Closed-system pod mods. Love them or hate them, the market is full of them right now. Today we review the latest offering – Los Angeles-based Brewell MFG’s Phix by MLV device. It’s a sleek, simple device finished in anthracite ceramic that comes with a magnetic USB charger and one flavor pod. The Phix vape ships with the essentials you need to start vaping.
Standing taller than the competition, however, does not always equal victory. Just how does the Phix by MLV weigh up against similar pod mods out there? Let’s take a look and find out!
The FDA announced Jan. 2 that it will begin enforcing all Deeming Rule requirements immediately for prefilled pod- and cartridge-based vaping products in flavors other than tobacco and menthol. Products sold after Feb. 2 are subject to enforcement if the FDA has not granted them marketing approval through a premarket tobacco application (PMTA). No PMTAs have been approved for vaping products yet. The FDA guidance only applies to products sold in the United States.
I think the similarities to the JUUL are more than mere coincidence. If you check out their FAQ, you’ll notice something interesting: either both teams employ the same writer, or these two devices are so similar, that someone couldn’t be bothered writing different questions and answers.
Unbox. Pop open blister packet. Pod magnetically clicks into place. Inhale. It’s as simple as that. The Phix ships with one standard tobacco flavor pod. The other four flavors are available as a sampler pack, or as single flavors in a 4-pack. The Phix vape utilizes cCELL ceramic coils in their pods, the first device of its size to do so. The pods use a salt-based nicotine, which is 5% per volume, which is high as hell. If you’re not used to nic that high, take it easy at first.
One thing I really like about the pods is the magnetic connection. They just snap into place, and stay there. The USB charger is also magnetic, and will hold the device in whatever position you leave it. It’s a shame that you can’t pass-through vape with the Phix – when you charge it, you’ll have to take a break.
The internal battery is good for 280mAh or “220 puffs” and unfortunately there is no way to determine when your battery charge is running low. An LED indicator lights up when you inhale and charge the Phix. The pods boast an impressive 1.5mL capacity, almost double that of the JUUL. I’ve noticed that the pods are quite long-lasting, as is the battery charge.
I’ve been vaping the pod that came with the Phix, the “Original Blend Tobacco”. The first thing I notice about the Phix is the draw, which is tighter and smoother than the JUUL. The flavor is on the light side, and doesn’t hit all at once. I would describe it as a dry, classic tobacco. Vapor production is similar to the JUUL. It won’t chuck clouds, but that’s not what it’s designed for. The throat hit is a bit harder on the Phix, but it also depends on how hard you inhale.
One advantage of the Phix over the JUUL has to be the pods. Although a 4-pack retailing at $22.99 seems pricey in comparison to $15.99 per 4-pack for the JUUL, they will last longer. Creative types will always find a way to hack pods, and although this can be done with the Phix pods, it’s difficult to do without damaging the mouthpiece. Altering this affects the vacuum inside the pod and completely changes the airflow and draw.
At first I wasn’t a fan of the ergonomics. The diamond-rhombus shape felt a bit awkward to hold and inhale from. But lately I think it has the edge over the JUUL as it gives you something to hold onto, whereas the JUUL can sometimes easily slip out of the hand.
The base is a tad wobbly, but overall it still feels sturdier than the JUUL—and I appreciate a bit of heft, even for a slim pod mod.
Is the Phix the JUUL killer? In my opinion, no. The biggest differences between the two devices are pod capacity and flavor preferences. I personally find the draw a bit too restricted on the Phix vape, but that might be just what you’ve been missing in the JUUL. The Phix starter kit ($34.99) is cheaper than the JUUL price ($49.99), but you only get one pod included, which is kinda lame. I think Phix should offer vapers a wider range to get them started. Overall though, my choice of pod mod still goes to the Bo One. Flavors are more intense, airflow is looser, and pod capacity is on par with the Phix. But if you’re looking for that nicotine hit and pods that will keep up with you, you could do far worse than the Phix by MLV.