A Bluetooth 4 plus Smartphone App = Innovation!
I’m wasn’t sure why I was chosen to do to this review for the Smokio, but since then I couldn’t be happier that it was me that had the task of checking out a brand new product from France. I love everything about France, well mostly anyway, and the quality of the product I reviewed has the pizazz and detail that you would expect from such a romantic country.
This is my review of the Smokio. It is a single 900mAh eGo-threaded battery with comes with two CE5 clearomizers, a USB adapter, and a handy manual, all packaged in a very high quality, Apple-like box. Oh, and it is equipped with Bluetooth. Yea, Bluetooth. Cool, huh?
After you purchase the Smokio you’re directed to Apple’s App Store to download the Smokio app. (The app is available for most smartphones and tablets, see our interview below). Once you download it and open it, you pair your Smokio to the smartphone or tablet. After that, vaping will never be the same. So, why Bluetooth? Read on.
About Smokio’s Purpose
I haven’t discussed any of this with Smokio, but after two weeks I’ve come to certain conclusions not only about whether or not the device is a quality device, but also about who would benefit from owning one. Plenty of vapers are going to look at what the Smokio can do and just set it to the side and think, “Not interested”. That’s fine, many vapers won’t be interested, and they probably shouldn’t be. The Smokio is an eCigarette designed for new vapers, or current smokers getting ready to take the plunge.
Nearly every smoker today realizes the negative health effects from smoking. Some choose to do something about it and others live in denial, believing that nothing will happen to them, that ‘other people’ get sick, and ‘other people’ die, not them. Thankfully most smokers do realize the inherent dangers of smoking and most would love to do something about it.
The Smokio has been designed, in my opinion, to be more than a good eCigarette, its designed to show you how you smoked and how that translates to your vaping. It’s designed to provide feedback, every day, every week, every month, on how you’re doing, what’s happening to you now that you’ve left cigarettes behind, how much money you’ve really saved, and what affect vaping is making on your heart and lungs.
It’s a feedback machine, designed to keep you vaping and not relapsing back to tobacco. Smokio is so much more than an eCigarette with a puff counter that it would not surprise me in the least if a larger eCigarette company tried to buy out Smokio to obtain the technology.
From what I have found out, this ‘first edition’ version of the Smokio is just the beginning. Not only will the battery improve as technology changes, but also a lot of the features will be upgraded through the app itself. They’ve only just started.
Below is my ‘real world’ experience with the Smokio after two weeks of living with it, and using it almost exclusively. Below I’ll discuss the battery, the app, and the clearomizers. These CE 5 clearomizers work well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change them out and use whatever clearomizer you want. For the last few days of the review period I was using an EVOD2 clearomizer.
The most obvious difference between the Smokio battery and other eGo/Spinner batteries is the built-in Bluetooth 4. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows you to pair devices and share data. Inside the Smokio sits a Bluetooth 4 chip and a chip that collects certain information and sends it to the iPhone app (or other platform app).
Unlike other advanced vaporizers the Smokio records data that shows you not just the number of puffs you’ve taken, but also how long your puffs are, how intense, how many analog cigarettes you would have smoked, and shows you trending information over 7-day and 30-day periods. In addition, the information displayed in the app gives you certain statistics relating to your health based on data from the American Cancer Society. It gives you an idea on how much your health is improving since quitting cigarettes.
Like I said above, the Smokio battery is a 900mAh lithium-ion accumulator. Because it runs with Bluetooth 4, or “Low Energy” Bluetooth, only smartphones and tablets from the past couple of years can take advantage of the technology. Many readers who know about Bluetooth already may be asking about power consumption and how this 900mAh battery might not last as long as other 900mAh batteries, and that’s a legitimate question. According to Smokio the power consumption will reduce the vape time by just 5%, a very nominal amount for a battery with built-in Bluetooth.
Working within the app users can also monitor the time left on the battery, making sure that they know when the battery will run down and need to be recharged. It also stores enough power between charges that you won’t lose the collected data, in addition to having been stored in the app itself.
The Smokio I have is black, with a soft-texture finish, and is the same size and diameter as a 900mAh Vision Spinner.
The two clearomizers that come with the starter kit right now are the CE5+ v2 clearomizer. They worked well, though the first one I used came apart and was impossible to put back together. The reason that happened was because I opened it from the wrong end and the middle post came loose and it wouldn’t play nice after that. The second clearomizer has been terrific. The resistance is 2 ohms. I would have liked to see that a little lower, so after making sure the clearomizers did the job I switched out to the EVOD2 clearomizers we received from Vapor Authority and the performance was greatly improved.
