Introduction – The iCare 2 Starter Kit From Eleaf
(Updated 20/9/17 after a few more weeks of heavy use!)
The Eleaf iCare 2 is, as the name would suggest, an update to the existing iCare e cig and one that is aimed at starters and those wanting a low maintenance vaping experience.
Eleaf’s own website describes the product as an “ultra-compact e-cigarette starter kit”.
The device comprises of a refillable tank, a “fire” button and a 650mAh internal battery. There is no display however there is a coloured LED to display battery status information. The range includes a wide range of colours to appeal to all.
The IC coil head supplied is a 1.3 ohm coil – so it is not targeted at the cloud hungry vapers out there – it is a mouth to lung device.
What’s in the box?
- iCare device including pre-installed tank and 1.3ohm coil.
- User manual.
- USB cable.
- Size: 31mm x 13mm x 86mm
- Weight: 33.5g
- Output wattage: 15W max
- Resistance range: 0.6-3.0ohm
- E-liquid capacity: 2mL
- Battery capacity: 650mAh
- Colour: black, grey, gold, greenery, red, white
- Safety features: a vaping time cut off of 15 seconds, short circuit protection, low voltage protection (below 3.3V) and resistance detection.
The LED colour indicates the battery status:
- Green = 100%-60% charge
- Orange = 59%-30% charge
- Blue = 29%-10% charge
- Red = less than 9% charge
Build Quality and Design
Everything you require to get started is included in the package except for E-Liquid. So no disappointment of not being able to get stuck in until you have all the equipment ready.
This is a charge up, fill up and off you go device.
It’s not a beautiful design classic – it does sadly feel a bit cheap but then again it is in monetary terms very cheap.
This is slightly in its favour as you really don’t expect it to perform very well – then it surprises you. There is lots packed into this tiny case and the tank takes up a third of it. So ignoring the outside appearance it is very well designed.
The user manual is in many languages quite brief but ok to get you started. There is a quick start illustration showing all the components and how to fill the device.
The tank capacity is the maximum permitted by the TPD regulations – so its capacity is the largest the manufacturer is allowed to supply. The fluid level is easy to see at all times.
It is charged using the supplied USB cable – the light is red when charging and the light goes out when the device is fully charged.
The device itself is so small and light. Perfect for stealth vaping you can almost completely enclose it inside your hand without it being visible.
It has a rubberised coating which does show up lots of finger prints – expect to have an obsession with wiping it! The device I am reviewing is the black version. The tank is black plastic with a clear window to view liquid level. The flat mouthpiece is comfortable and nice to use.
To power up the device 5 fire button presses and the indicator light flashes 3 times to confirm the device is powered up and ready to go. As mentioned above the LED colour displays the battery status. The fire button is perfectly good to use but does “click” when you press it. It is similar to pressing the keys on a computer keyboard type noise and feeling.
I experienced no leaks or dry hits, straight from when I first started using it. However as I had stored it lying flat overnight it did start spitting at me a bit. Also if you overfill the tank it will spit at you.
(5-10-17 – the second model I purchased has an anti Spitback type shield inside the mouthpiece and this works amazingly well!!)
A Closer Look At The Eleaf iCare 2
How to Change the Coil in the iCare 2
When the flavour starts to taste burnt (unless the tank is empty – check this first), or the performance drops then it’s time for a coil change. Also you have to install a coil to get started when you first buy this. Preferably the tank needs to be empty to change the coil – if it isn’t just make sure to have tissue around to mop up excess e-liquid.
- Remove the mouthpiece by simply pulling it away from the body.
- Pull out the tank from the body – this I found to be a bit tricky at times, use a tissue to help get a good grip. However you only need to remove the tank for cleaning (if changing E-liquid flavour) or replacing the coil. The rest of the time you can leave the tank where it is.
- Remove the base of the tank. A little arrow shows the securing tab you lift to pull the base off.
- The coil heads are a bit fiddly to remove and install – the coil head is cylindrical and only a small part of the head is protruding from the tank which makes it difficult to grip and turn especially with e-liquid coating it.
- Remove the old coil and screw the new coil into the tank and away you go.
- Install the tank base – again align the clip with the arrow marking – the base will only fit one way round.
- Install the tank into the body.
How to Fill the iCare 2
- Remove the mouthpiece by simply pulling it away from the body.
- Squeeze E-liquid into one of the holes either side of the centre. Do not fill through the centre hole! Plus try not to overfill or spill liquid onto the top of the tank.
- Keep the liquid level just below the top of the viewing window and wipe the top of the tank after filling.
- Leave the device to stand for 10 minutes for the coil to soak up the liquid.
