Pod, or cartridge systems have become fairly popular in the last two years, but so far they’ve largely been used in closed vaping systems that don’t allow refilling. With the Atopack Penguin mod, Chinese manufacturer Joyetech introduces giant refillable cartridges that are extremely easy to use, and pairs them with an ergonomic and surprisingly well-performing vaporizer. In my humble opinion, this innovative yet practical combination has all the makings of a big hit and the potential to change the casual vaping sector for the better, much better.
A Look at the Contents
The Joyetech Atopack Penguin comes in this large cardboard box with the large drawing of a penguin covering the front, and the the list of contents as well as a bunch of pictograms on the back.
The kit itself slides out of the box from the side, and contains the Penguin mod, two ceramic-casing coil-heads designed specifically for this device, a USB charging cable, a user manual, and a couple of silicone covers for the drip tip and cartridge. Apart from the e-liquid, you have everything you need to start vaping right away, which is just what you want as a casual vaper looking for a simple-to-use mod.
It’s a decent-looking kit, but as we all know, it’s how the contents come together, and their performance that really matters at the end of the day. And that’s where the Atopack Penguin really shines.
Design and Build Quality
As its name suggests, the design of the Atopack Penguin was inspired by the adorable flightless bird we all know and love (well, most of us, anyway). It has a distorted oval shape with the built-in plastic drip tip rising out of the removable cartridge. Joyetech offers five color combinations to choose form, but if you’re into penguins, I definitely recommend the black and white combination.
The Penguin has two main components, a non-removable 2,000 mAh battery encased in a zinc-alloy body, and a replaceable, rechargeable plastic cartridge which also incorporates a plastic drip tip. Fitting the cartridge onto the battery couldn’t be simpler – just grab it, slide it into the large hole at the top of the vaporizer and it clicks into place. To remove it, you can simply grab the drip tip and pull it off, or, to make it come off easier, push up on the small indentation on the back of the mod. Anyway you choose to do it is fine.
The Atopack Penguin has just one button, a large plastic fire button. It doesn’t rattle at all, is nice and clicky when pressed, and requires only the slightest bit of pressure to activate the battery. The plastic may feel cheap to the touch, but it’s actually a very responsive fire button.
The only other noteworthy elements on this vaporizer are the LED battery indicators and the microUSb charging port. There are five LED lights located right under the fire button, which light up white whenever you use the mod. When the battery is full, all five LEDs will come on, and as you deplete the battery, they will go out one by one. When you need to recharge the battery, the LED lights will blink rapidly 40 times. That’s quite the number of flashes, considering you’re about to run out of power.
The microUSB port can only be used for charging, not firmware upgrades (this mod doesn’t support this feature), but the nice thing about it is that it’s a fast-charging port, meaning it charges at 2A. We’ve seen the same feature on the more advanced Wismec Predator 228, and it works just as well on the Penguin.
While the simplicity and ergonomic design of the Joyetech Atopack Penguin is sure to appeal to beginners and casual vapers, its most interesting feature is definitely the refillable cartridge. My sample for this review came with a large 8 ml capacity cartridge, but the Chinese manufacturer has announced that it will also release 2 ml cartridges compliant with the European TPD. Obviously, if you can, definitely go for the 8 ml version, it’s infinitely better.
Apart from the built-in drip tip, the Atopack cartridge also features a large airflow slot on top. Unfortunately, it is not adjustable, and that affects the mouth-to-lung vaping capabilities of this device a lot. Basically, even though the coil is very tight, the large airflow doesn’t restrict the draw enough for MTL. I personally am not too bothered by that, as I prefer direct lung hits anyway, but it’s probably a pretty big con for mouth -to-lung vapers. On the plus side, its strategic location (on top of the mod) means you won’t have to worry about leaking.
On the bottom, the cartridge comes with a silicone cap, which you have to replace with one of the two ceramic casing coil-heads included in the kit. I suggest you give it a thorough wash before installing the coil, just to be safe, after which either leave it to dry, or use a napkin to absorb any water droplets.
You’ll notice two holes inside the cartridge, one that leads up to the drip tip, and one in the center that acts as a fill port. Since the inner casing is made of silicone, you can pretty much fit any dropper or unicorn bottle head into the hole to fill the cartridge without any leaking. You can fill it up to the very top, in which case you’ll notice that it holds almost 9 ml of e-liquid, or keep an eye on the markings on the side of the cartridge and stop at the max level of 8 ml. Once you’re done, just press one of the two coil-heads into the space where that silicone cap used to be, and you’re good to go.
