Johnson Creek Vea Starter Kit

Johnson Creek’s Vea e-Cigarette: Review

The Johnson Creek Vea e-cigarette has finally hit the market after months of previews and hints dropped by the company.  This marks the first attempt at e-cigarette hardware by the company which until now focused on its Smoke Juice line of e-liquids.  The Vea ecig was, according to the company, designed from the ground up for vapers by vapers.  Find out if they hit it out of the park or struck out in this review of the Johnson Creek Vea.

Johnson Creek Vea Starter Kit

Who’s the Vea for

  • Users interested in a mid-range e-cigarette that offers more than the mini styles
  • People who want something a little more stylish
  • Customers who want an e-cigarette with a good warranty and documentation

What’s in Vea’s box:

Johnson Creek’s freshman e-cigarette offering comes in a handsome retail-style box.  The box features a window for viewing an assembled e-cigarette and the second battery. The full contents of the box are:

  • 2 Vea 650 mAh batteries
  • 5-pack cartomizers (prefilled or blank) +1 blank carto on the e-cig
  • Friction mounted cartomizer cone
  • USB cable
  • AC Adapter
  • Warranty card
  • Printed, illustrated user’s manual
Special note, the cartomizer that comes on the pre-assembled e-cigarette doesn’t count as one of the included 5.  But, if you ordered pre-filled cartomizers in your starter kit, take note, the installed cartomizer is not filled.  I found that one out the hard way.

The Johnson Creek Vea’s Design

While the Vea sort of resembles your run-of-the-mill eGo e-cigarette, there are quite a few differences.  According to the company, the Vea spent about a year in the design process. During that year, the company took input from its employees and other regular e-cigarette users and incorporated it into the design.

johnson creek vea coneThe result is a device that was built from the ground up to complement the company’s Smoke Juice offerings.  The idea was to build something where all the different parts work together for a great experience.

From an aesthetic standpoint, I think they certainly reached that goal.  The Vea is just a good-looking e-cigarette.  The main color is a sort of deep red with silver accents.

The entire device from the battery to the cartomizer and cone match the color scheme well.  Logos are absolutely minimalist with a monotone oak tree logo on the battery that blends in so well, it’s almost hard to see.

Along with the color scheme goes the texture of Johnson Creek’s Vea. JCOSJ wanted to do a non-slip surface on the e-cigarette.  I’ve seen plenty of eGos that have a similar rubberized finish, but there’s something about the way Johnson Creek does it that makes it feel more refined.

Rather than feeling like a coating, the entire device has a sort of satin feel to it. The feel is still very much metallic. The texture not only covers the battery, but also the cone as well further lending to the very finished feel of the device.

Battery and Cone.

Beyond the looks, there are a few marquee features on the battery itself.  While not exactly new, the 3 click on/off switch is always a nice feature, as is USB pass through charging.

johnson creek vea usb pass through charging

I hate carrying around those little e-cigarette chargers to be honest, so I’m a big fan of USB pass-through charging.  Just unscrew the cap and plug in a mini-USB cable to charge.  The e-cigarette still functions while charging, so you can use it as a true pass-through device.

Unlike eGo pass-throughs, the charger port is recessed allowing the end cap to sit nearly flush. There is also a red LED light by the USB port.  This light serves two purposes.

First, as you might imagine it lights up to let you know it’s charging.  But it also lights up when you press the button.  This makes more sense, when you note the end cap has a V logo cutout.

When you vape, the end will light up with a red “V”.  This is likely a feature that some will love and others will hate.  There doesn’t seem to be a way to disable that feature.

While I’m an eGo comparison kick, I’ll also mention that the Vea is a bit more zaftig than your every day eGo e-cigarette.  The Vea is a little taller and fatter than a 650 mAh eGo despite both having the same mAh rating.

Finishing off the bottom of the battery section of the device are a couple of holes near the end cap.  These are vent holes that would allow outgassing should there be some sort of catastrophic battery failure. These are in addition to typical safety features like vents at the top of the battery and weak endpoints.

The top of the battery features oversized air slots at the cartomizer connector.  Under the battery connector is a silicone ring.  This ring provides friction to hold the cone in place.

The slide-on battery cone (one of the unique features of the device) works well.  The fit is snug and the cone doesn’t readily come off.

The cone is both there to make things look pretty and help with performance.  Using the device without the cone, the draw seems a bit looser which does seem to reduce vapor production a tiny amount.

