An Ode to the iStick
This attractive, small, and refined iStick 40W TC will surprise even the most stalwart supporters of the iStick box mod line because ounce for ounce, watt for watt, the iStick 40W TC is a major leap in the iStick lineage, and it’s difficult to believe it sells for a mere $36. (At Vapor Authority)
Yep. I’ll say this upfront so there is no mistaking my attitude about the eLeaf iStick line; I’m a fan.
But I’m not blind… I know that the iSticks in the past have been frustrating for many users. For whatever reason the complaints made about the iStick, and other box mods, are real, and sometimes even warranted. No single piece of vape gear is perfect, and there will always be slipups in quality control and human error on both sides, company and user, for every device in this industry, and every other industry. I get that, and although I own several iSticks and Keira uses iSticks much of the time, we’ve only had one that didn’t live up to our expectations. Just one out of more than twenty. That’s a damn good track record. So, again, I am a fan. And I like what I see in the iStick 40W TC…so far.
For previous iStick owners that wound up hating the thing there is very little reason to think the new iStick 40W TC is going to be any better…except that it is. Better, I mean.
But I’m not here to “sell” you on the iStick, I’m here to tell you about my experience with the iStick 40W TC to date, which has only been 8 days, and you can take from that whatever you want or need to take from it. After all, in the grand scheme of things, the iStick 40W TC is ‘just’ a box mod used for people like us, people that vape. That’s all. It won’t cure cancer or heart disease or emphysema… (But it could prevent it.)
My iStick 40W TC Review
The eLeaf iStick has been a huge success for both the eLeaf/iSmoka company and vapers alike because it satisfies several important criteria that mainstream vapers look for in a box mod. Among them are portability, reliability, performance, and price. For the most part, but certainly not always, the iStick has been a dependable box mod for tens of thousands of vapers.
And despite the previous iStick’s inherent ability to fire down to the sub-ohm territory, until recently the iStick was considered an inexpensive solution for glassomizer/clearomizer vaping. Nonetheless, ever since the blockbuster iStick 50w and it’s 0.2-ohm capabilities, more vapers began to buy them for sub-ohm tanks.
With each new iStick in the series, save for the iStick 10w mini, vapers were able to take advantage of new technologies, higher wattage levels, lower resistance capabilities, and small aesthetic tweaks to the iStick “look n feel” with each new iteration. I would go so far as to say that the iStick was one of the most popular box mod-style vaporizers for months late last year and again this year.
Nonetheless, no one product remains at the top forever, and once the iStick 50w came out eLeaf sort of coasted for a while with the iStick, and concentrated on other devices, like the iJust 2, while other companies moved in with other box mods featuring newer features and similarly low resistance levels. The Evolv DNA40 began appearing in more and more box mods, and suddenly temperature control features began to get noticed. Then Joyetech got in the temperature control game with the eVic-VT and eLeaf had to respond.
It is the nature of the vaporizer industry to keep coming out with new products, and because more we have more than 40,000 new vapers in the US alone joining us every month, there is an ‘audience-in-waiting’ for newer and better products… constantly.
After resting on their laurels for a bit eLeaf/iSmoka is back with this brand new iStick. This time they’ve taken the wattage down a notch, upped the amperage a bit, and threw in Temperature Control, and… put it all in a very small device. Indeed, the new iStick 40W TC is a completely new kind of iStick.
Despite the relatively small battery capacity of 2600mAh, the iStick 40W TC breached a few benchmarks. The rated resistance range is an amazingly low 0.05-1-ohm in TC mode, and 0.15-3.5-ohm in wattage mode. In TC mode the temperature range is 200-600-f. Of course, in order to take advantage of the temperature control mode you’ll need to use a tank with nickel wire coils, common enough now with tanks like the Kanger Subtank, the Artic tank from Horizon, and a handful of others, including a tank by eLeaf itself called the GS-Tank with ni200 coil heads.
Oh, and before I forget, one of the more thoughtful design elements is the ingenious solution to switch from wattage mode to temperature control mode by placing a small button right between the “Up/Down” buttons so to move from Variable Wattage to Temp Control you just click a few times…to go back, click a few times. Pretty slick.
About That Battery
I said above, the eLeaf iStick 40W TC is equipped with just a 2600mAh battery, a big decline from the 4400mAh of the iStick 50w. And while I sure would have put up with a larger grip in order to get 3500-4000mAh I suppose it pays to keep in mind that if you buy this particular iStick then you are most likely buying it for the temperature control feature, and using Temp Control properly you will extend your battery life significantly, not enough to make up for a nearly 2000mAh difference, but enough to enjoy a couple more hours of vaping before a recharge is needed. That said the choice was probably made to shave off some of the price so eLeaf could get into the temperature control arena with a low cost device, but that’s just a guess.
The iStick 40W TC has all stainless steel threads and a spring-loaded 510 connector as well. It’s “old is new again” look also makes this new model is very appealing, aesthetically speaking. And this coming from someone that loves her Joyetech eVic-VT.
At this point who didn’t expect the next eLeaf iStick to come out with a Temperature Control version of the iStick? It had to be the next step for eLeaf to keep up the momentum, or to recapture it actually, and I suspect that once iStick vapers get a chance to see this “new take” on the iStick many will fall head over heels for it. Although, vapers that don’t want to deal with temperature control just yet there are only a couple of reasons to trade in their current iStick for this new one.
Refine Refine Refine
The aesthetics of the eLeaf iStick 40W TC is hard to describe. Of course it looks like an iStick, but there’s more to it than that. While eLeaf certainly learned a thing or two from the various iStick models released prior to this one, and took a play from the Joyetech playbook about temperature control, there is something more to it.
