Our Apollo Brez review takes a look at the pod-style vape from longstanding company. Can it compete with the Juul, or does it just ride on its coat-tails?
Is it worth picking up?
The Brez is a solid pod-style vape. The design might be pretty much lifted from the Juul, but the performance is great and the battery is limited but about in line with most pod-style devices.
Some flavors are better than others, and it’s obviously a device designed for just-switching smokers and discreet vaping rather than huge clouds, but even as a long-term vaper it’s definitely enjoyable. The non-functioning pod was a disappointment, but overall for the price of $39.95 it’s not a bad offering at all.
It’s worth shopping around, though, because devices like the Nord manage to maintain the simplicity while boosting the performance substantially.
When early-adopters started vaping, the simplest devices on the market looked just like cigarettes and frankly, didn’t have all that much going for them. That all changed with the introduction of the Juul and pod-style devices in general. Using high-strength nicotine salts, loaded into a pod and attached to a compact device that activates when you inhale just like a cigarette, the industry finally learned how to combine satisfaction with simplicity. Since the Juul’s release, many different devices have been released in the same vein. Apollo – who’ve been around since the cigalike days – have taken a shot at pod-style devices, and the Brez is the result. With five pod flavors, a slim, Juul-like design and a good price of $39.95, it looks like a great option for smokers just making the switch to vaping. But does it live up to its potential? Our Apollo Brez review aims to find out.
What You Get
The Brez Deluxe Pod Kit comes in two small boxes contained in a thin sleeve, with one box containing the device, charger and a single pod, and the other box containing four remaining pods. The box containing the device has a little flap covering most of the goodies, which gives a run-down of the different parts of the Brez, and is the closest you get to a manual with the device – a testament to its simplicity. Overall you get everything you need to start vaping, so this is a great offering.
Apollo Brez Review – The Design
The Brez basically looks like the Juul, except with rounded corners instead of the rigidly rectangular cross-section of the older device. It’s long and thin, with a single white LED light on the front face of the body, the “Brez” logo towards the bottom and two U-shaped sections cut out towards the top to help the pods slide into place. Things look a little better with the pod attached, because the colored portion of the pod sticks out from the top of the device and gives it a little visual flair. Really there’s nothing to complain about with the look of the Brez, it might take a few too many hints from the more famous Juul, but the formula works, so overall it looks good.
The Pod Connection Point
The hollowed-out top section on the Brez is designed so you can just slip the pods into place. Looking inside the top of the device, you can see two 24 k gold contacts in the middle and two magnets on the outsides, which matching sections on the pods. The magnetic connection is a great touch, making it a lot easier to just drop the pods into place and have them connect up properly. The pods fit perfectly into the space and you can insert them either way around.
The Brez pods have quite a straightforward design, again similar to the pods for the Juul. They have three main parts: the pod section that holds the liquid, the chimney section running up the center of the pod and the colored mouthpiece section. The pod holds 1 ml of juice, and these come pre-filled with salt nicotine e-juice – in the US these are 50 mg pods, but for the EU version they’re limited to 20 mg in line with the TPD.
The mouthpiece has two holes in the top for you to inhale through, and you can see some cotton if you look through them, which prevents spit-back and ensures a smooth draw. The chimney leads from the mouthpiece to the coil section, attaching directly to the base of the pod, which has contact points and magnets to match the inside of the battery.
The pods come well-sealed, too. They’re packaged in foil, and have a cap over both ends. The top is covered with a plug, which easily pulls out of the holes in the mouthpiece. The bottom is covered with a bigger rubber cap, as well as a plastic tab over the connection point to protect the contacts, to ensure they work properly when you take them out.
The USB Charger
The charger included with the Brez has two parts: a small cover for the bottom which connects to the base of the device, and the actual micro USB cable to connect it to your computer. This is so simple it’s basically foolproof – the cap works through the same magnetic connection, and the micro USB cable attaches to the other side. The cable is quite short, but the device is light so it can dangle from your laptop without issues.
The Brez is pretty straightforward in terms of design, and takes quite a few cues from the Juul, but overall it does a great job. It looks cool, it’s super easy to use and everything has been designed with the user in mind.
