By John Castle
When I first switched from smoking to vaping, I started with a “cig-alike”-a Blu. It was… and unfortunate little thing. Battery life was dismal-it took longer to charge it than it did to deplete it.
Additionally, with only 12mg nicotine strength liquid in each cartomizer, and with such a skimpy battery powering a very weak little atomizer inside each cartridge, there was simply no way for the pack a day smoker that I was to derive enough satisfaction to take me away from that pack a day habit.
Cigarette -lookalike devices were something I would never have recommended to a smoker who wanted to quit. They didn’t have the power, the battery longevity, or the nicotine satisfaction it would take.
My opinion has changed. The device sitting on my desk right now is the device that changed my mind on it. That device is the Juul by Pax Labs.
Presentation and Package Contents
The Juul arrives in a stylishly minimalist and extremely user -friendly box as pictured above. Opening the box, you’ll find the bare necessities: the battery, a charger in the form of a USB dongle (more on that shortly), one Juul Pod cartomizer, and some instructional materials. Overall, the presentation here is very simple and clean.
Features and Specs
In keeping with the presentation, the user -facing features are absolutely minimal in nature. There are no buttons and only a single LED indicator for the battery charge remaining. The device is operated identically to most cig- alike vaporizers, which is one reason, in combination with its size, that the Juul could even be categorized in that class of devices.
In the specs department, information listed on the Juul Vapor FAQ doesn’t disclose the hard numbers. It does say that the Juul battery is Lithium Polymer (with overcharge protection) rather than Lithium Ion, and claims a battery charge lasts approximately a day, equivalent to the longevity of a Juul Pod.
The Juul Pod cartomizers are advertised to contain 0.7ml of liquid with a nicotine strength of 5% (which would otherwise be listed as 50mg/ml in open- system e-liquid). While this may seem extremely high, we’ll touch on why that strength is actually a good thing in just a moment.
…continued from above
Aesthetics and Ergonomics
The minimalist theme only continues when we get to the dimensions of the device. The Juul, with a Juul Pod attached, is about the width and length of a stick of chewing gum, if that; in thickness, it’s equivalent to perhaps 3/4 of a pack of chewing gum. This device is actually smaller than any cig -alike device I’ve used, with the possible exception of the Blu.
It’s finished, as you can see in the above image, in a lightly brush -textured matte black. The result of its size, shape, and finish is that it is an extremely discreet device. This is both a strong pro as well as potentially a serious con – because it’s as diminutive as it is, you won’t stand out much while using it unless you choose to. On the other hand, if the user isn’t very mindful, I can easily see something this small ending up lost. And a device you can’t use isn’t of much benefit no matter how good its performance is.
Speaking of that…
Let me make a callback to the Introduction – my first vape, that old Blu, was absolutely unsatisfying. The Halo G6 was leaps and bounds better, but it still didn’t quite kill my smoking habit – it got me about 95% of the way there, but it still came in just shy of doing the job completely.
But now here sitting between my index and middle fingers as I type this is a device that would absolutely have gotten that job done all by itself. There’s no doubt in my mind of that.
No doubt owing to its high nicotine strength and the superior battery the Juul works with, this device outperforms any other vaporizer in its size class on every metric I can think of.
Flavor from the tabaac (tobacco) Juul pod I received with the test unit was excellent both in presence and fidelity. Visual vapor output was nowhere near what I get from my box mod and sub -ohm tank – but, reasonably, I wasn’t expecting it to be. Throat hit was very strong, and I suspect that the PG/VG ratio is strongly leaning toward high PG.
And finally, that high nicotine strength comes in combination with the way the airflow on the Juul pods is designed to enable comfortable lung hits. The entire affair adds up to a full -size mod vaping experience in a cig -alike size.
When it comes to longevity, however, it’s my opinion that Pax actually under advertises the capacity of the Juul. I received my test unit on February 20th, and have used it as my secondary vape since then. (Had it been used as my primary vape, my results would certainly have been substantially different; we’ll get to that.)
Using it as a secondary vape, a single Juul pod lasted me just over two weeks. The battery, on the other hand, maintains a charge for 2 to 2 1/2 days under that usage scenario.
Pricing and Availability
To my knowledge, Juul and Juul pods are available only online at this time, through the Juul web site. The starter kit itself runs $49.99 and includes one Juul battery, one USB charger, and one 4 pack of Juul Pods in assorted flavors. For purposes of comparison, a Halo G6 starter kit currently goes for $44.99 and includes 2 batteries, 1 USB charger, a wall outlet adapter for that charger, and a 5 pack of cartomizers.
Packs of Juul Pods come in at $15.99 for a four -pack in the following flavors: tabaac (tobacco), miint (mint), fruut (fruit), bruule (creme brule), multi (one of each of the preceding), or coco miint. Meanwhile, by comparison, pre-filled cartomizers for the Halo G6 go for $9.99. (All prices above exclude tax+s&h.)
Recommendation and Conclusion
Would I recommend the Pax Juul? I’m surprised to answer that with an unqualified Yes. Not only would I recommend it to a smoker who is looking for the simplest and most effective device to make the transition from smoking to vaping with, I would also not hesitate to recommend this device to someone who has been vaping for quite a while already.
I intend to continue to use the Juul in the following way – if I’m going to a function at which a box mod just won’t cut it, that doesn’t mean I want to go without a powerful vape. If I’m just going down the street and don’t feel like filling a pocket with a box mod, the Juul will fit in a pants pocket and still deliver.
Vaping is what smoking should always have been; I firmly believe that. And now, to me, the Juul is what the ultraportable vape should always have been.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, do good work and be good to yourselves and each other.