Smok X Cube Ultra Review
Our Smok X Cube Ultra review takes an in-depth look at the beastly dual-battery box mod, covering the design, core features, performance and ease of use. Is it a top-quality mod for longer-term vapers, or are there better options out there?
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- Variable wattage from 6 to 220 W.
- Temperature control with all major wire types, and adjustable TCR.
- Dual 18650 battery mod.
- Clear, well-presented OLED display.
- Firing bar makes it really comfortable in use.
- Bluetooth-equipped with a companion app for setting adjustment.
- Firmware updatable via Bluetooth.
- Sturdy build.
- Customizable LED firing light.
- A great price – under $45 for the mod!
- Excellent performance in both modes.
- Perfect for longer-term vapers.
- Not too portable and a bit boxy.
- No free adjustment for ramp-up wattage – you have to use the hit strength feature.
- Some extraneous features – e.g. do you really need vibration alerts?
SMOK X Cube Ultra Box Mod Review
The Smok X Cube 2 was a beast. Putting out 160 W of power from two 18650 batteries and working through a firing bar rather than a button, it was a go-to device for longer-term vapers looking for something chunky and powerful. The X Cube Ultra picks up where the second version left off, boosting the power output to 220 W, adding vibration alerts but keeping everything that made the original great. But is the X Cube Ultra worth picking up, or are there better dual-battery box mods on the market? We’ve tested it out for our Smok X Cube Ultra review to find out.
What You Get
The Smok X Cube Ultra comes in a simple, well-presented box that contains your mod, a USB charging cable and a manual. The box is in the style of most recent Smok devices, a stylish black cardboard box surrounded by a thin sleeve with the logo for the mod. The overall impact is great even though the package only comes with the basics.
Smok X Cube Ultra Review – The Design
The X Cube Ultra is very close to the X Cube 2 when it comes to appearance. The mod has a very boxy shape, but with nicely rounded corners to make it more comfortable to hold. One of the large faces has a battery door with the Smok logo on the top and the other has the X Cube Ultra logo at the top and the Bluetooth symbol (with an “OTA” for a new feature we’ll come to later), the maximum wattage and a TC symbol. These don’t stand out too much against the stainless steel body of the device because the etchings are grey, though on the black version of the mod they’re in the same color and much more prominent. Both look good, though personally I prefer the stainless steel.
The front edge of the mod is occupied by the firing bar, with a vertical channel beside it which has a color-changing LED light running up its length. The top of the device has the OLED display screen and two thin buttons for adjusting settings. Overall the mod looks great – the top is a little crowded but for the most part it’s understated and classy for such a sizable mod.
Firing Bar and LED Light
One of the most distinctive features of the X Cube Ultra (and the other X Cubes) is the firing bar that replaces the usual fire button. It runs up the whole length of the mod, curling around the two front corners. The bar has a satisfying amount of resistance to it, being easy enough to push down with a firm squeeze but being stiff enough to avoid accidental pressing. The LED colors shine out from the small gap when you push the bar down, and you can choose between three options for color scheme.
One allows you to choose any color (by balancing the amounts of red, green and blue in the color), one jumps across the spectrum of colors suddenly and the other gradually transitions between them. There is no real practical purpose to all of this, of course, but it offers options for customization and makes vaping look just that little bit cooler.
Display Screen and Top Panel
The OLED display on the X Cube Ultra is clear and easy-to-read, with your main setting and a battery life icon at the top, and a puff counter (or wattage in TC mode), your hit strength setting, the resistance of your coil and the voltage your mod is firing at. When you enter the menu, each option is shown on screen individually, and you can cycle through them by either pressing the fire button or using the adjustment buttons. The X Cube Ultra’s display screen is great, overall – well-presented, clear and simple.
The adjustment buttons are just next to the display screen, on the same side as the firing bar. The positioning is a little unusual, but it’s easy enough to reach them with either a finger or a thumb when holding the mod.
The 510 connection is on the opposite side of the display screen from the adjustment buttons, and it’s gold-plated and spring loaded to ensure great connectivity. Your atomizers do slightly encroach onto the screen, but not far enough to obscure any information. Overall, the 510 connection works just like it should.
