Seth Barham Design
Minimal and effective design, inspired by culture.

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A Review: JUUL E-cig Update

I was never a heavy smoker and I wouldn’t have even considered myself a “smoker” per se at any point in my life. My heaviest period was during my third year of China. Many of my Chinese friends smoked, and they didn’t mind if I declined. The problem was when I would be introduced to their friends. It can be considered quite rude to turn down a smoke when meeting for the first time. So, I became a “social smoker”. 

Well, the consequences of “social smoking” combined with China’s horrendous pollution were starting to be felt. When I took a short trip back to America, I made it a mission to find something to give me my nicotine fix but was not as unwieldy as a full vape mod. Enter the JUUL. 

If any of this sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because I’ve already talked about the JUUL. It’s been well over a year, and now that I have dealt with JUUL’s customer service team, I feel that an update is warranted. That, and for some reason my JUUL review is the most popular post on this blog so far. I gotta give the people what they want.

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My awesome customer service experience.

What initially prompted this update was the death of my original JUUL device…RIP old friend. I am not sure exactly what happened, but my working theory is that the juice somehow leaked into the electronics and fried it. Whatever caused it, it didn’t matter. I had a new one in my hand less than a week later at no cost and very little effort on my part. 

A common complaint nowadays is that it’s difficult to actually speak to a person when you’re having an issue with a product. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, if it is done well. If you have a problem with your JUUL device, you answer a simple questionnaire on their site. All you need to do is enter the serial number of the defective unit, answer honestly, and submit. That’s it, you have a new unit headed your way. I didn’t speak to a soul, and I don’t really have a problem with that. 

A perfect marriage of form and function.

Since I got my first JUUL, I have branched out to full vape mods as well. I love my Halo Reactor Mini, and it gets a lot of use at home. It’s not something I really like rocking in public, however. I have this thing where I prefer to be as unburdened as possible when I’m out and about, and the JUUL was made for weirdos like me. 

The JUUL’s beautifully minimalistic aluminum body is about 3.5” x 0.6” and weighs not even half an ounce. It slides right into the front pocket of my shirt, ready to go at a moment’s notice. There are no buttons - you simply draw to produce the vapor. Each cartridge holds plenty enough juice for most outings, perhaps unless you were smoking several packs a day before quitting. All of these features work together to make a perfect product - something that does its job well while looking great. 

It definitely fills a niche that the traditional box mod doesn’t. The box mod is a desk affair for me. The JUUL is all about freedom of movement.

Dat throat-hit, tho.

The design of the JUUL device itself is enough to make any travel gearhead swoon. It takes up pretty much zero space, after all. But the next best thing about it also offers something that the larger vaping market has yet to give me. The throat-hit of JUUL’s e-liquids simulates the bite of a cigarette better than anything I’ve tried. I really didn’t have much to compare it to at the time of my first review, as the JUUL was my welcoming committee for Vape Nation. A couple of years and many juices later, nothing comes close to that satisfying harshness that you get from the JUUL cartridges. 

While the hit is so good that you’ll think you’re smoking a high-tech cigarette from a dystopian future where tobacco can no longer be grown, you will pay a premium for the feeling. 

The cartridge-shaped elephant in the room.

PAX is an amazing company. The JUUL is an amazing device. JUUL’s e-liquid is incredible. Here comes the “but”. The e-liquid is fucking expensive. I don’t vape nearly as much as my fellow vaping friends, and can usually make a pack of cartridges last a month because I often alternate between the JUUL and my primary mod. I can’t imagine how quickly a former heavy smoker would go through these, though. One cartridge is supposed to equal about a pack of cigarettes, and even at one pack a day the JUUL can quickly become unsustainable if you are on a budget. 

Yes, I know, the e-liquid is exceptional and “you get what you pay for”. However, I can’t see the manufacturing costs warranting $16 for a 4-pack of cartridges. This is something that JUUL will have to address if they want to continue to expand their market. Otherwise, people will just start hacking the cartridges and refilling them (as if they aren’t already). That would be a shame, considering just how good JUUL’s juice is.  

My recommendation: buy it yesterday. 

If you are tired of destroying your body with cigarettes but don’t want to walk around being as swag as this legend, get the JUUL now.  I promise you won’t regret it, especially if you are constantly on the move and don’t have time to change coils, drip juice into a tank, play with temperature settings, or any of that mess. That mess is fine for many, including myself, but the JUUL fulfills a different set of needs. That need is to get your fix in the simplest way possible - a way that anyone who has ever smoked a cigarette is already familiar with. It looks like a cigarette for robots, but it’s not so different that you feel out of place amongst friends who still smoke. Oh, did I mention how much I like the design…? 

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