Smok Alien 220W Review
Our Smok Alien 220W review takes a look at one of the best mods of the year and a favorite among vapers. Is it really as good as it’s made out to be, or should you think twice before placing your order?
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- Up to 220 W of power.
- TC with nickel, titanium and stainless steel coils, with adjustable TCR.
- Dual 18650 batteries.
- Compact, ergonomic design.
- Firing bar gives it a “squeeze to vape” operation.
- Excellent performance in both wattage and TC mode.
- Comes in a kit with the TFV8 Baby Beast, batteries and a charger for $129.99.
- Upgradable firmware.
- Plenty of safety features.
- Crystal clear OLED display screen.
- A little bit of a learning curve to operate the menu.
SMOK Alien 220W TC Mod Review
Dual-battery mods might seem excessive when you first start vaping. They’re so much bulkier, and offer apparently-unnecessarily high power outputs. But you start to notice their advantages when you’ve been vaping for a while, whether for the drastically improved battery life or their huge potential when it comes to vapor production. If you’re serious about vaping, a dual-battery mod is definitely a good investment. And the Smok Alien 220W is one of the most widely-recommended options out there.
Smok has been a popular manufacturer for a long time, putting out tons of awesome mods over the years along with legendary tanks like the TFV series, so it’s easy to see why the Alien series is making its mark on the industry. But is it really as good as it’s claimed to be? Our Smok Alien 220W review takes an in-depth look at the device to find out.
What You Get
The Smok Alien 220 W comes in a simple, compact box, but it’s packed full of essentials and useful extras. The mod sits in an upper foam layer, but on the layer underneath it there’s your tank, a spare glass tube for it, plenty of O-rings, a vape band, screen protectors for the mod, your USB charger, a user manual and a spare octuple coil atomizer head for the tank (in addition to the installed dual-coil option). The only things you need to get vaping are some batteries and a bit of e-juice. It’s a brilliant offering, overall.
Smok Alien 220W Review: The Design
The Smok Alien 220 W has a pretty cool look. It isn’t as unassuming and simplistic as many other mods, but the impact is still great. The two faces have a parallelogram shape in the center, which on one side borders the sizable display screen and on the other contains both a “Smok” and “Alien 220 W TC” logo, with both the color of the trim and the mod itself varying depending on your specific device. The front edge of the mod is really a firing bar, which sits nice and flush with the rest of the mod and has the same rounded shape as the back edge.
Overall the mod looks a little busy in comparison to other devices, but it still does a great job aesthetically – it looks high-tech and cool but doesn’t go too far with it.
Most of the action on the mod happens on the front face, where the large OLED display screen shows you pretty much everything you could need to know at a glance. There are two raised adjustment buttons towards the bottom of it and a USB charging port. The firing bar is on the right edge, there is a spring-loaded 510 connection on the upper edge and the battery compartment is at the bottom. If you’ve been vaping for a little while you’ll be right at home with this.
The Display Screen
The OLED display is really well-presented. Your main active setting (wattage or temperature) is shown in the top left, beside icons for both of your batteries that show their remaining charge. Beneath this are two rows, with the top one showing your voltage, the coil’s resistance and the current, and the bottom showing what mode you’re in, the temperature of the internal chip (for wattage mode) or your ramp-up wattage (for TC mode) and your puff-count. Finally, there is a puff timer at the bottom.
This offers an impressive amount of information at a glance, and is probably the best display I’ve come across in my time as a reviewer – everything is shown very clearly and it manages to do a lot without feeling cluttered.
The Battery Compartment
There is a trend towards magnetically closing battery doors these days, but the Smok Alien 220 W takes what I see as the better choice and uses a more reliable approach. The battery door is simply on a hinge, and swings open easily after you slide it away from the body of the device. This isn’t as high-tech or fancy as magnetic systems, but it snaps into place firmly and feels a lot more secure in general. The polarity of the batteries is shown on the underside of the door, so it’s easy to check you’ve put the batteries in the right way around.
