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ZQ GO Pod Review: A Surprise From a Newcomer

Spyros Papamichail
January 10, 2020

Product intro and specs

The GO is a pod system, and one of only four products in the catalog of newcomer ZQ. It’s not often that I receive products from companies that I know nothing about, so I paid ZQ’s website a visit. Turns out that ZQ is a subsidiary of Eigate, the company that’s behind Aspire, one of the largest vape brands in the world.

The ZQ GO is a compact top-filling device that takes 2 mL pods. It features adjustable airflow and an 850 mAh battery. I am sure that you have heard similar specs before, so keep reading to find out if the GO brings anything new to the table.

This product was sent to me directly from ZQ for the purpose of this review.

Price: $34.99
Colors: Black, Grey, Purple, Pink, Red

Specifications

  • 850 mAh battery
  • Button-activated
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Size: 93 mm x 15 mm x 39.5 mm
  • 2 mL pod capacity
  • 1.0-ohm Nichrome coil

Kit contents

  • 1 x ZQ GO device
  • 2 x Replacement pods
  • 1 x USB charging cable
  • 1 x User manual
  • 1 x Certification

Build quality and design

The first thing I noticed about the ZQ GO is its form factor. It is a compact and lightweight device with a very practical shape. It is relatively flat, but also has a curvy, S-like shape that’s unique and makes it feel very comfortable in the hand. It also makes it fit in every pocket—even a shirt pocket—without bulging. And its weight is not going to be an issue either. The device weighs approximately 60 grams fully assembled, which is less than the weight of the Aspire AVP (73 grams) or the SMOK Nord (80 grams).

The device feels metallic and has a matte finish to it that I find to be very classy—although it may be a bit scratch prone. I received four out of the five colors (where’s my pink GO, ZQ?) and the black is a clear winner for me. For some reason the rest of the colors seemed a bit cheaper, if that makes sense—but that’s totally subjective, and I wouldn’t have noticed it if the black didn’t look so awesome. My only (minor) complaint is that the battery indication LED is a bit too bright, taking some of the classiness away. Other than that, the GO excels in the aesthetics department, while being one of the most ergonomic and practical vapes I have come across.

ZQ Go pods

I’ll start by saying that the device ships with two pods, which is great. The pods are made out of a dark tinted plastic that allows checking e-liquid levels easily. They feel really well made and complete the package perfectly. There’s also a lighter tinted plastic cover that’s handy for keeping the mouthpiece clean. And while we’re at it, the ZQ pods house a non removeable flat mouthpiece that’s super comfortable in the lips, and a metallic airflow adjustment mechanism that looks a bit like a submarine periscope. Gripping the airflow ring is not the easiest thing in the world, but I’m being super nitpicky here. It’s not a bad design at all.

The pods are kept in place by two super strong magnets—seriously, these might just be the strongest magnets I’ve ever encountered on a vape. Simply put, your pod is not going anywhere, even if you drop it on the floor.

There is one drawback with the pod design though. The top filling port is kept shut by a tiny removable silicon plug that’s not attached to the pod in any other way. This means that in order to fill the pod, you need to completely remove the plug. I wonder how I haven’t lost any of them yet, but thankfully ZQ includes a couple of spares in the package. On top of that, finding out which way you should plug it back on is not that easy, especially if there’s not enough light in the room. I can see why they went with this design—the cover of the pod needs to sit flush on the edges—but I wish they had found some way to at least attach the plug on the pod.

Another issue I faced has to do with refilling. The fill hole is large enough for most bottles, but there’s no second hole for the air to escape, so you may have some juice dripping out of the hole. Filling was even harder with larger, 120 mL bottles, because the mouthpiece kinda stands in the way. I was still able to fill it one way or another, but it did frustrate me at times. Oh, and there’s no way you’re getting your juice out of the pod either, so if you want to change your flavor you’ll need to vape the pod clean first.

