The Astro by Kato is an elegantly designed, hard-hitting mechanical mod. It is the smallest telescoping mech on the market and can handle both button and flat top 18350, 18500 and 18650 batteries with ease. And thanks to a floating center top pin, you won’t have to worry about those grotesque gaps between your mod and whatever 510 threaded atomizer you chose to use with it.
If you can afford the Astro's steep price tag, or pick a used one up on the cheap, welcome to the world of high class vaping! This mechanical mod not only looks great but is a heavy hitter in the vaping performance category.
User Review0 Votes
Telescoping tube to accommodate 3 battery sizes
Floating top pin fits different 510 connector lengths
Brass contacts decrease voltage drop
Firing button can become loose
Threading on tubes isn't buttery smooth
With many high end mechanical mods entering today's market, comes a premium price. The Astro by Kato is no exception. It retails for around $200 USD, about the price of 10 mech clones from Fasttech. However, if you desire authenticity, the Astro is where it's at. Very few other mechs can match it in terms of compact size and performance. While I was sad to see my Poldiac go, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Astro's performance matched up to its stunning looks. Kato definitely found a nice medium when it comes to both appearance and power.
After vaping nearly every day for three months with a Poldiac as my go-to mod, it was time for something new. I wound up getting an offer for a trade from an employee at Newport Vapor Room and, after deliberating for a few minutes, accepted. The main item offered in the trade was a stainless steel and brass mixed Astro mod by Kato, a modder from South Korea.
Prior to the trade, I was a fanboy for Greek mechanical mods. However I have since picked up another Korean mechanical mod in the UVO System Origin and am happily enjoying their build quality and performance.
The Astro mod by Kato is a beauty of a mechanical mod. It's telescopic, allowing for use with 18350 to 18650 batteries, even with a kick! In fact, it is the smallest telescopic mod on the market. Those in search of a new Chi You mod might just want to grab one of Kato's Astros instead.
Appearance and Design
Because packaging was not exchanged during the trade, I have no way of telling you how it is boxed. I can tell you, however, that it is one of the nicest looking mechanical mods I've seen, even with tarnished brass top and bottom caps.
Size wise, the Astro by Kato is 22mm in diameter, comparable with the Chi and plethora of other mechanical mods. It's made up of 12 parts including a floating top pin and spring loaded bottom fire button.
Kato has recently added an all brass version, in addition to the polished stainless steel and ss/brass mixed versions that have been on the market for a couple months now. I personally think the mixed version, which I received in the trade, is the most visually appealing of the three.
The main outer tube or “pant” is engraved with the Astro logo, year it was made and the serial number. This tube alone is 18350 battery sized and has five rings indented into the steel to give it a customized appearance. Kato's Astro also comes with a second outer tube with etched rings to accommodate 18500 batteries without having to telescope the inner tube out.
I prefer the look of the Astro in 18350 mode with a GG Ithaka the best. It fits comfortably in my hand for both pinky firing or my middle finger. Best of all, both everything is polished and matches up perfectly, especially with golden colored e-liquid in the Ithaka chamber.
Because the Astro is telescopic, battery rattle shouldn't be an issue safe for some smaller flat top 18350s. The tube itself is mighty solid with an AW IMR 18650 button top inside. I do have a couple of minor issues with the build quality, however.
First off, the threads of the outer tube seem to have left behind rings on the polished surface of the inner tube. This might actually be a positive for some, as it could conceivably add character to the Astro's visual appeal.
And while the firing button has a nice polished finish with a grooved locking switch, I would like to see it beefed up a bit. It's a little too skimpy for my liking.
Other than that, the Astro is made from high quality stainless steel that doesn't scratch easily. I use it on a daily basis because it hits so hard, and have yet to even remotely nick it up.
Overall, the Astro is fairly easy to use. The floating top pin accommodates 510 connectors of various lengths and keeps the battery housed free from rattling. The threading isn't the finest and occasionally you may have small gaps in between the tubes depending on the type of battery used.
With an IMR 18350 button top battery and the Ithaka, there is literally no rattling whatsoever, not even with the bottom button. However, my only gripe is that the button does occasionally come loose from locking and unlocking it over time. The tubes also squeak at first due to the threading, but eventually smooth over a bit.
As for the contacts, both are brass, allowing for good to great conductivity with proper cleaning. There really isn't much else to say in regards to functionality for the Astro. It's a sleek, simple and compact telescoping mech for a variety of battery and atomizer combinations.
Many vapers have compared the Astro to the Chi You in terms of performance. Some have even found its voltage drop to be at or near the Chi's and hit just as hard. Naturally, I had to put it to the test. To do this, I ordered a tankometer touted to read within 5% of the actual voltage output of a battery. Results were taken using a fresh AW IMR 18650 2000mAh battery.
Voltage drop on 1.9ohm: .22v
Voltage drop on .9ohm: .43v
Voltage drop on .4ohm: .65v
As you can see, the Astro has pretty low voltage drop, even for subohm coil loads. A drop of only 0.2 volts is pretty darn good for a 1.9ohm coil, if you ask me. In comparison to a Chi on a .52 ohm, it fares pretty decent as well. On a 0.4ohm coil, my voltage drop was a little over half a volt as opposed to the Chi's half volt lost on a 0.5ohm build.
Ironically, I think the Astro might actually hit harder than the Poldiac I traded for it. Even though the Poldiac had silver plated contacts, the Astro uses a bottom fire button whereas the Poldiac has a side mounted button housing separating the battery from the contact points. Kato's Astro gets the job done in terms of vaping performance.