Organicix, LLC, the Las Vegas-based makers of the Karma e-cigarette range, released their first portable herb vaporizer earlier this year. Vaporizerblog . Com has finally got hold of a model to review. It’s called Da Vinci, and we like it.
The Da Vinci arrives in a sturdy but attractive box that announces: quality within! It’s later pointed out to me that Leonardo’s famous Vitruvian Man image that graces the box lid is clutching a (Da Vinci) vape in his hand. Nice touch.
Out it comes and – relief, the device inside feels as rugged and sturdy as the packaging suggested. Not bulky by any means, but it feels like you could drop it, pick it up and just keep vaping.
Stays looking good
The aluminum face and heavy-duty high temperature rubberized plastic paint (black, in my case, but also silver or red) add to the butch, outdoors-y feel. Besides adding more toughness to the unit, the rubberized paint shrugs off scratching and smudging. Even after a heavy night of being passed around friends, it still looked slick.
At 16oz (453g), the unit’s as heavy as an NO2 but barely 4 inches high and an inch wide. A quick ‘back pocket’ test reveals that the Da Vinci is genuinely and comfortably portable.
Let’s charge this baby up
Much of the weight comes from the array of 3 Lithium-ion batteries (total 13.5 V) used to heat the (bronze) heating chamber. These are charged up via an adapter; I gather the battery is partly pre-charged at the factory before shipment but still needs 3 hours to top up. Subsequent charge time is about 3 hours from empty to full for 40-60 minutes of use.
The master on/off button on the side has to be on to charge the device; a small LCD screen will also show battery strength and current temperature. The Da Vinci will not begin to heat up until the second button on the front face is pressed. I liked this safety/battery saving feature.
Good battery time
The actual time can be extended by smaller drags, turning the unit off after initial use and vaping at lower temps, plus there are other variables: how long the unit is powered on, how much it’s used, etc. But as a rule of thumb, depending on how hard you’re inhaling, one charge is good for approximately two loads.
That’s also why there’s a master on/off switch and a secondary on/off switch that starts the heat up process: to avoid accidentally switching it on in a pocket or backpack and have the battery drain (as happened when I used the Pax vaporizer).
Auto shut-off feature
Due to popular demand, the unit automatically shuts off after 10 minutes of inactivity. This will lead to a longer battery life and avoid overheating (if the unit sits too long with the heating unit turned on, it can get really warm). This only turns off the heating element and not the master power switch.
Organicix reckon the batteries will be good for a 300 charge cycle before they start losing the charge capacity, though lifetime capacity should be good for about 2000 full charges. The warranty on the battery is 6 months (on the rest of the unit is a 2 year warranty).
Easy to pack
A small silver button frees the Da Vinci’s corner lid to lift up and reveal the chamber. A chamfered opening enables easy loading of around a cubic centimeter of herb; the actual weight would depend on the fineness of the grind, etc.
Accuracy: a BIG win
Above this are two buttons for setting the desired temperature. True, the older and much uglier VM3 had a variable temperature, so the Da Vinci is not the first portable with the feature.
But if you want to use multiple herb samples this alone must put it at the top of your portable list. The digital temperature gauge is accurate to within a degree or two and a chart is included of the temperatures suited to various beneficial herbs (St John’s wort, Gingko , etc).
And we have take off!
My device was set for Farenheit; there may be a way to switch to Celsius but I didn’t find it in the short time I had it to use. The (otherwise, clear) manual did not mention it.
I just settled for the default 375 degrees as a starter, pressed the second ‘on’ switch and whoosh – the LCD readout started to whir. This baby heats up really fast, reaching 375 in about a minute and a half – about twice the speed of my Volcano.
Convection: hot air
Talking of heat, the Da Vinci is a convection vaporizer – the herb sits on a fine mesh screen at the bottom of the chamber, with the heating coil just under it. Hot air flows from the bottom holes through the material, as opposed to of conduction where the material gets “roasted” more by touching hot surface areas.
Other heating devices
The Arizer Solo and Iolite Wispr use a combination of conduction and convection. They work ok, but are not as efficient and prematurely toast the herbs with their hot surface areas. I don’t own one, but some users report Magic Flight Box also tastes over-toasted after a couple of puffs.
