SKE Crystal PLUS and Flavoured Pods
Supplied by TECC for Review
Battery £7.95 Pods £4.99 (2 pack)
Well this is a very welcome move from a disposables manufacturer! Their popular Crystal disposable has evolved into a less wasteful closed pod system with prefilled pods and you recharge/reuse the battery. Naturally TECC leapt at the chance to stock these and all the flavours, equally I leapt at the chance to review them for reasons I will go into later.
- 400mAh Built-In Battery
- Prefilled Pod Design
- Inhale Activated
- MTL Vaping
- 15 Flavours
- SKE Crystal Plus Pods
- Subtle LED Lighting
- USB-C Charging
The SKE Crystal Plus is not a kit as such as you need to purchase the pods separately. The battery/device comes in a simple box with a blown plastic inlay holding the device and a USB-C charging cable, there is also a little manual but you really won’t need to read it.
The device comes with an initial charge so it should be ready to vape as soon as you pop a pod into it, but as with all devices, it’s best you give it a full charge when you can.
First Impressions and Overview
The device is really well made and looks superb. The main body is plastic (looks/feels like acrylic to me) with a metal base cap. There is a tube on the inside which holds the electronics and it has a wrap which gives it its own colour scheme. The weight and size is very pocket friendly, it is also an ideal size for a lanyard.
- Weight 28g
- Height 8.8cm (3.5")
- Width 1.7cm (0.7")
- Depth 1.7cm (0.7")
The look is only complete with a pod fitted which is made from the same material as the body. The branding is a bit naff though, a bold black logo doesn’t quite match the overall look, but that’s a minor thing as you don’t really notice unless you specifically look.
I was really impressed with how the pod appeared to be seamlessly blended into the battery, they have the fit just right as there is no wobble, and there’s a good airtight seal.
The pods come in packs of two and there’s a huge selection of flavours (fifteen at the time of writing). Your initial purchase will be the SKE Crystal PLUS device and at least one pack of pods which comes to £12.94 which will give you the equivalent of two 2ml disposables, but it gets much cheaper after that. I would recommend that you buy at least two packs of pods as it gets you free P&P and brings down the cost per 2ml, the maths after that are obvious; £2.50 per 2ml.
And how’s this for a tempting flavour range?
- Blue Fusion – A delightful blend of blackcurrant, blueberry and raspberry.
- Blue Razz Lemonade – Sweet blue raspberry flavour enhanced with a sharp lemonade.
- Blueberry Cherry Blackberry – A fruity medley of blueberry, blackberry and cherry.
- Blueberry Raspberry – Succulent blueberries blended with sweet raspberries.
- Blueberry Sour Raspberry – Juicy blueberries and sweet raspberries twisted with a sour kick.
- Cherry Ice – Bursting cherries carried on a breeze of icy menthol.
- Cherry Strawberry Raspberry – A blend of fresh cherries, strawberries and raspberries.
- Cotton Candy Bubblegum – Sweet cotton candy made sweeter with a bubblegum taste.
- Fire Brew – A take on the classic orange coloured Scottish soft drink.
- Kiwi Passion Fruit Guava – Exotic kiwis, juicy passion fruit and fresh guava.
- Lemon & Lime – A citrussy blend of tart lemons and sour limes. Like a popular twisting ice lolly.
- Pink Lemonade – A heavenly mix of sweet raspberries and sour lemonade.
- Rainbow – A blend of sweet fruits. Very similar to a certain rainbow coloured type of confectionary.
- Strawberry Burst – Fresh, sweet strawberries swirled with mixed fruit.
- Watermelon Ice – A classic. Mouth-watering watermelon with a refreshing blast of ice menthol.
You will need to prime each pod before use. There’s a long silicone seal which needs to be removed by simply pulling it out, this can be a bit tricky at first but after a couple I found it naturally instinctive.
