Play Vapor e Cigarettes – A Review
“Play Vapor is a leading developer, researcher and manufacturer of premium electronic cigarettes. We believe there is a better way to smoke than using traditional cigarettes and we set the bar for electronic cigarettes everywhere.” – Play Vapor Website
After being contacted via our Facebook page we agreed to review a cig-a-like brand called Play Vapor. We received enough ‘product’ to allow the members of our eLiquid team to vape for days.
Once the product arrived they were distributed to the team and we vaped them for more than a week, off and on. The only difference between this e-cigarette review and an e-liquid review was the ‘exclusivity’ we use in our eLiquid reviews. Team members could start and stop using Play Vapor any time they chose to, as long as each member spent enough time with each flavor, and the batteries, to be able to make a comprehensive determination of Play Vapor, the brand. With our eLiquid reviews we commit to using the company’s product exclusively for 72-96 hours. Asking 5 full-time Vapers to leave their APV’s and clearomizers, tanks, and RBA’s at home for a week was just asking too much. Some of us still use cig-a-likes on occasion, but no one uses them full time.
The Truth Will Set You Free
I really dislike writing reviews that hammer products. However, if we are to remain an eMagazine that will never sell out to anyone or any company, then sometimes it becomes necessary to write critical reviews. Still, it’s never fun to do and it always makes me a bit depressed when our administrator hits the “Publish” button and the review goes live.
Sometimes I feel like I have no business reviewing products like this, and then I realize that if Spinfuel eMagazine, and a very select number of other honest reviewers like Steve Vape won’t do it then the e-cigarette market would be left wide open for the XO, Prada, Lift, and Emerald Lux companies to run wild. So, it must be done, and it must be done honestly, no matter the cost. (Anyone remember what happened with Bull Smoke?
Play Vapor Marketing
Unfortunately Play Vapor has chosen the “hard marketing” approach to selling their product. Their website is littered with unsubstantiated claims, outright untruths, and an uncalled for boisterous attitude toward their own products. They can take a lesson in marketing from Halo Cigs and Triple 7 on how best to sell e-cigarettes on a long-term basis. And what I mean by that is the type of marketing they are employing is best suited to those brands that want to make a quick killing and then get out of the market before it crashes, or before the shakeout that is surely coming. If Play Vapor was in it for a quick buck then I doubt they would want their product reviewed by us.
There is no reason to market e-cigarettes with terms like “Play Vapor is voted #1 across the country!” “The best electronic cigarette on the market”, or “Smoke virtually anywhere”, and finally this, probably the most over-used word in the e-cigarette business; Premier, as in: “Play Vapor is a premier electronic cigarette brand providing value, convenience, and above all, a sexy smoking experience.”pre·mier prēˈm(y)i(ə)r,ˈprēmēər,ˈprēˌmi(ə)r/ adjective adjective: premier
- 1. first in importance, order, or position; leading. ”Germany’s premier rock band”
- leading, foremost, chief, principal, head, top-ranking, top, prime, primary, first, highest, preeminent, nonpareil, senior, outstanding, master, ranking; More
Battery and Cartomizers
Play Vapor uses a basic 808-threaded battery. It is virtually identical to most other cig-a-like brands in the same class, generic. They are somewhat larger than a traditional cigarette, they light up blue at the end, and they put out an unregulated 3.7v. As far as the “mAh” rating goes there is no indication on their website or in the marketing materials we received. I would venture to say that they are roughly 90-110mAh based on how long a charge lasts, but I have no way of knowing for sure. They are unregulated, meaning that they might start out at 3.7v but quickly decrease as the charge is depleted. Once is reaches 3.2v its time to recharge.
Play Vapor tells their prospective customers that they can expect their batteries to last an “entire day” and that their prefilled cartomizers will last “about 450 puffs”. They make the claim on their website that the two cartomizers that come with the starter kit is equivalent to 80 cigarettes (4 packs!) Unless they sent us defective products their claims are very far-fetched. But I’ll get to that.
If you’re new to electronic cigarettes a larger, 1100mAh eGo-type battery will last at most 6-8 hours, so a Play Vapor battery will last about a tenth of that.
Play Vapor products are also expensive, and like I have in other cig-a-like reviews I’ll use both Halo Cigs and Triple 7 to compare against. (The only two cig-a-like products I feel good in recommending)
Play Vapor offers one (1) starter kit, in black or white batteries. The starter kit features a single battery, a USB adapter and two (2) prefilled cartomizers for $24.99 (perpetually on sale from $30). At first glance you might think that $24.99 is a decent price, especially if you’ve been bitten by the con artists like XO, Lift, Regal, Prada, and the zillion other scams out there where 3 days after you begin using them you find your credit card charged $120 for a single battery kit, but when compared to companies that plan to be in this business for years to come, Play Vapor is expensive. (Just wait till I get to the cartomizers!
It’s the customers that lose though, customers who see Ads for Play Vapor and think that $24.99 is all they need to spend and a cartomizer is going to last them through two packs of traditional cigarettes. Nothing is further from truth.
