If you had told me in 2016 that I’d still be referencing the SMOK Alien two years later, I would have laughed at you… hard. By this point in the vaping timeline, mods were coming out faster and faster, and being replaced more frequently to boot. People didn’t just have a vape mod – they had several, to satisfy every possible need they had.
But when the Alien made its arrival, something was different. It flaunted 220-watt power, but wasn’t tremendous. It had a (then) unique, unparalleled display. It felt good in the hands. The firing bar was a phenomenal tactile enhancement. And for the most part, it vaped unlike anything we had seen in such a compact package.
In other words, it was what I consider to be the vape industry’s first truly mass-market, must-have mod. For many, it was the first advanced vaping device they owned. For others, it was a rock-solid, reliable road warrior. It was easily scuffed, but never scarred. It occasionally hiccupped under heavy use. It never quite hit that 220 watts. And it needed several firmware upgrades before really hitting its stride.
But it was still a beloved device. And to be honest, you’ll likely find a metric ton of them still making the rounds in vapers’ collections today, especially since SMOK continues to release the Alien in new colors and patterns.
Lightning in a Bottle?
And ever since, SMOK has tried to recapture the lightning in a (unicorn) bottle, with varying levels of success. For every occasional evolution of the Alien concept, such as the ProColor or the Majesty, (even the SMOK Majesty LUXE) there were an endless glut of retreads, gimmicks, paint jobs and facelifts, never changing much on the inside, for fear of vapers missing the Alien’s predictable performance.
It’s a business model that has turned off some vapers – many of whom entered the vaping world with an Alien – to the point where they won’t even consider buying another product from the company after feeling duped by SMOK’s insistence on dipping into the same well too many times. (We call it the SMOK Playbook)
Let’s not even discuss the myriad Alien-type devices we got from SMOK’s competitors, all of which featured some great ideas, but also seemed awfully familiar to Alien owners around the world.
But more than two years later, it seems like SMOK might have finally perfected the venerable Alien’s concept. Last month, we SMOK Majesty LUXE the new SMOK Devilkin Kit, which – on the surface – was nothing more than a curvier ProColor. But as you read here, the end result turned out to be much more than the sum of its parts.
In fact, I even said, “…there are a few tiny complaints … but beginners will feel comfortable using the mod. Advanced vapers won’t feel cheated using the mod… This is the best use of SMOK’s trademark design yet, and a likely candidate for 2019’s mid-wattage mod crown.”
Hefty praise for “just another retread,” right? Perhaps we were a little heavy on the hyperbole. But the bottom line is that after two years of tinkering, SMOK might have finally turned this idea into something to build from… not build again.
SMOK Devilkin 225W TC Box Mod Features:
- Dual High-Amp 18650 Battery – Not Included
- Wattage Output Range: 6-225W
- Voltage Output Range: 0.5-9V
- Min Atomizer Resistance: 0.05ohm
- Temperature Range: 200-600F
- Supports Ni200 Nickel, Titanium, and Stainless-Steel Heating Elements
- Precision Memory Mode
- Premium Zinc Alloy Construction
- High-Quality 1.3 Inch OLED Display
- Hinged Bottom-Loaded Battery Door Access
- Intelligent Atomizer Recognition
- Battery Series Connection
- Short Circuit Protection
- Over-Heat Protection
- Over Discharge Protection
- 12 Seconds Cut-Off
- MicroUSB Port – Firmware Upgrades
- 510 Connection
- Available in Black, Rainbow Prism, Gold, Chrome, Blue, Gunmetal
SMOK TFV12 Prince Sub-Ohm Tank Features:
- 25mm Base Diameter
- 5mL Standard Juice Capacity
- 8mL Maximum Juice Capacity – Convex Glass Extension
- Superior Stainless-Steel Construction
- High-Grade Glass Reinforcement
- High-Temperature Resistant – Explosion Proof
- Convenient Top-Fill Rotary Design – Lock Button Mechanism
- Massive Dual Adjustable Airflow Control at Base
- 810 Cobra Resin Ultra-Wide Drip Tip
- Performance-Grade V12 Prince Coil Structure
- 0.12ohm V12 Prince-T10 Decuple Coils – rated for 60-120W
- 0.4ohm V12 Prince-Q4 Quadruple Coils – rated for 40-100W
