In the vaping industry, tagging a product with the term “flagship” basically means the mod will be featured a few extra weeks before the “next big thing” arrives on shelves. But SMOK has ridden the Alien wave for the better part of two years, and the brand still has new designs and formats coming in all the time. I think this is about to change, with the flawed, but fantastic SMOK ProColor Mod.
Sure, SMOK has released plenty of other devices since the Aliens first landed, but none have really resonated with the larger vaping public like the Alien – from sub-ohm newbies to experienced vape pros – the Alien still manages to sell in big numbers. The new SMOK ProColor Mod, and in particular, the Full Starter Kit, is about to knock the Alien down a few pegs.
Same SMOK box, new SMOK experience…
I think most readers of this site know what to expect from SMOK packaging, and the ProColor Kit doesn’t veer far from the path. The rectangular box has sharp hero shot of the device on the front (with the appropriate color represented – a nice touch that eliminates unwanted surprises when getting it home).
Included in the box is the SMOK ProColor mod, a TFV8 Big Baby tank, two coils, USB cable, spare tank glass, extra parts and a mostly well-done set of documentation. Notice, I said “mostly.”
I have to say, the translation on the back of SMOK packaging continues to be laughably poor. Not that box descriptions should factor into a mod review, but new customers deserve the chance to read about a product’s features and benefits in a clear fashion.
I realize this is hardly high science, but vaping is no longer a small, niche industry. As a prosperous international company, SMOK (and all vape companies) should focus on proper translation for every market in which they do business.
Probing the ProColor
Upon opening the box, users will immediately be taken back by the well-honed, more mature looking SMOK ProColor mod. At first, it seems as if the device is nothing more than an updated Alien – an Alien PRO, if you will – but beyond the surface similarities lie a number of aesthetic and performance upgrades.
The overall size and shape of the SMOK ProColor will feel instantly familiar to Alien owners, with nearly identical dimensions, save for an additional 2mm of width to accommodate a wider range of atomizers.
However, since it’s more angular than the Alien, the ProColor – especially in my silver test model – feels like a more adult device. It is weighty, but not heavy. Attractive, but not overdesigned. And it features a proven, user-friendly button and charging layout that won’t garner headlines, but will be appreciated by those who value convenience and ergonomics, rather than nonsensical changes.
Heck, even the carbon-like sticker on the back of the device adds an air of class, rather than unnecessary bells and whistles. Even the press-fit, but secure 510 connection is simple and refined. The entire package is wholly subdued … at least until you turn on the device.
(I should mention that not ALL of the available ProColor design schemes are subtle. There are some seriously funky color choices for you to peruse, but the device design still makes things seem altogether more high-end.)
After inserting a pair of fresh 18650s, things got a little more “extravagant,” as the shield-shaped border surrounding the large display began a flashy light show, showing a range of 12 available colors to choose from, as well as the different “light show” settings. The lights themselves are not overly bright, nor are the flash patterns over the top, but I have to say, even on the most reserved settings, the LED took away from the ProColor’s otherwise understated design.
For the record, you can turn the light off entirely, which was my preferred setting. Though the LED glow was a nice addition to the sharp, angular SMOK T-Priv, it seems a little out of place here.
The flush, side-mounted fire key was a nice element and key differentiator for the Alien, and SMOK has perfected it on the ProColor mod. Extremely clicky, with a firm, shallow throw, the ProColor fire button feels fantastic in use, but is stiff enough to sit in a pocket without concern.
Most importantly, the SMOK ProColor has one MAJOR difference from its interstellar brethren – the paint finish. Whereas the Alien brand has become synonymous with chipped paint and exposed metal, the ProColor finish is pristine. It doesn’t feel cheap, and the device didn’t even gain a scuff after accidentally knocking it hard into my laptop. Though I’ve come to love the custom Alien paint jobs I’ve seen out in the wild, this is a major upgrade.
A screen worthy of the name “Pro”
I’m not much for hyperbole, but I will declare that the SMOK ProColor has the clearest, brightest, most legible and attractive display of any mod in my collection. When the Alien was released, people marveled at how the 0.96” display crammed so much information into the space. It was a turning point for modern mod design, and set a new standard for SMOK’s competition.
With the ProColor, the SMOK design team took the information, and laid it out in a beautifully rendered, high-resolution, 1.3-inch display, so it’s infinitely easier to read in any light. Moving away from the “digital clock” aesthetic from the Alien/Skyhook line, SMOK instead went with a razor-sharp, sans-serif font choice, and a user-selected contrasting color theme, to ensure the display not only matches the light show, but is easy to decipher at a glance.
I preferred the red secondary color to counter the bright white primary text, but any of the selections work, with only the “white on white” presenting any visual confusion. Regardless, there are few – if any – devices on the market today with a display this clear, and none on a screen this compact.
More importantly, it – once again – carries an air of maturity not evident on most vape mods available today. Either they’re overly limited, or superlatively flashy. The ProColor screen perfectly balances beauty and utility, and is a high point on an impressive device.
In action, the screen makes menu navigation a breeze. Though it’s unclear if the ProColor has a new chipset, the updated display allows users to clearly see what options are available, and how to get back if in the wrong branch of the menu tree. There is still the same long press/short press mechanics to engage a selection, but with the ProColor, I knew where I was, and how to get where I wanted to be – not always a given with more limited displays.
