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Last Updated on January 7, 2019 by Team Spinfuel
We won’t lie – these days, it takes a lot for us to get excited about the appearance of a pod mod. It’s not that they’re not well-engineered or attractive, because they usually are. But the slim, discreet form factors usually limit what you can do with them. Of course, don’t tell that to Smoant, who continue to make striking pod mods, like their latest, the Smoant Karat pod mod system.
Bearing a similar, jewel-like teardrop look as its predecessor, the Smoant S8, the Karat closely resembles a cut diamond, perfectly catching the light in the right environment. Necessary for vaping? Of course not. But it’s certainly more attractive than another boring JUUL clone.
But looks aren’t what bring us back week after week, which is why we’re thankful the Karat is also a solid vape device. Unlike so many pod mods and AIO devices these days, the Karat isn’t trying to replace your higher-end mods. Instead, it stays in its lane, serving to be a reliable, effective mouth-to-lung mod, perfect for discreet puffs, if not all-day vape sessions.
Considering how closely the Karat resembles the S8, we wondered if this was nothing more than a repackaging of an older product. And it might just be, but Smoant is amping up the marketing for the Karat, citing its chipset’s resistance to water and e-liquid. To be fair, I didn’t go ahead and test this “feature” but given how easy it is for pocket-friendly pod mods to fall or get misplaced, we’re confident Smoant is doing right by its customers.
The Karat pod is fairly standard issue for this type of device. Magnetized connection points, narrow, gasket-covered fill ports, suction/vacuum-based delivery system – all things we’ve seen before. But maybe that’s a good thing, because in this writer’s opinion, if a system works, why tinker with it? It sits securely, doesn’t leak and performs well, if not remarkably so.
In short, the Karat’s target audience will be satisfied. If you’re looking for innovation or “something new,” the Karat isn’t going to wow you beyond the diamond cut exterior. But if you’re used to throwaway pod mods and “gas station” models, the Karat will definitely be a reliable step up from the norm.
Observations While Vaping
Like we mentioned, the Karat isn’t meant to replace higher-wattage, sub-ohm devices. This is a discreet, slender mouth-to-lung mod, with high-resistance, 2mL capacity pods. The hook here is that the Karat pods use a quartz-based coil structure, rather than the usual Kanthal or stainless steel build types. Smoant’s claim is that the quartz helps coils break in more effectively, giving the user better vape time and longevity.
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. But as something who has been regularly frustrated by pod mod coils that need three fills to break in, only to fail shortly after, this was a welcome breath of fresh air. As opposed to the 2-3 fills I get from typical pod devices, the Karat gave me a legitimate 7-8 refills before vape quality began to diminish.
It’s not going to make you forget your higher-end vape pens, but this is a positive advancement for pod mods, which are as known for their short life spans as much as they are their performance. The only problem? Smoant only included one pod in the box, so once you buy the kit, it’s a smart move to stock up on spares, since a week or so later they’ll be necessary.
The Karat is a draw-activated device, so there aren’t any buttons or adjustments to be made. For some, this is a positive, but experienced vapers might find it difficult to revert back to taking deep draws to fire up the mod. In fact, I had to re-learn how to “primer puff” – a tactic I haven’t used since the heyday of cig-a-like disposables.
Once it’s primed, the Karat vapes pretty well. The flavor is a little muted for my liking, but it’s really a matter of personal preference. Using a quality nic salt juice set aside exclusively for these pod mod reviews, I found the flavor to be on-par with most other devices, improved by the warmer vapor that comes from the 3.4v output mod.
Vapor production is also fairly typical for the genre, with wispy, cigarette-like plumes that largely disappear before you can register. But overall, I felt the high-nic liquids hit me suitably hard, with a nice throat hit and overall satisfaction level when compared to competing mods. And considering the purpose of these devices, that’s exactly what the Karat needs to do.
One significant complaint comes from the battery life, which is low, even by pod mod standards. The two-color LED indicator works well, but get used to seeing the red light a lot, since the 370mAh cell isn’t going to get you very far on an average workday.
Of course, I was pushing the Karat well-past expected use patterns, but there are so many pod mods with better battery performance, and I wished I didn’t have to keep a USB charger close by at all times just to enjoy the Karat.
Thankfully, the mod DOES charge quickly, so you won’t be without your device for too long between charges. And considering the Karat pod is very frugal on juice consumption, this might not be a problem for the average pod mod user. As we often say, “Maybe it’s just us…”
Smoant Karat Pod Mod System Specs:
- Product Type: Pod System Kit
- Product Appearance:
- Size: 88*48*12mm
- Battery capacity: 370mAh
- Pod capacity: 2ml
- Resistance: 1.3ohm
- Output: 3.3V-3.4V
- Charging: 5V/0.5A
- Material: Zinc alloy+PC
Smoant Karat Pod Mod System
- 1 x Smoant Karat Pod kit
- 1 x USB charge cable
- 1 x Instructional Manual
Aside from its striking exterior, the Smoant Karat is nothing more than a solid, well-made, decent performing pod mod. The question is, does the Karat do enough to differentiate itself from the absolute litany of pods and AIO mods flooding the market right now. In my opinion, no, there isn’t anything definitive here to recommend the Karat over the others, and the battery life is well below par.
But if you’re new to the space, and want to check out your first pod mod, the Karat’s smart juice consumption, coil longevity and striking looks make it a solid entry point.