Eleaf iCare Intro
Scroll down to see the short update.
Following on the heels of the iCare, Eleaf released the iCare Mini. With a similar form factor to many of these pod vapes out now (Juul, Cync, Von Erl, etc.), the iCare Mini has one huge advantage over them: it is not a closed system!
The iCare Mini has a lot going for it, and not just with it being an open system. What really matters, though, is the consistency of performance and how it fares under normal usage.
Let’s get into the review and see what’s up with the iCare Mini.
Eleaf iCare Gallery
Eleaf iCare Mini Specs and Features
iCare Mini Kit Content
- Kit Contents:
- 1 x iCare Mini
- 1 x IC 1.1ohm Coil
- 1 x Eleaf PCC
- 1 x USB Cable
- 1 x User Manual
- 24.5 mm * 12 mm * 75 mm
- E-liquid capacity: 1.3 mL
- Battery capacity: 320 mAh
- Output wattage: 15 watts max
- PCC Specs:
- PCC battery capacity: 2300 mAh
- Dimensions : 28.5 mm * 35.5 mm * 71.5 mm
- In black or white
Rundown of the iCare Mini
On board the iCare Mini is a 1.3 mL tank to be used with the iCare Mini’s 1.1-ohm coil heads, where the user decides what e-juice is being vaped (though not all liquids will be as suitable as others. More on that later.)
The iCare Mini is based on a platform similar to the Kanger Cupti: a power source (mod) with an integrated tank that utilizes a long chimney attached to a Cubis-like coil, just miniaturized and draw-activated (no button-pressing here!).
Lastly, while the form factor is conducive to being a faithful back-up, or just more of an on-the-go vape, the iCare Mini comes with a PCC (portable charging case) that enables the iCare Mini to charge, and be vaped, while out and about. And even in it’s PCC, it’s still small.
How to use the iCare Mini
- Take out an iCare coil head and drip a couple drops of liquid down the center of the coil (we recommend a 50/50 blend). Set coil aside.
- Pull off the mouthpiece of the iCare (grab the tip between your index finger and thumb).
- Use the rectangular cutout on the bottom of the mouthpiece as a tool to unscrew the chimney (or use your fingers, if you are nimble enough).
- The tank window has a fill-limit line that is hard to see; hold it up to the light to see and add e-juice (stop no higher than the fill-limit line). Set iCare aside.
- Screw coil onto the bottom of Chimney.
- Adjust airflow by turning the five-hole ring near the top of the chimney. You can remove the ring entirely for the most open setting, or close it off completely for tight draw (enough air can still come through to work as the tightest setting, though it will appear to be “off”. You can check the type of draw by drawing on the tip of the chimney, but the coil must be on to determine how the draw will be.
- Insert chimney into tank and screw in the way you took it off (either with the mouthpiece or with your fingers).
- Put mouthpiece back on (big hole over silicon-covered actuator)
Note: On the deck of the mod where you fill the tank, you will see a rubber cover over the actuator (it looks like a small little button) with a note that says “Don’t touch”. At some point, the mouthpiece will touch it (especially if you accidentally put the mouthpiece on backwards, which will happen at some point), so my guess is that it’s most important to not fiddle with the button versus not touching it.
Performance of the iCare Mini
The performance of the iCare Mini good; just keep your expectations in check. This is not meant to be a cloud device, though it puts out a nice amount of vapor and is pretty quick on the ramp. It is tiny, so the e-juice capacity is pretty low (you may want to get some unicorn bottles and keep on hand). And, luckily, the low capacity of the battery should not be an issue, as long as you keep the PCC handy (plus, you can always just use the iCare Mini itself as a pass-thru.)
For me, the iCare is working well. I have found that I like various airflow settings, it just depends on the day or the nic strength I am using (high nic isn’t too pleasant as a direct-lung hit, so I use that setting to achieve a hefty throat-hit with high nic). The vapor is pretty good with the iCare Mini, better than the Juul, and about the same as the Cync.
I’d be remiss to not point out that the flavor is pretty lackluster, though (but I am used to more intense setups). No matter how open or closed off, on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is no flavor and 10 is full flavor) the iCare Mini doesn’t get much better than a 5 (IME). I am cool with it though. I know what to grab for flavor chasing, and I know what to grab for cloudage. I grab this when I want simplicity (which seems to be the main thing I want these days).
As a unit, I love the way the device looks and feels (plus, it has a nice little heft for such a tiny unit). It’s simple, clean, interesting, and sturdy. But… my appreciation for those kind of attributes of the mod do not quite extend to what is under the hood, erm, mouthpiece.
Why the actuator is left basically exposed with a note that says “don’t touch” is just odd. My only guess is that Eleaf was–like everyone else–scrambling to get new products to the market before 8/8. And while I hate the whole idea of 8/8 and what it did to innovation and product design, I have to mention oddities. Like, the airflow controller.
I love that there is an airflow controller, especially with a nice range of settings, but to adjust it you have to take off the mouthpiece and unscrew the chimney–a simple task, but a couple too many fiddly steps to be something that you will want to do often.
In a similar vein, the iCare is super simple to fill, until you are trying to spot the fill-limit line. There are any number of ways that this could’ve been handled differently to give the user a better indication of the “stop” point.
iCare coil heads
The coil heads have been doing fine. Nothing super positive or negative. They work fine. No “bad coils” so far, though it may be a good idea to keep your e-juice ratios under 70 percent VG. The coil-heads wick well, especially since they have alternating (up and down) wick holes–the issue is that the wick holes are tiny. That is good for keeping the top and bottom portions of the wick saturated, but the viscosity of the liquid needs to have some free flow to it, which is why I am sticking with a 50/50 blend as a recommendation.
I have used four coil heads so far, but only to see if they all worked the same. I have not had to toss one due to poor performance. I have now had the iCare for a couple weeks and have been using it daily.
It’s been about a month and a half since this was posted.
- My iCare mini dropped from about desk-height and the tank window cracked. No way to replace but to buy a new one. Be careful if you drop yours — check the window.
- In my regular-sized iCare, I left liquid in the tank without the chimney on (for several days). The liquid leaked out of the USB port. Had to toss. Do not leave liquid in the tank without a chimney for extended periods.
- My iCare autofired a couple times when putting the chimney on. This has only happened a couple times, but it could be a problem since there is no button and taking the chimney out, to stop the firing, is not a quick solution.
The rest with the iCare has been unchanged. I barely use it anymore, though I do keep one in the car as a backup.
- Responsive draw/fast heat-up
- Multiple airflow settings
- Included PCC
- Coils compatible with regular iCare
- Good amount of vapor
- Fiddly to change airflow/take out chimeny and coil
- the iCare Mini isn’t held in the PCC as strgonly as I would like
- Not all that good for flavor
- Exposed actuator
Despite some of its quirks, I honestly believe that all vapers should keep something like the iCare on hand. It could be better, yes, but as it is, it is a handy device that you can keep around to get you out of a jam. Hell, I use it while I am home just chilling — but it really comes in handy when I can’t lug around a larger device.
I no longer recommend this device. After buying more coils and iCare units, I see the coil life is low, and the device has been auto-firing.