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Tobeco ZNA 36

There has been a flurry of new products to copy the House of Hybrids ZNA mod. We've previously reviewed the Cloupor ZNA 50. 

Here we have a look at the Tobeco ZNA 36. This is one mod that is copying the look, but not the form factor. The Tobeco ZNA 36 ships with only one single battery tube to accommodate an 18650 battery. The other clones are closer in form factor and designed around an 18500 battery. The others either include an 18650 tube or have one for optional purchase. You can see that at the left: that is the Cloupor ZNA 50 with the 18650 tube. Notice how the mod does not change length – the optional 18650 tube sticks well past the bottom of the mod and looks "strange". 

The Tobeco ZNA 36 is designed around the 18650 battery with both the tube and the mod body being the same length. The advantage of the 18650 battery, of course, is length of vaping time between charges and far more options in terms of battery specifications that are available.

Tobeco doesn't include much in the box: you get the device itself and a chinenglish manual.

There are other differences between the Tobeco ZNA 36 and other ZNA clones. The main body is made of aluminum. The top tank connection, bottom battery cap and tube are stainless steel.

NOTE: The pictures did not turn out well. They are NOT copper, they are brushed stainless steel. I'm not sure why they look like copper in the pictures. The threads of the two caps are very smooth (both caps are stainless steel). The threads, though, are not compatible with any other mod, they are a pitch that is entirely different than others. No way of swapping out tubes in a pinch. The bottom spring that puts pressure on the battery to keep it in place is nice a firm. The spring is a silvery material. The tube has very smooth threads as well. The connector for the positive end of the battery is also a silvery metal and is adjustable. The top cap is also very smooth threading. The connector at the bottom is copper and is threaded into a white delrin plastic. The top pin is threaded into the bottom copper connector with very very tight threading. You'll need to use a dime or a flat screw driver to adjust this – don't try the mini screw drivers or you will end up stripping the top slot of the adjustment screw. If you look close enough at the right picture, you'll see what I mean. I tried to use a mini screw driver to adjust the pin (it's really tight and difficult to turn even with a full size screw driver). The top started to strip, so I stopped and waited until I got back to my shop – then used a regular full size screw driver to adjust it.

Tobeco does not publish information about the chip set used in the ZNA 36. On powering up, the display says Tobeco ZNA 36, no other identification. I have to assume this is a chipset designed by Tobeco or a variant of the Yihi SX 300A. Regardless, it is not the equivalent of other ZNA clones. When I put a meter on the device, the watts displayed on the device are about 0.6 watts out at the low end, and as much as 12 watts out at the top end. On the Cloupor ZNA 50, the accuracy is quite close and I normally vape at 8.5 watts. To get the equivalent vape on the Tobeco, I need to set it to 9.4 watts. (On my meter, that sets both at 8.5 watts). The vape experience is different too, on the Tobeco it is much milder with the effect of a lower throat hit. To get decent throat hit, I have to set the Tobeco at 15 watts with the meter showing a "real" 13.9 watts. I do have doubts that it is a Yihi chipset, though. The Yihi chipsets that are in mods I have are almost instantaneous in getting power to the coil. There is a lag on the Tobeco between the power button being pressed and the coil starting to generate vapor.  It's noticeable.

The Tobeco ZNA 36 is available in five colors: Black, Silver, Gold, Blue and Green. The unit that I tested and review is the Silver one.

The test unit that I acquired has some production artifacts in the body. There are several small dents in the metal that show through the painted portion. The paint itself is not perfect either, there are handling marks that were visible through the plastic bag before I even unpacked it, plus one mark in the paint where it came in contact with something before the paint was dry.

So, what's the verdict? Is it worth it? I am not sure how to answer this one. The difference between a maximum wattage output of 36 vs 50 watts is negligible – I just don't vape that high a wattage on a regular basis. I do occasionally, but a 14 watt spread isn't that great. The price of the Tobeco ZNA 36 is on par or slightly above the other clones. The pros: it is an 18650 device from the get-go and the body of the ZNA 36 matches the 18650 tube. I really like the look of a uniform mod with the higher capacity. The cons: lag time between fire and vapor production, inaccurate wattage display vs real watts, less throat hit (but cooler vape). So, you have to decide for yourself whether or not these cons are great enough to push you to a different device. The cons aren't enough to sway me though, I like the longer times between recharging. 

Update: Novemer 02 2014. I have resolved the issue of the lag time between pressing the fire button and power getting to the coil. In my initial tests, I used several batteries – all 25 amp or higher (up to 35 amps). All produced the same type of result with a lag time for power hitting the coil when pressing the fire button. Over the past few days, I have been using 20 amp batteries and power is instantly at the coil when I press the fire button. I was at a vape meet today and another user had a similar problem with a Hana clone – lag time. He was using a 30 amp battery, so we switched that out and used a freshly charged 20 amp battery: instant power to the coil when firing. I need to point out that the Tobeco ZNA 36 manual states that the maximum input and output current is 12 watts ... 

Update: November 09 2014. I have now been using this for several weeks, along with the Cloupor ZNA 50. With the 18650 battery (3100 mAh 20 amp), I get nearly a full day of vaping before needing a recharge. I am disappointed in several aspects of the Tobeco ZNA 36. It is not accurate in its display of atomizer resistance. It is out by a tiny amount – usually over by nearly 1/10th of an ohm. I am far more peeved at its inaccuracy in wattage: that's out by as much as 20%. Unacceptable. I will continue to use it, I like the look – but I have to compensate for the vape that I want to end up with. I normally vape at 8.5 watts ... with the ZNA 36, I have to set it to 9.4 watts to get the same effect. 

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