eLeaf iStick TC60W Review
All New Design • MELO 2 Tank
The iStick TC60W will go into wide-release during the first week of October 2015. The Kit version, the one I am reviewing today, is right about $65-70. It comes in matte black with a matte black magnetic battery cover or silver and black. The silver on the silver device runs down the side where the controls and display are, and on the top and bottom of the device. The black version is completely and utterly black except for the stainless steel battery connector.
eLeaf is offering different color magnetic battery covers so you can customize the look of the iStick TC60W. We received a blue cover with our blackout iStick and the contrasting colors look great. That said, you do not get an extra battery cover when you buy the device, but they are sold separately. Colors for the battery cover are; Blue, Teal, Grey, Black, and White. Not sure on the price of the covers but I like the idea and I’ll probably pick up each color just to change it up a bit.
The iStick TC60W will also be sold by itself for about $50. I would definitely recommend the kit version, the combination of this new device with a MELO 2 is undeniably attractive.
I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for this new iStick TC60w to finally come out. The first time I saw the early mockups I knew this was going to be the first of many new radical design changes for eLeaf. Modern, sleek, and oh-so-sexy, this changes everything for eLeaf and tens of thousands of iStick fans.
As much as we all (iStick fans anyway) love the iconic look of the past few dozen iStick iterations, it was time for a new look. The new iStick TC60W has a whole lot of state-of-the-art technologies and plenty of power, but its new form-fitting shape is comfortable in the palm of my hand, and the buttons and OLED display are placed in optimal positions on the side of its body, making for fast setting changes and a quick glimpse of the settings readout. So without further mooning over its new look, let’s talk features.
The iStick TC60W Kit
The “Kit” package is certainly the best option if you decide to pick up this new iStick. Along with the iStick TC60W body you’ll also have a beautiful MELO 2 in the box. The MELO 2 is one awesome tank and now with its innovative “side-fill” slot at the top side of the tank it’s even better. This side-fill slot not only allows you to fill or refill your tank without having to remove it from the device and disassemble it, it’s position allows you to fill the entire tank; no more ‘half-filled looking’ tanks when you use the MELO 2. I’ll discuss more about performance of both devices later in this review.
The Kit version comes with all of the following:
1×iStick TC60W (without the needed 18650 30A+ battery)
1×MELO 2 Atomize Tank (with Ni 0.15-ohm head installed)
1×EC 0.5-ohm Head
1×EC TC-Ti 0.3-ohm Head
1×iStick TC60W Manual
1×MELO 2 Atomizer Manual
About The iStick TC60W
The first thing to understand about the new iStick TC60W is that it does not have a built-in battery. You’ll need a high-amp 18650 battery, preferably a good quality battery from Sony or Samsung. I use Sony VTC4’s in almost every device that takes the 18650. When the 40A batteries are in plentiful supply I’m sure I’ll switch over, but until then I don’t own a device that doesn’t perform superbly with the 30A High Drain 2100mAh Sony VCT4.
The Temperature Control System in the iStick TC60W works reliably with Nickel and Titanium coil heads. These coilheads are available for the MELO 2, naturally, and we received a decent supply of Nickel, Titanium and Kanthal coilheads for this review. Temperature range with the TC system is 200-600 Fahrenheit.
While the OLED display is bright and easy to read (and which can be turned off for stealth mode), it isn’t close to the hi-res display on the Joyetech eVic-VT’s and eVic-VTC Mini. Nevertheless, it does seem to be somewhat brighter than other iSticks I have.
The Battery life, so far, is pretty much the same as most other devices with temperature control. The 2100mAh batteries I use get about 4 hours of vaping in non-TC mode, and about 15-30 minutes more with TC mode enabled.
The iStick TC60W features a stainless steel adjustable Pin so that 99.99% of the tanks you own will get a secure connection to the unit. I won’t say 100% because some tanks, although rare, have 510-threads that just won’t connect with a few devices, adjustable Pin or not. But, I attached more than a dozen sub ohm tanks and every one of them registered on the device.
