SMOK SPECIES & TFV8 BABY V2 TANK KIT review by Si Davies

Review Date: 
04.07.2019

Smok Species & TFV8 Baby V2 Tank Kit

Though this kit has been out for a few months I felt it worthy adding this review, I have used it pretty much every day since January 2019.

Bought with my own money, a hands-on review which is based upon my experience, opinions of this mod and tank kit.

Before I begin, I'm taking my Smok Fanboy hat off for this review and being as constructive as I can, I know and understand why some people dislike Smok products, but bear with me on this one, there's a twist and it appears Smok have actually listened.

Also, a likely debatable 'battery air vent' vent.

RRP = £59.99 Though I did manage to nab one in the sales for £37.99 

Smok’s official info and specs, worth a look as I can't cover it all without over bloating an already bloated review - https://www.smoktech.com/kit/species

One Line Review

Superb looking ergonomic touchscreen mod, which is actually useful and easy to use - plus a great tank with high end mesh coils.

Score = 9 out of 10 – Smok’s best kit so far.

In the Box

  • 1 x Species Mod
  • 1 x Baby TFV8 V2 Tank
  • 1 x Baby V2 A1 Mesh Style Coil 0.17ohm (Pre-installed)
  • 1 x Baby V2 A2 Mesh Style Coil 0.2 ohm
  • 1 x USB Cable
  • 1 x User Manual (which as always couldn't be arsed to read)
  • Spare Parts for the tank
  • Some other bits of paper I also ignored

Unboxing & First Impressions

The kit comes in the traditional Black Smok branded box with outer sleeve, mod on top and tank, coils etc. underneath, the size of the mod was a little surprising, I had seen pics but it's smaller than I imagined which is a good thing when you hold it, it's not as overbearing as a lot of Smok mods, so first thing was to pop a couple of 18650 batteries in.

(I used 2 new Molicel P26A 18650/2600mAh/25A from Fogstar)

The battery door is proper solid with a nice locking catch (though I did have a 'user error' moment with it - more on that later), closed it up with a satisfying solid click.

Five clicks on the mod to turn it on, now I was expecting the rather ridiculous 'Are you over 18?' message which I had seen on video reviews but the latest firmware release removed this thankfully, it went straight into the menu. After having a quick nose around the menu I moved onto the new TFV8 Baby (I REALLY hate that name!) V2 tank.

This was a mixture of disappointment and delight, the tank looked great and matched the mod perfectly and to my delight the coils were not only mesh style but Smok had woken up and put nice big juice inlets, all great so far.

Then the bad part - the 2ml double walled glass tank which renders mesh style coils near useless, being fair this is NOT Smok's fault, rather TPD killjoys which goes the same for other mesh style tanks such as the Freemax and Falcon, popped some juice in which I had in my Freemax Mesh Pro so I could compare and let it settle.

Smok Species Mod

The mod itself features a touchscreen interface, this also featured on the G-Priv 2 but it was very annoying and often ended up accidentally upping the wattage, once to a horrific 225 watts dry hit! fortunately this has been addressed and it auto locks once you have your settings dialled in, the touchscreen itself is more responsive also, navigating around the menu system is where touchscreen comes into its own, it is so fast to get to the settings you want without the need to clickety click buttons.

There's nothing new or exciting within the menu, just the functions you need and the not so needed puff counter etc. (though this did come in handy for later in the review), gone are the daft gimmicks such as Voice Control and flashing lights etc.

The ergonomics and design of the mod I really like a lot, it has an ‘Art Deco’ look to it but always subject to taste, I'm of the opinion that if it had no logo on it I don't think you would immediately recognise it as a Smok mod, the 510 connection is centre mounted and wide enough to fit up to 27mm tanks, I tried the Mesh Pro on it and it didn't look out of place.

The fire bar is on the left hand side and the top part is used to fire, it's has a soft click feel to it which is nice and responsive, 3 clicks locks the mod from firing and 3 clicks to unlock.

There are no up/down buttons as you do this in touch control, though there is a handy button on the front which can be used to manually lock the settings or unlock when held for 3 seconds, if you press it once it goes into stealth mode and turns the screen off but you can still vape, click again to turn it back on.

A big pro for that.

The rear panel has a subtle reptile pattern (I first thought it was honeycomb) and a small 'Species' name printed on it, the battery door as mentioned earlier is really solid and locks well.

Here comes the part that I know many will leap onto the soapbox about, there are no evident battery vent holes, only a slight gap once the battery door is closed, this is common on a lot of Smok devices I have come across, such as the T-Priv 3, X-Priv, G-Priv 2 and I have yet to hear of any issues, not that I am defending this, I have no idea why Smok ignore battery vents (answers on a postcard?) but I have had zero issues with the mod getting hot, in fact it’s never even got warm, this may be a deal breaker for some.

Don't try this at home cos you will look a right tw@.

I have just tried sucking the base of the mod and there is plenty of airflow, I also tried blowing into it and air was escaping freely - I would try it on the T-Priv 3 but even my mouth isn't big enough :p

Right now that's out the way, onto my 'user error' with the battery door, being complacent I changed batteries but didn't push the door properly closed, it closed but not the distinctive 'click' and placed my mod on the kitchen worktop, about 1/2 hour later I heard a load clunk which made me jump out of my skin, it turned out to be the door sprung open and knocked the mod over, no damage fortunately but learn from my lesson, this is not a con but ‘User Error’.

TFV8 Baby V2

Now on to the tank, it features a new swivel top lock design and larger fill slot, I really wasn't expecting much since trying the TFV12 Prince mesh style coils which were poor and had small juice ports, it was a pleasant surprise to see this had been addressed and some on the A2 Dual Mesh Style Coil 0.2ohms.

