Like so many vape devices today, we’ve reached a bit of a saturation point when it comes to innovation. So, when something new comes across our desks, we fight for the opportunity to test them. Enter the Dotmod dotRDA.
With the dotRDA, Dotmod is turning to the time-honored adage of “addition by subtraction,” creating what might be the world’s most advanced single-post RDA. With a suggested retail price of $65 or higher, this is hardly a beginner dripper – but does it deliver advanced performance to match the advanced price tag? Let’s dive in…
Dotmod certainly knows how to make a high-end impression. The packaging for the dotRDA is an exercise in excess, with each element of the package delivered in glass vials, cork tops, and even some straw-like filler material to complete the look. To some, it might seem like overkill, but I enjoy seeing innovative design choices in packaging; there’s only so many cube boxes a person can endure.
Inside this classy, distinct packaging, users will find the 24mm dotRDA, a “dotKey” screwdriver, a bottom-feeding pin for squonker devices, a pair of prebuilt fused claptons, spare parts, and a legitimate certificate of authenticity, to distinguish the dotRDA from the inevitable slew of clones that will rise in the wake of this high-end dripper.
Removing the dotRDA from the package reveals a smoothly machined, anodized aluminum body with no signs of stray filaments or nicks. Unlike so many new RDAs I test, the dotRDA came apart easily, immediately greeting me with the sheen from its gold-plated brass build deck, top-tier PEEK insulators, and one of the most unique post designs yet created.
This monstrous center-mounted, spring-loaded single post sits atop a sizable PEEK insulator block, and is kept together by a massive Phillips screw. When taking the dotRDA apart, users will enjoy an easy swap of the standard gold-plated 510 pin with the included bottom-feeder pin for squonker capability.
Getting back to the huge build deck, another item of note is the tremendously deep juice well, which measures 4.8mm tall, meaning proper builds will keep you vaping considerably longer before needing to re-juice the wicks.
Finally, the amber-colored, wide-bore ULTEM drip tip completes the package. Though this amber color is becoming common, I wish my black dotRDA came with at least one other color option, as I’m already tiring of drip tips that look like they’re stained from cigarette smoke.
In short, the Dotmod dotRDA is a sharp, original-looking device that –pardon the pun – just drips with potential. But we can’t vape potential, so let’s have a build.
Working with the dotRDA build deck
Almost every modern RDA comes with documentation indicating these devices aren’t for beginner vapers. And rightly so, as today’s drippers are becoming increasingly complex. But the dotRDA backs up this claim, as even experienced drippers will have to adapt to some unique features.
Taking the deck apart requires just a few turns of the screw, but the spring-loaded design means you’ll need to be careful keeping things safely intact, otherwise the device might just be rendered useless.
Unscrewing the dotRDA clamp releases the spring, allowing you to seat any coil configuration you can dream up, into the post’s huge pair of terminals. I chose to keep things simple to start, and inserted the killer fused claptons Dotmod included in the vial. Though seating the coils evenly was a touch difficult while getting used to the spring, ultimately I found the right way to position them, and loved the single-screw fastening.
Once placed in the deck correctly, the clamps hold the coils in place with vigor. I tweaked the claptons’ positioning countless times with a screwdriver, and the leads held without an ounce of movement. Not that I needed to do this, mind you. The way the deck expands and compresses with the single screw brings coils to a position centered right on the PEEK insulator block, and it’s a perfect height for airflow and flavor.
The squonk pin confusion of the dotRDA
As has become standard practice, the Dotmod dotRDA comes with a bottom-feeding pin to convert the device to a squonker. It is a great idea in theory, but in practice, this is where the dotRDA becomes a lot more frustrating and complicated.
Installation of the BF pin was easy enough, but the design of the center post means your squonker will operate a little differently than most. Rather than having the squonk tube feed into the base of the RDA, filling the deck and wetting the wicks, the dotRDA sends the juice higher, into the top of the post, where it then drips down the convex slope onto the coils.
It doesn’t seem like it would cause a problem, but I found squonking from the top down, rather than the bottom up, to be more laborious, and less effective than the traditional approach. I had several occasions when I needed to remove the top cap to see if I accurately wet the wicks, and sure enough, I hadn’t.
