The IQOS is produced by American global cigarette and tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI).Recently launched and available to buy online in the UK and Europe (details below), their first contender to the electronic cigarette arena in the form of their ‘Heat Not Burn’ vaping device. They have also recently launched the IQOS mesh vape device.
What is IQOS?
Hailed as a smokeless “smoking” device, the IQOS uses tobacco filled cartridges, these look incredible like stumpy cigarettes, which are heated and not burnt like traditional cigarettes, to provide a smokeless (almost) experience.
Keep in mind these still contain tobacco and while we await research into ‘heat not burn’ to see what, if any, nasties are carried when not burnt in the traditional manner.
If you would rather get away from tobacco altogether then we would recommend going down the ecig + e-liquid route.
What’s In The Box
- IQOS Holder (The Device)
- IQOS Pocket Charger
- IQOS Cleaner
- IQOS AC Power Adaptor (UK Standard three-pin plug)
- USB Cable
- IQOS Cleaning Sticks (Packet of 10)
Build Quality & Design
Off the bat, the design and the materials used in the manufacture of the IQOS system are of a high-quality.
This is no surprise considering PMI’s extensive research and development into the ‘Heat Not Burn’ technology and the IQOS system for a period over some ten years before manufacturing and releasing the product.
The IQOS system comprises of three key components:-
- iQOS Holder / Device
- iQOS Pocket Charger
- IQOS Heets (Tobacco stick)
The ‘Holder’ or IQOS devices, looks very similar in appearance to a traditional pen-style e-cigarette.
However, unlike other e-cigarettes, the IQOS uses actual tobacco, in stick form, instead of nicotine based e-liquid.
Unlike traditional cigarettes which burn at around 600°C, the IQOS heats the tobacco to about 350°C, so it doesn’t produce smoke, ash or combustion.
The heat is produced by a small element or blade located in the top of the device.
This is where the tobacco sticks (Heets) are inserted prior to activating the device. Once a Heet is inserted, the IQOS can be activated by pressing and holding down the button on the device for approximately 5 seconds, at which time the GREEN LED will begin to blink.
Heating up of the element takes approximately 20 seconds for the device to reach optimum temperature.
- Blinking GREEN LED – Device Heating up (20 sec)
- Solid GREEN LED – Devices ready to smoke
- Solid ORANGE LED – Device/HEET about to end
The heating blade will remain active for approximately 6 minutes, which is roughly the same length of time it would take to smoke a traditional cigarette.
At about the 5 minute mark, the LED will change to Amber indicating that the device will be switching off shortly and that the Heet is almost finished.
A good little feature that mimics the longevity of a traditional cigarette very nicely.
One thing to note is that once the device is activated you can turn it off at any point you like but the Heet will need to be replaced and the device will require returning to the pocket charger for a recharge before it can be used again.
IQOS Pocket Charger
As its name suggests, the ‘Pocket Charger’ is very pocket-friendly indeed and is primarily used for carrying, charging and cleaning the IQOS device.
The unit is relatively simplistic, comprising of an enclosed battery and a docking station to house the IQOS device.
Down the side of the charger there are a number of buttons and LED indicators, let’s have a look at these individually.
Starting at the top
There is a small square button which appears to be stainless steel in construction, this is used to open the flip top section of the charger to gain access to the docking port for the IQOS device.
Below this there is the first of the LED’s indicators, this one highlights the status of the IQOD device while in the pocket charger.
- Blinking GREEN LED – IQOS Device charging
- Solid GREEN LED – IQOS Device fully charged
- Blinking ORANGE LED – Charging with poor connection to devices
- Blinking RED LED – Charging Malfunction
Below this we have four small individual LED’s which indicated the charge status of the Pocket Charger.
- Four LED’s indicates 100% charge
- Three indicates 75%
- Two equals 50% charge
- One indicates 25%. Simple 🙂
Next is the Heater Cleaning status LED. The heater in this case is the small blade type element inside the IQOS Device which requires periodic cleaning to remove any residue tobacco left behind from the HEETS.
