The Joyetech Atopack Penguin SE Review – I’ll be the first to admit that I thought pod vapes and cartridge systems were nothing more than a fad – a way to fool frustrated cig-a-like users into thinking they were vaping more advanced systems. But I’ll also happily admit I was wrong.
Yes, the concept is accurate – bridging the gap between gas station e-cigs and true vaping devices. But there’s no “fooling” going on. Pod systems, when done right, are the perfect way to get a satisfying vape without much of the complications found in more advanced devices.
The Joyetech Atopack Penguin Special Edition (SE) has been out for a few months now, but our team just got a hold of one of these closed tank systems, and suffice it to say, this group of advanced vapers is impressed. Let’s see why.
First impressions of the Joyetech Penguin SE AIO
When first looking at the packaging, my inner cynic came rushing to the surface. For years, all we’ve heard about is how vape companies target impressionable youth. So, when Joyetech introduces a device named “Penguin,” that looks exactly like its namesake, I wonder if the marketing was a little misguided.
Thankfully, there are no smiley faces or cartoon birds to be had here. The Penguin SE is a sleek, mature, understated device that is equally comfortable being a stealth vape or a showpiece, depending on how you want to show it off.
Removing the Penguin from the standard sliding box packaging reveals a healthy offering for casual vapers. Included in the box is the Penguin device, a USB cable, two ceramic coil heads, silicone mouthpiece covers and a well-written and translated user manual. Basically, add e-liquid and you’re vaping!
The Penguin SE device itself is fairly tall at 105mm, but it’s extremely lightweight and pocket-friendly. The body feels plastic-ky, but is actually a durable zinc-alloy, polished to a high sheen. My test model was an attractive grey marble/black mix, but there are six combinations to choose from, ranging from solid black to a bold purple mix.
The name of the game here is simplicity, and the Penguin SE couldn’t be easier to operate. Featuring just one button, and an effortless “snap to lock” cartridge, even the greenest newcomers can easily get the Penguin set up and vaping in minutes. The trapezoidal fire button is plastic, but feels solid, and has a nice, reassuring click when engaged, along with a firm feel that won’t encourage accidental pocket presses.
The only concern I had for new vapers is the tint on the juice level windows, which makes things a little difficult to see, potentially leading to dry coils.
The removable cartridge section slides in and out of the top with amazing ease. Protected by a silicone seal, the coils slide right into place after inserting e-liquid through the large fill port opening. All items slide into place with confidence-inducing clicks, and recommended fill lines help to ensure there are no leaks or mishaps along the way.
Operating the Joyetech Penguin SE
One hugely appreciated feature is the tremendous 8.8mL tank, which could theoretically keep a casual vaper set for days before needing to refill. I can’t remember the last time I went out for more than an hour without a unicorn bottle, so this was refreshing, to say the least.
In the name of simplicity, Joyetech opted to not include a screen on the Penguin SE. While I agree that less is more with entry-level devices, perhaps a small OLED readout of device settings might reassure nervous newcomers a bit. As it stands, the battery level reading is accurate and appreciated, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing warnings such as “low liquid/dry coil” or “battery low/recharge” to really close the loop.
Finally, the 2,000 mAh internal battery comes fully charged, and has onboard 2-amp charging that allows the Penguin SE to power up from empty to full in roughly an hour. I found the battery life to be excellent throughout my use, even under heavy testing.
How well does the Penguin SE vape?
I feel like Joyetech could have been a little clearer in defining the audience for the Penguin SE. While it’s pretty obvious that the device is aimed at former smokers and stealth vaping, and won’t work as a cloud chucker, the Penguin’s performance is too loose for strict MTL use, and too tight for true sub-ohm vaping.
There are two coils included in the box – the 0.6-ohm JVIC1, and the 0.25-ohm JVIC2. Of the two, I found the JVIC1 to be the more enjoyable of the two. Using a 50/50 e-liquid, the device offered a warm, flavorful restricted lung vape that produced a surprisingly large amount of vapor. The airflow was loose, but still restrictive enough to satisfy former smokers
That said, I recommend using similar types of juice in the Penguin, as I don’t feel the coils could handle higher-VG concentrations.
Switching to the 0.25-ohm JVIC2, there was a distinct shift in performance, as if the Penguin SE adjusted itself internally to accommodate the lower resistance. Here, using the same e-liquid, I received warmer vapor, but notably less flavor, and even experienced some slight dryness, forcing me to tip the Penguin SE more often to keep the coils wet.
