The Sonic Portable Vaporizer Product Review
- Released: August 2013
- Manufactured By: Sonic
- Manufactured In: China
- Dry Herb
The Sonic portable vaporizer is almost identical in design to the DaVinci Portable Vaporizer, combining portability with functionality in a walkie-talkie-looking hot box.
You can purchase the Sonic Vaporizer for $199.99 at VaporNation (the same price as the DaVinci), and comes with a mouthpiece (which feels cheap and rubbery), AC wall charger, cleaning tool, 3 replacement screens, and an instruction manual.
Using the Sonic vape is as easy as screwing in the mouthpiece/straw and turning the switch on the side to the ON position. This was confusing at first because I thought that you tuned the unit on by pressing the button on the front of the vaporizer that has the universal symbol for “POWER” on it, naturally…But no, this button is only to engage the heater once the small, unlabeled switch on the side of the unit is in the correct position. It’s all a bit unorthodox if you ask me.
Nonetheless, once you get the Sonic powered on, the vaporizer gets up to temperature very quickly – in under a minutes time – and allows you vape your dried herb within seconds. This is one of the vaporizers best assets; that and the little LED light that assists you while you load the chamber. The light was a great touch by Sonic and something the DaVinci could definitely use!
Temperature ranges are a guessing game with the Sonic
Once the unit is fully charged and turned on, the Sonic employs “precise temperature control” to ensure that your vaporizing experience is accurate. However, we found that the vapor was consistently unpredictable, and there was definitely a learning curve with setting the correct temperature.
With most vaporizers, our ideal temperature range is typically anywhere between 365-380°F depending on what we wish to achieve from the vaporizing session (low temps for uplifting, high temps for sedative).
“With most vaporizers, our ideal temperature range is typically anywhere between 365-380°F depending on what we wish to achieve from the vaporizing session.”
With the Sonic, I found that terpenes diminished significantly whenever I set the temperature above 365°F. At 365°F the true taste of my herbs was noticeable for a few wispy draws, but after about four to five inhales, the burnt popcorn taste we all know too well became more pronounced.
With that said, I typically set this vaporizer anywhere between 345-365°F. Within this range, you can achieve the full-flavor you’re looking for from vaporizers at lower temperatures and the uptake of cannabinoids such as CBD at higher temperatures without burning your herb.
However, at the lower temperatures around 345°F, don’t expect more than terpenes and a very high air to vapor ratio (very little vapor). I typically start the session at this temperature in order to taste whatever it is I am vaporizing. I then turn the temperature up to 365°F in order to achieve the desired effects (dealing with the burnt popcorn flavor for the sake of the review).
Other issues with the Sonic portable vaporizer
One main issue I had with the Sonic Vaporizer was with the magnetic clamp used to keep the lid closed while vaporizing. It was a good idea in theory, but it broke on me within the first five minutes of use.
I don’t even know what I did to break it; I merely opened the lid one time and heard it crack. When I lifted the lid it was broken in half. The vaporizer still works, but the lid does not close as securely as it did with the magnetic lock.
Another issue I had with the Sonic was that it would leak vapor every time I turn the unit on. Despite the ceramic bowl being completely brushed out and appearing to be squeaky-clean, vapor will always pour from the lid for the first few minutes of every session.
“Another issue I had with the Sonic was that it would leak vapor every time I turn the unit on.”
I am not sure if this is a matter of residue or possibly small resin glands (keif) leaking through the 4 small holes in the base of the chamber, but it always smells like burnt AVB (after-vaped bud) for the first few minutes of use. As to not ruin the taste of my fresh herb, I always tend to let the unit run at the desired temperature for a few minutes before loading.
The battery dies rather quickly as well. I found that with a full charge, the Sonic was good for 2-3 long sessions, but can be used while plugged in. This would be a bit more convenient if the vaporizer could be charged with a USB instead of an AC charger.
Lastly, the Sonic is not compatible with essential oils and lacks an additional storage compartment for extra herb like the DaVinci Vaporizer. These are a few things that could easily be added to make this vaporizer better.
What I liked about the Sonic portable vaporizer
- Small and very light weight, can easily be carried in your pocket
- Quick heat up time; less than a minute Large ceramic heating chamber
- Simple to use, very few controls (once you learn the power button isn’t an on/off button)
- Won’t combust your herb no matter what temperature it’s set on
- The LED light to illuminate the chamber is a great touch
- Covered by a 1-year warranty related to the heating element or battery
What I disliked about the Sonic
- I don’t think quality when I hold this vaporizer; it has a cheap feel
- The magnetic clamp used to close the lid is easily breakable
- Vapor path is not free of cheap materials; the plastic casing is exposed around the lid and the draw-tube/mouthpiece feels like cheap rubber (may have to do with the plastic taste at higher temps)
- Power button on the front is not for on/off, it’s to engage the heater once you switch the unit on with the unlabeled switch on the side.
- The air to vapor ratio is high at low temperatures (hard to get dense vapor)
- At temperatures around 370-380 you get a burnt popcorn/plastic taste
- Takes a long time to fully charge; about 2 hours
- Battery life could be longer (only good for 2-3 long sessions)
- No USB charger, only AC adapter
Final thoughts about the Sonic portable vaporizer
Upon first glance, everyone is going to immediately compare the Sonic vaporizer to the DaVinci portable vaporizer because of its looks. People will assume that the Sonic portable vaporizer is the “upgraded” or “newer” version of the DaVinci vape. However, I’m telling you right now that is not the case.
Judging by the company’s website, which is extremely vague, it almost seems to me as if a Chinese manufacturer attempted to make a knock-off DaVinci and just threw up a website to take sales.
The only way you can get in touch with them is by submitting a form via their Helpdesk, which is the same page as their contact page. There is no real contact information or mailing address, just a contact form you can fill out and submit. It all seems a bit sketchy and unreliable.
If I were looking for a reliable, portable vaporizer in this price range, I would have to go with the DaVinci. The quality of materials used in the DaVinci is a cut above the Sonic Portable Vaporizer, providing for a more reliable product and a healthier vaporizing experience overall.