Our Eleaf iCare review puts the compact, all-in-one device to the test. Is the device perfect for a new vaper looking for something easy-to-use, or would you be better off sacrificing the simplicity for something more capable? Is it worth $20?
Is it worth picking up?
The iCare from Eleaf is a fantastic device for anybody looking for something simple and easy to use that manages to remain affordable. For the price of just $19.99 for the device, it’s really hard to be too critical of the device for not having the selection of bells-and-whistles you get with a high-end mod.
Really, it’s competing with basic vape pens and pod systems, and it comes out of that comparison very well indeed. Definitely a device to check out!
For a long time, there was a clear trend towards larger and more powerful devices in the vaping industry, but things are changing. With pod-style devices becoming increasingly common and the advent of all-in-one vaping systems, there are plenty of excellent options on the market these days that manage to stay both compact and easy-to-use for beginners. The iCare from Eleaf is one of the most promising devices in this class, with an all-in-one style design and a compact size that makes it look like a cross between a pod system and a mini box mod. But is it really worth the investment, or would you be better off getting something a bit more complicated for a similar price? We’ve checked the device out for our Eleaf iCare review to find out.
What You Get
The iCare comes in a cute little box that contains the device, two 1.1 ohm coils, a USB charging cable and a small fold-out manual that tells you everything you need to use the device and covers numerous languages. This is a fairly basic offering, but with two coils and a charging cable in addition to the device, you can get started vaping provided you have some e-juice to use. Overall, for the price you get more than enough for a starter kit.
Eleaf iCare Review: The Design
The iCare has a unique appearance, a lot like a miniature version of a box mod. The device has a cuboid shape, with rounded edges and an oval-shaped window on one edge so you can see your remaining e-juice level. A mouthpiece extends out of the top edge of the device, slightly offset so it sits next to the edge of the iCare with the window. Below the mouthpiece is a small airflow hole, and the bottom edge features a micro USB charging port.
Aside from these details, the device is basically bare when it comes to design. It comes in a choice of five colors – black, gold, cyan, white and red – and all of them have a very sleek and cool look. The black version (which I tested) has a matching black mouthpiece, but all other colors have a white mouthpiece. The only remaining detail on the device is a barely-visible “Eleaf” logo on one side and the “iCare” logo on the other, both towards the bottom of the device on either of the two larger faces.
Size and Portability
The device only measures 75 mm (around 3 inches) tall and 30 mm (a little over one inch) wide, so it’s really compact and you can fit it into a pocket or bag really easily. It’s comfortably one of the most compact devices on the market, and it fits snugly into your hand when you’re vaping. This is one of the biggest selling-points for the iCare, and something to consider if you’ll be vaping outside of the house a lot.
The all-in-one design of the iCare is one of the defining features of the device. Under the mouthpiece, the metallic top of the central stem protrudes from a hole. You unscrew this using the flattened sections on the tip to remove the stem, which contains an airflow control section towards the top and the atomizer head at the bottom. When you’ve removed this, you can see into the tank on the iCare, which has a 1.8 ml e-juice capacity stretched out into a long, thin cylinder. There is a mark on the window to show how much you can fill the tank so it doesn’t spill over when you re-insert the stem, so it’s really easy to get the device set up.
The mouthpiece on the iCare has an oval cross-section and sticks up slightly from the body of the device. It’s really comfortable when you’re using it, and the hard plastic of the mouthpiece means you can lightly grip it with your teeth if you want to vape hands-free. There are two holes in the top of the mouthpiece, but only the circular one towards the edge draws directly from the coil. The device features automatic operation too, so it activates automatically when you take a puff.
The airflow system on the iCare is better than many comparable devices, with a small hole just above the tank window to allow air to be drawn into the mouthpiece from the outside, and an adjustable airflow system around the top of the stem. This adjustable airflow system features five small holes, and you can close off or open these up by turning the ring to tailor the airflow to suit your preferences. You have to remove the stem to do this, but once you’ve got it set up it stays in place without issues.
The 1.1 ohm coils that come with the iCare are very similar to most vaping atomizer heads, but have a slightly thinner diameter than many options on the market so they fit into the slim-line device. They feature four small holes for wicking, and come packed in foil-sealed packets so you know they’re completely fresh and ready to use. The threading around the top of the coil fits into the base of the stem, and the atomizer head makes contact at the bottom of the tank to connect to the battery.
