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January 27, 2016

Freemax Starre Review


The e-cigarette industry has changed so much since I first took up vaping in 2010. While cigalikes once dominated the industry, I am now completely surprised when I see someone on the street using anything other than a box mod — and for the average e-smoker, the differences in features from one box mod to the next are hardly significant enough to matter. Sure, you can buy box mods that claim to have a maximum power output of 200 watts, but who really needs that? At least in my personal experience, with all of the most popular sub-ohm tanks you’re getting nothing but heat — hardly any flavor whatsoever — too far above 35 watts anyway, so what’s all the extra power for?

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In my opinion, as long as your box mod meets your requirements for features, battery life, comfort and safety, it’s the tank or atomizer that really determines the type of vaping experience you’ll have. So, I have recently immersed myself in the extremely interesting world of sub-ohm tanks, learning the design points that make one different from another. In the coming days, I’ll be writing several e-cigarette tank reviews describing what I’ve learned. This Freemax Starre review is the first.

Freemax Starre Review

About the Freemax Starre

The Freemax Starre is a sub-ohm tank with a stated liquid capacity of 5 ml. Its major feature, according to Freemax, is that it is the world’s first e-cigarette tank with dual vertical coils. In other words, looking inside the atomizer, you can see two distinct wires attached to the same two end points at the top and bottom of the atomizer. There is a copious amount of cotton inside the atomizer as well as four large e-liquid holes on the side. Regarding the cotton itself, I’ve seen many online retailers claim that it is organic. The Freemax website doesn’t make that claim, though, instead referring to it as “medical grade.” The bottom of the atomizer has a silver — or at least silver-plated — connector for better power transfer.

The Freemax Starre tank itself is borosilicate glass, while the metal components are 304 stainless steel. The bottom of the tank features two very wide adjustable air holes. You can get four types of replacement coils for the Freemax Starre: standard kanthal at 0.5 and 0.25 ohms and nickel at 0.25 and 0.15 ohms for temperature control devices. Halo doesn’t carry the nickel coils, as the Halo Reactor (review) doesn’t have temperature control support. However, Halo’s version of the Freemax Starre includes both glass and stainless steel tips. The standard version of the Starre includes a stainless tip only.

Freemax Starre Review Specs

Freemax Starre Review

Freemax Starre vs Kanger Subtank

Freemax Starre vs Kanger Subtank

The Kanger Subtank’s liquid holes are positioned high in the tank, which can cause wicking issues before the tank is truly empty.

At the time of writing, I have used the Freemax Starre for more than two months and now consider it my primary sub-ohm tank. It took a while for me to come to that conclusion, but one thing was evident from the moment I began using the tank. To understand what I’m talking about, take a look at the picture of the Kanger Subtank to the right. Notice how high the liquid hole is? With the liquid hole that high, you could easily begin to experience wicking issues long before the tank actually runs out of e-liquid — something that’s happened to me several times. When the Subtank begins to get just a little low on e-liquid, you have to start doing a sort of dance — rotating your device from side to side between puffs — to keep the wick saturated. If you don’t, you’ll scorch the wick even though it looks like you’ve got plenty of e-liquid left.

Looking at the Freemax Starre from the side, you won’t see that same problem. Instead, you’ll see only the very tops of the liquid holes. This means that the Starre vapes consistently until it is almost completely dry, eliminating the scorched wicks that can happen if you forget to refill frequently.

Refilling, by the way, is something that you’ll need to do fairly often with the Freemax Starre. I thought that the Kanger Subtank burned through e-liquid at a rapid pace, but switching back to the Subtank after using the Starre feels almost like sucking on a straw with one end folded over. The Subtank is a major success and a very influential product, but there’s no question that it isn’t the best sub-ohm tank on the market anymore. In terms of reliability, quality of flavor and quantity of vapor, the Starre far outclasses the Subtank.

The official information about the Freemax Starre suggests that the coils work fine at up to 100 watts. That certainly might be true. I have used it at up to 50 watts with no wicking issues, but for normal use I have no desire to go above 35 watts or so. Too far above that, I really get more heat than vapor — no flavor to speak of. If you happen to like your vapor really, really hot, though, the Freemax Starre can do it.

In terms of reliability and maintenance, the Freemax Starre is top notch. The threading is very smooth, and there are plenty of o-rings to prevent leaking. A threaded center joint allows you to disassemble the tank completely for cleaning or to swap out the glass. The only problem — and it’s a small one, considering I’ve never seen a tank that doesn’t have this problem — is that you can’t disassemble the airflow control ring itself. If you carry your device in your pocket, the ring is likely to collect quite a bit of dust and pocket lint. Again, though, this is true of every sub-ohm tank that I own.

One additional downside to the Freemax Starre is its occasional tendency to spit hot juice. This is a problem that I didn’t experience frequently with the Kanger Subtank. I suspect, though, that the juice spitting is simply a side effect that goes along with the larger juice holes and more powerful coil. If more juice gets to the coil and the coil burns through that juice more quickly, you’ll naturally get a bit more condensation in the tube. I occasionally run a cotton swab down the tube to soak up the condensation and mitigate this problem.

Freemax Starre Review: The Bottom Line

I recommend Halo’s version of the Freemax Starre in particular due to its inclusion of a glass tip. As I mentioned above, the stock version of the Starre includes a stainless tip only — I actually don’t use the stainless tip at all because I don’t like the heat transfer. Although the coil of the Freemax Starre gets quite hot during use, the glass tip stays cool and I really like that. The glass tip also doesn’t gunk up the way stainless tips often can.

In the world of sub-ohm tanks, the Freemax Starre is really an ideal daily driver. It doesn’t have any gimmicky extra parts like a fan or secondary and tertiary airflow holes that require frequent cleaning. The coils are also quite affordable, so if you go through them quickly it isn’t a problem. Also, in two months of using the Freemax Starre, I have yet to encounter a single leak. The quality of the flavor is superb and the vapor production is fantastic. Whether you receive it as part of a set with the Halo Reactor or purchase it on its own, I wholeheartedly recommend the Freemax Starre..

Freemax Starre Review: The Pros

  • Stellar flavor and vapor production
  • Simple design means tank is easy to disassemble and clean
  • Glass tip mitigates heat transfer to the lips
  • Recessed liquid holes allows for consistent wicking until tank is nearly dry

Freemax Starre Review: The Cons

  • Large air holes can attract pocket lint
  • Condensation may occasionally collect in the center tube and spit back

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