The status of the LED is as follows:-
- Solid ORANGE LED – Automatic cleaning will commence shortly
- Blinking GREEN LED – Cleaning is in progress
- Blinking RED LED – Malfunction in Pocket Charger
- No LED – Device is in Standby or OFF mode
Below the Heater Cleaning status LED is the Heater Cleaning button, however the IQOS system has a clever built in automatic cleaning process which kicks in after every 20 HEETS have been used.
You can of course override this by pressing and hold down the button for approximately 3 seconds to manually activate the cleaning cycle indicated by the blinking green LED.
Once the cleaning cycle is complete the charger will automatically recharge the IQOS device so you’re ready go again.
The last button on the Pocket Charger is the main Power Button to activate or turn the charger off.
Finally, at the base of the Charger we have our standard micro USB port for recharging the charger itself.
The IQOS HEETS are in essence shortened cigarettes comprising of a tobacco plug, hollow acetate tube, polymer-film filter, cellulose-acetate mouthpiece filter, and outer and mouth-end papers.
The heated tobacco HEETS are made by blending tobaccos from several types and origins.
The tobaccos are ground into a mixture and then reconstituted back into a tobacco sheet to manufacture the HEETS.
There are a number of additional elements added to the tobacco during the process which you can study in more detail on the Philip Morris website.
HEETS are currently available in three different blends:-
- HEETS Amber – Rich Tobacco blend
- HEETS Yellow – Smooth Tobacco blend
- HEETS Turquoise – Smooth Menthol blend
To use the HEETS, you simply take one from your preferred blend and push it down, tobacco end first, into the top opening of the IQOS Holder.
There is a little bit of resistance here as the heating element/blade cuts into the tobacco but gently continue to push down until the end of the HEET touches the base of the element housing.
And now you’re ready to rock & roll on your IQOS.
How Does The IQOS Perform?
I spent a considerable length of time using the IQOS as it’s something that I personally have never come across before, it’s completely different to my preference in an alternative to traditional cigarettes.
The kit as a whole was very simple & easy to set up and use!
There’s no airflow or wattage to adjust, in fact the only changeable item on the kit is the HEETS.
If your looking to blow clouds with this device you’re going to be disappointed, as there is virtually no smoke given off by the HEETS. So cloud comps are out 🙂
The bottom line, I was suitably impressed with the IQOS kit as an alternative to traditional cigarettes.
What I Liked
As a ‘Complete Package’ I have to say that I was very impressed with the IQOS system. It was incredibly simple and intuitive to setup and use.
It’s the closest thing I have found to the experience of actually smoking a cigarette.
I can definitely see that the IQOS system has a place in the smoking cessation market-place but this, I feel, will be mainly with those looking to give up smoking traditional cigarettes and move to something that *could be* ‘Healthier’ and possibly less in terms of cost.
I doubt very much that this will appeal to established Vapers as it’s too much like going back to the old analogues which they fought so hard to kick into touch.
What I Disliked
I only have one issue with the IQOS system, and it’s subjective based purely on my own personal tastes!
At present (in the UK) the HEETS are only available in three different blends, Rich, Smooth or Menthol.
While I admit I did enjoy the Menthol blend I did find the other two a little bit too strong for my delicate taste buds!
So I feel that the current range of HEETS are a little bit limiting. Hopefully PMI have other blends in the pipeline.
Where is the IQOS and Heets Available
IQOS is currently available in Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, and in some Duty Free shops. PMI plan to make IQOS available in key cities in over 30 countries by the end of 2017.
Final Review Verdict
As an alternative to cigarettes this ‘Heat Not Burn’ device is worth adding to a ‘maybe’ product list. If you have struggled with e cigarettes and e-liquid then it may be worth checking out.
Will I personally be ditching my e cig and e-juice for the IQOS? Not a chance!
- Works straight out of the box
- Pocket Charger provides great battery life
- Compact & pocket friendly
- Pocket Charger only seem to work with supplied power plug
- Limited to 3 varities of Heets flavours (Subjective)
- Still contains tobacco
Where Can You Buy IQOS?
The Iqos is currently available in the IQOS store in London and other major cities around the world. You can also buy IQOS online in the UK and Europe through the link below