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The Jouz – Heat not Burn UK Exclusive Review

Jouz

Right now I feel the same way about Heat not Burn as I did about vaping when I first discovered the whole world of devices that existed beyond the cigarette-style things I started with. From one really practical device – the iQOS – a couple of years ago, the market has expanded rapidly; we seem to be hearing about new products every week now, and quite a few of them are making it into our hands. You might remember how long it took us to actually get to review an iQOS in the early days of the site. Well, it’s not like that now.

Some of the early devices we got from Chinese manufacturers were a bit on the crude side. I’m not going to name any names here, but if you’ve been reading my reviews you can probably guess the ones I’m talking about. Things are moving fast, though, and over the last few months I’ve had a couple of very nice devices sitting on my desk.

Well, now I have another couple. Last week the boat from China brought me two examples of the new Jouz, yet another vaporiser that runs on Philip Morris’s increasingly popular HEETs. So without further ado, let’s see what it’s like.

 

The Review

The Jouz comes in a nice hard plastic box, which (for my samples, at least) has a cardboard outer cover around it. Tear off the cardboard and open the box, and the Jouz is sitting there in the usual moulded plastic tray. The tray lifts out to reveal an instruction leaflet in English and Mandarin, and a warranty card. Under those is another tray containing a selection of goodies. There’s a USB charging cable, a nice cleaning brush, a pack of pipecleaners and a couple of covers for the heating chamber. There are two covers because you’re going to lose the first one and need a spare. Then you’re going to lose that too. The accessories all seem good quality, though, adding up to a very nicely presented package.

The device itself is about the shape of a large lipstick. It has a roughly square cross section with well-rounded corners, making it very comfortable to hold. It’s chunkier and heavier than the Switch I looked at a couple of weeks ago (although a little bit shorter), and significantly larger than an iQOS holder, but it’s still a pretty compact device. The body appears to be plastic, with a nice satin finish that gives a decent grip. The removable top cap has a metal reinforcing ring around the opening for the heating chamber; those plastic covers plug into this opening, until you lose them. The top cap itself can be slipped off for cleaning; a couple of notches ensure it can only be put back in the correct alignment with the blade, and a magnet holds it in place.

Build quality is excellent throughout. All the parts fit together perfectly and the Jouz has a real high-quality feel to it. A lot of engineering has gone into this device; I was thoroughly impressed.

Under the top cap the Jouz is remarkably tidy. The top surface is flat, with a vented tubular heating chamber projecting from the centre. Inside the chamber is a ceramic heating blade. The neat setup makes it very easy to clean.

I’m getting to know how people make these devices now, so after checking out the top cap I looked at the base expecting to see the usual micro USB charging port. Much to my surprise, I didn’t. In fact I couldn’t see it anywhere else either. Then I noticed a circular insert in the base, with a small dot at one side. Push the dot and the insert tilts slightly, exposing the charging port set into one edge. This is a neat touch that keeps pocket fluff and dust out of the port when you’re not using it.

All actual control of the device is handled by a single power button just below the top cap. This blends extremely well with the body – so well it’s actually quite hard to spot – and has three small white LEDs set into it.

Vaping the Jouz

The first step, as usual, was to charge the battery. This took just under two hours, with progress marked by the three LEDs lighting up one by one as the charge filled up. When all three were glowing steadily I unplugged it, flipped the base a few times just because it was fun, removed and lost the cover for the cleaning chamber and shoved in a HEET. The chamber is a nice easy fit for the sticks – there’s no trouble getting them in.

With a HEET in place all you need to do is hold down the power button for three seconds until the device vibrates to signal that it’s powered up and heating. Once that happens it takes almost exactly 20 seconds to reach operating temperature. That’s not stunningly fast, but it is about average, so no complaints there. When it’s ready to go it vibrates again; at that point I got puffing.

I have to say, I was pleased with the vape from the Jouz. It’s not quite up there with the iQOS 2.4 Plus, which really is the gold standard in the vapour department, but it’s still very good. There’s no shortage of vapour and it’s dense and richly flavoured, although the taste did begin to fall off noticeably towards the end of the HEET. That seems to be pretty unavoidable with this technology, although again iQOS has a bit of an edge.

Each session with the Jouz lasts five and a half minutes or 14 puffs, whatever comes first. The device vibrates to signal that you’re down to the last 20 seconds or two puffs, so you can grab a final bit of nicotine before it shuts down. Once it switches off just slide the top cap up half an inch to get the HEET off the blade, take it out and let the magnet snap the cap down into place. Then look for the dust cover you’ve lost and get the spare one from the box.

