A new U.S. company called Red Dragon Products has joined suppliers world-wide to market and sell a new type of mini electronic cigarette.
So what’s different about this mini electronic cigarette?
A fresh new atomizer is built-in to every Red Dragon cigarette refill cartridge. Kiss atomizer failure woes good-bye! This mini cigarette is also the smallest one I have seen so far.
The new Red Dragon mini electronic cigarette is not perfect though as new product offerings typically trade one set of problems for a slightly smaller problem as you find out by reading the rest of this review.
Overall, the new Red Dragon mini electronic cigarette left a very positive impression and this company seems to be the most economical supplier of this exciting new e cig at the time of writing this article.
Mini Electronic Cigarette Review:
- Manufacturer / Supplier: Red Dragon Products, LLC.
- Country: U.S.A.
- Model: 8 piece kit
- Style: Mini
- Starter Kit Price: $39.95 – $79.95
- Cartridge Price (4-Pack): $11.95
- Number of flavors: 6 (Stock), 25 (Speical Order)
- Nicotine Levels Offered: High, Medium, Low, Zero
- Nicotine Solution for Dripping: No
- Draw: Easy to Medium
- Warranty: Yes 1 year (and 30-day money back guarantee)
Starter Kit Contents:
2 Red Dragon mini electronic cigarettes / lithium batteries, 1 USB charger, 1 USB wall adapter, 5 nicotine cartridges (customer selects flavor / strength) instruction manual.
Poor 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 Excellent
- Ratings and Score:
- Batteries and Charger: 3.5
- Atomizer: 4.5
- Cartridges: 3.5
- Construction / Quality: 3.0
- Cost: 4.0
- Overall: 3.7 (above average)
Cartridge Rating = 3.5
The replacement cartridges with built-in atomizers come 4 in a pack. Four levels of nicotine concentration are available: high (16mg), medium (11mg), low (6mg) and zero (0mg). These mini electronic cigarette cartridges also come in 4 different colors including white, gold, green and brown.
Red Dragon regularly stocks white and gold colored cartridges in 6 different flavors at the time of this review including Regular, Light, Cherry, Marlboro, Menthol and Vanilla.
The green and brown cartridges as well as the other 19 cartridge flavors are special order.
Each Red Dragon cartridge is supposed to last as long as 20 traditional cigarettes (1-pack), but this will depend on individual smoking habits. The “high” nicotine cartridge only contains 16mg but it seems to actually deliver a good nicotine hit.
Ok, and now for the complicated part! The atomizer is built into the cartridge, BUT I am still going to do my best to separate the two for purposes of this review. Weighing the trade-offs isn’t that hard when you break it down so here goes:
First impressions of the cartridges were pretty good. They last much longer than the other mini electronic cigarette models I have tested probably even longer than 20 cigarettes in most cases, but they only come 4 in a pack whereas other brands package 10 refills in a pack so the tradeoff is more or less even there.
It is a huge convenience to be able to swap different flavors and strengths without any taste lingering in the atomizer and without having to worry about getting nicotine solution on your hands. Each refill is packaged in form fitting silicone end caps that you can actually put back on to maintain freshness.
I like the fact that they stock 3 different tobacco flavors: light, regular and Marlboro. They all had a very subtle taste that was true to their name. All the flavors tested were quite tasty but I would say the taste is not as flavorful as other brands, but the vapor also carries less odor as well.
There are a couple tradeoffs that should be noted though.
Like I said the cartridges seem to last long in most cases so that means there is an exception. Out of the 9 cartridges I tried 1 of them was actually faulty in some way. I got a few decent puffs and then it started to get harsh on me. It was actually the first cartridge I tried so I thought it was supposed to be that way.
After I took a few more drags it got very harsh so I decided to try the other flavors. None of the other cartridges produced this harshness until maybe a little bit at the end when they went empty.
So it seems that there are still some kinks to be worked out in the manufacturing of these new cartridges. Until then it is fortunate that it is quick and easy to screw on a new cartridge if you happen to get a bad one.
Finally, it seems like dripping these cartridges may be a little more difficult than the other mini electronic cigarettes out there. I e-mailed the folks at Red Dragon asking them if it is even possible to refill the cartridges and they sent me a procedure on how to do it that I will share with you in another post.
Atomizer Rating = 4.5
Building the atomizer into the cartridge proved to be a great idea in the testing of this mini electronic cigarette.
You can switch between and compare flavors very quickly because the solution flavor from the previous cartridge doesn’t linger in the atomizer between switches since it is a completely different atomizer!
Testing different flavors has been a challenge with the other brands especially menthol because it is such a strong flavor.
Some people are probably wondering if the atomizers are cheap since the replacement cartridges are only a few bucks each.
I know I certainly did.
I can confidently say the atomizers seem to be high quality and that they perform very well producing the most smoke vapor of the mini electronic cigarettes I have tested so far The atomizer only requires an easy to medium draw strength to get this impressive amount of vapor.
Even after inhaling deeply the volume of smoke produced on the exhale was good.
The smoke produced is not only abundant, but also warm especially after a couple primer puffs. The smoke was also fairly consistent in its abundance right up until the end when the cartridge ran dry.
Every cartridge tested had a functional atomizer and I believe the bad cartridge I had just didn’t get filled with the proper amount of nicotine solution.
