Last Updated on April 4, 2017 by Team Spinfuel
SMOKTech Is Killin’ It, is it wrong to say that? As a reviewer/commentator for an online magazine dedicated to disseminating ‘as near to ‘objective’ truth as possible’ on new vape gear and eliquids, is it wrong to single out a manufacturer that continues to impress me repeatedly? Is this bias on my part, or does SMOKTech deserve to be singled out in this ‘Vaping with Julia’ column for getting it right more often than not, and, in my eyes, rising above all the other manufacturers for product aesthetics, quality, and performance?
I really don’t know if I am crossing the line here or not, but I do welcome your opinion in the comment section below. But first, allow me to explain why I’ve decided to dedicate a “VwJ” column to SMOKTech.
Editor’s Note – Julia, and Spinfuel VAPE, has no affiliation whatsoever with SMOKTech, nor any financial arrangement with SMOKTech or any vendor selling SMOKTech products. SMOKTech does not advertise with us, nor are we now, or ever, associated with any affiliate program (other than to gain information on how they work, way back in 2012). Spinfuel VAPE, Julia Hartley-Barnes, nor anyone working for Spinfuel VAPE, have any financial interest or even the possibility of financial gain for this column, or any column written by anyone on staff. In fact, no one at Spinfuel VAPE even knows a single contact at SMOKTech, nor do we buy wholesale from SMOKTech. – Dave Foster, Managing Editor
Pride in Workmanship
Having pride in the products a company makes is certainly not exclusive to SMOK. However, after more than 5 years of using box mods and atomizers from dozens upon dozens of manufacturers, I think I can safely say that I cannot remember a single product put out by SMOK that looked, felt, or performed like a “rush job”. Every box mod, every sub-ohm tank bearing the name SMOKTech (or SMOK) looks ‘complete’. Below are a couple of examples that illustrate a ‘rush job’.
eVic Primo and eVic Primo 2
The Joyetech eVic Primo Kit is the latest example of a rush job. Seeing the release of the eVic Primo 2 Kit so quickly after the release of the original eVic Primo Kit screams rush job. Whether it’s true or not, the eVic Primo Kit seems to have been designed, slapped together, and thrown into the marketplace. Then, immediately afterward, Joyetech took a collective breath, knowing the product was out there, that all the Joyetech Sycophant Reviewers were busy extolling the virtues of this new, innovative product, and now they had time to fix or improve a few minor issues or items of the original and just 3, maybe 4 months later, throw a Version 2 out to the market.
I liked the original eVic Primo Kit. I didn’t love it, it isn’t a mod I’m using, but I did like it. So, I ask myself, why was there a need to bump the 200W to 228W, why the need to bump the 1.5A charging to 2A (especially when I preach external charging only). Why was the eVic Primo rushed to market, only to be revamped a couple months later?
Although the changes to the Ocular C was substantial, the original Joyetech Ocular had to be a rush job. Here was a box mod that, for the first time, included a photo slideshow, music, and 2GB of internal storage for these files. A truly innovative approach to a new box mod, but riddled with features that just wouldn’t take hold.
The biggest mistake Joyetech made was to release the Ocular with a 5000mAh internal battery, far too little should a user wish to avail themselves of the music or photo features. So they quickly released a new one, the Ocular C, which offered replaceable 18650 batteries.
I could go on, include other examples of rush jobs from other manufacturers, but this isn’t about rush jobs, it’s about a company that is moving the vape industry in the right direction, under good leadership, or what looks like good leadership anyway.
SMOKTech doesn’t have a single product on the market now, or in the recent past, that would even hint at being a rush job. Here’s an example of a single product, and a spinoff of that product… done right.
SMOKTech Alien 220W TC Box Mod Kit
I own, and use, half a dozen SMOK box mods every day. One of them is the Alien 220W mod and the SMOK Big Baby TFV8 sub-ohm tank. I realize the Alien Kit includes in the smaller TFV8, the Baby Beast, but since I am a heavy vaper, 3mL juice capacity means constant refills. Since the TFV8 Big Baby is the same tank, even using the same coil heads as the Baby Beast, I enjoy the Big Baby’s larger tank, a 5mL tank. For most vapers though, the 3mL Baby Beast works well.
The SMOK Alien 220W offers 200 watts, which is nice, but the real prize of the Alien is its display. A huge, bright, cool-white OLED screen that displays all the information anyone needs to run a box mod safely.
I suggest you read our terrific review of the Alien 220 to see just how good this marvelous box mod is.
The Spinoff – SMOKTech AL85
When it comes to capitalizing on the huge success of the Alien 220W box mod, SMOK didn’t rush out and stick a higher wattage chipset in it, which they could have. SMOK does make the powerhouse GX350 after all. Instead, SMOK saw what was good about the Alien 220W and offered a smaller, more intimate version, for Vapers that do not need 220W or more. Hence, the AL85.
