SMOK’s Voice-Activated I-PRIV Mod is a Terrible Idea


If you’re not clicking the hyperlink, I’ll give you the synopsis: Smok invented a voice-activated vape mod. It’s called the I-Priv, which feels like a misnomer given that the device has you literally commanding it aloud, possibly in public. It should be called the I-Nounc. The smok mod responds to commands like, “wattage mode” and, “unlock device” after being given the initial listening prompt: “Hello I-Priv.”

I am absolutely not a luddite by any means, mind you. I put my airpods in one at a time, like every other good millennial. But, really, I am at a loss on the decision-making process for this specific development. The mod looks sleek, compact and tactile, with a kind of grip that looks like scales – or abs. The digital display is crisp and bright. I had to see it myself, so I took a trip to my local vape shop. Everything about this mod looks and feels like I want it to.

Why do I, then, need to talk to it?

Why is the listen prompt a greeting? Do I need to say hello to my mod?

Why does it “lock?” How does this mode keep people from putting their mouths on it?

But, I digress.

The point I am trying to make is, I can appreciate novelty even if only for novelty’s sake. This is just absurd. What would otherwise absolutely be a nice, beefy little mod and another solid release by Smok instead feels like a step closer to a Rube Goldberg vape. I, for one, don’t need my vape to encroach any further on the uncanny valley.

I’m still mostly using my Smok Stick or Fit, so I don’t mean to come across hypercritical of the company. I am quite happy with the mods I’ve acquired thus far. I will almost certainly purchase at least one more. One thing I don’t want is to buy another listening machine. This is not a tinfoil hat moment. I mean that I prefer to retain my mechanical functionality. There’s something that feels right to me about buttons and knobs on my machines.

Maybe I am a little bit of a luddite.

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