The Davinci IQ, which was released by the manufacturer, Davinci, at the end of 2016 is the third in a series of portable dry herb vaporizers. The first was called Davinci, like the company and it was released in 2012, followed by the Ascent in 2013. Many who have tried all three say that the IQ is the best so far. It incorporates a new design, Smart Path tech for different vaping modes, a zirconia ceramic bowl, a unique vapor path as well as a couple of mouthpieces. You can get it for $274.99 and you can choose between blue, copper, gunmetal and stealth. So why do so many people think that the Davinci IQ is so much better? I have done a full review here that will look at all that’s great about it and also whether there is anything not to like.
Davinci IQ Dimensions, Discretion, and Sturdiness
When you see the Davinci IQ online it is obvious that it is a small vaping unit, but I was surprised by how small it actually is when I finally received mine. Because it is of a sturdy build it feels a bit heavier (145 gm) than most people but that is a plus because it makes it a top quality vaporizer. In case you are looking for comparisons, the PAX 3 weighs 95 gm while the TI Grasshopper comes in at 55 gm.
Because of its size and weight, this unit is highly portable – it fits well in any pocket and it can easily be hidden in the palm for discretion when vaping. I do not want to overemphasize the point about the weight, but I must say that given the size of this unit if it was any lighter I would worry about it getting damaged in case I dropped it. It is also a good looking vaporizer, with all the buttons fitting nicely and the zirconia ceramic bowl sitting just right.
All in all, I would say that the size, weight, and look of this unit are just right. It is well designed, with every bit of space properly utilized, and it is worth every penny because it is made of materials that will last.
One of the things that determine discretion in a vaporizer is how strong the vapor smells. The IQ provides excellent tasting vapor but the smell is quite mild when compared to smell you get with other vaping units in the same category. It also has a nice LED display.
Battery and Charger, Smoking Pipes and Flavor Cavity
Word has it that there is a collector’s edition on the way that will include a glass jar, a carrying case, and the IQ, all of which will be in a nice wooden box. Although we don’t yet know the specs of the items that will be in this box or how much they will cost, the presentation is pretty impressive, as I am sure the collection will be too.
If you don’t want to wait for the collector’s edition you can buy the regular pack which includes the unit, a 3500aMh 18650 battery, a USB charger, the Zirconia chamber and 3 mouthpieces.
Ceramic Zirconia Pipes
The mouthpieces are worth talking about. Both give excellent tasting vapor, are easy to clean and maintain and they are made to last. One mouth piece is recessed and I like that better for carrying around since it is smaller and fits quite well in my pockets and also can be hidden away in my palm. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with the raised mouthpiece, which I use at home and which also fits quite snugly with 10 mm female and 14 mm male glass.
Davinci IQ Flavor Cavity
The Davinci IQ has a flavor chamber that is designed to add flavor to your vapor. It is located between the mouthpiece and the burning chamber right in the vapor path. I decided to try it and added, as per instructions, chunks of herb (not ground up). I noticed that it heats up only a little leaving the herb unburned. This is by design so that you can get additional flavor without burning herb. It did change color though from the usually green to a duller one after about 6 sessions. I wasn’t very impressed with it all but that is just me – I would suggest that you try it for yourself and see whether you like it or not. You can also add other flavorful herbs such as mint into it but so far I have been leaving mine empty and I like the experience I get with the IQ just fine.
I must, however, add that the flavor chamber provides more space for vapor to travel so that by the time it gets to your lips it is potent but smooth. Also, since it absorbs most of the condensed vapor it reduces the amount of debris that gets to your mouthpiece, keeping it cleaner for longer. It is quite easy to clean.
