Monday, February 25, 2013

First Impressions: Super 510-T Electronic Cigarette


Electronic Cigarette Inhalation
Electronic Cigarette Inhalation (Photo credit: Michael Dorausch)
I've been stocking up on "vaping" gear with a slight sense of urgency, given the distinct possibility that the US Food and Drug Administration will attempt (again) to suppress electronic cigarettes on behalf of Big Pharma and Big Tobacco come April.

I started vaping back in 2010 after my friend Morey Straus sent me some KR808D-1 batteries, cartomizers and juice. I pretty quickly got off of "real tobacco," although I occasionally fall off the wagon when I run out of juice. My supplier of choice since then and until recently has been VaporKings, and I still have nothing but great things to say about them ... but I've recently broadened my horizons a bit.

When I arrived in Florida, I was ready to be off tobacco again but all my vaping gear was in storage / en route. So I picked up some Logic Power Series gear at a local convenience store (here's my review of that), and started ordering juice from MadVapes, because they're closer (in South Carolina instead of Oklahoma) and because they sell juice in big-ass 50ml bottles.

Before I get to the Super 510-T, let me put in an extra-special good word for MadVapes (no, I'm not a commissioned affiliate or anything ... yet). I've now ordered from them three times. Each time, I've gotten exactly what I ordered, lightning fast, at a fantastic price.

I ordered the Super 510-T kit from MadVapes because it was on sale at an incredible price: Two batteries, two atomizers, five tanks, a USB charger and an adaptor for the charger to plug into wall current, all for $26.99. Oh, and a little bottle with a "needle end" for filling the tanks comes with it too, all in a very nice storage box.

First things first: The Super 510-T is a different kind of electronic cigarette than the KR808D-1 or the Logic Power Series.

Those two are "two-piece" units. There's a battery, and then something called a "cartomizer" -- that is, the atomizer to heat up the juice, and a cartridge that holds the juice by soaking it up in some sort of cotton batting, in one piece.

The Super 510-T is a "three-piece" unit. There's a battery, an atomizer that heats up the juice, and a little plastic tank that holds the liquid in free liquid form instead of soaking it up in a cloth medium.

When I first started vaping, I just figured the two-piece models were the way to go -- more convenient. But lately I've been thinking that a three-piece might produce more vapor and have a better flavor (when the two-piece units start to get low on juice, the vapor gets a slightly burned flavor).

I was right on both counts. The Super 510-T puts off a LOT more fog, and it tastes better. I've had mine for about two hours (ordered it Friday, it arrived Monday -- like I said, the MadVapes guys are fast) and it's already hands-down my preferred electronic cigarette.

Because I've only had the thing for a few hours, I can't speak to its durability, but it feels well-made, hefty and with a kind of rubberized exterior.

It's bigger around than those two-piece units, and the battery alone is about as long as a "100"-style cigarette. With the atomizer and tank/tip on it, it's about half again as long. I guess the best comparison would be to a fairly thin, tipped cigar. It's comfortable to hold, though.

The Super 510-T is a "push-button" unit. That is, it has a little button on the side that you push to make it start heating your juice and turn it into vapor. Some electronic cigarettes have "auto" batteries which power on when you puff them like a "real" cigarette."

Some reviews of the Super 510-T scared me a little on three grounds: It sounded a little complicated, some reviewers complained that it leaks, and some reviewers said the button tended to stick "on."

It turned out to be very simple: Screw the atomizer onto the battery. Fill the tank with juice and pop it into the atomizer. Vape away. I've also had no leakage problems yet, and I'm on my second fill (I put just a little juice in the first time, so it wouldn't be lost or wasted if the thing didn't work; once I was satisfied that it DID work, I filled the tank up). When I press the button, it vapes. When I let go of the button, it stops vaping.

Another nice thing about the Super 510-T is that it can be used as a "pass-thru" -- that is, when you plug it into the USB charger, you can vape as it charges. I have a KR808D-1 dedicated "pass-thru" that was plugged into my computer until this thing arrived, but with the 510-T I have one unit that can be used both "in the wild" on battery power and at my desk using my computer's current.

And oh, the vapor! Lots of it, and it tastes like the flavor I bought (menthol), not like burning cotton.

So far, the Super 510-T looks like a real winner to me. I'll update this review if things go south, but I am 500% happy with the product, with the price, and with MadVapes for getting it to me in such a timely manner.
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