Performance

The pods house 1.0-ohm nichrome coils that are fine-tuned for MTL vaping. The draw ranges from airy MTL to very tight MTL, depending on how you set the airflow, and the throat hit is strong. The GO produces warmer vapor than your average pod system, and that helps a lot with flavor production. It vapes surprisingly well! It reminds me a lot of the Aspire AVP, but with a draw that’s more fine-tuned for MTL. That’s no surprise, given that they are probably both manufactured by Eigate, and chances are that they are both using similar BVC coils.

Operation is as straightforward as it gets. Five clicks of the fire button turn the device on and off, and the GO is a button operated device so you need to press the button to vape.

The coils of the ZQ GO can easily handle 70VG if you don’t push it too hard, but it seemed to fare batter with 50/50 blends. Vapor production is limited, but that’s to be expected from a device like this. I mostly used the ZQ GO with 35 mg salt and it just feels like a device that was specifically made for mid to high-strength nicotine salts. You could still use it with regular nicotine, but you won’t be getting the most out of it.

I managed to get four refills out of my first pod, and while it was still doing the job, I proactively changed it because it felt like a dry hit was coming after every long puff. It’s worth noting that the juice I was using is a real coil killer. Your mileage may vary, but I am not that dissatisfied by the longevity of its coils.

Last, but certainly not least, I have had absolutely no leaking—even after throwing the GO in my bag for two days while travelling. Not even a drop! The coil felt a tiny bit flooded when I first used it after that, but it went away after a couple of puffs. I may have been lucky with it, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a completely dry connection on a pod system. Two thumbs up.

Battery life and charging

The ZQ GO houses an 850 mAh battery. For a comparison, the Aspire AVP has a very similar footprint but comes with a 700 mAh battery. On top of that, the GO is very efficient with its battery usage, and you’d be hard-pressed to deplete the battery in one day, especially if you’re using it with high strength nic salts. I managed to go through one pod and a third (approximately 2.5 mL) before having to plug it in for a charge, but it also took me an impressive amount of puffs to get there.

The GO charges through a micro USB port that’s placed at the bottom of the device. The LED lights surround the firing button and light up every time you press it, according to the charge level of the battery.

  • Purple: 3.9-4.2 volts
  • Blue: 3.5-3.9 volts
  • Red: 3.5 or less

The battery will be practically empty at the point that the red light appears. Thankfully the device supports pass thru, so you can vape on it while it’s charging.

As a note, ZQ lists the charge rate at 850 mA at their website, but “up to 1000 mA” on the device’s manual. Regardless, I timed a full charge at 75 minutes which is a bit too slow for a battery this size, and proves that the charge rate is a bit inflated.

Pros / Cons

  • Small footprint
  • Practical shape
  • Lightweight
  • No leaking whatsoever
  • Minimal flooding even when left for a long time
  • Great battery life
  • Proper MTL draw
  • Comfortable mouthpiece (cover is a plus)
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Great with nicotine salts
  • Super strong magnets
  • Long lasting coils
  • even with my coil killer salts
  • Surprisingly good flavor
  • Comes with two pods
  • Fill hole plug may get lost (replacements included)
  • Pods may be hard to find in the future
  • Filling can be a pain (especially with larger bottles)
  • Can’t empty pods
  • Needs over an hour to charge

Verdict

From a performance perspective, the ZQ GO is a winner. Yes, there are some design shortcomings, mainly around the filling mechanism. And, to answer the question of the intro, it’s nothing really groundbreaking when all things considered. But the flavor and legit MTL draw of this device, paired with the practicality of its shape and size, put it a couple of steps higher than your average pod system.

But there is a factor to consider here. ZQ may be connected with Eigate, but it is a very new company, and the GO is not currently available in any of the major US/EU vendors. So, while I can easily recommend it to everyone looking for a reliable and pocketable MTL pod system, I can’t vouch for when (and for how long) the pods are going to be available for a purchase. If that’s sorted out—or if you’re willing to buy pods in bulk—I say go for it.

My first attempt at vaping came back in 2009 on some of the first cigalikes to ever reach Europe. A couple of attempts -- and vaping tech generations later -- I managed to quit smoking in 2016, and have since then developed somewhat of an obsession with all things vaping. When I am not consuming vape reviews I am either tinkering my NBA fantasy teams or playing board games with friends.

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