The Surge Pod Kit is here! It’s a collaboration with Innokin and it’s a new kind of vape… Or should I say it’s a less common method, because this style of vaping has been used before, in one variation or other.
Surge Vapor is a new company / brand, so I took a look at their website and here’s what they say for themselves.
Their mission is simply to “enhance your vaping experience”, very noble.
They go on:
“Our mission was to create new vaping technology, which advances tobacco harm reduction and maximises satisfaction. After years of research and development, this is now a reality. Introducing SURGE, the ultrasonic vape.”
Let me be clear here, nobody says “Vaping is harm free” or “safe”. The industry pushes (with scientific research backing it) that it is SAFER and less harmful than smoking. It seems that Surge think, this method of vaporising E-liquid (which we will get onto), is safer than the usual method.
The Surge device, which at the time of writing is their only device, is a collaboration with Innokin. I’m not quite sure to what level Innokin are involved but they are a huge and respected household brand.
Here is a press release we posted on 14th January explaining more… Surge Pod System – how does an E-cigarette work without a Coil?
What Can We Expect From The Surge Pod Kit?
Unlike conventional vapes the surge does not use coils, its coil-less. I promise to explain this right after the specs.
Instead of a coil the Surge is an ultrasonic vape with an ultrasonic chip that vibrates at a super-high frequency of 3 million hits per second. Apparently this also means you’ll get no dry hits or burnt flavours.
This apparently creates small particles which delivers nicotine more efficiently.
Vapour is created at a lower working temperature, producing fewer potential toxins and chemical by-products.
If you’re allergic to some coil metals, this is good news. The surge doesn’t heat any allergenic metals.
“Ultrasonic tech prevents flavours from deteriorating. Unlike traditional heating wires, ultrasonic tech vaporises e-liquid at a lower temperature delivering the molecules in smaller particles, producing pure flavours to the last drop.”
I’m not quite sure what to expect here, they don’t really say the flavour is excellent, they focus more on the flavour not being tainted. I didn’t really find any claims about what the battery life will be like… So I’m going to tackle this review like any other, but understand that it’s supposed to be a “new experience”.
In The Box
- Surge Battery Section
- Surge pod (18mg Polar Mint)
- USB-C Cable
- Quick Start Guide
I also received a box of each flavour, which contains 2 pods per box.
Surge Pod Kit – Specs & Features
- Size: 112 x 12x 21mm (with pod)
- Pod Size: 35x 21x 13mm
- Battery: 700mAh
- Draw Activation Only
- Pods: 1.8ml closed pods – built in coils, not refillable
- 6 Flavours Available (at time of writing)
- USB-C (1.5A)
- Light Indicator
- 3.0MHz Ultrasonic Frequency
Surge Pod Kit – Design & Build Quality
There are 5 different colours available, I have the greenish one. I also received the pinky purplish one, which I’ll be giving away.
How Does The Surge Coil-less Vape Work?
To understand how the Surge works differently you need to understand how a traditional vape works.
Traditional vapes are actually quite simple. They work not too dissimilar to a light bulb. It has a wire that’s wrapped like a spring. When electricity passes through it it lights up and gets hot. Due to the type of wire and resistance, vape coils produce more heat than light. (yes if there wasn’t any cotton touching it, it would still glow, although not enough to light a room).
Coils are wrapped in or around cotton, which then gets saturated with liquid. Then when the coil gets hot, the liquid in the cotton is evaporated causing vapour.
The surge doesn’t have a coil. In-fact we’re not really told how it works in much detail. We’re just told it vibrates really fast at a certain frequency, and that’s what makes the vape…
If like me, you’re dying to know exactly how this works, I will be taking one of the pods apart at the end of the review to see exactly what’s inside and how it works.
Is it new?
That’s an interesting question. A year ago Innokin (who collaborated on this device) released the Sensis, which used an adjustable frequency to vaporise the E-liquid. As far as I can tell that’s similar but not the same. And it still used coils.
The below picture is of Innokins Sensis Find F settings, NOT the Surge.
Usonicig, did something very similar (more than once), using ultrasonic frequencies. I looked this up and although I occasionally saw “coil-less”, most sources said it vibrated a ceramic coil. Is that what’s happening here? Is there still a coil? I can’t wait to take it to pieces!
It’s clearly a common idea, but are Surge the brand to make it popular?
The surges body section is predominantly metal. The specs don’t mention the material but it feels durable and has a sort satin finish.
It’s very basic and doesn’t look too dissimilar to old (and current) closed pod systems.
