Prosmoke Reviews – Sub Par Performance
“Our defective rate or 2011 was .03%; In other words for every 3000 components shipped, 1 piece slipped through and failed or was defective” – ProSmoke Rep – Kristen
I have written and rewritten this ProSmoke Review about ten times. I am having the worst time trying to build a narrative about a company that claims to have the #1 rated eCigarette on the market, and simply doesn’t. After spending an extended period of time with 3 different batteries, 4 atomizers, and about 10 packs of ProSmoke’s new cartridges I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why anyone would think this brand was anything other than “sub-par”. I had to be missing something, somewhere. Sadly, that turns out to not be the case.
The subtle, and not-so-subtle, manipulations aside have served to do nothing but make me suspicious about ProSmoke.
Every time I try to form an interesting review for this subpar eCigarette I get a few hundred words in and I’ve said almost nothing about the product and more about the ‘behind the scenes’ than you’d probably care to know. I want this review, as I do with every review I write, to be an honest representation of my experience with the product.
Experience – As in ‘My Own’
My experience with ProSmoke’s product started out pretty darn good. Their utterly unique tobacco flavor was delicious. It didn’t taste like tobacco, not by a long shot, but it did taste delicious. And the vapor, when I could actually get vapor, was more like “cigarette smoke” than many other brands I’ve tried. As the review moved forward though the less vapor I was able to produce. And after having the components checked and rechecked by ProSmoke’s engineers and found to be working “flawlessly” I can only come to the conclusion that what ProSmoke deems “excellent” I deem “sub-par”. So with that, let’s get into this review.
Why Choose ProSmoke? (Indeed)
This is the question ProSmoke proudly asks when you land on their website. If you believe the hype that precedes this question then you too will become a believer. If you dig a little bit deeper you will begin to understand that, more than anything else, ProSmoke owes its success to its ability to see reality in a wholly different way than most of us agnostics. (my term for a fair-and-balanced eCig reviewer)
The main reason you’re supposed to want to become a ProSmoke customer is because:
ProSmoke is #1
“ProSmoke electronic cigarettes produce the most vapor of any mini electronic cigarette in the industry, last the longest, taste the best, and we treat our customers like family. That’s why our customer surveys vote us as #1.” – From the ProSmoke website
What? Really? Their own customer’s rate them #1? That’s how ProSmoke claims to be the #1 rated eCigarette? Puleeze!
Don’t you believe that ANY product you’ve chosen to use would hold the #1 rating with you? Can you imagine using your chosen brand of eCig and NOT think it was the best? Of course not. This “#1 rated” crap is exactly that; crap.
ProSmoke’s Advanced 3-Piece System?
ProSmoke states their 3-piece system is “advanced”. Compared to what? Seriously? Is there anything on their own website to back this up? Let’s take a look.
“The ProSmoke Electronic Cigarette has a quality, solid built atomizer with porcelain reinforcement. This means it will last MUCH longer than other electronic cigarette brands.
The atomizer is a low resistant atomizer, which means it will actually add warmth to the vapor and provide you with a more lifelike smoking experience. It will feel like a real cigarette!” – From the ProSmoke website
So, is it the porcelain-reinforced atomizer and that’s what makes ProSmoke so special? Is this atomizer some special kind of atomizer designed and manufactured by ProSmoke? No. In fact, if you Google “porcelain atomizer” and you get 12,900 hits. There are dozens upon dozens of atomizers made with porcelain reinforcements. So, you know, no big deal there…
The ProSmoke Atomizer is a “Low Resistance” atomizer, which is why ProSmoke is willing to claim that they’re eCigarette produces the “most” vapor of any mini-eCigarette. That is, of course, utter bullshit. ProSmoke eCigarettes produce nowhere near the “most” vapor of all mini-eCigarettes and they don’t last the longest. This is just marketing hype.
The truth about Low Resistance Atomizers
What ProSmoke doesn’t tell you is that a LR (low resistance) atomizer draws more electrical current through the coils of the atomizer, which in turns runs the atomizer hotter than a Standard Resistance Atomizer. The “porcelain reinforcement” in the atomizer is there to help absorb the extra heat, and for no other reason.
Now, a LR Atomizer will help create more vapor, somewhere between 10-20% more vapor. Still, there are as many reasons NOT to use a LR Atomizer as there are to use one.
- Battery malfunction – the more current running up from the battery causes a higher insistence of battery damage. The battery that carries the ProSmoke brand is called the M403, and it is a decent battery, but far from superior.
- LR Atomizers drain batteries much faster than Standard ones. This is why you just aren’t going to get amazing battery life from ProSmoke.
- The increased heat of a LR Atomizer decreases the life of the atomizer. That said, that extra heat is what allows ProSmoke to say that their vapor is warm. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is better left up to you and your preferences.
