Today I’m taking a look at the Eleaf iSolo S kit and it prompts me to ask…
Doesn’t time fly when you’re an avid vaper?
This Shenzen based company has been manufacturing vape products for over a decade.
It seems only five minutes ago I was using an Eleaf iStick 20W Mod to achieve a decent MTL hit.
Up until then I was reliant on one of those 350mAh 510 threaded pen style thingies.
..If you’ve been vaping for over seven years you’ll know the thingy I’m referring to! lol
In fact I discovered the joys of variable wattage thanks to Eleaf.
Istick’s Sticking Around…
The iStick range of Mods and kits have been around for as long as I’ve been a vaper.
I wouldn’t say they’ve been as prominent as other manufacturers but they always seem to have a knack of being there in the background.
That’s because the name is pretty much synonymous with vaping and usually enough to turn a few heads, despite heavy competition.
This brings us on to the iSolo S kit and again, Eleaf has made use of a pod tank, it’s new and so are the GX mesh coils.
What Can We Expect From The Eleaf iSolo S Kit?
Eleaf has certainly spawned a vast array of coil types over the last decade. I’m familiar with the EC-M and EC-S coils and these were tested during the Eleaf iStick Rim C Kit review.
Naturally, the GX pod tank comes with plug and play coils both of which are stainless steel mesh.
Stainless steel, Nickel and Titanium are all materials synonymous with temperature control.
More on this shortly because it looks like Eleaf have stomped this path for a reason.
Whether we can expect a stronger, more pure flavour remains to be seen. Fully adjustable airflow on the tank will undoubtedly help.
We should expect reliability from the integrated battery but not necessarily the longest of uptime, especially if chain vaping with the lower 0.2ohm resistance coil.
..It’s times like this I thoroughly welcome the included fast type C charging!
Finally, expect to have little faffing about with the on screen menu’s.
Eleaf is notorious for keeping things simple in this area and that’s never a bad thing in my vaping book.
Checkout Neil C’s Hands On Video
Eleaf iSolo S Kit – Inside the Box
The kit comes inside a slip case carton, both being easy to remove.
Inside and protected by a bed of foam are the Mod and pod tank sections, underneath these are the extras.
- iSolo S battery/Mod
- GX pod tank
- USB type C charging cable
- GX 0.2ohm coil
- GX 0.5ohm coil
- 2 x User manual
- Warranty card
Eleaf iSolo S Kit – Key Features
Although we’re looking at the kit today both Eleaf iSolo S Mod and GX pod tank can be purchased separately.
The standard version features a 5ml capacity tank, shrunk down to 2ml with the TPD version.
The Mod is crafted from all metal material to give it a distinctive look and feel while the pod tank is comprised predominantly from an industry standard PCTG.
There’s an integrated 1800mAh battery and the Mod can fire between 5 – 80W, highly suitable parameters for the new GX plug and play mesh coils.
The mesh coils are made from a reliable AST (Austenite) steel to provide an instant and even vaping experience and they’ve been designed to last longer than usual.
The fully adjustable airflow of the GX pod tank is specifically balanced to optimise a concentrated, direct smooth inhale while the exhale delivers a dense, rich flavour.
Smart coil protection is built into the chip and works alongside the AST coil material to prevent dry hitting.
..That’s an area I’m particularly interested in testing.
The Mod is available in four straightforward colour schemes: Bronze, Blue, Black and Silver (under review).
At the time of writing there’s only a black rendition of the Eleaf GX pod tank. That’s a shame because the Silver finish to the Mod screams out for a…well…Silver version.
Eleaf iSolo S Kit – Specifications
- Size 27.6mm x 26.4mm x 126.9mm
- Battery capacity 1800mAh
- Tank capacity 5ml/2ml
- Fill hole diameter 4.5mm
- Output wattage 1-80W
- Charging current 5V/2A (USB C)
Eleaf iSolo S Kit – Design and Build Quality
GX Pod Tank
It soon became clear that I had received the 2ml TPD version of the GX pod tank.
Slightly confusing because the external packaging was that of the standard version. It lacked the usual “This product may contain nicotine” blurb.
Starting at the top there’s a removable wide bore 810 drip tip that appears to be Delrin. I tried replacing it with an alternative but that proved fruitless. The one included is proprietary with its built in O rings. There are none inside the catch cup of the top cap.
From the top of the drip tip to the base, the tank measures just over 50mm (2″) in height. The diameter is in the region of 24mm.
On this occasion the gold plated 510 pin doesn’t protrude.
Eleaf has made attempts at some kind of knurling around the airflow control ring and base. To be honest the etchings are so shallow as to render them ineffective.
