The folks at Pax contacted me a few weeks ago to take a look at their new Juul vaporizer. At first I turned them down since the Juul is targeted toward smokers and I haven’t smoked in over four years. But then I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the thing from my perspective.
Disclosure: this product was provided by Paxlabs for review purposes.
Before I even got my hands on the Juul, I expected to hate it. Not a great thing to do going into a review The truth is that I still don’t like the vaping experience the Juul delivers.
Wait. Don’t go yet!
I hate the experience because it’s far too harsh for me. It does feel more smoke-like than I prefer. That might be because the liquid stored in the “pods” contain 5% nicotine (50 mg/ml). My typical e-liquid is around .06% or almost 1/10th the potency of the Juul stuff.
So yeah, it’s not exactly my cup of tea. But, I think that the higher nicotine levels and more aggressive lung feel might be right up smokers’ allies.
Fortunately, I wasn’t stuck puffing on tobacco flavored e-cigarettes for the short time I used the Juul. The starter kit includes a few flavors. Yes, tobacco is one of them as is menthol, but there’s also fruit and creme’ flavors which weren’t too bad.
Ok, now that I’ve done this backwards and put out my feelings about the device, let’s start at the beginning and talk design.
Pax Lab’s Juul is pretty cool actually. It’s a small device, about the length of a traditional e-cigarette, but it’s wide and flat.
And very light.
Despite having a battery capacity that seems greater than a traditional e-cigarette, the Juul weighs less than most cigalikes I’ve used before.
Most likely, this is the construction, the body is mostly plastic with a stainless steel airway in the cartridge and a LiPo battery in the body. Speak of the battery, it’s got a magnetic charger setup.
There’s basically a USB fob with a dock in it. Just set the Juul battery on the dock and it charges. It works a lot like a MagSafe power adapter on a MacBook.
An LED located near the center of the battery indicates the charging status. This also highlights charge levels when using the device. It’s a little hard to see when vaping, but the LED indicator does stay lit for a brief period after use.
As you may have guessed from this class of device, the activation is automatic. Just puff and the heating coils engage and do their thing. The response seems to be much better than many auto batteries I’ve sampled, I don’t feel the need for a primer puff to get vapor going.
While Juul doesn’t really talk specifics, the device is both wattage and temperature controlled so draws are consistent. That has been my experience with the device as well. There’s not a lot of deviation between puffs.
Part of that control comes from what the company calls flavor pods. The rest of us would call them the tanks. They’re small rectangle tanks that house .8ml of e-liquid. The liquid storage is clear and provides a good view of the internals.
When the pod is inserted into the battery, there’s a diamond-shaped cut out of tank visible so you can see your liquid levels when vaping. A nice touch.
The pod can be pulled apart to some degree with some effort. There’s a plastic mouthpiece that can be removed. Once that’s off, there’s a rubber gasket on the top of the pod which can be worked off as well.
I actually emptied out a pod and put my own e-liquid in there. Perhaps a little bit overkill, but it did help me tolerate the thing enough to get some more use out of it.
Other than having a heck of a time with the flavors mixing and having to work through the high nicotine stuff that was still in the wicking, it worked well enough.
Don’t go expecting some sort of cloud action like you’d get out of a nice sub ohm tank with a high watt APV. But it’s a decent vape more along the lines of a mini tank running in the 10-ish watt range.
It’s a pretty good vape for something so tiny and light. Of course I don’t think that’s how Pax intended the thing to work, so I’m not sure if they’ll sell empty pods any time soon.
This might be a great device for smokers since it provides something a little closer to high performance without being as unwieldy as even something with a small tank might be. It’ll be interesting to see how this competes in the cigalike space.