Innokin iTaste 134 MINI and iClear X.I
A hand’s on review of the brand new Innokin iTaste 134 Mini.
I can only describe the last 24 hours as one of the most enjoyable periods of personal vaping that I’ve experienced in a long, long time. The Innokin iTaste 134 Mini arrived here at Spinfuel eMagazine HQ just before the Chinese Spring Festival kicked in and I have been using it exclusively since yesterday morning. There is much to say about this new iTaste, so hang on…
When the UPS truck showed up yesterday we all knew what was coming, we’ve been tracking it since last Thursday. Needless to say, I personally was excited to see it since I have been a huge fan of the iTaste 134 “proper” (full size) devices since their release.
Opening the external shipping box I was surprised that the overall size was somewhat smaller than the 134 proper. Rumors spoke to the metal box being the same size, but its not, as you can see by the photos. Not that I minded, I didn’t. In fact, that Innokin manufactured a new box for it instead of recycling the old one spoke to the dedication these guys have to the iTaste 134 family.
The metal box is wrapped in bubble wrap, so I removed the wrap to reveal the black box and lifted the latch. With the box open I’m presented with a drastically smaller iTaste 134 snuggled in the cutouts of the faux-micro-suede-like material. There is the small, 18350-sized tube sitting at the top of the box, underneath is the 18500-sized tube attached to the iTaste 134 Mini “head”, and sitting above and the left of that is the brand new iClear X.I. Along with the hardware comes the thick manual (made thick by the multiple languages), a business card size quick start guide, and multi-language battery disposal/warning sheet. These are all resting atop of the hardware.
I opened the box at my desk and grabbed the nearest battery within my reach, which happened to be an 18350 nipple-top. Since the iTaste 134 Mini can utilize both flattop and nipple top like it’s larger cousin I unscrewed the 18500 tube from the head, screwed on the smaller 18350 tube, inserted the battery, and screwed the bottom cap back on. I clicked the now-ubiquitous fire button that generates the green/yellow/red lights 3 times and the iTaste 134 Mini cycled through the lights. The battery was fully charged, so there was nothing stopping me now. I was about to do me some vapin’.
The new Pyrex glass iClear X.I is, without a doubt, a major leap forward in the iClear line. Looking at the fine etchings on the stainless steel, large letters spelling out iClear X.I and smaller letters spelling out “Taste it, Love it”, followed by the entire iClear filled with tiny square blocks etched into the steel, it looked light-years ahead aesthetically. The dual coils are 2.1ohms, but it can handle coil resistance as low as 1.2ohms. The iClear X.I holds just over 3ML of juice. It’s a bottom-filler, so you just need to unscrew the bottom, lift it out, refill, screw it back on and continue vaping.
The iClear X.I is thinner than the other iClear 30’s. It matches the thinness of the 134 Mini perfectly. Well, I should say the beauty ring width, not the actual 134 Mini tubes or head, which are just a little thicker than the beauty ring.
The stainless steel drip tip slips into the top of the cap, equipped with a nice wide O-Ring that secures the drip tip. I am easily able to lift the entire device by the drip tip without it coming out, but when I shook it a bit to see just how secure the tip was it did come out. I certainly don’t think of that as a negative though.
Normally I dislike metal drip tips, and while I’m not ready to say that I “loved” this one, the fact is I’m not annoyed with it like I am with so many other metal drip tips. For one thing, the drip tip is not chrome; it’s a matte finish stainless steel. Not brushed, not chrome, but not completely smooth either…a matte finish is the only way to describe it and as such it doesn’t bother me. The one I have here is not a rotatable drip tip, but a rotatable one will be available very soon.
Since I’ve been vaping nothing but The Plume Room Angel Sauce for almost 3 weeks straight now I decided to try something different in the iClear X.I. I wanted something I could vape all day, like the Angel Sauce, but something very different from Angel Sauce so I chose Rocket Fuel Vapes Country Bumpkin. It was a great choice too because the flavor and vapor with the juice was about as good as I’ve ever had. When vaped at 8.5w it was excellent, cranking it up to 10.5w was even better, and going up one more stop to 11w was the sweet spot for this Country Bumpkin and me. At 11w the vapor warmed up some, not a lot but some, and the flavor was just about perfect. I
I love the fact that Innokin didn’t try to make the iTaste 134 Mini a telescopic device. Yea, it might be a bit of pain to completely change tubes when you want to change batteries, but it just looks so much better, so much more complete, with dedicated metal tubes.
After vaping the 18350 battery until it needed recharging, about 3-4 hours, I switched out to an 18500. Once I recharged the 18350 I placed it back into the smaller tube so whenever I want to switch back it’s already there. I’ll do the same with 18500 as well.
