We loved the original Da Vinci when we reviewed it at the end of 2012, though we were not uncritical. The herb chamber was awkwardly positioned for filling and cleaning; the flexible inhalation tube had a tendency to fray and break over time.
We’re not saying the manufacturers were hanging on our every word, but they have definitely been listening to their customers – and doing something positive to fix the glitches.
THE ASCENT VAPORIZER, UNVEILED
The resulting successor – the Ascent – is testament to the value of this listening. It is an absolutely stunning piece of work! Beautifully designed, with primo functionality.
There are currently three styles of Ascent Vaporizer. Each uses a brushed aluminum cast body, finished in a high-tech water based printing that gives it a wood (Burl Wood), stealth (Black Rubberized) or croc skin (Faux Croc pattern on leather) finish. Really gorgeous, all of them.
POWER UNDER THE HOOD
Switching the device on via the recessed master button and second Heat Up button, the Ascent’s twin, non-removable Lithium-ion batteries bring the vapor online in less than 60 seconds! This is much faster than the original Da Vinci, which seemed pretty quick at the time.
Battery life is 1-2 hours depending on temperature (up to 430 F/221 C) and use rather than the 3 hours advertised.
NEITHER CHEAP NOR PLASTIC-Y
The Ascent sits well in the hand; a good weight (6.8 oz, or the same as the original Da Vinci), its rounded edges and ergonomic design combine to give it a feeling of real quality.
The large (+/- 0.3g) herb chamber is in a swivel base; filling is straightforward but a little tricky in one respect. The unit’s rounded base means it cannot be stood up, so you need to hold the Ascent open with one hand and fill the chamber with the other. This might pose problems for anyone with restricted mobility/shaky hands.
REAL GLASS-ON-GLASS ACTION
What I like best about the Ascent is it’s the first portable to feature a fully Glass-on-Glass vapor path – and boy, can you taste the quality.
Combined with an air grill in the base to give a fully open draw, the resulting vapor is clean, cool and tasty and you can huff on it as hard and strong as you like.
The all-glass vapor path is achieved by having a glass-lined ceramic bowl that intersects with a glass internal pipe with a splayed, 4-hole junction into which slides the retractable glass mouth straw.
It is quite simple really – ingenious, even.
IT’S A REAL CLEAN MACHINE
The pipe-within-a-pipe all comes out easily for cleaning, meaning no gunked-up gauzes or inaccessible niches, ever. This is not trivial!
This openness does mean the occasional intake of herb fragment, but you can add an optional gauze over the bowl if this bothers you. Thanks to 2 tiny glass jars (included) that slide into the bowl, you can also use oils/concentrates in the Ascent.
All this glass is still fragile, despite being surrounded by aluminium. The shock of a drop will most probably break the mouthpiece if it is extended, and maybe even the internal pipe.
The kit comes with spares, but just be careful, ok? You want to play with quality, you gots to pay the price!
REAL TURN ON
The On switch is recessed for safety in the ‘mouth’ end of the Ascent, along with a retractable stirring tool and the lip of the glass straw. A second on switch is on the Ascent’s face.
Temperature setting is via a button and OLED screen on the face of the device. What’s kind of nifty is that you can input a programmable temperature profile, for example have the device hit 370 degrees for 3 minutes, rise to 375 for 2 minutes, and then 380 for 2 minutes before switching itself off.
You will struggle to get 3-hours’ use off a single charge, but juicing up is quick. The Ascent does not have USB charging but comes with a 110-240v wall charger, and a carrying satchel.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The new masterpiece by Da Vinci brings a new benchmark to portable quality, having outstanding design and looks, great functionality and robustness of build.
The vapor is second to none in quality and fast – did I mention fast? We’re talking nought-to-vaping in under a minute! And the OLED tracks the progress, displaying a cute steaming coffee cup when ready.
Further battery-smarts include a motion detector and timer auto-shut off. Truly, we are seeing the evolution of portable vaping before our very eyes!
I can recommend the Ascent without any hesitation, and am confident Vapor Nations legendary customer service will sort any problems you experience promptly. Apparently you can buy peace of mind after all.