UD Balrog EX review by dw1986

Review Date: 
13.12.2016

UD Balrog EX

An upgraded version of the original UD Balrog, the UD Balrog EX is a 75W box mod that can be powered by either an 18650 or 26650 battery. It retains the unique condensation ring feature, where a removable ring packed with cotton absorbs juice preventing it from leaking down into your 510 connector, as well as an ergonomic design for comfortable use.

The chipset contained within the UD Balrog EX contains a lot of options, you have a power curve mode and temperature control support for Ni200, Titanium, SS and a custom TCR input, alongside the traditional power mode. The chassis of the unit is manufactured from Zinc Alloy, and it features a heavy duty removable battery cap for easy battery access. Firmware is also upgradable too.

I recently looked at another mod from UD, the UD Sifu B-Tab, let’s have a look at what the Balrog EX offers...

Specs

  • 87mm height
  • 47mm length
  • 31mm width
  • 120g weight
  • Zinc alloy construction
  • Condensation collection ring
  • Removable battery cap
  • 4W-75W output
  • 200F-600F temperature control range
  • 0.1-1ohm resistance range for Ni200 and Ti in TC, 0.15-3ohm for power/SS TC   
  • Temperature control support for Ni200, Titanium and SS as well as custom TCR
  • Power curve mode
  • Power ramp mode
  • 5 memory presets
  • Takes a single 26650 battery or 18650 battery by using the battery adaptor tube
  • Micro USB charging
  • Upgradable firmware
  • Spring loaded 510 connector
  • OLED screen
  • Ergonomic curlicue firing button
  • Overheating protection
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Short circuit protection
  • Low battery voltage protection
  • Dry burning protection in temperature control

What’s in the box?

  • UD Balrog EX
  • Micro USB Cable
  • User manual

Looks and build quality

Designed to be as ergonomic as possible, the UD Balrog EX is manufactured from Zinc Alloy with a curlicue shaped fire button, which makes firing the mod easier and more comfortable. With it being designed to take 26650 batteries as well as 18650 batteries, it’s definitely got some heft to it especially when used with a larger 26650 battery, even with an 18650 battery installed it is still a pretty weighty unit. With a 31mm width there are very few, if any, atomisers that will sit flush with the edge of the unit, so be prepared for a gap. The UD Balrog EX comes in either a black or red finish, which has held up to day to day usage so far, I am yet to notice any nicks or scratches in the paintwork.

At the front of the unit you have the aforementioned curlicue shaped fire button, which is clicky and responsive, an OLED screen as well as the plus and minus buttons, and a USB port used for charging and firmware upgrades. There is a large twist off battery cap at the base, which I have found to be quite stiff, requiring a fair bit of effort to get on and off, inside this is a cone shaped battery adaptor that allows you to use an 18650 battery, if you remove this you can use a 26650 battery. On top of the unit you’ll notice the 510 is surrounded by a large ring of cotton, this is there to absorb excess juice leakage and can be removed and replaced with fresh cotton. This does help to prevent juice from leaking down into the internals which can cause you some serious issues.

Overall it has a very heavy duty feel about it, and it’s a unit that I feel can stand up to heavy day to day abuse, I’ve given it thorough testing so far!

Performance and using the UD Balrog EX

The UD Balrog EX is a pretty feature heavy unit, and I’ve been impressed with the way that it performs. 75w of output power is more than enough for a single battery device, and it packs a good punch, it can fire resistance down to 0.1ohm in power mode meaning that you can use just about anything with it. In temperature control, it’s been responsive and accurate, with no temperature spikes, dry hits or inaccurate resistance readings.

There is an awful lot packed into the UD Balrog EX, and a pretty extensive menu system. I’ll break down how to use it and the menu system-

  • 5 clicks within three seconds turn the UD Balrog EX on and off
  • If no input is detected in a 5 second period, the screen will darken, the display will go into standby after 15 seconds of no input
  • 10 second cut off is built in, so if the power button is held down for longer than 10 seconds it will cut off and stop
  • Low battery voltage protection is built in, if battery voltage drops below 3.3V the screen will display ‘LOW BATTERY’
  • Overheating protection is built in, if the device gets too hot the screen shows ‘TOO HOT’
  • Reverse battery polarity means the device will not turn on if a battery is inserted upside down, and will protect the board.
  • Short circuit protection will guard against shorting
  • Anti dry burning protection will guard against dry hits in TC mode
  • Plus or minus will change the wattage in 1W increments
  • Holding plus and minus will allow you to check and lock resistance
  • Holding power and minus will allow you to lock the device. Repeat this to unlock.
  • When in standby, three rapid clicks of the power button will take you into the menu. Use plus or minus buttons to navigate the menu
  • Supply sensitivity allows you to tailor the power range depending on how much juice you have left in your atomiser to help guard against dry burning
  • Screen display will allow you to change the screen orientation from left to right, and also allow you to activate stealth mode
  • TC Mode allows you to switch between Ni200, Ti and SS316L, depending on your TC wire. You can also set the temperature limit before exiting.
  • You’ll also be able to enter a custom TCR if using a different wire in TC. Select an available profile from profile 1-5, enter the TCR value and desired temperature limit, then exit.
  • Temperature compensation allows you to further fine tune your TC experience depending on the temperature around you.
  • Power curve allows you to set different output wattage points and present these within a 10 second puff on your atomiser.

When it comes to battery life, it does perform as you would expect a single 18650 battery device to. I’ve not noticed a substantial increase in battery life when using a 26650 battery, mainly because a lot of 26650 batteries are over-specced, you do get a good days worth of moderate usage from a single battery. Plus USB charging is present to give you a quick emergency charge if you aren’t near a battery charger!

There were a couple of small annoyances I noticed when using the UD Balrog EX. Firstly if the mod has switched into standby, when the screen has gone blank, you need to press power to wake it again. You must press the power button before changing the wattage, and the wattage can only be increased in 1W increments. These issues don’t detract from what is a pretty solid performing mod however.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a robust day to day unit, the UD Balrog EX is a mod that is well worth having a look at. It’s large and hefty, so fans of dinky little units will probably steer clear of this one, and I haven’t really been able to fault the performance. That being said, it’s not without its faults however, the stiff battery cap is a minor annoyance as is having to press the power button first to change the wattage in one watt increments, but these are minor issues and take nothing away from what is a pretty solid unit!