Can you believe Joyetech has been around for a decade? It seems like only yesterday I was using their old eGo electronic cigarette thinking there couldn’t possibly be anything better. Well, time has shown just how wrong I was, but to show us just how far they have come in the last 10 years, the Chinese company recently launched a limited edition mod featuring a brand new circuit board, touchscreen and one of the coolest designs I’ve ever seen on a Joyetech product. Let’s check out the Joyetech Espion Solo:
A Look at the Contents:
The Espion Solo kit comes in the standard Joyetech packaging we’ve gotten used to over the years – a white cardboard box with an image of the assembled product on the front, and a list of contents, required warnings, company information and an authenticity code, on the back.
Inside the box, we have the Joyetech Espion Solo single-battery mod placed in a Styrofoam holder, and underneath that we have the included ProCore Air 25-mm sub-ohm tank, two coil-heads, a spare glass tube for the tank, a micro-USB cable for charging and firmware updates, a battery adaptor that allows you to use several types of batteries, a bag of spare o-rings and gaskets for the ProCore tank, a spare drip tip, separate user manuals for the mod and the tank, as well as a handy card explaining the different coil-heads compatible with the included tank. Depending on what country you live in, the kit may also include a 21700 battery. Unfortunately, Romania doesn’t allow battery shipping, for safety reasons, so I didn’t get one.
All in all, this is one of the most generous kits I’ve seen in a while. I’m especially happy to see a spare glass tube included. As someone who has cracked a few tanks through the years, I’ve grown to appreciate spares.
Design and Build Quality
If the Espion name sounds familiar, it may be because Joyetech released the original Espion kit just a few months ago. That was a dual-18650 battery mod with a distinctively art-deco look to it. I for one liked it, even though it wasn’t the most exciting design I had ever seen.
The Espion Solo is very different from the original Espion. Apart from the name and the similar flat fire button, I haven’t really spotted any other common features between the two. Personally, I prefer the Solo, for a variety of reasons. The general design is much more exciting this time around, the display may not be colored like on the original Espion, but it is tactile and the layout is much better, and the compatibility with 21700, 20700 and 18650 batteries is a huge plus.
The Solo is made of zinc alloy and currently comes in four different colors – Gun Metal, Black, Rainbow and Pink. For this review, I received the Gun Metal version, which I consider the best-looking one. If you’re a fan of brushed metal mods, I suggest you go with this one.
The mod measures 81mm x 39.5mm x 25.5mm, and weighs just under 180 grams with a 21700 battery inserted. That’s pretty standard for a single-battery mod, and thanks to the rounded back side of the Solo, it feels very comfortable in the hand.
The Joyetech Espion Solo connection features a spring-loaded, gold-plated 510 pin with a lot of travel to it. Because of the 25.5mm width of the device, you won’t be able to use atomizers with a diameter higher than 25,5mm without some overhang. That’s not a big deal, though, as single-battery mods like this are not really designed to be used with giant tanks.
The rounded side of the mod also doubles as a battery door. It’s held in place by four pairs of magnets, and while it’s fairly easy to grab and yank off the mod, you don’t have to worry about wobbling or the door coming off the mod accidentally. In the four weeks I’ve been using it, I’ve never had any problems with the battery door.
The battery compartment features clear polarity indicators, and the spring-loaded positive contact is slanted, making it easy to insert the battery without damaging the wrapping. One of the best things about the Joyetech Espion Solo is that you can use it with three different types of batteries – 21700, 20700 and 18650 – although Joyetech only mentions two (21700 and 18650).
On the front of the mod, we have a large, rectangular fire button with “10th Anniversary Limited Edition” laser-etched on it, a 1.3 inch OLED touchscreen, a very handy selection button, and a micro-USB port for charging and upgrading, near the bottom.
I was a big fan of the fire button on the original Joyetech Espion, but this one is even better. You can easily find and press it with both your thumb and the index finger – depending on how you’re holding the mod – and it can be pressed anywhere, even on the slightly curved sides. It also makes a satisfying click when you press it.
In my opinion, the main draw of the Joyetech Espion Solo is the touchscreen. It’s a black and white display, compared to the colored one of the dual-battery Espion, but it’s large, bright and has a much better layout, in my opinion. Also, it’s a tactile screen and people love that sort of gimmick on a mod.
Overall, the Espion Solo is a very solid device. I love the metallic look and feel of it, and the fact that it is compatible with different capacity batteries, and that screen is to die for.
Menu System and Navigation
The Joyetech Espion Solo features a brand new board, so you should expect a different menu and navigation system. I for one have never been a fan of Joyetech’s old navigation system and the lack of an actual menu (all the settings were done on the home screen), but this time around they’ve actually improved things quite a bit.
To turn on the Solo mod, all you have to do is press the fire button five times in rapid succession (make sure to first insert a battery, though). The Joyetech logo pops up for a few seconds, and then you’ll be taken to the home screen. As I said, I love the large size of the screen and how the improved layout doesn’t look cluttered like it does on most advanced mods these days.
You have the operating mode displayed at the top of the screen, then the atomizer resistance and the time, the wattage/temperature is located in the middle of the screen, then the voltage and amperage, and finally, the large battery indicator. Some of these can be changed in the menu, but this is the default home screen of the Espion Solo.
To make any sort of adjustment, whether it be changing the wattage/temperature or going into the main menu, you first have to unlock the touchscreen. You do that by pressing that selection button right under the screen. You’ll see an unlocked padlock on screen for a moment, and then some arrows pointing left and right on the display, as well as two up and down buttons.
The left and right arrows let you know that you can swipe left and right to access sections of the menu, while the up and down buttons allow you to adjust the wattage/temperature from the home screen.
