The good folks at VaporNation sent us the Ascent vaporizer from DaVinci to review, and we’ve been spending the last week or so putting it through its paces. The Ascent is a portable unit with all glass tubing and a ceramic heating element that supposedly provides better tasting vapour. It also boasts a massive battery which is supposed to let you go long periods between charges. Its main claim to fame, however, is its ability to vaporize both dry herbs and oil concentrates. It’s a premium device, with a premium price. But does it live up to its claims?
Yes. It does. And we’d like to spend a few minutes telling you all about it.
The Ascent is described as a dual-purpose unit, as it’s capable of vaporizing herbs as well as oil extracts through the use of glass oil jars that go directly into the ceramic heating chamber. Other notable features include “an all glass-on-glass design, dual mouthpieces, a 3+hour battery, a programmable digital temperature control, a motion-sensor and auto-shutoff, and an OLED display featuring a temperature readout.” Temperatures range from 38F to 430F, in 1 degree increments.
Opening the box the Ascent comes in is an experience closer to opening an Apple device than almost anything else we’ve unpacked. It’s carefully packaged and you can tell they’ve paid a close attention to details. The inventory looks as follows: the Ascent itself, a charger, one replacement glass tubing set, one replacement metal pick (more on that later), one pair of glass oil jars, and a velvet carrying case.
The unit feels heavy and solid in the hand, and it does weigh a fairly substantial ~200g. It’s about the size of two stacked iPhones. It is portable, but we would certainly feel it if we were to carry it around in our pockets. The Pax Ploom, for instance, is about half the size and weight… but that device does have a much smaller battery capacity. And it doesn’t do oils.
The outside of the Ascent is brushed aluminum, and the bottom 20% of the unit swivels out to reveal the ceramic heating chamber. The swivelling action requires a decent amount of force to execute, which is great because it signifies a tight seal between the two portions, which prevents ground-up herbs from falling out through any cracks. The portion that doesn’t swivel out houses the glass straw, which is tightly held in place through what appears to be a rubber housing. This has the advantage of creating a good seal, as well as preventing the straw from falling out while in transit.
The bottom of the unit has a metal screen to allow air to enter, while the top features a small opening in which you can insert the metal pick. This pick is useful for stirring your herbs and dislodging anything that needs dislodging, and is actually very useful to have around. The charger is not of the USB variety, unfortunately.
So how does it work? First off, you do need to use a fairly large quantity of herbs to get a full thick smoke. At the same time, you do get a good 20 long draws from that, so it doesn’t go to waste. After turning it on, the Ascent reaches target heat in about 40 to 50 seconds. You then obtain the best results by doing song long slow draws. The smoke tastes really good, with no plastic flavour, which is the point of the all-glass tubing. It does get a bit hot, but nothing too serious. Occasionally, it’s a good idea to stir your herbs, which will refresh the smoke for a few more draws. The flavour and thickness of smoke is consistent from hit to hit, with a slight toasty taste as the herbs are nearing the end of their use.
Cleaning is relatively simple, as the glass straw is easy to remove. It does need to be soaked in isopropyl alcohol for a while, since the inside gets gummy and is hard to reach with mechanical tools, but this isn’t incredibly hard to do.
We didn’t get a chance to test the performance of the oil concentrates, but some reports online suggest that this can get a little messy and sticky. We suspect that oils will be very temperature sensitive and vaping at the wrong temps can cause a bit of havoc. Still, it’s nice to have this capability in one unit, since a lot of the other products on the market do either one or the other, but not both.
Battery life is outstanding, lasting for 4 or 5 full sessions over the course of a few days (or one if you’re, uh, a heavy user). It does take 5 hours to fully recharge however.
The Ascent by DaVinci is a quality product that does double duty as an oil and dry herb vaporizer, and it does at least one of those tasks very well. The all-glass tubing makes for great taste, while the large battery greatly increases the device’s portability and on-the-road use. The materials and construction are above par. That’s a lot for a $250 device, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
– Quality materials and craftsmanship
– Good tasting smoke
– Dual-purpose dry herb and oil vaporizer
– Long battery life
– Slightly hot smoke
– Long battery charge times
– Somewhat heavy
– Non-USB charger