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Diminutive Driver – eLeaf iStick Pico Long Term Review

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Hey ho folks, it’s been a while and I seem to have been neglecting this blog lately (as usual). Being knee deep in work doesn’t really help, but I know that’s not a real excuse.

To make up for lost time, I *do* have some stuff to review, in line with my recently renewed passion for Vaping, now that I’ve finally “upgraded” to Regulated Mods (finally).

So, without further ado, here’s the first: A Review on the device I deemed good enough to make the jump to reg-mods for.

Say hello to the eLeaf iStick Pico.

INTRODUCTION

(Disclaimer: The device on review is my personal mod, and has been aesthetically modified as per my personal preferences. It might not look exactly as what you would get from retail)

The Pico is 75w 18650 TC mod, and what that means is that it fires up to 75-watts; runs on a single 18650 li-ion cell (very *specific* cells if you wanna go the full 75w) and does Temp Control with Nickel (Ni), Titanium (Ti) and Stainless Steel (SS) coils.

All of which is pretty much expected from a mod released in 2016. What was not, however, is its diminutive size relative to its specs… as that name would very well suggest.

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I mean, here’s the Pico next to the smallest 75w mod of 2015 that has the same feature set: the JoyeTech Evic VTC Mini. It’s pretty clear that some people up in eLeaf got pretty creative in the design of the Pico, and the name is well deserved.

One couldn’t help but wonder what kind of compromises and sacrifices had to be made to make the Pico so small though, which we’ll talk about in the next section.

BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN

So yeah, the Pico is tiny, at least for its specs. 75 watts, full spectrum TC, replaceable 18650… one wonders how fast technological progress moves in the Vaping world when 6 or so months was all it took to stuff the guts of something like the Evic Mini into the Pico.

Well, the truth is, it’s not quite as fast as you would think. The electronics that power the Pico is simply a space-efficient version of the very same thing that powers the Evic Mini: a JoyeTech proprietary chip that *also* powers the Wismec RX200 AND the new VapeForward VapeFlask line.

(Oh and before you go all confused as of why there’s a JT chip in a eLeaf or Wismec device, consider that JoyeTech, eLeaf, Wismec AND VF are all under the same umbrella company known as iSmoka)

buy it So yeah, it’s mainly some clever engineering that was behind the genius of the Pico.

For one, it’s turning the main chipboard into two layers to help it fit the small enclosure. Another bit is by deciding to put the + – buttons at the bottom rather than where the screen is (which is fine with me but is almost as controversial as the hump… read below).

buy it But what’s probably the most interesting design feature (and probably the most polarising) is that hump.

What hump, you say?

Well, *that* hump.

To make it as small as it was while still ensuring that a 18650 would fit in the mod, the Pico has a protruding battery cap.

What this (unfortunately) means is, without the proper spacer or 510 heatsink, only tanks/RDA/RDTA’s smaller than 22-23mm would fit the Pico.

celine handbags Which for me, isn’t really an issue as I really don’t think people buy mini/micro mods so that they can stick a huge-ass tank on it… but YMMV.

Next, the general build quality on the Pico. Just by holding it in your hand, the Pico has an reassuring heft to it that the lighter more plastic Evic Mini did not. And here’s why:

Where the Evic is just thin hollow aluminium panels fit together on a plastic frame, the Pico has its internals stuffed into a solid milled-out hunk of aluminium.

Does this help? Well, I have dropped both and while the Evic’s thin outer shell deformed on impact, the shell of the Pico did not.

Also the buttons aren’t too rattly (it’s not a “premium” device so a little play is to be expected) and the 510 is a fair bit better then the one on the Evic Mini (see chipboard picture above). From visual inspection alone it’s clear how the Pico’s 510 is more solidly fit and built compared to the wobbly mess on the Evic. It still has limited travel though, but hey, one out of two isn’t too bad.

Next, is the microUSB port, which looks rather flimsy. Unfortunately, looking at it directly on the chip-board only reinforces this feeling and I would probably not use the port except for firmware upgrades and emergency charging. At least it’s NOT mounted at the bottom, which has always been a personal pet peeve with mods.

Then, the exterior finishing on the Pico, which is one of the few things the Evic actually does better. The paint in the Pico does scratch and fade very easily, while the chrome areas tarnish just as quickly.

One final point of interest: As you can see from some of the pics above, I personally did a teardown of the device to check the internals (and to fix a little alignment issue with the screen). Surprisingly, the tiny Pico is *very* easy to disassemble, which might interest the more DIY-oriented amongst you guys.

Similarly the firmware is “user hackable”, just as it is on the RX200 and the Evic Mini… you know, if that rocks your boat.

PERFORMANCE

Now that we’ve gone through the design and built quality aspect of the device, let’s move on to the next part: Does it Vape well?

Well, in short, it does.

At least with the tanks I’ve used for it it does. Most of the time it’s the Geek Vape Avocado 22mm (long term review of that one incoming soon), as can be seen from the pictures.

canada goose I wouldn’t want to bore anyone with details but let’s just say that given the right high-amp batteries (25A+ rated cells), the Pico easily does the 75-watts it’s rated for… but a single 18650 isn’t gonna take you far with that kinda power.

Not that I normally Vape at that setting anyway.

canada goose More realistically, TC on the Pico works very well too… as long as you stick with simple builds that aren’t too low resistance – especially with 316L SS. Trying out a very low Twisted SS dual coil build, I was rewarded with erratic TC performance… while running a simple spaced dual coil build gave me very, very consistent TC.

So yeah, it Vapes well… as long as you don’t push it *too* far.

All this is also helped by the generally intuitive control scheme and menus that make very good use if the small display. That said, the newest firmware update does introduce some “oversimplification” of the Power Mode display by removing the voltage indicator… but considering that it also brought along “SMART” mode, one can safely assume it’s meant for the less technically inclined amongst us. At least the TC mode display is still very informative.

Lastly, battery life is completely dependent on your settings, but at 40w, 450f SS TC I’m getting a full day’s worth of moderate use out of my the Samsung 25R5 2500mAh cells I use it with… so I’m pretty happy.

VALUE

In the current Vaping Market, where mods range from cheap as chips to exorbitant – depending on features, design, and the amount of snake oil used… eerr… to polish it – it’s refreshing to see that for such a featured packed micro mod, the Pico is actually priced quite well.

For what you get, the Pico retails for around $30-40 mod only from places like FastTech, which can even be considered as “inexpensive” when you look at other mods with similar feature sets (most of which isn’t even close size wise though).

So yeah, value wise the Pico is a very good preposition indeed.

canada goose CONCLUSION

In the end, with everything considered, the Pico really is a very, very good mod. Sure it does have its cons (that hump, the not-so-springy 510, the exterior finishing and the flimsy microUSB port), but the size advantage and the large number of features (most of which works pretty well, TC included) does offset those cons pretty well.

Also, after spending almost two months exclusively with the Pico as my main daily driver, I can say for a fact that the Pico is a rock solid reliable little bugger – having survived most of the spills, drops and dents I’ve been giving it (probably thanks to that tough single-cast main body) and delivering what is asked from it consistently despite all the abuse I put it through.

Add the fact that it’s relatively inexpensive, and recommending it would be very easy – at least if 75w is enough for you.

So yeah, the Pico gets a 9 from me (one point ducked due to the cons discussed) and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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