That selection button actually has some other secondary functions as well. Keep it pressed for a second while the mod is turned off and it will display the time on the screen. Keep it pressed for a couple of seconds while the device is turned on, and it will start cycling between the different operating modes (wattage mode, temp. control, bypass, TCR). Finally, if you double press it, it will put the Espion Solo in stealth mode.
Swiping right on the touchscreen display will take you to an information table where you can check battery life, the time, the current wattage output, the atomizer resistance and the puff counter. Some of this information is already displayed on the home screen, and the rest you don’t really care about, so apart from the battery life displayed in percentage points, the other information is pretty much useless, in my opinion.
Swiping left will take you into the main menu of the Espion Solo. Here, you’ll find four icons – Mode, Info, Set and Exit.
In Mode, you can select between the different available operating modes – Power, Temp. Control and Bypass, as well as RTC, which isn’t really a mode but a different home screen layout. It basically allows you to switch from a digital clock to a square analog one that takes up most of the screen, with the rest of the info being squeezed in the top and bottom sections.
In Info, you can check various things, like the voltage of your battery and the versions of the hardware and firmware.
Finally, in Set, you can lock the resistance of your coil, adjust the wattage for temp.control mode, select which subparameter you want displayed on the home screen from amperage, puff counter and total usage time, set the time and date, adjust both the duration and the intensity of the preheat for temperature control, and adjust the puff cutoff time.
One thing I should point out is that Set is the only submenu where you can scroll down to access more options, but the mod doesn’t let you know that. When you access this section, you only see four of the available settings, and there’s no down arrow or anything like that to let you know that you can swipe up to reveal the others.
I personally like this menu and navigation much better than the old ones Joyetech used, but there’s definitely still room for improvement. I would have liked to see a Curve mode included as well, instead of some secondary options that most people are never going to use anyway. Also, the touchscreen takes some getting used to, and while it is definitely one of the best tactile screens I’ve sen on a vape mod, it’s not perfect. It won’t register inputs 100% of the time, but the same can be said for just about all mod touchscreens.
Battery Life and Overall Performance
For a single-battery mod, the Joyetech Espion Solo has excellent battery life thanks to its compatibility with 21700 batteries. You can also use it with a good ol’ 18650, thanks to the included silicone adapter included in the kit, but if you want the best battery life possible out of this device, definitely try to get your hands on a 21700. It’s worth every penny, trust me.
Depending on how much you vape and the power output you set on the mod, a 21700 battery will last you anywhere between 5 hours and a couple of days. For example, if you crank up the power all the way to the maximum (80W), don’t expect to be able to vape a whole day, but if you prefer mouth-to-lung vaping, at a wattage up to 25W, than you can definitely get around two days of use on a charged battery. It all depends on how you vape, basically.
If you prefer higher wattage, I would suggest taking a spare battery with you everywhere you go, just to be sure.
The Espion Solo also features 2A fast charging, so even if you run out of power, as long as you have access to a power source, you can recharge in a matter of minute.
In terms of performance, I was really impressed with the Joyetech Espion Solo. I’ve been using it for a month now, and I haven’t experienced any issues with it. There’s virtually no delay when pressing the fire button, I’ve experienced no misfires at all, and the power output feels quite accurate. I don’t have the equipment or the know-how to measure it, but comparing it to other very accurate single-battery devices, like the Asmodus Colossal, it doesn’t feel underpowered at all.
I haven’t really used the temperature control mode very much, simply because I enjoy power mode a lot more, but I did do a dry cotton test with a stainless steel coil and the Solo did a good job cutting the power instantly to protect the wick.
Bypass mode and TCR didn’t interest me at all, and I suspect that most people don’t ever use them either. Bypass mode basically allows you to use the device as a mech only with the built-in protections still active, and TCR lets you tweak the temperature coefficient of supported materials (stainless steel, nickel and titanium).
The ProCore Air is the latest entry in Joyetech’s ProCore line of tanks, but it is actually quite similar to the original ProCore and the ProCore X that the dual-battery Espion mod came with. It has the same 25mm diameter, the same 4.5ml e-liquid capacity and is compatible with the ProC line of coil-heads.
Now, about what makes the Air version different. First, we have a cool snake skin-like resin drip tip that comes in various colors to match the color of your Espion Solo mod. Then there is the way you access the fill port. On previous ProCore tanks, the top cap would flip back completely thanks to a metal hinge, whereas the ProCore Air uses a system similar to that of the Eleaf Ello tanks, where you press on the side of the top cap and it slides just enough to reveal a large fill port.
The two ProCA coil-heads included in the kit are both rated at 0.4Ω, for a mild sub-ohm vaping experience. These are the lastest additions to the ProC coil-head family, and I for one have enjoyed using them very much. They are very similar to the ProC1 coil-heads that came with the ProCore X tank, and to be honest the whole vaping experience was pretty much the same.
If you’ve ever used a Joyetech ProCore tank before, you already know what to expect from the ProCore Air. It may be advertised as a new version, but it’s really more of the same.
If this is your first ProCore tank, know that it’s one of the good tanks out there, especially for one that comes bundled in a kit. Flavor-wise, it’s above average, but where it really shines is vapor production.
Overall, the Joyetech Espion Solo kit was a pleasant surprise. The mod is obviously the star of the package, but the ProCore Air tank is definitely a worthy inclusion, especially if this is your first advanced atomizer.
If you’re in the market for a cool-looking single-battery setup that features 21700 battery compatibility as well most of the advanced mod features available right now and a large, responsive touchscreen to boot, look no further than the Joyetech Espion Solo.
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