- A LR Atomizer cannot survive if they are not constantly wet (with eJuice). This is critical to remember. If you allow a branded ProSmoke atomizer to run dry you will kill it. More on this later on…
Is LR Atomizers a good thing? Yes and no, depending on your needs. In any case, the ProSmoke atomizer is nothing special; it’s just an atomizer. And ProSmoke sells theirs for about 40% higher than other porcelain reinforced LR atomizers that fit atop the M403 ProSmoke branded battery.
The ProSmoke Battery
The battery used in the ProSmoke unit is a Chinese made M403 automatic battery. The output of the battery is a mere 90 mAh. ProSmoke sells replacement batteries at about 40% higher than generic M403’s. Now, don’t get me wrong, the M403 battery is a decent mini-eCig battery. It certainly doesn’t have the exaggerated claims that ProSmoke makes, such as long lasting and “smart”. It’s a fairly simple, inexpensive, automatic battery with an average lifespan.
The “Long Lasting Cartridges”
ProSmoke does “fill” their cartridges in the United States in their newly built facility. That said their cartridge is simply a rebranded Chinese made cartridge. What ProSmoke has done to improve the performance of the new cartridges over the old cartridge was to add more “sponge-like” (ProSmoke’s words, not ours) material into the cartridge, allowing more eJuice to be applied and soaked up by the “sponge-like” material. But long lasting? No, not at all.
Again, another Google search turns up plenty of YouTube videos, ECF posts, and reviews that talk about the ProSmoke cartridge, and its nothing special.
In our own tests we kept destroying cartridges by removing them from the atomizer and wound up with their “sponge-like” material sticking to the atomizer. The reason for this was that the eJuice would run dry so quickly.
So it becomes an “art” to know when to rewet the atomizer and cartridge with eJuice so that the “sponge-like” material doesn’t stick to the atomizer, and that you don’t burn the atomizer out too early. To a point, all the remaining 3-piece mini-eCigarettes on the market have to be monitored for dried out atomizers and cartridges that run dry far sooner than a normal “cartomizers”.
“Can I refill my ProSmoke Cartridges with eJuice?” – A question on the ProSmoke FAQ
From ProSmoke: ” Yes, our E-Cigarettes can be refilled with the liquid of your choice but we do not recommend it. A lot of research has gone into using the right ingredients to make the best solution for maximum flavor, maximum vapor and safety of our customers. As mentioned, we use no propylene glycol in our cartridges, which is typically the main ingredient in these e-liquids.”
So, yes you can refill them, but they don’t recommend it. Now why is that? Other manufactures of 3-piece eCigarettes (Halo Cigs Element Series for one) actually encourage you to refill their cartridges. Halo SELLS blank cartridges for that very reason. Of course, Halo started out as an eJuice maker and only later did they add quality hardware to their lineup.
The truth about refilling the ProSmoke cartridges is this: ProSmoke uses VG-based eJuice. That in itself is not a bad thing. I prefer VG-based eJuice, but I don’t restrict myself to using only VG. There are some good reasons to use VG over PG. VG produces more vapor, people with PG allergies don’t have to worry, and VG delivers a slightly sweeter flavor. However, VG-based eJuice also deliver just about zero throat hit. Blu Cigs, a superior tasting eCigarette also uses VG-based eJuice.
Upsetting The Carefully Balanced ‘House of ProSmoke’
If you decide to reuse your ProSmoke cartridge you run the risk of upsetting the balance that the House of ProSmoke has built. Remember, they use a Low Resistance Atomizer, a M403 battery, and a Chinese made cartridge that has been stuffed with extra “sponge-like” material. This maximizes the vapor for a ProSmoke eCigarette and if you add a PG-based eJuice to a ProSmoke cartridge you won’t get the same vapor output because the system is now out of balance. They know this, which is why they recommend you keep buying prefilled cartridges from them.
But, why else use a 3-piece eCigarette if you aren’t going to refill your cartridges? I have no idea.
The ProSmoke Prefilled Flavored Cartridges
Here’s the deal on my take with their flavored cartridges. Their Classic Tobacco flavor tastes like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It is unique, and it certainly doesn’t taste like any other “tobacco” flavor I’ve ever had. But, I do like it, for what it is. I like it a lot. I don’t taste tobacco though. It’s something else. In addition, the vapor coming from the classic tobacco cartridge does look more like an analog cigarette. But vapor production is also their worst problem. More on that in a bit…
As for the rest of their flavors I’ll say this; IF you like the Classic Tobacco you will like the rest of their flavors because that same Classic Tobacco taste permeates through their entire line. The additional flavors hardly come through, but you do get a hint of them. My problem with the cartridges is not the flavors, but rather the lack of consistent vapor.