You should immediately notice that bubbles form as the e-liquid starts to saturate the coil inside the pod, ideally you should give it between 5-10 minutes to fully saturate. If you are impatient, then a little trick is to block the air through the base with your finger and suck the pod to pull through the e-liquid quicker, but I got into the habit of priming the next pod while I was using the first so I didn’t have to wait.
Fitting the pod is as easy as it gets, you literally just pop it in, no need to line it up as it magnetically snaps into position perfectly. I’m a fidgetter so I found it strangely satisfying to rotate it with my thumb, that aside it was easy to push it upwards to see the e-liquid level.
Once you have your pod primed and fitted, you’re ready to vape. I will go into the flavours shortly but trust me; they are ALL superb! The vape quality itself was spot on, a proper MTL tight-ish draw, instant and very smooth, each flavour popped out into an overall extremely satisfying vape, and with much less of a ‘disposable’ guilt trip.
Then there was a little surprise; the LED light in the base reflected up throughout the body. It is very subtle, you don’t notice it too much in daylight, but in low light it looks pretty cool.
It really matches the whole ‘crystal’ vibe, the subtleness made it more appealing, had it been glaringly bright, it could have been a con. I really liked it but the only downside is it made it difficult to stealth vape at night.
I won’t be going too in depth with each flavour, mainly because the flavour description sums it up perfectly. I will only really comment if there was something to add, but in general I enjoyed every single one and the variety made them good to carry a selection of flavours to swap and change.
I have included whether I found them suitable as an ADV (All Day Vape) or whether they made good a ‘mixer’, as in swapping pods between two flavours. I’ve not really done this before but trust me, it adds an extra element to enjoying this range of flavours, I’m a mixer convert now!
Blueberry Sour Raspberry
"Juicy blueberries and sweet raspberries twisted with a sour kick"
Distinctive blueberry but the sidenote of the raspberry and the slight sour note toned down the overall sweetness to make it a good ADV choice (All Day Vape).
"A take on the classic orange coloured Scottish soft drink"
This one was a bit different to the norm, usually you see Red Bull type energy drinks but this one is an Irn Bru style. The taste is pretty faithful to the drink but actually nicer as a vape, not quite an ADV but great as a mixer.
Lemon & Lime
"A citrussy blend of tart lemons and sour limes. Like a popular twisting ice lolly"
I just spotted the “Like a popular twisting ice lolly” bit, 'nough said! My thoughts exactly and it makes a great citrus vape, the most citrus in the range and another good mixer.
"A heavenly mix of sweet raspberries and sour lemonade"
Clearly a lemonade but that little raspberry sidenote made it smoother and left a really nice aftertaste.
"A classic. Mouth-watering watermelon with a refreshing blast of ice menthol"
Watermelon e-liquids are so hit'n'miss for me, most are over-sweetened and sickly, but the ‘menthol’ element in this one made it much nicer than others I’ve tried and leaves a longer lasting aftertaste.
Blue Razz Lemonade
"Sweet blue raspberry flavour enhanced with a sharp lemonade"
This one taste so similar to the ‘Sour’ version but with the slight zest of lemonade, I think I preferred this one as it was less sweet but both make a good ADV.
Blueberry Cherry Blackberry
"A fruity medley of blueberry, blackberry and cherry"
This one is really interesting and a bit different, blueberry and blackberry were evident but that cherry kick blended really well. The result is quite a unique berry base with a strong cherry aftertaste. I loved this one but I would use it as a mixer.
"Bursting cherries carried on a breeze of icy menthol"
Well I think you don’t need much imagination to guess what this one tastes like, simply a cool cherry which reminded me of a chewing gum or a slushie due to the menthol. The menthol made it far more palatable and toned down the strong cherry a lot, another good mixer.
"A blend of sweet fruits. Very similar to a certain rainbow coloured type of confectionary"
Rainbow has been one of the most popular flavours in e-liquids for years now, but in disposables it has a new lease of life. It tastes much nicer than freebase 70/30 e-liquids, but it is a very sweet one which can become too sickly as an ADV. I really enjoyed it though and made a great mixer.
