The name says it all. “Apollo” is synonymous with humanity’s desire to voyage beyond this lonely, mundane rock into the other-worldly, star-speckled reaches of the wider universe and the Greco-Roman god of music, poetry, knowledge and medicine.
Now that’s quite a set of connotations to live up to – either one of the greatest achievements in the history of humanity or a mythological deity. If there’s one thing you can say about Apollo e-cig is that they have lofty aspirations, but if you’ve read a little about them already chances are you’ve heard good things.
But does the e-cig really deliver, or is the community simply spellbound by the majestic brand connotations? Read our Apollo e-cig review to find out.
Is it worth buying?
The Apollo e-cig is a great product overall, but a couple of key areas like battery life and the depth of flavor somewhat let it down. You’ll be more than satisfied with the vapor production, nicotine levels, throat hit and design, but for heavier vapers the battery life lets the Extreme Kit down.
The eGo and VTube options will obviously improve on that markedly. Similarly, the e-liquids will probably give a better vaping experience, flavor-wise. Apollo’s product might not be as revolutionary as the name suggests, but it’s a strong e-cig non-the-less.
Apollo Electronic Cigarettes was founded in 2008, starting up out of LaFayette, California. The About Us page paints a rosy picture of a company dedicated to pleasing their customers, continuously improving their product line and standing by the quality of their e-cigs. They definitely have plenty of options, with standard-size e-cigs, eGos and the chunky VTube, as well as an impressive range of e-liquids. Although the About Us page incorrectly claims that e-cigs were first invented “a few years ago” (which would only be true if they were writing in 2006 – or two years before Apollo existed), the company’s reputation attests to the truth behind their claims.
The Apollo Extreme Kit comes stocked with two automatic Extreme batteries, five cartomizers and USB charger with wall and car adapter, currently priced at $54.95 (at time of writing – July 2013).
Packaging and Design
The Extreme Kit comes in a compact cardboard box with a magnetically closing clasp. The design is minimalistic, whether you purchase the kit in white or black. The bottom-right corner features the Apollo logo, with the words “Extreme Kit” in the top left and the bold slogan, “Lead a Whole New Lifestyle” underneath. Aside from the curved wisp of vapor emanating from the bottom left, it’s pretty much bare. The black kit is overlaid with shiny silver, whereas the white kit is decorated with gold.
Inside, the two batteries sit in a piece of foam, which can be easily removed with an attached piece of ribbon to reveal the remainder of the kit’s contents, which are individually-boxed. What exactly makes it “Extreme” is anybody’s guess – perhaps it’s designed to be used as you hurtle towards the Earth with a bungee cord strangling your ankles, or maybe it can stab through an aluminum can like a fountain pen on a late-night infomercial.
The e-cig itself is well-designed (although stabbing through a can is probably a stretch), conforming to the industry-standard two-piece design. The black battery has matching cartridges, creating a flush, smooth appearance, only slightly spoiled by the relatively large “Apollo” logo on the battery. The white battery, in contrast, has more cigarette-butt style cartridges, better if you’re looking for an authentic appearance. The tips are grey plastic caps, with LEDs which light up as expected when you inhale. The batteries have a soft feel, without relying on rubber like many brands do. It works well, although the effect isn't as pronounced as with other brands like Vapor4Life.
There are five nicotine level options from Apollo, making it one of the better brands in terms of nicotine content. You can get cartridges and e-liquids in Zero (0mg), Low (6mg), Medium (12mg), High (18mg) and Extra High (24mg). This gives options for everyone, from the heaviest smokers (for whom the 24mg option is a saving grace) to anybody hoping to gradually move down the levels to combat their nicotine addiction. The options from Apollo are the same ones offered by leading brands such as Green Smoke.
Flavors and Vapor
The vapor production is possibly the best thing about the Apollo e-cig. Automatic batteries ordinarily require a few priming puffs to get a satisfying amount of vapor, but this isn't really necessary with the Apollo Extreme e-cig. Even with a single puff, you get a thick mist of vapor that packs the punch you’re hoping for on your throat. After a few priming puffs, its right in line with what you’d expect from the top-performing e-cigs. The only complaint is that the production does drop notably as you get towards the end of a cartridge or the battery loses some of its life.
The majority of the flavors available through Apollo are in e-liquid form. You can buy blank cartridges to fill up, and then you have 21 flavor choices, including options like Banana Cream, Clove, French Vanilla, Green Apple, Rocky Road and Mango Peach. For pre-filled cartridges, you’re limited to five options, Tobacco, Menthol, Vanilla, Cherry and Coffee.
The main issue when it comes to flavor is that the cartridges noticeably lose quite a lot of their punch as you make your way through. At first, the Cherry is an amazing option, the Menthol is perfectly balanced and the Coffee has a delicate aroma, but after a couple of hours of use you’ll notice the flavor start to disappear. It’s not all good at the beginning, either; the Tobacco option tastes like a Turkish blend, a little musty and unpleasant at first and the Vanilla has an odd overtone that’s difficult to place. Overall, the flavors aren't great, but it’s best if you’re willing to use e-liquids and blank cartridges, or if you really love menthol and cherry.
Most vapers who really want to boost vapor production and flavor opt for more complicated devices than the Apollo e-cig. But the JUUL by Pax shows that there's another way. Despite boasting excellent vapor production, right up there with more complicated vape pens, it's actually even easier to use than the Apollo. The device works with simple cartridge-like “pods,” which just drop right into the battery without the need to screw anything in. It's more satisfying than pretty much any cigalike e-cig on the market thanks to the use of nicotine salts in the e-juice, and the pods also come in five delicious flavors. Find out more in our JUUL Vapor review.
Looking for a new juice to try? Check out some of our recent e-juice reviews or jump straight to the list of the best e-liquid for this year.
The Extreme battery is available in automatic or manual styles, although you don’t get the option for manual with the starter kit. The battery is responsive and performs well, but the output does drop as the battery life drains. It can withstand around three hours of heavy vaping on a full charge, which could realistically translate to around 6-7 hours depending on your level of use. It’s not the best battery on the market, but it’s suitable if you won’t be using it too heavily throughout the day. You do get two batteries, though, so you can always keep a spare with you when you’re at work.
The Standard Kit comes with a portable charging case, which would definitely be an advantage in the battery life department. On the plus side, the USB charger in the Extreme Kit has a short wire attached (if you've ever used a pen-drive style charger, you’ll know this is very useful) and recharges a battery in between an hour and a half and two hours.
Manufacturing and Warranty
Apollo handles the design of the e-cigs in the USA, but they have a dedicated manufacturing facility in China. The quality of the e-cig is without question, with gold-plated connectors for the battery and cartomizers; the parts screwing together securely and comfortably. The four air-holes are well-placed and allow for a smooth, whooshing air flow on the draw. One complaint is that the Extreme Kit and the Standard Kit have different connections, meaning if you get the wrong type of cartridges it’s completely incompatible. Although this is easy to avoid, it seems unusual that you can have compatibility issues within a single brand.
The lifetime warranty offered by Apollo is good for five replacements, as long as you've ordered a minimum of $50’s worth of refills and accessories within the last 60 days. This is a robust warranty, and unlike many brands Apollo also has a two week warranty on cartridges, clearomizers and cartomizers. If you’re completely unsatisfied, there’s a 30 day, no questions asked money back guarantee. They also offer free shipping on orders over $30 in the US – which will pretty much cover any order, unless you buy liquids or cartridges in very small quantities.