Rating: 3 / 5
I like the light weight and the general reliability of the mini-Bic, but I have a few issues with them.
For one thing, they are WAY tiny, which admittedly is generally a good thing for ultralighters, that is until you reach the point of diminishing returns. I think the mini-Bic's have gone a bit beyond that point as I find them difficult to hold on to, especially when my hands are cold andI'm feeling a bit dexterity-challenged. Their tiny size also means my poor cold digits are more likely to get burned as hold the Bic's fluttering flame up to a hard-to-light Esbit tablet for the 10 seconds or so required for ignition. The flame also has ZERO wind resistance and goes out quicker than a paper match in just a puff of a breeze. The fuel capacity is also very small, which is a concern if you're having to use it to torch the above-mentioned safe and sane (and presumably fireproof) Esbits over an extended time.
Finally, like any mechanical device, the striker/flint portion can fail, leaving you without fire if the Bic is the only firestarter you have brought. I've had them do just that (fortunately, I had backup fire) which is why I don't trust them completely.
I'm sure most hikers here know to bring more than one means of firestarting along on every trip, and a mini-Bic can be fine if you take that precaution. I just don't care for them myself and thought I would share my grumble.