iStick TC40W Mod Review
Eleaf has joined the temperature control arena with the introduction of the iStick TC40W. (They’ve also introduced a 60 watt version.) This brings the number of mods in the iStick line to 8. Personally I think Eleaf missed an opportunity by placing their new temperature control mods under the iStick label and not starting a new line. Sure, the iStick TC40W looks like the rest of the iStick line, it’s almost identical to the original 20 watt iStick. But the addition of temperature control is enough of a differentiater to justify a new name.
The Eleaf iStick TC40W is a compact box mod with an internal 2600 mAh battery. It comes with a micro USB charging cable and with its pass through charging capability you can continue vaping while it’s being charged. Though unless you purchase or already have a 1A wall adapter, you’ll have to charge the iStick through a computer. The micro USB port is on the bottom of the unit.
With the addition of temperature control this iStick has given up variable voltage, though it is variable wattage, with a range of 1 – 40 watts in 0.1 watt increments. The temperature range is 100° – 315°C or 200° – 600°F in 10° increments. In variable wattage mode it will fire standard coils with a resistance range of 0.15 – 3.5 ohm. The iStick TC40W will fire Ni200 coils from 0.05 – 1.0 ohm in temperature control mode. The mod has a spring loaded 510 connector.
There are four buttons on the iStick TC40W, all on the front of the unit. At the top is the round fire button. Below the OLED display are two arrow shaped buttons, the increase (up) and decrease (down) buttons. Between those buttons is an oval shaped menu button. You turn the mod on or off with five pushes of the fire button.
To switch between variable wattage mode and temperature control mode hold in the menu button for two seconds. To change the output in your selected mode use the up or down buttons. A single push of those buttons will change wattage in 0.1 watt increments or temperature in 10° increments. Holding those buttons in will accelerate the rate of change.
Eleaf suggests that you lock the base resistance of a Ni200 coil when you first attach it to the iStick TC40W. You do this by holding in the fire button and the up button simultaneously. You’ll know you’ve locked the base resistance when the “Ω” symbol is replaced by a lock symbol next to the display of the resistance.
The OLED display shows battery level and resistance of the attached coil. In temperature control mode it displays wattage under the resistance and your selected temperature to the far right. It shows F or C depending on which you’re in. To switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius you have to scroll the upper or lower limit of one to get to the other. In variable wattage mode the display show volts under the resistance and your selected wattage to the far right.
The OLED display has a stealth mode, which enables you to vape without the display lighting up. To enter or exit stealth mode press the fire and down buttons simultaneously. You can lock the iStick TC40W, which disables power and temperature changes,by pressing the up and down buttons at the same time.
The iStick TC40W allows you to flip the orientation of the OLED display by 180°. With the mod turned off, hold in the up and down buttons at the same time. Eleaf offers the iStick TC40W in four colors, grey, blue, black and silver.
What’s In The Box
- 1 X iStick TC40W mod
- 1 X Micro USB cable
- 1 X eGo thread connector
- 1 X Owner’s manual
Performance: Overall, the iStick TC40W is a decent performer, it fires when you press the fire button. It does seem to do better in variable wattage mode. I’ve found that vapor output isn’t quite as consistent in temperature control mode.
To test this theory I used the same tank, a Kangertech Subtank Mini with a Ni200 coil, on both the iStick TC40W and then the Asmodus Snow Wolf 200W. I had both set at 500° and 40 watts. (The Snow Wolf allows you to adjust the maximum wattage even in temperature control mode while the iStick has 40 watts as the default max wattage output and there’s no way to change that.) In my, admittedly unscientific, test it appears that the Snow Wolf produced more vapor at the same settings.
Features: Eleaf has given this iStick most of the features found in the rest of the line. The OLED display gives you all of the information you need at a glance. You can switch its orientation, lock the settings and put it in stealth mode.
In variable wattage mode the display shows a vape timer when you press the fire button. In temperature control mode it displays real time wattage and temperature.
The iStick TC40W also has pass through charging, which means you can continue vaping while the unit is charging. And it has all of the standard safety features, including short circuit, low voltage and temperature protection. And if you hit the fire button for over 10 seconds the mod will stop firing.
There are three feature areas that cost the iStick TC40W some points. First is that 2600 mAh battery. I found that I had to charge the mod every 10 – 12 hours during a normal day of vaping activity, though the pass through charging feature to help to minimize the hassle of the battery life.
Then there’s the placement of that micro USB port on the bottom of the device. That’s about the most inconvenient place Eleaf could have put it, though it seems to be the standard on many of the iStick models.
The final problematic feature concerns the temperature control mode. In Celsius mode the temperature adjustment is in 5° increments and in Fahrenheit that jumps to 10° increments. That’s a pretty wide span that doesn’t give you nearly as much room for personalization as most of the other temperature control mods I’ve seen. The Snow Wolf, my other temperature control mod, allows you to set temperature in 1° increments. To put it another way, on the iStick TC40W you can choose between 41 different temperature settings in Fahrenheit, from 200° – 600°, while the Snow Wolf gives you 451 potential settings between 212° – 662°F.
Quality: The iStick line has been pretty decent as far as quality goes, at least in my experience. And the iStick TC40W is no different. The buttons work easily, it fires when I hit the fire button. Construction seems solid. Threading is smooth and the spring loaded 510 connector has allowed me to swap out tanks with no problem.
The OLED display is clear and bright, providing all the information you need at a glance. And the mod detects the difference between a standard coil and Ni200 pretty readily.
Looks: The iStick TC40W is almost a dead ringer for the original 20 watt iStick. It’s compact and sleek. I like the way it fits in my hand with the curved back and flat front making it easy to locate the buttons. And its size allows it to nearly disappear in my hand. The finish is sleek and the color is rich.
Price/Value: GearBest, who provided the iStick TC40W for a Seven Report review, lists the mod at $24.50. That makes this mod a price/value no brainer. Even with the shortcomings of that 10° temperature adjustment, for under $25 it’s still a steal, even if you only ever use it in variable wattage mode.
If you’re in the market for your first temperature control device and on a budget, the iStick TC40W has to go near the top of your wish list. Yes, you can find mods with more features and that allow you to make finer temperature adjustments, but not at anywhere near the price offered by GearBest.
And with Christmas just around the corner, this would make an excellent gift for the beginning vaper or smoker who’s been thinking about vaping on your list. Just remember that temperature control mode only works with Ni200 coils. The iStick TC40W will fire standard Kanthal coils, but only in variable wattage mode.
I used the iStick TC40W for the better part of two weeks and used a Kangertech Subtank Mini with a Ni200 coil in temperature control mode. In variable wattage mode I used a Kangertech Subtank Plus and a VaporFi Volt Hybrid Tank, each with a standard Kanthal coil. GearBest provided the iStick TC40W I tested for the purpose of this review.
Order the Eleaf iStick TC40W from GearBest.
(For details on Seven Report review methodology click here.)