Our Eleaf iCare Solo review puts the all-in-one style vape starter kit to the test. With a 1.5 ml tank, two coils included and simple, one-button operation, it’s a promising device for new vapers, but is it worth the $20?
Is it worth picking up?
The iCare Solo isn’t the greatest device on the market by a long stretch, but for a new vaper, it does have a lot going for it. Combined with some high-strength or even nicotine salt e-juice, the all-in-one design and affordable $19.99 price-tag make it a very tempting option.
If you’re looking for something that will put out huge clouds then there are better options on the market, but if you want something easy to use and simple, the Solo could be the ideal device for your needs. It’s worth considering the standard iCare too, but overall both are fine options.
Eleaf has been a big name in the vaping industry for a few years now, and the latest iCare devices underline the fact that their focus has always been on beginner vapers. The iStick series of box mods met this need by keeping prices low and functionality simple, but the iCare and iCare Solo bring in an all-in-one style to make the transition even smoother for just-switching smokers. While the standard iCare looks like a compact box mod, the iCare Solo is a very compact pen-style device designed with new vapers in mind. It can’t exactly compete with the chunkier mods on the market, but does the low price and one-button operation make it a viable option for new vapers? We’ve taken a look at the device for our Eleaf iCare Solo review to find out.
What You Get
The iCare Solo comes in a thin green box, with the pen-sized device held in a foam upper layer and a USB charging cable, a simple instruction manual and two 1.1 ohm atomizer heads under a cardboard cover below. The package itself is simple and you only get what you absolutely need, but it offers plenty for the price. All you need is e-liquid and you can start vaping.
Eleaf iCare Solo Review: The Design
The iCare Solo has a pleasingly simple design, which translates into a minimalistic yet appealing look. The device looks similar to a standard e-liquid vape pen, with an oval-shaped button in the center of the body, a mouthpiece at the top and a pair of oval windows on the front and back of the device so you can see how much juice is in the tank. The body has two flattened faces and rounded edges, with a micro-USB port on the right edge for recharging.
The overall look is great: it’s simple and uncluttered, with the white button, mouthpiece and base contrasting nicely with the cyan body of my Solo, although you can also pick it up in black, white, red or gold.
The big selling-point of the iCare Solo is its all-in-one style design. The 1.5 ml tank occupies the top half, and you access it by removing the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece simply pulls right off, and inside there is a metal stem protruding from the tank section. Unscrew this to open up the tank for either refilling or inserting/changing your coil. The coils screw onto the bottom of the stem, and you simply fill up to the indicated line to refill the tank.
Overall, the Solo handles the all-in-one design really well. Although you get a short manual in the box, if you’ve used a vaping device before, you’ll be right at home with the iCare Solo.
Mouthpiece and Airflow
The plastic mouthpiece on the iCare Solo is fairly basic, but fills its role well and also doubles as the inlet for the airflow into the device. The mouthpiece has two small sections cut out that match up with two notches around the edge of the device, and these allow air to be drawn in as you vape. The holes are quite small – and you can’t do anything with the device to adjust their size – but they do more than enough for such a simple vaping device. The draw is fairly airy, but it’s tight enough to support mouth-to-lung vaping, so it’s hard to imagine many vapers having an issue with what it can do.
The mouthpiece itself has a nice design, with the two larger sides having sections cut out to make it a comfortable fit on your lips. It also has a hole through the center which fits the metal stem perfectly so it stays firmly in place while you’re vaping.
The 1.1 ohm coils included with the iCare Solo might not seem that impressive, but they have a compact design and work well with both PG-heavy and higher-VG e-liquids. They do perform better with higher-PG juices, but you can get good performance with both. The first thing you’ll notice about the coils is their thin profile, which had to be kept quite trim so they could fit into the opening hole in the top of the device. They feature threading around the top of the cylinder, and screw into the base easily. Overall, Eleaf has trimmed down a standard coil design to make it work with the slim-line Solo, and has done a pretty good job maintaining performance despite the smaller size.