Vapor Type and Temperature Options
I must say that of all the portable convection vaporizers that I have tried, this one provides the best vapor I have tasted yet – dense, cool and full of flavor. The ceramic zirconia bowl definitely plays a role in this as does the flavor chamber. The conduction heater is pretty consistent and burns herb without any misses. In fact, unlike with other conduction vaping units where a big draw can cause them to be overpowered, this one just keeps going. It is also very efficient, and you will find that your herbs burn for longer but all the while giving you a very good flavor. You don’t even have to stir in order to burn all herb through – the unit is powerful enough. That said, you should not use this unit to vape on the go – for best results you should do sessions. If you really must have a draw on the go then I recommend that you stir your herb with the stirring tool (include in your kit) before you can start the session again.
Temperatures range from 250F to 430F and your unit will be ready for a drag in about 45 seconds. You can choose one of the 4 available Smart Paths or you can choose whatever temperature you feel is best. With either, you can use Boost mode for even higher temperatures in the heating unit.
IQ Smart Path Modes
Smart Paths are different heat modes. Each starts at a preselected temperature and then increases 20F over about 10 minutes. Whatever Smart Path you choose can be customized through the Davinci IQ app. I have tried all the Smart Paths and I find that I like 1 and 2 – I get great vapor taste and density. At settings 3 and 4, the clouds are bigger, but I find that I don’t like the taste very much. I have also found that using the autopilot, which allows me to try a variety of temperatures during one session I get an interesting experience. Keep in mind that different strains of herb require different temperatures to burn properly so for best results you should custom-set for whatever strains you use most often.
The first path runs between 350F and 370F with the others having an increment of 20F each. You get to the max tempo of a path about halfway through a session and it maintains that way right until the end. If you like you can use the app to customize so that you use all 4 paths just to mix things up a bit during your sessions.
If you are not in the mood to mix things up then you can choose the precision mode. It allows you to set one temperature throughout your session which you can change anywhere along the way using a button – press it one and then use the temp button to choose your preferred heat setting.
There is a button right at the top of the unit and if you hold it down you activate Boost more which turns the convection heater to full. Arrows appear on the Led to let you know that the heater is at full heat for that particular temp setting, and the temperature will gradually rise to the max 430F so long as you keep the button down. When you let it go the temperature will slowly revert to the original setting. This setting is useful if you want to get a little more kick from your vapor.
It is important to mention that the Davinci IQ has an auto-shutoff timer that kicks in after 10 minutes, but if you are not down you can press the control button to turn the unit on again.
Davinci IQ Mobile Phone App
Although the Davinci IQ comes with a very nice app you don’t actually need it to use your unit. It is, however, nice to have if you want to customize your sessions. I can say that although I am not a very big fan of apps this one has impressed me – it is smooth and contains lots of useful features without being clunky. Every feature that I have tried with this app has enhanced my experience with this unit. I like the fact that I can choose Smart Paths, change temperatures or pick one for a whole session. I also use Stealth Mode to dim LED’s which I find a little brighter than necessary. You can also dim the lights using the up and down buttons at once.
There are certain things you will not be able to do without the app – you will not be able to customize Smart Paths, you cannot turn off vibration alerts, get device stats such as usage time, average temperatures and more. You will also not be able to see how many times you have chosen Smart Paths. If you don’t mind these things then you may not really need the app, but I like it because it provides me with options.
Burning Chamber Information and How to Pack
Packing the chamber is easy and you will enjoy sessions more if you pack it full each time. I have tried it with loosely as well as a finely ground herb. I found that with loose grinds there is less vapor but low draw resistance, whereas when I used finely ground herb I got rich, dense flavor but there was drag resistance. You choose whatever you feel you can live with. I decided to do medium grinds so that I could get good vapor with minimal draw resistance. That said, I must add that compared to other vaping units in this category, the quality of vapor that I get with coarse grinds on this one is pretty good.
The manufacturer has introduced glass spacers which allow you to make your chamber smaller so that you can get the same quality of vapor while using less herb. I will definitely be investing in one of these.
