Nicotek Metro eCigarettes
It doesn’t matter if there are a dozen or a thousand eCigarette brands in the country, there will be fans of each and every brand now matter how good, or bad, you personally think the brand is.
I imagine that there are people in this country that even enjoy Regal eCigs, a company that produces cheap, awful-tasting eCigs that will set you back a whopping $12 PER Cartomizer and lock you into an never ending contract. “There is no accounting for taste”, or “De gustibus non est disputandum” as it is said in Latin. That was true thousands of years ago and it is true today.
Having said all that, it is sometimes difficult to remember that bit of information whenever I sit down to write a review, which is why I don’t write many of them.
Metro eCigs by Nicotek
When I was tasked with reviewing the Metro eCigs products I was pretty excited. Nice packaging, good graphics, and excellent prices. Their “Platinum Starter Kit”, an “all-in-one” solution for vaping includes a tin carrying case for all of your essentials, plus accessories you need to enjoy your vaping experience. The breakdown is:
- – (2) Rechargeable Batteries
- – (5) 1.8% Traditional Hybrid Cartridges
- – (5) 1.2% Traditional Hybrid Cartridges
- – (1) USB Battery Charger
- – (1) Mini Car Charger
- – (1) Mini Wall Charger
- – (1) Deluxe Tin Carrying Case
All of the above will set you back a mere $49.99, which is much less than most of the Starter Kits I’ve seen in the last year, and trust me I’ve seen a lot.
When its time to buy refills however, the price increases quite a bit. Metro sells their refill cartomizers in boxes that contain just three (3) cartomizers. The price for 3 cartomizers is $9.99, or $3.33 per cartomizer. You can buy refills in boxes of 36, and that does lower the cost per cartomizer to $2.75, still much too high in today’s competitive marketplace.
Recycle Your Cartos
In an attempt to entice people to recycle their cartomizers Metro offers an Exchange Program that earns you a box of 3 cartomizers for every 30 “used” cartomizers you return to the company. If you prefer a new battery or a Metro Disposable, they can offer you a battery in exchange for returning 3 batteries or 3 spent disposables.
However, to take advantage that the exchange program you pay for shipping back the 30 cartos or 3 batteries/disposables. When you consider the cost of shipping to be at least $5.15 (using the flat-rate service offered by the USPS with delivery confirmation), the exchange program loses a bit of luster. Not to mention that the idea that Metro would reuse the spent cartomizers is a little creepy. (Though I have no idea what they do with the products you return. They could very well dispose of them in a number of ways.)
In any case, with or without the exchange program the cost of the cartomizers alone prohibit me from ever considering becoming a customer of Metro eCigs.
The Disposables confuse the hell out of me. Metro has chosen to offer a disposable that is the size of a regular cigarette, which alone sounds interesting. I just know that someday one company is going to offer a box of 20 cigarette size disposables in order to get even closer to the normal tobacco cigarette pack, but not at the prices Metro is asking for a single, cigarette size disposable. While Metro won’t say how many “puffs” their disposable will deliver, they do say that the cost is (a stunning) $7.99 PER disposable. If you prefer to buy a box of 4, they offer it at $24.99, saving you a bit of money in the process, but still expensive.
I’ve been vaping for more than a year and I can say that any disposable on the market now sells for anywhere from $7.99 to $14.99, and each of them is much larger than a normal cigarette and deliver anywhere from 250 to more than 400 puffs. Because nowhere on the Metro website is any mention of the number of puffs you can get from one of their disposables I think its safe to say “not many”.
Even the Metro “Comparison” Chart makes no mention of the number of puffs for any of their products. That to me is a huge warning sign. Click the image for a larger view.
Shipping is free for orders over $50, and they do ship Priority Mail.
