An All-In-One Heat-not-Burn Device
Now that, as a technology, heat-not-burn innovation has been accelerating it should come as no real surprise to me that PMI have been paying attention to what the user wants. When I first tried the original iQOS 2.4 I was, to put it mildly, rather surprised. Considering that the very first device I had tried (not even a PMI device to be fair) was underwhelming. SInce then IQOS have released a new device and today I will be doing a review of the IQOS 3 Multi.
Now, to put things into perspective, I am a vaper. I mostly use e-cigs/vapour products (whatever you want to call them) and the innovation in that market is incredible, but I am also a fan of heat-not-burn. For several reasons. Consumer choice being the primary reason, after all the more options for consumers the better for everyone, right? I also want to see what the manufacturers can come up with, what innovations are we likely to see? Compared to vaping, heat-not-burn is (relatively) young and, while it is becoming established, it is already proving to be just as disruptive a technology as vaping.
Inside The Box
As with the original iQOS 2.4 it comes in some nifty Apple-esque packaging (very swish). Unlike the iQOS 2.4 and the iQOS 3, the iQOS 3 Multi doesn’t have a separate pocket charger and holder set-up.
It is an all-in-one unit. Battery and heating blade in one sleek device. It’s quite a departure in design philosophy from the original iQOS series up to, and including, the iQOS 3. This would suggest that the iQOS 3 Multi is aimed at a different type of user than the iQOS products.
Simplicity is the name of the game here it would seem. There’s just one button, and a USB-C charging socket. A swivel top cap covering the hole for the HEETs and the entire top half of the device slides up as well. It does this for two reasons:
- • It makes removing the HEET once you’ve finished with it easy and,
- • It is interchangeable for customising the look of the device.
The device itself comes in four colours (Warm White, Velvet Grey, Stellar Blue and Brilliant Gold.)
As with the iQOS 2.4, the battery meter consists of 4 LEDs, but in the case of the Multi they are just in a single strip next to the charging socket on the bottom of the device rather than evenly spaced across the front panel of a pocket charger. The only grumble here is that it could be tricky to tell how many of them are lit – given that the LEDs are white.
According to product info, the iQOS 3 Multi battery should last for 10 HEETs before needing to be recharged. I suspect this could be improved in the next evolution – should the Multi be successful.
Using the iQOS 3 Multi
There are some nice touches to the top cover and cap; the cover is lightly sprung so it snaps back into place easily, and the cap feels slightly magnetised so that it doesn’t slide up without being asked to.
I do have some doubts about the durability of the swivel top cover but that is probably why there’s replacement caps in 12 colours. Rather than replace the entire device, just replace the cap.
Flip the swivel cap open and insert your chosen HEET then hold the button until the device vibrates. This too is a change from the original and introduced in the iQOS 2.4 Plus. A welcome one at that. Watching the LED on the original holder was a pain in the arse, quite frankly. Once the device is up to temperature, it vibrates again to let you know it is ready for use. This takes approximately 15-20 seconds. Seems they’ve made some improvements here as it certainly feels shorter than the time for the iQOS 2.4 to be ready. Or it could just be that I’m no longer watching an LED – a watched pot and all that.
PMI suggest that each HEET should last approximately 6 minutes, or 14 puffs – whichever comes first and they’re right. The device will also vibrate twice when the session time is close to expiry – around 30 seconds, or two puffs remaining. As with smoking, there’s a ‘set-aside’ time to enjoy it. I can’t say for sure, but it seems as though the construction of the HEETs themselves has been improved. I haven’t experienced the stick getting stuck to my lips as I had previously, and I’ve not had the tobacco plug becoming stuck on the heating blade either.
Once the session is over, removal of the HEET is super easy. Just slide the top cap upwards to push the HEET off the heating blade and release the cap. There’s no need to push the cap back either, there’s magnets to help with that, and if you are lucky the top cover will spring back at the same time saving you, well, not very much time at all as a gentle push with your thumb will have the cover snap back covering the heating blade anyway.
New HEETS Flavours
When iQOS was launched, the range of flavours was relatively limited – Amber, Yellow and Turquoise (supposedly equivalent to Marlboro Red, Marlboro Light and Menthol) – but this has since been expanded to include Sienna and Blue; forget about the rough equivalence to cigarettes now. According to PMI, Sienna HEETs are “made with an intense and full-bodied blend” (suggesting that they are possibly stronger than the Amber HEETs) while the Blue HEETs “have a deep menthol flavour, giving an intense cooling sensation”.
