This might ruffle a few feathers as I review the Kuga Heat Desert Eagle HNB device…
HNB stands for Heat Not Burn and when these kits arrived the word controversial was an understatement lol.
Indeed the vaping community was split on whether they should be sold alongside vape kits and e-liquids, especially with the aggressive marketing from the IQOS brand.
Anyway, let’s not dwell on the past – they’re here to stay and have been given the all clear by the UK Government as a safer alternative to smoking.
In a nutshell they are devices that heat rather than burn tobacco sticks and are said to give as close to a proper ‘smoke‘ as you can get.
We reviewed the very first HNB kit – the IQOS – so now’s a good time to look at other options out there.
Kuga Heat products are split between HNB and pod kits and I recently reviewed the impressive Kuga Heat SHELLS disposable pod kits – so let’s see if the Kuga Heat Desert Eagle soars as high.
What Can We Expect From the Kuga Heat Desert Eagle?
First look and this is an extremely easy to use HNB device.
There’s x3 temperature settings and as you’ll see, even the biggest technophobe out there [me] should have no issues using it.
Kuga Heat does not supply any HEET/tobacco sticks – but the fitting is generic meaning it will/should take all brands.
Not a lot more to say really, other than this was sent to me direct from Kuga Heat – thank you – and as always my thoughts and opinions are not swayed by freebies…
For the record, KUGA means the ‘gift of God‘ – so let’s see if this has been a heavenly experience…
Inside the Box
For the record I received all of the Kuga Heat devices inside a swanky reviewer presentation box – you will receive yours in a retail box.
- x1 Desert Eagle HNB device
- x1 Type-C USB cable
- User guide
Specs and Features
- 900mAH internal battery
- 25w – 3.2/4.2v
- Heat up time: 25s
- Ceramic needle
- 25.5 – 18.5 – 97mm – weight: 54g
- Temp range: 280c – 320c – 350c
Obviously this is a Heat Not Burn device [HNB] and neither the retail kit – nor my reviewer sample – includes any HEETS or similar branded tobacco heat sticks.
I bought a packet of the amber variety HEETS, a kind of mid-strength tobacco at about a fiver for 20.
OK, the Kuga Heat Desert Eagle is the cheaper of the two HNB devices made and sold by the company, however it still offers x3 heat settings.
You choose either: 280°C, 320°C, 350°C and this is selected by a simple switch on the side.
It’s available in x 4 colours: Classic Black, Kiss Red, Navy Blue and Silver.
It is extremely simple to operate so let’s see just how easy it is to get it up and running.
Kuga Heat Desert Eagle Quick Start Guide
- x5 clicks on and off
- Select temp setting via the switch on the side
- Insert HEET into hole on top and into the heating pin
- Hold down fire button for 2s
- Device vibrates and LED light solid when ready to use
- Draw activated
- Device vibrates again when heat is too low
Design and Build Quality
The main body is made from aliminium alloy meaning it’s both light and tough.
The pin cover is made from what feels like toughened plastic. You can pull this off for cleaning however it is very stiff initially.
The heat pin is ceramic and it and the hole is a generic size meaning any brand of tobacco stick will fit.
The on/off button has a nice throw to it and the heat selector slides nicely, with a good restriction, meaning once set it isn’t moving anywhere.
Design wise it’s what I’d call minimalist which suits my taste perfectly.
There’s a set of ridges on both sides which aids grip and the temp select switch and logo are definitely not in your face.
How Does the Kuga Heat Desert Eagle Perform?
It had been a while since I last used an HNB device and that would have been the original IQOS.
I have noticed quite a few being used in my home town so was intrigued to try the Kuga Heat Desert Eagle.
Let’s take a look at the x3 heat settings.
Kuga Heat Desert Eagle 280°C
The lowest heat setting and obviously the quickest to heat up.
It was a warm ‘vape‘ but I was almost puffing on fresh air with little or no flavour.
It could of course be the flavour HEET sticks I’d chosen.
Barely any vapour/smoke either and it all seemed to over far to quickly if that makes sense.
Kuga Heat Desert Eagle 320c
I found this one to be the perfect temp.
I think good flavour is pushing it though and I again put that down to my choice of HEET stick.
I love a robust deep rich tobacco vape and this was a little wishy washy for me.
It lasted a little longer and I did get a bit of a nicotine buzz at the end.
That could be down to puffing a lot more to beat the timer – OR of course the extra heat gave it an extra bit of oomph.
Kuga Heat Desert Eagle 350c
Almost too hot for my tongue and mouth!
It might be my imagination but this felt like a deeper flavour, but that could just be the er heat going into the HEET.
A lot more ‘smoke/vapour‘ from this one too and I did have a bit of a cough half way through.
Note: Given the short vape time I have tried to ‘reheat‘ and nope that doesn’t work…
- Dead easy to use
- VERY fast heat up time
- x3 temperature options
- Easy clean
- Decent price
- Up to 15 heet sticks off one charge
- Super fast charging[40 to 50 minutes]
- Short ‘vape‘ time
- Flavour not so good – down to my choice of heat stick I think
Final Review Verdict
The biggest gripe I have with the Kuga Heat Desert Eagle is the ‘vape time‘ – it all seems to be over very quickly indeed and I was left more than a little unsatisfied – fill in your own jokes.
I can’t for the life of me remember if the IQOS lasted longer, but as a vaper we’re used to dipping in and out.
I’m guessing that’s the main issue with any HNB device – you have to use it as you would a lit cigarette – as in vape/smoke it in one go.
Yeah I know that’s stating the obvious, but for a long time none smoker it is a weird experience!
Given the UK Government has rated HNB devices almost as safe as e-cigarettes I reckon HNB is the way to go for smokers not quite ready to embrace vaping.
I’d like to see dual users for a short time as in HNB and an ecig rather than a lit fag and vape…
To that end the Kuga Heat Desert Eagle is reasonably priced and does the job well enough and with just enough options to suit.
The Right Flavour HEET Stick Is Key!
It’s nicely designed and built with a contemporary yet discrete look about it.
A little like getting the right e-liquid, you need to make sure the flavoured HEET suits.
I have a feeling had I chosen a more robust flavour, I might find myself HNBing a bit more – if only for a change.
What I will say is I have no doubt this will suit a smoker transitioning away from lit to heat.
So…have you used the Kuga Heat Desert Eagle?
Are you a regular user of HNB devices?
Can you recommend a stronger flavoured HEET stick?
Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below…