The Bottom Line
ProSmoke is an overly expensive Starter Kit made up of Chinese parts, with American Made eJuice. You can create an exact replica of their Deluxe Starter Kit for about 40% less by purchasing their generic counterparts online. By doing so the only thing you sacrifice is the branding. Which is amusing to me because I was warned a couple of times in our exchanges of email to watch out for companies that simply “rebrand” their components. Pot meet Kettle.
I was disheartened with my experience with ProSmoke. For all their chest thumping about how they were simply the best, that no other brand could touch them (to the point that I felt I was being indoctrinated into a cult), only to find out that ProSmoke was guilty of practicing the very same techniques they were warning me that other brands were using. This was disappointing in the extreme.
The POOR Performance
Now we get to it, don’t we? While I had a starter kit, and an extra battery, two extra atomizers, and a couple of additional packs of cartridges that the marketing rep took off the assembly line and “topped off” with a few more drops of eJuice, my experience was littered with problems.
I experienced the worst performance from ProSmoke than I had by any other brand I’d used all year, except for Metro Cigs. Vaping a ProSmoke eCig was an intermittent success at best.
A freshly charged battery, a properly wet atomizer, and a fresh cartridge will yield several decent puffs (but by far not even close to the most vapor from mini-eCig), up to around 8-10 in a row. After that, nothing. Vapor diminishes to near zero. After many many days, too many days really, of investigating this it turns out the culprit is a dry atomizer. Since the ProSmoke atomizer is a low resistance atomizer it cannot handle being dry. Like I said above, getting consistent performance from a ProSmoke eCigarette is as much Art as it is anything else.
Even with a filled cartridge, a properly working atomizer, and a fresh battery a ProSmoke eCigarette will yield no more than a dozen drags. After that you must set it aside for half an hour or so. The remaining life of the cartridge will yield less and less vapor and shorter and shorter periods of vaping …very quickly. This is the nature of their carefully balanced ecosystem.
I have been told that I vape too hard for a 3-piece system. At first I tended to agree. I do vape harder than most. That is a leftover problem from my smoking days where I would stand outside in the cold and smoke as fast as I could. I don’t vape like that now, far from it, but I do take deep drags and I tend to take them more often then some. Any brand I use must be able to keep up with me. The vast majority of 2-piece eCigarettes can keep up easily.
After my experience with ProSmoke I figured that the mini-3-piece eCig was just not a good fit for me.
Then, after I had finished a review for Halo Cigs 2-piece G6 eCigarettes (clearly the finest 2-piece eCig available) I decided to review their Element Series, a 3-piece eCigarette. That review is coming early next week, but I can tell you this much; The Element had NO trouble keeping up with my vaping techniques. I didn’t burn out a single atomizer, and the prefilled cartridges that came with the starter kit far exceeded the life of ProSmoke’s cartridges.
Look, I happen to like 3-piece mini-eCigs when they are done right. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with the Halo Cigs Element, but when you combine the over zealous claims by ProSmoke which their subpar performance, overpriced components, and single-flavor “flavors” you’ve got quite a depressing product.
How would you review a product like this? How do you combat a constant barrage of claims from the people who represent ProSmoke? How do you balance such poor performance with a company that is constantly touting the fictitious claims that it is the #1 eCigarette on the planet?
I am flabbergasted by ProSmoke. I was taken aback by their strong-arm tactics. Their primary goal to secure a “glowing” review (even making promises that Spinfuel eCigs Magazine would benefit from the huge promotional strength of ProSmoke marketing if the review was “glowing”) made me feel ill at ease.
I was disappointed in the performance and confused when ProSmoke kept insisting that I was the only one, even pointing out that Smoken Joey, our newest addition to Spinfuel, was a huge fan (he is). It was the most difficult review I’ve ever had to write.
I have tried, and sometimes failed, to keep my personal feelings about being railroaded into creating a glowing review for a company that makes, at best, a barely adequate eCigarette. I put more time into this one product than I have for most of the products I’ve reviewed this year in an attempt to give ProSmoke every break I could. I did so because their marketing people kept playing word games with me to the point that kept me coming back and giving them another chance to “wow” me. And the product just didn’t wow me. It’s as simple as that.
If you’ve read my previous reviews and opinion pieces on Spinfuel then you already know that I cannot stand by when companies make outlandish claims, or when they try to scam their customers. If a company has a good product, and they know it, then they stay away from the review process.
They never try to mold the review, or point out flaws in other company’s products. I wish I could say the same was true for ProSmoke, but that just isn’t the case. Had I played ball with ProSmoke, had I fallen for their BS you would be here today reading a glowing review about how great ProSmoke is and how it is SO much better than X, Y, or Z. But to do that I would have had to sell out my integrity, and my magazines integrity. And that, my friends, is something I am not about to do. For anyone or anything.
And hey, I didn’t even mention that a ProSmoke eCigarette feels like I’m holding a Bic pen. So, ya know…
John Manzione / Editor