Apollo Brez Review – In Use
The Brez has a 320 mAh battery, which isn’t huge compared to vape pens or especially mods, but is actually pretty good for a pod-style vape. The Juul, for example, is only 280 mAh. The power output is much lower than most devices, so this is still enough to get you through most of a day of vaping with high-strength e-juice. For me, it lasted about 5 hours of fairly intense vaping before requiring a charge. This would be better with the 50 mg pods because you wouldn’t have to vape as often to feel satisfied.
Charging is an impressively quick process, with the device going from flat to fully-charged in just 45 minutes. You can also vape while charging so you don’t have to go without something to vape.
Performance: Vapor Production
The vapor production from the Brez is impressive for such a compact device. It should go without saying that mod-like levels of vapor are out of the question, but it’s right up there with many vape pens. If you’re just switching over from smoking, huge amounts of vapor probably aren’t hugely important to you, and the Brez can do more than enough to replicate smoking. It’s best to take a few little draws before your main one to get the coil hot first, but you’ll get used to this pretty quickly.
Performance: Throat Hit
The throat hit from the Brez pods is pretty good. The EU version is limited on this front a little because of the lower nicotine, but you can still feel a slight punch to the back of your throat on inhalation and a slightly abrasive sensation on exhale. This might not sound nice but if you’re just switching from smoking or still like a throat hit on your vaping device this is great. If you’re worried about the high nicotine (even 20 mg on the European cartridges) it’s important to remember that nicotine salt e-juices are generally smoother than ordinary e-juice. The level here is perfect for me, and the standard version will undoubtedly be much more satisfying, especially for new vapers.
Apollo Brez Flavor Review – The Pods
The flavor from the pods in general is good, but what do the juices taste like? The options are Berry Blend, Breeze, Tobacco, Melon and RY4, and you get one of each as part of the Deluxe Kit. Here’s a brief run-down of each flavor pod.
- Berry Blend: This is advertised as a medley of berries, and it gets the job done well. The flavor isn’t especially powerful, but you definitely pick up the berry flavor throughout your draw. It isn’t that sweet, but it has a touch of sweetness and tartness and comes across pretty authentic.
- Tobacco: This is described as a “smooth and earthy” tobacco flavor, and the result is reasonably good. It suffers from the same issue as many tobacco e-juices: it’s recognizable as tobacco but the earthy notes are the main thing you pick up. It’s more like a caricature of the flavor of tobacco than the real deal. That said, it still has an enjoyable-enough flavor, just not one you’ll mistake for a cigarette.
- Melon: This is described as honeydew melon with a cucumber mint kick, and it’s an impressively accurate characterization too. The melon is well-captured, with a mouthwatering fruity sweetness to it, and it’s backed up with a hint of cucumber that comes through on the nose and a touch of mint. It’s a great flavor combination and it’s executed perfectly.
- RY4: RY4 is a caramel-enhanced tobacco that generally works much better for vaping than straight tobaccos. The pod is well-mixed, with an undeniable base of tobacco but made much smoother and sweeter thanks to the rich caramel elements. This is hard not to enjoy: it’s not quite as good as the Melon but still makes for a delicious vape.
- Breeze: This is an icy menthol flavor. Unfortunately this pod was a dud so that’s all I can tell you.
Ease of Use
The Brez is a breeze to use. The pods just drop right into the slot at the top of the device and all you need to do to vape is take a puff from the end. There is pretty much no way to go wrong with this, and that’s why Apollo didn’t even need to include a manual with the device. It’s ideal for beginners.
Comfort and Portability
The small size of the Brez makes it really easy to carry around. It slips into a pocket without issues – even tight jean pockets – and it’s so small that the biggest issue you’d have putting it in a bag is fishing it out of the bottom again. Comfort-wise, it’s better than the Juul thanks to the rounded corners, but really the size makes it really easy to hold and vape with.
The manufacturing on the Brez is pretty good, overall. Everything fits together snugly, and even accessories like the charger cable were clearly made with care. The only criticism I have is of the dud pod I received: one of the magnets protruded from the bottom of the pod, which I figured was the reason it didn’t work. I pushed it in flush with the base, but the pod still didn’t work. You only get five pods with the device, so having one of them fail isn’t a great sign. Of course this will always happen to some customers, but the fact that it did doesn’t inspire confidence.