I know this sound a little crazy, but the iStick 40W TC looks like an iStick from a parallel universe. It’s similar in many ways, yet the subtle differences, when added up, aren’t so subtle after all. It’s the same, yet alien in nature. Truer, better, finer…better. There’s no getting around it, the iStick 40W TC may have 10 less watts then the iStick 50, and it may possess Temperature Control now, but what sold me instantly was that this iStick is more sculpted than manufactured, as ridiculous as that may sound.
The corners are slightly edgier, the finish is slightly more serious (does that even make sense?), and the Up/Down adjustment buttons and the TC button is perfectly proportionally sized, firmer, responsive, and the larger firing button is finely sculpted with a surrounding bezel and a high-quality bumped out metal…and tuned to a refinement I just didn’t expect. Only the best industrial designers can take a familiar product and keep it familiar, yet completely new at the same time. It’s downright magical is what it is.
Before I go on to my Real World Usage I need to point out that there will be two different ‘kits’ available. First, the kit you can buy now is the one that contains the iStick, USB Cable, and 510-eGo adapter. Later, as soon as the end of July perhaps, a kit will be available that will contain a tank from eLeaf that completes the total package in looks and performance. This is the kit I received for review. Of course, this tank is also available a la carte, so you can buy the iStick 40W TC and pick up the eLeaf GS-Tank separately.
The GS-Tank is a newly engineered tank in the GS series, built especially for the new TC iStick(s). It is 22mm in diameter so it will look great with every vaporizer built with 22mm tanks in mind, and the eliquid capacity is 3mL.
The tank was designed to fit the iStick 40W TC perfectly, and it does. The optimal power range is between 30W and 40W. The GS Air TC coil head features pure cotton wicks and either Ni200 (nickel) coils regular Kanthal, so it’s compatible with various temperature control devices, and looks especially nice atop the iStick 40W TC. Replacement coils with nickel wire or Kanthal wire will be affordable and plentiful.
I’ll recap the features below and then move on the my real world usage.
Features and Specs:
- 510 Threaded (includes 510-eGo adapter)
- Dimensions: 3-1/16″L x 1-3/8″W x 7/8″D
- Size: 36.2mm*22.3mm*77.3mm
- Capacity: 2600mAh
- Rated output wattage: 1-40W
- Rated resistance range: 0.05-1ohm (TC mode), 0.15-3.5ohm (VW mode)
- Temperature range: 100－315℃/200－600℉ (TC mode)
- Sharp, bright OLED display
- Accurate resistance reading
- Stainless steel threads
- Micro USB Charging Port
- 510 Spring-Loaded Pin
- Lanyard holes
Julia’s Real World Usage Report
Just as I am impressed with the refined look of the iStick 40W TC I am impressed by the performance as well. Though the size of the device might get lost in larger hands it was a good fit for me, and an even better fit for tiny Keira. The finish on the iStick allows for a good grip as well.
During my review period with the iStick I used the GS-Tank that came with it, the iJust 2 tank, a Kanger Subtank, the Arctic tank, and the Subverter tank by SmokeMe. They all worked really well, though the Subverter was a tiny bit too large for the small footprint of the iStick, and the 40 watts turned out to be a little shy of optimal performance for the 0.2-ohm coils. Otherwise, every 0.3-ohm and 0.5-ohm coils performed great. The more serious vapers will want more wattage than the iStick 40W TC can give, but then again this device isn’t really directed toward them anyway.
Using the Temperature Control mode with the GS-Tank and nickel coils I was able to get excellent flavor and warm vapor on par with larger and more expensive vaporizers and tanks with the temperature set to 400-500 degrees. When I equipped a Kanger Subtank with their OCC ni200 coil heads I needed to set the temperature to 550-600f in order to get ‘optimal’ performance from it. So you can expect slightly different performance in temp control mode with different tanks.
In Variable Wattage mode the 40W of power and high amperage output allowed me to get excellent results with most of the tanks and various ohm coils. The GS-Tank with the normal Kanthal coil heads worked very well, as did the Subtank with 0.5-ohm OCC’s. However, without the Temperature Control mode using 0.3 and 0.2 ohm coils will provide a good vape but at the same time you’ll know that you can push the tanks past the 40 watts allowed by the iStick.
After pushing the iStick 40W TC for several days I’ve come to the conclusion that there is two types of vapers that would benefit most from this device, though it will appeal to others that I’ll touch on below. One type is vapers that are ready to dive in to the Temperature Control style of vaping full time, and the other is vapers that vape above sub-ohm levels. During my review period I picked up a Subtank that had a 1.2-ohm OCC in it (by mistake) and there was plenty of wattage available for optimal vaping.
Like every other iStick from eLeaf there are segments of the vape community that will love this device. The vaper that wants to use the temperature control mode and not pay a lot for the privilege, mainstream vapers that want to visit the sub-ohm world and perhaps partake in the Temp Control mode on occasion, vapers that enjoy vaping with clearomizers equipped with 1.8-2.4 ohm coil heads, and even tank vapers that like to stay above the sub-ohm territory will all enjoy excellent vaping with this small yet powerful box mod.
Nevertheless, vapers looking to vape with RBA’s and super low resistance tanks would do better with something that outputs even higher wattage and more amps than the iStick 40W TC is capable of.
If you like the iStick line, or if you’ve been wanting to test the waters of the iStick line, the iStick 40W TC, at just $35.99 through Vapor Authority, is the perfect device to do it with. This new iStick uses the latest electronics, and it uses the results of the culmination of past iSticks to build the physical components, making for the best iStick yet.
My heartfelt thanks to Vapor Authority for providing the iStick 40W TC for this review!
- 1 x Eleaf iStick 40W TC Battery
- 1 x Micro USB Cable
- 1 x 510 to Ego Adapter
- 1 x Instruction Manual