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4stars

SMOK Guardian 40W Pipe Review

Price: $77

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If you want to be vaping like a ‘Sir’, there’s no better way to do it than with a stylish e-pipe. Luckily there are plenty such devices to choose from these days, and the newest one is the Guardian 40W from SMOK. This ‘Poker’ style e-pipe not only looks good, but also comes packed with a variety of features, like variable wattage, temperature control and upgradable firmware. But should you get it over the older Guardians and e-pipes made by other manufacturers? Lets find out:

A Look at the Contents

SMOK-Guardian40W

The Guardian 40W kit comes in the usual SMOK packaging – a large cardboard box with a paper wrapper featuring a picture of the device on the front and all the usual information and warnings on the back. The kit contains the Guardian mod which is essentially the bulky part of the pipe, a SMOK Helmet Nano tank and a stylish pipe drip tip. There’s also a USB charging cable, a spare coil head for the tank, some spare o-rings and a user manual. It’s pretty much what you would expect this sort of kit to be. Apart from the e-liquid, you have everything you need to start vaping.

Design and Build Quality

The SMOK Guardian 40W is a modern take on the classic Poker pipe, called that for its flat bottom which allowed poker players to place it straight on the poker table. The bowl of the e-pipe – which houses the chip and the battery – is cylindrical and has a nice cherrywood grain finish that actually looks very authentic. On the top of the bowl, instead of a big hole for tobacco, we have a circular display, while the flat bottom conceals the charging port and battery venting holes. On the outer wall of the pipe bowl, facing the tank and the drip tip, we have the fire button, which has a rather cheap feel, in my opinion. It works fine, it just doesn’t go with the otherwise elegant design of the device. It’s a cheap plastic button that doesn’t even match the color of the bowl.

Guardian4-e-pipe

Branching out of the main body of the e-pipe is a SMOK Helmet Nano tank with an e-liquid capacity of 1.7 milliliters. That’s pretty low for this day and age, and if you plan on vaping at the highest power level (40W), you’ll have to constantly fill up the tank. However, if you don’t plan on using sub-ohm coil heads, it should last you a few hours. The tank has a black-and-gold color theme and the logo of a Spartan warrior plastered on it. While cool-looking, it really doesn’t fit on what is supposed to be an elegant pipe. Again, that’s just my personal opinion, and this detail doesn’t affect the performance of the device in any way.

Finally, the removable plastic drip tip is flattened and elongated, just like the tip of an actual pipe. It looks really good, but if find it uncomfortable to use, you can always swap it with your own drip tip. That would ruin the whole look of the pipe though. You can also use any other 510 tank, for that matter, but it would have to be something really small, otherwise you will again screw up the whole look of the device.

SMOK-Guardian-4

The tank itself is nothing to write home about. It’s a decent tank that does its job, but it’s nowhere as impressive as other SMOK tanks, like the TFV4 Nano, for example. What I found interesting was the cup-like design similar to that of the Joyetech Cubis, and the bottom-feeding coil heads, also similar to those used by Joyetech atomizers.

I like the overall look and feel of the SMOK Guardian 40W, but there are a few details that I think were not very well thought out. Luckily, they don’t affect the performance of the e-pipe at all, so unless the cleanliness of the design is a really big factor for you, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

SMOK-Guardian40W-pipe

Display and Menu System

At first glance, it appears that the screen of the Guardian e-pipe is very generous for its size, but once you turn it on by pressing the power button five time in rapid succession you realize that it only takes up a small part of the pipe bowl, with rest being just dead space. Normally, I would consider that to be a small con, because the information displayed would be too small to see clearly, but SMOK has found a solution to this problem – putting less stuff on the screen at any given time. You only have the wattage/temperature, the atomizer resistance and the battery life icon. However, in the menu, you can switch the resistance indicator with amps, real-time voltage or pre-heat effect (Min., Soft, Normal, Hard, Max.). So you basically have all the info provided by an advanced mod, but you just can’t have it all displayed at the same time.

