On April 26, 2022 the FDA issued a marketing order allowing the NJOY Ace and three tobacco-flavored refill pods to be sold in the United States. The Ace is the first pod-based vaping device to earn FDA authorization. However, the agency left NJOY's menthol refill pods in review, and denied applications for Blueberry and Tropical Twist refills.
In 2019, the Ace was one of my favorite devices. After two years and several NJOY Ace purchases, my original opinion has changed.
For those still new to the device, the NJOY Ace is prefilled pod vape with a sophisticated look. It’s stealthy, but compact and solid. It’s a one-step device. Drop in a pod. Vape when ready.
Technically there are four different flavor pods to choose from: Classic Tobacco, Cool Menthol, Blueberry, and Watermelon Twist. (Unfortunately, only the menthol and tobacco flavors are available in the United States.) Each pod contains 1.9 mL of vape liquid, and 5.0% or 2.4% nicotine. The max nicotine amount is similar to JUUL, yet the pods contain more than twice the amount of vape juice.
Price: $19.99 (for the device), $9.99 (for a pack of two pods)
Availability: Various convenience stores; sold exclusively online at electrictobacconist.com
The NJOY Ace feels premium in comparison to similar devices. The term sleek is truly appropriate here. It looks fresh off the designer’s table.
Although the Ace has no buttons, it might be mistaken for some sort of futuristic clicker. You could have it on your work desk without eyebrows being raised.
There’s only one color way. Black and grey. The black is a hard and glossy plastic, and the grey soft-touch finger pads add a contrast in textures. It’s easy to grip and comfortable to hit. It’s larger and heavier than the JUUL, but it’s got a bigger battery for longer run times. It’s a tradeoff. Still, its flattened, oval-like shape is concealable in most adult hands.
The complete Ace measures approximately 3.5” x 1.1” x 0.5” and it weighs a tad over two ounces. At only 3.5” tall, the Ace is not very big at all, but it’s not so small that it’ll be easy to lose. Unlike the JUUL, which can sometimes even get lost in your pocket!
The Ace comes in a branded corrugated box, not flimsy cardboard. Inside it, you’ll find your Ace battery and a micro-USB charge cord. But you have to buy flavor pods at the time of purchase, or you’ll just have the battery.
The magnetic flavor pods come in packs of two and cost $9.99 for the pack. Pop one out of the package and remove the rubber plugs from the bottom and top of the pod. Those are there to prevent any possible leaking from the pods in transit. The pods won’t accidentally slip out, but personally I’d prefer them to be held in bit stronger.
You won’t have to designate a whole afternoon to reading an instruction manual! It’s totally uncomplicated.
That’s it. Vapor is made as you draw on it. The Ace has what’s called an automatic-draw, which means there’s a chip inside the device that turns it on when it senses you drawing on it. It’s immediate. Once you stop drawing on it, it goes into sleep mode until you puff again.
Even though American vapers are now relegated to just the tobacco and menthol flavors, they’re still good. I do sorely miss the watermelon twist though. I’m leaving my original take on the other two flavors due to them being available in other parts of the world.
Classic Tobacco: I really like this flavor. It’s got a slightly sweet and nutty taste, which is actually close to the smell of a fresh pack of cigarettes. But since nothing is burning, don’t expect to taste a cigarette. If you’ve been vaping for a long time and remember “555” tobacco flavors, this is close to that.
Cool Menthol: If you are/were a menthol smoker, you’re in luck! Cool Menthol has the cooling feeling that only a menthol smoker can appreciate. It’s not aggressively cold on the throat, but it’s undeniably menthol with what I believe to be a hint of mint.
Watermelon Twist: This was my favorite flavor. Watermelon Twist has a bright and refreshing flavor that kinda tastes like watermelon, I guess. It’s really just a generic, lightly sweet and bright flavor with a touch of tart. It’s crisp, refreshing, and pleasurable. It’s got a faint aroma that’s quite pleasant. (No longer available in the U.S.)
