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An easy and discreet starter kit

The brand eleaf has always surprised me in a good way and became, in 2015, one of the references after its famous iStick 20 Watts. All successive outputs were not necessarily more attractive, but one must recognize that Eleaf has a special knack for getting into the skin of vapers who do not want to wary with hardware stuff. In my mind, of course, the iStick series but also the Lemo and other Melo by the same brand that are clearomizers I can now qualify as reliable since I am using the Lemo 2 on a daily basis.

It is then a starter kit that we are testing today. A small one in the popular shape of a Box, but with the particularity of offering the atomizer GS Air 2.

The position of the atomizer reminds me of my test of the Innokin VTR, in 2013, with the difference that the GS Air 2 is not screwed but is securized by a magnet system that I had already met on products manufactured by the French brand Jewel. So, nothing new in this kit but ideas brought up to date in a pocket format and an atomizer that does not leak.

This is an ultra simplified kit for starting vaping smoothly without dipping into the wallet. This iStick Basic is intended to the vapers who want to start or to try vaping in the best conditions, with a reliable device that requires no prior adjustment.

“Basic” without any pejorative connotation, and “Mini” for this backlit all-in-one kit

I discovered a perfect and complete packaging for the price. At the opening, I stared at the new iStick and the GS Air 2 atomizer with which I was already familiar.

I appreciate the graphic neighbourhood with the former iStick but the comparison is restricted to the visual aspect. The object is attractive and surprises the user with the presence of an excellent 2300 mAh battery. For the price around forty Euros, the manufacturing is more than satisfying. Congratulations to Eleaf for the effort…

The kit contains a magnetic connector/adaptor Ego/510, a USB cable, an atomizer GS Air 2 and two coils 0.7 Ω. You will find here all that you need to vape in the best conditions.

The first impressions when first manipulating the object have been a surprising lightness and a pleasant usability, very close to its iStick sibling.

The assembly with a magnetic connector is a success and rather easy, even if you sometimes ear jingling because of the contacts between the battery and the GS Air 2. It deterred me at the beginning but the manufacturing is robust and the connexion is robust enough to ensure a good placement of the whole. Here, no display, no control but a Fire that is not the best ever, but at least does its job.

The second impression is that, for the money, you will get a very good device and probably a strong competitor to the Ego One by Joyetech. The difference may just be felt from the usability side and with regard to the autonomy that is much higher with the iStick Basic, reviving the original iStick.

My last point, regarding the general aspect of the device, will be the positioning of the hand compared to the mouth, that is much more comfortable than for the NeBox that I reviewed recently, with its longer drip tip.

Technical Review

The main characteristics of the iStick Basic are:

  • 1 round Fire in plastic
  • Compatibility: 510/Ego via 2 magnetic adaptors
  • Weight: 135 g
  • Length: 104 mm with the GS Air 2 (82 mm alone)
  • Width: 39.5 mm
  • Thickness: 22 mm
  • Battery: 2300 mAh non interchangeable
  • Electric safety
  • USB charge
  • Battery charge indicator (with LED), blinking speed indicates battery level
  • Automatic power setting
  • Material: Aluminium/plastic
  • User manual
  • Different colours
  • No display
  • Atomizer GS Air 2
    • Diameter 14 mm
    • Heigth: 70 mm
    • Capacity: 2 ml
    • Screw thread 510
    • Colour: Silver
    • Adjustable air flow
  • 2 coils 0.75 Ω

An unparalleled price for a safe, automatic and balanced vaping

The finish complies with the overall quality of the iStick products, saying that the coating might age badly and the Fire might be defective, but you will nevertheless have access to a very honourable vaping quality if you are a beginner or if you want novelty. I know people who are still using some Vision V3, and I let them know that they can now switch to iStick Basic and easliy continue using their V3 with the new body, and any other clearomizer in 14 mm or lower thanks to the magnetic adapter.

I could be flustered by the fingerprints visible on the top and the bottom of the iStick, but it would be fussy from me.

You will also have the opportunity to use the USB connector to charge the battery while vaping (pass through). This is an important criterion since the battery in not interchangeable. The position is smartly convenient, on the side of the object and not at the bottom, to go on vaping and leave it vertically.

The absence of display is not a problem on this type of vaporizer and is the key point of its low price, compared to the concurrents. Instead, Eleaf made use of a LED that is placed on the top of box, close to the clearomizer. The position of the LED has two avantages, the first one is to indicate the remaining charge of the battery, the other one is to light up the inside of the atomizer so that you can check, even at night, the refill level in the tank.

Finally, Eleaf declines its iStick Basic in different colours, some of them having a real girly touch to attract the female vapers that I know attentive to this aspect. I really enjoy the grey version that I have in test.

The use of the iStick is “basic” and does not require to be a postgraduate in physics. Such simplicity is adequate to whoever turns to the e-cigarette to quit smoking without any specific knowledge of the vaping state-of-the-art. Press 5 times on the Fire and the LED lights up in white. It turns red when the USB cable is plugged on or blinks quickly when the remaining charge is under 9%.

On a daily use, no need to wary whether you are vaping in watt or rather in the temp control mode, the iStick Basic is taking care of everything. And the result is interesting except that the airflow from the  GS Air 2 is more a gimmick than anything else, and that one of my two coils very quickly had a horrible taste of burnt despite prior booting it with a few drops of e-liquid.

Let’s follow up with users’ comments. But one thing is certain, with those small condensed coils it is mandatory to moist them abundantly and wait before the first use.

The assembly and the cleaning of the parts of the GS Air 2 are classic. The drip tip is removable but tightly secured by a washer. Refilling is easily achieved by the bottom and comes very fast because of the 2 ml tank.

Changing the coil, also located at the bottom of the device, is simple but requires a practice because the place is narrow and the access is not easy.

Excellent autonomy but refills are frequent

The iStick Basic is reviving some of the innovations that evolved in this field but have unfortunately been scarcely used by other brands. This will surely help converting hesitant vapers to this good value product.

After one week of intensive use, my average figures are: 2300 mAh, 8 hours and 8 to 10 ml of juice with a 0.75 Ω coil.

I recommend purchasing also a box of spare coils for the GS Air 2, along with this box, in order to avoid bad surprises and facing failures.

In summary

The “+”:

  • Complete kit for a reasonable price
  • Excellent autonomy with 2300 mAh
  • Sober design but excellent usability
  • Good quality for the value
  • USB charging
  • Accessible to beginners
  • Weight and dimensions are ideal for small hands
  • Smart LED location
  • Compatibility Ego/510
  • User manual

The “-“:

  • A “low range” vape
  • Plastic Fire, not as classy as it should be, longevity?
  • Fingerprints on the covers
  • Noisy contacts between the battery and the Atomizer
  • Visible screws and bolts
  • Battery charge indication is vague

Conclusions

Rate 3.3/5. “Basic”, here means simple use, accessibility and affordability.

A very good starter kit offering an excellent autonomy but penalized by the small tank volume of the GS Air 2. I only have concerns with regard to the 0.7 Ω coils because I noticed that their longevity may be shorter than on other devices, which would be an additional cost over weeks to be accounted for. But even in this case, vaping should be cheaper than smoking, at least in January 2016.

 

 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Value for money
Vape quality
Manufacturing quality
Usability
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Denis Cougnaud
Reviewer for the past 3 years, I've tried most of the popular products available on the market. My conclusion about the best vaporizer ? The one that simply fits your need and makes you forget tobacco.