That said, one knock on this tried-and-true system is that a device of this caliber should have a dedicated “action/enter” button, rather than relying on long presses of the fire key. Though everything here works as intended, the long press was never an ideal entry mechanic, and only leads to more frustration, especially on the parts of novice vapers.
Vaping the SMOK ProColor
All of these upgrades would be for naught, if the SMOK ProColor didn’t offer a good vaping experience. At the very least, it needs to be as good as the SMOK Alien, right? Well, rest comfortably, friends – the SMOK ProColor is an excellent vape device, with one key exception (and one comparatively minor sticking point).
First, the positives. In straight wattage mode, the ProColor is an excellent, powerful device. In addition to the included SMOK TFV8 Big Baby Beast tank (review here), I also put the ProColor through its paces with every type of atomizer in my collection. MTL setups at low wattages worked flawlessly. Sub-ohm tanks at high wattages worked flawlessly. Heck, even my drippers pushed to nearly 200 watts worked well, without pulsing or stuttering.
But, notice I said “nearly.” This is the key exception I mentioned earlier. Though it gets much closer than the overhyped power of the Alien, the SMOK ProColor also struggles to get to its advertised 225 watts. Once I approached 200, I began receiving a steady stream of atomizer short warnings, and even had the device reboot itself. Backing it down to 180 watts solved the problem, but that’s a 45-watt difference between reality and marketing fiction – not at all acceptable from a company that should know better after the Alien power debacle.
As of this writing, I have yet to see a firmware upgrade become available on SMOK’s site, but I sincerely hope one is on the way, to bring the ProColor up to advertised specs.
Most of us never vape that high in any case, so I reverted to a more pedestrian 85 watts with my RTAs and tanks, and normalcy resumed, with the ProColor producing fast ramp-up time, for smooth, flavorful draws throughout. It never felt underpowered, nor did it ever stutter, even with frequent swapping of atomizers.
As mentioned, the SMOK ProColor Kit comes with an included TFV8 Big Baby Beast tank and a few coils. We’ve covered this device countless times on the site, and nothing new is present here, but nonetheless, it is an appropriate match for the ProColor mod, and still offers really strong performance.
Versatile, powerful, accurate
Another notable point is that the SMOK ProColor is one of the few devices in my collection that gets as much use in TC mode as it does in my usual wattage setup. Featuring the standard Ti/Ni/SS316 options in the menu, alongside a memory mode for your most-used atomizers, most TC vapers will be well-armed with the ProColor.
I tested all coil types, but found the device performed best with SS316 coils. In a GeekVape Ammit Dual-Coil RTA, I found my temperature “sweet spot” in record time, eliminating much of the fiddling and adjusting that comes with TC devices without apps or PC software to navigate the options. Without this endless adjustment, TC stopped being a hassle, and started becoming a go-to mode for me with the ProColor.
Oh, that minor complaint I mentioned earlier? The SMOK ProColor isn’t the most economical device when it comes to battery duration. Even with the LED lights turned off, and the device used at a reasonable wattage setting, I noticed the ProColor only offered me about 4-5 hours of moderate vaping before having to swap, or use the onboard 2-amp charging.
Maybe it’s the high-res screen, or just a new chipset that needs some firmware optimization, but the one thing keeping the ProColor from becoming my go-to, all-day compact device is the below-par battery economy.
Despite ending on a somewhat sour note, make no mistake – SMOK has finally evolved their product line past the Alien invasion. Yes, the light show is extraneous – and perhaps a little “off-brand” for such a mature-looking mod – but it’s hardly a hindrance when vaping virtually any tank in your collection without fail.
I can’t give the SMOK ProColor a perfect score because of the unfortunate power problem, and sub-par battery life – both of which can (and should) be fixed via firmware upgrade. But if you’re looking for a fantastic, attractive new mod, the minor ding on the grade shouldn’t stop you from strongly considering SMOK’s new flagship the next time you shop for new gear.
Available now at Element Vape, the full kit is priced at $69.95, while the Mod alone is just $54.95. Color available now include Silver, Black, Blue, Green, Purple, and Red. Further colors and finishes are no doubt in the works.
SMOK ProColor Specs and Package Contents
SMOK ProColor Kit Specs:
- Dimensions: 85x46x29.5mm
- Wattage Range: 6W – 225W
- Temperature Range: 200°F – 600°F / 100°C – 315°C
- Resistance Range:
- 1Ω – 3.0Ω (VW Mode)
- 06Ω – 3.0Ω (TC Modes)
- Input Voltage: 6.4V – 9.0V
- Output Voltage: 0.5V – 9.0V
- Output Modes: VW, TC(Ti, Ni, SS), Memory
- Multicolor LED Light Band Border
- Large 1.3 Inch High Definition Color Display
- Micro USB Port (Charging & Upgrading)
- Firmware Upgradable
- Short Circuit Protection
- Overheating Protection
- Low Battery Warning
SMOK ProColor Kit Contents:
- 1x SMOK ProColor Mod
- 1x TFV8 Big Baby Tank
- 1x V8 Baby-Q2 Dual Coils
- 1x V8 Baby-T8 Octuple Coils
- 1x Replacement Glass Tube
- 1x USB Cable
- 1x User Manual
- 1x Spare Parts