The iCare Solo lets you know your remaining battery level using a small LED light on the side of the device, illuminating green when the battery has between 100 and 16%, yellow when it has between 15 and 6%, and red when it’s at 5% or less. This isn’t exactly the ideal breakdown (from 100 to 50%, then 50 to 16% would have been better), but at least you get some prior warning before you’ll need to charge. The indicator lights up when you take a puff, too, so you always know when the Solo is responding. It also flashes to indicate when you switch the iCare Solo off too.
The iCare Solo does a really good job when it comes to the design: everything is straightforward but does what it needs to, and manages it all with an understated style.
Eleaf iCare Solo Review: Performance
The iCare Solo puts out an impressive amount of vapor for such a compact device: easily in line with what you expect from vape pens much bigger than it. The vapor production isn’t quite as good as the larger iCare model, and you definitely get bigger clouds with mods, but for a compact, beginner-friendly device it does more than enough to keep you satisfied. As long as your interest in vaping is more functional than for clouds and tricks, you won’t have any complaints about the iCare Solo.
The flavor from the iCare Solo is pretty good too. Again, it invites comparisons with some of the better vape pens on the market, and the flavor of your juice comes through clearly with every puff. The flavor isn’t as well-captured as it is from sub ohm tanks and other more advanced vaping gear, though, so if vibrant flavor is very important to you, it might be worth considering the slightly larger iCare or a more advanced device.
Battery Life and Charging
The iCare Solo is very compact, so battery life is a crucial issue to work out whether it’s a suitable choice as your only vaping device. The battery is 350 mAh, which is smaller than most vape pens and more in line with the capacity of a cigalike, but the low power operation means that this limited battery life can still last you through most of a day of vaping. However, if you’re taking it out for a day of vaping while you’re at work, it might be a good idea to take your USB charging cable along with you too.
Charging is a quick process – taking about 45 minutes from flat to fully-charged – and you can vape while it’s charging too. The short charge time is a huge saving grace for a compact device like this, because the battery life on its own wouldn’t be fantastic, but the pass-through, vape-while-charging feature means you never have to go without something to vape. The LED indicator lights up red during charging and switches off when it’s done.
Overall, the battery life is a bit of a downside of the iCare Solo, but it’s a bit of a necessary evil if you want something compact and portable. And the quick charging and ability to vape while it’s happening means it can work even as your only device, provided you bring the charging cable along when you go out.
Eleaf iCare Solo Review: In Use
One of the things you’ll have to do with the iCare Solo most often is refill the tank, and the all-in-one design of the device makes this really easy to do. All you have to do is pop the mouthpiece off – just pull it and it comes off – and unscrew the stem section poking out of the top. This opens up a hole into the tank, which you use to fill up. The stem itself takes up a lot of space when it’s inside the tank, so there’s a clear marker on the oval window to show you where to fill up to.
This couldn’t really be any easier, so no complaints here at all!
The process for changing your coil is very similar to filling the tank: remove the mouthpiece and unscrew the stem to get access. The coils screw into the bottom of the stem, so once you’ve removed it all you have to do is unscrew the current coil and screw the new one into its place. Thanks to the design, this means it’s really easy to change coils even with a full tank of e-juice. You’ll still need to prime any new coils, but you can do this through the opening in the top of the coil and the wicking ports at the side prior to connecting it up.
Comfort and Portability
Arguably the best thing about the iCare Solo is how portable it is. The device is tiny and easy to slip into a pocket or a bag, and the shape makes it a comfortable fit in your hand. The standard iCare is possibly a little more portable – although it’s wider it’s much shorter – but it’s hard to imagine anybody complaining about the Solo being too big. The curved corners and ergonomically designed mouthpiece make it a pleasure to use, with Eleaf clearly thinking about vapers’ comfort when putting it together.
Does the iCare Solo Leak?
Throughout testing, there was no leaking whatsoever from the Eleaf iCare Solo. The tank is very well sealed in and the design of the coil and stem make leaking very unlikely. You may get a small amount of condensation around the mouthpiece, but overall you won’t have issues with leaking when vaping with the device.
Eleaf is a well-known company in the vaping industry, and while some of their older devices haven’t done too well on the build quality front, the iCare Solo is excellently put together. The stem connects to the body of the device really snugly, and although you might have to spend a second carefully aligning the mouthpiece to get it on, the push-fit works well and stays in place without issues. There may not be many moving parts, but the Solo is definitely well made.