Taste Fusion Technology?
Earlier this year, the Master Chief got his grubby mitts on a heat-not-burn hybrid device, the Lil Hybrid. While he was impressed by the idea, the execution however, wasn’t all that great. It was, as he said, adequate for anyone thinking of making the switch. We’re all about innovation, and it is good to see how different manufacturers are approaching this sector of the market. The next company to step up with a different take on heat-not-burn is British American Tobacco – BAT – with their glo sens device.
As BAT put it:
glo sens is a battery-powered device which uses ‘Taste Fusion Technology’ to combine vaping with real tobacco. Because the device contains real tobacco which a heated liquid passes through, we classify it as a THP.
It’s an interesting concept. Mixing heated tobacco – in one form or another – with flavoured liquid. I’ll be honest, I was entirely sceptical about the idea. In BAT’s case, the aerosol generated from the flavoured liquid is drawn over a pod containing tobacco granules. Not entirely sure what that is meant to add to the experience, so, of course, I had to have a crack at it.
As is the norm for these new devices, the packaging is well made and stylish. All that you would expect from a company that can spend over fives years the annual GDP of a small, 52,000 population, country. Not that you’ll hear me complain, too loudly, of that. Especially if it produces products that people actually want and, most importantly, enjoy. With the exception of the public health people of course.
Everything is tucked away in the compartments, complete with the manuals and quick start guide. All of which were utterly useless to me. Seeing as how I don’t speak, nor read, Korean. But thank you, Google Translate, for coming to the rescue, despite how some of the sentences were unintentionally comical.
I mean, what does “tobacco pods can be heard in the liquid pods until it… push it in” even mean?!
Comical translation fails aside, putting the device together is straightforward enough, it is simply a case of figuring out which bit goes where (after all, that’s what we do when we can’t be bothered to read the manual, right?) and turning the device on.
Those familiar with vapour products will quickly figure out how to turn the device on. Three clicks, and the segmented LED ring around the button glows. Three clicks again to turn it off. Simple really. While you could, in theory, just use the glo sens as an “ordinary e-cigarette”, that isn’t what it’s designed for.
Using The Sens
Using the device is easy enough. As a vaper, it is almost second nature to press and hold a button whenever I wanted to have a puff or two. The Glo Sens is no different in this regard.
Push the button and take a draw, release when you’ve got enough. The burning question is, is the device any good?
Let’s talk about flavours for a moment. In the delivery I received, there were four flavours. Ruby, Navy, Green and Purple. Not exactly descriptive. Neither were the boxes. You’d normally find some clue as to what the flavour might be in the pack design. Unfortunately, not in this case.
Ruby was the first flavour I tried and, for the first few draws I had a reasonably strong menthol-like sensation with a hint (just a hint) of berries. Apparently, the liquid pod should last for around 180 puffs (without a puff counter, that’s going to be impossible to measure), and the tobacco pod lasts for approximately a third of that, so around 60 puffs.
The manual does allude to a series of flashes that the ring of LEDs can display when either the liquid, or pod is apparently running out. I only had that signal once, just after I got a dry hit from the liquid pod, so it isn’t accurate.
Navy was a more subtle flavour, and difficult to pin down but it had some vanilla tones to it. As this liquid and tobacco pod was brand new, I was sure that I had the entirety of the flavour to look forward to. I attempted to count, to some degree of accuracy, how many puffs I had from one tobacco pod. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t 60 before the flavour was utterly gone and it needed changing.
I had hoped replacing the tobacco pod would improve the flavour, but it didn’t. It remained muted for the rest of the liquid.
I fully expected Green to be an in-your-face-scrub-your-nasal-passages type menthol. I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. In fact, I couldn’t really tell you what flavour Green was. Cucumber? Apple? Absolutely zero clue. Definitely one of those to pass on. While Purple was somewhat what I expected. Grape-like flavour and the only one of the four flavours I tried to last long enough to change the tobacco pod more than once.
Unlike other devices I’ve had the pleasure of trying, I didn’t get any kind of throat hit from the sens.
Battery life was also disappointing. I’d read elsewhere that the battery should last all day. I suppose, for some, it might do just that. But I suspect that anyone who can make the sens battery last all day is probably only using it once an hour. At most. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the segmented ring of LEDs around the button is segmented for a reason. It indicates, roughly, how much charge the battery has left in ~25% sections.
After 3 hours of intermittent use while I got on with working from home, it was flat. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to recharge. Pop it on to its micro-usb cable and it’ll be fully charged in a little over an hour. Useful for light usage, but not really for moderate or heavy use.
It may just be me, having been spoiled by the likes of iQOS, iBuddy, Wolkenkraft and vaping, but I found the glo sens disappointing. For me, the flavours were muted and didn’t last anywhere near as long as I was expecting given that the liquid should have been around 1.7ml on a plus-ohm coil.
The device is small and easy to hold. It’s light too. Probably why the battery just didn’t seem to last. It isn’t that the device, or the idea, is bad. Far from it. The idea is sound but, as with its predecessor, it is suffering from trying to do two things at once.
But I’ll be watching the hybrid space with interest. There’s plenty of potential there for a truly innovative device. We’re not there yet, but they’re trying.