The Baby Beast Tank
The tank is really a separate offering (and we’ll be reviewing the Baby Beast separately in full), but it deserves a brief overview here too, since it’s included with the mod in starter kits. The tank has a fairly simple design: the atomizer head sits in the base of the tank with a chimney linking it to the mouthpiece, there are two thin adjustable airflow slots around the bottom, and the top cap swings open on a hinge to reveal filling holes like on the TFV4 and the others in the series. It’s pretty easy to disassemble to clean or change atomizer heads, and the tank is a perfect match for the mod from an aesthetic perspective.
The design of the Smok Alien 220 W and the Baby Beast tank are both great. The mod comes with an excellent display screen and a logical, intuitive layout and the tank is about as easy to get to grips with as any on the market today.
Smok Alien 220 W Review: The Features
Variable Wattage from 6 to 220 W
The Smok Alien 220 W offer variable wattage vaping anywhere from 6 W all the way up to 220 W, as the name of the device suggests. This is a pretty big power output for a dual battery mod, and puts it way ahead of much of the competition in this area. You might not need the very upper power settings very often, but for anybody looking to get as much power as possible out of a dual-battery mod, it’s a solid offering. If you want to go to the extreme end of this range regularly, though, you might be better off getting a triple battery mod.
Temperature Control Vaping
There is also a fully-equipped temperature control system on the Alien 220 W, supporting nickel, titanium and stainless steel coils as well as offering an adjustable TCR setting. This means that not only does the mod support all major TC wire types, you can alter its performance to suit your preferences easily, or adjust it so it works with different grades of stainless steel, for example. The temperature range is the usual 200 to 600 °F (93 to 316 °C).
The TC mode on the Alien 220 W also allows you to adjust the ramp up wattage, which is a necessary feature to get the most out of TC vaping. You’re also allowed to lock the initial resistance in at room temperature so the performance stays consistent. In short, you get everything you need for a very enjoyable TC vape on the Alien 220 W.
The Smok Alien 220 W also has 22 different memory settings you can use to store some of your most commonly-used setups in both wattage and TC mode. For example, if you vape TC at 450 °F with a 60 W ramp up, you can set this as M1, and if you vape in wattage mode at 80 W, you can make this M2 and so on. This takes a while to set up (and changing settings ordinarily is easy anyway), but if you have a handful of different setups you use it might be a time-saver in the long term.
Adjustable Hit Strength
Like other recent Smok devices, the Alien 220 W has a “hit strength” feature, which can be set to give you a soft, normal or hard hit. The soft and hard settings decrease or increase the initial wattage, respectively, to give you either a slower or quicker ramp-up before reverting to your intended setting as your draw continues. This is great for tailoring your experience to suit your tastes, and it’s a great addition to the mod.
The menu system on the Smok Alien 220 W is the standard style for Smok – working just like the one on the Guardian 3, the XCube Ultra and most other recent devices. Three presses of the firing bar takes you into the menu, which displays one option on-screen at a time and you scroll through using either the adjustment buttons or by tapping the firing bar. To select your desired option – such as “Mode” to switch between TC and wattage mode – simply leave it on-screen for a few seconds or hold down the firing bar and you’ll be taken to the next menu. You navigate in this way, adjusting settings as needed.
This is a pretty intuitive system when you grasp the basics, and you’ll be right at home with it quickly enough. It would have been a little better if you could just tap the firing bar to progress to the next sub-menu rather than having to hold it down or wait, but overall it works well regardless.
Like most regulated mods, the Smok Alien 220 W has tons of safety features to prevent issues while you’re vaping. These include short circuit protection, over-voltage protection, low resistance protection (with the minimum resistance being 0.1 ohms in wattage mode and 0.06 ohms in TC mode), low battery protection and a protection if you try to fire when you’re low on e-juice in TC mode. In short, you can vape with confidence with the Alien 220 W.
Smok Alien 220 W Review: In Use
Performance: Wattage Mode
The Smok Alien 220 W performs excellently in wattage mode. It responds quickly when you press the fire button and hits pretty hard even if you don’t adjust the hit strength. There’s huge wattage range at your disposal so you’re unlikely to be disappointed with what it can do, even if you’re a competitive cloud-chaser.
