From the UK-based metalware experts at Red Eye, comes the Alivi8 portable vaporizer. We spent a morning putting this shiny little flame fuelled vaporizer to the test to see if it can live up to its claims.
The Alivi8 comes in very elegant packaging and the unit itself just breathes quality. The stainless steel gives this vape a solid and durable feel. Measuring about the height of clipper lighter, it is much smaller than I expected.
At 120g (4oz) it weighs a little less than an average smartphone and can easily transported in your shirt or pants pocket. All edges, including those of the mouthpiece, are nicely rounded and the unit is quite comfortably in your hand.
It comes with a stainless steel poke tool, which can be placed into the mouthpiece when the vaporizer is not in use. However, it must be noted that the tool easily falls out, making it prone to loss.
The Alivi8 can be unscrewed at the mouthpiece, revealing the 'maze' and at the bottom, where the inner bowl is located. A rubber ring makes sure the thread at both ends seal well. The very bottom piece, next to the ceramic filter, can also be unscrewed for easy access to the filter for cleaning or replacement.
To use the Alivi8, the bottom piece (which contains the ceramic filter) needs to be unscrewed from the body so the bowl can be loaded.
In this test we used a piezoelectric butane lighter, to avoid lighter dust inhalation.
It is worth mentioning that unlike the VaporGenie, which also uses a ceramic filter and virtually the same 'flame' technique, it is difficult to tell how close you're holding the flame to the filter. The learning curve proved to be somewhat more difficult, something I can see being a problem for first-time users. However, after a few tries, it becomes clear that it works best to simply go by taste. It took us some practice to get the technique right and to figure out the right amount of time needed for heating. While at first there was a slight taste of lighter fluid at times, this pretty much dissappeared after the first few tokes. From our experience with the VaporGenie Aluminum Bat, this could be due to the ceramic filter requiring more heat to function properly.
There was also some soot buildup on the edges near the end of the vape due to it being difficult to see where the lighter was pointed. But again, practice makes perfect. Besides, this soot can easily be wiped off.
The taste of the vapor is great, and the maze seems to do its job quite well. Only when the flame is applied too long and too close to the filter the vapor heated up fast, increasing the risk of burning the herb.
One of the only cons is the temperature of the bowl. Of course it is inevitable that this part becomes very hot, but unless you use a handkerchief, it does prevent you from quickly reloading the bowl. This part takes a couple of minutes to cool down to a temperature where it is cool enough to touch. It must be said though that even though the body (where you hold the vaporizer) becomes warm, it does not get so hot that it is a problem.
All in all, the Alivi8 is a very stylish and compact portable vaporizer 'pipe', that, once you have the technique down, provides excellent hits of vapor. However, priced at $85 (€63) I find it a bit on the expensive side, especially when compared some of its handheld rivals.