"Fresh, sweet strawberries swirled with mixed fruit"
I’m so glad they added the mixed fruit as it made the strawberry far less sweet, you still get that lovely strawberry taste but the additional fruit element just calmed it down and it is not so sickly. A surprising ADV and a good mixer.
"A delightful blend of blackcurrant, blueberry and raspberry"
This had a Ribena vibe to it, quite sweet but not so much as to make it sickly. It is a good ADV and equally a good mixer.
"Succulent blueberries blended with sweet raspberries"
Very similar to the above flavour but the blueberry is clearly the dominant flavour with the raspberry as a nice side-note. One for blueberry fans, and a decent ADV and mixer.
Cotton Candy Bubblegum
"Sweet cotton candy made sweeter with a bubblegum taste"
Erm…. Yeah it’s SWEET! Initially I found it too sweet, but the more I vaped it, the more I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it more when mixing it with most of the other flavours so I ended up using it solely as a sweet mixer.
Kiwi Passion Fruit Guava
"Exotic kiwis, juicy passion fruit and fresh guava"
Oddly this was the only exotic fruit in the range, but they sure picked the best blend, the three fruit appeared to be so evenly balanced that I could pick out each one. The three together are just lush and it was possibly my favourite out of the lot. An ADV for me, but mixing made it quite an experience!
Using the device and the convenience of swapping pods willy-nilly provided one of the most enjoyable vape experienced I have experienced. The battery is only 400mAh, but it lasted pretty much the same time as the pod lasted. I can’t vouch for the estimated ‘600 puffs’ as that all depends on the draw length, I just consider the 2ml e-liquid capacity. Some may get to the magic number with short 1 second puffs, but I tend to draw an average 2 seconds.
Charging the battery wasn’t the quickest but since it is only 400mAh, it didn’t take too long, around 25 minutes on average, but since I was mixing, I tended to top-up charge when opportunities arose.
I’ve been using the SKE Crystal Plus for over ten days now and I am still loving it. With so much new stuff coming in and the high quality of kits, it is always going to be tough to find something truly special, but I consider this bundle to be quite special, mostly down to the superb quality of the flavours along with a really nice battery device and the easy swapping of the flavours. It gave me the best of disposables but without the guilt trip of throwing away the device after 2ml. Sure throwing away pods after 2ml is still wasteful and more expensive, but it’s so much better than pure disposables.
Crystal Bar vs Crystal Plus
One of the reasons I was keen to review these was due to someone I know that used the disposable version; the Crystal Bar. I remember ranting to her that it was a real waste and far too good to throw away, disposables are bad enough even in their most basic form but the Crystal Bar was better quality than a lot of reusable pods. So the new ‘REUSABLE’ Crystal Plus is a no-brainer and I cannot think of a single reason why anyone would choose a disposable over this? Not only is it a more responsible thing to do, it is also cheaper and a lot more enjoyable with the swapping pods option.
The future I would like to see is a fully refillable version. Making the pods refillable and bundling them with a 10ml bottle of SKE’s superb e-liquid would bring SKE into the mainstream as it would appeal to a lot more vapers.
With all things considered, I have thoroughly enjoyed the SKE Crystal Plus. I would go as far as to say that it’s the best prefilled closed pod system I have experienced, even better than the ELF-BAR. SKE deserve praise for bringing out a more sustainable product that in theory makes their own Crystal Bar obsolete.
Finally I am glad TECC have chosen to stock these. If you are unfamiliar with TECC, I can assure you they are one of the best UK suppliers for vape hardware and e-liquids, with regular offers, free P&P option (minimum spend), well stocked, and generally they only select the best kits/e-liquids to include in their stock. Their customer service is superb, and I’ve come to trust them as I’m sure you will too.