The Sienna HEETs are very rich deep tobacco flavour – there’s a distinct rich aroma when the pack is first opened; somewhat akin to a full-strength coffee (I.e. a “5”) while Amber HEETs could be considered a “medium roast” coffee equivalent. Both are very good indeed. The Sienna felt a little harsh to start with, but not overly so. Both Sienna and Amber taste exactly as you would expect. Nice, strong tobacco flavour. The Blue HEETs are rather punchy. There’s a strong peppermint aroma when the pack is opened hinting at the menthol goodness and, my word, menthol goodness it is. Turquoise is a subtle menthol – a menthol lite, if you will – whilst Blue gives you a punch in the nose, then gives it a good scrub once it is done. If your preference is for the stronger flavour, there isn’t much wrong with Sienna or Blue.
In both cases, the taste is nicely warm and smooth. Unlike with my experience of the iQOS 2.4, there wasn’t any burning taste towards the end of each HEET which would suggest that PMI have changed the temperature of the heating system, or altered the heating curve – naturally, I cannot say for sure if this is the case and there isn’t any technical information publicly available.
Checking the battery level on the Multi is easy enough. A quick press of the single button lights up the battery meter with however many LEDs indicating the charge level. Each LED is ~25% charge and PMI’s claim of 10 consecutive HEETs before needing a recharge is close to accurate.
Unfortunately, fully charging the Multi from flat is not a rapid affair. Even using the supplied plug and cable, charging mine from completely discharged to full took the best part of an hour making it somewhat cumbersome for someone that uses it a lot as it’ll run flat pretty quickly, although there are some options for on-the-go charging, such as a car kit and a dock for when you are at work. Unfortunately, I don’t have either of those so I’m stuck with either hooking it up to my PC when at work or plugging it in to the wall when at home. With more advances in battery technology, this could (and should) easily improve.
According to the brief user guide included with the device, it is recommended to clean the Multi daily. Unlike the iQOS 2.4 (and likely the 2.4 Plus and 3) where the recommendation was originally to clean the device after every pack of HEETs. A quick check on the helpful iQOS website suggests that all iQOS products are to be cleaned daily.
As noted in my review of the iQOS 2.4, cleaning can be a pain and may be off putting to some but it is a necessary step to getting the most out of the product.
Heat-not-burn, as a technology is definitely growing and is also proving to be quite successful. The development of the iQOS is evidence of this growth. PMI, for all their faults, are listening to feedback from the consumer and their product line-up reflects this. The original iQOS was good. The reviews of the 2.4 Plus and the IQOS 3 suggest that PMI have evolved the design. The iQOS 3 Multi is also good. Very good.
As the Multi is an all-in-one device, it isn’t really aimed at heavier users. The battery life somewhat precludes it being used as an all-day device. It is possible to use it all day if you have a charger with you at all times (which, as everyone knows, isn’t always possible), or you don’t use it as much, but as a light or social device it is ideal. Being much slimmer than the full iQOS 3 with its pocket charger, it doesn’t take up much space in a bag or pocket.
This size is also a minor drawback. With the original iQOS 2.4 and later iterations in the 2.4 Plus and 3 it is possible to use the device in a similar manner to an actual cigarette – even have it dangling from the mouth when busy. The iQOS 3 Multi is more akin to a smaller vape device than previous models which may put off some. Battery life could be extended with advances in the relevant technology, but could also be somewhat self-defeating if the iQOS 3 Multi is primarily aimed at ‘light’ or ‘social’ users.
I do have some concerns over the durability of the swivel top cover, but overall the device feels well-made and solid considering its size.
For most, the slow charging probably won’t be a problem but it is something to bear in mind as it could, quite easily, catch you out – as it did me on occasion.
Overall, the iQOS 3 Multi is a good device in its own right for occasional users though for more frequent users I would suggest that it be used as a backup device alongside either the IQOS 2.4 Plus or IQOS 3 models.
We are selling this IQOS 3 Multi right here on this website, along with the IQOS 3 DUO and the IQOS 2.4 Plus. Click here to buy.