The Weed Issue 2018
In stoner parlance, to “hotbox” means to fill a car, room, tent, or other confined space with cannabis smoke to the degree that those occupying said space who are not actively consuming can still obtain a high.
I share this to be clear that when I reference Mr. Hotbox, I’m not speaking of a dude who has smoked out so many places as to have earned that moniker. Rather, this Mr. Hotbox is a very user-friendly, high-end desktop e-nail and vaporizer (with option for portability) that’s designed and built in Washington. It comes complete with a cutesy “robot from the future” narrative and looks a little like a futuristic satellite radio for your car.
Each unit is made with components, features, and functions demonstrating the care that its designers put into Mr. Hotbox—such as a built-in safety timer in case users forget they have left it on (and we’re talking about cannabis users, so... yeah); a cleaning function for the nail; an optional “Herb Oven” attachment that allows for full convection vaporization of flower; and a power system that will work seamlessly with both 110 volt outlets in the United States and 220 volts abroad. There’s also an optional “LifePack” portable external battery that allows you to operate the unit for two-plus hours on a single full charge. Each unit comes with an impressive lifetime warranty, and one free coil replacement. It measures 3.75 inches by 5 inches, and weighs just one pound.
I tried one recently using the Herb Oven, and the flower hits were smooth and full-flavored—on par with a Volcano or Herbalizer—and the e-nail worked equally well for the rosin and live resin. The controls are simple and intuitive: Set your temperature, and consume using an easy-to-read screen and three buttons. It’s sleek and successful, with a small footprint and gleaming chassis of aluminum. I recommend it. JOSH JARDINE
On the market for more than a year and a half, the DaVinci IQ has risen to the front of the pack, getting its design dialed in and easily holding its own against competing portable loose-leaf vaporizers like the PAX 3 and the Firefly. While it’s hard for anyone who’s not a full-time professional vaporizer reviewer to fully evaluate an apparatus like this—a vape, like a phone, is something you have to live with for a little while in order to suss out its strengths and weaknesses—our testers found the IQ’s appeal steadily grew on them over a few weeks of use. And it passed, with flying colors, our pretty small but strict set of demands—namely, getting great taste from flower and being portable as all hell.
The thing is smaller than a cell phone, but has some weight to it. The design is weird: You flip open the bottom and pack flower into a small, recessed chamber, which is covered up by a little screw-on round thingy DaVinci calls a “pearl.” We had trouble loading it at first, but once we all got the hang of it, it was okay. There’s a metallic shelf thing surrounding the chamber that you can spill the weed onto, and then nudge it down into the hole where it needs to go.
The top also flips open, revealing the battery—which, should be noted, runs out pretty quickly—and a little “flavor chamber” that you can theoretically fill with more cannabis to sit in the path of the vapor, super-charging it for when you use it later. We thought this option was dumb and messy, and totally ruined the airflow, so we only attempted it once. But a certain kind of stoner will probably get a kick out of it, and if you’re tight on space for your flower, it technically counts as extra storage. There’s also a built-in slot for a little toothpick-poker-thingy that you will use a lot as you pack and empty the chamber on the bottom. Why it’s on the opposite end is a mystery for the ages.
It also takes some practice figuring out the IQ’s button situation. You need to hit the power button five times to turn it on or off (this is to keep it from going off in your pocket, presumably), and then there are four presets you can cycle through to heat up the weed. Once all of this becomes second nature, it’s easy enough, but not as intuitive as other vaporizers might be. However, you can choose from a range of preset temperatures pretty easily, and there’s a smartphone app you can use to fine-tune it beyond that. How’s the app, you ask? Well. Since we are talking about a fucking app on your phone to help you use a fucking vaporizer, we did not even attempt to download it, because what a ridiculous idea. Points to DaVinci for trying, though.
These might sound like complaints, but they are all pretty small nits to pick in what was a predominantly positive experience in using the IQ. The thing gets really hot, which is a little worrisome, but otherwise, it’s fun to play with, and it works even better once you figure out the most effective speed at which to inhale (go slower—nope, even slower than that). We like it as much as our other go-to portable vaporizer, the Arizer Solo, especially for mellow, one-or-two-puff personal sessions without burning off too much flower. While the flip top and bottom seem destined to break off eventually, and the battery life was disappointing, the otherwise durable IQ stood up to our testing. NED LANNAMANN