Other than that both the Balrog mod and tank are quality devices. The mod is solid and substantial, the buttons are easy to reach and operate smoothly. The display is crisp and easy to read. The magnetic battery compartment fits flush and solidly.
Looks: Like its namesake, Tolkiens’ balrog, the UD Balrog Starter Kit has an ominous almost sinister look. It’s a good looking, sleek, compact kit. All of that black with the silver of the “+” and “-” buttons on the mod and the coil visible through the Pyrex of the tank make for a very striking appearance.
Price/Value: Heaven Gifts, who provided the UD Balrog Starter Kit for a Seven Report review, shows the MSRP at $85.00 and has it available for $68.00. They have five packs of replacement coils priced at $15.80. Neither of those prices are exorbitant.
In fact, even given the shortcomings of the coils and tank, the Balrog Starter Kit is a decent value. In fact, I like the Balrog mod so much that I’d give it a good price/value rating on its own, even at the Heaven Gifts price point. If UD ever offers the mod as a stand alone item you can bet the price will be lower.
I’ve been using the UD Balrog Starter Kit for several weeks, both as a paired unit and with another tank on the Balrog mod. If you still haven’t picked up a temperature control device you could do worse than the Balrog Starter Kit. Just be sure that if you’re using the Balrog tank you stay well within those suggested power and temperature ranges.
I vaped with the Balrog Starter Kit for about three weeks with a variety of ejuices. Heaven Gifts provided the UD Balrog Starter Kit for the purpose of this review.
Order the UD Balrog Starter Kit from Heaven Gifts.
(For details on Seven Report review methodology click here.)