Joyetech Espion Silk Review – Another opinion… Vape mod manufacturers are a funny bunch. Because there’s literally no rhyme or reason to device naming schemes anymore. Could you imagine this recent conversation at Joyetech?
“Hey, we have a small internal battery mod that resembles nothing we’ve released in the last year…”
“Then it’s part of the Espion family.”
“…and it’s covered in squishy rubber like a discount bathmat.”
“Then it’s obvious, call it ‘Silk!’”
Yeah, I have absolutely no idea why Joyetech went this route with the naming. But I DO have an idea why my colleague had such a problem in his own review of this enigmatic little vape mod. While I don’t have quite the same vitriol aimed toward this pocket-friendly device, I also can’t really figure out why it’s necessary.
I mean, sure, a lot of people love pocketable vape mods. Others prefer the simplicity. But what in the blue hell connects this mod to the Espion series? The original Joyetech Espion was a compact, but powerful dual-18650 mod with a modern design. The follow-up Espion Infinite was a gaudy, but futuristic dual 21700 powerhouse.
The Espion Silk is … rubber-coated and hypoallergenic? Yeah, not buying it, Joyetech. How on earth is porous foam rubber more sanitary than solid metal? Honestly, if you’re sensitive enough to break out from holding a mod, you probably shouldn’t be leaving your hyperbaric bubble, much less vaping inside it.
Once you get over panicking that all your other mods are slowly killing you through microscopic leeches, you’ll realize that the rubber coating isn’t that bad looking, except for the orange edition, which looks more like a Nerf basketball than any vape device ever should.
More importantly, the rubber is extremely comfortable to hold, and seems to be pretty durable – perhaps it’s an ideal second mod for the car? If anything, the rubber gets a LITTLE tacky when used with wet or sweaty hands, so keep that in mind if you plan on bringing it to the beach.
The rest of the mod’s exterior is fairly standard stuff. The fire key and up/down controls are made from firm plastic – maybe not the most durable material, but certainly adequate for these purposes. Thankfully, there’s no rattle or play when shaking the mod, and all buttons have a decent amount of clickiness and throw.
The offset 510 connection is another story. Using the included NotchCore tank (more on that in a bit) alongside countless other atomizers, my test model had some play – to the point where it became a concern in my pocket. I’m not sure if my colleague had the same experience, but it’s something worth testing before making a purchase.
Joyetech ESPION Silk 80W TC Starter Kit Features:
- Dimension – 80mm by 40mm by 29.5mm
- Weight – 100.5g
- Integrated 2800mAh Rechargeable Battery
- Wattage Output Range: 1-80W
- Maximum Output Voltage: 9V
- Resistance Range – TC Mode: 0.05-1.5ohm
- Resistance Range – Power Mode: 0.05-3.5ohm
- Temperature Control Range: 100-315°C/ 200-600°F
- Ni200, Titanium, and SS316 Stainless Steel Compatibility
- TCR Adjustments
- POWER Mode
- BYPASS Mode
- 0.69″ OLED Display
- Hypoallergenic Material for Sensitive Skin
- Lightweight Ergonomic Design
- Intuitive and Tactile Fire Button
- MicroUSB Charging – Firmware Update Support
- Centered Spring-Loaded 510 Connection
- Available in Black, Orange, Brown
Joyetech NotchCore Tank Features:
- 22mm Diameter
- 2.5mL Juice Capacity
- Superior Stainless-Steel Construction
- Pyrex Glass Reinforcement
- Dotted Design
- Massive Dual Slotted Bottom Airflow
- Push-To-Open Top Fill Design
- Notchcoil™ Coil System
- 0.45ohm NotchCoil™ Head – rated for 20-30W
- Gold Plated Atomizer Base
- 510 Connection
- Detachable Structure
- Available in Black, Red
Joyetech ESPION Silk Starter Kit Includes:
- 1 Joyetech ESPION Silk 80W Box Mod
- 1 NotchCore Sub-Ohm Tank
- 5 0.45ohm NotchCoil™ Coils
- 1 QC USB Cable
- 1 Spare Parts Bag
- 1 User Manual
- 1 Warranty Card
If you’ve used a vape mod in the last few years, I’ll give you three guesses how the Joyetech Espion Silk menu system works. If you said, “three clicks on, obscene levels of clicks and holds” to make selections, you’d be right. It’s not bad, and it’s not that difficult. It’s just old and antiquated, and even a mod this diminutive deserves something a little more advanced in 2018.