With the lower resistance, it felt more natural to vape the Penguin SE as a direct-lung device, but the airflow and mouthpiece aren’t really designed for this purpose, and the entire mod became warmer than expected. Not prohibitively so, but for casual vapers, it might become concerning.
I should mention that both coils are troupers, with each still going strong after two weeks of heavy use. Of the two, the 0.6-ohm JVIC1 is still the better performer, as flavor and vapor is just as abundant as on day one. The JVIC2 is still kicking, too. But I’ve seen definite problems with dry hits and lesser battery life, to boot.
As a direct battery device, the Penguin SE obviously works best when the battery is full. That said, I only experienced reduced power when the battery was being purposefully drained for testing. Under standard day-to-day use, casual vapers should get days from a full charge, not hours.
Some “outside opinions” of the Penguin SE mod
To do this review properly, I had to put myself in the mindset of a beginning vaper, or a vaper looking for something simple and stealthy. It wouldn’t be fair to review this the same way as the latest 220-watt monster to hit shelves, so I did the only thing I could – I gave it to my wife.
To set the table, my wife is a vaper, but she’s much more casual, preferring higher-nic, PG-heavy liquids, and ultra-snug MTL draws. In other words, the perfect test subject for the Penguin SE.
I bought a fresh pair of JVIC coils from my local vape shop, gave the Penguin a quick clean, and loaded up the tank with her preferred 60% PG, 12mg blend. I took one puff, and began to hear colors and see sounds, so I handed it off to my wife and waited.
Her first reaction was “Wow!” She was floored by the initial rush of airflow and warmth, but immediately settled into a more restricted lung pattern. The more abundant vapor took some getting used to, but I was shocked with how easily she adjusted to a new experience, especially considering her refusal to give up her iStick 50w and two-year old Kayfun Mini v3.
While I won’t document the entire experience, it was refreshing seeing the Penguin SE through the eyes of someone that fits the target customer demographic. Over the course of a few hours, and fairly heavy use, my wife largely enjoyed her time with the Penguin SE, but noted two primary criticisms.
- The increased need to keep the coil wet.
While experienced vapers know that coils are sensitive items, and need a constant flow of e-liquid to stay healthy, newcomers unfamiliar with atomizer mechanics might assume that having juice in the tank is enough. The act of vaping should allow for enough juice flow to stave off dry hits, but newbies looking for a stealth vape might forget to tip the AIO device enough.
For the record, my wife has been vaping for three years, and still got some scratchy hits, even with me looking over her shoulder for hours. Once we reinforced the need to tip the Penguin SE every few draws, it was fine. But this is NOT indicated in the literature, nor is it on the device. Newcomers will need more instruction to get the most from the Penguin SE.
- The lack of a display
To be clear, my wife is not an uber-technical person, nor does she want to adjust vape device settings throughout her day. But she likes knowing she CAN. While the Penguin SE might adjust its internal settings based on the coil resistance, or the remaining battery power, none of this is indicated on the Penguin device.
When swapping coils, she also noticed a distinct change in the experience – increased warmth, more vapor, etc. — but had no idea WHY this was happening. As a seasoned vaper, she figured it out. But she also indicated a new vaper might think something had gone wrong.
Simplicity may be the name of the game, and we appreciate Joyetech’s intentions here. But part of transitioning to vaping is learning, and the Penguin SE could feature a few more things to help new vapers find their best possible experience.
Despite my minor criticisms, and my wife’s notes, the Joyetech Penguin SE is a fantastic entry-level device for new vapers, and a solid stealth vape for anyone. Though the direct output format might limit the amount of control, there are few devices that function this effortlessly, and still vape well.
Atopack Penguin SE Specs/Contents
Joyetech Penguin SE AIO mod specs:
- Size: 26.5mm*52.0mm*102.5mm
- Weight: 102.0g
- Cartridge capacity: 8.8ml
- Battery capacity: 2,000mAh
- Max charging current: 2A
- Colors: white, black, light blue, light pink, purple mix, grey mix
- Output mode: direct output
- Features: JVIC system, visual e-liquid window, modular design concept,
- Penguin-like e-cig, 2A quick charge, more color options
Joyetech Penguin SE AIO kit contents:
- 1x Penguin SE battery
- 1x ATOPACK cartridge
- 1x ATOPACK coil (JVIC1 0.6ohm)
- 1x ATOPACK coil (JVIC2 0.25ohm)
- 1x QC USB cable
- 1x Quick start
- 1x Warranty card
- 1x Warning card
- Spare parts