Battery Door and Compartment
The battery door on the X Cube Ultra is fairly simple but it gets the job done pretty well. It’s a simple flat cover that curves around slightly to the back of the mod, with a fingernail-sized section cut out at the upper-right edge so you can pull it open. Inside, there are two slots for your batteries, and above them two circular magnets are placed to match up with another two on the inside of the battery door. There’s a piece of ribbon to sit underneath the batteries to help with removal. To replace the battery door, you make sure the hook at the bottom of the inside matches up with a spot at the bottom of the battery slot and then swing the rest of it closed.
The X Cube Ultra has an essentially identical design to the X Cube 2, but as they say, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The design is great, overall. Everything is setup well for comfortable use. It’s a little boxy and bulky, but that’s what you expect from a dual-battery box mod.
Smok X Cube Ultra Review: Features
Variable Wattage From 6 to 220 W
The most basic feature of pretty much any mod is variable wattage, but the X Cube Ultra does it pretty well. It offers between 6 and 220 W of power, which is an impressive range right up there with the very best dual-battery mods you can find. You scroll through the available settings using the adjustment buttons on the top of the device, and if you hold it down the scrolling increases in speed. This makes it pretty easy to make large setting adjustments, even though you can overshoot quite easily if you’re scrolling at full speed. It works well across the whole range, though, it’s really responsive and works just as you want it to.
Temperature Control with Ni200, Titanium and SS
Like most mods these days, the X Cube Ultra offers temperature control functionality, which works with nickel, titanium and stainless steel coils. This is really everything you need, because all major TC coil types are supported, and there’s also an adjustable TCR when you choose your coil type. This gives you the option to tailor the device’s response in TC mode to your preferences. If the performance seems off, it lets you correct the existing settings, and you can also use it to set the device up for specific grades of stainless steel. I haven’t needed to do this, but it’s great that the option is there.
Unfortunately, there is no option to freely adjust the “ramp up” wattage that the device fires at. However, you can adjust the “Strength” in TC mode, which approximates the same thing reasonably well. For example “Min” strength starts you off at 30 W, “Soft” is 40 W and so on up to “Max” at about 70 W. Although most TC devices offer the option to set this at any level you want, for practical purposes this is almost as good.
The X Cube Ultra also comes with a “Memory” mode, which allows you to store 16 settings you commonly use for easier access. Memory mode only works with wattage vaping, though, so you can store your most-used combinations of wattage and hit strength. When you put the X Cube Ultra in memory mode, you can scroll through your 16 presets with the adjustment buttons. It would be good if it allowed you to store TC settings too, but it’s still a nice little additional feature.
The X Cube Ultra’s menu system follows the standard format for Smok mod menus. Three presses of the fire button takes you to the menu system, where one option is displayed on-screen at a time and you can scroll through by either pressing the firing bar or using the adjustment buttons. To advance to the next sub menu, you can either wait for a few seconds without pressing anything, or you can press and hold the firing bar.
This can be a little irritating sometimes. For example, if you don’t hold the firing bar down you’ll just scroll to the next menu item instead of going to the next sub menu or back to the home screen. But on the whole it’s easy to use and you get used to it quickly. The good news is that it makes all the settings for the X Cube Ultra really easily accessible.
You don’t need to enter the menu for everything, either. Pressing the fire bar and the right (+) adjustment button changes your hit strength and pressing the fire bar and the left ( − ) adjustment button changes your mode. This makes it really easy to make the most basic changes you’ll need to.
The Bluetooth feature on the original X Cube has been preserved for the X Cube Ultra, allowing you to connect your mod to your smartphone. This can be used to adjust your setting, to customize the color of the firing bar’s LED and even to upgrade the device’s firmware using the Over-the-Air (OTA) functionality. This is hardly a feature vapers were clamoring for, but it’s a nice little extra regardless, particularly for the firmware updates.