Because Jouz is a fairly small device it doesn’t have massive battery capacity. Even so, a full charge is good for at least 15 HEETs, so it should get you through most of a day before you have to plug it in.

The Verdict

I really, really like the Jouz. It’s compact, very well made, simple to use and maintain, and gives a decent vape. Are there any negatives? Well, I’d like a bit more battery capacity (as always) and it’s just a bit too heavy to leave it hanging from my lip as I work, but apart from that it ticks all the right boxes. Is this a match for the iQOS? Probably not, but if you want a Heat not Burn device that’s self-contained, rather than relying on a charging case, the Jouz should be close to the top of your list. It’s an excellent product.

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The Switch – Heat not Burn UK exclusive review

Switch heat not burn device

I’m getting quite used to product reviews now. I have to admit, when I started writing for Heat not Burn UK it was a real struggle to find new material. There weren’t many devices around, they were mostly on sale only in restricted test markets, and they were as rare as rocking horse turds anyway.

Well, that’s all changed now. Over the last few months we’ve had a string of reviews, mostly on new HEET-based systems from China, and they’re still coming. I have two different devices on their way to me now – one HnB gadget and the latest Vype pod mod from BAT – so they’ll be getting tested over the next few weeks, but actually I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. Let’s focus on what’s sitting on my desk right now.

For the last few days I’ve been testing the Switch, a brand new HnB device from China. This is a very interesting little vaporiser, and I like it a lot. Like most of the ones I’ve tested so far it uses Philip Morris’s HEET tobacco sticks, which were developed for their own iQOS but now seem to have become the standard. That’s good news for anyone that fancies a Switch, of course; if you decide to get one, the consumables you need are now widely available.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s have a look at the thing and see what it’s like!

The Review

The Switch comes in the usual cardboard box. There’s a flap at one side secured by a couple of magnets, and lifting that and the top reveals the Switch. The device is fitted snugly in a moulded plastic tray; lift that out and there’s a box of accessories tucked inside it. In there you’ll find a pack of cotton buds for cleaning, a brush and a charging cable. All the accessories seem to be decent quality; the brush isn’t as nice as the ones that come with the iQOS or Lil, but it’s perfectly functional – and, let’s be honest; how often are you going to pull it out in the pub and say “Hey, look at my tiny brush!”? Yes, exactly.

Moving to the device itself, the Switch looks a bit like a long, slim lipstick holder. It has a squarish cross section and while it’s a good bit chunkier than the iQOS holder it’s only about half an inch longer. It isn’t much heavier either, which I like. I suspect pretty much the whole thing is plastic, but it feels pretty sturdy. Everything is nicely moulded and the body and top cap fit together well. It’s also very light, which with a device this small is a real plus for reasons I’ll get to later.

The Switch is a simple device. The body has a top cap that slides off for cleaning; a plastic cage inside this holds the HEET, and of course there’s a hole in the top. Inside, there’s a spike-shaped ceramic heating element. There’s only one control on the body – a square power button with an LED-illuminated surround. A micro-USB charging port on the base, and a nice Switch logo, complete the package. As I said, simple. Overall, after poking around in the box and playing with the Switch, I was pretty impressed and very keen to try it out.

 

Vaping the Switch

I have no idea about the Switch’s battery capacity but obviously, given the size of the device, it wasn’t going to be enormous. The benefit of that is a quick charging time; a full charge takes less than 45 minutes. Once the red light behind the power button changed to blue, I broke open a pack of my favourite Bronze HEETs and slotted one into the hole at the top.

To activate the Switch you just need to hold down the power button; after three seconds the device vibrates and the button lights up with a nice pulsing glow. It took bang on 20 seconds to heat up to operating temperature, which is nothing special compared to the Lil or NOS but definitely acceptable; when it gets there it lets you know by vibrating again, and the pulsing button changes to a steady glow.

The Switch has a two-level temperature control function. Any time it’s powered up you can switch between modes with two rapid presses on the power button. When it’s in normal temperature mode the button glows blue; switch to high temperature and it changes to purple.

Anyway, how does it vape? Pretty well! I tried it in both temperature modes. At the standard setting there was plenty of vapour and the flavour was excellent. It isn’t quite as good as the iQOS, but it’s very close. The vapour is also warm, and both quantity and flavour hold up well until the end of the session – the Switch shuts off automatically after four minutes or (I think) twelve puffs, with a warning vibration when you have 20 seconds or two puffs to go.

Changing up to the high temperature setting, I personally found the vape more satisfying, although I did smoke fearsome high-tar German cigarettes. On the down side both flavour and quantity of vapour started to fall off noticeably towards the end of each session, so I’d suggest that for most people the standard mode is the way to go.

