Published on March 19th, 2013 | by Trick5
The SmokTech RSST
Summary: Easy to set up and works well. Hopefully SmokTech will work out the build problems in a later version.
It’s finally starting to appear on the tops of PV’s everywhere: The RBA that started more drama in more places than any other piece of hardware in recent memory. We are, of course, talking about the SmokTech RSST, otherwise known as the AC9 clone.
The AC9 Controversy
Many who were involved in co-ops at the time, or just keeping up on gossip, will remember the shockwaves that SmokTech’s announcement of this atomizer sent through the vaping community. Riptrippers, an employee of Vapinaze, the makers of the AC9, went ballistic. Powerless to do anything directly against SmokTech, the offshore makers of the RSST, he lashed out at those preparing to buy it: the co-ops, and the managers of co-ops. In a move that would later prompt profuse apologies from others at Vapinaze, Riptrippers threatened to sue the managers of these co-ops. Unfortunately for him, the people he threatened knew his threats were empty, and in the end he ended up looking like a bit of a fool.
It was a move that may have cost Vapinaze some, if not all, of the sympathy they may have garnered from vapers over what truly is a blatant rip-off of their design. The SmokTech RSST features a removable cup almost identical to that of the AC9, as well as a very similar profile and finish. It even, for a brief time prior to release, borrowed the AC9 name, though the name in marketing material was changed to RSST before units were shipped.
Differences Between the SmokTech RSST and Vapinaze AC9
The differences between the SmokTech RSST and the AC9 are few, and mostly minor. The press-on cap of the RSST is somewhat rounder than that of the AC9, and the draw is tighter, even when the AC9 has been fitted with the optional tight draw cap, as the result of a much smaller-diameter air hole on the RSST. The internal setup is also quite similar, with both sporting a single large wick hole, a fill hole, and a center post with a spring to hold the positive end of the coil wire in place.
Where they diverge is primarily in the materials used. While the AC9 is constructed of thick, high-quality stainless steel, the SmokTech RSST is built from thinner metal, giving it a somewhat less sold feel. We also notice finish inconsistencies between the tank and the cap in the RSST.
The makers of the RSST also made a couple of design choices that left us baffled. For example, the fill hole is not only quite large, but it sits at a roughly 100-degree angle from the wick hole, rather than the typical 180 degrees. This seems to serve no real purpose, other than to cause the RSST to leak into the cap when tilted. We are also a bit concerned over the way the adjustable center post has a sharp end, as if they used an off-the-shelf wood screw for it. We’d be a bit reluctant to use the SmokTech RSST on mods with a brass or plated positive contact, as this point is quite likely to dig into it over time.
Build Quality: 2.5
While mostly well-constructed (though not as well as the AC9), a few glaring flaws stand out. Particularly jarring are the strange placement of the fill hole, the overly-large drip tip socket, and the sharply-pointed center post.
The SmokTech RSST certainly looks good, with its frosted tank and brushed finish. However, the finish varies somewhat between parts in our test unit.
The SmokTech RSST is a basic single-wick Genesis atomizer with few options. However, the adjustable center post design (stolen directly, if incompletely, from the AC9) will allow it to sit flush with any atomizer, though it does not allow adjustment of coil height in the same way as the AC9.
Performance of the SmokTech RSST was mostly typical for a Genesis atomizer. While some may appreciate the very tight draw (a stark contrast to the AC9′s default airy draw), others are going to want to take a drill to it immediately.
This atomizer is just starting to ship from SmokTech, and we can’t really be sure where prices are going to fall, though somewhere in the $40-$50 range seems likely based on co-op pricing of around $25. Frankly, for that kind of money, we’d recommend waiting for SmokTech to correct some of the obvious flaws before spending your money on it.
Overall Score: 6.2
Update, May 12, 2013: An RSST purchased more recently no longer has the pointed center post; it appears SmokTech is now using one that is flat on the end. However, we were unable to thoroughly test the unit, as the threading of the 510 connector was so bad that we could not screw it on to any of our PVs.