SMOK Nord 4 & Novo 4 Review: Which One is Right for You?
Product intro and specs
SMOK has just released the fourth editions of the classic Nord and Novo pod vape duo. I don’t think they could have possibly stuffed any more features into these devices. Both utilize replaceable coil heads, an LED display, adjustable airflow, and USB-C passthrough charging.
The Nord 4 features a 2000 mAh battery and is capable of firing up to 80 watts. The kit includes two 4.5 mL pods utilizing their latest leak-resisting technology. One pod takes the original RPM coils and the other one is for the new RPM 2 coils. The Nord 4 also features airflow adjustability with an air inlet ring on each side and is currently available in a dozen varieties.
The Novo 4 is essentially a more lightweight and portable version of the Nord. It’s clearly geared towards MTL vapers. The pods hold 2 mL and take LP1 coils, which are different from the Nord coils. It also features an 800 mAh battery capacity and an air inlet ring for fine-tuning your draw. In this review, I will explain what the latest Nord and Novo offer in terms of performance.
·Dimensions: (Novo) 93.5 mm x 26.5 mm x 17.7 mm (Nord) 33.7 mm x 24.4 mm x 104.9 mm
·Weight: (Novo) 51.7 grams (Nord) 115 grams
·Battery capacity: (Novo) 800 mAh (Nord) 2000 mAh
·Power range: (Novo) 5-25 watts (Nord) 5-80 watts
·Input voltage: 3.3-4.2 volts
·Output voltage: 0.5-4.0 volts
·Resistance range: (Novo) 0.4-3.0 ohms (Nord) 0.15-2.5 ohms
·Charging current: (Novo) max 0.74 amps (Nord) max 1.4 amps
·1 x Nord 4 device
·1 x Nord 4 RPM 2 pod
·1 x Nord 4 RPM pod
·1 x 0.16ohm RPM 2 coil
·1 x 0.4ohm RPM mesh coil
·1 x Type-C cable
·1 x User manual
·1 x Novo 4 device
·1 x Novo 4 empty pod (2 mL)
·2 x LP1 Meshed 0.8-ohm coils
·1 x Type-C cable
·1 x User manual
Build quality and design
The Nord 4 is the chunkiest version yet, but it still looks like a Nord. It weighs 115 grams and measures 104.9 mm x 33.7 mm x 24.4 mm. It has a screen along the side which displays puff count, puff time, wattage, resistance, voltage, and battery life percentage. The new Nord pods hold 4.5 mL of liquid and are also dark tinted. It’s not very hard to monitor your liquid levels, but a clear version could possibly be in the works someday. The pods on the Nord also feature a robust magnetic connection that grabs it and secures it into place.
The Novo is clearly the more pocketable option of the two, measuring at 93.5 mm x 26.5 mm x 17.7 mm. It weighs 51.7 grams, around half the weight of the Nord. It shares some of the color options with the Nord 4, but no leather editions are available yet. I find the 0.49-inch screen on the Novo very impressive. I think they put some thought into how to display all of the essential info while keeping a neat and clean appearance. It shows the same info as the Nord, with the exception of voltage. The pods on the Novo hold 2 mL and are dark tinted, but you can see what’s going on when you hold them up to the light. They also make fully transparent pods for the Nord 4 which are available as a separate purchase.
The OLED screens on both devices are nice and bright. They’re not color screens, but they get the job done. The new Nord and Novo also feature the new airflow adjustment wheel. The Nord 4 has two—one on each side—and the Novo has only one on the front. The pods on both utilize a rubber plug system. When filling, just make sure you do it slowly, or liquid can overflow out of the filling port (which is never fun.) It also helps to hold the pod at a slight angle.
The build quality on both devices is good. SMOK can be hit or miss from my experience with their products over the years, but both of these devices pass the test. I haven’t used the devices long enough to see any major quirks or leakage issues. So far, I’ve only experienced very minor condensation and no leaking whatsoever on both. It seems like an improvement from the occasional flooding issues I used to get with the original Nord and Novo.
I tested the Nord with the coils included in the kit. I also managed to get my hands on the RBA coil which I will give my feedback on. I’ve used Nord RPM coils in the past and they were okay, but the RPM 2 coils are bigger and badder than ever! I used the RPM 2 pod with the 0.16 ohm RPM 2 mesh coil at around 25 watts. You can take it all the way up to 40 watts if you want. The flavor is noticeably better than the regular RPM coils and it puts out a better cloud than I had expected at just 25 watts. At 40 watts, you can really chuck some clouds that are comparable to a sub ohm tank, especially when you open the airflow up all the way. I’ve been using the coil now for over a week, and it’s still fresh because I’ve been mostly vaping it at 25 watts.