The overall shape of the device is oval, but at the bottom of the device the front and back are flat, this is because there a sort of triangle shape running along them. You could say this is just for design purposes but I think it also creates a nice grip feeling.
The bottom of the device is plastic with 5 holes, I’m fairly sure they’re just for battery ventilation but it seems like a lot of venting for such a small device…
On the back, at the very bottom is the CE and WEEE symbols, just below those it states ” 700mAh” and “2.59Wh”. These are embossed into the shell without any additional colour, so they blend in nicely.
Surge’s logo is on the front, at the bottom. Again it’s embossed and without colour, so it blends in. It’s nice that they haven’t desperately over branded it!
Just above half way up the first of the device is a dark Surge symbol (the U from their logo).
This is actually the indicator light. It’s nice and easy to see, which is good because it shows some important information.
- White light while using = battery level above 20%
- Red light while using = battery level below 20%
- While using Light Flashes Red = battery dead, charge it
- Charging Light – flashes white
- When fully charged Light remains on
- Light flashes Red, White, Red, White = No pod detected, clean pod port. If that doesn’t work try changing the pod
One side of the pod is completely smooth and clear from holes and other things.
On the other side of the surge is the USB-C port, which is almost in the middle, but not quite.
Just above the USB-C port is an airflow hole which measures at 1mm in diameter.
The device doesn’t have adjustable airflow and the draw is kind of in-between loose and restrictive. It’s not so restrictive that you really have to draw on it and it pulls your cheeks in but it’s not restriction-less, it needs restriction to fire.
I think it’s slightly looser than the draw from normal cigarette.
The Surges pod port is just made up of the metal shell which is only 0.5mm thick, but it does feel durable.
It has a groove on the front and back that matches the pod.
At the bottom are 2 magnets and the spring loaded connection pins.
While looking into the port I couldn’t see the draw activation sensor hole. Then I realised, there was a square reservoir surrounding the magnets. The Draw Activation hole is inside one while the other leads to the airflow hole. I understand why and so will you in a second. However I think it is brave to have the sensor hole lower than the rest of the port base. If there is leakage or condensation build up, it could lead to major problems.
On the base of the pod there is a magnet on either side, then 3 connection ports in the middle. 2 negative and 1 positive which enable you to put the pod in either way around.
You may notice that there are 2 airflow holes. One in the corner and one in the opposite corner. Again this enables the pod to go in either way around and that’s also why the draw sensor is within the square reservoir. All of this is ok, I still think they ought to have made the reservoir deeper so the sensor hole wasn’t at the same level.
Then entire pod is black, most of which you can’t see though but the entire mouth section is translucent, so you can see your liquid level assuming you have a fair light behind it. It’s really hard to see in low light.
The part of the pod that goes into the port has the Surge logo printed on it. On the other side it has the Flavour and nicotine strength information and Usonic logo. I did a quick look up about Usonic and didn’t find any specific information. I assume it’s a company that made the ‘Coil’.
The mouth piece is quite unique but exactly what you’d expect at the same time. It is built in, if you were wondering.
It has a matte like texture and it does slope down and get thinner towards the end. However it then bumps back up to make it rounder at the end, it’s strange.
At the very end it measures at 6.5x 15mm. I like it.
How To Use The Surge Pod Kit
Using the surge is ultra easy.
The pods are closed (they come full of liquid and you can’t fill them up). So when your pod runs out, dispose of it and start using a new one.
Even turning the device on and off isn’t a problem. The device is draw activation only, which means there’s no chance of you accidentally pressing the button. To use it simply puff on it. If it isn’t working try charging it or changing the pods (check out the info in the “Indicator Light” section for trouble shooting).
It is worth mentioning, the fact you can’t turn it off makes it not very child safe. So if you have kids and one of these devices make sure you keep it out of their reach at all times!
How Does The Surge Pod Kit Perform?
New technology, new method.
I figured seem as it’s a different style of producing the vapour I’d write in a bit more detail. So here goes…
The Ramp Up Time
Quite often vapes, more often bigger vapes, brag about having a super fast ramp up time (like 0.001 seconds).
By ramp up time, I mean how long it takes the vape to be fully working. Peak vapour output if you like.
Well the Surge has a super slow ramp-up. I mean if you leave it for a few minutes the first puff is more like a warm up puff. In fact I think it’s still ramping up during the second puff. Everything is less you can feel less vapour as it goes in and visually see less vapour when it comes out. Meanwhile the flavour and menthol effects are also quite low.