Blueberry: This flavor has the unmistakable taste and smell of blueberry, but it’s closer to an artificial blueberry taste than actual blueberries. I think it’s okay, but one of the co-founders of Vaping360 considers it to be his favorite of the bunch. (No longer available in the U.S.)
The hit is the most important aspect of a vape. Ironically, the Ace both shines and loses all its luster in the same category. Let me explain.
The good: It’s a got a great hit! The airflow is tight and ideally suited to the heat from the coil. It’s warm enough to satisfy but without being hot or cool. The vapor output is comparable to smoke from a cigarette. You can easily take a small stealth hit or a larger one. But it’s never like an obnoxious cloud. You can hold in the vapor and blow out even less if that’s your thing.
The feeling of the nicotine is mild to strong, depending on the strength you choose. The 2.4 mg pods lack the acute punch that’s in the 5% option. But even in the 5% pods, the nicotine kick is not harsh—neither will you have to guess if you’re actually hitting it. You’ll feel it! It’s a nice “throat hit” and nic kick. If at first you get a headrush, similar to a morning cigarette, take it easy until you get used to it. If you like that, only use the device occasionally to keep your tolerance low.
The bad: The chances of a bad coil are super high. In fact, I stopped buying them because my last few purchases of pods were all bad. And here’s the kicker: the time frame of purchases is spread out, as well as where I purchased them.
I’ve been on several road trips the past couple years throughout the country. Stopping to get petrol or snacks, I’d frequently see the Ace on sale. I could never pass them up. Whether it was in D.C., Oklahoma, Ohio, or even in my home state of Michigan, the results were the same: burnt hits. Some would start out fine and start tasting burnt mid-way through, but just as many tasted bad from the giddy-up!
NJOY is a trusted brand in this industry, regardless of the consistently bad performance of the coils in the Ace pods.
In my first review I wrote: “Although I write reviews, I’ve purchased this device (a few of them) with my own money for personal use. One time I bought a couple Ace pod packs from NJOY online, and they all kept tasting burnt. I called 1.833.ASK.NJOY as a customer, not as a reviewer. I didn’t even tell them that I reviewed! I explained the problem and they took care of me. They sent out free replacements without any hassle. Those pods worked perfectly.”
Although NJOY will still take care of you, I’ve even gotten replacement pods that were no good. I just stopped trying. You know you’ve lost faith when you pass on replacements.
But YOU shouldn’t take the loss if you’ve gotten poor performance. Let NJOY make it right! There’s some solace in knowing there’s a real company behind this device, unlike many off-brand vapes in c-stores.
Although your Ace should arrive or come completely charged, it’s a good idea to top it off first. Simply insert the micro-USB into the bottom of the Ace, and plug it into your computer like you would any other electronic device. It has pass-thru charging which means you can use it while it’s plugged in.
Depending on how much you use the Ace, you could get anywhere from a half a day to a day of usage. Of course, if you’re a light smoker and you only plan on using the Ace every once in a while, you could get several days out of charge. Charging it takes under an hour.
If you are trying to kick cigarettes and you want to feel a solid nicotine hit, the Ace can give you that if you’re lucky enough to find pods that work. When I was driving through Pennsylvania last year, I got one pack that worked really well. I got it from a Sheetz gas station. But since then, and even before then, it was mostly throwing good money after bad.
The problem with the NJOY Ace is in the wicking. Inside the pods is a little heating element that sits atop a little black ceramic wicking block. That style of atomizer is supposed to work well! But in the Ace and other devices I’ve seen with it, it’s not been up to snuff in the past few years.
No one wants to vape and be afraid of a burnt hit!
I’ll probably always keep an Ace just in case the manufacturer gets their act together. Otherwise, the Ace may go down as one of the biggest missed opportunities in vaping. “It could’ve been great!”