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Bottom Line Statement
Note to Reader: We are not getting paid by manufacturer, this is an independent review
The Basics About This Device
IQOS 3.0 was the first version of IQOS to significantly differ from the original in terms of design. The 3.0 introduced a new method of inserting and removing the holder from the pocket charger. In previous designs, the holder was placed into the charging chamber, which was visible when the lid was open. IQOS 3.0 no longer has a lid, instead replacing it with a door that is located on the side panel. The door can be opened by pressing below the raised divider on the door panel (see diagram below). Once opened, the user is able to gently slide the holder into the pocket charger charging chamber and close the door. The pocket charger has two locking mechanisms; the first being the door locking mechanism which ensures that the door does not open by accident, which would leave the pocket charger susceptible to damage, the second is a magnetic mechanism located within the charging chamber that activates once the holder is inserted, thus ensuring that the holder does not fall out when the pocket charger door is open. As a result of the design adjustments, LED indicator lights have been moved to the underside of the pocket charger as well as the pocket charger power button. It appears that some of the design altercations were added for aesthetic value however most users report that insertion and removal of the holder into and from the pocket charger became easier with the new door. Users also report that the 3.0, although similar in size to previous versions, is lighter.
The most notable performance change introduced with the IQOS 3.0 is the faster charging speeds. The 3.0 pocket charger charges 15% faster than the IQOS 2.4 and 2.4 Plus. The 3.0 holder charging time has also been reduced to 3.5 minutes, saving the user approximately 50 seconds.
As with the launch of the 2.4 Plus line, PMI once again released new merchandise designed to customize and personalize IQOS 3.0. This merchandise is not compatible with previous versions, nor is earlier merchandise compatible with 3.0 due to the design modifications. IQOS 3.0 was made available in four colors; white, black, blue, and gold, however numerous other colors are available for holder cap covers and pocket charger door covers, which can cost between $1USD to $15USD. At the Tokyo launch, held in October, 2018, PMI announced that users have the option of 576 color combinations. PMI also introduced new accessories which range from $12USD to $60USD in price (see your national IQOS website or local IQOS distributor for more information).
Product Unboxing and First Use
Most consumers report that upon receiving the package, the IQOS device is already charged, as indicated by the LED indicator lights. If so, the device is ready to use, however some consumers have noted that their device needed minimal charging before usage.
To do so, insert the holder into the holder charging chamber. Unlike previous models, the holder does not need to be inserted into the 3.0 pocket charger at a specific angle as the magnetic mechanism will lock it into the proper setting. Once inserted connect the pocket charger (with the holder inside the holder charging chamber) to the USB adaptor, plug it into an outlet, and wait until the pocket charger indicator lights are solid green. Once ready, open the pocket charger door panel by pressing the door panel push-opener as labelled above and remove the holder from the pocket charger. Then press and hold the holder start button until the power indicator light begins blinking. The holder will heat up quickly at which point the power indicator light will remain solid. At this point, the device is ready for use.
IQOS 3.0 lasts for 6 minutes or 14 puffs, whichever comes first. Once the allotted time has passed or puffs have been used the holder will automatically power off. The holder will need to be recharged after each use.
Note* IQOS kits do not include HeatSticks, they must be purchased separately.
Testing – Day To Day Use
Generally, most users give IQOS 3.0 positive reviews. Most users agree that 3.0 is convenient, as it takes less time to charge and the holder will automatically click into place within the pocket charger, reducing the risk of damage if inserted improperly. Some users did note that they did not derive the same level of satisfaction from the 3.0 device as they had the 2.4 and 2.4 Plus. This was because IQOS 3.0 allows for more air suction when inhaling, thus reducing the amount of vapor the user receives. This in-turn minimizes the vapor effects and leaves the user feeling less satisfied. Nevertheless, device functions are similar. Test subjects who chose 2.4 and 2.4 Plus, preferred the inclusive design, quality, and potential for interchangeability with the first version of IQOS, while those who chose 3.0 liked the chic, minimalist aesthetic, speed, and fast-paced convenience.
For optimal use the holder should be cleaned regularly. Unlike previous versions, the IQOS 3.0 does not have a built-in pocket charger cleaning button. Instead users should clean with the cleaning tools included in the IQOS kit. The first tool is the cleaner device. Due to the device design modifications a new cleaner device was released for use only with IQOS 3.0. This device and cleaner devices belonging to previous models are not recommended to be used interchangeably, as they could cause damage when not used with their intended devices. Rather, PMI released a video recommending that when cleaning IQOS 3.0, users first remove the cap from the empty HeatSticks holder, flip the holder upside down and gently tap the side of the holder to loosen excess tobacco. Next, users will remove the cap from the cleaning device and gently insert the holder into the cleaning device. The holder can then be rotated until tobacco build-up is loosened, at which point, the cleaning device can be raised directly off of the holder, and the holder can once again be flipped upside down and tapped several times until the tobacco falls out. When satisfied, replace the holder cap. Ensure that you are not using excessive force so to avoid damage. In some countries PMI offers free cleaning of the product by simply visiting an official IQOS store.
If concerned about the mess created by tobacco fallout, users can purchase IQOS trays which were introduced around the same time the 3.0 device was. The trays are specially designed so that they can not only cool a heated HeatStick, but also to catch fallout. They can be purchased on the official IQOS website, as well as unofficial sites. They range in price from $10USD to $75USD.
Your IQOS kit will also come with single-use precision cleaning sticks (Q-tip dipped in alcohol solution). These can be gently inserted into the holder in a similar manner as the cleaning device, but do not rotate them. Only use them to wipe away any residue that the cleaning device did not remove.
