I was intrigued by the Eleaf iStick Kiya kit. You see, my very first advanced vaping device was an Eleaf iStick 50W. At the time, I had toyed around with 11-watt Vamos and 13-watt iTaste mods, but the idea of 50 watts of power in a compact box was beyond exciting at the time.
My, how times have changed. A few years back, 50 watts was a pretty sizable number, with sub-ohm vaping the clear target. Today, 50 watts is possible from even the tiniest mods, usually aimed at beginning vapers, such as the Kiya.
Let’s see how a few years and some distinct design upgrades have changed Eleaf’s approach to moderate-wattage vaping.
Initial impressions of the Eleaf iStick Kiya Kit
I may have been floored by the original iStick 50, but the Kiya mod is just slightly bigger than a Zippo lighter. Even with the included Juni tank, the setup is barely taller than most of today’s more-common devices. It’s beyond compact, and shocking considering the amount of wattage the Kiya can produce.
My silver and black test model has a great hand-feel, with significant heft, even with such a small footprint. The rubberized sides (including the large fire bar) have a nice texture that counters the polished aluminum frame.
Though the size is a definite selling point for a stealthy, compact vape device, the Kiya’s all-new display is something to behold. Unlike the million-and-one monochrome OLED displays we review each month, the Kiya’s tri-tone blue and white grid display expertly separates the necessary information, for effortless viewing.
Even with just a 1.45-inch display, you’ll enjoy a clock, coil resistance, battery meter, power setting and amp load readings in one of the cleanest layouts we’ve seen to date. (Note to Eleaf: Please implement this display in a 200-watt touchscreen device. I’ll love you forever.)
The front-facing operational buttons sit directly below the display, and have a firm, clicky feel that should appeal to people concerned about potential pocket firing.
Two items of concern. First, the offset 510 connection seems solid enough, but the spring-loaded pin itself is ridiculously stiff, and it took some genuine muscle to attach any tank other than the companion Juni. I’m sure it will loosen over time, but as a beginner device, this is worth noting.
Secondly, the bottom-mounted USB port is probably necessary for a mod as tiny as the Kiya, but it’s nonetheless annoying to lay a mod on its side to charge. I didn’t notice any scratching or scuffing from repeated charges, but I’m concerned this might change over time.
Operating the Eleaf iStick Kiya Mod
The Kiya comes to you fully charged, with extremely simple operations. Five clicks activates the device, and three more bring you to the menu system, where the bright, clean display and simple up/down controls make navigation a pleasure.
But don’t mistake simplicity for lack of options. The diminutive Kiya mod has an all-new chipset that brings you a complete temperature control suite, for nickel, titanium and stainless steel coils, alongside three TCR slots and even bypass mode.
In temperature control mode, the Kiya can fire as low as 0.05 ohms, with temps up to 600-degrees Fahrenheit. In wattage or bypass, it can go as low as 0.1 ohms. Yes, there’s a lot of versatility on display with the Kiya. And with firmware upgrades on the way, it’s possible the Kiya is capable of even more.
Given its size, it’s not surprising the Kiya has a relatively small 1,600mAh internal battery. Vapers should prepare to have USB cables handy for frequent charging. Thankfully, the 2-amp quick charging allows you to refuel in no time.
Vaping the Eleaf iStick Kiya mod
All in all, the Kiya has become a surprising addition to my rotation. No, it’s not going to do much for my low-resistance builds and cloud-focused RDAs. But, when I need a quick, powerful shot of flavor, the Kiya is a pretty good mod to have around.
For MTL purposes, I first put the Juni and its coils through their paces. Of the two heads, I found the 1.5-ohm GS Air coil to be the better of the two. Even with such a high resistance, the coil ramped up quickly, and offered intense, nuanced flavor, and surprisingly thick vapor. I was able to push it to its 20-watt limit, but it really shined between 15-18 watts, without ever getting dry or hot.
The 0.75-ohm GS Air wasn’t bad in its stated range, but actually proved to be a better performer closer to 30 watts, where it offered warmer, thicker vapor and slightly richer flavor. Either way, the 1.5-ohm GS Air is the better of the two, especially for new vapers.
Since this is a 50-watt mod, I moved onto more sub-ohm focused tanks, starting with the SMOK Baby Beast. I moved the device to 35 watts and was relatively happy with the results. It didn’t fill my room with vapor, but the flavor and satisfaction was there. At 45 watts, it was even better, though this is where my primary complaint first arose – heat.
When pushing the tiny Kiya above 40 of its stated 50 watts, the little box becomes MUCH hotter, to the point where I thought I had pushed it too far. Of course, a device this small pushing out such wattages, it was bound to warm up. There were no warnings evident on screen, but it never should have gotten this warm.
I let the Kiya cool down and moved to a 25mm RTA (which fit beautifully after screwing it down on the tight 510 pin), with a Ni200 coil to test TC capabilities. Navigating the Kiya’s menus was a pleasure, and within seconds, I set my wattage and temp, and got to vaping.
I was impressed by the performance, though I found the Kiya felt SLIGHTLY underpowered in temp control mode. Now, I’m no expert, but I repeatedly found myself raising temp and wattage to achieve desired results. Considering how much I was asking of the mod, I wasn’t concerned by this. But TC vapers might find themselves a little underwhelmed by the temp control performance.
The Eleaf Juni Tank
Proportional or not, the included Juni tank is a tiny atomizer. Measuring just 20mm in diameter, the tank still manages 2mL of capacity, and uses standard 510 drip-tips. But not all drip-tips will look or work correctly, because the raised lip on the top cap might raise the drip-tip too far above the tank, possibly diminishing flavor.
Also, prepare for a throwback, since the Juni is strictly a bottom-fill device. It’s not difficult to do, but to vapers used to sliding, hinged top-fill systems, this will feel a little cumbersome and antiquated. Plus, the exposed chimney makes it impossible to ever fill the tank to its full 2mL capacity. Might want to pack some extra juice for those car trips.
Griping aside, the Juni tank is very well machined, and assembles/disassembles easily. Smooth threading and a nicely designed airflow control ring contribute to a solid little tank. It’s not going to replace your bigger cloud chuckers, but for MTL vapers and backup purposes, the Juni is a player.
The Kiya kit includes two proprietary GS Air coils for the Kiya – a 1.5-ohm strict MTL head with a max of 20 watts, and a slightly looser 0.75-ohm head that is rated up to 25 watts, but proved to be a little heartier than listed.
Both coils have shown themselves to be long-lasting, altogether decent performers. Given the intended use of the mod, I only used PG-heavy liquids for a MTL experience. I feel anything more viscous would have clogged the coil in no time, leading to burnt, dry hits. Yeah, 0.75 is technically “sub-ohm” but let’s not tempt fate here – the Juni is a MTL tank, and a good one at that.
Wrapping up …
I really like the Eleaf iStick Kiya, and am happy to keep it handy whenever a pocket-friendly, stealth vape is appropriate. When combined with the companion Juni tank, the kit offers a fantastic device for occasional vapers, beginners, or a reliable backup.
I was a little concerned by the sudden bursts of heat above 40 watts, but despite the warmth, the Kiya continued to work in both wattage and TC modes. Considering this is well-above where most buyers will take the mod, it’s hardly a dealbreaker, but warrants a mention all the same.
But, when used as a strict MTL device, the Kiya is a beautiful, feature-packed, easy to use mod that offers something unique, in a very small package.