Peter G. about AirVape XS|“ this vaporizer seems to make the best and healthiest use of unprocessed herb.”
I'm relatively new to vaping, but I've used some of the cheap and mid-range pen-type units, one of which (from Phat Panda, $70) includes a conduction/convection oven similar to what's in the Airvape.
That worked okay for what it is, but it has only a 3-level voltage control, which is far short of a precise temperature control.
So far, the Airvape XS has given a vastly better vaping experience, after some practice and experimenting.
Overall, I think it's a great product, although it has a few weak points, and some room for improvement.
The XS is beautifully designed and built, and it looks like it should last a while.
I like the simple controls, the LCD display, and the fine temperature increments.
The vibrate signal works just right.
Above all, this vaporizer seems to make the best and healthiest use of unprocessed herb.
With some practice, anyone should be able to get strong, smooth, minimally irritating vapor.
I have a few suggestions for improvement:
Maybe the biggest weakness is the mouthpiece assembly, which attaches too loosely, insecurely, to the vaper body.
Given the engineering constraints of a small, flat device, this might not be easy to fix, but the mouthpiece is annoying.
The metal vape-cooling heat exchanger works well, but it's not held very securely by the mouthpiece silicone, and its tiny parts are somewhat difficult to clean, and they would be easy to lose.
Because the mouthpiece falls off immediately if you carry the XS in a pocket, the hard plastic case should be seen as a necessity rather than an option.
The included "leather" case is quite worthless.
Maybe a good solution would be to eliminate the soft case, and price the XS with hard case included, at $192 or $195.
There's one accessory that XS users need to use frequently.
It's small, slippery, easy to lose, costs about $0.25 to manufacture, AND it has no storage option.
That's the tamping and scraping
tool, that I lost immediately and had to remake by hammering and grinding a large finishing nail.
This tool is also nowhere to be found on the website, as a replaceable component.
Why not include two of them?
That way, users would have a spare when they lose the first one and figure out that they need to be more careful.
A better but more difficult solution would be to make the hard plastic shell 1/4" wider, to accommodate a little compartment for the tamping tool.
I do like the compact shell, but I'd be happy to deal with slightly more bulk in exchange for not having to carry the tool in a separate container. If the lower part of the shell were a little wider to accommodate a tube for the tool, maybe the upper part could have a little herb compartment...
Not a criticism, just a note on use...
I've experimented with the widely distributed advice to dry and finely grind the herb for vape use, and pack it in moderately.
That works, but I've found that it works even better to use nuglets of bud, straight from the weed store, with no drying or grinding.
I get at least as much effect, without so much airpath clogging by small particles - that still happens, but not as quick.
I don't believe that the physics support the idea that drying and fine grinding are helpful.
The only benefit of drying is that vapors form a few seconds earlier, and the first puff isn't as steamy - so what?
The vaporization itself blows apart cell walls and reduces the herb to a dry, granulated brown residue, with some of the original bud form still apparent.
By the way, I appreciate Airvape's inclusion of a nice little grinder, and I'm a little disappointed not to be using it, but I would have preferred to swap the grinder for a hard case.
Now I pick nugs that pack pretty snugly into the oven, and I haven't looked back.
This also delays/reduces clogging by particles.
Drawing vape slower, more patiently also helps reduce clogging.
As a tip for users, with the whole-bud method, I find that the first good puff is delayed by 15 or 20 seconds after the unit comes to temperature, and that the first session works well with a temp of 360-370F.
By the second, sometimes third session, I raise the temp gradually, to a max of 390-400F, to extract quite a bit more vapor.
By then most of the aromatic terpenes are gone, and the flavor starts to be like burnt popcorn, but apparently lots of cannabinoids are still on tap.
Sorry this is so long, and I hope it's of some help.
Now I'm looking forward to the advertised discount, to put toward a red/gold XS for my wife.
At full price I'd get some other model, so we could compare, but at a good price I'll go for the same thing.
Thanks for a very nice product - it's already improving my life.