Published on May 29th, 2013 | by Trick5
Review: The Precise ELA by Super T Manufacturing
Summary: You'd have a hard time finding another mechanical mod as well-built, capable, and accessible as Super-T Manufacturing's Precise ELA.
Super-T Manufacturing seems to be known primarily for two things: building great mods, and consistently missing estimated ship dates. Fortunately for Super-T, if you keep doing the first, people are willing to overlook the second.
We put in an order for an Precise ELA, Super-T’s first telescoping mod, back in early January. At the time, as now, the estimated ship date was six to eight weeks. A few days shy of June, today’s vape mail finally included our ELA. The reasons for the delay were many and varied, but on the bright side, those of us waiting for our ELA’s had a shorter wait than for Super-T’s previous project, the Shockwave. That one took about a year between the time pre-orders started and when they shipped.
So, why do people keep coming back to Super-T? That’s a good question. As the Precise ELA was our first of their mods, we were a bit curious why people would be willing to wait up to a year from one of Super-T’s mods. On paper, the ELA sounded great: corrosion-resistant gold and rhodium-plated brass contacts, a quick-release telescoping function that made changing batteries easy and fast, and of course, everyone we talked to who owned a Super-T mod raved about how well-built it was.
We have to admit, when we opened up the box containing our Precise ELA, the first impression was definitely good. We had ordered ours in a satin finish with brass accents, and everything you may have heard about the finish of super-T’s mods is true, if our ELA is any indication. The satin finish is just gorgeous. It’s very similar to that of our satin silver Provari, actually, with one major difference: this is not a painted finish, and won’t chip or wear down over time like that of the Provari. Even better, the finish, along with the rest of the ELA, is covered by a lifetime warranty.
Telescoping the mod to fit a range of batteries — from an 18350 all the way up to an 18650 with a Kick or Crown, with an optional extensional tube, is about as easy as it gets. While other mods may make you spin tubes for what feels like forever, the Precise ELA uses what Super-T calls a “positive locking mechanism.” A quarter-turn of a locking ring at one end of the bottom tube unlocks the telescoping section. Once unlocked, the telescoping tube can be adjusted to whatever length you want, and the ring turned again to lock it down. It is much faster, and ultimately easier on the finish of the center tube, than any other telescoping mod we’ve reviewed so far. It literally takes a second or two to release the telescoping tube, and maybe another second or two to lock it into its new position, and once locked in, there’s no need to crank it down extra-tight to get good battery contact and eliminate tube wobble, like on many other telescoping mods.
Another thing that’s easier to do on the Precise ELA than on other mods is to lock the bottom-mounted button. Like with other Super-T mods, there’s no locking ring to extend — something that, on other mods, seems to lead to the bottom cap falling off about as often as it leads to locking the button. On the Precise ELA, locking the button is as simple as sliding a small tab in the center of the button. One little click, and the button will no longer fire when the mod is placed on end. However, one little thing about the button that should be mentioned: when placed on end, the Precise ELA rests only on that button; the bottom of the mod is somewhat tapered. While we’ve had no problem resting the mod on end, the surface area touching the table is quite small, and it’s not going to take much to knock the ELA over. As we’ve seen one person describe it, the ELA stands about as stable as a drunken frat boy. While it seems a simple enough matter to just lie it down, that’s not going to be a very viable option if the ELA is used with a Genesis atomizer that will leak if it doesn’t remain upright.
The center pin is adjustable, utilizing a rather easy-to-use screw-type adjustment. There’s quite a bit of adjustability in the pin, and we’ve had no trouble getting mods to sit flush with the top of the Precise ELA. The adjusting screw on the bottom of the cap is very generously-sized and easy to hand tighten for good contact with the atomizer’s center pin. The threading of the top cap is of the standard 510 variety. While there is no eGo threading, it’s not likely this will be an issue for many, as we suspect not many people buy a mechanical mod like the ELA intending to use something like a Kanger T3 on it. The standard 510 top cap handles things like Genesis atomizers very well, and ours is very smoothly threaded. Our Precise ELA also came with a second top cap with adjustable draw for use with atomizers and cartomizers that feed air through the bottom. This cap is relatively easy to install, though we did have to peek at the videos on Super-T’s website to make sure we were doing it right the first time. Once installed, a simple twist of this top cap adjusts airflow for a tighter or looser draw.
At $189.99 from Super-T Manufacturing, the Precise ELA is firmly in high-end mod territory. However, unlike many other builders of high-end mods, Super-T does most of the manufacturing in-house on their own machines, with a goal of cranking out ELA’s as needed to meet demand. While they’re obviously still ramping up the process, the Precise ELA is not going to be one of those super-rare mods that sells for insane prices on the second-hand market, as the wait to get one directly from Super-T should always be relatively short. This alone takes a bit of the sting out of the price tag, as it should eliminate much of the after-market price gouging that happens with other similarly-priced mods.
Performance of the mod on our tests was exceptional. The brass contacts, plated with gold, and then again with corrosion-free rhodium, allow the mod to retain a great amount of voltage under load. In our tests, the Precise ELA averaged around 95% voltage retention, or about a .2 volt drop on a battery charge to 4.2 volts. While this is quite good, the rhodium plating should ensure that, if we were to test it again a year from now, it would score roughly the same, which is not the case for mods with pure brass or other contacts which oxidize very quickly.
So, was the Precise ELA worth the six-month wait, and the wallet-draining price? We’d say yes, definitely. It is an extremely well-built mod, with looks, performance and a warranty to match. Having spent some time with our ELA, I think we finally understand now why people are willing to cut Super-T a little slack when they miss a shipping deadline. If slipping the date a few months leads to a mod that’s built as well as the Precise ELA, it’s definitely worth waiting for it.