With the 18350 installed the iTaste 134 Mini is small. The battery tube itself, with its black plating and chrome spokes is shorter than the 134 Mini ‘head + iClear X.I.’
Just in case you missed the previous “preview” pieces we did on the iTaste 134 Mini before this one arrived I’ll go over the specs again at the end of the review.
The Beauty Ring and 134 Head
Although the 134 Mini is touted as a 510-connector device you can use a normal eGo clearomizer. Unscrew the notched beauty ring and screw on the clearomizer and vape away. I found the draw to be much stiffer than using the iClear X.I, but it does vape. For people looking for a stiff drawer they’ll love it.
The ring itself is rather deep, so catching any errant juice that might leak out (doubtful at this point, but you never know) is an easy job for it.
The iClear X.I fit snug against the beauty ring making for one beautiful looking setup. There isn’t any kind of a gap between the ring and the iClear. I also used an Aspire Vivi Nova from MyFreedomSmokes and it fit perfectly snug as well. There was no gap at all with either one, and with the two drilled out air holes the Aspire was able to get plenty of air. By the way, the sweet spot for the dual coil 1.8ohm Vivi Nova Aspire was 9.5w.
Note* The small notched dots encircling the ring makes for a great guide for those that want to drill out extra air holes. The two holes are drilled through two of the notched dots so it will look natural should you decide to drill them out, or even widen the two holes already there.
The iTaste 134 Mini head includes the firing button, and the entire head is about 2 inches long excluding the protruding 510-connector. The eGo threads are the same threads the beauty ring uses, but I already said that, didn’t I?
The firing button isn’t noticeably smaller or larger than any other iTaste firing button. I didn’t measure them, but they looked to be the same size as the iTaste 134 “proper”.
Size, Weight, Balance, and Handling
The 134 Mini is noticeably thinner than the 134 “proper”, and much lighter as well. (Makes sense, right?) So Vapers that had complained about the size and weight of the 134 proper won’t have any issues here. Like the 134 proper the balance is extraordinary (using an iClear) and holding it feels really good. I hold mine in my left hand and use my thumb to press the firing button.
Of course, if you use a smaller AD (atomizer device) it will feel top-light or bottom-heavy due to the fact that the iTaste 134 MINI is a solid device and the quality of the spokes are every bit as good as the 134 proper. When I vaped with the Aspire Vivi Nova or the X.Jet Spider it felt bottom-heavy, but once I put the iClear X.I back on, with its glass and stainless steel body, the weight balanced out nicely.
In thinking about how I truly felt about the iTaste 134 Mini I tried to step away from my anticipation for it, and my positive feelings about the iTaste 134 proper. I think I did because, let’s face it, neither one is Nikon D4, something I truly treasure and could not be unbiased about, so at the end of the day I am able to consider all the electronic cigarettes devices I own as “electronic cigarettes”, not precision state of the art photographic equipment.
The iTaste 134 Mini is everything people wanted the iTaste 134 proper to be, less heavy. Each iTaste, the 134 proper and the 134 Mini, are of excellent quality, they are ‘machined’ better than most other electronic cigarettes (and by the way, looking at either of them and calling them electronic cigarettes feels very strange. They are better defined as Personal Vaporizers than e cigarettes). Every piece fits extremely well, like a precision instrument. In fact, looking and holding the VAMO 5 I was using early yesterday is all the proof I need to understand just how much better the iTaste 134’s are made. They are in different classes completely.
Innokin iTaste Family
To my mind the iTaste 134’s, both proper and mIni, are the top of the class at Innokin. No other device made by Innokin feels as ‘finely made’ as these devices. “Precision Instruments” are what they are, they just happen to vaporize eLiquid.
After we reviewed the iTaste 134 proper we received email from readers who complained that despite the sharp looks and obvious quality, it was simply too big, too heavy, too expensive. For many Vapers that is exactly true. Most people do want to vape with electronic cigarettes, not precision instruments. I get that, I do.
With the arrival of the iTaste 134 Mini much of that criticism will go away. What remains is unavoidable. The iTaste 134 Mini is still heavier than a full size ProVari, the spokes surrounding the black plating are still as present as ever, and with a small clearomizer it will continue to be bottom heavy. But that is the nature of the beast, it is, and always will be, a 134.
For Vapers that are looking for a precision instrument, who are also big fans of vaping with wattage, not voltage, and for Vapers that don’t mind the heft of a stainless steel device topped off with a stainless steel and glass clearomizer tank, this is the one you want. I know it’s the one “I” want.