SMOK Galileo – Mechanical Mod Review
SMOK has been making mechanical mods for some time now, and were among the first to bring magnetic switches out of the high-end tier and into the budget of every vaper with the SMOK Magneto, otherwise (accidentally) known as the Magento. (I couldn’t even misspell that on purpose just now.)
The Magneto was quickly followed by a second generation which… honestly, I have no idea what the significant improvement was that prompted the V2. It still employed the same specs and features, it simply added new finishes such as brass.
After another few months, though, the Galileo arrived on the scene. Now, essentially, the Galileo is a Magneto with a couple of additional features and an exterior cosmetic overhaul. Still, it is a solid device in its own right. Let’s get into details.
The presentation of the Galileo is perfectly in keeping with that of practically every other mechanical SMOK ships out: a no-frills brown box with the branding emblazoned in black quasi-military-style stenciling.
There’s never much more happening inside a SMOK mechanical’s box than there is on the outside. Generally as in the specific case of the Galileo, the mod itself resides within a plastic sleeve nestled in a form-fitting black foam insert.
In my opinion, this type of presentation is perfectly appropriate for a mechanical — nothing fancy, all function and little thought wasted on form. The presentation — like the mod itself — has one job to do and no time to waste beating around the bush about doing it.
Specs and Build Quality
The specs of the Galileo have many strengths and a couple of weaknesses, one of them fairly serious.
First the strengths: The Galileo is a telescopic mechanical which can accommodate battery sizes of 18350, 18490/500, and 18650. It can accommodate a Kick or Kick 2, as well, but only along with 18350 or 18490/500 batteries — it doesn’t have the interior room for 18650+Kick.
It features a combination 510 and eGo connector, and — like the Magneto series from which it is a direct descendant in all but name — features a magnetic firing button located at the bottom of the device.
While these specs make for a fine overall device, there are some deficiencies attendant to them that may not be immediately apparent. The first I’ll mention needs a disclaimer — it may be a peculiarity with my specific Galileo. On the other hand, it may not, which is why I’m mentioning it now:
The Galileo won’t fire using an 18350 battery alone. I’ve tried using half a dozen different 18350 batteries, both button-top and flat-top, and none of them will enable the device to fire. Installing a Kick 2 on top of an 18350 solves this problem. The Galileo will even fire with a 16340 battery alone — but not un-Kicked with an 18350.
A second issue arises with the eGo connection on the Galileo. To a greater extent, this issue is true of all of SMOK’s eGo-threaded mechanicals, including the Pioneer and the VE version of the Magneto: The eGo threads on these devices are surrounded by a non-removable outer wall which does not permit proper airflow to eGo-threaded ADs.
This is most particularly frustrating with the Galileo due to the fact that the outer wall features “dimples” which actually resemble (but do not function as) airflow inlets. To be fair to SMOK, they did go so far as to design the top of the outer wall to have notches for airflow — but those only work on flush-mounting 510-threaded clearomizers. eGo-threaded clearomizers typically have their airflow inlets so near the very bottom of the base as to render those notches at the top of the outer wall almost useless.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible to take a drag on an eGo-threaded AD on a SMOK mechanical. We’re not talking an absolutely air-tight seating here, just one that’s so incredibly poorly served in the airflow department that a draw from this combination of hardware is going to be incredibly uncomfortably tight.
So what’s my verdict on eGo threading for SMOK mechanicals? It’s so close to useless that it should not be seriously advertised as a feature by SMOK or by vendors who carry SMOK mechanicals.
What’s the solution? SMOK should strongly consider revamping their eGo-threaded mechanicals to have eGo beauty rings rather than an integrated outer wall; alternatively, they should consider incorporating functional vertical airflow slots in that outer wall.
One final gripe regarding SMOK mechanicals in general, raised here because it is also sadly evident in the Galileo — and this needs to be centered and bolded for emphasis:
The Retention Ring In The Firing Button Assembly Can Come Loose Over Time
This Can Result In Loss Of The Firing Button, As Well As Uncontrolled Continuous
Activation Of Any Attached Atomizer
The cause of this issue seems to be frequent use of the locking ring, which over time loosens the delrin retention ring within the firing button assembly. While the occurrence of this event is extremely infrequent, it can also be extremely unpleasant.
