Pod systems have basically taken over vaping in the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. They’re compact while still being satisfying, simple but still capable in terms of performance, and way more affordable than many of the vaping devices out there. The Athenaz from VaporLax aims to fit right into all of these sweet spots, offering a flexible and powerful vaping platform that is about as easy to use as they get and offers plenty of little extras like airflow adjustment to please the more seasoned vapers. It’s also available for just $24.99, making it a pretty appealing option, but is it worth it? We’ve taken an in-depth look at the device for our VaporLax Athenaz review.
Is it Worth Buying?
The Athenaz is a straightforward pod device, ideal for new vapers in particular but with enough power and useful options like adjustable airflow to meet most vapers’ needs. It isn’t the most high-tech or feature-packed pod system, but it’s a fantastic, no-nonsense device that’s more than worth the price-tag. It does exactly what it needs to.
VaporLax Athenaz Review
What You Get
The Athenaz vape starter kit is pretty bare but covers the main essentials you need to get started. It comes in a slim rectangular box, including the battery section, a single 5 ml pod and a USB-C charging cable, along with the manual for the device. This is about as basic as it gets, but while it would have been nice to get a spare pod as standard, this is nothing to complain about considering the price.
VaporLax Athenaz Review – The Design
The Athenaz is a tube-shaped pod vape system, looking a lot like many of the higher-end disposable vapes that have hit the market recently. It’s like a thick, short vape pen, with the pod connecting into the top of the battery and not much else on the body of the device aside from a logo at the bottom and a CE-mark on the opposite side. There are five color options for the Athenaz, including black, brass, rainbow, red and silver. The USB-C port is on the bottom of the device, as well as a small switch that allows you to adjust the airflow through the pod.
The pods for the Athenaz have the same cylindrical shape as the battery section, with an inward curve towards the tip of the mouthpiece so it fits comfortably in your mouth. The shape and width gives it plenty of space for a 5 ml capacity, which is fantastic for a fairly compact pod-style device. It has an orange-colored silicone flap covering the fill hole, which has a little tab so you can pull it up with your fingernail. The pod has a hole going right up through the center for airflow, along with two gold-plated contacts in the middle and two small magnets closer to the edge for connecting to the battery section.
There’s a little switch on the black base of the Athenaz, right above the USB-C charging port, which you use to either open up or close off an additional airflow hole. This is a really smart design choice, offering some adjustment for airflow which is very rare for pod-style devices. The problem for most devices is that the closed format makes it hard to offer an adjustment ring in the same way as sub ohm tanks or similar devices do. There may only be two options, but it gives you the choice of having a more mouth-to-lung style airflow or a direct-to-lung style one, which for a simple device like this is really great.
The design of the VaporLax Athenaz is simple but effective. It’s in line with the other options out there so anyone with experience will feel right at home, yet still has little innovations like the airflow system to set it apart from the crowd.
VaporLax Athenaz – In Use
The Athenaz performs really well, especially for such a simple platform. The vapor production is great, especially with the airflow on the open setting, but still more than satisfying if you prefer closed airflow and mouth-to-lung vaping. It’s very responsive, producing vapor pretty much immediately when you take a puff, and you don’t need “priming puffs” or any other little tricks to get a substantial amount of vapor out of the device. The output is also consistent throughout a charge because it has a fixed 3.8 V firing voltage. Combined with the 0.6 ohm coils this is more than enough for most people – if you want more vapor you should really go for a mod rather than a pod system.
You also get great flavor from the Athenaz. Thanks to the pod’s design and the additional airflow from the bottom of the pod, your vape juices shine through nicely. Usually the advice is to go for less airflow if you want more flavor, but this is one of the cases where more is actually better. Some options for changing settings would have been nice for both of these points, but the solid 3.8 V output does work well anyway.
The Puff-to-Vape System
The “automatic” (i.e. puff to vape) system for the Athenaz makes it ideal for new vapers. However, most hobbyist style vaping devices switched to a manual (push a button to vape) system partially because it’s more reliable. Automatic systems sometimes respond inconsistently and are hard to keep active. The Athenaz doesn’t have these issues at all, it’s easy to activate and it stays on solidly throughout the duration of your puff without glitching or any issues. If you’ve been vaping for a while it may take a little adjusting to but you settle back in pretty quickly, and if it’s one of your first devices it’s perfect.
