Last Updated on August 4, 2017 by Team Spinfuel
You’ve got to hand it to Uwell – they’re certainly confident in their products’ ability to sell with minimal hype. On ever-crowding vape shop shelves, a veritable boatload of tanks, RTAs, drippers and more are all vying for your attention, with each package flashier and more impressive than the last.
Then you have Uwell – creators of the popular Crown and Rafale series of tanks – which decided the SE1 needed nothing more than a translucent tube, a few o-rings and minimal descriptors, to fly off those very same shelves.
Spoiler alert? They should have included more. But let’s break it down.
Is That a Roll of Film?
I think we can all agree that some vape products go a little too far with their packaging. A tank, a few coils and a blue screwdriver shouldn’t take up 300 square inches of plastic and shelf space. Yet, Uwell took things a little too far in the other direction. In a tube no larger than a roll of 35mm Kodak film, the company included the SE1 tank, a few spare parts, and nothing else.
(For the younger readers, film is how people used to take meaningless pictures of their lunches, minus the hashtags.)
The only coil included – a 0.25ohm SS Crown offering — is already installed. A rubber spacing gasket and five o-rings are loose at the bottom of the tube. That’s it. Stop looking. There’s nothing else in there.
Warranty and warning details are printed on the side of the tube, and require a magnifying glass to read properly. Instructions were considered excessive, however, and omitted from the packaging entirely. If you’re familiar with sub-ohm vaping, you know this isn’t exactly engineer-level work. But newcomers with questions about adjustments and filling should probably look online before firing up the SE1.
There IS a scannable QR code to confirm your SE1 isn’t a clone. But even the laziest clone producers manage to pack a few more items than Uwell included here. Disappointing, to say the least.
Tall, Slender, Unexciting…
Much like the packaging, the Uwell SE1 tank is wholly plain and unremarkable. Now, we all know looks mean little when it comes to vape quality, but this design is much more reminiscent of the Subtank/Atlantis days than anything released these past few years. I accidentally grabbed an old Lemo thinking it was my matte black SE1 on more than one occasion.
Measuring 61.5mm x 24mm, the SE1 is a lanky atomizer that doesn’t have much of a footprint. But the 5ml e-liquid capacity is nice to have, especially with the thirsty 0.25-ohm Crown 2 coil included in the tube.
Taking the SE1 apart reveals a very simple, standard design, top to bottom. A quick-open top-fill cap has more than enough room to accommodate most e-liquid bottle tips, so filling is a breeze. I would have loved to see a hinged cap here for one-handed operation, but that’s a nit-picky point – this is a highlight of the Uwell SE1.
The bottom airflow control clicks nicely into place, and stays put in pockets, so no unwanted leaking occurs when you’re out and about. The same goes for all threading on the Uwell SE1, which is snug, smooth and well-machined. Yet there’s no trace of machining oil, so a quick rinse is all you’ll need to get started.
Finally, a wide-bore drip tip is included, but I quickly swapped it out for a nicer Delrin 510 tip which didn’t get nearly as hot as the one that comes on the device.
The Uwell SE1 in Action…
Given the tall design, I opted to counter the height by using the Uwell SE1 on the stout Wismec Reuleaux RX Gen3. It wasn’t the most attractive combination, but it fit well in my pocket and more importantly, sat flush on the device.
After priming the 0.25 coil and filling the tank, I let it sit for a few minutes and began puffing. True to form, the coil – which is nothing more than the bullet-shaped Crown 2 coil – gave me an immediate blast of pure flavor. And since it is made of stainless, it worked equally well in wattage and TC modes, with a slight flavor advantage in temp control.
The coil itself opened up quickly, requiring little – if any – break-in time. Vapor wasn’t tremendous, even at higher wattages, but it was more than satisfying. Cloud chasers certainly want to look elsewhere for a fog machine, but those who lean more toward flavor should have nothing to complain about with Uwell’s coils.
