iJoy MERCURY 12W AIO Pod System Review
Experienced vapers will be familiar with iJoy, a manufacturer known for innovative products ranging from smaller pod systems like the IVPC to more advanced mod systems like the Diamond Mini or Shogun. Their latest offering is the Mercury 12 AIO Pod System, which we're going to take a look at today.
It’s easy to see why the all-in-one (AIO) category of devices has become so popular. They come with all the easy-to-use features of a pod system, but with the added bonus of being able to swap your coils and select your own liquid flavor via the refillable tank. They also offer many of the features you wouldn't normally find on a simpler pod system, like adjustable airflow.
So what makes the Mercury stand out against all the competition? In this review, we’ll dive in and see what makes this pop, and what could be improved upon. While it’s not the perfect device, it utilizes a unique and exciting design that makes some improvements on similar devices. Let’s take a closer look...
In some ways, this is similar in design to our recently reviewed Orbit TF. It uses the shape of an Orion as its baseline, though it's noticeably shorter and thicker than the Orion when they’re put side by side. It’s easy to palm for stealth vapes and uses a screw-in design for the pod system.
Unlike the Orbit TF, which is made of mostly hard plastic, the Mercury is made with Zinc-Alloy and Stainless Steel, which adds a bit of heft while at the same time improving durability. The weight can be a pro or con for some people, but it ultimately feels well made and sturdy.
When we think of a device as being all-in-one, we're generally considering a single device that mates both the tank and battery into a single unit for a sleek, seamless design. While the Mercury tank is tucked down into the mod body, it is actually designed to come out for maintenance, so it's not permanently integrated. Over the long run this is probably for the best, as the plastic tank walls will likely break down over time.
A proprietary drip tip made of resin molded over stainless steel threads into the top of the Mercury, holding the device together (sorry, there's no option to use your own drip tip with this device). From there, the tank assembly slides out - a rubber stopper can be pulled aside to fill the tank from the top with up to 2.0 ml of juice, while the bottom unscrews to allow for easy coil replacement. The bottom cap also houses the adjustable airflow ring, allowing air to reach the coil as vapor is being created, rather than mixing it in as an afterthought on drip-tip-mounted airflow adjustment. Pop the assembly back in and re-thread the drip tip top cap, which will compress the tank and create a solid connection with the 1100 mAh battery below.
The exterior of the device has a micro-USB port for charging (expect about an hour and a half to reach a full charge if the battery is completely drained), a slot to thread a lanyard through (no lanyard included), and two windows near the tank - one to keep an eye on liquid levels, another allows air to enter the bottom of the coil. This device does use a fire button instead of an auto-draw function, and four lights below the button indicate charge level (the top three illuminate when full and go out one by one as the charge drops) and power on/off (the fourth, bottom flashing button). On models with adjustable voltage, the bottom light also indicates high/medium/low power settings, on the Mercury 12 power is fixed at between 10-12 watts depending on battery charge level.
The Mercury comes with two different coils - a 1.2 ohm wire coil designed for mouth-to-lung vaping and a 1.0 ohm mesh coil for restricted lung hits. Regardless of which coil and vaping style suits you, it's probably going to be best to leave the relatively small airflow ring wide open, and to make sure it's facing one of the side openings in the mod body when the tank is installed.
We're tempted to say vapor and flavor production are "above average," but let's be honest: the quality you'll get from these new-generation miniature devices is getting to be pretty great across the board. The Mercury is no exception, and it comes close to rivaling full-featured advanced mods.
Hardcore cloud chasers and direct-lung vapers probably aren't going to be impressed by a miniature system no matter how good it gets, but this device should satisfy 90% of casual vapers on the market today. The 1100 mAh battery is one of the most powerful we've seen in a mini mod, and does a good job of keeping you vaping all day, particularly with the wattage capped at 12 on the fixed-power version of the Mercury.
Even when restricted to MTL vaping, cloud production is still strong enough that we wouldn't recommend using an ultra-high nicotine level in the Mercury - 12-18 mg should be plenty for most users, and we've been happy using traditionally-extracted 3 and 6 mg flavors on the restricted-lung coil.
There are a couple minor drawbacks that keep this from being the perfect system. As mentioned in the design section, there’s no way to change out the drip tip and the stock one, while comfortable, is a bit on the small side. Until replacement parts become individually available, a drop that breaks the tip could even put the whole system out of commission, since it's not just used to inhale but is also integral in holding the tank together.
Another drawback to this device is the difficulty of adjusting the airflow. On most devices, the airflow is accessible externally, but as we've gone over the entire tank and top cap have to be removed to adjust the ring here. This is probably only going to be a problem for new users fiddling around with settings, once you figure out where you like things (again, that's probably going to be wide open) there won't be much reason to change.
Finally, allow us to nitpick a bit about the weight of the Mercury. Granted, the metal construction and extended life battery could be seen as positives, but if you're used to ultra-light devices and are willing to sacrifice a little in build quality, this might not be the pocket mod for you.
Advancing on the flood of Orion-copycat pod systems we've seen over the last year, the Mercury 12W AIO Pod System by iJoy is a relatively affordable and aesthetically pleasing option. It has all the functionality and powerful wattage that you would expect from the Orion with a number of different features that separate it, like having the airflow adjustment before the coil where it can actually do some good.
The internals are a bit fiddly, and tank fills take a bit longer than they should, but overall the Mercury is a solid little device that would be a great on-the-go supplement for full-sized mod users or a nice entry point into mid-level open system devices for users looking to step up from basic throwaway cigalike-style pods.