Looking like a powered-down light sabre, this high-end, Spanish-built vaporizer sets a new standard for portable vapor performance.
Well designed, well built and gorgeously finished, the miniVap feels great to the touch and in the hand. It has a weight and solidity to it that just screams quality engineering.
The miniVap I reviewed was the full-spec battery pack/vape unit combo; a cheaper version omits the battery pack, making it desktop only. It’s the latest iteration of a device that was originally released in 2010, improved by extensive R&D and listening to the medicinal user community.
The battery is clicked into a flat charging station and takes about 3 hours to fully load. There’s no light to indicate charging is taking place but the operation is pretty idiot-proof and like every other operation, can be done accomplished even by users with reduced muscle control.
To connect the vape with its battery, you just line up the white dots on both sides of the unit and turn it clockwise – effortlessly and easily – to lock them together.
Power up is by pressing the two side buttons simultaneously for a couple of seconds until 2 LEDs come on, one to indicate the battery charge, the other the (desired) temperature. Those same side buttons raise and lower the temperature.
Hermes rejected a previous LED readout for a simpler colour code: Blue (cold)
Pink (warm, 200 C°), green (hot, 215 C° ), red (very hot 225 C° ).
Once you’ve set it to your preferred temperature, wait for the light to stop blinking, remove the lid and loosely pack the herb chamber. You can also
use pollens or oils with the pollen cup or the oil disc (I didn’t).
The heat up time is quite lengthy, reflecting the quality of the patented aluminum heating element, ceramic heat sink and insulation, but once warmed up it stays warm and ready to use for 10 minutes before cycling down to the coolest setting and eventually (10 minutes later), off.
Shifting up a temperature level is quick – a few seconds – but shifting down takes a while due to the unit’s excellent heat retention.
The miniVap is the only portable vaporizer to have been submitted to the same test lab at Leiden University in the Netherlands for performance analysis as the Volcano. It matched the Volcano for THC levels and temperature reliability as well as lack of vapor impurities, off-gassing, etc.
How good is the miniVap? Is it a potential Volcano beater? In terms of administration method, it’s an unfair comparison. The Volcano pumps hot air and vapor into a valve + bag, while the miniVap uses inhalation through a plastic-tipped silicone whip; airflow and (convection) heating stop when you stop inhaling. Which is ‘best’? It all comes down to individual preference.
But in terms of flavor and smoothness, the miniVap wins. On a medium-to-hot setting, the vapor is smooth and flavorsome. Even on ‘Very Hot’, the 7-inch whip cools the vapor sufficiently to take a deep lungful.
In terms of engineering, the two appear to be equals. Like the Volcano, the miniVap boasts medical-standard engineering, is robust and hard wearing, and with a look & feel that is sleekly compact compared to the suddenly rather clumsy-looking Volcano cone unit.
In fact, the MiniVAP is the world’s first vaporizer to adopt a (money back!) Guaranteed Purity Policy, meaning the quality of its materials and construction guarantee a clean air pathway and pure, unadulterated vapor.
The filling chamber and the collecting cone are made of anti-adherent Teflon so it’s very easy to clean when it’s warm.
When it came out a couple of years ago the unknown miniVap was immediately denounced for being hard to find and too expensive – it was going for $800 up to a $1000 in the US. But Hermes deliberately kept a low profile, concentrating on building distributors and on its home market.
Today you can find them for around €500, and that seems pretty reasonable. It’s entirely constructed in Spain rather than being outsourced to Asia, and only the very best components have been used. The aim is to meet the demands of the medical market rather than the recreational one. This is not a toy!
Bear in mind that the vaporizer comes equipped with all the tools needed to keep it clean, several spare screens, two mouth pieces and two whips, all packed snugly into a Case Logic carrying case that (even including the cable and charger unit) is no bigger then a small camera case.
Throw in a 3-year warranty on the vape (lithium batteries, 1 year. If after that time your battery loses capacity, you can send Hermes the old one to recycle and they’ll replace it with a new one using the same case).
Given the quality of the product and the value of the overall package and the price tag no longer seems outrageous but actually pretty fair.
In short, the miniVap manages to combine high-end medical function with consumer aesthetics and pack it all into a portable device. Even shorter: Amazing!
Where to get one?
If you live in US or Canada your best option is to get it through Vapor Nation for $519. For our fellow European vapers our recommended place is Vapo Shop which sells for €549. Vapshop also has the cheaper option as well as a fully tricked out version.