The performance is great across a range of atomizers, including the Baby Beast tank included with the kit. With the 0.4 ohm coil, the performance is great across the whole recommended range of 40 to 80 W, though as the atomizer head’s listed “best” wattages suggests, it really comes into its own at around 60 W. The 0.15 ohm octuple coil is even better if you’re looking for tons of vapor and flavor – working best at between 60 and 80 W but recommended to be used at anything from 50 to 110 W – so there will undoubtedly be something in the kit to suit your tastes. If you’re looking for a mouth-to-lung vape, this isn’t likely to be the ideal tank for you, but for most longer-term vapers it’s a great offering.
Performance: TC Mode
The Alien works really well in TC mode. After going through the menu system to enter the characteristics of your coil and choose your ramp-up wattage, you select a temperature and you’re ready to go. With your custom ramp-up wattage, the start of your draw is just like in VW mode, but as the TC kicks in, the screen flashes up “Temp Protection” and there is a slight dip in output as the wattage is adjusted to maintain the same temperature. It changes smoothly, so while the drop in output is noticeable at higher ramp-ups, you get a pretty consistent vape regardless.
The big benefit to the Smok Alien 220 W in TC mode is the amount of flexibility it offers through the adjustable ramp-up and TCR. So even if you’re not happy with the performance at first, with time you can tweak it until it responds the way you want it to. Overall, the TC mode on the Alien is excellent, doing everything you need it to and offering a consistently great vape.
Refilling and Changing Coils
The Baby Beast tank makes refilling and changing your coils about as easy as it gets. The tank’s top cap swings open to reveal the central tube surrounded by a rubber ring with a small section cut out of it for you to refill through. All you have to do is open up the top and drip your e-juice into the opening (avoiding the central opening) and you’ve refilled the tank.
Changing coils requires unscrewing the tank to access the bottom-mounted atomizer head, but if you’ve used a sub ohm tank before you’ll be right at home with this immediately. Simply unscrew the bottom section of the tank, and then you can replace the atomizer head by unscrewing your current one and putting the new on in its place.
Changing Settings and Navigating the Menu
The actual operation of the mod is pretty easy too. The most common thing you’ll have to do is change your main setting, and this is handled easily with the help of the two adjustment buttons. If you hold the button down, it will advance 1 W at a time at increasing speed, but you can simply press the button to make fine adjustments as needed.
Although the full menu system gives you access to all of the available options, you can use some shortcuts to immediately get to the most common settings. To change your mode on the Smok 220 W, press the left (i.e. down) adjustment button and the firing bar to be taken straight to the relevant screen. You then select TC, wattage or memory mode as you would in the menu. Pressing the right (up) adjustment button and the firing button takes you to the hit strength option in the same way.
Because of this, you don’t have to go into the menu very often, but even if you do it’s pretty intuitive. You’ll need to do this to turn the device off (the “Power” option), adjust the initial resistance in TC mode (in “Setting” and “Adj Ohm”), activate stealth mode (“Setting” and “Scr Time”) and to reset the puff counter or set a maximum for it, among other things.
On the whole, after a short learning curve, you’ll be able to navigate around the Smok Alien 220 W without issues. It’s not as simple as many beginner-level devices, but if you want something more capable it’s about as easy as it gets.
Comfort and Portability
The Alien 220 W is a dual-battery mod, and this would usually mean that it isn’t especially portable, but Smok has done a great job of keeping the size down. It’s comparable with many single-battery mods when it comes to size, so it’s impressively easy to slip into a pocket or carry around in a compartment of your bag. The curved, ergonomic design and the firing bar also make it really comfortable to use. It fits nicely into your palm and you quickly get used to giving it a brief squeeze to fire too.
The Smok Alien 220 W is really well put together. The device has a solid metal chassis, an impressively clear and well-presented display and great machining all-round. The spring-loaded 510 connection and battery contact points are plated in 24 k gold, and everything fits and connects comfortingly snugly. The firing bar has enough give to prevent accidental activation but pushes down easily enough when you want it to, and the adjustment buttons have a good amount of resistance and a satisfying click when pushed down. Overall, it’s great when it comes to build quality.