If you’ve been vaping over three years, you certainly know the name Kangertech. The Kanger Protank and Subtank series were pioneering kits in the beginning of the “sub tank” phase of vaping. At the time, Kanger was one of the biggest names in the industry. Then… radio silence.
They’re throwing their hat back in the ring, but the ring is now like a battle royal. They’re entering the flooded pod vape market with a new product called the Gem.
The Gem is a compact refillable kit featuring 2 mL pods and non-removable ceramic coils. Equipped with a loose MTL and automatic draw, the Gen is meant for nic salts or regular e-juice. It’s a pocket-friendly design with a 500 mAh battery that should last through the day.
But should it be on your shopping list? I’ve tested this now for a couple weeks and tested five pods. I have a few things to say that might help you decide.
Kangertech sent me this device free of charge for the purpose of this review.
Price: $ 20.90 (preorder at Heavengifts)
Colors: all black, hot pink, blue, rainbow, green, silver
The Kangertech Gem has a flattened and rounded design that’s similar in body-styling to the SMPO OS. The Gem has a two-tone appearance with a glossy-black center, set between your choice of six metallic colors. I received the green. My first thought when seeing it was, “that’s a good-looking pod vape.”
The Gem is small but not tiny. It’s got a nice heft to it and the finish is done well. It measures 32 mm x 14 mm x 81 mm and it weighs about 56 grams with a full pod. That’s 19 grams more than they state on their website, and I know my scale is accurate.
Instead of colorful LEDs to indicate battery status, the Gem uses three vertical white lights. They’re located near the bottom of the front side and under the Gem logo. It’s a minor and insignificant detail when it comes down to it, but it gives the device a real “gadget” vibe.
As I mentioned, the Gem is along the lines of the SMPO OS (minus the TC and button). It uses ceramic coils, has a similar ergonomic flattened mouthpiece, and they both take magnetic drop in pods. I hate that feature in every device where it exists! I really wish China would get the message that this style connection is too weak and insecure to use.
In a similarly frustrating manner, Kangertech only provides one refillable pod with the kit. I was happy, if not just feeling nostalgic, to test a new device from Kangertech. But those two aspects soured it for me some. Granted, Kangertech sent me five pods to test, but I’m not just a vape reviewer. I’m a consumer!
The Gem pods are really easy to refill. Under the pod, there’s a tiny little black latch that hangs over the bottom of a metal collar. With your nail, or just the edge of a fingertip, scrape up on it and the refill plug will pop open. It’s not flimsy rubber like in most other refillables. It’s a rigid plastic, although it’s quite thin. Still, I imagine it’s strong enough to last the life of the coil in the pod.
That plug fits into a single silicone port. The port is small but because it’s silicone, it will expand to accommodate your droppers. Even glass pipettes will fit. However, because it’s a single-sided refill port, sometimes it can take a little extra time waiting for the juice to equalize on both sides. It’s not a big deal, but it does add a couple seconds to the refill.
I’ve been using Halo high PG juice at 24 mg/mL as well as 18 mg Five Pawns. The airflow is a loose MTL, but it hits quickly and silently. The flavor has turned out to be fairly low, although tasting slightly above average on the first fill. Luckily, the throat hit has a really nice thump. It’s not scratchy or aggressive. However, I tried it with nic salts and found the throat hit to be lacking. Frankly, I’d prefer to get the nic hit I want with half the nicotine consumption. 24 mg/mL regular nic for the win!
The Gem vapor is tad warmer than warm, but it’s really comfortable. I’m not sure how I’d describe the temperature. Maybe “steamy” is a good word? But I wouldn’t go too hard on the Gem. It’ll start to taste dry and devoid of flavor with too many long hits. Some pod vapes can keep up, the Gem cannot.
I’ve tested five pods so far and they all performed the same. I didn’t have any “bum coils.” Besides low flavor and not being conducive to aggressive vaping, I’ve had no real issues at all. Occasionally I might have to wipe the bottom of the pod after a refill, but other than that, there’s been no leaking. Even with thin juice like Halo high PG, I’ve gotten minimal spitting.
The battery life has been pretty good. It charges in about 45-50 minutes and has pass-thru charging. I’ve been able to get through about a refill and a half before the battery needs to be charged. The white LEDs are nice because they’re self-explanatory. You might not remember the exact range, but you know one light means low.
Three lights: Greater than 65%
Two lights: Between 65% and 30%
One light: Less than 30%
I think the Kangertech Gem is a decent little pod vape. It’s got a nice throat hit, and the form factor is appealing. The refill is simple and convenient, and a full battery charge lasts me about a day. While testing it for the review, I was fine with the Gem being in my vape rotation. It never made me mad or swear at it like when I tested the Gala.
The Gem appears to be going for about $20, so it’s a fairly budget-friendly device. But that $20-$25 range for pod vapes and AIOs is super crowded right now. Kanger may want to up the ante a little bit. At this point in vaping, ceramic coils are pretty basic. I hold out hope that there’s going to be more choices for this. A Gem mesh coil, please.