This month has been all about the touchscreen mods, and our latest entrant, the Smoant Charon TS, might be one of the most interesting candidates yet. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to love about the sizeable Charon, but at the risk of writing a terrible pun, Smoant may have put “a touch too much” attention to the screen, while seemingly ignoring some other KEY features – like the firmware.
Let’s dive in and take a look.
Initial impressions of the Smoant Charon TS
If you woke up this morning and said, “You know what I need? A large, girthy, curvy brick to vape,” congratulations – your new favorite mod has arrived! Sarcasm aside, Smoant made it abundantly clear that the Charon was going to be focused on features and function, even if the mod isn’t entirely fashionable.
When compared to the recently released SMOK G-Priv 2, the Charon does seem a little antiquated, even if its screen is a tad sharper and more responsive.
The left side of the Charon TS (assuming the touchscreen is facing you) features the operation buttons, which are metal and adequately clicky. In a nice addition, similar to the G-Priv 2, Smoant included a dedicated screen on/off button, which helps stave off pocket adjustments that usually lead to a burnt trachea and the need for a fresh coil.
The only difference between the Charon and SMOK’s latest? The Charon’s dedicated screen button completely turns off the display, rather than locking it. So users will have to manually reactivate the screen to see current readings, power levels, etc. While I love both options, I prefer to keep an eye on my settings, and think the G-Priv 2 is a much stronger implementation of the idea.
In one major misstep, the Charon’s oval fire key just feels “off,” as if I’m barely registering my fires within the device, no matter how hard I press and hold the button. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it “weak” but there’s definitely a lack of assurance on the part of the vaper, which is amplified by how limp firing feels from such a substantial mod.
The battery tray and 510 connection are both standard issue features – nothing bad, but nothing that stands out, either. One thing that DID stand out was the USB charge and upgrade port. Not only was my test model’s connection flimsy and loose, but it also only charged at one solitary amp. To its credit, it did charge a pair of 18650s at one amp in relatively short order. But if there was ever a mod that screamed for 2-amp charging, it’s the Charon.
I should note that the Charon also features a passthrough mode – no doubt to help vapers pass the time while waiting for the onboard charging.
Operating the Smoant Charon TS Mod
Normally, I’d discuss limp firing keys and charge ports in this section, but today we’re making an exception to leave some digital room to discuss the Charon’s monstrous 2.4-inch touchscreen display. Let me get it out of the way right from the outset – the Smoant Charon TS has the nicest touchscreen display on a vape mod to date.
But that doesn’t make it my favorite touchscreen interface. While the Charon’s screen is bright, sharp, and smartly laid out, it lacks the rich color of the SMOK G-Priv, or the Hcigar Towis, for that matter.
And while the display clearly shows wattage, temperature, mode, coil type, resistance, battery life and more, the screen format isn’t quite as intuitive as others. Of course, this is a subjective matter, but if you value the utmost simplicity in menu operation, this might not be the best TS mod for you.
If we could create a combined vape mod coalition to bring together touchscreen technology with artistic sensibilities, we might all find unity someday. But for now, opinions rule the roost.
Another disappointment with the Charon’s screen? Lack of customization. With all of the computer/USB connectivity available in today’s vape mods, how on earth can a high-res touchscreen display not have the ability to show personal pics or custom effects? No, this isn’t a smartphone, but it IS a piece of personal electronics that you carry with you daily. To that effect, customization should be included, when technology allows for it.
Alright, now that the negativity is out of the way, let’s address the important things – how easy does the Smoant Charon TS operate? Very well. In fact, if it wasn’t for the absolutely seamless functionality of the G-Priv 2, I’d venture to say the Charon TS would lead the pack in touchscreen mod technology.
In other words, if you’re reading this on a tablet or a phone, you’ve already mastered 95% of the skills necessary to operate the Smoant Charon TS. For vapers used to inputting a series of clicks and menu trees, adjusting modes, settings and temperatures is a breeze.
