After a great deal of polite bitching to Iolite manufacturer Oglesby and Butler about faulty products and delays in replacing the same, they generously agreed to send me a new WISPR as a replacement for my second faulty Iolite. I did suggest this upgrade, but its still an outstanding gesture on their part
. It's definitely worth pursuing assertive but courteous complaints, at least in this case. Having had two faulty Iolites in nine months, I do have concerns regarding how reliable the WISPR I received today will prove to be. I would like to give Iolite a chance to show how durable this new vape is, hopefully proving my doubts to be without foundation.
For those that aren't familiar with the Iolite and the Wispr, both are butane powered hand-held vapourisers. They use a patented flameless catalytic conversion to heat the bowl, to an operating temperature of around 190 degrees Celsius, so are well suited to vaping products such as cannabis. Here's the WISPR:
Some tech specs from the manual:
Size and weight
Herb Chamber: 500mg (although I think this will vary depending on mass and density of substances).
Butane Tank: 4g.
Operating time: 2 1/2 hours (although this is only 2 hours in my experience so far).
Operating temp: 190 degrees Celsius.
Wattage equivalent: 125W.
Typical refill time: 10 seconds.
Fuel type: butane gas, recommended brands are Vector and Newport. The Wispr has a window which shows how much butane is in the tank.
Body: Ultem 1010.
Flexible Straw: Silicone 9150, folds away when not in use.
Herb chamber: stainless steel.
Heat pin chamber: aluminium.
Mesh screen: stainless steel.
Internal Plastics: Zenite.
The device is simple to use. Fill the chamber attached to the straw, invert the fuelled Wispr and slide the bowl home into the aluminium chamber. When the Wispr is turned on and ignited gas hisses, an orange light indicates the vape is heating. On reaching operating temperature, the light goes out and the hissing stops. It takes a couple of minutes or so before vapour is produced, a little faster than the Iolite. The Wispr has a bimetal thermostat that controls heating, so every couple of minutes there are a few brief seconds of hissing. The noise doesn't bother me at all, but although Iolite make a big deal about how much quieter this vape is, to be honest it's nearly as noisy as it's predecessor. However, when heating does occur, the hissing only lasts around three seconds (much shorter than the original Iolite's heating cycle).
I packed my first bowl with around half a gram of a popular resin, which had been finely grated. The unit took a few minutes to start producing tiny wisps of vapour standing on it's own. There was plenty of vapour, I found that taking small frequent hits maintained operating temp better. Initially there was a plastic-like taste, which vanished for good after a few minutes of use. The Wispr produces more vapour than the Iolite, and for comparatively longer.
According to the manual, it typically takes ten minutes to vape a bowl. It took an hour and a half to finish the bowl, although I was certainly feeling the effects after a few minutes. Admittedly I did somewhat pack the bowl with some potent resin, but vapour was produced throughout. The heating chamber is longer and has a higher volume, which may account for the increase in vapour production. The Wispr is also compatible with the Iolite Optimser, a metal ring with three spikes that help maintain higher temperatures required with some hash. This was a pleasant surprise, its a useful little gizmo.
Here's the heating chamber, bowl and straw. Apologies for the slight blurriness, this was taken with a camera phone:
I like the inconspicuous design of the Wispr. I find it very easy to fuel, load, and use. It can be placed and held at any angle, and the filling chamber with straw does not easily detach during use, as was the case with the Iolite. The fuel level window comes in handy. The Wispr makes a small amount of substance go much further, as did the original Iolite. It is a highly efficient way to get stoned, and a fairly stealthy vape. In short, there's nothing that I don't like about it. It's just that I have this nagging doubt that it will break down. I'll provide updates every month, or if something does go wrong I'll be moaning straight away.
Apart from use of the optimiser, it should be fairly easy to modify the straw. According to one site, whips for the Magic Flight Launch Box are compatible with the Wispr straw mouthpiece, for those who prefer a longer mouthpiece or whip. I'd be interested to hear any tips or modifications from Iolite or Wispr users (or anyone else with ideas).