At 75 watts, the vape became noticeably warmer, as did the body of the tank. Not uncomfortably so, but it did begin radiating heat at this level, which only increased as I approached 100 watts. One item worth noting is that around 90-100 watts, the coil began to gurgle and spit. The flavor and vapor were still there, and there weren’t lapses in performance, but the gurgle made me back it down until it stopped.
Now, I know this is likely higher wattage than the coil was rated to handle (I wouldn’t know because the packaging told me nothing), but I feel it’s a little odd that a supposed sub-ohm coil would begin to balk at 100 watts, when devices are capable of so much more these days.
That said, the coil itself is a trouper, still kicking hard nearly a week after first firing it up. I’ve run several tanks of thick VG e-liquid through it, and have yet to experience dry hits or burning of any sort.
It should also be noted that the Uwell SE1 never leaked, or even experienced any condensation during all kinds of use.. In fact, other than the random gurgling, this is one of the quietest, smoothest vape tanks I’ve used to date.
As I used the SE1 more, I realized Uwell might have missed the point by pushing this as a pure sub-ohm experience, rather than as a flavor-first, restricted lung hit atomizer.
By closing the airflow to just 10-20% and lowering the wattage to 55-60 watts, the vape cooled, but flavor was magnified considerably. And that’s with the 0.25-ohm coil. Uwell also has a 0.8-ohm coil option that would probably be ideal for MTL vapers looking for huge boosts in flavor (and a way to save some e-liquid, as well). I only wish I had the chance to test this theory out of the box.
On a bigger scale, the limited packaging and information make it unclear what the SE1 is supposed to be. It uses Crown 2 coils, but is it another Crown? It has great airflow and no leaking, but is it the next Rafale? Some sites are claiming an RBA head is on the way, but it doesn’t seem to be compatible with RBAs for either the Crown or Rafale.
What exactly DOES the SE1 want to be when it grows up? Is this a legitimate new entry in the marketplace, or simply a rest stop on the road to Uwell’s next world-beating device?
With such limited offerings inside the box, the answers to these questions remain a mystery. The flavor is on-par with the Crown, and the vapor is better than the Rafale. But there aren’t enough improvements in either area to really justify introducing another line of products. The compatibility with Crown coils only adds to the confusion.
At just $18.95 (Element Vape), I think Uwell simply wanted to make a no-frills, cross-compatible tank for budget vaping. But, in its efforts to be a low-cost option for everyone, it ultimately comes across as confusing and unnecessary.
Perhaps if Uwell decided to flesh out the value a little more – maybe throwing in a second coil, or an RBA head for a few extra bucks – it might be have interesting to see how users defined the SE1. Instead, the company gives us one sub-ohm coil, a few words on which existing products fit inside, and little else.
If you’re a Uwell devotee and have a bunch of Crown 2 coils sitting around, this streamlined designed and improved filling and airflow might be worth the investment. You’ll probably enjoy improved performance with no leaking – something you likely didn’t have with the Crown or Rafale.
Likewise, if you’re new to sub-ohm vaping, and want a solid “bridge device” between wide-open cloud production and the flavor of MTL tanks, this is as good an option as any.
Available Now at Element Vape
But for experienced vapers looking for an exciting new tank, it’s hard to recommend the Uwell SE1. It does what it does, and it does it fairly well. But, even at a bargain price, there’s barely anything included in the package. And there’s even less of anything we haven’t seen before from Uwell … or most other companies, for that matter.
Uwell SE1 Specs:
- 24mm Diameter
- Height: 61.5mm
- Stainless Steel & Glass Construction
- 5ml E-Liquid Capacity
- Fully Adjustable Bottom Airflow
- Wide Bore Drip Tip
- Compatible with 510 Drip Tips
- Utilizes the latest version of Crown 2 Coils
- Three Coil Heads Available: 0.25 ohm, 0.5 ohm, 0.8 ohm
- Colors Available: Stainless Steel, Black, Matte Black