June 2016

HΩ Skillet Review: SIMPLE ENOUGH FOR THE NEWBIE, TOUGH ENOUGH FOR THE AVERAGE VAPER

Vape_June_2016_web142

By JOHN CASTLE

For many vapers, starter kits are simply where we, well… start. But it’s important to remember that a starter kit can be the most important kit we will have ever owned. It’s the kit that either will, or won’t, convince the smoker to become the vaper. It will be either a launching pad or a gatekeeper.

But starter kits aren’t just for new vapers; they also occupy a solid spot in any vaper’s kit as a more discreet alternative to more powerful (and generally less pocket-friendly) APVs.

My overall impression of the presentation of the Skillet is that it’s exactly how a starter kit should be presented — informative, secure, and above all convenient. Nothing is worse than to discourage a smoker from the start.

Specs & Features

The 2200mAh Duralife battery is fitted with what Hohmtech has dubbed an FSK chip, which automatically manages the wattage output depending on the resistance of the attached atomizing device. When it detects a sub-ohm coil, it steps up the wattage; when it detects a higher resistance coil, it adjusts the wattage output to a level appropriate for that device.

This technology is what sets the Skillet apart from competitors like the eGo One, enabling it to deliver big time safety and performance in a pocket-friendly package at a budget-friendly price point.

However, it’s not all roses and clover; every device has its pros and its cons, and the Skillet is no exception to this rule. The first issue I ran into with the Skillet came in the combination of its 0.5 ohm coil head installed in its 2.8ml tank. The 0.5 ohm coil goes through e-liquid rapidly; with a 2.8ml tank capacity, that makes it a must that the user carry a bottle of liquid along with the Skillet in order to keep the tank filled more often than one might be accustomed to doing.

Construction

The construction of the Skillet is tight and clean, but largely unremarkable with the exception of a couple of design choices that should be mentioned.

The first is the airflow control on the tank. Many times I’ve tried to unscrew a tank with airflow control from a mod, only to have the tank wall unscrew from the tank base instead. That won’t happen with the Skillet tank, thanks to a simple but clever design choice on Hohmtech’s part. The airflow control on the Skillet includes a small protrusion that stops the rotation of the ring. That’s a first on any airflow equipped atomizing device, as far as I know.
Worthy of note, when using the 0.5 ohm coil head in the tank, the vapor tends to make Hohmtech’s included drip tip more than a little uncomfortable. Fortunately, it is removable, and the Skillet tank will accept other 510 drip tips.

continues below…
Vape_June_2016_web114
Vape_June_2016_web143
…continued from above

How does it perform in the real world?

Nothing in my experience prepared me for using the Skillet. I had read about the innovative internal technologies, but I expected, at most, a marginal improvement over the eGo-style starter kits of yesteryear. And to be fair, on its very first day out of the box, that’s what the Skillet delivered.

But I hadn’t figured on the breaking-in period. When the Skillet’s coil and battery are broken in, it goes from “acceptable” to quite impressive. I tested it with Bradley’s Brand “Dreamboat Float,” a 3mg 20/80 e-liquid, which the Skillet handled flawlessly.

Battery life is an impressive 6 to 8 hours of nearly continuous use, making the Skillet ideal for a vaper’s first kit and as a backup kit for those with more powerful devices at home. There is a con to the battery, however — the battery charge indicator works as follows:

•Blue light: Indicates a charge between 40%-100%

•Green light: Indicates a charge between 20%-39%

•Red light: Indicates a charge between 0%-19%

In my opinion, the range for the blue light indicator is more than a shade too broad. Additionally, the device’s performance begins to decline quite a bit before the charge indicator flips from blue to green.

Affordability

The Skillet sells for $39.99 — a price on pace with its notable competitors. Of note, the Standard Edition and the liquid-ceramic coated Limited Edition come at the same retail price. Replacement “CKCC” (Combed Ko-Gen-Doh Cotton) coils are available in 0.5 ohm and 1.0 ohm resistance for $12.49 per 5-pack from various retailers.

The Verdict

Would I recommend the Skillet as a new vaper’s first starter kit? Absolutely. While there are the minor drawbacks mentioned above, none of them are dealbreakers.

I would totally recommend this device as a backup or “errand running” solution in lieu of a bigger mod. The Skillet is light-years ahead of its starter-kit forebears, overcoming almost all of their limitations at a very attractive price.