December 2016

The Phantom’s Revenge: Spectre DNA75 MOD

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By Chris Mellides

The Phantom’s Revenge LLC. was launched in early 2015 by founder and mod maker Erik Colvin in Simi Valley, California.

A carpenter by trade, Colvin became obsessed with box mods at the height of the Hana Modz craze, and when he realized that the Hana wasn’t as accessible as he would have liked, he decided to build his own box mod from scratch.

After acquiring a parts list and following online video instructions, Colvin was able to construct an OKR T10 50-watt box mod, and since then, modding for him went from knocking about in the garage on passion projects to becoming a full time gig.

Inspired by an affection towards the iPV D2 from Chinese vapor product company Pioneer4U, The Phantom’s Revenge Spectre75 box mod was born.

The Spectre is larger in size when compared to the iPV D2, but more compact than some of the larger Phantom models Colvin offers.

As with any Phantom’s Revenge box mod, the Spectre is manufactured by Colvin himself right here in the U.S., is stamped with a unique serial number, and utilizes quality materials that are locally sourced.

A solid block commonly referred to as a “blank” made from a mixture of stabilized wood and acrylic resin is CNC machined and fashioned into interchangeable sleeves that fit the Spectre like a glove.

Each blank is unique and no two are the same, which only adds to the appeal that comes with owning a device that truly is one-of-a-kind.

The stab wood and acrylic sleeves appear to be clear coated, feel sturdy and feature three strong magnets that attract to another set of magnets embedded on the box’s aluminum

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framing for a tight and secure fit when the mod is fully assembled.

In the lower corner of every Spectre sleeve is the notorious Phantom’s Revenge logo, which is nicely engraved in the wood and really adds to the cool aesthetic.

The exposed milled aluminum frame appears to have been given a high polish, is very lightweight and dense, and is also scratch resistant. Because of its shape, the Spectre’s metal body is known as a C-frame, named after its resemblance to the letter “C”, and is a style that’s common among many other high end mods.

The fire button and the additional two buttons used for adjusting wattage and cycling through the device’s menu system, appear to also be constructed out of the same aluminum as the C-frame and have a nice tactile feel.

For those concerned with button rattle, you’ll be glad to hear that the Spectre does not suffer from this issue when being handled.

Removing the interchangeable sleeve exposes a battery sled which is made to accommodate a single 18650 battery, with clean wiring connecting the battery terminals to an Evolv DNA75 chipset that regulates the device.

The benefit of this sleeve design is that it makes swapping out your battery hassle-free. There’s nothing to unscrew or unhinge to access your battery sled, nor will you need to run to a power outlet when the battery runs low like you would with other mods that instead make use of internal LiPo battery packs and are considered to be in the same class and price range as the Spectre.

Just swap out a drained cell for a fresh 18650, and away you go. It really couldn’t be any more convenient for someone who’s on the go.

Additional sleeves are sold separately for optimal customization and are available in different patterns with several different colored acrylic resins and wood dyes that are just absolutely gorgeous.

The fit and finish on the Spectre is really remarkable. There are no real imperfections, and certainly no scuffs, burrs or scratches in the mod’s enclosure. The mod is on the wider side, but is still considered compact and has a great comfortable feel to it as well. Again, because the mod is constructed from aluminum, it feels light in weight and is in no way cumbersome.

The flush spring-loaded 510 connector is also a nice feature and the threading on the 510 is silky smooth. Having said all of that, the Spectre isn’t without its faults. I have found that with continued use and over the course of several days, the natural oils on your hands and fingers will actually darken or temporarily stain the aluminum finish, until it’s given a good cleaning and polish.

In my experience, this occurred mainly in the space surrounding the fire button of the mod, since it gets the most use.

The next issue has less to do with the mod itself, but is more so a complaint that’s become common among DNA75-powered devices in general. And that is that if you run lower resistance builds at higher wattages, your user experience will likely be interrupted with a “weak battery” warning that will repeatedly appear on the device’s display.

Now, because I tend to use this device as a mouth-to-lung setup almost exclusively, and operate the power setting between 12-18 watts on higher resistance builds reading 1.2 ohms and above, I never receive the “weak battery” warning.

And really, that’s how I would recommend using a regulated device fitted with a DNA75 board. Take advantage of the device’s compact and discreet size by setting aside your monstrous attys and 30mm tanks and go for a mouth-to-lung approach instead. You’ll be far happier with the lengthened battery life and the consistent performance you’ll get.

If low resistance builds at higher wattages is more your speed, why go with a 75-watt device that only houses a single 18650 battery to begin with? It’s not very practical and you could easily go for something cheaper that’s got the horsepower to get you there.

At the time of writing this review it was announced that The Phantom’s Revenge LLC. will no longer be taking pre-orders on mods, and the rate at which the Phantom brand boxes are produced yearly will go from 400 and over down to more like 18 moving forward.

This news is disheartening and means that acquiring a Phantom will be much more difficult, but certainly not outside the realm of possibility.

At the end of the day there’s just one man who assembles these boxes, with great attention paid to the materials used and the products’ overall construction and design. They’re a rare find turned rarer, but certainly worth the money, time and effort it takes to acquire them.

For more information, visit: thephantomsrevenge.com and follow The Phantom’s Revenge on Instagram@thephantomsrevenge for furture updates.

Photos by Allan Kwasnik

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