More options to heat traditional cigarettes
As we at heatnotburn.co.uk have come to realise, there is more than one way to heat tobacco – loose-leaf or otherwise. So it behooves us to discover another device that takes advantage of readily available consumable products that are sold, over the counter, in hundreds upon hundreds of stores worldwide.
I am, of course, talking about tobacco cigarettes. For most places, cigarettes are (relatively) inexpensive – unless, of course, you live in Australia or the UK where the average price of a pack of smokes is eye-wateringly high. All in an effort by public health to get smokers to, well, stop smoking.
We recently reviewed the Himasu T5 which explored the concept of re-using one cigarette stick multiple times by the addition of a low-temperature smoking agent with a small heating area.
The concept, as a whole, is worth exploring and clearly various manufacturers seem to agree with me on that, as we have another one to look at.
Meet the OCR
The OCR, as a device, is a relatively chunky unit but, at the same time, it isn’t particularly heavy – weighing in at 120g, it is heavier than most but it isn’t excessively heavy. In fact, the weight gives the device a good, solid and robust feel in a relatively compact frame.
In the kit, you’ll find the usual accessories – a micro USB cable, some alcohol infused swabs, the device itself and the manual. You’ll also find a box of 10 filters. This is where the OCR differs from previous cigarette heating devices we’ve looked at.
On the front of the device are two buttons surrounded by LEDs. The upper button is the function button and the lower is the power button. On the bottom you’ll find the micro-USB slot, a removable rubberised cover that grants access to the heating chamber for cleaning and the slot for the filter.
The power button, or specifically the LED surrounding the power button serves two purposes. The first, the most obvious, is telling you that the device is active and heating. In that instance, it’ll be a green ring once the temperature has been reached. It’ll flash during the heating process.
The function button allows a change in the target temperature which is, subsequently, indicated by the colour of the LEDs – Red is the highest temperature, blue is medium and green is the coolest.
Using the OCR
To start the heating process on the OCR device, click the power button three times (after poking a cigarette in the chamber, obviously), the device will vibrate and the LED surrounding the function button will flash red and the LED surrounding the power button will turn blue.
At this point, you can set the temperature level between the three settings (you can also change this setting after the heating process has reached the set temperature). The heat-up time is relatively sluggish, clocking in at around 40 seconds and the entire process lasts for around 3 minutes – which is shorter than most heat-not-burn devices. Approximately 5 seconds before the end of the session, the device will vibrate again and the LEDs will flash before automatically shutting down.
The manual does state, quite clearly, to leave a minimum of 5 minutes between sessions and the device actively prevents chaining sessions by refusing to heat if the device is too warm. When the device is actively preventing use, the power LED will cycle through red, green and blue. Once the 5 minute interval has passed, the device can be used as normal.
As with all heat-not-burn devices, it is recommended that the heating chamber is cleaned regularly – though for some reason, there isn’t a brush included with the OCR device, though the cleaning swabs provided do a good enough job. The manufacturer suggests changing the filter rod ever 80 cigarettes. However, there doesn’t currently appear to be any way to get replacement rods without shelling out for a new device.
As with the Uwoo Yowo and the Himasu T5, the OCR is in a niche area of the heat-not-burn market. It is ideal for smokers that don’t want to faff with an IQOS or make the switch to vaping. As we’ve said before, this device is better suited to markets where cigarette prices don’t require you to take out a second (or third) mortgage as, one of the key benefits of heat-not-burn is that it is, mostly, more cost effective than smoking and, if the experience from the devices we have reviewed thus far is anything to go by, the devices (and consumable) are pretty close to the traditional smoking experience.
Things I like about this device:
- The design overall – its sleek and compact, despite its weight
- Battery life – for me, as a casual user, it quite happily will heat ¾ of a pack of smokes between charges
- Taste – when set to high, the taste and overall experience is probably the closest to setting tobacco on fire I’ve encountered.
- The heat-protection – strangely, I like this feature a lot. After a session, the device is very warm – it isn’t uncomfortable to hold, but it does get noticeably warmer. Preventing a user from chaining multiple sessions, and overheating in general, is a good safety feature.
Things I don’t like:
- Battery charging – the usual complaint. One I have on a lot of devices, particularly those that exceed 2 hours as the OCR does.
- The cap. On the one hand, it is nifty in that it keeps the mouthpiece clean between sessions, regardless of where the device is stored. On the other, it just gets in the way during a session. The hinge also feels somewhat flimsy and, after a number of open/close cycles, the cap (which usually flips open easily) seems to get partially stuck.
- The mouthpiece. I can understand the flexibility in having an adjustable mouthpiece but, it
just feels…odd. I suspect that is related to the cap getting in the way.
- The filter rods – there is very little information about the filter rods and what they are made
of. Nor is there, currently, any way of procuring spares.
Overall, the OCR is a solid device. It has a couple of things that can be improved (as do most devices) but for a pack-a-day smoker it will certainly provide a close enough experience to the real thing whilst simultaneously being easy to use and maintain. I suspect that, at the rate things are going, there’s going to more cigarette-based heat-not-burn devices then we can shake a stick at.
That’s a good thing.
If you are interested in purchasing this device please feel free to visit the manufacturers website which can be found by clicking HERE.