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SMOK ARO Pyrex Glassomizer – $9.99
The fine folks at Vaporetti graciously provided the SMOK ARO Pyrex clearomizer for the purpose of review.
In reviewing the SMOK ARO clearomizer, I am reminded that SMOK, like other manufactures, very occasionally likes to launch products that were “inspired by” other hardware already on the market.
The SMOK ARO clearomizer is another instance where this could be said, and I would particularly expect to hear the observation from anyone who has ever owned, handled, or even merely seen the Kangertech EVOD clearomizer. From the capacity, to the slot window, to the integrated mouthpiece, the ARO practically is an EVOD, in all but branding.
On the other hand, this is my first time really getting to grips with a device of this particular size and style — let’s see how the ARO fares!
One of the nicer things about receiving vapemail from Vaporetti, particularly, is that they really go all out to add a small touch that really makes every order feel special. Aside from its own packaging, the SMOK ARO sent by Vaporetti arrived in a small clear plastic bag festooned with red stars and secured with a shiny red twist tie. It really does make it seem as if your new bottle of eliquid or piece of hardware is a present of sorts; it’s just a classy little touch that I really appreciate.
The packaging of the SMOK ARO itself is a small, no-nonsense white box that declares the contents and sports SMOK’s branding. And that’s about all there is to it. There’s no muss, no fuss, just pop the top of the box and what you have is your brand new ARO. The ARO ships with only one head, pre-installed, so if this device is for you, you may wish to order a 5-pack of replacement heads to go with it.
Features & Specs
The ARO holds approximately 2.0ml of eliquid, and is a bottom-coil device with eGo threading and, as mentioned, a rather slim integrated metal mouthpiece. A Kangertech EVOD/ProTank atomizer head drives the SMOK ARO. The one that shipped with this device weighs in at 1.9 ohms resistance. If you already have a few Kanger clearomizers hanging around, the coils you have on hand will work with this glassomizer, so adding the ARO to your vape gear is cost effective.
Aesthetics & Build Quality
Starting with aesthetics, this is a very handsome device. I received a black ARO, but they come in a variety of colors. The finish on the device is of the glossy variety, which some users may appreciate and some may not, as it does tend to hold into fingerprints, unlike others that have a rubberized textured finish.
The slot window motif carries over from its apparent inspiration, the Kanger EVOD, which is quite good-looking — however, some vapers do believe this type of window can impair the usability and therefore really compromises the entire purpose of having a window on the device. I don’t see it as an issue, but others might.
The integrated metal mouthpiece is, again, a feature that looks really, really nice. Unfortunately, its extremely slim profile and — and, well, the fact that it’s metal — means that it’s not exactly comfortable, for me, compared to devices with more conventional wide-gauge Delrin or even wider metal mouthpieces. Of course, the choice between metal and plastic is a personal preference. Like many others, a plastic drip tip just feels better, but to others, metal does.
Moving down to the connection, we do find a couple of nice touches. First, the threads are sure and clean, which means that you shouldn’t have issues with refills and head replacement time when it comes time to thread the base back onto the tank and thread the overall device onto the PV or APV of your choice.
Second, SMOK has thoughtfully etched their standard “diagonal grid” texture onto the base of the connection, so that the user isn’t left with sliding fingers instead of traction. This is a nice touch, and it’s something I’m happy to see that they’ve apparently adopted as a standard touch for their clearomizers.
Performance & Real World Experience
Now we get to the part where this device being, essentially, an EVOD clone really does impact it overall performance.
For me, it’s the Kanger atomizer head I just don’t particularly appreciate anymore . Plain and simple, these heads just are no longer ‘up to snuff’ compared to other, newer options that have come along over the past couple of months.
The SMOK ARO, and the dependence on the Kanger coil has one specific issue that all clearomizers using the same coils have…wicking.
It does all right with 80/20 PG/VG ratio liquids. Any higher in the VG ratio may bring about consistent disappointments in the form of flavorless or, even worse, burnt-tasting hits. I also have a problem with flavor fidelity with Kanger coils. Even when they had only just hit the market, Kanger’s atomizer heads weren’t the best at producing powerful or vivid flavor from even the best e liquids around. And as I noted in my reviews of X.Jet and Aspire I stated my belief — a very sincere belief — that the heads featured in those devices had elevated the art of the clearomizer to a new standard.
The head in the SMOK ARO no longer meets that new standard provided by the ‘wireless’ coils that are featured in the X.Jet and Aspire lines.
With the new advent of newer clearomizers on the market it is difficult to recommend the ARO glassomizer straight out. Right now, February 18, 2014, the standard bearers are being usurped by new technologies, including the wireless coils of the aforementioned clearomizers.
Comparing the SMOK ARO to the newer clearomizers, at $9.99, it’s actually just over $2 more expensive than the X.Jet Spider, a device which — depending on your aesthetic tastes — may or may not be as good looking, but provides far superior performance for less money. Having said that, the X.Jet Spider is a plastic tank and the ARO is Pyrex.
Clearomizers like the EVOD and SMOK ARO will continue to sell for some time, especially as the newer X.Jet and Aspire clearomizers begin to show their own problems. For instance, the new wireless coils, which provide superb flavor fidelity, often wear out somewhat faster than Kanger coils. The replacement cost for the SMOK ARO coils are about $1.75 or so, and the X.Jet coil replacements are a whopping $2.95.
Like anything else, personal preference plays the biggest part when choosing clearomizers and glassomizers. Until the ‘perfect’ clearomizer is invented we must choose what we buy based on what we need most in a clearomizer. Price, performance, and lifespan… are some of the issues that have to play a part in our buying decisions, for now anyway. For a Pyrex glassomizer the SMOK ARO is a more than decent product. If you don’t have any issues with a metal drip tip, and you like the Kanger coils, then by all means the SMOK ARO will provide a great vape for you, and with the Pyrex glass, you won’t have any issues with any e liquid, even the heavy cinnamon flavors, or citrus juice.
Personally, I’d like to see big improvements on ALL clearomizers and glassomizers this year. Manufactures are on the right track, I just wish they would hurry up.
So, what are your thoughts on Kanger coils, Pyrex tanks, and the new wireless coils (actually the wires are just hidden from view)? Where to do you stand on the evolution of the clearomizer? As always, your comments are most welcome.