I always want to root for SMOKTech; they’re the little company that could. SMOKTech has such high ambitions, and it comes out once in awhile, like with their Cloud Beast King tank, but the execution of these characteristics sometimes falters, like with the SMOK X Cube II.
Unlike the big boys like Vaporesso and Wismec, SMOKTech has hits and misses. But they have such moxie; I’m always curious to see what they come out with next.
SMOKTech decided, perhaps wisely, to pull out of the high-wattage arms race and switch into a lower gear with the SMOK G80 TC starter kit. The kit includes a sub-ohm tank known as the Spirals, which you can’t use with the maximum capacity with the G80 since it can only vape within a maximum 45W.
But I’ve heard good things about the Spirals tank, especially in the flavor producing department. The rest of the G80 kit looks like it’s made especially for beginners, or those of us who are just tired of high-wattage devices promising gargantuan power output for no other reason than because they can.
The SMOK design team seems to have taken another direction aesthetically as well, with their opting for a different color scheme for the SMOK G80. The G80 does come in five different colors that are combinations, like black/green, black/gold, black/red, and an all silver edition. So there’s no orange O-Rings or accents on the tank or mod.
Here’s what you’ll get in your SMOK G80 TC starter kit:
- One G80 mod
- One Spirals tank
- One pre-installed 0.6ohm dual-core coil
- One spare 0.3ohm dual-core coil
- One extra glass tube
- One USB charging/upgrade cable
- One instruction manual
- One bag of spare parts (O-Rings and plastic tips)
A Simple Look Made For Your Convenience
The G80 does betray its starter kit status right away just by its minimal size. It measures in at 75mm in height, with the tank attached, and weighs in at a little under a 100g.
The build on the G80 consists of an alloy shell that comes off easily (not so easily) to reveal the battery compartment. I was initially skeptical of this chassis, because of some previous issues SMOK has had with battery doors.
I still have nightmares to this day about the SMOK X Cube II and its battery door that never wanted to close, but SMOKTech seems to have heard my lamentations and have made this set up not only sturdy but durable. The chassis is held in place on either side by two ball bearings that provide security and easy removability.
So, goodbye, magnets. The rest of the device looks remarkably simple. Maybe, a little too simple, which means that it does give off an air of a cheaply-made, mass produced unit. There’s a lot of plastic that surrounds the OLED screen, but given that it’s only a small part of the device I can forgive the G80 for it.
The top of the mod, where the 510 connector pin is located sits excellent, and when I attached my tank, I noticed no spaces in between the mod and the tank. The slip-off chassis has three holes on the bottom for the battery to vent.
Switching On the SMOK G80 TC
The SMOK G80 TC starter kit is self-explanatory. It’s a starter kit, so there’s no advanced vaping technology on the device. And the “TC” in the title obviously gives away its only attractive quality to veteran vapers, the temperature control modes.
And I should mention that despite the shell being easily separated from the battery compartment, the rest of the mod feels solid, and there’s was nothing I could see (or hear) that made me think otherwise.
The firing button didn’t rattle and worked quite well, as did the sideways selector buttons. The OLED screen displays your various wattage, resistance, temperature settings as well as a puff counter and battery level. All the menus are easily accessed.
You click the firing button five times to turn on the SMOK G80. When the device is turned on, you’ll be greeted by the standard, numbered menu system that’s found on most, even high-end SMOK box mods. The menu options range from the modes option to the coil and screen settings.
The G80 does only offer two types of vaping modes, temperature control and wattage mode, which again, is perhaps what you want on a beginner-type of the mod like the G80. There are also some safety features like overcharging protection, and the mod can recognize new coil types, which it will prompt you on whenever you do install a new tank.
There are at least five different wattage mode settings to choose from: minimum, normal, soft, hard, and maximum. These types of setups take a lot of the guesswork out of choosing your optimal wattage setting. It is, of course, supposed to make it easier for a newbie to understand without having to go into the particulars of how wattage affects your vape.
My Vaping Session With G80
I’ll say this right off the top – I love this new Spirals tank. It is another type of tank that you don’t usually see from SMOK. First off, you have a completely different top-fill system. You unscrew the drip tip from the top cap (no swivel top), and you can see the top-fill section, which has TWO well-sized port-holes.
It does only have a 2ml capacity, but that doesn’t detract from the performance and extreme efficiency that the coils offer. The coils are also incredibly easy to replace, even with a full tank of e-juice.
I started with the dual-core 0.6ohm pre-installed coil. I started vaping at the very end of the recommended range at 28W and got excellent tasting vapor, while the cloud size and density were pretty decent as well. I pushed it up to an even 30W and didn’t notice much difference, but the vapor was still consistently great-tasting.
The two coils have a considerable amount of juice portholes, and the amount of airflow you can get with its hollowed out design, and cup shape were phenomenal. I wasn’t too interested in vaping at the higher wattages, like around 70W or the max 80W, since I was fully satisfied with the performance of the lower wattages.
The SMOK G80: How It Compares
I thought it best to pair the SMOK G80 TC starter kit with another pint-sized box mod I reviewed not too long ago, the Wismec Mini RX 80W, which was not exactly a starter kit but has a comparable power output to the SMOK G80.
The Mini RX was a great-looking device that shared similar design features with its big brother the regular-sized Wismec Reuleaux. I liked the easy-to-read, rather large OLED display and the Mini RX’s ease-of-use. The SMOK G80 TC starter kit, while retailing at around $90, did not seem to reflect that price point in its appearance.
The screen is somewhat small on the SMOK G80, although not difficult to read. But the big difference and the ultimate tiebreaker between these two similar devices are the tank and coils. The Spirals tank and the coil heads are lovely tastemakers, compared to the underperforming Wismec Mini tank that could not deliver in the flavor department.
SMOK decided to keep it simple with the G80 and kudos for that. The device has only two vaping modes, TC and VW that are easily accessed and used with the simple button combinations. The OLED screen provides all the information you need to understand about your vape.
SMOK isn’t exaggerating when it sells this as a “pocket-friendly” device. It is incredibly well-suited for on-the-go vaping and has about as much heft and size as any other comparable electronic device like a smartphone.
I’ve been complaining for some time now on how difficult it is sometimes to load a SMOK tank, with its one tiny fill port. The Spirals is a complete departure from that type of fill system, but it’s also a great performer when it comes to delivering above average flavor.
Although I appreciated the SMOK G80’s ease of use and simple design interface, I didn’t see the higher-than-normal $90 price tag justified anywhere on the device. There were no high-quality parts (although the Spirals tank is made of stainless steel), no advanced vaping features, and very little customizability.
SMOKTech has finally found themselves in my good graces. I appreciated the boldness and audacity of their mammoth Cloud Beast King tank and V12-T12 coil although it wasn’t a personal favorite of mine. It seems that SMOK intuited my ever-growing annoyance with high-wattage devices and took it down a notch.
They sensed my frustration and created a simple, well-performing starter kit with not a lot of bells and whistles. The SMOK G80 TC starter kit is only an easy-to-use device, with a great tank and coil combination that delivers excellent tasting vapor clouds, and that’s all it needs to be.
I give the SMOK G80 TC starter kit a resounding 8/10.