Thanks to the bright, vibrant screen, even beginners will find their way around the clearly labeled menu items, and it’s all laid out logically, eliminating most of the guesswork about adjustments. Even in the wattage curve adjustment screen, which allows even rank amateurs to customize a heating curve to their liking. They may not know what they’re adjusting, but it will be easy for them to do so. (And the Charon’s built-in protection suite ensures they won’t be adjusting anything dangerously.)
The Charon TS’s chipset offers a full slate of features, including all standard temperature control settings, TCR functionality, preheat “boost” settings and the afore-mentioned wattage curve adjustment, with an ample 218 watts of headroom, and a lower resistance level of .05 ohms.
Vaping the Smoant Charon TS Mod
Those who regularly read Spinfuel VAPE are aware of my yo-yo relationship with temperature control vaping. However, Smoant mods have always provided accurate, easily adjusted TC modes that made it much more accessible, even on my most impatient days. Thankfully, the Charon TS continues that tradition, making it easier than ever to switch coil types and wattages.
Strangely enough, my TC experience was near-flawless, with only some mild resistance reading issues to report when using Ni200 coils. However, my wattage experience was riddled with misfires and quirks – nothing that would make me throw the mod aside, but notable concerns when there are a slew of comparable devices competing for your dollars.
When using the stellar Uwell Valyrian with a fresh coil, I watched my voltage spike several times before settling in and vaping as expected. But this is a tank that has never once offered so much as a resistance jump, much less a voltage spike, raising my concerns.
I switched to the Anarchist Riot RDA and experienced several more instances and weird spikes and dips in performance, even at relatively low wattages. I repeated this process several times before finding a tank that worked from the outset – ironically enough, it was the SMOK X-Baby that came with the G-Priv 2 kit.
More annoying, there were several instances of complete power loss when vaping steadily – which never happened in TC mode, I might add. These lapses in performance, coupled with a limp, mushy fire button, made me feel like I had very little control over my mod when I engaged the controls.
This was disappointing to say the least, because when it worked as intended, the Smoant Charon TS really did offer a nice vape. It wasn’t nearly as special as the touchscreen display would have you believe, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. If only it worked more consistently, the score below might be a few ticks higher.
My final concern is the Charon TS’s battery life, which ranged from average to abysmal, usually lingering on the lower end of this spectrum. Two fully charged 18650s landed me just 2.5 hours of steady vaping – unacceptable by modern standards, even with a vibrant touchscreen interface. If you factor out the amount of menu exploration I conducted for the test, the device would still perform well below current standards.
Wrapping up…and the Score
The Smoant Charon TS is an interesting case. On one hand, for vapers looking to enter the touchscreen fray, and want the fully featured experience for which Smoant has become known, the Charon TS is certainly a viable option. And many of the concerns I discussed above might be rectified by a firmware upgrade, to be sure. But when has that ever been an excuse to release incomplete products? On these pages, not often.
Until that update comes, however, I consider the Smoant Charon TS the most beautiful, well-featured, inexplicably flawed vape mod I’ve used in some time. I sincerely hope Smoant’s tech department finds a solution soon, because without the misfires and spikes (and WITH a better fire key), the Charon TS could be something special. If you’re sold on this new touchscreen mod from Smoant, pick one up today at Element Vape.
Smoant Charon TS Specs
Smoant Charon TS 218W mod specs:
- 1 to 218W Power Output
- 35V to 8.4V
- Firmware Upgradeable
- Full TC suite
- Adjustable TCR
- Preheat Capability
- 200 to 600 degree Fahrenheit Output Range
- 05 to 2.0 ohm Atomizer Resistance Range
- Shatter Resistant 2.4″ Touch Screen
- Dual Battery Life Indicator
- Dedicated Screen Button
- Dual Magnetized Battery Bay Door
- Pass-Through USB Charging
- Zinc Alloy Chassis
- Stainless Steel 510 Threading
- Gold Plated 510 Contact
- Low Resistance Protection/Over-Time Protection/Reverse Polarity protection
- Overheating Protection/Temperature/Protection/Low Voltage Protection