The X Cube Ultra also offers vibration alerts for various situations. For example, you can set the X Cube Ultra up to vibrate when you remove or attach your atomizer, and it’s automatically set up to vibrate when you use the adjustment buttons or switch the device on. The strength of the vibration can be adjusted to suit your preferences, and you can also control when it activates through the “Shake” option in the menu system. This feature works just as it should, and it’s nice to have some tactile feedback, but again it’s not exactly something you need on a mod.
There are also many additional features on the X Cube Ultra that don’t exactly warrant their own section but are still useful. For example, you can rotate the screen, set the time and date, change the screen’s contrast, adjust how long the screen stays active for when you aren’t pressing anything and similar features. There’s also a puff counter on the device, and you can lock the device as well as being able to switch it off for when you’re carrying it around.
As you expect from any regulated mod, there are plenty of safety features on the X Cube Ultra. These include short circuit protection, over-discharge protection for your batteries, high battery voltage protection and overheating protection. The minimum resistance supported by the device is 0.1 ohms in wattage mode and 0.07 ohms in TC mode, and going below this (or over 3 ohms) will trigger a safety feature too.
Smok X Cube Ultra Review: In Use
Performance: Wattage Mode
The X Cube Ultra works just as you hope it would in wattage mode. The mod is responsive and performs excellently across the whole wattage range, and you can use the “hit strength” feature to give yourself a temporary boost or a gentler start to your draw if you like. Combined with such a huge wattage range, it’s hard to see how anybody could be disappointed with what the X Cube Ultra can do when it comes to ordinary wattage-based vaping. Whatever type of atomizer you have, and however you like to vape, you’ll be able to set it up to suit your needs and preferences perfectly.
Performance: TC Mode
Despite the lack of freely controllable ramp-up wattage, the X Cube Ultra does a really good job in TC mode. After connecting your coil, choosing your hit strength, making sure it’s in the right mode for your specific material and adjusting the TCR as needed, you just start vaping as you ordinarily would. I prefer gentler ramp up wattages, and with the X Cube Ultra set on a “soft” hit it’s perfect for my tastes. But if you like a punchier vape, the maximum setting really pushes the power. The draw is pretty consistent throughout. You only really notice a drop-off in output if you’re using a harder hit strength and a lower temperature. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use TC mode, it’s really great.
Changing Your Atomizer: What You Need to Do
One of the main times you’ll need to interact with the mod in day-to-day vaping is when you switch to a new atomizer. As soon as you do, the screen flashes up asking you if you’ve attached a new coil, and you simply choose “Y” or “N” using the adjustment buttons. Choosing “Y” will prompt the device to read the resistance of the coil, but choosing “N” will keep it at the previously-read resistance. Then all you have to do is choose your mode. Unless you want to make specific changes – for example, setting the coil material in TC mode – you can do this with the firing-bar-and-minus-button shortcut.
You can then select your setting in the way you ordinarily would. Of course, adjustment is much easier if you set up memory mode to scroll through your most common settings even more quickly.
Comfort and Portability
The X Cube Ultra is about 10% smaller and lighter than the previous edition, but it’s safe to say the device is still quite bulky. The boxy shape and the dual-battery nature of the mod mean it definitely isn’t the best choice if portability is a priority. However, you can say the same about most dual-battery mods. You don’t choose something like the X Cube Ultra because you want something discreet and light, you choose it if you want something that can perform like a champ all day.
In terms of comfort, the device does a great job despite its size and design. The key here is the firing bar, which makes it really easy to activate the mod and removes the need to be precise in your presses. You simply squeeze the device and then start vaping, and the firing bar has a pleasant amount of resistance to it so you don’t activate it accidentally. The fact that the adjustment buttons are on the top of the mod makes it hard to adjust settings without bringing your other hand into play, but overall it’s very comfortable to use considering the size of the device.
The X Cube Ultra is a durable and dependable device, and the build quality is really hard to fault. The body is made of stainless steel and a zinc alloy, and it’s easily sturdy enough to stand up to knocks and bumps. The firing bar is really well made, the adjustment buttons have a satisfying click to them and the threading is nicely-machined and works just as you want it to. The battery door is also really well-made: the magnets are strong enough to keep everything in place unless you specifically want to open it and dig your fingernail into the little slot. In short, there’s nothing at all to complain about here.