Play Vapor offers six (6) flavors, light tobacco, real tobacco, menthol, orange, blueberry, and watermelon. These six flavors are available in 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg nicotine strengths, as well as zero nicotine. Each 5-pack of cartomizers costs $14.99 (on sale from $20). That works out to $3 per cartomizer.
So, in addition to offering more flavors that Play Vapor, they offer them for $6.00 less per 5-pack.
Performance and Taste
The problem with the laws governing advertising is that companies can apply what I call the “Wish case scenario” when it comes to their products. For instance, Play Vapor claims that a user can expect a single battery charge to last them an entire day. Well, what constitutes an “entire day”? How often are they using these batteries in order to get a full day’s use? Two puffs every two hours? If there is ever to be regulations on e-cigarettes this is the kind of thing that should be mandatory; “How did you determine your battery life? Under what conditions do you test your battery life? All e-Cigarette brands should have to put this kind of information on their website, in big bold letters that can’t be missed. I imagine you would see a dramatic drop is these kinds of claims.
The battery performance was not consistent among the 5-team members. My experience was the worst, getting less than 2 hours of use from a single charge. Others ranged for 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours. No one got anywhere near a full day. This is typical of generic batteries.
We were all pretty impressed with the short amount of time it took to recharge a battery, but after a couple of discharges we began to understand why they were charging so quickly…because they discharged even faster.
First, the 450-puff claim. Personally, I find this claim outrageous. Unless you’re a turtle or a squirrel you’re not going to get anywhere near 450 puffs from a single cartomizer. An average smoker-turned-Vaper can expect about 120 puffs, 120 normal puffs at that, not the kind of puff you would take if you were vaping from a Kayfun or even a SMOK DCTank on a Variable Voltage battery. Taking normal 3 or 4 second puffs you can expect to use 3 or 4 cartomizers per day if you smoked an average of a pack a day of traditional cigarettes. But, because companies can test their cartomizers using hamsters that take the tiniest of puffs they can claim these huge numbers.
What About Taste?
Well, now here we do have some good news. Sort of. The two tobacco flavors, Light Tobacco and Real Tobacco, are the worst of the six. They taste exactly like all the other Chinese made juice that is used in South Beach, Green Smoke, V2, and so on. They may not be horrible, but they sure don’t taste like tobacco, or cigarettes. The tobacco flavors are artificial tasting, and the menthol tastes like the menthol cartomizers found in those same companies. Some Vapers happen to like the flavor of these generic eLiquids, but for the life of me I don’t know why. In any case, if you happen to like V2 or South Beach you’ll probably like them.
The other flavors, blueberry, watermelon, and orange do have some authentic flavors to them. The ‘base’ flavor is the same one used for the tobacco flavors, but there is a distinct orange to the orange flavor, blueberry to the blueberry flavor, and watermelon to the watermelon flavor. We all agreed that the “taste” of the prefilled cartomizers would get a “C” rating. That’s not too bad… considering. A friend of mine really enjoyed the blueberry cartomizers, and thought the orange flavors were almost as tasty.
I think that we all need to remember that most people do not smoke cigarettes these days, so there is every possibility that the owners or salespeople for cig-a-like brands do not themselves vape. That could be the reason why there are so many bland tasting eLiquids filling millions of cartomizers in hundreds of brands.
When I see just how enthusiastic the PR guy from Play Vapor was when talking to Tom about having us review his products I have to believe that the guy doesn’t use his own products, or at the very least hasn’t tried the higher quality eLiquids out there in the marketplace. That would explain a lot.
All he needed to do is to have read several of our reviews to know that we aren’t about to say that a lousy product is a good one, or a fair product is a great one. Since there is absolutely nothing special, or original, with Play Vapor, I have to believe that that he has no idea where his product stands among all the others. I can’t fault him for that, if I were a non-smoker I wouldn’t have taken up vaping and I wouldn’t know one from the other, as he apparently demonstrates.
Knowing full well that there are at least two really good cig-a-like brands and a few other ‘good’ prefilled cartomizer brands (Jet Cigs for instance), there is no way I can recommend that a current smoker over-pay for an inferior product like Play Vapor. Then again, I think I might recommend Play Vapor over V2, and definitely over Bull Smoke. Play Vapor is in that category, if you know what I mean. Not exactly horrible, but below average, generic, and way overpriced like V2 and South Beach, and Green Smoke and White Cloud, and on and on….
If Play Vapor really wants to make a go of it in this business ( for the long term) then they need to do the following:
- Reduce the price of their cartomizers to $9.99
- Build a 2-battery Starter Kit with a wall adapter and 5 cartomizers.
- Sell the starter kit for under $50
- Contact one of many US eLiquid companies and buy eLiquid from them. Mountain Oaks, Hurricane Vapor, Ginger’s eJuice, and a few others do this already. Fill their cartomizers with American made eJuice.
- Take down the hyperbole on the website. Be honest about your products.
- E-Cigarettes are NOT sexy. If Keira can’t make them sexy, no one can.
If Play Vapor would do these things then I would be more than happy to revisit them and give them another shot. Until then, well, you know…