The Feel & Thickness of the Vapour
Surge says their way of producing vapour makes smaller molecules than the conventional way.
And maybe it’s a placebo effect but the vapour does feel very thin. Thinner than any vape I’ve used before. To the extent, the first 3 puffs almost made me cough because I wasn’t used to such thin vapour.
Thin on the inhale, thin on the exhale.
Polar Mint 18mg
“Our most intense minty offering. Authentic mint notes are paired with refreshing menthol and a bold icy finish. Ideal for those looking for a fresh, neutral profile.”
This just actually tastes like a Polar mint. It’s basically menthol with a subtle hint of mint, just enough to add some flavour, but not overpoweringly mint.
I actually really dislike this. The first puff, while it’s still ramping up it’s fairly decent, the second you start to get a real menthol hit. Take two or three more puffs and it’s quite painful!
I re-enacted this so I could be more specific. After the 3rd puff, I got major brain freeze running from the back of my mouth, all the way to the crown of my head. It’s a powerful freeze too, it lasts for a good 20 second plus, even longer if you take more consecutive puffs.
I asked my Mrs to see what she thinks and she said it hurt her chest, which is interesting because she gets through a fair amount of 20mg salts.
“The bold tropical sweetness of watermelon combines with a juicy mouthfeel and iced finish in this bright, refreshing blend.”
I got quite excited about this flavour, I’ve only really tried watermelon flavour in disposables and I usually like them.
Unfortunately I was disappointed. First of all that awful and painful brain freeze head ache is still there, and exactly the same. Ouch!
But the flavour seems to be really weak too. It’s hardly noticeable over the menthol. On a blind fold test I would probably say it’s watermelon but I’d really have to concentrate on the weak flavour. Which surprising because soon as you pick the pod up, you can smell the flavour.
I’m also getting a bit of spit back. It is very slight but it’s there. I can’t help but wonder if I’d be able to taste it at all if it wasn’t for the spit back. It’s probably also the spit back that’s to blame for my lips being cold as I write this… Not happy.
“Authentic herbal mint notes come together with subtle peppermint sweetness and a cooling finish for this mild and refreshing profile.”
Yay another mint… Hopefully this is more mint than menthol.
This one is still gargling and spitting at me. I was quite happy, I had 2 puffs and my head wasn’t imploding… then I had a third and Ouch!
It certainly tastes different to the Polar Mint, it tastes more… green? Oh dear.
The best way to describe it is, here in the UK we have airwaves chewing gum, I suppose the flavours are similar in other brands but the Polar Mint is similar to the blue (but less flavour) and the Green Mint is similar to the green flavour (…but less prominent).
I feel like I’ve just had lip surgery, seriously they’re so cold and numb! I’m going to take a break, back in 5…
“The bright sweetness of candy blueberry combines with the subtle earthiness and tart notes of authentic berries in this simple but refined blend. A moderate icy finish ensures satisfying refreshment every time.”
Ohh dear another Ice.
Is it too late to quit? Joking aside, again you can smell the flavour as soon as you open the packet.
Unfortunately although you get a nice hit of a sweet blueberry flavour at the back of the throat, it doesn’t last and you can’t taste it in the mouth.
Again it’s gurgling and spitting at me, this pod also seems to have a longer ramp up time, I’m talking 3-4 puffs before you start to get a decent vapour production.
After the spit back is finally gone, so is the flavour. I’m not quite sure whether it’s the delivery method that’s killing the flavour or the overly intense menthol.
“A mild and mellow tobacco profile. Notes of blonde tobacco are interwoven with subtle layers of brown sugar, vanilla, and a light nutty finish. The perfect blend for those who enjoy decadent tobacco.”
Honestly I am trying my best to stay optimistic of the flavours, but I feel like I’m being pranked here, this menthol is extreme. Anyway, deep breath here we go…
Wow we did it! We found a flavour that doesn’t try to blow my head off!
The Smooth Tobacco is a strange flavour, unlike the others, it feels really thick on the throat. Remember how I said it almost made me cough at first because it was so thin. The same thing happened here. It really hits your throat to start with. Not in a harsh or hot way just in a ‘I didn’t expect that’ way.
However, credit where it is due. This is a creamy smooth tobacco flavour. Yes, I can taste it and there’s no menthol.
I like it. It feels warm and thick. And for the first time in my life I fully understand the manufacturers description.
I can taste a smooth Creamy (vanilla) flavour that is sweet with a nutty hint… Touche Surge.
