Change: Constant, inevitable, omnipresent. Nothing remains, everything changes and take new forms. New patterns are created and new paths are explored. Like it or not, everything moves in a relentless frenzy, and no one or anything in this universe is alien to this fate.
In the universe of vaping, this is especially true, since it’s an industry that’s enjoying its Big Bang for a few years now and still shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it is rather the opposite: Every day there’s more money to invest in R + D + i, so the manufacturers are launching new mods and atomizers to the market one after the another.
New vape technology also appear, such as using ultrasounds instead of coils to produce vapor! In other occasions, old concepts are reviewed and, using current technology, transform a product that wasn’t very successful in its day, in the trend in which all manufacturers have their eyes on today.
First, there were the iPods. Then came the Tide Pods. Now, vape pods are ready to conquer the world!
At Vape Cooper Reviews we were very aware that the pod type systems had a strong come back in 2021, and we have certainly been following their evolution since then, as we saw a lot of new manufacturers appeared on the market, having exclusively one pod system!
Of course, the other more veteran brands haven’t lost track and have been working hard to not be left behind in this race that, as far as we know, will hit its most intense point this year.
Smoant has sent us its latest karat pod system for us to review. This pod kit, which won’t leave anyone indifferent, is the Smoant Karat.
And why do we say that it will not leave anyone indifferent? Well, to begin with, it is one of the most elegant and attractive designs we have seen in a vape pod device, with a diamond-like cut look with softened edges, which makes it look like it came out of a treasure chest… in an alien spaceship.
Pull this bad boy out of your pocket in pretty much any situation, and someone will make a comment or ask you “what’s that?”. Try it, guaranteed. Hold it in your hand, or wear it hanging on your neck, because yes, you can put a cord in it and take it as if it were a fashion complement thanks to the slot that is in the bottom of the device. Later you many need to go to the physiotherapist to get a neck massage, because it is not the lightest pod that exists, but it would be so worth it.
It is actually 22g heavier than the Renova Zero, and no less than 51g than the Vladdin RE, but we must bear in mind that the Karat is, while still being a very portable and comfortable pod kit, noticeably bigger than most of its competitors.
The fact that his body is “carved” in a single piece of zinc alloy also adds up to the weight. So, except for the replaceable pod and a small detail where you see the name of the model and that also houses a small LED light, we are talking about a piece metal that, as light as the zinc alloy may be, feels thick and hard.
The high weight is a price that we must pay in exchange for the solid feel and the elegance which this “jewel” is built with. Let’s have a look to the most important technical data of the smoant karat kit:
- Materials: Zinc Alloy + PC
- Measures: 65 x 48 x 12mm
- Weight: 66g
- Interchangeable pods
- Without buttons
- LED indicator of puff and battery
- Protection: Short circuit, protection of the CPU, load, low battery, overuse and overheating.
- Output voltage: 3.3-3.4v
- Recharge: Micro-USB 5V / 0.5A (allows vaping while charging)
- Battery: 370mAh – Integrated / Not interchangeable
*Measured ourselves. Not official figures.
In the practice, this translates in a very easy to use pod system, since all we have to do is plug in your pod, take it to your mouth and inhale. No need to press any buttons or bother with adjustments or menus of any kind. The device itself will detect the draw and it will heat the coil with a fixed voltage of 3.4V.
A LED lights up every time we are using the device, and the color depends on the state of the charge of the battery: Blue if the battery has enough charge, or red if it falls below 30%. This light also gives us information about when the device is charging / fully charged, or if there is a malfunction.
The battery falls a bit short in our opinion, and we really think that they could have packed a few more milliamps in it, considering that it is not the tiniest pod system. The manufacturer tells us that we’d get 220 puffs with a full charge, and we haven’t counted them but, in our tests, it lasted around a day and a half of fairly moderate use, so we have the feeling that it could be a few less than that.
Also, on one occasion it left us high and dry and stopped working in the middle of the day! Maybe we missed something or it was bad luck, but we were using it so happily, puffing in puffing out, with a shiny blue light shining in the battery, until it changed to red and… it stopped working altogether. Just like that. Unfortunately,that red light warning saying that the battery was drier than a roasted peanut came TOO LATE!
Don’t know if less than 30% of battery means it doesn’t have enough power to heat the coil properly, or
if the red light went on earlier but it passed over our heads at first and we only realized when it was completely empty. The fact is that it would make more sense if we had an additional orange or yellow LED warning reaching, say, 50% battery. This way we would know better when we should charge the device, depending on whether we anticipate that we will not have a USB socket on hand for the rest of the day or not.
Let’s now see the pod itself.
We have one included in the kit, and then we can buy more since they are sold separately in individual packages. Could a pair of pods come in both the kit and the spare ones we can buy? Yes, that would absolutely make more sense.
They are made of translucent black / gray plastic that let us kinda see the liquid inside (if there’s any) and the coil. The coil that is possibly the most innovative part on this pod system. Later we will talk a bit more about it. Now, let’s see the smoant karat pod specs quickly:
- Material: Plastic
- Measures: 30 x 40mm
- Capacity: 2ml
- Integrated design
- Magnetic connection
- Double filling hole
- Quartz coil
We are HUGE fans of magnetic connections in pod systems. Much more comfortable and safe to use. When it also allows to insert the pod in either direction, like in this case, it puts a smile in our faces. It, however, takes a bit of extra effort to push it in and take it out the battery, since the slot is measured to the millimeter (too much, in fact), and it doesn’t slide in as comfortably as we would like to. The positive part about this is that the pod doesn’t wiggle, not a single bit.