- If it spits when you first use it –wipe the top of the tank. Also wrap the device in a tissue and blow hard down the mouthpiece.
- If this doesn’t clear it press the fire button with the device pointed away from you for a few seconds.
- Don’t let the level drop to empty as you will get a burnt taste and it could damage the coil.
How does the iCare 2 perform?
The life isn’t great but this is to be expected with such a small e cig. I was getting around 4-5 hours of use – but it is very efficient in its power and liquid use and it does charge quick – but you can’t use it whilst charging.
If this was your primary device you would struggle to use it all day at work without charging – so you may need to carry a spare.
When the battery starts to discharge the green light turns blue – be warned you only have about 4-5 vapes on it before it turns red and its game over.
1.3 ohm IC Coil
I used 50/50 VG/PG E-Liquid for this review. The IC coil isn’t designed for high VG E-liquid so I would say 50/50 mix is probably the highest VG concentration to use. If you want to use a higher VG concentration buy some iCare 1.1ohm SC coils.
You may need a high nicotine strength E-liquid as this is a 1.3 ohm coil. If using this to quit smoking 12-18mg/ml is a good place to start- you could always get a stronger or weaker strength to fit your needs if you are a first time vaper.
It delivers a surprisingly lovely tasting warm vape and a good amount of vapour. To me the airflow is spot on – the taste comes through well and you get a good throat hit. It was satisfying enough for me not to reach for another device at all whilst I was testing it – my own mod hasn’t been charged in days!
It is one of those devices that because of its price and appearance you expect very little from. It is a very close feeling to smoking a cigarette – again a real bonus for smokers to kick the habit and ex-smokers craving that feeling.
It’s not greedy – the e-liquid consumption is pretty low. I have been using it pretty heavily for around 3 hours and still not needed to refill the tank yet.
As the time of review the device is showing as pre order on most sites and the only coils I have found appear to be the ones for the older iCare devices. The tanks appear to be available on pre-order. The older iCare versions had 2 types of coil – the IC and the SC – both 1.1 ohm.
The SC version is for higher VG E-liquid. I am using the 1.1 ohm IC coils in this now and it’s working wonderfully. The 1.1ohm IC coil does suffer a bit more from spitting than the 1.3ohm did. (20/9/17 -The 1.3 ohm coils are now available so will be going back to them now).
(I updated this review on 20/9/17 after a few weeks of using the iCare 2 – I love it, have ordered another and have bought several packs of coils for this one. I have been using this more than my own mod and continue to take it everywhere with me!)
The Eleaf iCare 2 is a perfect transition device from the cig-a-likes to refillable devices – a huge improvement in battery capacity, performance and running costs.
This is also great for technophobes or those who want a simple, low maintenance vaping
experience. There are no confusing adjustments or intimidating displays to come to terms with.
In fact I would advise to by-pass the cig-a-likes completely and get this instead. I am a smoker who is moving to vaping and I find this is perfect. It is as satisfying as a cigarette, it is a lovely mouth to lung vaping experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone trying to give up smoking.
In fact buy one as a present for a smoker and do them a huge favour! Combined with a good eliquid – you can’t go wrong .This is enough to keep me away from the stinky ciggies for the majority of the day.
The “Mom” test – could I give this device to my (cig-a-like using) mum to use? 100% I think this is exactly the device I will use to try to get her away from the disposable cartridge cig-a-likes she is currently using. I actually got her to try this and she loved it and wants one herself. My best friend also tried this and was really impressed and also wants one ordering!!
I don’t think she will find this difficult to charge or fill. However I do think she will be asking me to change the coil heads for her.
(Another update – 5-10-17 – I bought a second one of these and the new one has a small shield in the mouthpiece to prevent spitback and it works great!!)
I am comparing the iCare 2 to similar starter devices – not advanced expensive technical vaping equipment. My ratings reflect how it absolutely excels in the user category it is aimed at.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this device and if you own one – how you getting on with it?
Let us know in the comments below!
- It’s functional yet enjoyable. Flavour and vapour were comparable to bigger more
expensive devices – it definitely outperforms your expectations.
- Device, replacement tanks and coils well priced.
- Lightweight and TINY (I have little hands and it still looks tiny!)
- I love the mouthpiece with its long flat shape – don’t let this put you off it really is nice to use and comfortable.
- Easy for first time users.
- No leaks at all and easy to assemble.
- Perfect as a second/backup device – especially when driving.
- It has the appearance of a cheap torch. It does feel light and cheap in the hand.
- The USB cable is awful – too short.
- It can “spit” liquid at you if you over fill or leave it lying flat- not as bad with later models as the shield helps prevent this.