Known simply as the Crius, it is made by Shenzhen OBS Technology Co. Ltd., and more commonly known as the OBS Crius.
We've been testing quite a few RTA's and RDTA's lately ... and the OBS Crius is at the top of the category.
To date, we have tested nine different RTA's, and only three have made it to the printed review stage. A fourth will be published within the next few days, the rest are worthless junk and not appropriate for a drop of "ink".
The OBS Crius is among the best of the best. It puts a new spin on the top fill feature – filling this is through the side near the top. That feature is incredibly simple and convenient. Unlike other tanks where you have to unthread the top and find a spot to balance the separate top part, the top of the OBS Crius lifts to reveal a generously sized oval. Fill it with up to 4.2 ML of juice, and slide the top back down. It gets sealed in place with a silicone O Ring that is quite effective at keeping every drop of your E-Liquid inside the tank.
Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTA) appeal to those that feel comfortable wrapping their own coils and enjoy wicking. The satisfaction of "making your own" is greatly enhanced with the OBS Crius. The coil and wicking you make will be rendered properly by the Crius, without the messy leaks more common on other competitive products.
The Crius is available in three colors. Well, to be fair, two colors (White at far left, Black at right) and a brushed stainless steel version (shown in the center).
We received the brushed stainless steel version for testing and review.
All three feature a clear glass drip tip. The drip tip itself is a nice piece of technology. It fits onto a stainless steel 510 base with dual silicone O Rings around the 510 connector part and a single silicone O Ring to retain the glass on the wider base of the stainless steel. The drip tip sits firmly in place with very little heat transmission through the glass tip portion.
Air flow is quite generous with two large slots in opposing sides of the bottom base (shown in the picture at the left). The air flow adjustment ring is super smooth with limited movement. A limiter is at the wide open and full closed positions. The outer portion of the air flow adjustment ring has raised grips to help with the rotation.
The base is large and has velocity style posts with grub screws to retain the coils. I like this system, as long as the allen key is included and the right size. You don't want to get a cheap allen key ... or you'll strip either the allen key or the head of the grub screw. (Don't over-tighten).
The post holes are not a generously sized as shown in the image at the right. I measured them at 1.5 mm ... that's a bit on the small side and certainly will make it a challenge to use large diameter wire that is either twisted or clapton style. It will work, but quite tight.
The image at the right has one other "error". It shows the seals as black rubber style O Rings ... that is incorrect, I can confirm they are in fact silicone O Rings.
The fit and finish of the threads and all seals is perfect. After several weeks of using the OBS Crius, I can confirm absolutely no leaks from normal use. The only "glitch" in this is if you attempt to over fill the tank, it will leak. The procedure for filling is to shut off the liquid flow, shut off the air flow, open the top, add the liquid and then reverse everything. If you over fill the tank, it will flow out of the air flow slots at the very bottom. That's from the pressure of pushing the top closed ... in effect creating a hydraulic pump from the excess E-Liquid. So, it was my fault for testing the upper limits of E-Liquid capacity. Used within specifications, no leaks.
I mentioned the liquid flow. That's adjustable with a minor twist of the tank. If you firmly thread the OBS Crius into the 510 connector and properly tighten it, you can then use a small sideways motion on the glass portion of the tank to expose or close the liquid flow holes.
You can fully disassemble the unit for cleaning. All parts are either glass, 304 stainless steel, or silicone seals and O rings.
When I compare the build deck with another RTA that also doesn't leak, I notice some similarities. Refer to the larger picture of the build deck above to see what I mean. Notice that the wick is inserted into vertical channels at the bottom. That section is the key to limiting any leaks. Notice that the channel has a metal shroud around it, with a hole exposing the lower portion of the wick. On the other device, that ring is removable (in practical terms, it's not worth removing it – putting it back on after wicking is a PITA). And, by the way, PITA = Pain In The A**. The OBS Crius does it right, the ring is part of the base. You insert the wick into the channel. The only challenge is getting the density of cotton right. You need to have enough cotton to help wick it to the coil, yet loose enough so that E-Liquid will flow and be absorbed properly. What I ended up doing is a V Point configuration with a bit of extra cotton at the top of the base to prevent the wicking to slide lower into the channel. It works for me, I can lay down the OBS Crius on its side. Even with a full tank of juice, no leaks.
Worth mentioning ... when you are re-filling the OBS Crius, watch the top when lifting it to expose the oval hole where the E-Liquid is added. The oval will often have a film of E-Liquid across the entire oval. What I found useful is to blow a bit of air through the oval to get the juice film into the tank. If I do not do that, some of the juice will end up on the outside of the tank when you insert the juice bottle tip.
I compared this feature of the OBS Crius to the Billow V3 which has a similar side filling feature. On the OBS Crius, it works perfectly. A nice smooth action to lift the top. Closing the OBS Crius is also a very smooth action with the silicone O ring perfectly sized. It seals and does not require force to close. On the Billow V3 that same action is quite rough to open and close. A metallic "grinding" is a better description of the Billow V3. Kudos to OBS for getting this right and bettering the competition.
In practical use ...
Most users of the OBS Crius report incredible flavor and outstanding cloud production. It's simply amazing. Flavor that is pure and rich. Clouds that are satisfying ... large, billowing clouds. It's just a pleasure to use. After the initial tests where I overfilled the tank, I started to keep the juice at a bit lower level than full capacity. About the only aspect of using the OBS Crius that I wasn't that fond of is the glass drip tip. It shows condensation that I would rather have out of view. Other than that, the OBS Crius is a joy to use.
And, finally a note on using RTA's in general. With all RTAs, wicking is the key to avoid leaking. You have to reach that perfect balance where the coils get enough juice to avoid dry hits, yet limit that juice to avoid a saturation point where the juice would drip down into the air flow channels below the coils. Achieving that balance means a totally satisfying and perfect vape. Have patience when wicking and do it right. The OBS Crius is a bit more forgiving than other RTAs, but still needs to be done properly.
So, what’s the verdict? Is it worth it?
The OBS Crius is in the top tier of rebuildable tank atomizers. Fit and finish is very good. Engineering is excellent along with selection of components that is just right. All of the O rings and seals are the right size and good quality. This is a tank that we plan on having around (and using) for a long time. The post holes could be a bit bigger, but that isn't a large issue unless you have massive size wires, exotic twists, or flat wires. I had no problems with 24 guage coils, with room to spare. Ditto for clapton coils, tight – but room to spare. Yes, it is recommended – absolutely. I will mention that some users have reported the peek insulator below the positive post has cracked on their devices. I've seen no such issue and removing the center post did not reveal any issues that were detectable. So, go grab one and enjoy the vape!
What’s in the box?
- OBS Crius RTA v3
- Glass drip tip
- Replacement glass
- Mini Screwdriver
- Sample bag of organic cotton
- Spare grub screws, O rings, pre-built coils, wire