Our Smok SLM review takes an in-depth look at the latest pod system from Smok – is this the perfect device for new vapers, or can you do better for your money?
The Smok SLM is a good pod system, but not a great one. While the performance is generally good, it’s let down by unimpressive battery life and limited vapor production, making it hard to use as your only device. It’s not bad for the price but you can find better.
The Smok SLM is limited by the battery life, and it isn’t as satisfying as some of the other pod-style devices on the market. That said, for the excellent price of $14.99 it’s still one to consider.
While it might not be the perfect device, it is responsive and the performance is pretty good despite some minor gripes. While it’s hard to recommend with better options on the market – the Starss Icon is a great example – it’s not bad so much as just not particularly impressive.
Things have never been better for new vapers. While a few years ago the best advice would have been something along the lines of – “we know it’s more complicated to get to grips with, but this dual-battery monstrosity covered in buttons and dials is the best thing to start with. And oh by the way you’ll need a metric ton of e-liquid as well” – now there are plenty of devices that manage to be satisfying and beginner-friendly. These pod-style devices are about as easy to use as a basic vape pen, but thanks to nicotine salt e-liquid, they’re more than powerful enough to satisfy your cravings while staying small, portable and – crucially – easy to use. Smok’s latest entrant into this field is the SLM, a pen-like device that makes use of refillable pods and an automatic, cigarette-like operation. But is it worth picking up? Our Smok SLM review takes a deep dive to find out.
What You Get
The SLM kit comes with the device itself, two refillable pods, a USB charging cable and a fold-out manual to help you get to grips with the device. It comes in a basic box with a slide-out foam central portion, with each component of the device in a separate little section. Overall it’s a fairly basic offering, but it does give you everything you need to start vaping apart from e-juice, so really there’s nothing to complain about.
Smok SLM Review – The Design
The SLM is – as the name subtly suggests – a very slim device, with a classic pen style but slim and long rather than short and squat. It’s about the size on an actual pen, unlike most vape pens which are more marker-sized, and it has an oval, kind of eye-shaped cross section. The body of the device is pretty much bare, with a small LED light about half way up and the “Smok” logo running up from the bottom. The back side has the “SLM” logo and CE mark towards the bottom. The pod and mouthpiece section are a translucent black color, which fits nicely with the overall look of the device in black. You can also pick up the battery section in red, blue and stainless steel.
The pod section or cartridge for the Smok SLM is quite straightforward in terms of design but gets the job done well. The pods have the same shape and thickness as the device, with a ridge half way up that meets the top of the pod slot in the top of the battery when it’s installed. There are a couple of gold-plated contact points at the bottom, which match up with a couple in the battery section, and a rubber flap you pull up to reveal the fill hole for your juice.
The filling hole is comfortably big enough to fit the spout from most e-liquid bottles, and you can twist the rubber cover off to the side so it doesn’t get in the way when you’re refilling. If you turn the pod on its side when filling the process is much easier and you can get the most of its juice capacity. The pod holds 0.8 ml of juice, and has a small hole in the mouthpiece section at the top for you to inhale through.
Overall the pods are pretty simple in design, but they work well enough to get the job done while being simple enough for a beginner to pick up.
LED and USB Charging Port
The device is quite straightforward, so the only remaining design features are the LED light on the front of the SLM and the micro USB port on the bottom. The LED lights up white as you inhale, and flashes when the battery needs to be charged. During charging, it lights up red, and it switches off when it’s completely charged.
The USB port is on the bottom of the device, so it doesn’t interfere with the look of the SLM at all. This means you lay it down to charge, but since everything is completely contained this doesn’t present any issues when it comes to leaking. The base of the device is curved, though, so even when you aren’t charging you can’t stand it up.
Smok SLM Review – In Use
The vapor production from the SLM is pretty good as far as pod systems go. Of course, it definitely can’t compete with mods and sub ohm tanks, but you do get enough vapor for a satisfying experience. There are pod systems – for example the Starss Icon – that do better for vapor production, though, and the amount you get does notably reduce as the charge of the device drops. This is fairly standard but it does seem more notable than it is with some other devices.
As a smoker switching to the SLM, you’ll be happy with the amount of vapor you get, but if you’ve been vaping for a little while you’ll probably find it a little bit disappointing. To me, it was also a little less satisfying in terms of nicotine than other pod-style devices using the same liquid, likely as a result of the reduced vapor production.
The flavor you get from the SLM is really good. You pick up all the flavor components from your juice, and it’s better than most beginner-level devices on this front. It’s still probably not quite at the level of higher-power devices purely because of the reduced volume of vapor you get from each puff, but realistically it’s not a huge difference and you’ll definitely be satisfied with what it can do in terms of flavor.
Battery Life and Charging
The battery on the SLM is pretty small, at 250 mAh, which is around average for pod systems if a little less than usual these days. Combined with the 16 W maximum power output (on a full charge) this means that the battery doesn’t last too long. Through testing, I got through a few hours of vaping with the SLM before it needed to be recharged. This could undoubtedly be better, and many other pod systems beat it on this front.
On the plus side, charging is pretty quick. The SLM goes from being completely dead to fully charged in less than an hour. The included charging cable is quite small but you can vape while charging if you can get your lips to the mouthpiece while it’s plugged in. The LED light switches off when it’s fully charged, so you’ll know when you’re good to unplug and start vaping as usual again.
Ease of Use
The SLM is undeniably easy to get started with. All you need to do is get to grips with refilling – as easy as opening a little flap and dripping e-liquid into the hole it opens up – push the pod down into the battery section and you’re good to go. You need to wait a few minutes after filling up when you’re using a new pod, which is the case for any new coil with any vaping device.
The automatic operation is also a big help when it comes to ease of use with the SLM. You simply take a puff from the mouthpiece when you want to vape, in the same way as you’d take a drag from a cigarette. It works really well as an automatic device, too – I never had an issue with it not responding or any other glitchy behavior throughout my testing.
The only real downside when it comes to ease of use is that the pod can be quite difficult to get out of the battery section once you’ve got it in. You can do it but it needs a pretty firm tug to remove.
Comfort and Portability
The thin, pen-like design of the SLM makes it very comfortable to hold and use. It’s even light enough to hold between your lips hands-free as you vape, and you can easily hold it in your palm or between your thumb and fingers. Portability is also great – it’s so small it can easily slip into a pocket and you won’t have issues getting it in even the smallest purse you’d realistically carry.
The build quality on the SLM is pretty solid, as you’d expect from a Smok device. The biggest criticism is the very tight fit of the pod section into the battery, which feels a little lazy because basically no attention was paid to how easy it is to remove. However, the reliable response from the automatic operation is impressive, and everything else about the device is really well done.