Photos by Mike Huml
The VOOM closed pod system may have the closest representation to the draw of an analog cigarette of any device on the market.
By Mike Huml
The VOOM pod system from Voom Labs is a sleek and simple device for lovers of pod systems. When it comes to pod systems, less is more, and the VOOM keeps operation simple and performance impressive. With the current regulatory climate, many store owners are likely looking to shake up their pod system lineups, and the VOOM should be at the top of the list.
The starter kit comes with the body/battery, a charging cable and a single pod with a strength of 20 mg, or 2 percent, nicotine. Multiple colors are available, and replacement pod packs come in 10 different flavors to suit vapers with a myriad of preferences. These pod packs come in packs of three, and each pod comes prefilled with 1.2 mL of e-liquid. The battery is rated at 320 mAh and should last for the duration of one full pod.
The included proprietary charger uses friction and magnets to secure the battery when charging. This cable-free charger can be used with any USB port and most A/C adapters. The VOOM charges quickly, only requiring approximately one hour to charge from empty to full.
A small LED on the battery will indicate the charge level using varied colors. Green means the battery is fully charged, white indicates a charge greater than 70 percent, blue illuminates between 30 percent and 70 percent, and red warns that the charge is below 30 percent and that charging is required. The LED will also flash to indicate errors such as a short-circuit or a poor pod connection. However, being a pod system, these warnings are few and far between, and these errors generally indicate that the pod should be replaced.
The VOOM is a closed system, so refilling the pods is not possible. This maximizes convenience and simplicity but does limit options for vapers looking for more customization. Each pod uses a proprietary ceramic heating element, which ensures voluminous, satisfying vapor from beginning to end. There is no crackling or popping when the e-liquid is heated, resulting in nothing but a perfectly smooth draw.
Speaking of the draw, the VOOM may be the closest representation of an analog cigarette to date. The airflow is very restricted, resulting in a satisfying draw with rich flavor that doesn’t incorporate any harshness or spitback. Additionally, the soft plastic material and thin design work well for hands-free vaping. Although the body is made of metal, the overall device is light enough to carry between the lips or teeth, depending on personal preference.
The matte finish of the battery flows seamlessly into the soft plastic of the pod. The edges are rounded to maximize the ergonomic feel, and the overall impression of the VOOM is one of pure quality. The pod and battery share opposing diagonal slants where they connect, which ensures that the pod can only be inserted one way. Since many other pod systems don’t apply this restriction, one can only assume that this is for design purposes and doesn’t impact performance or safety in any meaningful way.
It does add a slight angular juxtaposition to the otherwise rounded and ergonomic design, which is subtle but appreciated. The only minor complaint is that there is no window to view the amount of remaining liquid. Once the pod is inserted, the entire e-liquid reservoir is hidden from view. The pod is held in place securely with magnets, so sliding the pod out to view the remaining liquid is quick and effortless.
As for flavor options, the VOOM lineup is a bit strange. There are 10 flavors to choose from: ice watermelon, ice mango, ice grape, ice strawberry, ice lemon, mint, shisha double apple, cigar, roasted coffee and butter tobacco. Out of these 10 flavors, seven of them involve mint or menthol (the shisha double apple also incorporates menthol), and two of them are variations of tobacco. That leaves only one flavor for vapers who don’t like menthol or tobacco flavors, and that’s roasted coffee. Menthol often works to increase the crispness of fruit flavors, but standard fruit flavors are far and away the most popular flavor profile among vapers, so it’s strange to see so much menthol within the flavor lineup.
Overall, the VOOM improves upon the traditional pod system design in terms of vape quality and feel while retaining the simplicity and convenience that makes them so popular. A starter kit retails at $34.99, and replacement pod packs run about $17 for a three-pack. At 1.2 mL per pod, each replacement pack is standard in terms of quantity versus price. Each pack is available in both the standard 20 mg nicotine strength as well as a 35 mg strength. While many pod system and nic-salt liquids are available in strengths of 50 mg or higher, now may be the right time to scale back to lower nicotine strengths.
Due to the heat that certain pod system manufacturers are currently facing, particularly when it comes to nicotine strength and how it relates to youth addiction, many feel that 50 mg is just too much nicotine. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for heavy adult smokers to need this much nicotine if they hope to overcome the grip of smoking analog cigarettes.
There is no clear-cut correct answer, and each store owner is responsible for serving their customers in the best way possible. As such, the nicotine strengths available for the VOOM are perfectly reasonable, but if a store owner finds themselves with numerous customers who haven’t weaned themselves down from a 50 mg e-liquid, the VOOM may be a tough sell. However, it’s important to note that while the difference between 35 mg and 50 mg e-liquids seems very significant on paper, in practice, this shouldn’t be a huge hurdle to overcome. A 35 mg e-liquid is still very high and will likely satisfy the majority of the customer base.
However, for those concerned with extremely high nicotine strengths upward of 50 mg, the VOOM is the perfect pod system in terms of optics. Setting a self-imposed nicotine cap on available e-liquids can show that a store is taking responsibility and actively working to reduce nicotine addiction while still catering to its adult customer base. Each business owner will naturally decide what is best when it comes to available products and which policies to implement, but it should be noted that the VOOM offers a potential opportunity to address the current issues in vaping through action for stores that find it necessary.
It’s also no secret that pod systems and flavors available in convenience stores are under threat, meaning that dedicated vape shops should be gearing up to carry more of these pod systems and replacement pods for vapers alienated by regulation. Even the threat of regulation has prompted some pod system manufacturers to discontinue certain flavors or reevaluate where those flavors are sold.
While veteran vapers can currently still order online, many newer users (and particularly users of pod systems) are more comfortable purchasing from a physical location. By broadening a product line, a store can work to bolster its customer base but also prepare for the contingency of restricted online sales. Although the vapor industry has been in regulatory limbo for many years at this point, the call for regulation has now hit a fever pitch. Regulation is coming, and businesses most capable of adapting stand the best chance of weathering the storm. The VOOM is a great place to begin when reworking a product line with the expectation of garnering new customers.
As a product, the VOOM performs well among the best pod systems available but also comes along at a time when many are likely looking to adopt new pod systems. When making that switch, the VOOM offers the highest quality and an opportunity to address many of the issues pertaining to the vapor industry at large.
With vape shops rumored to be exempt from an impending restriction on certain products, nicotine strengths or flavors, Voom Labs is offering a great product at the ideal time. Although it’s like many other pod systems, now is not the time to reinvent the wheel. As product refinement continues, VOOM is offering exactly what is needed: a durable, quality product that won’t be easily replaced by similar products that can also serve to address some major issues pertaining to regulation and increase adaptability for a store’s product line.
The perfect vapor product is entirely subjective and may not exist at all. However, the VOOM may be the perfect pod system to consider right now. On its own, the VOOM is a fantastic product overall, but given all the outside factors, this could be one of the best additions to a store’s lineup to act as a response to impending regulation.