Unlike many eCig brands on the market today Metro eCigs offers a traditional and menthol variety only. No fancy flavors, just tobacco and tobacco menthol. Locking into a brand that doesn’t offer a variety of flavors is appealing to some people, but not me. Having been exposed to flavors such as the new Peach from South Beach Smoke or the new Pina Colada from Blu Cigs, I can’t imagine having no choices other than tobacco. As I am not a Menthol user, vaping tobacco without other options would be rather boring.
I DO like their Nicotine level options though. They range from Zero nicotine to a high of 1.8%, which is as high as they should come in my opinion. Others, including my own co-workers, enjoy 2.4% and even higher, but for me 1.8% is plenty. The option to offer zero nicotine is commonplace, but still its nice to know.
Quality & Taste
I don’t have any complaints with the way Metro has chosen to package their products. The “tins” are fine, the PCC (personal charging case) is nice, and even their carrying case is nicely made, and it looks as though they were all made to last. There is nothing cheap about the packaging.
The eCigarette itself is pretty much the standard size for most eCigarettes today. The quality of the construction seems to be much like other brands I’ve seen. Not spectacular, but not cheaply made either.
Tasting is believing…
You’ve heard me say it, and you’ve no doubt said it yourself, taste is subjective. All I can really do is compare what I taste to what I’ve tasted in the past, or what I vape now. In this department Metro eCigs fall far short of the mark.
The “draw” of the Metro eCig reminds me of the much more expensive “White Cloud” SmoothDraw technology, which I cannot stand. Vaping the Metro is too easy to draw, but at the same time you don’t get much vapor. Some eCigarettes are too hard to vape, others too easy. Metro definitely falls into the “too easy” bracket. (see vapor production below)
I was sent both the traditional and menthol flavors to try. Despite not being a fan of menthol I vaped their menthol blend for a few days. Not exclusively, but often and for substantial times. I remain a non-menthol user.
Every brand of eCigarette on the market has a unique flavor, and Metro is no different… The menthol flavor has a distinct taste of Spearmint Gum, but just barely. Some menthols of overpowering, some are pretty decent. Metro is definitely not overpowering. Weak, un-affecting, with a slight spearmint taste, there is nothing positive to say about it.
The “traditional” tobacco flavor doesn’t fare any better. In fact, there is no tobacco taste at all that I can detect.
Vapor Production is dismal. I tried and tried, going through cartomizer after cartomizer and just couldn’t produce even a third of the vapor of more than a dozen of other brands in recent memory. Puffing lightly or strongly, a fresh cartomizer or one broken in, a newly recharged battery or one with an hour’s use… it didn’t matter. I would rate the vapor level on the Metro eCig to be the lowest I’ve experienced since I took up vaping.
One Last Hope
There is one nice thing about Metro eCigs, and that’s the battery. A nice size, smooth finish, and long lasting. I quite liked the battery, despite having the parent company name on the side rather than Metro eCigs.
Metro eCigs cartomizers are too expensive, vapor production is very poor and taste is almost nonexistent in the tobacco blend, and the menthol gives a slight spearmint flavor.
While the Starter Kit is inexpensive the refill cartomizers kill any hope of succeeding in this increasingly tough market. $3.33 per cartomizer is almost unheard of. The Disposable line is a nice size, but at $7.99 its way to expensive and nowhere on the Metro website does it say what you can expect from a disposable in the number of puffs. That’t not good.
You can do a lot better with almost any other brand of eCig on the market. In good faith I simply cannot recommend this brand to anyone.
The absolute worst thing about Metro eCigs is that they are highly successful in getting retail stores to carry them. Convenience Stores, Gas Stations mostly… and unfortunately this is a brand that many smokers will buy as an impulse buy when they stop for gas and need a pack of smokes. Seeing that $7 a pack they instead grab a Metro. I imagine they then drive down the road, vape the eCig for a minute or two, toss it out the window and stop at the next gas station and spend that $7 for a pack of proper cigarettes. In my area alone there are 18 locations that sell Metro eCigs. If the eCig market is to succeed even the ones available at gas stations have to do better than this.