The Altria Group has released their introductory electronic cigarette in select markets across the United States. We were able to get a hold of one for our Mark Ten e cigarette review. As they are backed by Big Tobacco it should be pretty easy to find one if you live in any of the test markets. They are readily available at gas stations and supermarkets near us for under $10 for the basic starter kit.
*Four Draw technology produces an noticeably even drag every time
*Some may be turned off by the small size of the device
*Product of Big Tobacco (only a con for a select set of vapers)
*Not available for sale online
This new device is a cig-a-like- style e cigarette; your basic two-piece design with a battery that screws onto replaceable cartomizers. The first thing that you notice when opening the Mark Ten is its size. It’s tiny, even for a cig-a-like. With a cartomizer attached to the battery the device is just a hair longer than 3.25 inches. That’s a good inch shorter than most cig-a-likes on the market. The diameter is also less than your average device. The second thing that we noticed was that although the device is small, it is sturdy. The device is all metal with a smooth to the touch finish and a glowing plastic tip. With the majority of the device being metal, not plastic, it should hold up well to being carried around on a daily basis. Durability was not an issue during our test which lasted 6 days and numerous cartomizer replacements.
Four Draw Technology
Mark Ten’s claim to fame is the “four draw technology” built into the tips of the cartomizers. In essence the draw tip has 4 evenly spaced holes that divide and deliver the vapor, as opposed to one large hole in the center of the draw tip. There are more elaborate design changes to the inside of the carto which are in place to further improve upon how the device delivers vapor, but Mark Ten is keeping those details under their hat for now. This all sounded like a gimmick at first but it really did make a difference. The Mark Ten delivers a very nice, even draw of vapor with each drag. The delivery is noticeably different than other cig-a-likes, so Mark Ten really is on to something here. Again, they are Big Tobacco so this is an example of R&D dollars being spent to improve functionality.
When we first saw how small the Mark Ten is we immediately questioned the battery. As per the stats in the owner’s manual the device can deliver vapor with 3.7 volts and hold a 90 mAh charge. Both of these figures are on the low side for the cig-a-like market. The 3.7 volts does deliver a solid drag. However the Mark Ten is not on par with PVs or even smaller devices with higher voltage batteries when it comes to the amount of vapor that it delivers. The draw tip is exquisite, but if you demand huge amounts of vapor then you may want to look elsewhere. It wasn’t as if the Mark Ten was entirely inadequate, but the amount of vapor delivered seemed to be average at best, even for a cig-a-like. At only 90mAh heavy vapers may worry about running out of charge. We can honestly say that the battery lasted all day and night for us without any issues. It must be recharged nightly, yet the smaller capacity still held up for daily activities. Again, if you are a heavy vaper, or heavy smoker looking to try vapor, you may want to keep a car charger around. The starter kit comes with a USB charger that is also conveniently portable.
Mark Ten does not offer refillable cartomizers, and although they claim to use 510 threading to connect the battery and cartomizers the device is not easily compatible with other hardware that uses 510 threading. We tried to use the battery with a refillable clearomizer and another brand’s cartomizer. Both attempts resulted in a shaky connection and poor vapor delivery. Like everyone else Mark Ten would prefer that you use their cartos with their batteries. Overall the Mark Ten delivers a respectable drag for a cig-alike. Yes, there are certainly more powerful devices but the user experience was pleasant, largely due to the draw tip.
Flavor and Vapor
Right now Mark Ten users are limited to refillable cartridges that come in either traditional tobacco or menthol. The traditional tobacco was good. We give it 4/5 stars for overall flavor. It has a significant tobacco flavor without being overbearing, and packs just a touch of sweetness. The menthol was a run of the mill mint flavor in our opinion. Nothing made the menthol stand out from any other brand out there, it wasn’t bad, just not special in any way. We give the menthol 3/5 stars which makes it about average. We would like to see more flavor options from Mark Ten in the future. Two flavor options is simply not enough when we all know what is really out there. As for throat hit Mark Ten’s blend is also very average in our opinion. You can feel a tingle when you vape but it isn’t significant. Throat hit isn’t a deciding factor in our book, but it does matter to a lot of vapers and smokers in search of a cig-a-like. All in all we rate Mark Ten’s flavor and overall vapor as “satisfactory.” It provides everything that you need from a basic device, but nothing to write home about.
The Mark Ten is a good, but not great, starter e cig or backup for a more advanced vaper who normally depends on a larger device. As cig-a-likes go it is well built, and we did love the Four Draw technology. It won’t be a surprise to us if other brands mimic this in the very near future as it was a noticeable improvement. The basic starter kit cost us less than $10 and included: a battery, 1 cartomizer, a USB charger, an owner’s manual and a “carrying case”. The carrying case is really just a cheap plastic tube, so we don’t see ourselves getting much use out of it. That’s okay though, as you can’t complain about a kit that costs so little while delivering a solid product. Price-wise Mark Ten has put themselves in a position to be a dollar or two cheaper than many of their competitors (in retail stores in our market), and they are not afraid to sell rechargeable kits right next to their disposbales. From a value standpoint Mark Ten delivers a slightly above average product for slightly below average cost. We’ll have see if they raise prices once they get to be a little more popular. We recommend the Mark Ten for those new to vaping or those who want a reliable backup device for the car or office. It is a respectable choice for those in the market for a cig-a-like.