XOLO wants to change the vaping world in a major way. The company’s upcoming, self-titled device is a bold attempt at combining the satisfying experience of advanced vaping devices with the simplicity of a cig-alike. While other companies have attempted this in the past, XOLO is doing so with an emphasis on style and user experience. Here’s a look at the device and the novel way the company is approaching vaping.
Like many of us, XOLO founder & CEO Dr. Taman Powell started off vaping on cig-alike products. Like many of us, he wasn’t fully satisfied with cig-alikes and moved onto more complex devices — RDAs, RTAs, variable-wattage box mods, etc. Although he hasn’t had a tobacco cigarette since he started vaping, he wanted to find a way to bring the experience of advanced devices to anyone that wants to quit smoking.
In many ways, XOLO’s approach to vaping reminds me of Apple’s approach to consumer electronics and computers. The latter has made billions of dollars by offering highly capable consumer electronics that are easy to use and most people find attractive. XOLO’s mission is similar; it wants to offer a beautiful and easy-to-use vaping device to the mass-market consumer.
At XOLO we love vaping, it's really amazing and a much nicer experience than smoking. But we feel that people outside those using advanced -- and probably complicated -- devices don't get to experience this. So to coin a phrase from Apple, we really wanted to make a vape device that "just works." A device that doesn't require you to carry around a bottle of liquid. A device that doesn't require changing coils or cleaning tanks in an ultrasonic cleaner before you change flavors. Basically in building XOLO we just wanted to make vaping as easy as possible without sacrificing the quality of the vape experience.
Whether it’s a smoker in his seventies or a tech-nerd in his twenties, anyone can figure out how to use a XOLO vape. You simply slide the mouthpiece up and puff away. The flavor pods used with the device can be removed and changed in a matter of seconds. When it’s time to charge, you slide the mouthpiece up to reveal a USB Type-C connection. The user experience of the XOLO is simple as can be, which should help give it an exponentially broader reach than the rebuildable atomizers and temperature-control box-mods that so many of us love.
While enthusiast devices can be great and fun to experiment with, they’re daunting to those just starting out with vaping. A simple device like the XOLO is potentially more effective at converting people from smoking to vaping than a complex device, simply because it’s easier to use.
Let’s face it. The vast majority of advanced vaping devices look distinctly like vaping devices. While that’s completely fine with many enthusiast vapers, using an unusual and foreign-looking device is unappealing to the mainstream.
Remember what most MP3 players looked like before the iPod? They ranged from gangly to goofy to flat-out ugly. They didn’t resemble other types of electronics people used. It can be argued that digital music didn’t truly take off until the iPod and iTunes made it more appealing to the masses.
This is another aspect of XOLO that reminds me of Apple. The company has designed something that looks great and blends in with the other devices people use.
We’ve worked hard to make the style of the device more "fashion" as we believe that one of the other factors holding back vaping adoption in the wider smoking market is that the devices are not aesthetically appealing to this market. The design is quite ambiguous and we're producing in a range of colors and also teaming up with great graphic designers to provide even more options.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some beautiful vaping devices out there. Stabilized wood box mods are gorgeous, but a tiny sliver of the overall market. Looking at my Vapor Flask Stout and Billet Box v4 makes me happy. That said, most of the vaping devices on my desk (and living room and kitchen, etc.) look like ugly Chinese electronics. As much as I love my custom Hammond box mods, they look like pieces that were made by a talented high-school student in shop class.
The XOLO vape is made primarily from polycarbonate and will launch in three finishes — black, grey, and white. The device is smaller than a full pack of cigarettes. In some ways, the XOLO reminds me of a much, much better looking version of the Kimree Kimsun Vaportridge JS328.
Whether you think it’s a legitimate consideration or you think it’s nonsense, aesthetics matter. Many people choose their consumer electronics based off of looks, rather than specs. To get more people to stop smoking and start vaping, a beautiful device is needed. That’s what XOLO is trying to be.
In terms of flavors, XOLO will have more than 40 available. The company’s press release notes that it will have “mints, desserts, fruits, spices and blends — from independent small batch specialist producers in the UK and US.” I was told that some of the “best and biggest” brands in vaping will have e-liquid pods for XOLO.
While I’m digging that XOLO is emphasizing aesthetics and ease-of-use in order to reach a broad audience, I have no idea how it vapes. The company claims that it will offer a “high-performance” experience, but I can’t say for sure until I’ve tried the device. Thankfully, that should be happening in the near future.
I've just come back from China where full scale production is well underway and we will be launching throughout the US in just over a week. The device is really pretty amazing. It weights about 85 grams, has a 10-ml pod with around 40 flavors for the US, with more in other geographies. And of course it provides a great vape.
XOLO will be launching next week in the US and the company will be making a special presentation at The Vape Summit. I’m anxious to see if the vaping experience matches the device’s slick style and effortless ease-of-use. To see more of the XOLO, check out the image gallery and video below. I’d love hear your thoughts on it. Do you think that the company has a chance to change the vaping world with this device?