While the CE3 is the successor to the CE2 in name, it shares very little with its predecessor other than the ability to heat liquid into vapor. The new version is designed with the heating element at the base of the unit rather than being perched atop a steel tube. The Somkymizers probably have more in common with the G4 cartomizers than the CE2 lineup.
[update: my review of the Vortex 2.0, the updated version of the G4 is now live - SteveK]
The similarities to the G4 include a center chamber to keep liquid out of the coil area with a tube that extends to the mouthpiece of the cartomizer. However, the overall design of that center tube/chamber is quite different in the CE3. The wick protrudes from the top of the chamber and therefore, no eliquid flows to the sides of the heading coil's cozy little home.
A small hole exists opposite the wick opening on the top of the coil housing to allow airflow and improved wicking. Most importantly, unlike the G4, the CE3 actually keeps it's liquid payload inside the cartomizer. I detected no leaks after leaving a Smokymizer sitting upright on the battery connector overnight.
|Not your father's CE|
Externally, the difference is immediately noticeable. Gone are the clear acrylic (or steel) tubes and instead a completely different semi-transparent plastic. The new tubes aren't just there to look pretty in their new colors, this new plastic virtually eliminates the cracking issues that plagued both the CE2 and the G4 cartomizers.
The new tubes are also thicker and taper at the bottom to accommodate the atomizer portion of the CE3. If you use accessories with your cartomizers such as eGo cones, there's a good chance they won't fit around the Smokymizers. The good news is standard 510 drip tips fit without an issue.
Filling and Cleaning
When the time comes to fill the CE3, it's hard not to notice things are different now. The fact that each 5 pack of these things come with a set of tweezers in addition to the traditional filling needle and a nice 510 drip tip should also have been a clue things have changed. Also in the pack (and easy to mistake as nothing) a tiny black rubber stopper.
|We're going to need to operate|
That little cap is a spare for the one that is located inside the cartomizer covering the fill hole. As you may have guessed because you're smart like that, the tweezers are required to remove and replace that minuscule cap. Carrying around a syringe to fill cartomizers is bad enough, but also having to tote around a pair of tweezers may be just a bit over the top.
I particularly found replacing the stopper frustrating. I just couldn't get the plug lined up with the hole and pushed in. I learned this little trick which I will now pass on to you. Hold the cartomizer parallel to the ground, making sure the fill hole is on the bottom. Use the tweezers to place the stopper in the hole but don't try to push it in. Flip the tweezers around and push the cap all the way into the hole with the handle of the tweezers.
I could also grouse about the condensation build up, but it really hasn't been a huge deal breaker for me. Basically condensation forms when the vapor trapped between the tip and the top of the cartomizer cools. Once condensed, the liquid has a tendency to flow back into the airhole leading to the coils which causes some slight gurgling. Removing the cartomizer and a quick puff into the tip will blow most of the excess out.
Finally, I had some trouble in the disassembly department. Despite the fact the included instruction card clearly outlines a process for disassembly and cleaning, my attempt in doing so was not a success. Two problems plagued my valiant effort to take these things apart.
First, the tube is easy enough to remove as the instructions imply. The problem is, the inner tube and atomizer cover doesn't come out when you remove the tube. That thing is wedged in there and it took quite a bit of coaxing with a paper clip to work it out.
|Way harder than it looks|
You would think that it's not entirely necessary to remove that inner housing since the coil and wick are the things that need to be cleaned. Very true, but the problem comes in reassembling. The wick sticks through the top of that housing through a hole, much the same way thread goes through the needle. Except the thread frays incredibly easily and the needle hole appears to be smaller than the thread.
Once I finally did get the wick threaded and the whole mess reassembled, the cartomizer was still doomed. As soon as I filled the thing up, my liquid began just running out the battery connector hole. Apparently my wick wasn't fully threaded. While I'm not saying disassembly can't be done, it's just not something for people as uncoordinated as I.
I guess the big question here is if the Smokymizer's performance outweighs the potential hassle of having to use tweezers and trying not to lose the tiny little caps. I would like to mention at this point, the version I purchased is the higher resistance variety (2.9 ohm). Therefore, performance on my eGo battery wasn't that spectacular. Going with the lower resistance version should improve the performance on those types of batteries.
|The test subjects|
I used a few different e-cigarette mods to test the Smokymizer including the Provari for higher voltages and the Puresmoker Icon 1.1 for 3.7 volt. I think the sweet spot for these cartos is anywhere between 3.7 and 4v. They work well up to 4.5v but there isn't much of a performance bump. I detected a burnt taste at 5 volts, however, some users reported a good experience all the way up to 6 so the e-liquid in use may play a role.
The vapor production is pretty good, it's not the biggest fog machine I've ever used, but it produces a substantial cloud of vapor. As is pretty typical with bottom coil cartomizers, the vapor temperature runs on the cool side of the scale. Oddly, I always consider throat hit to be more dependent on the e-liquid, but I found the CE3s to have a less pronounced throat hit than I expected.
Flavor production is good with no funny aftertastes. The cartomizer didn't really bring out any of the subtle notes in my test e-liquid either. I'd call the flavor middle of the road, but not offensive. I'd say this is probably on par with a lot of clearomizers I've tried.
I normally talk about draw in these reviews, but that's sort of an odd thing with these cartomizers. The draw varied widely depending on which e-cigarette I used. For example the draw was fairly average on an eGo, airy on others, but on the Icon, the connector sealed off all vent holes making it impossible to draw without adding a 510 to 510 adapter.
Too Long; Didn't Read
The CE3 Smokymizer is a radical departure from its predecessor the CE2. In many regards, it is the total opposite of the original with its bottom coil and resulting cooler vapor. While the CE2 wasn't exactly easy to fill, the CE3 complicates matters even more by requiring the use of tweezers to manipulate a tiny plug and still requiring a syringe to fill. Performance is fairly competent, but I think like the CE2 before it, the CE3 will be one of those things people either love or hate.
- No leaking from the battery connector
- Available in a variety of colors
- Improved tube to significantly reduce cracking
- Accepts standard 510 drip tips (and comes with one)
- Decent performance
- Complicated to fill
- Disassembly and successful reassembly very difficult
- Filler hole stopper very small and easy to lose
- Requires the use of tweezers in addition to a syringe