- 510 Connection
SMOK Devilkin 225W TC Box Mod Includes:
- 1 Devilkin 225W Box Mod
- 1 TFV12 Prince Sub-Ohm Tank
- 1 0.4ohm V12 Prince-Q4 Quad Coil
- 1 0.15ohm V12 Prince-T10 Dec Coil
- 1 Spare Glass Tube
- 1 MicroUSB Cable
- Instructional Manual
SMOK Alien Kit Features and Specs:
Alien 220 Mod Specifications:
- Dimensions: 44*30*85mm
- Wattage Range: 6W – 220W
- Temperature Range: 200°F – 600°F / 100°C – 315°C
- Voltage Range: 0.35V – 8V
- Resistance Range:
- 1Ω – 3.0Ω (VW Mode)
- 06Ω – 3.0Ω (TC Modes)
- Compatible TC Wires: Ni200, Titanium, Stainless Steel
- Large OLED Display
- Individual Battery Level Display
- Micro USB Port (Charging & Upgrading)
- Ergonomic Design
- Lateral Fire Trigger
- Spring Loaded 510 Pin
- Requires (2) 18650 Batteries(Batteries Sold Separately)
- Sliding Battery Door
- Firmware Upgradeable
- TFV8 Baby Specifications:
- Dimensions: 53*22mm
- 0mL Tank Capacity
- Stainless Steel Construction
- Glass Tank Section
- Dual Cyclops Adjustable Airflow
- Top Fill System
- Wide Bore Delrin Drip Tip
- Swivel Action Top Fill
Full SMOK Alien Starter Kit Package Contents:
- 1 x Alien 220W Mod
- 1 x TFV8 Baby Tank
- 1 x V8 Baby-Q2 Coil (0.4Ω)
- 1 x V8 Baby-T8 Coil (0.15Ω Pre-Installed)
- 1 x Replacement Glass Tube
- 1 x Micro USB Cable
- 1 x Sealing Pad
- 2 x Smok Silicone Vapor Bands
- 5 x Spare O-Rings
- 1 x User Manual
- 1 x Warranty Card
- 1 x Qualified Battery Card
Let’s do a quick assessment of each to see how they match up in 2018
First, the Vape Legend
To be honest, this section almost seems a little silly, since the SMOK Alien is such a flagship device. Not only do people still use the Alien as a daily driver, but it’s not odd to see vape shops keep their remaining stock of Aliens front and center, to attract newcomers with its endless array of color options, and proven ease of use.
To draw a comparison, most of the mods we test might never MAKE it to shop shelves, much less carve out real estate for 2+ years. And even the ones that do won’t typically last long before the next big thing comes along, offering users something slightly bigger, better or badder. It’s a true testament to the staying power of this pillar vape mod, and also to a design concept that has influenced more imitators than Black Sabbath.
At the time it was released, 200+ watt vape mods represented the top of the mass-produced mod pyramid. And they were true BOX mods, with bulky, cumbersome rectangular designs, little display information, and a decided focus on cloud production, not an overall experience.
So, when the Alien’s slender, rounded “box” mod came to the forefront, people couldn’t believe this device would hit such high promises of performance. Yet the contoured, ergonomic device did just that (again — for the most part) in a sturdy zinc alloy package.
Aesthetically, there were some nods to “higher end” technology, with a loaded screen layout, carbon fiber inlays, and an overall quality feel that wasn’t always prevalent in competing mods. Plus, it had ample venting – something manufacturers STILL struggle to include to this very day.
It wasn’t all perfect on the Alien mothership. First and foremost, before firmware updates righted the ship, the Alien was really a 150-watt max mod, with precipitous drops in performance when users ventured north of that line. Once the device DID get updated and rectified, the mod still got awfully hot at those elevations – likely due to the massive battery drain going on under its frame.
Currently, my Alien is updated to its latest firmware, and it mostly stays cool at my preferred temps and wattages, but it’s far inferior to the more efficient and capable chipsets that followed it in the two years since its release.
The firmware update was also needed for appropriate temperature control. While it wasn’t quite as bad as the competing Sigelei Fuchai 213, the Alien still struggled to maintain consistent temperatures and resistance locks, and the menus often booted users to the main screen without ever registering their inputs. It was a fiddly, inconsistent experience that left some newcomers turned off by the difficulty.
There was also the paint chip concerns. Using just a fingernail and a negative thought, users could easily strip the Alien of its paint job. So you can only imagine what a desk, cup holder or occasional drop would do.