Plus, with the low-positioned side airflow slots, it becomes very easy to have squonked e-liquid adhere to the side walls, eventually finding its way into these slots, creating a messy situation no one should have to endure on an otherwise beautifully made device.
Before long, I didn’t want to use the Dotmod dotRDA as a bottom-feeder, which frustrated me. But moving back to a traditional RDA approach was much more enjoyable.
Traditional dripping on the dotRDA
As a standard RDA, Dotmod’s latest is a top-tier performer. The massive juice well allows for a huge amount of e-liquid to feed your coils, yet none of the usual leaking or condensation appears on the surface, or near the low-positioned airflow slots.
Feeding liquid through the proprietary drip tip was easy and effortless, though I did find myself removing the cap more often than not. But again, with such a deep well, I dripped with reckless abandon and never once had issues with oversaturation, spitback or leaking.
The important thing is that the dotRDA offers magnificent flavor and vapor production, both with the included coils, as well as any other build I threw its way. I found that a simple Kanthal build around 0.25 ohms produced the best, most flavorful vape, but coil artists are going to have a field day with the amount of room provided by the capacious deck.
One item that bugged me a bit was the looseness of the cap. It was nice being able to remove the cap to drip, but as the dual o-rings began to wear down, it became looser than I’m comfortable with, especially when pocketing the dotRDA on a mod. On several occasions, I noticed the cap beginning to separate from the base without much pressure. Over time, I can see this becoming a much bigger issue.
Back to vaping the device, I pushed the dotRDA to around 120 watts – well above my personal preference – I’m happy to report the device stayed cool enough to grab and fill, even after extended vaping. The gold-plated brass does an excellent job of conducting heat without transferring much to the aluminum body, which makes refilling a pleasure.
Innovation for the sake of innovation?
There is absolutely nothing WRONG with the included Ultem drip tip. It has a nice mouthfeel, stays cool on the lips, and doesn’t accumulate any moisture in its threading. In fact, to the naked eye, it seems just like a standard 810 drip tip.
So, why not just use an 810 connection? In an effort to make this a proprietary device, Dotmod slightly adjusted the drip tip parameters, meaning your collection of 810 tips simply won’t fit right, forcing you to use the company’s included tips instead. While they work fine, this is a vanity oversight, and a case of overthinking on the part of Dotmod, which should have kept things simple.
On that note, the spring-loaded, single-post deck is also a bone of contention. Let’s be clear – the design works well, and once I got the hang of it, building on the dotRDA was a breeze. But does this fiddly new mechanism ADD anything to the vaping experience? No, it doesn’t.
I loved the Dotmod dotRDA’s airflow, deep juice well and overall performance, but I can’t attribute any of these things to the deck itself. A standard Goon-style system would have worked just as well. In fact, even a trusty Velocity-style deck would have allowed for the same types of creative coils, airflow, etc. There’s nothing at all wrong with the deck, but it also isn’t the innovation Dotmod seems to believe it is. Change is good. Change for the heck of it confuses me.
Wrapping up…And Score
Despite a few pesky concerns – the odd squonker performance, the drip tip, and the weird post, the Dotmod dotRDA is a high-performing, high-end RDA, that offers rich flavor and thick vapor to users. It might be a touch overdesigned, but when push comes to shove, the dotRDA is a wonderful vape device that justifies the investment for advanced vapers.
Pick Up The DotMod 24mm dotRDA at Element Vape for $64.95
DotMod 24mm dotMod RDA Specs and Contents
Dotmod dotRDA 24mm specs:
- 24mm Diameter
- 4.8mm Deep Juice Well
- Hard-Anodized Aluminum Finish
- 24K Gold-Plated Finish
- Solid Brass Build Deck Construction
- Single Post Design – Dual Terminals
- Spring-Loaded Component
- PEEK-Insulated Block
- 1.5mm by 3.9mm Terminal Shelves
- Dual Slotted Airflow Control
- ULTEM Widebore Drip Tip
- Squonk-Ready Bottom-Feeding 510 Contact Pin
- Gold-Plated 510 Connection
Dotmod dotRDA contents:
- 1 dotRDA 24mm
- 1 dotKey
- 1 Squonk-Ready 510 Pin
- 2 Prebuilt Fused Clapton Coils
- 1 Certificate of Authenticty
- Spare Parts & O-Rings