Blu Cigs Review
Blu’s name is now illustrious, but the e-cigarette itself wouldn’t strike you as having big tobacco funding. There are many positive points about the e cig, but the battery life and nicotine levels aren’t the best for heavier smokers or vapers.
- Great vapor performance
- Smart Pack with "Social" feature
- Excellent portable charging pack
- Seven well-executed flavors
- Smoke juice made in the USA
- Propylene glycol-free cartridges
- 24 Hour customer service
- Cartridge flavor gets weaker after around 150 puffs
- Battery life is too short
- Nicotine content not enough for heavy smokers
- No noticeable throat-hit
- Larger batteries and manual options would have been useful
Bottom LineLorillard backing hasn't soured the product quality of Blu’s e-cigs, but ironically the product doesn't offer enough to more hardcore ex-smokers. The battery life, nicotine levels and throat hit fall a little short, but the flavors, vapor production and portable charging case provide enough to satisfy more casual vapers.
Blu Cigs: Our Expert Review
After being bought out by Lorillard in April 2012, blu’s president Jason Healy wrote a blog post addressing their new “life with big tobacco,” promising the same commitment to the vaping community and a continued dedication to quality in their products. He admits that there are some challenges to working with such a huge company, but talks down the negative aspects as merely the result of increased regulations and protocols. Regardless of the level of truth in that statement, how blu eCigs progresses is of great interest to the industry, since few e-cig companies boast the financial might of big tobacco. The only worry is that it’s now all about profit and no longer about the vapers.
The Premium 100 Starter Kit comes with a portable charging case, two batteries, a five-pack of cartridges, USB charger and wall adapter.
Packaging and Design
The Premium 100 kit comes in a minimalistic black box, adorned with blue and white text and an image of the charging case. The design is purposefully sleek, and whilst it achieves its goal, the lack of an opening and closing clasp makes it a little harder than you’d like to actually get into the kit. When you’ve removed the top you’re greeted to the sight of the charging case, a cigarette-packet like case with the company name and the blue triangular logo on the front. It sparks into life as you open the pack, the logo lighting up and a three LED display on the side tells you how much power you have left. Underneath, you’ll find the manual, cartridges, chargers and a USB cable for topping up the charging case.
The portable charging case has a USB slot on the bottom, meters to show the case’s level of charge and the cigarettes level of charge and the “Social” button on the side. Inside, you’ll find a charging slot for a battery, a slot to store a battery and spaces for five cartridges. You don’t need to screw anything in to set the battery to charge, which avoids unnecessary fiddling.
The “Social” feature, however, which vibrates when the case detects the signal of another user’s case or a nearby blu Cigs vendor, seems like it will be of little use in most situations. Locating a vendor might be useful (if you run out of cartridges unexpectedly and happen to be near a seller, that is), but the notion of approaching somebody just because they use the same brand of e-cigs seems unusual. The box would vibrate, which means a fellow vaper is nearby – then what? Do you look around for the stream of vapor and approach them without a second’s thought? Of course you wouldn’t – you’d be too afraid of making a mistake and looking like some kind of brand-obsessed maniac – “Hi, my blu eCigs charging case just vibrated – do you use blu too? No… Oh… My bad.” On a more positive note, the case does slip comfortably inside your pocket.
The original blu eCig was a three-piece model, with a separate atomizer and flavor cartridge, but since 2011 they’ve switched the industry standard two-piece design. The new e-cigarette is a lightweight, cigarette-sized device with a thin golden band separating the cartridge from the battery. The Premium 100 cartridge is actually longer than most you’ll find, meaning that they can offer the equivalent of around a pack and a half of cigarettes. The black models are more high-tech and futuristic in appearance, but the white option looks much more like a traditional cigarette. Both types of battery have matching cartridges, with realistic speckling on the ones for the white battery. There are little images to tell you which cartridge you’re vaping – as an example, there is a little pipe graphic on the tobacco cartridges and an ice-cream cone on the vanilla.
You have the choice of four nicotine levels with blu Cigs, no nicotine, Low (6-8mg), Medium (9-12mg) and High (13-16mg). There is potential there for managing down your nicotine intake, but the strongest cartridges aren’t likely to be enough for heavier smokers. With the uncertainty in the quoted values, the biggest nicotine consumers could end up with a 13mg cartridge, which is far from ideal. Most manufacturers offer a maximum of 18mg per cartridge, with some offering up to 24 or even 36mg. If you’re a heavy smoker, there are definitely better options elsewhere for nicotine levels.
Flavors and Vapor
The vapor production is pretty good with the blu eCig, but as the battery wears down you will notice a dip in performance. On a fresh charge, you’ll produce a satisfyingly thick cloud of vapor; enough to satisfy the sensory craving but not a big competitor with the best brands for vapor production. When the battery starts to wear down, you need to give several priming puffs to get a decent amount of vapor. Sadly for the more hardened smokers, the throat-hit isn’t very noticeable at all with the blu e-cigarette – it’s more like a smooth hookah than a hard-hitting cigarette.
When it comes to the flavors though, the blu eCig really delivers. They may only have seven different flavor options, but they’re all well-crafted and the majority manages to replicate the intended tastes pretty perfectly. On the whole, they are robust in flavor, with the Cherry Crush and the Vivid Vanilla being amongst the best options in my opinion. The cherry has a delicious warmth to the flavor that produces an amazingly accurate representation, making it one you can happily vape all day. The Classic Tobacco flavor is a very enjoyable take on the taste, but if you’re looking for a good replication this is the only one that’s a bit of a let-down – it’s just a little too sweet to really capture the flavor. For menthol smokers, the Magnificent Menthol is great, striking the balance between strength in flavor without being overpowering. It is worth mentioning that the flavors dampen somewhat when you’ve had around 150 puffs, though, sometimes leaving you yearning for a new cartridge to get the flavor back.
This is the main area that holds back the e-cig, and it is another flaw which hits chain-vapers and heavy smokers hardest. You’ll find that you need to charge the battery after around two hours of heavy use. The manual claims that the Premium 100 batteries last for 150 puffs on a full charge, and the Premium batteries only offer 100 puffs. Even under these ideal conditions, that would only be equivalent to around a 10 pack of cigarettes for the Premium 100 battery. Also, you’re unlikely to get that many satisfying puffs out of a single charge. On the plus side, charging is quick, and with the charging case it’s pretty easy to take a spare with you. The USB charger and charging case work as expected, with clear LED lights to tell you when it’s charging and when the battery is ready to use. Longer batteries would have been a really useful option, even if they detracted from the cigarette-like size.
Manufacturing and Warranty
The build quality of the blu electronic cigarette seems excellent, with the “CE” and “RoHS Compliant” marks proudly displayed on the exterior of the starter kit. You’re covered for defects in the electronics for up to one year (not covering cartridges and disposables, of course), as long as you fill in a form and provide proof of purchase. Generally speaking, though, the manufacturing seems high in quality, so you’re unlikely to have any major issues. One of the most common problems with e-cigs – cartridge leaking – doesn’t appear to be an issue with blu Cigs.
Blu Cigs Review,