First Time Switching to the IQOS Brand
In an effort to provide the most unbiased review possible, we consulted test subjects who were asked to switch from traditional cigarettes to the IQOS device for a two week period.
One of our IQOS test subject was a 20+ year conventional tobacco smoker. Initially he reported that he did not feel as satisfied using IQOS as he did traditional cigarettes however at the end of the two weeks he was converted to this product. His feedback was that chest pain, which he had experienced throughout his years as a conventional smoker, was dramatically improved and he no longer smelled like smoke. Other users reported similar findings, and several noted that they did not have as many, nor as severe, cravings as they had with traditional cigarettes.
In discussion with an IQOS district representative we were told that the success rate for users who switch to IQOS from traditional tobacco is 80%, but only with support from the IQOS team. Support programs offered can vary based on region so for most accurate information contact your regional IQOS store or national customer service representatives. We recommend that all IQOS owners make use of the services available.
Investing in IQOS
IQOS devices are one of the most expensive Heat-not-Burn products available. IQOS kits retail between $125USD and $175USD. Accessories can range from $12USD to $60USD. The average customer can expect to spend $2500 to $3500USD per year on this product line. Below are some financial options to consider when choosing to invest in IQOS.
- Money not an issue: Buy two IQOS 3.0 devices. Rotating your device will improve longevity and aid in convenience. With the launch of IQOS 3.0 PMI, once again, released docking equipment for IQOS pocket chargers. Unlike the 2.4 and 2.4 Plus models, there is no official dual docking system available, however if you choose to rotate usage between two devices, one dock should suffice. To operate, the dock must to be connected to the USB charging cord. Once connected, the pocket charger(s) can be inserted until a small click is felt/heard. If you live in a part of the word where IQOS HeatSticks quality and taste is not to your liking, order your products from Japan. You can read more about this topic and how to do so here.
- Money is an issue: There are IQOS devices from China that have tested extremely well, including portable docks. We still recommend buying your primary device from an official IQOS outlet, however you could always purchase a backup or backup accessories from China. Another option is to buy a used device, available on numerous online resale websites. Some new users choose not to commit to the device or find that it doesn’t fit their needs. Thus, buying used is a good idea when trying to cut costs. For HeatSticks we recommend buying IQOS HEETS for guaranteed quality, however there are compatible knockoffs from China if you so choose.
IQOS HeatSticks (HEETS) Overview
IQOS’ brand of HeatSticks is called HEETS (herein referred to as HEETS). HEETS are specifically designed for IQOS HnB products and will neither light, nor heat independent from the holder device. Each HEET consists of 18 milligrams of nicotine and users report that the taste is highly concentrated, due to a greater density of tobacco within the HEET. Due to such several users have commented that, despite which label, IQOS flavors have a more noticeable nicotine taste than vape flavors. There are several available flavors of HEETS – for a full listing, as well as flavor reviews, and HEETS structural design components, please click here.
For consumption, users must insert the HEET into the HeatSticks holder with the filter end facing up so that the blade can pierce through the nicotine at the opposite end of the HEET. The blade within the HeatStick holder is sturdier than the original IQOS device, but care should still be taken when inserting the HEET. Users will leave the HEET in the holder until finished smoking at which time the HEET can be removed by gently pulling it straight out of the holder and disposed of in the same manner a traditional cigarette would be. HEETS should not be used consecutively; they are designed only for one-time use. The HEET may undergo slight discoloration during usage however it is a natural result and should not be cause for concern. HEETS are compatible with all IQOS devices.
Tips and Tricks
- Philip Morris International (PMI), the IQOS manufacturer, is spending a lot of money keeping its new and existing customers happy. If you encounter any problems with your IQOS devices do not hesitate to reach out to them by calling their customer service support line. The phone number, corresponding to country of purchase, is located on the side of the box. There is no guaranteed course of action, however the company does prize customer satisfaction. They did replace one of our products for free, which amazed us as it was a broken blade in an older device without a receipt. They simply scanted the barcode and give us a brand new device. I would not expect this to happen all the time but it is worth bring up.
- In some countries PMI offers free cleaning of the product by simply visiting an official IQOS store.
- At some point tobacco residue will build up on the bottom of the heater blade. At this point, the device must be cleaned. Do not clean the device with any tool other than the cleaning tools included in the IQOS kit as the blade is fragile and could break if not handled properly. Two cleaning tools will be included in the IQOS kit: the cleaning brush and cleaning sticks/cleaning hooks. The brush can be used to sweep away small pieces of residue from the HeatSticks holder. The cleaning hook is used to push out stuck tobacco from the cap, not to clean near the blade. * If you like using this device it is worth keeping your eye open on Ali Express’s website for new and interesting devices. Just remember, it is from China, delivery can be slow, read the reviews before buying, make sure you check the release date of the device.
- While consumers can purchase each IQOS component separately from IQOS retailers, it is more financially beneficial to purchase the kit, which includes all necessary components and user instructions.
IQOS 3.0 Manual
The IQOS kit includes a warranty, however warranty details vary depending upon your country of residence and the shop you purchased it from. Contact the manufacturer at PMI.com to take advantage of the warranty or contact the shop the IQOS kit was purchased from.
Most IQOS holders come with a two-year warranty. You may be able to get a new holder in the event that your heating blade is broken or you experience some other damaged component. To take advantage of your warranty you’ll want to contact the store that you purchased the IQOS kit or holder from and let them know the issue that you’re having. The manufacturer should be able to help you without you having to issue a complaint.
If you feel you can add anything to this review, please feel free to comment and rate the device!
To see other IQOS reviews, including IQOS 2.4/2.4 Plus and IQOS 3.0 Multi, click here.