I relied on finger pressure to make airflow adjustments or when unscrewing the tank from the base.
The GX pod tank features dual adjustable airflow. The cyclops airflow slots measure 12mm wide so should provide a more than adequate direct lung vape.
Further adjustments make use of a series of six pin hole slots restricting that lung hit even more.
Everything about this tank screams proprietary Eleaf.
As I mentioned before, they clearly prefer to do their own thing.
GX Pod Tank – Fitting the Plug and Play Coil
You’re going to have to make sure you fit these plug and play coils correctly. I know it takes away their inherent simplicity but it is what it is.
The flattened edges of the coil need to align with the plastic tabs at the base of the pod tank. Hopefully the image below will help. Once you’ve done this make sure the coil is pushed firmly up and inside the tank – with no rubber washer showing.
Once done, the plastic tabs need to line up with the cut outs inside the pod adaptor. They provide a magnetic connection and stop the tank from spinning freely while making adjustments to the airflow control ring.
So care and attention is two fold.
Ensure the coils are installed correctly and make sure the pod snaps back into the pod adaptor.
There should be no signs of side to side movement.
Eleaf iSolo S Kit – Filling the pod tank
Although an arrow indicates where to pull on the silicone stopper it still isn’t the easiest of tasks.
It’s perfectly fine for the non nail biters out there but I had to revert to the use of a pin.
The opening is certainly wide enough and administering e juice is straight forward while tilting the pod horizontally.
Because there’s no air release option, remember to take your time during the fill process.
Eleaf has simply converted their 5ml pod tank to a TPD equivalent by means of a silicone reducer inside the tank.
I really hope an official TPD standalone version is released sometime soon because the material blocks out most of the viewing area.
Eleaf iSolo S Kit – iSolo S Mod
Considering the battery section measures 75mm (3″) in height with a circumference of 27.5mm it’s quite a hefty weight in the hand, it feels like a solid piece of metal.
Combined with the weight of the tank and the Eleaf iSolo S kit isn’t the most pocket friendly device currently around.
There’s a rather large, embossed Eleaf logo running horizontally across one side that’s quite obtrusive.
It’s not really necessary since the GX tank also carries their motif.
The brushed anodised silver finish adds a nice touch but the plastic running vertically and around the base tends to cheapen the overall appearance.
A single battery venting slot sits on the base of the Mod. I’d like to have seen more but then…any venting is better than nothing as far as integrated batteries are concerned.
The type C USB charging port is positioned at the bottom of the front panel, making it perfectly suited to charging in an upright position.
The gold plated 510 connector is centred and spring loaded.
Air inlets are included to allow the use of older air fed tanks. The Mod will accommodate tank sizes of up to 26mm maximum.
Eleaf iSolo S Kit – How To Operate
Eleaf has remained true to their tried and tested monochrome OLED screen display. There’s nothing fancy going on. For some, it may look a little dated in comparison to what’s currently available.
It gets the job done.
It’s the usual five clicks to turn the device on or off.
While the device is switched off, press and hold both menu buttons to change screen orientation.
- Hold the fire and upper menu button to activate AST mode on or off
- Hold the fire and lower menu button to turn stealth mode on or off
- Press the upper and lower menu buttons to lock/unlock the device
- Press the fire button three times to change between wattage or bypass mode
When in stealth mode it’s possible to view battery or mode status with one press of the fire button.
In wattage mode use the upper or lower menu buttons to increase or decrease the level of power.
This is achieved in 0.5W increments. Wattage does not reset once the 80W limit has been reached.
Holding either menu button will significantly increase or decrease the speed at which wattage is adjusted.
Just in case you were wondering, the battery is safe guarded against over vaping (10 seconds), short circuiting and includes low voltage protection.
The battery will display “No atomiser” if you’re silly enough to try vaping without a tank!
Eleaf iSolo S Kit – How Does It Perform?
I tested the GX 0.2ohm AST mesh coil in standard wattage mode.
Since the parameters range from 50-80W I used an average of 65W while vaping throughout.
GX 0.2ohm AST mesh coil (rated 50-80W)
Wick Addictions Treacle Tart was used to test for flavour and vapour production. It’s a 70VG/30PG juice ratio with 3mg freebase nicotine added.
With airflow set wide open I got a very thick and dense amount of vapour production after a four second pull.
The coil presented all the flavour notes expected from the juice. The pudding and syrup content had a broader quality but was still very satisfying.
Yes, it was a noisy vape but not annoyingly so and there were no signs of turbulence on this setting.