(Hell, I actually noticed paint chipping off from removing the SILICONE SLEEVE I bought to protect the damn thing.)
Today’s SMOK devices have anodized paint jobs that stay true much longer than their predecessors. They may still chip on drops, but regular use and the occasional ding don’t render your mod hideous after one accident.
At the end of the day, in terms of smooth pocket-friendly power, the Alien delivered in a big way. It wasn’t uncommon to see moderate vapers make it through the night vaping at mid-range wattages, without ever having to swap batteries. It might not be as impressive as the SMOK chipsets that followed, but compared to other, larger mods in this range, the efficiency remains impressive to this day.
Now, the Scrappy Newcomer
The SMOK Devilkin doesn’t make a massive leap from the tried-and-true, palm-friendly design. But it does manage to come together in the MOST comfortable, usable layout since the company started aping its own products. Most notably with the gently curved, perfectly clicky firebar, which is the best one produced since the Alien landed.
We use that term – “palm friendly” – quite a bit. But it truly and genuinely applies to the Devilkin. The mod’s teardrop slopes nestle into your hand effortlessly, almost allowing you to forget it’s there after a while. [ED NOTE: Don’t do that. Know where your vape gear is at all times.]
Aesthetically, the only complaints we had about the Devilkin Mod were minor. A font choice here, a battery door there. These were nitpicky things pointed out by a reviewer who is paid to split hairs. To the everyday vaper looking for a quality device, it’s likely these “complaints” never even crossed their minds.
Of course, we don’t vape curves and fonts. And that’s why I truly love the Devilkin mod. Not only does it produce smooth-ramping power, all the way to its stated 225-watt limit, but it also features what might be the most-accurate, usable temperature control on a SMOK device. Maybe this isn’t going to appeal to the DNA/YiHi type of crowd, nor does it intend to. But newcomers looking how to vape TC coils, and get a hold of this level of precision could do far worse than the Devilkin.
Speaking of precision, the updated hi-res display and streamlined menu system take the classic SMOK operations and make things easier than ever for users to navigate the linear option trees. While I still hope SMOK will soon make the move to a more conventional three-button format, I stand behind how well they’ve implemented the classic Alien control scheme here.
In power mode, the Devilkin offers angelic battery life, with long-lasting power that makes the absolute most of its dual-18650 format. Getting six or more hours of 100+ watt vaping is still pretty surprising, even in 2018. But to do it this smoothly is even rarer.
Let me lead off the closing section by sounding like a middle school talent show judge – there are no losers here. But there is only one winner. Despite the countless memories and fond experiences we have of the SMOK Alien, we at Spinfuel VAPE have decided 2018 is the year we need to stop making comparisons to the venerable flagship.
The Alien is a fantastic vape mod. Later iterations came in impressive paint styles and colorways, the firmware continued to improve to deliver on its original promise, and it remains comfortable to use day in and day out. Plus, the classic OLED display is still a winner in many eyes.
But everything that was introduced and fine-tuned by the SMOK Alien has reached its pinnacle with the Devilkin. The ProColor was the first step. The touchscreen G-Privs were side steps. The top-hatted neon skull was a misstep. The Devilkin is a true step forward from this classic design, and should serve as a concrete foundation for SMOK’s next round of innovation – a round we hope to see soon, if not sooner. Because what happens after you reach the pinnacle of a mountain? There’s nowhere to go but down… at least without a new approach.
But we raise our glasses to the amazing SMOK Alien. In the ever-changing, rapid-fire vape industry, I highly doubt we’ll see another vape mod with as much impact or staying power as this one. And I don’t think we’ll see one that changed the game so defiantly, either. So, if you still have and use your Aliens, keep doing so – every day you do is another acknowledgement of a pioneer.
If you’re new to mid-wattage vaping, you might be tempted to buy an Alien on reputation alone. But the better move is to buy a SMOK Devilkin Kit, which includes the excellent TFV12 Prince Sub-Ohm Tank. It might not have the name recognition, the brand identity or even the staying power. But for once, the Devil you DON’T know is the one to trust.
SMOK Box Mods and Sub-Ohm Tanks can be picked up at hundreds of vape shops and online vendors. The online vendor DirectVapor assisted in helping Spinfuel VAPE put this in-depth look and comparison of the Devilkin Kit and the newest editions of the SMOK Alien Kit, and both Kits, and much more, are in stock now.