The Prima is the newest portable vaporizer from one of the more reputable names in the industry, Vapir. It’s set for release sometime this month, and so far I’ve heard some pretty good things about it throughout the vape community. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one before its official release, so let’s see what it’s all about.
SIZE & DESIGN
So, I suppose I should start by saying I’ve never been that stoked about the portable units Vapir has produced in the past. The NO2 performs well, but is so big and bulky, you can’t even really call it a portable – and the Oxygen Mini just looks a little strange to me. With that said, I have to admit that it looks like Vapir actually did a really nice job with the Prima’s styling and design. It fits and feels nice in your hand, and it looks more like a conventional vaporizer than previous Vapir portables. I received two units – one is all black and the other is silver and black. It looks like all available colors have a sort of matte finish, which looks really cool.
While it feels a little bulky (and heavy) in your pocket, the size is just about right. It’s about as tall (or long?) as the Crafty, except it lays down flat instead of standing upright. Most of the weight of the unit comes from the battery. When you remove the battery to charge, the Prima by itself is actually pretty light. Personally, I like the weight of the unit, as the additional weight adds to the overall build quality in my eyes. The Prima feels very durable. The anodized aluminum body looks like it can easily withstand accidental drops. Very solidly built unit overall.
Removing the front cap exposes the Prima’s heating chamber. With the chamber visible, the Prima looks kind of like a space-age pipe or something. I think this design will be embraced by people who’ve had a hard time committing to vaporizing, because they’re just more used to smoking a pipe, and find the process more enjoyable. By sort of emulating a pipes design, I can see the Prima appealing to a wide range of people.
The front cap fits nicely on the front of the unit – not too tight where it’s a pain to get off, but not too loose where it’s falling off. It’s secured by a couple of magnets located on the front of the chamber and inside of the front cap.The chamber doesn’t hold a ton of bud, but certainly enough. My scale is on the fritz at the moment, but I’d classify it as capable of holding a pinch, or a small bowls worth of herb.
The front cap contains a small silicone assembly that contains a metal screen. Replacing screens is really easy, as they pop out quickly.
I really like the design of the mouthpiece, which appears to be some sort of silicone/plastic material, because it snaps on and off very easily. I’m a little worried over time the little ridge on the bottom of the mouthpiece will wear and the connection won’t be as tight, but for now, everything stays nice and secure. If eventually it does need to be replaced, it doesn’t look like a very expensive piece to produce, so it should be relatively affordable.
REMOVABLE VAPOR CHANNEL
With the mouthpiece removed, you have access to the the Prima’s removable stainless steel vapor channel. This is one of my favorite aspects of this device. Being able to easily slide the vapor path out of the unit makes for easy cleaning. At this point, I’ve used the Prima a handful of times, and have used the included cleaning brush to clean out the vapor channel after each use. Down the road, once it gets a bit more gunked up, you can just soak the entire vapor path in isopropyl alcohol.
There’s actually a cool little silicone stopper at the end of the brush which fits perfectly in the end of the mouthpiece when the brush is inserted into the vapor channel. Vapir recommends keeping the brush inserted in the vapor path when not in use or during transit to keep anything unwanted out of the channel. Kind of a nifty little feature.
Another reason I’m a fan of the removable vapor channel is because it leaves the door open for Vapir to possibly release a quartz-crystal glass vapor path at some point, to replace the standard stainless steel.
Vapir really did a nice job with the Prima’s battery system. It’s powered by a 3.6v 3200mAh lithium-ion battery, which is removable – giving you the option to keep a spare (or two) charged up and ready to go. The battery charges externally. It slides off really easy by applying a little bit of pressure, then just pop it on the charging base, which connects via USB to a wall adapter. There’s a promo card included with the Prima that shows Vapir will soon offer a Power Kit, which includes a 12v car adapter, direct adapter and a direct power supply.
The battery life of the Prima isn’t phenomenal, but adequate. A charge will get you about an hour of continuous use on higher settings, which is just about average for portables. The initial charge takes awhile, but subsequent charges are 1-2 hours. Overall, I like the battery system of this vape, and think it lends itself well to vaporizing on-the-go.