The one thing I don’t like about the Atopack Penguin cartridge system, and I don’t know how Joyetech missed this, is that you can’t see the level of juice in the cartridge without taking it out of the mod. A simple cutout on one side of the mod, like on the Joyetech eGrip 2 would have been enough, but they chose not to do it for some reason. That doesn’t make any sense, to be honest.
To make sure that the cotton wicking of the coil-head is saturated with e-liquid, either put a few drops of juice into the coil before inserting it into the cartridge, or just put it in bone dry, put your finger on the airflow slot, on the top of the cartridge, and draw on the drip tip a couple of times, WITHOUT pressing the fire button. This way, the vacuum will just suck juice into the cotton, and you won’t have to wait for it to saturate naturally.
That’s about all there is to say about the design and features of the Joyetech Atopack Penguin. It’s a simple, beginner-friendly mod that closely resembles closed systems like the Kimsun Air10, but with the added benefits of being refillable, having great battery life and performing like a champ.
Battery Life and Performance
The Joyetech Atopack Penguin comes with a built-in 2,000 mAh battery, which is pretty darn good for an entry-level mod. The very similar Kimsun Air10 had a 1,700mAh battery, so this is slightly better, and it’s biggest selling point is the fast-charging feature. It charges up completely much faster than usual, and even 20 minutes of charging gets you a few more hours of vaping time.
Obviously, you’re going to get slightly better battery life when using the higher-resistance MTL coil (0.5Ω), than when vaping with the direct-lung one (0.25Ω).
But while battery life may be decent, the vaping performance of the Atopack Penguin is fantastic. Whichever of the coils you decide to try out first, you’ll definitely be able to enjoy a satisfying vape. I really didn’t expect this kind of vapor production from a direct output device, but the Penguin actually performs like a really good advanced mod. The only difference is that you don’t have to figure out complicated settings or deal with messy refilling.
I’ve mostly been using the 0.25Ω coil-head, because it produces slightly warmer and denser vapor, and because the large-diameter coil inside allows for an airier direct-lung hit. I’ve been vaping it almost exclusively for six days now and it’s still performing great. I’ve noticed no major change in flavor, and the cotton is in pretty good shape as well. That depends a lot on what kind of e-liquid you’re using, so if you want to get more out of each coil-head, I suggest you go for clear, unsweetened juices.
The mouth-to-lung coil-head, on the other hand, doesn’t really work as intended. That’s a pro for me, actually, but only because I’m not a fan of MTL vaping. The coil-head itself is well-made, but because of the large airflow slot on top of the cartridge, you’re just not going to get that smoking-like restrictive draw that MTL is all-about. It’s more like a restrictive direct-lung hit, and the only way to make it better is to cover up the airflow half-way with your finger. But you shouldn’t have to do that, and Joyetech could have easily fixed this flaw by implementing some sort of slider for the airflow.
But, if you’re strictly interested in direct lung vaping, the Joyetech Atopack Penguin is simply amazing. I was a little skeptical about how it would perform, especially after seeing how small the wicking slot on the ceramic casing coil-heads was, but somehow they manage to remain perfectly saturated even in chain-vaping conditions, and produce incredible clouds of vapor. It’s hard for me to put into words how good the vapor production truly is, so I’m just going to say that it’s on par with other more advanced and expensive devices. I should also mention that there is virtually no delay when pressing the fire button, and the ramp-up of the coil is lightning fats.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Atopack Penguin mod performs best when fully charged or plugged into a USB port. At full charge, it has an output of 50W, but that decreases as the battery depletes, and you start to see a noticeable difference in vapor production starting at three LED indicators, and it gets worse from there. But just stick it into a USB port, and you’re back to vaping at full power.
The Joyetech Atopack Penguin is an awesome device. It’s simple to use, ergonomic and performs like an advanced vaporizer. Yes, it has some flaws, like the absence of a cutout to see the level of e-liquid in the cartridge, and the airy airflow slot that makes MTL vaping difficult, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Also, the its light weight and plastic inserts may give some people the impression of a cheap build quality, but this is one surprisingly sturdy mod. It just happens to be pocket-friendly and ultra-light.
One of the main lures of the Joyetech Atopack Penguin is the price. Urvapin currently has it for sale for $28.95, but register for a free account and you get a special price ! That’s a crazy low price for such an impressive device. So yeah, I think Joyetech has another winner on their hands, a worthy successor of the popular eGo AIO, if you will.
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