To check the accuracy of the built in resistance checker I used my portable ohms’ meter and compared the readings from both the meter and the iStick TC60W. The results were accurate within a hair’s breath. My meter is the one from my Coil Master kit, which has an inherent accuracy of +/- 0.4%. I will say that unlike a lot of devices I own I’ve yet to see the resistance change in the display.
Safety features run the regular gamut of features you would expect; short-circuit protection, heat protection, battery polarity protection, and so on.
Basic Function Guide
The iStick TC60W is easy to operate. While you can find this information in the manual I’m going to go over some of the more important functions so you’ll know how easy it is to operate before you actually buy one.
From the top of the unit (top being where the tank connects) the first button is the Firing button. This button is square shaped, sitting just about flush with the body, and is firm and responsive.
Next is the OLED display. The display shows the coil you’re using (Ni, Ti,) at the top position and directly under that is the Celsius or Fahrenheit letters. The largest information shown on the display is the Temperature or Wattage. In TC mode the wattage is displayed on the bottom right of the display while the temperature setting take up the largest part of the display. Directly beside that is ohms’ resistance. The battery meter is shown as an icon of a battery and as the battery drains it’s indicated on that battery icon.
Beneath the OLED display is where the iStick T60W gets interesting. The first button down from the display is an elongated button that serves the purpose of increasing and decreasing both the wattage and temperature, depending on the mode you are in. The upper part of the elongated button increases temperature or wattage, the button part of the elongated button decreases the temperature or wattage.
The last button on the device, sitting below the elongated button is the Menu button. This button is about a quarter of the size of the elongated button and controls the various modes, from TC Nickel, TC Titanium, and Wattage.
Temperature Control – Obviously knowing how to maneuver the temperature control system is the first thing you’ll need to know. eLeaf has made it very easy to to get in and out of TC modes, both internally and externally with the different sized buttons.
Holding the button down will cycle through the modes. If you have a Nickel coilhead in your tank you cycle through using the Menu button until you see “Ni” on the top left of the display. If you continue to cycle it will still show Ti and than that spot will go ‘blank’ while in variable wattage mode.
If that sounds at all complicated, consider this; all three modes are set and changed by simply holding down that one button. No more holding button combinations to enter into a specific mode.
The iStick TC60W will read the proper coil material and resistance when the tank is first screwed into the iStick. If you place a coilhead into your tank that has Titanium coils (red band) the device will read Ti in the display and the resistance (ohms) of 0.5-ohms. Nickel coilheads (blue band) for the iStick TC60W are 0.15-ohms, and the EC head (Kanthal) is a 0.3-ohm coilhead, with a white band. The EC Kanthal coilhead is a dual-vertical.
Of course, there is also the choice of using a 1.0-ohm coilhead (also white band) that is adjusted for mouth-to-lung vapers. We received all four coil heads. The size of these coils seem to be almost exactly twice the size of an eGo ONE coilhead or half the size of the Delta 2 coilhead.
The MELO 2 Tanks
The MELO 2 is a remarkable tank with an e liquid capacity of 4.5mL. It doesn’t look like it could hold 4.5mL, and the reason it can hold that much is because of the side-fill slot on the top cap. There is no wasted space like there are on so many other tanks, including the Kanger Subtank. The eliquid can be filled to the just under the top cap.
The new MELO 2 tank is amazingly convenient to use, and its side-fill slot will handle anything from a thin needle to plastic snub-nose bottle tops and even glass eye-dropper styles.
To change the coilhead just remove the bottom cap by pulling it off in a straight upward position. When you do remove bottom of the tank the coilhead will remain in the tank, and to remove it just simply unscrew it. It’s a snug fit from the factory, but it does remove with just a little force and when replacing it you can screw it down to hand-tight.
Naturally, the MELO 2 is compatible with various temperature control devices, and seems to be especially tuned for the iStick TC60W. (That’s probably my imagination)
As you can see from the photos in the review the MELO 2 is not a fancy looking tank. Side by the side the MELO 2 and the Aspire Triton (for instance) show dramatically different physical characteristics. I love the Triton tank and it’s mean, medieval demeanor, but there is something to be said for the tame, clean lines of the MELO 2.
