From the Eleaf web site:
The iStick Pico, just like its name, is preferable, innovative, compact and outstanding (PICO). Powered by single interchangeable 18650 cell, it provides you with 75W maximum output and switchable VW/Bypass/TC-Ni/TC-Ti/TC-SS/TRC modes, With top e-liquid filling design, hidden airflow control and detachable structure, the new MELO 3 Mini is the best match for the iStick Pico.
The Pico/Melo MSRP on the Eleaf site is $65.99, with some vendors asking as much as $70 during the initial roll-out. Online prices for Eleaf iStick products are typically discounted. I expect to see the Kit for $40-50 before too long.
Having just finished my review of the large and heavy Beyond Vape Wismec Centurion mod, we now waltz across the dance floor to the other side of the hall to review the diminutive and light iStick Pico mod that’s bundled with a Melo 3 Mini sub ohm clearomizer. Where everything about the Centurion felt substantial and heavy-duty, Jay Bo Designs took the opposite tack with the Pico. I wouldn’t say that the Pico feels insubstantial, since it offers all the features of a normal 75W temp control single-18650 regulated mod, but it crams those features and performance into a micro-package that’s half the size and weight of the Centurion.
Despite their differences in heft and bulk, I’d wager a guess that the two mods employ the same internal chip. The display screens are identical, as are the button-press sequences to adjust the various functions of wattage, temperature limit, and three customizable TCR values (Temperature Coefficient Resistance, called M1, M2, and M3 on both chips). Even reversing the display screen from left to right is accomplished the same way, by turning off the mod, then holding down the + and – buttons simultaneously. The chip has upgradeable firmware via the micro USB port, and a USB cable is included.
The idea of using one chip for many devices (with the only difference being the firmware’s programmed wattage output) makes sense, since Eleaf, Beyond Vape, and Wismec are all sub-companies within the JoyeTech conglomerate family. I guess that makes the Centurion and Pico relatives, like Big Cousin and Little Cousin.
To fit everything into a tiny package, Jay Bo had to use a top-mounted battery cap that functions as an extender, allowing the case to be shorter than the 18650. Also, the + and – buttons are located on the bottom of the mod, since there’s no room for them next to the display and firing button. Are these compromises? Sure, but they’re necessary to achieve the goal of a full-featured 75-watt TC mod in a tiny case that’s effectively a stealth unit.
The Melo 3 is a standard 22mm diameter tank, but the 2ml eliquid capacity allows it to be shorter in length, only 38mm tall from the base to the cap, and a mere 50mm including the metal drip tip. Like its bigger brothers in the Melo line, however, it uses a full-sized factory coil head. Two heads are included in the Kit, both vertical Kanthal coils, in 0.3 ohm and 0.5 ohm resistances. Melo heads are cross-compatible with the Aspire Atlantis-style heads used by numerous popular sub-ohm tanks.
Temp control is state of the art for a mid-priced chip (as I speculated above, this is apparently the same proprietary chip Joyetech uses in the Centurion, Stout, and RX200), with adjustable temperature and wattage, fixed settings for nickel, titanium, or stainless steel wire, plus three user-programmable custom TCR settings. No, temperature limiting on the Pico chip isn’t as complex or sophisticated as on the high-end Evolv or Yihi chips, but it’s user-friendly and accurate enough for all but the most demanding temp control vapers.
Here’s where the story gets interesting. Although the pairing of the teensy-weensie Pico with the Melo 3 Mini makes for an amazingly tiny vaping setup, there’s nothing small at all about the vaping experience. This tiny setup provides as full a vape as one could want from the mid-power regulated mod with a sub-ohm clearo tank. It might be a tad shy of the experience provided by a high-end RDA on a 26650 mech mod, but it’s darn close.
Using the 0.3 ohm head, the Melo 3 Mini yielded a completely satisfying vape, with full flavor and good vapor production, at 65 watts. The Pico cranked out that amount of power easily, without so much as breaking a sweat. Chain-vaping at 65 watts, the Melo tanks gets warm to the touch, but not hot, and the Pico mod remains cool as a cucumber.
As with the Centurion, the display on the Pico is only average size, and the smaller numbers are tiny, but the white-on-black LCD screen is bright and clear.
All the expected protections are built into the chip: 10-second cut-off, low resistance, atomizer short, reverse battery, and overheating shutdown. The lower limit of one watt output implies that the chip can buck as well as boost.
Battery life with the a single 18650 (not included) is about what one would expect. Depending on the wattage used, vape time between tank refills and battery swaps could be fairly short, especially so if you vape near the higher end of the Pico’s 75-watt power output. That’s not really a con, however, since the whole point of the Pico Starter Kit is to squeeze as much performance as possible from a tiny package.
The Eleaf Pico/Melo 3 Mini Starter Kit combines the best of two worlds: a full, satisfying, and powerful vaping experience from a Lilliputian-sized package. Like the character Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, the Pico/Melo pairing may be small in size, but it’s a force with which to be reckoned.
Enthusiastically Recommended for all vapers, from beginners to experts.