The Guardian 40W features the classic SMOK menu system, but since it only has one button, the navigation is a bit different. Basically, the browsing and changes are done with short and long presses of the button.

SMOK-Guardian4-display

To access the menu, you have to press the fire button three times rapidly. You can then browse through the sub-menus with short presses of the same button. You can bump up the wattage/temperature, turn them down, switch between power mode and temperature control, set and reset the puff counter, customize the info displayed on screen, and turn off the device. These are all options we’ve seen on advanced SMOK mods before, the only thing that is different is the navigation. It can take a while to get used to, especially if you’re not familiar with the menu, but once you get the hang of it, browsing through the settings and making changes is actually pretty simple.

Battery Life and Overall Performance

The SMOK Guardian 40W features a non-removable 1000 mAh battery, which sounds pretty underwhelming, but is actually decent for such a small and light device. It’s very hard to estimate how much you’ll be able to vape on a full charge, because that depends on what wattage/temperature you are vaping at and how much you’re using the device. All I can do is share my personal experience so you can get an idea of what you can expect.

Guardian40W-pipe

I have been using this e-pipe for about a week now, with the pre-installed 0.4Ω coil head, at 30W, and I’ve been getting a good five hours out of it. That’s not bad for such a small vaporizer, especially since isn’t really the kind of tool most vapers would use exclusively. It’s more of a novelty item, something that you can puff on while you sit in your rocking chair on a cold winter night. I certainly don’t see myself taking this pipe with me when I go out, it’s for home use only, and only on special occasions.

For a novelty item, the Guardian 40W vapes pretty well, but I guess it all depends on your expectations. You have to remember that this device has a maximum power output of just 40W, which is pretty low compared to high-power vaporizers like the SMOK G-Priv or the SMOK Alien, so you’re not going to get those big clouds of thick vapor while using it. But if you’re looking for something that emulates the pipe smoking experience, it’s actually pretty good.

SMOK-Guardian-4-pipe

The bottom-feeding coils do a good job of soaking up the e-liquid despite the horizontal orientation of the tank when vaping, and the vapor production is average, which is just fine for an e-pipe. Although the SMOK website lists the two stainless steel coil heads as 0.6Ω, mine are both 0.4Ω. I don’t know if it’s an error on the site, or if mine came with different coils because it was a sample. All I can say is that the coils I have work very well, and produce good vapor at around 30W on the Hard pre-heat setting.

Another great thing about the Guardian is that it’s virtually leak-proof thanks to the cup-like design of the Helmet Nano tank. On the downside, it doesn’t have airflow control, and the draw is surprisingly airy for an e-pipe. If you’re looking for a mouth-to-lung vape, you’re better off with the Joyetech Elitar pipe, but if you prefer direct lung hitting, definitely go for the Guardian 40W.

SMOK-Guardian40W-e-pipe

I’ve had no technical problems with the SMOK Guardian so far, the power button is very responsive, there’s hardly any delay when pressing it, and as I said, leaking is a non-issue.

Conclusion

The Guardian 40W is a great choice for vapers looking for a classic poker-style e-pipe packed with pretty much all the features of an advanced mod. The design is definitely its strong point, although there are a few small details that don’t quite match the overall look of the device, but the vaping experience is also decent. The few things I didn’t like about it were the small capacity of the tank – just 1.7 ml – and the lack of airflow control. The default setting is great for people who enjoy an airier vape, but it’s definitely not suitable for MTL fans.

Guardian40W-e-pipe

I couldn’t find too many online stores that carried the SMOK Guardian 40W, for some reason, but the few that did have it for sale listed it as either available for pre-order or sold out. The price was very surprising. Heaven Gifts sells it for a whopping $77, which is surprisingly high. You could buy a high quality advanced mod for that price, so unless you’re a collector, I suggest waiting for the price to drop before pulling the trigger.

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