The design of the iCare is straightforward but effective, and it looks really cool for such a simple and easy-to-use device. Overall Eleaf has done a fantastic job in this department.
Eleaf iCare Review: Performance
The vapor production from the iCare is really impressive for a compact and automatically-operated device. After a long puff on the mouthpiece, you get vapor production that eclipses that of most vape pens on the market and is more than enough to satisfy just-switching smokers and even most longer-term vapers. It’s really impressive, on the whole, and as well as the efficient vaporization, the airflow control system undoubtedly plays a big part in the excellent vapor production from the device. With the holes wide open, the plumes of vapor are more than enough for anybody but hardened cloud-chasers.
The flavor from the iCare is pretty excellent too. The flavors of your juices come through really clearly, and again the performance in this area is easily comparable with the best vape pens on the market. It won’t make the flavor of your liquid pop quite as much as sub ohm tanks, rebuildable atomizers or other higher-end options, but in comparison to anything similarly easy to use and low-powered it does a really fantastic job.
Battery Life and Charging
The big downside to most compact devices is the battery life. The reason the mods often preferred by long-term vapers are so big is that bigger devices tend to have longer-lasting batteries. However, the iCare does a pretty solid job on this front without increasing the size of the device too much. It has a 650 mAh battery, which is about in line with most basic vape pens on the market, but far bigger than other automatically-operated devices like pod systems or basic cigalikes. The battery is enough to get you through most of a work-day of vaping, depending on how much you’re puffing.
The inside of the tank features an LED light which illuminates as you take a puff. The color of this light reflects the amount of charge you have remaining, switching from green to amber to red as the charge level decreases. This gives you a simple visual indication of how soon you’ll have to charge the device, and is very handy for planning to make sure you can keep vaping while you’ll be out of the house. It could be easier to see, but it isn’t too bad overall.
Recharging the iCare via USB is a quick process: it takes around an hour and a half to go from flat to full. This is great and goes a long way to making up for the reasonably short battery life. You can vape while you charge as well, which is always a great feature for a beginners’ device in particular.
Overall, the battery life on the iCare is excellent for such a portable device and it recharges nice and quickly.
Eleaf iCare Review: In Use
The iCare performs really well and the design balances portability and capability with style, but how is day-to-day vaping with the device?
Refilling the Tank
Refilling the tank is the most common task you’ll have to complete when you’re vaping with the iCare, and the good news is that it’s really simple to do. After removing the mouthpiece and unscrewing the stem, you can see down into the tank. Simply drip your e-juice into this hole and fill up to the line visible on the window to refill. Once you’ve filled to the line, you simply screw the stem section back into place and you’re ready to vape. If you have a new coil, you need to “prime” it with e-juice prior to starting to vape, and it’s best to leave the tank for five to ten minutes after first filling up with the new coil before you vape too.
The process for changing coils is really simple. You remove the mouthpiece and unscrew the stem in the same way as you would when refilling the tank, and then unscrew the old coil from the bottom before replacing it with the new one. That’s it; prime the coil, fill up and you’re ready to vape.
Portability and Comfort
The tiny size of the iCare is one of the best things about it, and this makes it a fantastic device if you’re going to be using it out of the house a lot and want to vape discreetly. The rounded edges make it really comfortable to hold, and as mentioned earlier, you can even vape hands-free thanks to the solid mouthpiece and the automatic operation.
Does the iCare Leak?
Throughout testing, I had no issues with leaking from the iCare at all. The closed, all-in-one design does a fantastic job of protecting against this issue, and apart from the possibility of a small amount of juice coming up through the tip if you puff too hard, you won’t have any problems at all.
The iCare’s excellent design and performance translates really well to day-to-day vaping. The battery life is the biggest issue on a day to day basis, but if you use it with higher-strength juices you’ll minimize the impact of this.
The iCare is really well put together, and the main body of the device feels very sturdy and can stand up to any knocks or bumps its likely to encounter. The only minor issue when it comes to build quality is the threading where the central stem connects to the device, which can get crossed if you don’t line it up carefully. This is easy to avoid though – just turn it the wrong way at first until it clicks into place, then tighten it down. The flattened section of the top of the stem gives you something to grip onto, but this could admittedly be better if there was more there to grab onto.