“An intense, full-bodied profile, reminiscent of dark fire cured tobaccos which are popular throughout the world. Robust earthy notes come together with hints of nutty sweetness and a mild smoky finish for the ultimate rich tobacco experience.”
With a renewed sense of hope, I chucked in the Rich Tobacco pod and went at it.
This flavour isn’t as prominent as the last flavour but at this point I’m just glad it doesn’t have any menthol in it!
However, it is indeed a tobacco flavour, it’s a dark tobacco with a very slight smoky undertone.
Where is the Nic?
This is super weird, I’ve searched high and low and can’t find any mention of nic-salts. Which is strange because it usually says it on the product description and always on the packet.
This leads me to think its freebased nicotine, which is really strange… Strange because there’s no huge throat hit, or chest burn.
For those that don’t know, Nic-Salts vaporise at a much lower temperature than freebase. Usually if you have an 18mg freebase liquid it hits the throat hard, but salts don’t. You don’t get a freebase hit from these pods, but it doesn’t mention salts.
If the liquid is freebase 18mg, then it’s impressively smooth!
Battery & Pod Life
The Surges 700mAh battery takes less than 30minutes to charge from flat to full, which is pretty awesome!
But it needs to be awesome because the battery doesn’t last all that long…
We are not supplied with the right information to do my usual theoretical battery life. What I can say is on the usual day my battery died at about home time 8am till 6pm, however there were days in which I used it a little less and it lasted all day.
Over all, I’m not that keen on the battery life. And it does get hot. But I’m sure that originates from the pod which really gets hot. That being said, less than half an hour to a full charge does redeem the battery a lot.
Due to all the flavours I received I didn’t fully empty any of the pods, although I was close. A pod (1.8ml) seems to last 2-3 full charges. So 2-3 days depending on your usage.
It also has pass-through vaping. This means you can use it while it charges. Although that sounds obvious, you’d be surprised at how many vapes don’t have it.
Does It Leak? What About Spit Backs?
I used it for over a week and it didn’t leak.
However, as I mentioned half of the pods started off gargling. This happens when there is too much liquid in the airflow area or where the vapour is produced.
That being said, that will likely leak into the pod port.
So how do with stop that, and get rid of the gargling?
This trick can be used on tanks as well as other pods.
- Remove the pod from the device.
- Get a tissue or cloth and loosely cover the airflow holes (on the bottom of the pod).
- Now blow through the mouth piece
Be warned, this will blow the loose e-liquid through the airhole, so make sure you have the bottom covered, ready to catch it!
What’s Inside A Surge Pod?
Honestly I’m shocked…
Okay, I shouldn’t be shocked. Inside the pod is exactly what surge says there is.
A plate that vibrates, no cotton, no coil… Wow okay… I suppose I was just a bit sceptical, but hats off to Surge and Innokin, it’s a coil-less and cotton-less vape.
The little yellow bit is broken, it was round, and I believe it was supposed to sit on top of (just above) the plate. I couldn’t figure out what material it was, it felt like rough glass or metal, but it sounded more like metal and was translucent…
I did this so you didn’t have to and it was hard. Honestly I tried to do it without breaking it but it’s really tight, so I eventually got a hammer and chiselled my screw driver into the side of it to bust the side of the pod open.
- Super easy to use
- Light and nice to hold
- Decent airflow
- Fast Charging
- Well built
- Slow ramp up
- Extreme menthol
- Weak flavours
- No type of Child Safety Locking
- Replacement pods often seem to be flooded
Surge Pod Kit – Final Conclusion
Sorry guys, I’m not impressed. In fact, I straight out don’t like it.
That brain freeze thing I was on about, really hurts. At one point, 15 minutes after my last puff I took a deep breath and that reignited the menthol at the back of my mouth/throat and started the brain freeze all over again. 30 minutes later, I had a drink (cherry coke) and it was still there and triggered another brain freeze.
It is no exaggeration, maybe you could say I’m too sensitive, but I’ve had menthol before and been fine. Let’s not forget that most of the flavours were weak as well.
If you’re not a fan of extreme menthol or Tobacco flavours this otherwise half decent kit is not for you. I should stress that, at the time of writing the above flavours are the only available flavours, however there maybe more released in the future.
It is very basic and easy to use, which is great. However that also means you can’t turn it on/off or lock it, which sucks for parents with young children. On the other hand it’s ideal for our older audience that want something super basic.
It has an okay battery, which is more acceptable because of the fast charging and pass through vaping.
It’s small but not stupidly small, it’s the ideal size. It looks good and feels good in hand.