The bottom line is even if you have an atomizer problem with this mini electronic cigarette you can replace it by replacing the cartridge and you will be the envy of your e-smoking friends when their atomizer craps out and they left their spare at home.
I am still not giving this mini electronic cigarette a 5 for its atomizers because I consider 4.5 excellent anyway with a 5 being perfect with nothing to be desired.
Everyone reading my reviews has probably noticed I am very conservative with my ratings and can bring myself to give out 5′s especially when I could split hairs and say things like, “well the atomizer still performs best when it is warm.. etc. etc.”
I don’t like to split hairs so I will just leave the atomizer score alone for now.
Batteries & Charger Rating = 3.5
Like many electronic cigarettes this 8 piece starter kit comes with 2 batteries so that you can enjoy uninterrupted use by charging one battery while you use the other.
The charging system comes with a USB travel charger that can be plugged into almost any USB port and a wall adapter than has a USB port to provide power for the USB charger.
Originally I thought the kit came with 2 chargers, but I found you do have to plug the USB charger into the wall adapter in order to use it. The chargers do have indicator LEDs that turn green when the charging cycle is complete.
The wall charger doesn’t have a cord which may be a positive for some who hate extra cords or a negative for others who don’t have room to plug the flip out charger into an outlet flush against the wall.
The DC car adapter for the Red Dragon mini electronic cigarette can be purchased separately and requires that you have the USB charger as well because the Red Dragon car charger just converts the car power outlet to a USB port.
The batteries take 3-4 hours to charge and will then last for almost 1 cartridge so you will need to swap the battery to finish off a cartridge.
This battery life tends to be on the short side compared to other mini electronic cigarettes and is probably due to the fact this mini electronic cigarette’s battery is very small. It is the smallest of all others reviewed so far.
The battery has no problem getting the atomizer good and hot to produce huge amounts of smoke but I did notice that the “cut-off” switch cutting power to the atomizer a little too soon for my taste.
After a few charges the batteries did seem to have a longer cut off but another thing I noticed is that if you try to draw too quick or hard the battery may start blinking and not activate the atomizer.
The brand is too new to find complaints of excessive battery failure out there but I didn’t personally have any problems. Overall the batteries and charging system seem fairly robust.
Construction / Quality Rating = 3.0
The first thing you notice when you put the Red Dragon together is the thing is pretty light weight, but not in a bad way. The construction is actually surprisingly well done for the weight and makes it feel more like a real cigarette when holding it in your hand.
You still will not be able to dangle it from your lips but I would say holding it in your teeth is comfortable.
The finish on the battery is very durable and the Red Dragon branding doesn’t easily flake off. The cartridges are wrapped with paper adding to both the appearance and feeling of a real cigarette on your lips.
The only problem I noticed with the construction is that 1 of the batteries exhibited a faint “rattle” when you shake it. The battery itself still works great and I don’t know if this is a fluke or if the problem will be typical of this brand, but I thought it at least worth mentioning.
Finally, the occasional unfilled cartridge seems to fall under the quality but maybe these can be drip filled. I don’t know.
Cost Rating = 4.0
You may think the cost of the Red Dragon seems a little high at first. I thought the same thing, but when I started to break it down I realized that Red Dragon is offering a good value for several reasons.
First, since the atomizer is built into the cartridge and the 8-piece starter kit includes 2 batteries this means in essence you get 2 electronic cigarettes. By simply screwing a cartridge into each battery I was able to sit there and smoke with a friend when doing research for this review.
I also just remembered that I got a “bonus” cartridge with the 8-piece kit technically making it a 9 piece kit. I don’t know if this is usual practice for the company or a special promotion, but a bonus is a bonus!
Second, while the refills cost about the same or slightly more than the competition you don’t have to worry about replacing the atomizer. Also, the convenience of being able to switch cartridges without lingering flavor and the time saved cleaning atomizers adds value.
Finally, Red Dragon offers several price points with their 1, 2, 3 and 8 piece kits which makes is cheap enough for anyone who is curious to give the brand a try. If a person doesn’t like it there is a 30-day money back guarantee and they don’t have a lot of money tied up in the transaction.
Red Dragon also offers a 1 year warranty on their mini electronic cigarette.
Style and Extra Features
The battery finish on this mini electronic cigarette is attractive with gold bands all along the white body. The Red Dragon logo on the battery also looks good and goes well with the style.
The only battery color available for this mini electronic cigarette is the white with gold bands, but the cartridges are stocked in either white or gold and can be special ordered in green or brown.
The Red Dragon web site is currently advertising “Dragon Skins” as a style feature that is coming soon. There is no word when these will be available, but I am assuming the dragon skins will basically be a sticker that can be applied to the battery.
The battery does have an orange tip and is not offered in any other colors but the unique thing about this mini electronic cigarette is that when the tip lights up it has the company logo (a dragon’s eye) super imposed kind of like the bat signal at the end of your cigarette which everyone I showed thought was pretty cool.
The other nice feature about the Red Dragon mini electronic cigarette is the carrying case. It is compact, comes in several colors and protects your investment.
Despite the fact the carrying case doesn’t have form fitting foam it is still snug enough that the mini electronic cigarette doesn’t slide around inside at all.
Overall Review Rating = 3.7
Right now there is a 5% discount “coupon code” next to the Red Dragon link on my “Where-to-buy” page…