Unlike butane-powered vaporizers, the Da Vinci will perform just as well at higher altitudes , and does not have the igniting issues that we hear about.
Hitting the temperature mark
The max. temperature is supposed to be around 405 degree F., but my device would only go as high as 400 (which is still way higher than I’d ever have cause to run it). A green LED light comes on when you hit the desire heat (which is also stated on the LCD screen), and readings are accurate within a couple degrees, say the makers, thanks to a proprietary microprocessor set up to read them.
A choice of whips
The short (? cms) and long whips (? cms) screw into the top of the vape, into the lid, actually; I’d recommend removing them when you’re transporting the device.
They’re made from cloth-protected high temperature food grade silicon, and I smelt no chemical residues or off gassing even on the first use.
The moment of truth – sweet vapor
I went with the short whip, screwed it in, sucked for the moment of truth, and…sweet! The draw is excellent, the herb sample taste came through with no aftertaste, and a decent cloud of vapor was effortlessly drawn into my lungs (I appreciated when I exhaled).
Time to cool down
Inside, a honeycomb mesh screen behind the exhaust holes serves to cool the device, and once switched off it cools quickly. The heat while using is tolerable, but keep your grip off the cooling grill (which feels a little awkward).
Oil barrels and herb stash
Two cylindrical barrels are included in the package that slot snugly into the heat chamber. These can be pre-loaded with oil or concentrates. The silicon grommet lid is heat resistant and again, I noticed no aftertaste when using the barrel. I did have taste issues but this may have been the oil; it was the first time I’ve vaped it.
With the lid up, there is a hidden herb storage chamber (or which can also accommodate the oil barrel), which is a nice feature, although the pull out soft silicone stopper is a bit fiddly.
Cleaning – mostly easy
The screens at the bottom of the chamber come out for cleaning (it arrives with 3 replacement screens), and a cleaning brush is cleverly secreted under the chamber lid. This is pretty useful for stirring a herb load, and removing the cap from the barrels too, and I liked having it on hand and safely stowed away at all times.
Rubbing alcohol, a cotton swab or a pipe cleaner are recommended for removing residues. Although later models have been adapted to allow the lid to open further than it originally did, cleaning the chamber is still pretty tricky.
Ah, that lid…first big bad point
In fact, the lid opening would be a possible deal breaker for me. It’s that annoying. No matter how you angle you r head or the lighting, it’s impossible to see into the bottom of the chamber to see if it’s clogged or improperly cleaned.
I’d like to see the lid open outwards, the other way to how it is currently attached. Or maybe it’s possible to add a small LED light to the lid that can shine into the chamber. That’d work, and be pretty cool.
Comes into its own for Medical Use
Medical marijuana’s most effective active ingredient is not THC but CDB (and other cannabinoids). THC can melt and aerosolize to create vapor at 180 C, but CBD needs to be nearer 206 C (and CBN at 212 C). For this reason medical users, I suspect, will love the Da Vinci.
The Vapor Path
For airpath cleaning, the whip unscrews and the bottom part of that (under the lid) also unscrews, so they can be easily cleaned. The vapor path is all high-
temperature food grade silicon, with some plastic flexible wrapping on the outside. The internal components are mil spec food grade plastics (so no outgassing and no overheating issues) and stainless steel alloys, plus all the soldering is non-lead containing.
Good Safety & Service
Organicix is apparently undergoing a safety certification process for all of its components, though I haven’t found out whether this has been granted.
All units are hand assembled and Organicix co-owns the Shenzhen factory that was built specifically to manufacture the Da Vinci. Having an owner with 20+ years of experience in the import/export game should help with all of the logistics, and they have been active listeners. It looks as though service, support, and contact are prompt, and user feedback acted upon.
Conclusion: a benchmark for accurate vaping on the love
While lacking the drool factor of the portable Pax, Da Vinci is not a bad looker. It feels and performs solidly, and heats up exceptionally well (combining accuracy & speed). I think it makes a great first choice outdoor portable vape if you can overlook (or not mind) the slightly frustrating lid. Both draw and taste are good, and though I had it for only a short while I’m confident it can be trusted to perform well over the long term.