The first time it ever happened to me, it was with the brass Magneto V2NL edition, and happened in my front pants pocket. The clearomizer attached to the Magneto got so hot that my first notice that anything was going on was that I felt a burning sensation on my thigh. I couldn’t even reach into my pocket to pull the Magneto out but instead had to push the mod up and out of my pocket, let it fall into the grass, and hope it wouldn’t ignite the grass.
The second time it happened, it was with the Galileo and happened in a pub, with the firing button itself going on a fifteen minute adventure under the barstools. Fortunately, when it happened that time, I knew to immediately unscrew the clearomizer on the device, then telescope the device outward enough to prevent the battery from making contact with the positive and negative pins.
Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about this device, Dear Reader. I presented the preceding not to warn you away from the Galileo, but to give you full foreknowledge of what you’ll need to know if you decide you’d like to have one — and there are many fine reasons to have one. Let’s continue on to…
Ergonomics & Aesthetics
Now we move on to questions about its looks and, more importantly, how it feels in the hand. To my mind, the Galileo is quite nice on both counts, although with some upgrades do immediately come to mind that would make this device even better.
The device in my hand is stainless steel, with a brushed exterior finish and rounded connection cap and firing assembly. The external, or “bottom”, tube features deeply engraved concentric rectangular patterns, which slightly improves the grip, though it makes me wonder if there are people out there making the most of this pattern by engraving their initials inside it.
The rounded end caps give the overall device a very streamlined appearance, though I’m frustrated once again by the sight of the divots in the connector cap, owing to the fact that they’re purely ornamental rather than functional air ports. I tend to like form that follows function, not just form for form’s sake alone.
The firing button is smaller in diameter than that of the Magneto, or at least appears and feels so; it also seems to protrude farther from the body of the bottom cap. The combination of these qualities makes using the Galileo a more intuitive and comfortable experience than that provided by its predecessor.
The brushed finish of the stainless steel telescoping tubes means that the Galileo isn’t a fingerprint magnet, though scratches and scuffs can occur over time. Personally, I sort of like the fact that this device will eventually show its age. It takes on character in that way.
Now to the upgrades I’d like to see: I’d like to see SMOK borrow the rubberized finish from their Pioneer e-Pipe mechanical and apply that to the external telescoping tube, as well as the firing assembly cap and the non-threaded, exterior part of the connector cap. This would give the device a slightly softer and much surer grip while at the same time significantly upgrading its looks.
Additionally, SMOK could potentially offer internal telescopic tubes in other finishes such as brass or copper. While these upgrades would certainly cost more than the baseline Galileo, they would make for a still affordable device that would look at least as nice as the $175-200 offerings from Atmomixani and other high-end mod houses while still not breaking the bank.
Recommendation & Conclusion
So what’s my overall impression of the SMOK Galileo now that I’ve owned one for a few months? It’s a solid mechanical mod well suited to the vaper who’s looking for a device focused on ruggedness rather than bells and whistles, with quality materials and looks that won’t embarrass you even if they don’t exactly wow you.
Would I recommend it as someone’s first mechanical? From my body of experience, my honest answer is, “Not unless you’re already a fan of SMOK products.” While the Galileo is certainly useable, its two breakout features — the magnetic firing button that can randomly drop out of the device and cause continuous firing of the atomizer, and its eGo threading which provides next to zero airflow to eGo threaded devices — are problematic over the long haul.
That said, if you are willing to work around those issues, then the Galileo is otherwise a fine device. If you’re not, my recommendation for you would instead be the Kamry K100/K101 mechanical mod, which features a traditional spring-based firing button and which utilizes a removable beauty ring which allows you to fully free the airflow to its eGo connection.
The SMOK Galileo is available starting at $49.99 from Vaporetti.
Alternatively, the Kamry K100/K101 is available in a variety of colors starting at $32.87 from MyVaporStore.