My understanding from Smokio is that they are not that happy with the clearomizers they are currently selling with the starter kit so they are actually going to switch to the EVOD2 (1.5 ohms) in their next production run. The EVOD2’s coil heads are made up of 4 short wicks and the vapor production and throat hit is outstanding, and the flavor of the eLiquids is true and accurate. I’m thrilled that Smokio is making this change.
You can pick up a Smokio now by ordering online at smokio.com. The MSRP is $129.90(USD). Smokio is in negotiations now for getting the product into as many retail locations as possible, including Amazon.com. Right now, Amazon in France and the UK sell the Smokio so I imagine it won’t be long until new vapers and current smokers can pick one up on the US Amazon store, or their favorite vendor.
I asked Smokio a few questions several days ago, and will reprint my short interview with them below. My own conclusions are based on my time spent with the product, and the idea that new vapers and smokers looking to quit will find many benefits to using a Smokio to achieve the success they want. By providing quality feedback to the vaper, he or she is always in touch with their health improvement and financial savings. Positive feedback is critical to successfully quitting tobacco, or even staying with eCigarettes, and the Smokio is a great product to do just that.
I love the packaging of the Smokio, it’s very Apple like. The battery feels great, works great, and I’ve noticed no shortage of battery life compared to a couple of 900mAh Spinners I have.
Smokio is the first electronic cigarette that I know of that offers built-in Bluetooth and an app for just about every smartphone and tablet on the market. At $129 you might think twice, but I have a feeling that price will drop some, and considering the technology behind it, it’s a pretty good deal for someone looking for the right eCigarette to provide the right information whenever they need it.
For the everyday vaper who is currently happy with their hardware I can’t really say that it would be smart to ditch it and buy the Smokio, unless you’re interested in the features the app and battery will give you.
For current smokers looking to jump ship and come over to vaping this is a perfect device to do that. It’s ten times better than a cig-a-like for providing a quality vape experience and its able to provide a lot of feedback to keep the new vaper on the straight and narrow. For new vapers who need help with tracking their usage and seeing how much money they save and what effect vaping is making on their health, yes, by all means, I recommend it highly.
For myself, the biggest kick was taking a drag off the Smokio and watching my iPhone jump for 52 to 53 puffs, without me touching it. That was cool.
Now, here’s the short interview with the Smokio rep I promised. It’s an interesting read, and it gives you an idea of just how much we’ve come with vape technology.
The Smokio Interview
Interview Questions For Smokio
Spinfuel: We are delighted to work with you on reviewing this marvelous new eCigarette. How did you think of it?
Steve Anavi and Alexandre Prot, the two founders, naturally looked to eCigarettes when they quit smoking as a way to help them quit; naturally, they thought using something which would help them gradually reduce their nicotine intake whilst avoiding the other thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke would help expedite the process. When they tried, however, they found that there wasn’t anything on the market that allowed them to track their consumption in any meaningful way. Also, talking to friends of theirs who vaped already, they found that a lot of them had difficulty in managing their consumption and in some cases actually ended up ingesting more nicotine than they did when they were smoking, or far more nicotine than they thought they were.
Spinfuel: Employing a puff counter into the side of a battery is one thing; but you’ve taken this is a whole new level. What are the benefits of using a Smokio over that of an APV (advanced personal vaporizer) that displays the puffs?
Not only does Smokio enable you to follow how many puffs you’ve taken on a daily basis, it shows you so many other things as well; not only data about each individual puff – time, location, length and intensity – but also composite data; how many cigarette equivalents your eCig consumption has meant that you’ve avoided, 7-day and 30-day trends in both your eCig and tobacco cig consumption (though you have to semi-manually input the tobacco cig data I’m afraid – we haven’t quite got that far in app development yet!), how much money you’re saving as a result of vaping over smoking and even statistics relating to your health and estimates – based on data from the American Cancer Society and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention – how it is improving since you stopped smoking
Spinfuel: Was it difficult to find a manufacturer to build in Bluetooth?
All of the research and development for the Bluetooth communication was done here in France; it took us about 6 months from idea generation to first sale, though that included a lot of false starts along the way! Finding an actual manufacturer was probably the easiest part of the process, although finding one who had good enough quality control was more of a challenge
Spinfuel: Tell us a little about the battery. What is a the mAh rating, which version of Bluetooth is in the battery, and does Bluetooth have much of an impact on the how long a charge will last?