That said, once users get into the menus, they’ll see a full slate of options – fairly impressive for a beginner-level, low-to mid-wattage vape mod. This includes wattage/power, temperature control, TCR and bypass modes, all of which function pretty darn well for an entry-level offering.
I won’t go into too much detail, since you probably know what’s coming, but the TC modes were solid, if not a little cautious, as if the Joyetech Espion Silk backed off before hitting its desired temp. The results aren’t bad, just a touch underpowered. Wattage mode is how most vapers will use the Silk, and the mode that will offer the most accurate performance.
In terms of performance and ramp-up, the Joyetech Espion Silk is – you guessed it – adequate. Hardly a slouch, but not the most-amazing device you’ll ever try, either. It’s a thoroughly mid-level experience, even if the kit price speaks to something higher-end than 80 watts and plastic buttons.
The real marketing behind the Joyetech Espion Silk kit – aside from the germ-resistant rubber, of course – is the NotchCore tank system, which is designed to offer an RTA-like flavor experience without having to build and adjust coils. When I started with the NotchCore, I was cautiously optimistic.
On one hand, I always prefer open, RTA-style coils to prebuilt heads. But I also remember a few years ago, when “notch coils” were supposedly going to take over the industry – how did that work out?
But I’m open minded, so I gave it a look. Taking apart the NotchCore tank to see the coil system revealed a fairly chintzy setup. The 2mL tank might be TPD compliant, but it’s also barely useful, especially with a minuscule top-fill port.
Still, I looked over the pre-installed coil/wick combo (with four more included in the kit!), added some 60/40 VG/PG liquid, let it soak for a bit, and waited to vape. The results were pretty decent, at least on the flavor front. While it wasn’t quite the nuanced taste explosion Joyetech claimed from the open coil system, the flavor was definitely better than most entry-level tank systems.
More impressive was how well the NotchCoils worked at low wattages. At just 25-35 watts, I enjoyed fairly potent flavor and decent vapor production. The Espion Silk isn’t meant to replace your 200-watt fog machines, but it far surpasses pod systems and AIO devices in this range.
Replacing the NotchCoils is fairly easy – just slide the replacement into the deck space and screw on the top cap to secure it. I definitely wish there was something else in place to secure the coils, but there didn’t seem to be any problems or unwanted movement once the tank was assembled.
Also, while the pre-assembled NotchCoils seem like they’d be easy to rewick and reuse, I found it really wasn’t worth the trouble. Not only do they last a decent amount of time, but replacement sets of five are pretty inexpensive by modern coil standards. Joyetech is definitely onto something here – they have some work to do, mind you, but there’s definitely the basis for a better system here.
(Personally, I’d love to see a version of these coils capable of much higher wattages, but that’s just me.)
The problem I have with the NotchCore tank (and the entire kit for that matter) is the overall cheap feel of the proceedings. The tank capacity is small, the mod technology is antiquated, and the overall design seems like it was rushed to production.
Is it “terrible?” No. The Joyetech Espion Silk is an adequate low-mid wattage vape mod, saddled with a weird rubber exterior, an inappropriate name, and bullshit marketing claims. The company’s marketing efforts should have actually been focused on the NotchCoil system, because even though it’s not QUITE a winner yet, the innovation and flavor hints at something much bigger coming from Joyetech down the line.