 

I mentioned that I liked the Switch’s small size and light weight. I’m a writer, and I can write a lot faster and more accurately when I have both hands free. That means I have a slight problem with larger devices, in that I can either try to type one-handed until I’ve finished a HEET, or I can put the device down between puffs. The problem with putting it down is that, at least half the time, I promptly get caught up in what I’m doing and forget about it until a buzz reminds me that I’ve just wasted most of a HEET. That’s one reason I love the iQOS so much; I can leave it dangling from my lip like a real cigarette and puff away freely while I write.

Well, the Switch is just small and light enough that I can do the same with it. A couple of times the device ended up in my lap while the HEET stayed in my mouth, but in general it worked pretty well. As of now, if iQOS disappeared from the face of the Earth tomorrow the Switch would probably become my main HnB device.

On the down side, that small size comes with a major penalty – battery capacity. iQOS gets round this by using the PCC to recharge between sessions, but with Switch you need to plug it in. Unfortunately you’re going to have to do that pretty often, because the battery only holds enough juice for nine HEETs before the power button turns red. It does recharge quickly though, so carrying a small power bank and topping up from that between HEETs should get you through the day.

Apart from recharging, care of the Switch was pretty easy. Because the element is a spike rather than a blade you can give used HEETs a twist then pull them out; alternatively just slide the top cap off and the HEET will come with it. Cleaning was easy, thanks to the nice big heating chamber, and the supplied brush worked well.

The verdict

Overall I was very impressed with the Switch. Its big drawback is the short battery life, but that’s only to be expected from a device this compact. There’s a direct correlation between battery capacity and size, and if you want a small device you have to settle for a small battery. Apart from that, though, it’s great. The vape is good, it seems well-made and durable, and the complete package is by far the most compact HnB device I’ve seen yet. Yes, the iQOS holder is smaller, but it lives in the PCC. The Switch is a standalone device that isn’t much bigger than an iQOS holder, and I think that alone makes it an attractive option.

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Heat not Burn news roundup – August 2018

Heat not Burn news roundup

Over the last few weeks we’ve been pretty busy finding new Heat not Burn devices to review, and we have a few on their way to us right now. We still find time to check the news, though, and we decided it was time to give you another update on what’s happening with HnB around the world.

As usual the news is a pretty mixed bag. There’s some good news from the UK, where a parliamentary committee has given HnB a thumbs-up in its latest report on reduced-harm products. There’s bad news from India, where anti-tobacco activists are spreading misinformation about iQOS before it’s even on sale. Philip Morris are challenging New Zealand rules that force Heets to be sold with the same packaging and health warnings as cigarettes, and slowing growth for iQOS is being chalked up to increasing competition as other companies enter the market. Overall the last few weeks have been pretty lively for HnB, and we don’t expect that to slow down any time soon.

Indian ANTZ take aim at iQOS

iQOS is currently on sale in 38 countries around the world, but hasn’t yet challenged cigarettes in one of their biggest markets – India. PMI is now planning to launch the device in India, most likely in the first half of 2019, but anti-harm reduction activists are already mobilising to protect the status quo. The first salvo in this battle was fired in mid-August with an article in The Hindu, one of India’s two leading newspapers.

The article was written by Vandana Shah, South Asia Programs Director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an American organisation that’s already notorious for its fanatical opposition to e-cigarettes. As would be expected from Tobacco Free Kids it’s very light on science, and very heavy on alarming but unfounded claims. Shah tells us that there’s no evidence HnB is safer than smoking (there is) and that the products are aimed at young people (they’re not). He claims iQOS is “designed and packaged to resemble a sleek smartphone” to appeal to under-25s – the only thing its design has in common with a smartphone is that it’s vaguely rectangular.

In another article, published by the Deccan Chronicle, cancer specialist Dr Vijay Anand Reddy claimed that “any form of tobacco is carcinogenic. The new method of heated tobacco does not mean that the chemicals in the products are reduced.” This statement is simply false; tests conducted by independent labs have found dramatic reductions in all significant toxins in iQOS vapour compared to cigarette smoke.

Almost a quarter of a billion Indians use traditional tobacco products, so a successful iQOS launch in the country has the potential to save a huge number of lives. However, that goal is threatened by extremists like Shah and Reddy. Indian harm reduction advocates need to come out fighting before this propaganda swings public opinion against safer products.

HnB competition heats up

Investment experts are talking down PMI shares this week in what many have interpreted as a sign of weakness in the market. Leading adviser Jefferies Group have changed their “Buy” recommendation to “Hold”, meaning that while hanging on to the shares is a good idea this isn’t the right time to be buying more.