Vea Cartomizers

Much like the rest of the Vea, the cartomizers are also a little different from similar commodity gear. On the surface, the cartos sport the same color scheme as the rest of the electronic cigarette. For the technically inclined, the cartomizers meter in at 2.0Ω

johnson creek vea cartomizersThe one thing you can see from the outside of the carto is the end-cap.  Unlike most cartomizers, the rubber end cap has a little ridge that sticks up.  This allows for (theoretically) easier filling.

I’m sort of clumsy, so for me, it’s still easier to jam a paper clip in there to pull the cap off. The idea was to make it easier to just pop the top and add more e-liquid into the carto.  Interestingly, the end cap has a small tube that protrudes into the cartomizer’s air tube.

Peering into the cartomizer, the air tube appears to be somewhat wider than typical cartomizers.  There also appears to be a little less filler material than I’m used to.  That would explain why these cartomizers only hold 1ml despite being a fairly long cartomizer.

Filling is a little tricky because there’s not a lot of room to drip with such a large air tube.  Johnson Creek recommends a specialized tip they have available on their site. You could also use a needle tip bottle, syringe, or that neat cartomizer injector I reviewed a while ago.

Documentation and Warranty

Before I talk about my experience, I wanted to mention some stuff I generally don’t spend a lot of time on.  Mostly I don’t talk in-depth about the documentation or warranty because it can vary widely by vendor.  Since JCOSJ is the only vendor here, and I think their stuff is actually pretty good, I’m going to mention it.

johnson creek vea user guide

First, the documentation is by far some of the best I’ve seen.  Not only is it not some broken English pamphlet that may or may not be relevant to the product, it’s actually darn good.

The manual has good illustrations throughout and of course information on the basic use.  It also goes beyond that including instructions on refilling the cartomizer and things like how to troubleshoot and clear a flooded cartomizer.

The warranty is good too.  I’m sure there are a lot of vendors who offer warranties that are as good as better, but a couple of things caught my eye.  First, the warranty covers the batteries for six months which is pretty rare for midrange class devices.

Even more interesting is that they’ll cover return shipping if you ever do need to send something back provided you meet their RMA guidelines.  I can’t tell you how many things I never returned just because I didn’t want to pay return postage.

Using the Johnson Creek Vea

Ok, so the Vea was designed to all work in perfect harmony and looks like a cohesive unit.  The question is does that actually translate into performance.

Johnson creek vea detailThe answer is generally yes.  I opted for pre-filled cartomizers to get the full experience, but I also used other e-liquid and didn’t notice that anything really changed using Johnson creek stuff especially.

Speaking in generic terms, the Vea performs pretty decently.  It’s perhaps not the most high performance device out there in the midrange class, especially with devices like the Twist on the market now.

However, I sort of get what Johnson Creek was going for here.  This kit is designed as a complete solution.  They weren’t exactly looking for something that would work well with every other piece of hardware out there.

In fact, you can’t even use eGo specific cartomizers without an adapter because it lacks eGo threads, not being an eGo and all.

The point is that it should work well on its own, which it does.  I’m actually sort of fascinated by how well it works in concert.  I tried to test the voltage output, but like eGo devices, it uses pulse modulation to regulate the voltage so I couldn’t get a reading.

Based on using other cartomizers (510 threaded stuff works fine) it seems like the voltage is a little low on the Vea.  The Vea is listed at 3.7v, but it is likely outputting something closer to an eGo at 3.4 or so.

Despite the lower voltage, the vapor is quite warm coming out of the Vea. That won’t happen with a regular eGo.  Flavor and throat hit are also pretty good, and more pronounced that I would expect.

Too Long; Didn’t Read

The Johnson Creek Vea e-cigarette is an absolutely gorgeous and solid e-cigarette.  The device is geared toward the midrange of the market: people who want to move beyond a mini e-cigarette, but aren’t looking for some of the more complicated solutions out there. It performs pretty well if you want to stay on the rails and keep everything simple.  If you like to experiment with a lot of different hardware, this may not be the best choice in the world. You can purchase one from Johnson Creek.

Pros:

  • Beautiful styling
  • Solid construction
  • All components work together
  • Excellent documentation
  • Good warranty and support
  • Easy on/off cone, USB charging, 3-click on/off

Cons:

  • Unable to disable light up V logo
  • Works best when constrained to the Vea ecosystem
  • Not compatible with eGo-specific cartomizers

Details:

Product Name: Vea Starter Kit
Available From: Johnson Creek Original Smoke Juice
Price: $59.95
Threading: 510 (not eGo compatible)
Battery: 650mAh 3.7v (regulated lower)

Disclosure: I feature affiliate links for Johnson Creek 

 

 
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