Our NJOY Recharge review takes a look at the flagship rechargeable cigalike from NJOY – does it manage to capture the benefits of the legendary King disposable, but in a better format for long-term vapers?
The NJOY Recharge can be most succinctly described as a rechargeable version of the NJOY King. This is a great thing when it comes to vapor production, flavor and the overall nicotine hit you get from the device, and the snap-on mechanism for connections makes the devices very beginner-friendly.
The downside – again, much like the downside for the NJOY King – comes in the form of poor battery life. The cigarette-like form factor is great, but the cost in terms of battery life is too severe, in my view. So for a just-switching smoker, if you’re willing to invest a little more in getting a more well-stocked kit and you’re happy with regularly charging your batteries, the NJOY Recharge can be a great device. But you can find a better balance of performance and battery life elsewhere.
NJOY has been a big part of the e-cigarette industry for a long time. Back when cigalikes were the only options on the market, NJOY was one of the biggest companies around, and while many of their competitors have been bought up by tobacco companies, they remain as independent as ever. As well as moving towards eGo-style devices with their Convenience Vaping System, NJOY has improved its cigalike offerings too, with the NJOY Recharge kit aiming to offer a simple, beginner-friendly vaping experience. Our NJOY Recharge review takes a look at the kit and what it has to offer to the just-switching smoker.
NJOY Recharge Kits and Prices
You can pick up the NJOY Recharge in a range of different packages:
- Starter Kit – $7.99 – 2 batteries, 2 cartomizers and USB charger.
- Economy Kit – $14.99 – 2 batteries, 7 cartomizers, USB charger and wall adapter.
- Standard Kit – $29.99 – 3 batteries, 12 cartomizers, USB charger, wall adapter and soft carry case.
- Premium Kit – $49.99 – 4 batteries, 24 cartomizers, 2 USB chargers, 2 wall adapters and 2 soft carry cases.
- Super Kit – $59.99 – 4 batteries, 34 cartomizers, 2 USB chargers, 2 wall adapters and 2 soft carry cases.
Packaging and Design
The NJOY Recharge kit comes in a thin plastic container reminiscent of a cigarette pack, with a flip-open top that reveals your two devices and three spots for spare cartomizers inside. Below the cartomizer spots, there’s also a slide-out cover that reveals a USB charger.
The e-cigs themselves have a unique design, at least for cigalike devices. Their size is in line with the size of a cigarette, which makes holding the devices a very natural experience for just-switching smokers, and the two-piece design keeps everything about as simple as it can be. The aesthetics of the devices moves away from the look of cigarettes (unlike, for example, the NJOY King), with a gray background decorated with a geometric pattern. The NJOY logo is printed in white towards the connection-point to the cartomizer, and the tips of the cartomizers bear a color indicative of the flavor.
The operation of the devices is very straightforward: instead of screwing into place like on most cigalikes, the cartomizers simply push on and pull off, with no threading or anything else to get in the way. The connections are made through a cylindrical contact in the center of the cartomizer and tucked away inside the center of the battery section. When you connect, they snap together audibly so you know everything is attached properly.
The tips have the classic LED light to show the device is activated when you inhale. The plastic tip is grey, with two triangles touching at the tips and forming an “x” in the center, and four small airflow slots around the outside. The LED lights up white as you inhale, and slowly fades away as you finish your draw.
Overall, the NJOY Recharge doesn’t do anything too special from a design perspective, but manages to balance a cigarette-like size with a distinct visual appearance quite well.
Unlike most e-cig companies on the market, NJOY don’t offer a free choice of nicotine level for each cartridge flavor with the NJOY Recharge. The nicotine level is fixed depending on your chosen flavor: Gold Tobacco comes in 2.4% (24 mg/ml) of nicotine, Bold Tobacco comes in 4.5% (45 mg/ml) nicotine, Menthol in 3% (30 mg/ml) nicotine and Pomegranate in 1.8% (18 mg/ml) nicotine.
If you’ve been shopping around for a while, you may notice that these nicotine levels are pretty high – 1.8% / 18 mg/ml is towards the upper end of the range of nicotine levels for most brands, but the lowest you can get in the NJOY Recharge. The reason for this is assumedly that cigalikes aren’t as effective at getting you the nicotine you’re looking for as more advanced devices, so higher nicotine levels are needed to provide a satisfying vape.
Bold cartridges have the most nicotine, but if you’re looking to move away from cigarettes with something that maintains the same form factor, this is exactly what you need. The nicotine hit is pretty robust, but it’s not overwhelmingly so, and you can still enjoy vaping. The situation is much like with the NJOY King, which has the same nicotine levels for its tobacco and menthol offerings, and is similarly satisfying. The only downside is that in order to reduce your nicotine level, you’ll have to also switch flavors, which may not suit everyone.
