Over the last few months I have explored a number of electronic cigarettes (or personal vaporizers if you prefer), ranging from advanced models to the basic disposable. Today’s review product fills the gap between the two.
Down to basics.
So you have tried a disposable and liked it, however, you need something that will last a bit longer, can be refilled and recharged, but don’t want the hassle of an advanced model that requires a more hands on approach (just yet). Maybe you prefer a cigarette sized device? That makes perfect sense. Psychology, plays a part when quitting and anything that helps that process is a good thing.
This narrows down the field considerably and to be honest one of the best kits I’ve found so far hails from pandaecigs.com.
The Panda ecigs Evolve Kit is an entry level 3.7v PV squarely aimed at newcomers to the wonderful world of vaping. It contains everything required to really kick start a smoke free lifestyle.
First things first. Panda ecigs are based in the United States, California to be precise, and fortunately offer worldwide shipping at very reasonable rates. If you reside in the US shipping is Free! My order took just 5 days to arrive here in the UK which is pretty remarkable.
The package included a mixed bag of items including a Joy eGo kit, some sample e-liquids and of course the kit we will be looking at here. I will review the other items in due course.
Presentation wise, its all spot on. The Evolve Kit comes in a splendid white box with an adorable Panda logo (and who doesn’t like a cute Panda?). The contents are neatly laid out and comprise: 2 Panda branded rechargeable 230mAh Lithium-ion batteries (choose automatic or manual during the ordering process), 2 Micromizers, 2 spare mouthpieces, 1 10ml bottle of Panda E-Liquid (your choice), a pack of 5 cartomizers in the flavour and strength of your choice, 1 USB charger, 1 USB wall adapter and a user manual.
The user manual is very comprehensive and unlike the bad old days, when kits came with next to no instructions, this one is excellent. All the basics are covered including the best way to refill a micromizer, battery care and how to actually use the device for best results (perfect information for novices).
I removed one of the batteries for a closer inspection. I chose Rubber Black (these are rubber coated), but there are additional colours available (including: Pink, Red, Royal Blue, Rubber White and Stainless Steel) should you wish for something a little different. Again, the Panda logo is evident near the threaded end, which incidentally is a standard 510 connection.
Flipping the battery, the LED is one of the fanciest I’ve ever seen! No phony plastic ash tip here. It looks like a whopping great big diamond (obviously it isn’t). As this was an automatic battery I blew down the vents to activate the air switch.
The LED illuminated brightly – a pleasing ice blue colour made all the more exciting by the gem like facets! I prefer cigarette devices to have blue or green LED’s as its obvious it isn’t real. How cool. Maybe not to everyone’s taste, but I like ’em.
I’m familiar with cartomizers so I put the 5 pack to one side and explored the “micromizers”. Never used these before. Of course they are for all intent and purposes scaled down clearomizers. These are designed to be refilled and have a capacity of 0.9ml (good for 300 puffs according to the manufacturer). Internally, they differ slightly from their larger brothers, in as much as the wicks are shorter – they terminate roughly half way down the tank. The heating coil sits just below the mouthpiece and according to my multimeter test are 2.2 Ohms resistance which is quite high considering the battery capacity/output.
The batteries came part charged so (for test purposes) I screwed on a micromizer and filled it with some Panda Blueberry e-liquid. I swirled the contents so that the wick absorbed the fruity juice and took a slow thoughtful draw. The atomizer crackled and sprang into life. For such a small device the results were impressive. I then decided to charge the batteries so that I could gauge the likely running time of this combination.
I like the option to use either the USB power adapter or simply plug the USB and ecig directly into my computer to charge it – very handy. Charging is easy – just screw the battery onto the terminal. While the battery cycles the USB LED illuminates red until fully charged when it turns green. The battery LED remains on during charging and once complete extinguishes. A discharged battery takes 2-3 hours to fully charge.
Once I had a freshly charged battery to hand I decided to time the battery life. The manufacturer states 3 hours usage. This doesn’t mean you can puff away for 3 hours solid. More that the battery will provide power for intermittent vaping over a period of 3 hours (if that makes sense?). Battery running time is a very contentious subject as there are so many factors to weigh up. My “test” should explain that in practice.
I filled a micromizer to capacity and screwed it on to a fully charged battery. I started a stopwatch and puffed away as normal – 3 or 4 puffs every half hour or so – much like a regular cigarette would be used. Afternoon turned to early evening. At precisely 4 hours, 8 minutes and 54 seconds, the LED started to flash (the sign that the battery had discharged). That is about as scientific as it gets! The 4 hour cut-off exceeded the stated 3 hour mark by a fair margin and while that could be down to my vaping style (I doubt) it is more likely that the brand new battery played a more significant part. As the battery gets charged and discharged over a period of time the battery loses its ability to hold full capacity and eventually diminishes to nothing (or as good as). I expect the running time to lessen in the months ahead – that is to be expected. After all, it is only a 230mAh battery and a consumable – they don’t last forever – that’s what spares are for!
I must admit for a mainly big battery mod user I was surprised at the performance level of the Panda ecigs Evolve Kit. The micromizers are a pleasure to use and really simple to refill – simply pop the mouthpiece off and fill – avoiding the air hole in the middle. They produce good vapour (dependant upon e-liquid used of course) and provided a trouble free vape on the included batteries. A good combination and much better than the old starter devices that used nylon wool in the mouthpiece!
The carto’s (cartridges) were equally good. I tried the USA mix (18mg), a mellow tobacco flavour and was hooked – I really do rate those. The cartos have a silicone grommet which can be pried out easily with a toothpick or paperclip so can be refilled with your favourite e-liquid when empty (again these are a consumable item so don‘t expect them to last forever).
Be advised. Don’t overfill them as they will flood and may damage the battery. Automatic batteries in particular are prone to malfunctioning when flooded so be careful when filling both carto’s and micromizers. You’ll know when, as the air switch will become intermittent and sticky. A good blow through from the threaded end, usually clears it though.
This is a great kit for a beginner and literally works straight out of the box. There is nothing complicated to get to grips with and as Panda ecigs offers a Lifetime Warranty and 30 Day Money Back Guarantee on their products peace of mind is assured.