Vapeonly Arcus Review
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If you’re looking for a tiny mouth-to-lung vaporizer for vaping on the go, the Vapeonly Arcus is right up your alley. Measuring just 104 mm from the top of the drip tip to the bottom of the battery, and 16.8 mm in diameter, the Arcus is by far the smallest new generation e-cig I have ever used.
Advanced features like variable wattage/voltage, temperature control or juice flow control are really cool if you have the time and patience to learn how to use them properly, but the fact of the matter is most people don’t. There’s a reason why obsolete cigalikes like the VUSE or Mark Ten are by far the best selling e-cigarettes in the Unite States – the vast majority of ex-smokers or those looking to quit are looking for simple alternatives to cigarettes. So it makes sense that a lot of independent e-cig companies are returning to the basics in order to appeal to this huge chunk of the vaping community. Joyetech released the popular eGo AIO, SMOK came out with the Stick One series and the list goes on. These are compact, easy-to-use devices that offer a vaping experience very close to what you normally get with advanced mods.
The latest player to join the fight for the casual vaper market is Vapeonly, with their tiny Arcus Express starter kit. This tiny e-cig comes in a white and grey cardboard box with a picture of the Arcus on the front and the Vapeonly logo on the back. There is no other information available on the packaging, but luckily the Chinese company includes a beefy user manual that explains all the features of the device in detail.
A Look at the Contents
The kit includes the an Arcus battery (900mAhh), a 2 ml tank, two coil heads (1.0 Ω and 1.5 Ω), a USB charging cable, a spare stainless steel drip tip, and a bag of colorful o-rings to customize your device. All you need is some e-liquid and you’re ready to start vaping. It’s a pretty nice offering for a starter kit that currently sells for about $20, but if there was one thing I would have liked to see included, it’s an extra battery. 900mAh is a surprisingly large battery capacity for a device this small, and the Arcus really is tiny, but it’s just not going to last you a full day if you’re going to vape it exclusively. And when it runs out of power, unless you have a another e-cigarette, you’re basically forced to take a break from vaping. Sure, the micro USB charging cable makes it possible to use the Arcus while it’s charging, but only if you have a USB port available. I think two batteries would have been ideal, even at a slightly higher price.
The design of the Vapeonly Arcus combines the classic cylindrical shape of the original eGo-style devices with modern elements like airflow control, a top filling system, transparent drip tip and a unique hourglass-shaped tank chimney. I for one think it’s a very nice looking device, and I particularly liked that you can customize its look a little bit by replacing the orange o-rings of the tank with several other colors to make it stand out.
Battery Life and Performance
As I mentioned in the beginning, the battery life of the Arcus is not very impressive when compared with other mods we have available these days, but you have to take its small size into consideration. The battery itself if about the size of my little finger, and even with the tank attached, this device is slightly longer than my index finger. I’m actually surprised Vapeonly was able to cram 900mAh of power into such a small package.
In real life conditions, I wasn’t able to get more than three hours of use out of the Arcus, when using it exclusively. That sounds pretty disappointing, but then again, I’m used to high-power mods like the SMOK H-Priv or the Joyetech Cuboid, so I was using this little guy pretty heavily trying to get the amount of vapor and nicotine my body was craving. When using it alongside one of these high-power mods, the Arcus actually got me through a whole day without needing a recharge. I mostly relied on it when I went out of the house, to be honest, which is basically what this thing is really for.
For complete beginners, the Vapeonly Arcus is a far superior alternative to cigalikes sold by Big Tobacco, both in terms of battery life and overall performance, but for intermediate and advanced vapers, the small battery capacity makes impossible to use exclusively. However, its small size and slick design make it the perfect choice for outings or situations when you need to stealth vape.
I was impressed with the fact that during a whole week of testing, I did not experience any juice leakage, which is a pretty big positive for any vaping device. The top-filling system definitely makes leaking less of a problem, but the insulation on the bottom-inserted coil heads also plays a part in making leaking a non-issue.
After seeing the tiny wicking holes on the Arcus coil heads, I was convinced that chain vaping this little guy would only result in dry hits, but I couldn’t be more wrong. Even with 70VG/30PG juice, the coil was somehow able to draw enough e-liquid to prevent the cotton from burning. I vaped on it almost continuously until the plastic drip tip started to get hot, but didn’t experience any dry hits.
I wasn’t expecting too much from the Arcus in terms of vapor production, considering it has a power output range of 7W – 17W. I usually vape at around 70W so, I knew this wasn’t going to be the most satisfying vaping experience of my life. But comparing the Vapeonly Arcus to high-power mods really isn’t fair, because it wasn’t designed to compete with them. This is an entry-level device, and keeping that in mind, I can say it puts out decent vapor, especially if you prime the coil for a couple of seconds before drawing on the e-cig.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t match the performance of devices like the Joyetech eGo AIO or the SMOK Stick One Plus, and I’d say that has a lot to do with the tiny wicking holes on the proprietary coil heads of the Arcus. They are basically pinholes that just don’t allow juice to flow into the coil as freely as I’d like and also make the draw a bit too tight, even with the airflow slots fully opened. If these holes were just a bit bigger, I’m sure vapor production would be a lot better. As it stands, I can only say it’s better than a cigalike, but nowhere near as good as other devices in its category.
Tank and coil heads
The Arcus tank has a juice capacity of 2 ml, which might seem insufficient when compared with behemoths like the Geek Vape Griffin 25, but for a low-power mouth-to-lung device 2 ml is quite decent.
From what I could tell, hourglass chimney has a strictly aesthetic purpose. You’ll notice its shape affects how the juice looks inside the glass tank, making it seem discolored at the top and bottom, where the stainless steel is closer to the glass. One thing you should keep in mind when filling the tank, is to pour the e-liquid near the edge of the chimney so it can drop in the tank through those long slits, not in the center shaft, or you’ll flood the coil.
The tiny coil heads of the Vapeonly Arcus have a proprietary design, so you won’t be able to use them with other devices. Replacing the preinstalled coil gave me a bit o a headache, and I actually had to consult the user manual to figure it out. They don’t screw on to the base as with most tanks. Instead, after removing the bottom of the tank, you have to pull them out, which can be a problem if you just clipped your nails. They have a small o-ring on one end that makes them sit snug in the tank chamber, so pulling them out requires a good grip and a bit of pressure. Once you’ve taken the old coil out, just push a new one in, screw the base back on to the tank and you’re good to go.
Flavor-wise the Vapeonly Arcus is decent, but nothing to write home about. It doesn’t mute the taste completely, but I just expected more from a mouth-to-lung device. Maybe I just got used to high-power vaping and finding that sweet spot where the flavor of the juice is best, or maybe its the design of the coils, but the flavor just wasn’t as intense as I would have liked. It’s still better than what you get from cigalikes, though.
Would I recommend the Vapeonly Arcus? Well, yes and no. If you’re thinking about quitting cigarettes and are looking for a small, easy-to-use alternative, the Arcus is definitely a much better option than cigalikes or a simple eGo device. The thing is there are better devices available for about the same price. The Joyetech eGo AIO, the SMOK Stick One Plus, or the Innokin Endura T18 come to mind, but there are more. Yes, they are a few millimeters longer and thicker than the Arcus, but they also have a longer battery life, produce more vapor and are just as easy to carry around.