The high nicotine levels on the NJOY Recharge invite comparison with the JUUL by Pax. This has a similarly easy-to-use design, with the cartridges (called “JUULpods”) simply dropping into place in the end of the battery section, without the need to be screwed in. The JUUL takes the same approach to nicotine levels, offering a massive 50 mg/ml in the pods. Coupled with the decision to use nicotine salts (which are used in ordinary cigarettes), this makes the JUUL one of the most satisfying cigalikes on the market. It's well worth considering, whether you're new to vaping or you switched a while ago, and you can find out more in our Juul review.
Flavors and Vapor
The vapor production from the NJOY Recharge isn’t bad at all for a cigalike device. With a few priming puffs on the device – where you take short puffs to kick-start the vaporization process – the vapor production is easily in line with how much smoke you’d get from a puff on a cigarette. It falls short of some of the bigger, more complicated devices on the market – and way short of some of the more “cloud chasing” friendly setups – but if you’re looking for something to help you kick cigarettes and replace the sensory experience, it’s more than adequate. The throat hit depends on the nicotine content, but is robust regardless of flavor.
The flavors are actually pretty good, on the whole. Ordinarily, cigalike devices really suffer when it comes to flavor, with lackluster juices produced by the company who made the device. For NJOY, the flavors are pretty good, on the whole. The Gold Tobacco has a fairly realistic edge to it, getting some of the flavor of the real deal across without making it authentic enough to taste a little nasty. It has an almost sweet undercurrent that really helps the flavor go down easily. The Bold has many of the same plus-points in terms of flavor, but the nicotine level makes it a little irritating to the nose if you’ve already moved away from cigarettes (although for smokers, the sensation will likely be a good thing).
The Menthol cartridge flavor appears to have been built on a base of the Gold Tobacco, with a minty edge coming through on top. This is a nice offering, overall, but if you’re looking for a punchy menthol it doesn’t quite deliver. The mintiness is quite subtle, and even though you do pick it up, there are better options on the market for ex-menthol smokers. Finally, the Pomegranate is a brilliant offering for anybody willing to step away from the tobacco and menthol flavors. It has a robust fruitiness, with a light sweetness and a fragrant, almost floral note to the flavor. As a longer-term vaper, this is my favorite flavor of the bunch from NJOY, although you do occasionally pick up a less pleasant, earthy note to the taste.
Overall, the NJOY Recharge does a good job in both the flavor and vapor departments. Not all of the cartomizers do as well as you may hope in the flavor department, but the tobaccos are well-captured and the pomegranate is great. For vapor, it’s more than enough to keep most just-switching smokers satisfied.
The battery on the NJOY Recharge is – like many elements of the device – comparable to NJOY’s King disposables. The good thing about the batteries is that they maintain a cigarette-like size, and are nice and lightweight too. The down-side is that the 110 mAh lifespan doesn’t have much potential to get you through a day of use. For comparison, the standard-length battery from V2 Cigs has a 250 mAh capacity, meaning they offer over twice as much battery life as NJOY’s Recharge. Even that is low for a whole day of vaping, so NJOY’s Recharge has a big clue in the name, you’ll need to recharge it quite a bit.
That said, you can minimize these issues easily because the majority of kits from NJOY come with two or more batteries. Depending on how much you vape, either the Standard Kit (with three batteries) or the Premium Kit (which comes with four) will give you enough battery life to get through the day. Some may be able to manage with the two batteries provided by the cheapest kits, but most will need at least the three batteries offered by the Standard Kit. For heavier smokers that are likely to need to vape a lot more often, either the Premium or Super four-battery kits are ideal, although you can get by with less if you recharge regularly.
Just like the cartomizers, you connect the USB charger to the batteries by simply pushing them together until they click, and you can either plug this into a USB port or use the wall adapter included on most kits. Charging is, mercifully, a fairly short process. The batteries take about one to one and a half hours to charge from completely dead to ready-to-vape. Plus, the small charger that slots into the included carrying case means that you can keep the charger with you whenever you take your NJOY Recharge out of the house, but it must be said that you’ll probably be charging your device more often than you might have wanted to.
Although the devices are a little lacking in battery life, the NJOY Recharge is well-manufactured. The cylindrical contacts on the interior of the devices have yet to give me any issues, and the snap-on mechanism works just as you want it to. The batteries also stand up to accidental dropping fairly well – don’t push it, but you can afford to be a little careless from time to time without destroying the unit.