There are a total of four round, LED lights that indicate power, battery level, temperature on the Prima. Clicking the power button once displays the current battery level. A full charge will display four green lights. To turn it on, hold the power button for about three seconds. At this point, the lights will flash orange to let you know it’s heating up.
From here, you can toggle through the four preset temperature settings by clicking the power button. The total temperature range is between 350° – 400°F, which is essentially forcing you to stay below the combustion level for herbs, which I really like. However, I feel like this could be a problem when using the Prima with concentrates. We soon shall see.
Once desired temperature is reached, the LED lights will display solid green. I was impressed by how quickly the Prima got up to temp. Even after selecting the highest heat setting, it only takes about a minute to completely heat up, which is faster than a lot of the Prima’s portable competitors.
USING WITH HERBS
Now that my chamber is packed and the lights are green, I’m ready to see how the Prima performs. Starting on the third setting, I found vapor to be very tasty and plentiful. I was a little worried about taste, as the vapor travels through a steel vapor path, metal screen and silicone mouthpiece – but all-in-all I’d have to say the taste of the vapor is actually really pleasant. I didn’t get any kind of “factory” taste or anything like that. Just tasty vapor.
You don’t really have to pull too hard to get nice rips either. While vapor doesn’t flow quite like the Crafty, I found production to be on the higher side, and was actually pretty impressed. It actually reminds me a lot of the Pax from a vapor production standpoint, and maybe the Alfa as well (which is good company to be in).
Instead of taking long, deep hits when I vape, I prefer to take a series of smaller, shorter hits – to increase oxygen flow and get a little more vapor production. I’d say one big hit is the equivalent of four smaller hits when I do this. That said, I found I was able to get about 4 big hits, or 16 small hits out of a single chamber, which got me nice and stoned.
After inspecting the ABV, I was really impressed by how evenly everything had heated. There were no charred or very green areas, and everything had a nice golden brown tint to it. I was expecting some darker brown, just because of the amount of vapor the Prima produced. This wasn’t the case though. To this point, I haven’t seen anything about the percentage of conduction/convection on Vapir’s website or in any of the reviews I’ve read. However, judging by the ABV, I’d have to say there is far less conduction going on that I had originally thought.
It wasn’t until after packing my second chamber that I realized something else cool about the Prima: You can actually hold it two different ways when you hit it. The way I originally held it was horizontally like a pipe; chamber in the front, mouthpiece in back). However, you can actually hold the unit so it’s vertical with the chamber at the bottom. The way the mouthpiece is designed makes it feel comfortable from both angles, which is pretty cool. I find myself switching from grip to grip. It’s just cool to have the option for both.
Included is a little silicone cap heat shield that fits over the Prima’s chamber portion. I’m not a huge fan of the way it looks on the vaporizer, but it does serve its purpose pretty well. Aside from protecting your hand from the heat, it will also prevent against scratching. I’m hoping that Vapir releases a full silicone sleeve that protects the entire body of the unit, as I can see scratches becoming an issue down the road.
USING THE PRIMA WITH WAX
While I’m a big fan of the Prima’s ability to vaporize weed, I wasn’t as impressed with its performance when it came to wax. The Prima maxes out at 400°F, which in my opinion isn’t quite hot enough to vaporize most concentrates. I seldom use true portable vaporizers with wax though, instead opting for a dab rig or my Dr. Dabber Ghost. That being said, the Prima’s ability to perform with wax isn’t super important to me.
However, the experience wasn’t an overall horrible one. After loading up a pretty decent amount of crumble into the chamber, I was able to get pretty good vapor production. The problem is that it just takes to long to go through all your material. The thing I like about dabs and wax is that it’s a quick thing, which is why I prefer rigs or pens in this instance. I can see the value of slow-roasting wax like this if you’re sitting around with a few friends and want a little bit to go a long way. But if you’re by yourself and just want to take a dab to the dome, I suggest doing it the old fashion way.
In the same promo booklet that shows the Power-Kit that will soon become available, there is also a Water-Kit shown which includes a glass hydrotube water filtration device, as well as an adapter mouthpiece that will replace the Prima’s standard mouthpiece when using the water tool.