The battery is a 900mAh lithium-ion accumulator. Bluetooth version is 4.0 – also known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Bluetooth Smart; this limits us a little in who can use a Smokio, as only Smartphones/tablets released in the last couple of years are compatible with BLE (eg iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, iPad 3, iPod touch. Galaxy SIII, SIV, Note 2, Note 3. HTC 1, Nexus 4 & 5 – see our website for full details) – but is much less power draining for both eCig and Smartphone. As such, the BLE chip only alters the power output by less than 5%; ‘traditional’ Bluetooth is far more power hungry!
Spinfuel: Tell us what you can about the iPhone/Andriod app. What can vapers do with the app once installed?
Beyond the wide range of data about their vaping habits that is available at their fingertips in real-time, users can also monitor the battery level and change the vapour density (change the voltage) remotely from the App.
Further, Smokio is an electronic lifestyle coach – we know how hard it is for smoker to quit. It’s both a physical and psychological challenge; the eCig is the key for the physical challenge, the app the key for the psychological effort, giving you the positive feedback and encouragement that you need when trying to quit.
Spinfuel: Will the Smokio be available in North America? Where else will our readers be able to pick one up?
Smokio is already available in the US – you can order one through our website – but we are, of course, in negotiations with a large number of retailers and distributors to stock us physically. We’ll keep people who follow us – through Twitter, Facebook or our Newsletter – posted on where we’re available, so if you want to ‘try before you buy’ I’m sure we’ll be available in-store near you soon!
Spinfuel: Specifically in United States, what is the MSRP?
Ex-Sales Tax, the MSRP in the States is $129.90
Spinfuel: How is France handling the growth of eCigarette users?
Pretty well, at the moment; you see Vapers everywhere over here, it’s very widely accepted. Vape stores are popping up all over the place – country-wide we probably have around1300-1500 at the moment. There’s still no state or medical support but we’re pretty sure that the government over here is more supportive (or at least less unsupportive!) than the American government
Spinfuel: What are the specific regulations in France right now? Do you see more regulation coming, or less?
France, specifically, is probably at the global forefront of the eCig revolution at the moment: in Paris alone, there are more than 300 vape stores, and more and more every week; more than 1.6mn people use eCigs regularly – that’s over 10% of smokers in general – and recent studies indicate that eCigarettes are the prime contributor to the tobacco market’s declining revenues.
Naturally, this earns the eCig industry a lot of opponents; Big Tobacco hate us for eroding their profit margins, Big Pharma does for the same reason; Governments aren’t entirely sure how to handle us since, though eCigs will almost certainly drastically reduce their long-term health expenditures [tobacco-related diseases are a top-5 expenditure for every healthcare system], in the short-term we’re eroding tax revenue from tobacco. Some in the anti-smoking lobby hate us as they erroneously see us as a gateway to tobacco cigarettes – though why they think anyone would switch from eCigs to tobacco cigs completely escapes me – though others correctly see us as an incredibly valuable harm reduction tool.
As you can imagine, this makes for a bit of a confused regulatory environment. Currently, the European Union is leaving it more or less up to individual countries to regulate how and where eCigs are consumed, with the one provision that eJuice can’t be sold with a nicotine content of greater than 20mg/ml – this actually comes into effect in 2016 but most vape stores have put it into effect already, just as most do not sell to minors. There is some pressure for the EU to regulate eCigs as medicinal products – though for once the EU seems to be resisting the urge to regulate.
In France more specifically, beyond the EU’s very broad regulations, eCig sales are prohibited to minors. That’s about it. No restrictions on where eCigs can be sold – we’re currently stocked online in France’s largest electronics retailer, for example – no restrictions on where you can use them.
Spinfuel: Do you expect to release other models based on the Bluetooth technology?
Our goal is to help as many smokers and ex-smokers. We’re paying attention to the feedback we’re getting fro, our customers and will launch new products that meet their needs best.
Beyond that, the app itself is always a work in progress. We’re always looking to be able to improve it, making it easier and more intuitive to access the data, easier to share your progress with your friends, give you more control over your eCig… there’s plenty still left to do.
Spinfuel: When and where can readers in the US and the UK purchase the Smokio?
We’re available online through our website (www.smokio.com) and Amazon (.fr, .de and .co.uk for the moment, more coming soon!) and are in discussions with a number of retailers and distributors to get as broad coverage as we can. Watch out for us in eCig stores and lounges (and other retailers) near you.