Further Airflow Restriction
Only a limited amount of restriction seems to apply when closing off airflow to around fifty percent.
It does have a tendency to concentrate the flavour a little more adding another layer of sugary goodness.
There’s also more richness and texture to the buttery tones.
Using Pinhole Airflow – Restrictive Direct Lung Vaping
I wasn’t expecting too much when using the more restrictive pinhole airflow option but to be fair it does work a treat.
There’s the choice of using two, four or six of them and they all provide a noticeable difference to the vaping experience.
It’s here that you can get a very restrictive direct lung vape and flavour quality remains highly impressive while vapour production is much more stealth like.
It doesn’t really lend itself to a MTL vape and if you try, you may still find it a little on the loose side.
Unfortunately this is where the kit really does fail. I did have concerns when I read the specs for the integrated battery capacity versus the 0.2ohm rated mesh coil.
The compatibility just isn’t there. From a fully charged state in real time the battery was delivering only 55W – not the intended output.
This had the adverse effect of kicking in the “weak battery” warning every time I vaped, despite still being able to use the device.
Removing the warning message was simply a case of reducing wattage. The kit performed well enough at 50W for around half an hour before repeating the weak battery message.
This meant manual adjustments are frequently called upon as the battery depletes. Not exactly an ideal arrangement.
Also, if the chip detected the coil overheating it would alert the inbuilt dry proofing tech. Particularly noticeable when holding the fire button without vaping. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – proving that it functions in the absence of airflow cooling the coil (during an inhale).
GX 0.5ohm AST Mesh Coil (rated 25-40W)
I opted to use Wick Liquor Boulevard Shattered to test out how well it could replicate an ice cold e liquid flavour.
I used the kit in bypass mode.
The airflow was set wide open with a voltage reading of 4.1V. The initial inhale from the fully charged 1800mAh battery felt weak. That’s because it was pushing out a mere 20W equivalent.
With insufficient power to the coil, flavour was a distant memory in terms of what I was expecting. It was considerably diluted although oddly enough, vapour production was ok.
No matter what airflow restriction I enforced the flavour continued to lack the upbeat, fruity punch so characteristic of this e liquid.
All the intricately woven sub notes had turned into a bland mish-mash of mediocrity.
Just as concerning was the lack of cooling agent this version of Boulevard usually delivers, with a mere tickle provided on the tongue and taste buds.
Bypass mode presented me with the same issues as wattage insofar as the need to keep dialing down power in order to balance a safe and realistic output from the depleting battery.
Again, failing to do this resulted in the “weak battery” warning.
- Good flavour and cloud production using both GX mesh coils in wattage mode
- Fast type C USB charging – 45 minutes
- Easy to navigate menu screens
- AST dry proofing works effectively
- 2ml TPD rubber bung makes filling and viewing juice levels an awkward process
- Pod tank doesn’t screw down flush on the battery
- Silicone plug can be difficult to remove when filling pod tank (subjective)
- Both coils leak profusely
- Battery life severely hampered when using the GX 0.2ohm mesh coil
- GX 0.2ohm mesh coil can only be vaped at a maximum of 50W (not 50-80W)
- Flavour and cloud production suffers once battery depletes by 50%
- Bypass mode is a let down
Final Review Verdict
In reality I found the GX 0.2ohm mesh coil to be capable of a maximum 50W output with a fully charged battery.
That’s a far cry from the 50-80W boast. However, given the power constraints it’s not really much of a surprise.
The performance of the GX 0.5ohm mesh coil is very disappointing in bypass mode. Despite 4.1V the chip only delivers 20W – almost half the power the coil can potentially handle.
There’s no need to repeat the words in the Cons section of this review. I’m not impressed with how the Eleaf iSolo S kit performs. It leaves me thinking the GX pod tank needs a better Mod companion.
The 1800mAh iSolo S doesn’t seem to be up to task here.
I also think the pod tank looks oversized and a bit out of place.
It would look and no doubt perform better with a dual battery mod.
As much as flavour and cloud quality is generally very good, it won’t be enjoyed for too long.
Expect 2-3 hours when using the GX 0.2ohm coil and you can double that with the GX 0.5ohm installed using wattage mode.
Be aware that decent flavour begins to suffer once the battery falls to around 50%.
Avoid using bypass mode, I found it totally frustrating.
However, the AST dry proof tech built into the chip is more than capable and definitely saved my cotton from burning on numerous occasions. Particularly handy since I was unable to view remaining juice levels..
So not quite the marriage made in vape heaven after all, it seems. The new GX pod tank needs to go one way and the iSolo S Mod another.
Is this a vape kit you’re likely to be buying?
Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below…