The filling system, without being as surprising and convenient as the PTF (push-to-fill) that we find in other pods, the double filling hole system proposed by Karat Pod Kit is undoubtedly the most effective and simple of all. You just have to lift the rubber tags that seal the holes which, by the way, are quite large, and it makes it much easier to fill the pod without risk of overflowing due to the liquid bubbling up, because the air that’s displaced by the liquid can get out freely through the other hole. SCIENCE!
Finally, the most important, innovative and groundbreaking feature of this pod: the quartz coil!
Smoant made a bet on this material for the coils in this pod, with the promise of a shorter priming time, a more stable heating and a better taste, battery saving, a longer lifespan and, if that were not enough, leak proof feature.
The truth is that, despite of having a quite remarkable performance that would satisfy our vaping and nicotine delivery needs, we feel that it does not fully comply with most of these premises.
In our experience, liquids (especially nicotine salts) leak pretty much the same as they do with ceramic coils. Ok, maybe a little less, but it’s a pretty insignificant difference, to be honest. It is not as bad as with some sub-ohm tanks, though, where you can find a puddle of juice if you leave them for a long time in an odd position, when carrying them in your pocket or when we leave them sideways resting on a table for a few hours, but we definitely will find a few drops inside the cannula of inhalation every now and then, causing a bit of spitting when we take the first draw.
We haven’t measured the priming time with a stopwatch either, but the manufacturer tells us to let it soak for 1 or 2 minutes only. It’s true that the drainage seems to be very decent and only rarely, when pushing it really hard, we have noticed that the smoant karat coil many not be able to keep up the pace, producing a light burnt aftertaste. With a normal puff rate, even going with some light chain vaping, it works very well.
Taste wise, it does performs well, and gives us a pleasant vaping experience, with smooth and satisfy puffs, and full throat nicotine kick. We went for a head-to-head against the ZERO pod, and at the end the Renova pod system wins the flavour battle, although by a very narrow margin. It is also true that the ZERO pod kit is more prone to leakage than the Karat. The long-distance race that will determine the lifespan of both coils is still on, so we’ll keep a close eye on them. So far, we have been using both devices for a couple of weeks now and both are going still strong.
After all the performance and user experience testing, our biggest positive point go to its spectacular design and its thought construction. Also points to its simplicity and ease of use, without buttons or adjustments to worry about, although this is a double-edged weapon, as it will be reflected in the negative points.
The fact that the pod is magnetized and can be fitted in both directions is a great point in favor, as well as the filling system that, sharing the same level of engineering complexity with a bubblegum wrap, it’s actually the most effective one we have tested to date.
We saved the quartz coil for last, as it makes it to this list by the skin in our teeth. it performs well and we give it extra points for innovation. In points to improve, we consider that the most critical is the of the battery capacity. No matter how hard we want to believe it, nowadays 370mAh doesn’t cut it for a device that we probably are going to use, most of the times, on the go. To make it worse, the accuracy of the battery level warning system leaves a lot to be desire.
As we already mentioned, the fact that smoant karat pod system kit is extremely minimalistic in its operation can be considered a disadvantage for some users, as there is no way of making any kind of personalization, so adjusting the output power or voltage is totally out of the picture.
No replacement Karat pod in the kit? That’s just not right. Smoant should consider including a second pod with the kit, and also selling the spare ones in packs of twos. That way, the manufacturer would save in packaging materials, and it would help users to save some dough too.
In short, we are very happy with the design and features of this pod system. It has its weak points, like every other device, but this Smoant Karat kit is a serious competitor in the market for pod systems, and an option to be taken into consideration, especially for people looking to switch from smoking tobacco products to e-cigarettes, as it mimics really well the mouth-lung draw feel and the throat hit of the conventional cigarettes, plus it is a practical and really easy to use all-in-one solution.
Should you buy a Karat pod? Well, yes.
Overall,I like this Smoant Karat vape. it works great. Battery charge life is awesome. Lasts all day. Charges very fast. and keep in mind that there are smaller, more portable pod systems out there, and its limitation in terms of battery life didn’t make quite an impression on us. Nevertheless, the Smoant Karat makes a great companion for night outs, an elegant party, that special occasion or a business meeting, since it pretty much works as a fashion complement. It will look absolutely fantastic on you and it has quartz inside, very much like your favorite watch, and it’s great conversation starter. Just don’t forget to have a better performing, more discrete pod for your boring day-to-day life.
If you want to buy one, this can be found at around 20 USD over a number of vape websites, and the replacement pods are something like 6 bucks (only one pod, remember). The kit comes in a very small box, printed with some details about the device and a photo actual thing. The kit contains the battery + pod bundle, a microUSB to USB cable, instruction manual, warranty card and quality certificate card.
It’s available in five colors to choose from: Black, Gun-metal, Bronze blue, Gradient blue and Rainbow. Ours is Gun-metal, and it’s so beautiful it hurts.
As we said at the beginning of this smoant karat review, the pod systems are here to stay. So, go out there, chose yours and keep these nasty cigarettes away. Stay cloudy, folks.