This is exciting to me, as I’m a big fan of water filtration rigs, especially when the water attachment and adapters are produced by the manufacturer themselves,.
From the picture, it kind of reminds me of the Pinnacle Pro DLX Kit, but that is the ONLY reason I would ever mention the Prima and the Pinnacle in the same sentence (if you couldn’t tell, I am NOT a fan of the Pinnacle). There’s no word from Vapir exactly when the power-kit and water-kit will be available, but it shouldn’t be long.
HOW DOES THE PRIMA COMPARE TO OTHER PORTABLE VAPORIZERS?
My current portable vaporizer rotation is as follows: Crafty, Alfa, Pax, Ascent, Air. Of all of these, I use my Crafty the most, because in my opinion (any many others), it’s the standard by which all other portables are judged. Nowadays, when a new portable is released, the first question everyone always asks is, “How does it compare to the Crafty”?
So far, I’ve yet to find anything that matches the Crafty’s performance, durability and overall portability. To be honest, I have a feeling that the only portable that will end up giving the Crafty a run for its money will be the next Storz & Bickel unit.
So, to answer that age-old question; No. The Prima is not the Crafty. However, let’s take a second and recap what the Prima is instead of what the Prima isn’t. First, the Prima is a very well constructed vaporizer. It has a very heavy-duty feel to it, and doesn’t feel cheap in the slightest. While I rate the Crafty high in durability and build quality, I might even say that the Prima feels more durable and more solid overall.
Although I wasn’t totally sold on it at first, the design of the Prima has actually grown on me. There’s really nothing else that looks quite like it, which I suppose is true with all of the vaporizers Vapir makes. For better (Rise) or worse (Oxygen Mini), Vapir does there own thing, and it looks like it paid off in a big way with the Prima. When hitting it in the upright position, it reminds me a lot of the Pax.
The Crafty, however, is much lighter, and less bulky in your pocket. While both units lend themselves well to vaporizing on-the-go, I think the Crafty has the edge in overall portability. I’ve been using my Alfa a lot lately when I’m out and about, as I really like the size and feel of it. It’s more of a flat design, so it’s not really bulky in your pocket at all. It’s also very tiny. It fits nicely in the palm of your hands, and has a nice ergonomic feel to it that you don’t necessarily get with the Crafty.
So to review, the Prima ranks right up there with the Crafty durability wise, but is not quite as portable as the Alfa, HipVap or the Crafty.
Next, let’s look at battery life and heat-up time. I found the Prima to be pretty average in this category, and pretty much on par with other portables in its class. In my experience, the Alfa will give you about thirty more minutes of juice, and heat a little quicker. However, unlike the Alfa or the Crafty, the Prima utilizes a charge and swap system, allowing you to keep backups charged and replace them on the fly. Point goes to the Prima.
Finally (and most importantly), let’s talk about performance. As I said, I was pleasantly surprised by amount and the quality of vapor that the Prima produced. It wasn’t “knock your socks off” good (like the Crafty), but it’s certainly above average. In fact, I’m gonna go ahead and say that vapor production is better than the Air, Alfa and Ascent – three portables I hold in very high regard. I would compare the Prima’s functionality most directly with the Pax, except the quality of vapor is better in my opinion.
From a taste standpoint, I’d put the Prima behind the miVape and the Crafty. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m really hoping that Vapir decides to come out with a quartz vapor path that can be inserted in place of the removable stainless steel one that comes standard. While vapor flavor is good, I think it could be improved with an upgraded glass vapor path.
We recommend purchasing the Prima from our preferred retailer. They will ship the unit for free, and throw in some additional free goodies.
The Verdict | Vapir Prima Vaporizer Review
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the Prima. Being someone who has never had a ton of love for Vapir’s previous portable offerings, I can honestly say that I think they hit a homerun with this one. Build quality, portability and durability are excellent, vapor production is great, and flavor is good. The Prima is without a doubt our favorite vaporizer of 2015 thus far, and a very solid investment at just under $260.