Death. Taxes. Pico. There are no three things more consistent in life. And since we’re not about to discuss death and taxes on this site, might as well dive into the latest in Eleaf’s never-say-die Pico series – the Eleaf iStick Pico X kit.
For those not wanting to endure 1,000+ words, let me save you the trouble – if you’re looking for a revolutionary vape device, solving all your problems and satisfying all your desires in one box, this isn’t the kit for you. But if you’re a fan of the series and want to keep your collection up to date, the Pico X is a predictably solid, if underwhelming addition.
Let’s see what our friends at Element Vape (who were kind enough to provide the mod kit for review) had to say about the Pico X with MELO 4 sub-ohm tank.
The Eleaf iStick Pico X 75W Starter Kit is an exemplary compact vape kit, boasting a beautiful compact, lightweight design featuring an intelligent chipset with advanced output modes and technology paired with the mesh-coil of the MELO 4 Sub-Ohm Tank. The chassis of the Pico X 75W Mod is coated in a soft touch rubberized finish and is incredibly lightweight featuring a single 18650 high-amp battery to power the device up to wattages of 75W.
Eleaf iStick Pico X 75W Box Mod Features:
- Dimensions – 112mm by 50mm by 31mm (w/ Tank)
- Weight – 112g
- Single 18650 High-Amp Battery – Not Included
- Maximum Wattage Output: 75W
- Voltage Output Range: 0.5-9.0V
- Resistance Range – VW Mode: 0.1-3.0ohm
- Resistance Range – TC Mode: 0.05-1.0ohm
- Nickel, Titanium, and Stainless Steel Compatibility
- TCR Mode – 3 Memory Mode
- BYPASS Mode
- PreHeat Mode
- Intelligent Wattage Recommendation System
- Puff Counter
- Stealth Mode
- Oversized Firing Button
- Bottom Adjustment Buttons
- OLED Display Screen
- Soft Touch Rubberized Finish
- Threaded Top-Mounted Battery Door
- Over-Charge Protection
- Over-Discharge Protection
- Over-Current Protection
- Reverse Polarity Protection
- Over 10s Protection
- Short-Circuit Protection
- Spring-Loaded 510 Connection – Up to 22mm Without Overhang
- Available in Silver, Green, Red, Blue, Black
Eleaf MELO 4 Sub-Ohm Tank Features:
- 22mm Diameter
- 2mL Standard Capacity
- Superior Stainless Steel Construction
- Pyrex Glass Reinforcement
- Eleaf EC Mesh Coil Family
- 15ohm EC-M Kanthal Mesh Coil – rated for 30-75W
- Dual Slotted Bottom Airflow Control
- Convenient Retractable Top-Fill Method
- 510 Delrin Drip Tip
- 510 Connection
Available in Stainless Steel
Eleaf iStick Pico X Kit Includes:
- 1 iStick Pico X 75W Mod
- 1 MELO 4 Tank
- 2 0.15ohm EC-M Mesh Coils
- 1 QC MicroUSB Cable
- 1 Spare Parts Pack
- 2 User Manuals
Good god is this thing adorable – at least as adorable as a compact vape mod can be. With its curvy, soft-coated alloy exterior, ridiculously small dimensions and simplified display, this is about as easy as adjustable vaping can be.
That said, I immediately noticed that the size and form factor present some limitations. For starters, the included 22mm Melo 4 sub-ohm tank is about as big as you can go on this device. Even if the 75-watt maximum output makes you want to try other tanks, don’t bother unless they’re 22mm or smaller – the cramped 510 connection won’t accommodate anything larger. And I don’t mean “there will be overhang.” Thanks to the top-positioned battery cap, there’s literally no more real estate to play with.
The same lack of real estate presents a concern on the adjustment side of things. Because the requisite 0.96-inch monochrome OLED display and oversized fire key dominate the side panel, the up/down adjustment keys are relegated to a recessed panel on the bottom of the device. This has never been a good way to operate a mod, but we’ve always forgiven it for “micro-sized” devices. Here? It seems like a silly design decision that made it unnecessarily annoying to control.