It’s airflow control consists of two wide slots on either side of the tank for extremely accurate airflow settings. The metal plated drip tip is removable, and universally sized, and the heat dissipation material of the drip tip works fantastically well. The drip tip (mouthpiece) fits snug into the top cap. I managed to use a handful of drip tips I had on my desk without a problem, though you may find ‘some’ fit better than others.
Cautions – Before filling the tank, either the first time and subsequent refills, make sure the bottom airflow slots are closed. If you forget this step the tank will not form a seal and it will leak. In addition, before using the tank allow a few minutes for the eliquid to fully saturate the organic cotton wicking. It might be a good idea to do a 3 second pre-burn before putting the mouthpiece up to your lips. Lastly, double-check the settings. If using the temperature control make sure you’re not sitting at 600 degrees, at first, and that the proper metal coils are shown on the display.
Seeing photos of the iStick TC60W can only tell you so much. A video is better but still offers limitations on what it is actually like to hold one and use one. I intend to make a video in the next day or so, stay tuned.
I anticipate some people might think that since it does not come with a battery the asking price is a little steep. After all, you can pick up a Pioneer4you IPV D2 for under $55 and it too offers Temperature Control and ups the wattage to 75W. Add to that my opinion of the IPV D2, that it is a terrific box mod, and it becomes a real competitor. You can also look at the eVic-VTC Mini from Joyetech. This box mod is substantially smaller than the iStick TC60W and offers the same wattage and temperature control for both Nickel and Titanium coils, and comes with the eGo ONE Mega tank and it sells for $69.99. Again, a worthy competitor to the new iStick TC60W.
So is the new iStick a better choice? As with every other product in the world, it depends on what you want and what you believe its worth.
As for me, well, for the past weeks I’ve been using two very different devices for very different reasons. There is something about the eVic-VTC Mini that causes me to use it more and more. It’s small, stealthy, and replacing the battery takes about a second. The magnetic doors are the best I’ve seen yet, and because of that the whole motion of switching out the battery is smooth and fast. I use it a lot more than my other “most used” device, the Vaporshark Vapor Flask.
I love the design of the Vaporshark Vapor Flask and the dual 18650 batteries allows me a whole lot more time between battery changes. I love the larger DNA40 display as well. However, I’ve come to loathe how time-consuming it is to swap out batteries. Two battery caps to unscrew, two batteries to remove, and two battery caps to put back on. Still, I love the damned thing.
And so now we come back to the iStick TC60W. In nearly no time at all I replaced my eVic-VTC Mini with the iStick TC60W and, for now anyway, the iStick is the one I pick up the most. The magnetic battery cover is just as easy to use as the eVic-VTC Mini, it is hand’s down more attractive to look at, and the MELO 2 tank is one hell of a performer, and so easy to refill. All that having been said, the real ‘eVic-VTC Mini’ killer for me is the ease of changing from Ni to Ti to VW mode and back again just by holding down a single button. Oh, and I have to say again, the beauty of this spanking new design just floors me.
There are a lot of choices today for Vapers, and still more to come very soon. I’m not trying to sell you on this device over any other device. All I can do, all I want to do, is to tell you that this one, the iStick TC60W vaporizer, is one fantastic device. Same goes for the MELO 2 tank and its side-filling feature. Together they are formidable. And affordable.
I can imagine myself taking a new vaper to a vape shop. As she compares several box mods… let’s say the shopkeeper takes out the iStick TC60W, the iStick TC40W, the eVic-VTC Mini, the eVic-VT, and the IPV D2, and my friend cannot decide which one she likes best… which one would I suggest she buys?
I think I would tell her the choice is between the eVic-VCT Mini Kit (iJust 2 tank), and the iStick TC60W (MELO 2 tank). If she can’t choose between those two I would tell her to flip a coin. Either way she’s going to love whatever comes up. At least, well, I would. Although with that MELO 2…