The Nord 4 kit also includes the 0.4 mesh RPM coil which is rated up to 25 watts. It’s kinda like a middle ground coil because you can get some restricted direct lung puffs from it, but it actually performed pretty well at much lower wattages. So you can use 25-30 mg nic salts, and run it at 5-10 watts and close the airflow off all the way. It’s still going to be looser than the Caliburn pods, but that’s not an issue for me. I prefer my MTL vapes on the looser side. If you’re into sub ohm vaping, then you’re going to feel right at home with the RPM coils.
However, if you’re strictly into MTL, you might want to consider just going with the Novo. The airflow on the Novo wide open is still a bit more restrictive than the Nord, and you can dial it down from there. I tested it with the 0.8-ohm mesh MTL coil that it came with and it’s been going strong for nearly two weeks. I never got that much coil life out of the original Novo pods, and the flavor is significantly better. They also don’t have that weird plastic taste and there’s no break-in time. I keep it at 10 watts, but the 0.8-ohm MTL dual-coil in the kit can be taken up to 25 watts.
Nord 4 RBA Section
I’ve actually been using the Nord 4 mostly with the RBA coil and the RPM pod. I can’t seem to get it to leak! I get a drop of condensation and sometimes the sides of the pod get a little wet, but no real leaking. It’s been over a week now, that’s pretty impressive. I did get some spitback at first, but that was before I figured out how to properly wick it up, so it was due to my error. The airflow on the RBA has a bit too much for MTL, even with both airflow wheels fully closed off.
The RBA features a single-coil deck. It’s pretty tiny, but not too bad. It also requires very little cotton. I trim the wicks on a slant so that I can gently tuck them into the tiny wicking ports. If you do it properly, it hits just like a fresh coil head. Good flavor, no dry, burnt, or funky hits. All in all, I wouldn’t ever recommend it to beginners, but it’s definitely worth having if you enjoy building and want to save some money. I’m also glad to finally see an RBA pod done right this time!
Battery life and charging
The battery life on the Nord 4 was very impressive. I’m able to get a full day of vaping at below 25 watts on the 0.4-ohm coil or the RBA coil which I built at 0.7 ohms. I typically get through a pod and a half of juice before having to recharge it. The lower ohm coils will obviously run through your battery life much quicker and most likely won’t get you through an entire day.
As for the Novo 4, the LP1 coils are 0.8 ohms, so you can still squeeze a day out of it—even with its lower 800 mAh battery capacity. I was mostly using 30 mg nic salt, so I normally vape anywhere from 5-15 watts. I typically can get through a little over a full pod on a full charge. If you’re running them at 25 watts all day, you’ll be charging and filling more often.
When you plug the Nord and Novo into the charger, it gives you an estimated charge time and shows you your current battery life percentage. This kind of stuff is a game-changer for me. It’s nice to have an idea as to how long you will need to keep it on the charger. The Novo charges at 0.74 amps and takes about 90 minutes for a full charging cycle. The Nord does 1.4 amp charging and takes about two hours to reach a full charge. Both devices are capable of passthrough charging, so there isn’t ever any downtime. You can still vape them while charging.
Pros / Cons
·Large 2000 mAh battery capacity
·Pods hold 4.5 mL of e-liquid
·USB-C fast charging
·Wide range of coils available
·Available in over a dozen styles
·Rebuildable RPM coil performs well
·Capable of 80-watt output
·Screen displays charging info
·Secure magnetic pod connection
·Not ideal for MTL vaping
·Weighty and chunky for a pod system
·No wattage locking function
·Slim and lightweight
·Coils ideal for MTL vaping
·Pods hold 2 mL of e-liquid
·USB-C fast charging
·Small but functional screen
·Available in ten different styles
·Adjustable airflow for a tight draw
·Better flavor than the original
·Good 800 mAh battery life
·Not ideal for direct lung vaping
·No RBA available
·No leather options
All in all, I feel that comparing the two latest iterations of the Novo and the Nord is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. They have a lot in common but are designed for different types of vapers.
Out of the two, the Nord 4 is clearly the better option for sub ohm vaping. It comes with a plethora of RPM and RPM 2 coil heads, an RBA option, large battery capacity, huge liquid capacity, and wide-open airflow. It also comes in more varieties which include leather options. But if you’re just transitioning from smoking or using devices like the JUUL, you might want to look at the Novo 4 instead. It is more suited to a tighter MTL draw. You’re not going to be chucking big clouds, and there’s no RBA head available for it, but it’s compact and dependable.
Overall, I think SMOK did a really nice job of improving both devices. They’ve managed to successfully incorporate a lot of the tech that originated from their full-sized mods over the years. The Novo 4 coils are up there with the Caliburn G, and the Nord RPM 2 coils are off the chain!