(I haven't tried the other as 'big bore' mesh coils seem to give less flavour).

After priming the coil and filling the pitiful 2ml TPD tank I let it sit for a while then took it for its first vape, just wow! it was superb and only got better as I eased up the wattage, then came the killjoy part, the TPD 2ml at 90 watts I was soon back in the house for a refill - bah!

But back to the flavour, not knowing if it was down to my low expectations I went out again with the Freemax Mesh Pro with the triple mesh coil and the TFV8 V2 so I could directly compare with the same juice and I have to say there was very little in it, they both gave immense flavour (and big clouds if you like that).

If blindfolded I could only tell them apart by the whistle the freemax gives, they are both as loud which is common with mesh coil tanks but the TFV8 V2 seemed to have smoother airflow, I left it for a bit and repeated the process resulting in the same conclusion.

If I was pressed into deciding which was better it would be a tough call, I would probably go for the Freemax, no the Smok, no the .... -  I really can't call it!

Though the Smok did have a big advantage with its locking tab, I have had the rather loose slide top on the Freemax open in my pocket and leaked big time, I have to pop an ugly vape band on the Freemax now.

The 2ml glass was the biggest buzz kill so I decided to test how many draws I could get before the refill line, I reset the puff counter (first time I've found it useful) and went out to chain vape, I have quite a large lung capacity and deliberately took long draws, I got to 9 before I reached the refill line! 9! dagnammit!

"Would you like a happy ending with that sir?"

I managed to get myself a 5ml bubble glass for it at a local vape store, when I saw it I thought damn that's going to look awful as it's so stumpy, got home a fitted it, I think it really suits it on this Species mod finishing off that ‘Art Deco’ look so happy days, I now have a larger capacity tank with a great coil.

I did a retest for how many draws I could get, again chain vaping (in 3 sessions) and I got to 39 puffs, repeated and 38 puffs, now I'm quite happy with that, my normal vaping will be more like 50 puffs before a refill.

(That was the twist by the way)

I have been using this tank for a long time and the coil life (dual coil) is superb, I get around 1,200 puffs using 70/30 juice without any dry hits, I only change the coil when the flavour starts to drop off, it appears with its large juice ports that it's wicking perfectly, I believe the fault with other Smok coils are too tight a wick with small ports.

My only minor con with the tank (after the 2ml glass replacement) is the included drip tip is propriety and fits over a fixed bore instead of inside so you cannot use standard tips, though in my case it suits the mod so black is fine by me.

There are aftermarket drip tip sleeves available now.

Compared to

Smok G-Priv 2 (the only other touchscreen mod I own).

There's a lot more thought gone into the touchscreen on the Species with its new interface and styling, they are similar in size but the Species wins in how it feels in the hand, a nice weight to it and quite compact, plus the 510 being central taking larger tanks. I actually can't think of anything that the G-Priv 2 does better than the Species; Smok pretty much improved it all.

Smok X-Priv

Not touch screen but the closest I have to it in size and similar functions (via buttons).

I really love the X-Priv and it's harder to say which is the better mod, but for me the Species having the TFV8 V2 (notice I avoid saying "baby") with its new mesh coils and central 510 pips it to the post, the X-Priv mod I think looks great until you put a tank on it, it would have been far better with a central tank.

I could go into it further but this review is quite long enough, shiny new toy aside I know this one’s a keeper like the X-Priv.

Conclusion

I honestly wasn't going to buy another Smok mod, they lost me after the rather silly voice control 'Whatever-Ninja-Fetus-Priv V111115b' and the hugely disappointing Prince Mesh coils, but this caught my eye in the January sales, read up on it and decided to take a punt, Smok have won me back with this bundle and they have caught up with the competition in stock coil tanks (just as the Prince did back in it's prime), the tank with these coils really is the cherry on the icing, check out more reviews on YouTube if you want to see it in action.

With the evolution of 'mesh' styled coils I’m drifting back to stock coils over my Squonking RDA's which I didn't think could be beaten, Smok have nudged their way back with this product, assuming their quality control on the coils doesn't slip this will continue to be one of my main usage kits.

I'm not sure it's my favourite mod of all time but it's up there, the new tank and coils has helped.

Would I buy another if it broke?

Absolutely 100% probably.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Slick stylish modern ‘Art Deco’ design.
  • High precision touchscreen.
  • Locking feature.
  • Central 510 connection.
  • Takes up to 27mm tanks.
  • Fast and easy navigation.
  • Solid locking battery door.
  • Sturdy with a nice weight.
  • Vivid very bright screen.
  • Superb new V2 tank design.
  • Great flavour new mesh style coils are long lasting.
  • Pocket friendly.

Cons

  • 2ml TPD tank is near useless.
  • Propriety drip tip.
  • High juice consumption (as with most Mesh style coils).
  • Needs bubble glass which can be prone to breaking if knocked over.

I am struggling to think of any serious cons, one would have been the battery vents but my not so scientific experiment satisfied me on that issue.

Superb looking ergonomic touchscreen mod which is actually useful and easy to use, plus a great tank with high end mesh coils.

Score = 9 out of 10 – Smoks best kit so far.
 

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 Si Davies
Article by Si Davies
Now into my 50's I smoked ciggies for most of my life, I used to smoke tailor mades for 20+ years then onto rollups for 15+ years, as much as I enjoyed smoking I was forced to quit after an operation, started vaping in 2017, managed to quit the ciggies in 4 days, plodded along vaping using local shop naff vape gear until I discovered POTV then learned so much and enjoy vaping far more than smoking.