Jefferies Group’s actual explanation for the change is good news for Heat not Burn, though. The downgrade was triggered by slower than expected growth in iQOS sales – and that’s happening because rival products are hitting the shelves. While iQOS is still growing and will continue to do so, it’s now facing some serious competition at last; BAT’s Glo is rolling out across Europe this year, KT&G are mounting a strong challenge in the important South Korean market with their Lil, and Chinese industry is piling on with a series of devices that piggyback on the availability of PMI’s Heets (and will probably help keep Heet sales rising).

Despite the downgrade, PMI is still outperforming Altria – the cigarette-only side of Philip Morris. That’s being driven by strong iQOS growth in Europe and other new markets, while Altria’s cigarette sales are sharply down.

PMI challenges NZ packaging rules for Heets

The last legal obstacles to selling Heets in New Zealand seem to have been removed, but PMI says the country’s laws are still too restrictive. In early August the company announced that to comply with the Ministry of Health’s interpretation of the law, they’ll put the HnB consumables in cigarette-style standardised packaging with the usual gruesome health warnings. However they’re only doing that under protest.

James Williams, general manager of Philip Morris NZ, says that labelling Heets with health warnings meant for cigarettes is “inappropriate and misleading”. With a growing body of evidence to say that HnB products eliminate almost all the health risks of smoking, the company wants the laws on packaging to reflect that key difference. While PMI are happy to note that Heets are not risk-free and do contain nicotine, they object to warnings that falsely claim iQOS produces smoke and causes the same health issues as cigarettes do.

According to Williams smokers deserve access to accurate and non-misleading information about reduced-risk products. Right now, New Zealand’s packaging laws aren’t giving them that.

UK parliament committee backs HnB

A report last week by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee was praised for strongly supporting e-cigarettes – but it also recommended that the government should ease restrictions and lower taxes on other tobacco harm reduction products, including HnB and Swedish snus. According to the influential committee tobacco products should be taxed at a rate that reflects the health risk they present.

HnB devices like iQOS are, conservatively, at least 90% less harmful than cigarettes, and that could make a big difference to the price of Heets. Right now, Heets are priced at roughly the same point as cigarettes, but that’s a hedge against them being taxed at the same level in the future. If they benefited from a much lover rate of tax there would be room for PMI to cut the price dramatically while still making a profit. iQOS and similar devices are already a tempting alternative to cigarettes; if the price of Heets fell in proportion to the reduced risk they deliver they’d attract even more smokers.

 

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Another New Gadget – the NOS Tobacco Vaporizer

NOS Tobacco Vapouriser

When Heat not Burn UK launched, we had a real struggle finding new devices to talk about. There was the iQOS, and then there was . . . OK, there was the iQOS, and that was pretty much it. We looked at a couple of loose leaf vaporizers, which turned out to work pretty well with tobacco if you prepare it the right way, but as far as purpose-made HnB devices went, iQOS was really the only game in town.

That’s changing now. Chinese manufacturers are starting to come up with their own designs and it’s all getting quite exciting. I’ve already tested a couple of new devices from China this year – the iBuddy i1 and EFOS E1 – and recently I got another one to play with. The new toy is the NOS from Shenzhen Huachang Industrial Company, and like the other two it used PMI’s Heets. It also has a couple of interesting features that made me very keen to try it out. I’ve spent the last week giving it the usual HnB UK test, and now I’m going to tell you all about it.

The Review

The NOS comes in a sturdy and attractive cardboard box. The outer box is in two halves that were sealed with a sticker; once I’d cut that and pulled the halves apart a flap was revealed, with the NOS underneath in a little foam nest. Lifting the foam out, I found a warranty card and quick start guide, and under those was another layer of foam holding a USB charger and plug, some cleaning sticks and the heating coil, which needs to be installed before using the device.

Once I’d pawed through everything in the box I took a look at the device itself. The NOS is quite small – a fraction of an inch longer than an iQOS, and a lot less bulky than most  of the others I’ve looked at. Its mostly rectangular body looks like a very small box mod with an oversized iQOS cap attached to the top. Just below the cap the body swells out slightly into a thumb rest with the power button set into it, and below the thumb rest is a small OLED screen and two more buttons. There’s a micro USB charging port in the base, and that’s it in the way of controls.