Davinci IQ: Keeping it Clean
This vaporizer is pretty easy to clean and if you want it to give you great performance every time it is best that you empty the bowl after each use. You should also blow out the chamber to prevent build-up and make cleaning easier when you finally get to it. The flavor chamber, which acts as a kind of filter, is the one that needs to be cleaned most often but this is easy to do – pop it out, soak in isopropyl alcohol and wipe clean with a soft tissue. The mouthpieces don’t need to be cleaned as often as the flavor chamber but they need to be cleaned all the same. Again, a soak in isopropyl alcohol followed by a wipe is enough. You can clean the ceramic bowl after every 10 sessions.
Battery Charging and Different Ways to Charge
As I mentioned at the beginning, the Davinci IQ comes with a replaceable 3500aMh battery which lasts for between 50 and 80 minutes when fully charged. There is one thing that the manufacturer can improve – it takes 4 hours to get an empty battery full, and this can be less if they use the latest battery technologies. I managed to get around this by buying an external charger for about $10 as well as an extra battery. External chargers will take about 2 hours to charge a dead battery and the extra battery allows you to use your unit while the other one is charging.
Davinci IQ Vs: Crafty, PAX 3, Grasshopper
Some people may find the Davinci IQ to be a bit pricey at $274.99 but I find it worth every penny. At this price range, it is a good idea to see how it performs against other vaporizers in this category, which are Crafty, PAX 3 and Grasshopper.
Let us start with the PAX 3 which retails for $274.99. I like it best for when I will be doing outdoor activities because it is highly portable. It heats up fast – 15 seconds on average – uses conduction, and also uses an app. You get a 10-year warranty which tells you that this is a very durable vaporizer. I would say that based on these features the Davinci IQ and the PAX 3 are more or less the same when it comes to quality. I like the vapor from the IQ better than the PAX 3 because it is denser. I also like the removable battery that can be charged using an external charger. That said, the PAX 3 is smaller and lighter and has a very nice design.
Battery-wise the PAX 3 is also better as you get 100 minutes of use after charging the battery fully, which takes about 100 minutes. The IQ takes almost 3 times that to charge and you get between 50 and 80 minutes. If you really want a PAX but the PAX 3 is too expensive you can buy the PAX 2 which retails for $199. You will however not get an app, it has a smaller battery capacity and takes longer to heat up. However, it is a simple, durable device that delivers and it also comes with a 10-year warranty.
On to the Grasshopper which retails for $200. It is also highly portable and will fit nicely in the pocket. While it looks like a pen this vaporizer is very powerful. It uses convection heating and it will be ready for a draw in just 7 seconds. It has smaller batteries that are replaceable with a full temperature spectrum and you get a lifetime warranty (enough to tell you that it is of excellent quality). The only problem with the Grasshopper is that it takes a while to be delivered. After you pre-order be prepared to wait at least 3 weeks for delivery.
The Crafty, while small and portable cannot really compare to the IQ and the Grasshopper. It has a battery life of only 45 minutes and heats up in 90 seconds. However, the reason why so many people love the Crafty vaporizer is the vapor quality – it is tastier, denser and smoother than you would get with the Grasshopper or the IQ. It is also very consistent and easy to use.
Davinci IQ Conclusion
I must say that I am very impressed with the Davinci IQ. Like many people, I was anxious to see what Davinci would put on the market next and I am happy to see that they have done a great job. I like the quality of the unit itself, the design, the feel and the quality of the vapor. I also like the fact that it doesn’t waste any herb, which makes my stash last longer. The 10-year warranty is definitely a plus, and you can take comfort in the fact that it comes from a company with a long track record of good customer service.
The only problems I see with this unit are the fact that the manufacturer doesn’t include an external charger, and also the fact that people cannot use it for concentrates. If you are really into concentrates you can stash small pieces in the middle of your herb, or simply use another vaporizer for them. The unit can also get pretty heated with prolonged use, but not nearly as hot as some other brands in the market. In all, I would recommend it to anyone who can afford it.