The fact that the power output is consistent through your charge really helps too. You get a reliable amount of vapor and so there’s no temptation to puff harder if the output is lower, which can flood your coil. It’s not easy to pull off a good automatic inhalation system, but VaporLax has definitely mastered it.
Battery Life and Charging
The Athenaz has a 1,400 mAh battery, which is into the range you’d expect for a small vape mod. For the reasonably low wattage pod systems run at, this is excellent. It uses more power than most pod devices, but the chunky battery more than makes up for it in terms of longevity. You can easily get through a full pod of juice on a single charge (and usually more), and the device recharges in under a couple of hours using the included USB-C cable. This is excellent for a pod system in particular, with enough charge to last you through almost two days of vaping with high-strength nicotine salt e-liquid.
The fact that you have a choice over the airflow is a really big plus-point for the Athenaz, and the switch system works well as a solution to the challenge many pod systems face. That said, with the consistent 3.8 V of the device and the low resistance of the coil, the lower setting leads to noticeably warmer vapor. For mouth-to-lung inhales, the airflow is good, but it would work better with a higher resistance coil or options for lower power settings. This is a case of preference, and it’s not unbearable on the low setting or anything, but I find it more comfortable to use the open setting even for mouth-to-lung vaping.
Ease of Use
The Athenaz definitely has simplicity going for it. You open the flap and put juice in to refill (and the manual reminds you to wait 5 minutes to let the liquid soak in when you first fill), attach the pod using the magnetic connection and you’re good to go. Then it’s a puff-to-vape system so you just inhale like you would from a cigarette. Really this is all you could need from a pod system – I would feel comfortable giving it to a brand new vaper with maybe a minute of explanation. The actual instructions are barely a paragraph long.
There are a couple of minor points that could be improved, though. Firstly, even though the magnetic connection is a good idea, the circular cross-section of the means there’s no indication of how to line it up. You have to check the magnets are in the right place or rotate it until it snaps into place – a little notch on the pod or a mark on the body would have helped. And secondly, the cover for refilling isn’t as easy to open up as most pods out there – it’s a little hard to grip well enough to take out the plug. Sure it is probably less likely to have leaks from there but the regular ones do just fine and are easier to deal with. These are both nitpicking to an extent but for regular tasks it is something you do notice when using it.
Comfort and Portability
The Athenaz is very portable for something with a relatively big battery. It still fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and is easy to slip into a pocket or bag. The only real difference between it and an ordinary pod system in terms of portability is that it’s quite thick, but this doesn’t make a difference in practice. It’s still really small and in combination with the impressive battery life it makes it a fantastic device to use out of the house.
It’s also very comfortable to use. The circular cross-section makes it natural to hold and the mouthpiece is shaped so your lips sit comfortably as you vape. There’s not much too add here – it does what it should do well.
Does the Athenaz Leak?
The Athenaz is a pod system, and so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that leaking isn’t a huge issue in general. The pods are completely closed and so there isn’t much opportunity for leaking from the system. However, over time, whether due to condensation or something else, I did get some build-up around the bottom of the pod. This leads to gurgling as you take a puff, and sometimes a bit of unvaporized juice gets pulled up to the mouthpiece. This is only a minor inconvenience – you just wipe the bottom and it’s good to go – but it’s a little annoying nonetheless.
VaporLax did a great job with the Athenaz in terms of manufacturing. It’s chunky and sturdy, the pod fits snugly with no wiggle and it feels like it could stand up to a knock. The little button for the airflow feels a little flimsy, but generally you’ll just leave this in one location anyway so it’s not a huge issue. On the whole everything works just as you’d want it to.
The VaporLax Athenaz is an excellent pod system, whether you’re new to vaping or you’ve been at it for a while. It’s easy to use, the battery is almost unbeatable in the entire category, and the coils are so well-designed that its performance is easily on par with small mods. There are a few little areas that could have been better, and a few power settings would have been great, but these don’t outweigh its benefits. And for the $24.99 price tag it’s a really solid option – even factoring in the $5.99 per additional pod. It would be a great first pod system and definitely one I’ll keep using on-the-go.