As well as being small the NOS is also light. The body is all plastic – there are a couple of panels set into the sides with a carbon fibre pattern on them, but those are just for decoration. However, it seems solid and well put together, with an overall quality feel to it. Inside is a built-in 1,100mAh 18500 battery. The top cap can be easily removed to give access to the heating coil; just twist it slightly anticlockwise and a spring will pop it off. That reveals a well that the coil simply screws into; then simply push the cap back down against the spring and twist it clockwise to lock it back into position.

I was impressed right away at the removable coil. Like the iQOS, the NOS uses a blade to heat the tobacco, but in this case the blade is made of ceramic. That should give it a longer life than a steel blade – Huachang say it’s good for more than 5,000 sticks – but does make it a bit more fragile, so don’t twist Heets as you insert or remove them; you could snap the blade off. To protect it, the blade is mostly hidden inside the body of the coil. When you fit the top cap to the device its inner tube pushes down a spring-loaded platform to reveal the blade.

Now let’s talk about that OLED screen and the two buttons below it. You might remember from my review of the EFOS that it has two temperature settings (one of which is hot enough to char the tip of the Heet), but with that exception HnB devices run at a fixed temperature. The NOS is different. It’s the first HnB product with a real temperature control capability. Those two little buttons let you adjust the temperature from 300°C to 400°C in five degree increments, so you can customise your vaping experience to suit your own preferences.

The NOS in action

Obviously I was pretty keen to try that out, so I topped up the battery – it takes less than an hour to put in a full charge – and broke open a pack of Bronze Heets. The first one fitted easily down the end cap, and I fired the NOS up by pressing the power button five times.

This is where I started to get seriously impressed. The screen lit up and a NOS logo briefly appeared, then the word HEATING. Nine seconds after the last press of the button that changed to WORKING – and so it was. The NOS heats up even faster than the Lil, which is rather nice.

As for how it vapes, I had no complaints there either. The taste wasn’t quite as good as the iQOS, and I have no idea why – I was using exactly the same Heets in both devices. There was plenty of vapour, though, and there was nothing wrong with the taste; the iQOS just seems, to me, to have a slight edge there.

Once it’s up and running the NOS will work for four minutes or twelve puffs, whichever comes sooner. You’ll get a warning buzz five seconds before it shuts down, which just gives you time to grab a final puff.

As far as battery life goes, well, it’s OK but not spectacular. A full charge is good for about ten to twelve sessions, and then you’re going to have to plug it in. It’s not as good as either the iQOS’s portable charging case or Lil and iBuddy’s day-long power capacity, but it’s not actively bad – and it lasts as long as the EFOS despite being a much smaller, neater package.

Anyway, let’s go back to the temperature control feature. This is very easy to use. With the NOS powered up, just press one of the buttons to bring up the display. This will be familiar to any vaper; there’s a battery charge icon,  large digits show the current temperature, and smaller numbers tell you the resistance and voltage (3.8V and 1.3Ω, I case you’re interested).

I ran a couple of packs of Heets through it at the default setting it came at, which was 325°C. Then I broke out another pack, set the device to 300°C and started to work through the pack, clicking it up by 5°C after each Heet. My reasoning was that with 20 Heets in a pack and 5° increments, I could test the full temperature range with a single pack and get an idea of how temperature affected the experience.

Well, I didn’t make it all the way. Not even close, in fact. Anything below 320°C was a bit on the weak side for me. Then I hit a sweet spot at 325°C – how it came out the box, in other words. It was even better at 330-335°, but then things started going downhill again. At 340° there was a vaguely unpleasant burned aftertaste, subtly different from the burned taste of an actual cigarette. At 345°C that was much stronger, and I can’t say I was sorry when it switched itself off. I wasn’t looking forward to 350° very much, and I was right – it was pretty horrible. When the NOS v2 comes out, I’d like to see it going from 300 to 340°C in two-degree increments, because a lot of its current range just isn’t going to get used.

Yes, we test these things pretty thoroughly

After my experiment in temperature control I dropped the power back to 330°C for the rest of the test, and confirmed what I already thought – at that sort of temperature the NOS delivers a very enjoyable vape. We do give these products a proper test, by the way. A typical review involves at least 100 Heets over several days, so the device needs to be cleaned and recharged several times. This isn’t just an unboxing and a couple of quick puffs for the camera.

Conclusions

So anyway, I ran over 100 Heets through the NOS; what do I think of it? Well, I think it’s pretty good! Bigger than the iQOS but smaller than everything else I’ve tried, and with a decent vaping quality, this is a real contender if you’re looking for a safer way to use tobacco. The temperature control feature is its real innovation, and while I don’t think the current setup is perfect it does start to give HnB users the degree of control over the experience that vapers already have. For a price of around $85, the NOS is definitely worth a look.

iqos and 60 heets special offer