Slim, lightweight heat-not-burn
Every so often a device lands on my doorstep and I wonder, “why did they design it this way?” There are plenty of devices out there that are slim, bulky, or somewhere in between. With a blade or spike. With temperature adjustment or without. Unlike PMI who have spent, quite literally, millions on research and development of their device, the smaller manufacturers are just doing what they do best. Churning out inexpensive, simple devices for people that want them. They wouldn’t do it otherwise. The latest to land on my doorstep is the TQS Coolplay Q3. A slim, lightweight, simple device for heat-not-burn. Is it any good? Read on to find out!
Practically every device I have received is packed in the almost the exact same way. Device on top in either a foam or plastic tray, while underneath is either a segmented tray or box containing all the other parts. The TQS Coolplay Q3 is no different in this regard.
Among the box contents you’ll find the usual cleaning brush, cleaning swabs, manual, warranty slip and a charging cable (no mains plug, just the cable). There is practically no difference between an IQOS box and any other box. Some may feel a little more flimsy than others but, at the end of the day, it is a box. Once opened and everything stored in whatever place you store your accessories, it’s likely to be tossed in the bin.
When I was told that the device was light, they weren’t kidding. Sure, the device isn’t as light as the featherweight 21g of the IQOS3 DUO holder, but it is light enough. Weighing in at a mere 40g for an all-in-one device isn’t to be sniffed at.
Comprised of moulded PEEK plastic body surrounding the compact 900mAh battery and heating chamber (it’s a blade) with removable cap – to make sure removing the tobacco sticks (either TQS’ own, or other compatible sticks) is easy.
A single button, with integrated LED on the front and micro-USB port on the bottom round out the key physical features of the TQS Coolplay Q3.
The device is, currently, available in Black, Gold, Green and Blue.
Device in Use
As with many all-in-one devices, the trick is to make them as easy to use as possible. After all, lighting a cigarette is easy, right? The same principle should apply to heat-not-burn. Fortunately, the TQS Coolplay Q3 is simple. It features a locking feature (which I rarely used) which can be activated, or deactivated with 5 clicks of the control button.
Pop in your chosen tobacco (or in my case, non-tobacco – more on that in another article) heat stick, the press and hold the control button until it vibrates to start the heating process. The LED on the control button will also flash during the process.
I did discover, quite by accident as it happens, that you can stop the heating process, if you activate it inadvertently, by holding the control button until the LED turns off.
Heating time for the TQS Coolplay Q3 clocks in at 24-25 seconds, somewhat slower than other all-in-one devices on the market. This is mostly due to the tiny 900mAh battery which the manufacturer claims to provide enough life for up to 15 tobacco sticks per charge.
The average session – for me – clocked in at just over 4 minutes 10 seconds which equated to 15 puffs. The specification suggests that the device will operate for 5 minutes OR 14 puffs so there is clearly some leeway in duration – but not much.
The control button LED can also be used to check the status of the battery. Once the device is unlocked (5 clicks), click the control button once and the LED will illuminate with one of four colours to indicate the remaining charge:
- White = 100 – 80% remaining
- Green = 80 – 50% remaining
- Blue = 50 – 20% remaining
- Red = 20% or less
The LED will also, confusingly, flash white when it requires charging. Given that low charge is signified by red (as most indicators do), it doesn’t make much sense to flash white when the device needs charging.
Cleaning the TQS Coolplay Q3, fortunately, nice and easy as the removable cap grants plenty of space to clean the chamber and heating blade. Care is needed when cleaning the blade as they tend to be more fragile than spikes. The cap is magnetised so it isn’t going to randomly fall out if you turn the device over. However, this magnet does make it awkward to remove the cap at times particularly as the cap is fractionally smaller than the rest of the body. This, in turn, leads to the thumb grip (which is meant to enable the cap to be pushed upwards) pushing the cap inwards.
The only way I found to get around that is to use another finger to prise the cap upwards from the back of the device. It does get easier to remove with use however, so it may be that – in time – the magnet will lose the ability to keep the cap in place.
For a lightweight device, getting the design and features right is crucial. There is no doubt that the form-factor is right. Some may say it is too small and because of that, it lacks the longevity of other devices. That misses the point of this device. It isn’t aimed at heavy users that go through more than 15-20 sticks in a day.
The battery, while good for up to 15 sticks on a single charge, is the weak point of the device. It is small (900mAh) for a reason – to save weight. But, it does have the trade-off of a (relatively) quick charge time – clocking in at 55 minutes from flat to full. Regular readers of my reviews will know that charging is my biggest gripe of any device, so the faster the better.
As it stands, when the device is plugged in to charge, the LED goes through a bright/dim cycle (not quite a flash) as it charges and, when complete, stays fully lit. It would be nice to have the LED either flash green or go out completely once fully charged. It is only a minor gripe on the battery/charging side of the device.
The only other gripe is the removable cap. Again, it is only a minor gripe as early on it was tricky to remove the cap with a HEET still inside. As time progressed it did become easier, but it isn’t consistent.
All in all, the TQS Coolplay Q3 is a neat little device that would be useful for light to moderate users full-time, or as a backup device for heavier users.
For more information on this device and the TQS tobacco sticks (review coming soon) please visit http://www.tqsheats.com