Why is this Mod called the Charon Mini? In the time since Smoant introduced the original Charon and the touchscreen Charon TS (review here) – which was a great touchscreen mod, I should say – they’ve also released the excellent Cylon (review here) and Ranker (review here) mods. Both of these newer devices offered roughly the same power output, and an identical display/interface as the Charon Mini. So, why connect it to an unrelated past?
Oh, whatever. Let’s not get caught up in questions that will never get answered. Instead, let’s take the Smoant Charon Mini and enjoy it for what it is – a really nice, compact dual-18650 device with a ton of power, proven operations, and rock-solid construction.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Charon Mini is the display, which is larger and brighter than both the aforementioned Ranker and Cylon mods. By a considerable margin, actually. But it’s a size thing alone, because the interface is identical to its big brothers. Newcomers will definitely appreciate the clarity and customization options available through the straightforward menu system. But Smoant veterans will likely have a slight case of Deja vu after firing up the device.
At just 89mm tall, the Charon Mini is pretty comparable to the current industry leaders, though the 45mm width and 29mm depth might be a little thicker than some would expect from the front of the box. Still, smart beveled design and a no-nonsense frame means the Charon Mini fits well in the hand and never becomes too cumbersome, even after holding it for extended periods of time.
Also, kudos to Smoant for centering the solid 510 connection, rather than trying to artistically offset it to the side. I’ve never understood why more companies don’t try for symmetry on smaller vape mods. Not only because it makes design sense, but it usually allows for a wider range of atomizers to sit atop the mod without overhang.
Thankfully, this wasn’t an issue with the Charon Mini. All but my largest tanks fit without a drop of overhang, and sat snug on the spring-loaded connection, to boot. Smoant might not be the most original marketers, but their build quality game is top notch across the board.
The fire and adjustment buttons are equally high quality, with a nice, firm clickiness that isn’t as common as it probably should be in 2018. They’re solid and seem like they’d take a lot of abuse from aggressive vapers.
One area that might NOT take too much abuse is the display, which is gorgeous and sharp, but also dominates the front of the mod. There’s no lip or bevel around the edge of the screen, meaning a good smack on wood or concrete would likely put an end to the fun.
Even after a few weeks of use there’s already some signs of dulling and wear, normally reserved for touchscreen mods, not standard compact devices. Will this be a long-term problem? Time will tell, but if they ever make a rubber case and/or screen protector for this new flagship mod, I’d STRONGLY consider making the investment.
One surface-level problem I had with the Charon Mini was the magnetic back door, which isn’t just odd, with its low-rent, multicolor pattern, but also comes off far too easily for my liking. Even in a loose pocket, I had to re-seat the door several times, which doesn’t bode well for long-term durability.
There aren’t many surprises in vape mod menus today, except when lower-priced devices begin to feature options usually reserved for the higher-end names. It’s even better when said options not only work but work as well as those vaping BMWs.
On the relatively inexpensive Charon Mini, there is an excellent preheat function that works better than most in this category. While the heat options are standard fare, I’ve rarely seen them work this distinctively, outside of devices named “YiHi” or “DNA.”
The same feature applies to temperature control settings, which offer a nice custom ramp curve meter (on top of the usual TC minutiae) that bring some immediately noticeable changes to your vape, depending on how you set them. Long story short, vape technology is catching up to the high-end manufacturers, and before long, it’s going to be hard to determine which mods cost hundreds, and which fit most budgets.
The menu system is linear, simple to read, and easy to operate, even for beginners. Though it’s not a world-beating set of options, it’s more than enough for 99% of users… and that 1% likely wouldn’t be caught dead with a vape mod they couldn’t hook up to Escribe, anyway.
One minor complaint about the Charon Mini – and it’s one I’ve mentioned on here a few hundred times – can we all agree to end the “speedometer” look and feel that has pervaded vape mod displays the last few years? We get it, speed=performance=power. It was a cute effect in 2016. But can’t we try something else to convey these feelings?
Another annoyance is the endlessly rotating “gears” on the bottom of the display that don’t serve any measurable need other than decreasing battery life. Again, it’s a tired look, and I’d love to see companies try new ways to be visually interesting.
Smoant Charon Mini Specs:
- Dimensions – 89mm by 45mm by 29mm
- Weight – 160g
- Smoant Ant225 Chipset
- Dual 18650 High Amp Battery – Not Included
- Wattage Output Range: 1-225W
- Voltage Output Range: 6-8.4V
- Minimum Atomizer Resistance: 0.1ohm
- Temperature Control: 100–315°C / 200–600°F
- TCR Adjustments
- 2.0″ TFT Full-Color Screen
- 300 dpi Resolution
- 262K Pixel Level
- Custom User Interface (UI) – Two Templates
- Low Voltage Protection
- Over-Heating Protection
- Overload Protection
- Over-Time Protection
- Over-Current Protection
- Short Circuit Protection
- Reverse Polarity Protection
- MicroUSB Port
- Centered Stainless Steel 510 Connection
- Available in Gold, Rainbow, Red, Black
Smoant Charon Mini Contents:
- 1 Charon Mini 225W TC Mod
- 1 MicroUSB Cable
- 1 User Manual
- 1 Warranty Card
- 1 Battery Warning Card
- 1 Certificate Card
Observations While Vaping
Fast-ramping mods are a dime-a-dozen these days, but the Smoant mods were among the first to catch my attention because of it. And the Charon Mini is no exception. Within a split millisecond of hitting the fire key, the Mini launched a torrent of flavorful vapor. And that was on the “normal” preheat setting – “max” was just a little too intense for me.
The custom curve settings do their job exceptionally well, as does the fully fleshed out temperature control suite. But the wattage mode is so damn powerful and effective (not to mention customizable) that I’m not sure many Charon Mini owners will bother diving any further into the menus for options.
These days, it’s not uncommon for vape reviewers to say they don’t use temperature control features. But that’s usually because they’re cumbersome and annoying. For the Charon Mini, it’s because the power mode is just THAT precise and effective.
In fact, it almost seems silly that Smoant added an additional 7 watts to the 218 they already showed off on the Cylon and Ranker. Like I’ve said before, if you can tell the difference between a 218-watt and a 225-watt draw, I’ll happily buy you lunch. And some medical supplies for your torched palates.
Instead, when vaping the Charon Mini at usual power levels, I simply enjoyed potent, flavorful draws again and again, with solid battery life and a complete lack of misfires and mistakes. Again, Smoant makes quality devices, and the Charon Mini is just another example.
Is the Charon Mini NECESSARY? Unless you need to have everything, the company makes, no. And if you’re comfortable with the differently sized Cylon and Ranker mods, there’s even less reason to rush out the door today.
But if you’ve never owned a Smoant device and want to see what we keep raving about on these pages, the Charon Mini is as good a starting point as there is. Even if the name doesn’t really make sense, the quality manufacturing and UI design more than make up for it.