Most vape mod review sessions end with me answering questions, but it’s rare to come away from one with any. Yet, that’s exactly what happened with the iJust ECM – a mod kit that made me ask “Why?” on more than one occasion.
The iJust ECM is a direct descendent of last year’s iJust 3 pen-style mod, that somehow makes everything worse along the way. Especially when it comes to power, which is just half of what the iJust 3 put out, even with near-identical specs. What’s worse, Eleaf also packed in a pair of 0.15-ohm coils, which struggle to fire well at 80 watts, much less 40, like on the ECM.
The last year has seen a huge resurgence in the vape pen market, each one more and more focused on offering a simplified, no-fuss experience – but also on providing a powerful vape. And for the most part, they’ve been good. But the ECM is a big misstep, that really doesn’t make any sense.
For starters, there’s very little visual difference between the ECM and the iJust 3, other than the painted aluminum exterior finish, which seems a little tackier and less “intact” than before. Granted, it’s a pen/stick-style mod, so there’s only so much variety to be had. But there isn’t anything special about the ECM’s look and feel, and anyone other than purists will be able to tell the difference from one to the other.
The design? A typical repeating pattern that varies, dependent on the color you choose. Nothing groundbreaking, but certainly not unattractive. It’s fine for what it is, but doesn’t act as a key differentiator.
The ECM has a fair amount of weight and heft, thanks to the 3,000mAh internal battery. But I actually experienced a LITTLE bit of rattle inside the device, as if some circuitry was loose inside the mod. Thankfully, I didn’t experience any problems with this, or any other parts of the ECM’s construction, so that’s one for the “pro” column. I only wish there weren’t so many other “cons.”
Take, for example, the solitary engagement interface, the fire key. Even though the direct-wattage ECM has all operations run through this key, the button could be a lot clickier and more responsive. Instead, it’s a little mushy, and the firing time is pretty slow, even at full charge.
The LED indicator is well done, and seems accurate in throwing warnings and letting you know when the battery is about to go. For what it is, the LED does its job. Even though this is about as simple as vaping gets, adding overcharging, overcurrent and overdischarge warnings is a nice touch by Eleaf. And it’s a perfect addition for newcomers, who might not yet understand safe battery and charging practices.
But the “dying battery” red light comes up way too early and often, since the 3,000mAh battery taps out quickly. It might charge well, but don’t plan on turning the ECM into an all-day device unless you’re perpetually near a USB cable, or just don’t plan to vape too frequently.
Finally, the top of the mod is well-machined and the 510 connection is springy, and holds atomizers snugly without any gaps or play.
Eleaf iJust ECM Stick Mod Kit Specs:
- Dimensions – 25mm Base Diameter, 137mm Height
- 0mL Expanded Juice Capacity
- Integrated 3000mAh Rechargeable Battery
- Superior Stainless Steel Design
- Quartz Glass Reinforcement
- Maximum Wattage Output: 40W
- Resistance Range: 0.1-3.0ohms
- Single Button Operation
- LED Indicator Light
- Over-Charge Protection
- Over-Discharge Protection
- Over-Current Protection
- Over 15s Protection
- Over Circuit Protection
- Eleaf Coil Family
- 15 EC-N Coil – Kanthal
- 15 EC-M Coil – Kanthal
- Sliding Top Fill System
- Dual Adjustable Bottom Airflow
- 810 Widebore Drip Tip
- Detachable Structure
- MicroUSB Charging Port
- Gold-Plated 510 Connection
- Available in Silver, Dazzling Rainbow, Gold, Black, Blue
Eleaf iJust ECM Stick Mod Kit Contents:
- 1 iJust ECM Battery
- 1 iJust ECM Atomizer Tank
- 1 0.15 EC-M Mesh Coil Head
- 1 0.15 EC-N Mesh Coil Head
- 1 Spare Glass Tube
- 1 QC USB Cable
- 1 Spare Parts Bag
- 2 User Manual
Perhaps the only obvious difference between this kit and the iJust 3 (besides power output) is the inclusion of the all-new 25mm ECM Tank, rather than including the more-established Ello Duro, or a similar tank. Instead, the ECM Tank seems like a master class in afterthought. Because there’s nothing outright “wrong” with any of the design or functionality here. It’s just benign, limp and altogether unnecessary, with a better line of atomizers already in Eleaf’s stable.
Maybe the Ello series wasn’t an award-winner in our eyes, but it was a solid offering that mostly did what it needed. The ECM tank is like a fish out of water here, with low-resistance coils that need massive amounts of power to get up to speed … paired with a vape mod that barely hits a 40-watt output. We’ll get to the performance in a bit, but know that these coils – particularly the mesh EC-M – are probably capable of a lot more than the ECM mod can ever provide.
Flavor-wise , the coils are decent, and last reasonably long. But the flavor is ultimately muted and limp on its native ECM mod, simply because there’s no power to be had. Even on the 80-watt iJust 3 these coils would struggle to hit full speed, but here? Well, it’s not an experience anyone is going to strive for when so many other options are available.
Observations While Vaping
One of the best aspects of the iJust 3 was its impressive ramp time. Unfortunately, that quality doesn’t make the jump to the ECM mod. Even at full charge, the ECM struggles out of the gate, with erratic, weak draws, stuttering at higher outputs, and an overall lack of consistency from puff to puff.
I tried different batteries, different tanks and different draw times, but nothing changed the fact that the ECM is just inconsistent from head to toe. If I wasn’t getting misfires on random button presses, I was fighting off occasional surges of power, and lapses right afterwards. At no point during my experience with the ECM did I ever feel like that one “awesome” draw was waiting for me. And of course, it never came.
Maybe faster ramping would have helped, but I can’t stop wondering if more power would have solved the issue. Of course, if the mod struggles to hit 40 watts with any level of consistency, then I’m not sure I want to see this chipset attempt 80… even if the iJust 3 managed to do so in much better fashion.
One final note – even at mid-level output, the ECM got a little warmer than I was comfortable with, both on the mouthpiece and the body of the device. It wasn’t hot or dangerous, but the heat emission wasn’t at all consistent with the heat being generated in the vape.
The world has hits and misses, and unfortunately, the Eleaf iJust ECM pen/stick mod is a miss. Even though it more or less replicates last year’s iJust 3 on the outside, beneath the surface lies a weak, inconsistent device that can’t even drive the tank that comes in the box. Eleaf has earned enough brand equity to give them a pass this time around, but I really hope the ECM represents the last time we need to cash in those good faith points.