The SMOK Stick M17 Vape Pen Review – After entering the world of more advanced vape mods a few years back, I never thought I’d get nostalgic for simple, one-button pen vapes. But whenever one arrives on my desk, I can’t help but get a little misty for “the old days,” when variable voltage dials were the pinnacle of technology, and a few hours of battery life was worthy of headlines.
Unfortunately, nostalgia only takes you so far. While I applaud SMOK for trying to bridge the gap between sub-ohm enjoyment and single-button simplicity, the M17 proves to be disappointing to multiple audiences.
Let’s dive down and see why.
Initial impressions of the SMOK Stick M17 AIO kit
After opening the traditional SMOK packaging – outer sleeve with hero image, well-constructed box, thick foam liner – my first reaction to the M17 was surprise to just how tiny this device is. At just 17.5mm in diameter, with a 2mL capacity built-in tank system, it’s hard to believe SMOK is pushing the M17 as a fringe sub-ohm device.
But, that’s exactly what’s happening here. SMOK has included a pair of proprietary 0.6-ohm dual coils in the box. It’s unclear if these heads are cross-compatible with any of the company’s myriad other tank systems, but it seems these are designed for direct wattage use only.
(For newcomers, a direct wattage setup is like a mechanical mod, in that it draws power directly from the battery. However, they usually have safety protections built in, to prevent new users from potentially dangerous situations.)
Rather than a replaceable tank, the SMOK Stick M17 has a built-in atomizer base, with a removeable glass and top cap, allowing users to change the coils when needed. Though the top fill system resembles SMOK’s usual tank setups, I had a bear of a time filling without losing a lot of e-liquid in the process. I don’t know if there were vacuum problems, or if my bottle’s cap was too large, but it took quite a bit of time to fill those two milliliters.
There is a nice round fire key on the top portion of the body. Standard fare, to be sure. But it’s clicky and has a good throw. There is also a slim LED power indicator light, which flashes when the mod is powered on and off, and changes color when battery life drains from the 1,300mAh internal cell.
Finally, there is a bottom-positioned USB port for charging, but there are no firmware updates for this direct wattage mod. SMOK did not include specs on charge power, but my experience with Stick M17 proved that it’s far too slow to be 2-amp charging. However, it should be noted the M17 does have passthrough capabilities.
Operating the SMOK Stick M17 mod
Simple is what SMOK wanted for the Stick M17, and simple is what they provide. Other than charging the device, this is a true one-button vape mod, with no adjustments to be made anywhere – even on airflow for the tank!
Five simple clicks power up the Stick M17 mod, and that’s it! Other than this, the only thing vapers will need to monitor is the LED battery indicator under the tank section. When the Stick M17 falls below 3.3 volts, the protection features will automatically prevent the mod from firing. There are also several other protections built into the mod, including atomizer and heat warnings, each of which is indicated through flashing LEDs.
The problem I have with this setup is that a small screen which explains the problem might be a better solution for this target audience. Why have new vapers counting LED flashes when a small display of “atomizer short” or “low battery” might promote better vaping habits? I realize SMOK was going for minimalist design, but we now have the technology to make things easier and more informative, and I think SMOK missed the mark here.
Another concern for me was the battery capacity. SMOK has released several other single-button AIO devices, each of which were around 22mm in diameter, which allowed for larger batteries to be installed. Though the Stick M17 is thinner and likely more portable, the 1,300mAh battery will barely last a few hours with moderate vaping. Even casual vapers are likely to need a charge before the end of the day.
Convenience shouldn’t always be equated to portability, because what’s more convenient than a thinner vape mod? A vape mod that doesn’t need to be plugged in four times per day.
The other complaint I had with the Stick M17 mod is the tank section itself. Despite not being a cloud-focused “beast,” the included coils are extremely thirsty, and require countless refills, even for passive vapers. While the flavor and vapor are decent, they’re not proportional with the amount of e-liquid consumed by the Stick M17.
Vaping the SMOK Stick M17 mod
I will say this, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall vape quality of the SMOK Stick M17 mod. Not that it was amazing, but the flavor and vapor should satisfy new vapers with its combination MTL/restricted lung draw… provided they use the right e-liquid.
However, as mentioned earlier, these are 0.6-ohm coils, with ample juice flow ports. A new vaper or transitioning smoker would likely want to use higher-nicotine, PG-heavy e-liquid. But when doing so on the Stick M17, I was greeted with a nearly violent rush of sharp vapor. Because I couldn’t restrict airflow or adjust juice flow, SMOK may have alienated a key portion of its potential audience.
Using my usual 70/30 VG/PG juice, and a more open inhale, I found the Stick M17 performed better, but also guzzled e-liquid and battery life when used in such a manner.
In the end, I couldn’t quite nail down the best way to test and use the Stick M17 – and if an experienced reviewer can’t figure this out, it’s unlikely a newcomer will fare any better.
I was moderately impressed by the vapor production while it lasted, and even had a few flavorful hits along the way. But the serious performance drops when used as a sub-ohm/restricted lung device make the Stick M17 an emergency backup in my house, and nothing more.
This is because the battery life on the Stick M17 is horrendous. Even when using it as a MTL device, the coils are just too power-hungry to maintain any kind of longevity per charge. Having the passthrough option is a nice touch, but for a mod so focused on portability, it seems silly to be so dependent on a power source.
Wrapping up and Score
SMOK has released several AIO devices, to varying levels of success. But each of them seemed to be more focused on specific audiences within the company’s mass customer base. I think the Stick M17 suffers from trying to be too many things, and not delivering completely on any one of them.
Because it comes at an affordable price point, and does offer a decent vape, the SMOK Stick M17 is a fair backup device for the car or a night out. But for new vapers, or those seeking more performance, there are better AIO mods to be had.
SMOK Stick M17 Pen-Style Starter Kit specs:
- 5mm Diameter
- 2mL Maximum Juice Capacity
- Integrated 1,300mAh Battery
- Integrated Unibody Design – All-In-One Design
- Stainless Steel Construction
- Pyrex Glass Reinforcement
- Direct Voltage Output System
- Operating Voltage Range: 3.4-4.2V
- Single Button Operation
- Intelligent Battery Life Indicator
- 10 Seconds Cut-Off Protection
- Short Circuit Protection
- Low Voltage Protection
- MicroUSB Charging Port – Passthrough Capability
- 6ohm Stick M17 Dual Core coils
- Flavor-Focused Design
- Threaded Top-Fill Method
- Fixed Bottom Airflow System
- Delrin Widebore Drip Tip
SMOK Stick M17 Starter Kit Contents:
- 1 Stick M17 System
- 1 Preinstalled 0.6ohm Stick M17 Dual Core
- 1 0.6ohm Stick M17 Dual Core
- 1 Micro-USB Cable
- Instruction Manual