Eleaf iStick Review
- Stealth size
- Variable volts & watts
- Long lasting battery
- Complete info display
- 20 Watts max is debateable
- Small size may limit tank selection
- Bottom USB port means you have to lay the iStick on its side while charging
The Eleaf iStick was the hottest mod for Christmas 2014. When I bought mine, on Black Friday, it was the last one left in the shop. That shop would go on to sell out of the iStick a number of times before Christmas. With its 20 watt output and (usually) lower price tag it was quickly dubbed the MVP 2 Killer (a reference to the Innokin iTaste MVP box mod with a top output of 11 watts). And its sub compact size has also had some reviewers referring to it as a pocket mod.
The iStick is on the low end of the price range for box mods, especially vv/vw mods with a top output of 20 watts. It’s a solid, highly portable, dependable device and I recommend it highly, especially at its almost entry level price point. During the Christmas shopping season many beginning and intermediate vapers received one as a gift or picked one up for themselves as an upgrade or back up device.
Eleaf offers the iStick in four colors, black, silver, blue and red, though the red is really more of a pink. The iStick is a box mod with a built in 2200 mAh rechargeable battery. It’s 510 threaded with an eGo thread connector included, variable voltage (VV) and wattage (VW) with a bright OLED screen that displays battery level, ohms of the connected atomizer, watts and volts. It also displays a puff timer while you have the square fire button depressed. A micro USB cable charges the iStick and you can continue vaping while charging the device.
There are three buttons on the iStick; what Eleaf calls the “square button,” which fires the device, turns it off and on and is used to switch between VV and VW modes. Press the square button five times to turn the iStick on or off. Hold the square button in to vape. The display will change while you’re vaping to display a timer, your current mode (VV or VW) and the current voltage or wattage setting. If you hold the square button in for 10 seconds or longer the display will read “Over 10s” and stop sending power to your atomizer. If you press the square button without an atomizer attached the display will read “No Atomizer.”
To switch between VV and VW modes, press the square button three times. The other two buttons are triangle-shaped and serve to increase or decrease volts and watts. The triangle button closest to the square button increases volts/watts and the other decreases. Press one of the triangle buttons to change volts or watts in 0.1 increments.
Hold either triangle button in and the iStick enters automatic mode, increasing or decreasing volts or watts in 0.1 increments. You can increase the rate of change to 0.2 increments by pressing one of the triangle buttons again. Pressing one of the triangle buttons a third time while in automatic mode will increase the rate of change to 0.5 increments. Once you’ve reached your desired setting simply press the opposite triangle button .
The OLED display makes it easy tell whether you’re in variable voltage or wattage mode. The current setting of your selected mode will be displayed in larger font to the far right of the display while the current setting for the non-selected mode will be under the display of the resistance of your attached atomizer.
What’s In The Box
- 1 X iStick base unit
- 1 X micro USB cable
- 1 X 1A Wall adapter
- 1 X eGo Thread connector
- 1 X User manual
Performance: The iStick performs well and its VV/VW capability allows you to customize your vape to your favorite tanks. The 2200 mAh battery will power the iStick for two or more days of vaping, and you can keep on vaping while it charges. The major flaw in the iStick is in the area of performance, particularly in the area of power output. The iStick has a maximum output of 20 watts, but it won’t deliver that 20 watts on every atomizer. The power output is limited based on the resistance of the attached atomizer, both at the upper and lower limits.
With an atomizer with 2.0 ohms of resistance the lowest wattage the iStick will deliver is 4.5 watts (that’s based on the lowest voltage setting available, which is 3.0 volts, pushing through that 2.0 ohm coil). The upper wattage level with a 2.0 ohm coil is going to work out to 15.1 watts at the upper limit of its voltage range, 5.5 v. To achieve 20 watts of output you’ll need to use a coil with around 1.0 to 1.1 ohm resistance. And that’s about the lowest ohm rating coil the iStick will fire, it’s rated for coils of 1.0 to 3.0 ohms, but you’re not going to get anywhere near 20 watts using a 3.0 ohm coil.
Features: Eleaf gave the iStick a solid package of features, not the least of which is its passthrough charging capability–you can continue vaping while the device charges. What I really like about the iStick is that OLED display. It gives you all the information you need at a glance; battery level, ohms meter and both voltage and wattage with a clear indication of which mode you’re in. I like that the iStick actually calculates both volts and watts based on the resistance of your attached tank. That way, once you’ve found the tank’s sweet spot you can use it on another mod and go right to your preferred setting.
The iStick is both variable voltage, with a range of 3.0 to 5.5 volts, and variable wattage, with a range of 4.5 to 20 watts, but, again that range will be limited by the resistance of your atomizer. It’s available in four colors; black, silver, blue and red. Another nice feature of the iStick is the puff timer, that displays how long you’re vaping each time you hit the square button.
The inclusion of the eGo thread connector means you’ll be able to attach most any tank to the iStick, though some of the larger tanks are going to look a tad out of place on this tiny mod and make it seem extremely top heavy. There are a number of accessories available, including the iStick Bending Adapter, which allows you to “fold” your tank to the side of the iStick when you’re not using it so it maintains its petite height.
Quality: Eleaf has built a solid little mod with the iStick. It’s dependable, the battery has a long life, I’m regularly getting two to three days of vaping between charges. And the micro USB cable is long enough, just under three-feet, to take full advantage of the iStick’s passthrough capability without sitting on top of your computer or on the floor next to an electrical outlet. The buttons are easy to reach and function well and the display is bright, easy to read and full of information. There is one minor issue with the iStick, and it’s more of a design issue than a quality issuer. The micro USB port is on the bottom of the device, which means that you have to lay the mod on its side while charging. Not a big deal, but if you leave a tank full of ejuice on your mod while it’s charging that may cause the juice to flow away from the coil overnight.
Looks: I like the looks of the iStick. It’s small and sleek. I especially appreciate the mod’s curved lines, the front of the mod is flat, making it really easy to find the buttons, and then the sides gently curve to the round back end. It fits very comfortably in my hand. The colors are vibrant and the steel top, bottom and buttons contrast nicely, especially with the black model, which is the one I have.
Price/Value: I purchased my Eleaf iStick for $45 at Vapes Gone Wild in Newnan, GA. I did get it for 10% off during their Black Friday sale, but even at the full price of $50 it was less expensive than the Innokin MVP 2 with a maximum output of 11 watts. With all of the features of the iStick, its maximum output of 20 watts (even though it can’t push that upper limit through all coils), and its compact good looks, the iStick is a price/value champion.
The Eleaf iStick is a wonderful little box mod that will meet the needs of just about any vaper. It’s intuitive enough for beginners, and with its small size and decent power output will serve even veteran vapers as a solid back up or away from home model.
You know that a mod has hit the sweet spot when it influences the competition. Innokin recently released a 20 Watt version of the MVP, with plans for more versions of the MVP line in the wings. But Eleaf isn’t standing still, they recently released a 30 watt version of the iStick and have announced a 50 watt model that packs a 4400 mAh battery! Looks like the little iStick has really started something.
Even with all these new models on the horizon, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the iStick 20 watt. With all of this competition, the prices are going to stay affordable, so go ahead and pick up a 20 watt iStick now, you can always upgrade later. You can never have too many mods.