The SMOK AL85 offers the moderate wattage output of 85W, uses a single 18650 battery instead of the dual 18650 found in its bigger sister, and designed the device to look and feel like the full-fledged Alien 220. Even the best display on any box mod, is found on the AL85. Same size, same information, same greatness.
Because the product manager, or engineers, or the board of directors, respected the Alien 220 TC Box Mod, they took the best of the Alien and built a smaller, still beautiful, SMOK AL85. This is pride in their products, and they should feel proud.
Element Vape, one of our partners, is a huge fan of SMOKTech products. When a new device is forthcoming Element Vape is one of the first to place an order and get it in the online store.
SMOKTech is about Quality, Performance, and Aesthetics
SMOK makes great products, I don’t think many would argue about that. The quality is always superb, and pricing is competitive, and they seem to know what customers want, and more importantly, what customers like.
SMOK knows the importance of Aesthetics. In my “Vaping Aesthetics” columns I talk a lot about SMOK products because they are among the best looking products on the market.
The 4x 18650 powerhouse SMOK GX350 is the smallest 4x cell box mod made today. The G320 Marshal has beautiful curves and large, well-placed fire button. The H-Priv is a work of art, and powerful to boot. The G-Priv is a Touchscreen Box Mod done right.
Even their Pen-Style mods are beautiful, powerful, and a damn pleasure to use. My newest acquisition is the SMOK Stick V8, is a 3000mAh gorgeous pen shape battery with a matching SMOK TFV8 Big Baby sub-ohm on top. While I’ve had, a few Stick V8’s for a while, I’ve not yet had the pleasure to review one. I’ll do so soon.
The photo here shows just how much SMOK pays attention to the aesthetics of their devices.
We did recently review the SMOK Brit One Mega Kit, and while it is a very nice Pen style mod, it was made for the U.K. market, being compliant with their ridiculous TPD rules of 2mL capacity tanks. Being as smart about the vape market as SMOK is, notice that SMOK knows this device is limited in its appeal, and is so offered only in black and silver. You can bet that SMOK did their homework first, before creating the Brit One.
And Then There Are the Tanks
I’ve used so many sub-ohm tanks since 2012 that I’ve lost count. In recent months, the number of sub-ohm tanks has exploded on the scene, and come in all shapes, sizes, and performance.
I’ve had access to them all, used them all, and while I find many of them downright delightful, I keep coming back to the TFV8 and TFV12 line. These tanks are simply the best sub-ohm tanks available today. My collection of these wonderful tanks continues to grow as SMOK releases new colors, and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. (SMOK just released a pink TFV8 that I cannot wait to get my hands on!)
While I am always using the TFV8 Big Baby, Cloud Beast, and Cloud Beast King, I find the SMOK Spirals, SMOK Helmet, and SMOK Minos tanks nearly as delightful as my TF’s. I’ve never been disappointed in a SMOK Sub-Ohm tank. I can’t say that about any other tank manufacturer.
SMOKTech built that right tank for right times, starting with the SMOK TFV4 a couple of years ago. Since then, SMOK has refined and improved the tanks with each new model, but where SMOK really shines is in their dedication to the Coil Heads.
SMOK Replacement Coils are all Kanthal A1 wire heating elements, pure organic cotton wicking, and there is such a variety of resistances and wattage ranges to accommodate every sub-ohm fan. Whether it’s the biggest clouds, or the purest flavor, SMOK Replacement Coils are the best made.
Every day the staff here at Spinfuel VAPE reviews different vape gear (and eliquids) and we do so as objectively as possible. But our job is never to try and talk anyone into buying anything. Our job is to inform the reader, and give them our “take” on the product being reviewed. Sometimes it is much harder than you might imagine.
Unlike other reviewers in the vape community, we write what we believe, and damn the consequences. We’ve lost advertisers for telling the truth, and we’ve gained advertisers for the same reason. We believe people want to hear the truth, no matter what.
We don’t make money on products we review, nor do we ever try to befriend a company to make inroads in the community of the chosen. We won’t burn a company because another company wants us to, nor we will praise a company or its products, no matter what we’re offered (and we’re offered plenty).
I decided to write about SMOKTech today for one reason; SMOK is a damn good company, making damn good products, and you should know that. However, you should know something else too, something fall less noble than talking about a company that makes great products.
When I see more and more rush jobs, or shoddy products, it is frustrating, and damn near impossible, not to wave off readers and point them to a better product, usually made by SMOKTech.
These days I am always comparing new sub-ohm tanks to SMOK’s sub-ohms. I do the same thing with new box mods too. There are some dandy new mods on the market, but because I am perfectly satisfied with my collection of SMOK box mods and Pen mods, I am always making comparisons in my head.
If, after I have used a new box mod, pen mod, or sub-ohm tank, and I know in my heart that there is a better product made by SMOKTech, I’m going to state it. And if you disagree with my assessment I hope you will join the discussion in the comments and tell me where I got it wrong, or got it right.
I believe we all deserve the best vape gear possible, and right now, the best vape gear is coming from SMOKTech. Let this be a wakeup call to all the other manufacturers. Do better.