Despite these setbacks, the Pico X does feel really good in the hand, and the mod is surprisingly durable for such a lightweight form factor. I know, because this tiny box mod slipped out of my hands several times. Not the fault of the design, just the idiot operating it. But the good news is that the Pico X never even stuttered, even after one bad drop to a concrete porch – a slight scuff is all I had to show for the near-disaster, but the vape quality never suffered.
Well, to be blunt, there aren’t many “standout” features on such an entry-level vape mod. But let me use this space to give you all a STRONG recommendation – update the firmware. Now, I don’t know if anyone really does this anymore, but let me advise you to plug the iStick Pico X into your PC as soon as it arrives, following Eleaf’s instructions to the letter. Because if you have firmware v1.0 on your mod, it’s not going to work right.
You see, the Pico X has a “standby” mode it falls into after a certain period of inactivity. That’s a good thing… until you realize the device keeps asking you if you installed a new coil. Hardly a life-changing problem, but it is an annoyance. Upgrading to firmware 1.01 from the Eleaf website seems to have solved it… but I can’t remember the last time I mentioned a necessary firmware update in one of these reviews.
The included MELO 4 tank is a 22mm sub-ohm tank that brings decent flavor and vapor production for its size. The entire MELO series has been pretty average in terms of performance, and that doesn’t change here. On the surface, the sliding top cap, wide fill port and solid construction make for a pleasant experience. But the coil system is just too weak to spend much time with this tank.
Using the MELO 4 as a sub-ohm tank provided mixed results. While the tank and coil were certainly capable at fogging a room, the flavor was pretty washed out at mid-range (40-70W) wattages. It was “there,” but it was flat, and lacked a lot of punch. The narrow-ish drip tip should have helped concentrate the flavor, but it was not to be.
With the airflow closed down a bit, the MELO 4 made for a serviceable MTL/restricted lung standby, but this experience still paled in comparison to more-focused MTL atomizers (like the fantastic Nautilus 2S, which serves so many different vapers).
While I commend Eleaf for sticking with this series and providing new options to fans, I think it’s time to retire the MELO brand and try something new the next time around.
Vaping the Eleaf iStick Pico X
The Pico X is one of the better 50-watt vape mods I’ve used of late. Which would be a great testimonial, if this wasn’t a 75-watt mod. As much as I wanted to crank this thing to its miniature max, stuttering and misfires abounded above 60 watts. And even that’s being generous, since anything over 50 diminished battery life to near-unusable levels.
Alright, alright – I get it. The Pico X is a single-18650 device, so anyone looking for all-day power is fooling themselves. But am I wrong for wanting to vape a 75-watt mod at 55watts for more than an hour? No, I’m not… and this was disappointing.
On the positive side, the Pico X has a welcome coil protection setup that automatically identifies the coil and reduces the wattage, to ensure you don’t fry your atomizer right out of the gate. It’s not perfect, and yeah, it’s a little annoying to readjust the settings … but it’s not nearly as annoying as popping coils because I wasn’t paying attention. These are the types of mistakes beginners make, so kudos to Eleaf for keeping its target audience in mind.
There is temperature control on the Pico X, but no temp control coils available for the MELO 4 tank. So, if you have a 22mm or smaller RTA handy, give it a shot. My limited time with this mode showed it to be effective, save for a few fiddly adjustment problems that are par for the course with TC vaping. Nothing awesome, nothing offensive – it’s there if you need it.
– Comfortable, durable, compact exterior
– Great fire key
– Easy enough to navigate the menus
– Awkward bottom-positioned control buttons
– 22mm max diameter
– Terrible battery life
– Not a true 75-watt mod
– Firmware update needed right out of the box
– Below average tank
Spinfuel VAPE Recommendation and Score
Hey, it’s another Pico – what were you expecting? So, it begs the question – should this series still be sub-ohm/power focused? Or should it be rebranded for smokers and new vapers as a better first step than a pod mod? Maybe a nice MTL tank, with an RBA deck for beginning builders would help position the Pico series as a newcomer’s dream device. Maybe those TC modes would make more sense for vapers who want a precise, satisfying, low-wattage experience, rather than a mod which misrepresents its power output and purpose.
Just my $0.25, adjusted for inflation. My recommendation? Pass, unless you have to own every Pico that hits the street.