Ascent vs DaVinci IQ – Generation Gap

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The DaVinci Ascent was one of the most popular portable vaporizers for a period of time, but lately it has been overshadowed by new releases from just about every major manufacturer, including DaVinci themselves. Their new vaporizer is the IQ, and today we’re going to put these two siblings up against each other to see which one is the better deal. Are the innovative features worth the extra price, or are you better off going with a classic?

Ascent vs IQ


Vapor Quality

At one time the Ascent was seen as one of the best vaporizers for vapor quality, this way mainly due to the ceramic heating chamber which lead to an all glass vapor path, however as technology has improved the vapor quality can now be seen as sub par compared to newer units. Not to mention it required a lot of stirring to get decent vapor each draw.

The one major complaint that I have about the Ascent is that the vapor can get hotter than many other premium options. You could argue that the Ascent is no longer a premium level vaporizer due to its age, but the point remains that the vapor is sometimes hot. This seems to only be a problem when you take a fast draw while you have the temp set high.

The DaVinci IQ has noticeably better vapor. It is still conduction based heating, but the flavor is excellent thanks to the ceramic zirconia vapor pathway and the efficient heating styles. If you remember to stir it often, the results are fantastic. I personally forget to do this most of the time, which leads to uneven heating and the flavor dropping off earlier in your session.

I’m also getting smoother and denser vapor from the IQ. All things considered, its vapor is much more enjoyable.

Manufacturing Quality

When the Ascent was first released, it had very advanced features compared to other portables on the market. From the digital screen with precise temperature control to the included oil can and all glass vapor pathway, there’s a lot to like about how this is built.

The battery life was advertised as being 3 hours (and even 4 hours at one point before launch) but in practice you get more like 1.5 hours.

DaVinci did a great job improving on the legacy of the Ascent with the IQ. It has a ton of innovative features, especially when it comes to heating styles. The temperature is fully adjustable from the base unit, but there is an app that you can use to unlock even more functionality.

For example, the IQ has a Smart Path feature that will automatically increase the temperature throughout your session to help with full extraction of your herbs. You can engage a Smart Path from the device itself, but you can only choose the temperatures using the app. There are also special modes for boosting the temperature, making the heating more efficient for group use, and even making the whole experience more stealthy.

DaVinci also managed to do something with the IQ that they had planned for the Ascent but failed to achieve: it’s powered by a removable battery. This is great because batteries are often the first thing to fail in a vaporizer and being removable means a failing battery isn’t a death sentence for the whole unit.

Ease of Use

The Ascent is a little easier to use at first, but only because it doesn’t offer as many different settings. You simply turn it on and set the temperature using the up and down arrows.Where the Ascent loses points is when it comes to the cleaning, the Ascent is notoriously hard to clean, the glass parts are very narrow and have odd angles that trap oils. The bowl itself gets stained very easily and requires some sharp tools and muscles to scrape off. It is a bit of a disaster.

The IQ has a lot more to control, so it can also be a bit more complicated off the hope. The IQ requires less stirring during a session and is much easier to clean thanks to the removable ceramic zirconia vapor path. Cleaning is a big part of owning a vaporizer so the fact that the IQ is easier gives it the win here.

Portability

The Ascent was always considered to be a pretty portable vaporizer thanks to its size. If you’ve used or owned one, you may be surprised to learn that the IQ is actually significantly smaller. It’s even shorter than the Pax 3!The battery lives are comparable between the two, but the IQ does have the option to carry additional 18650’s which you can swap on the fly. The IQ also seems less breakable than the Ascent because it doesn’t have the screen or glass mouthpiece.

Battery Life

Technically the Ascent has a slightly longer battery life. I get about 90 minutes from it and 75 from the IQ. But the waters get muddy when you factor in the removeable battery.You can pick up an extra 18650 for about $10-$15 and immediately double your battery life. You can also grab an external charger, thereby guaranteeing that you’re never out of juice. For this reason, I’m giving this category to the IQ as well.

Discreetness

There are  a few reasons that I think the IQ is a huge improvement over the Ascent when it comes to staying discreet. The obvious one is the size because you can completely conceal the IQ in your hand. Related to that, the IQ can be used with a flat mouthpiece.

This means there is nothing sticking up above the base at all, which decreases visibility. There is also the stealth heating mode that I mentioned, which is designed to decrease odors and visible vapor. Finally, the Ascent had an annoying habit of leaking vapor out the bottom if you tilted it while holding it.

Temperature Flexibility

Normally when we talk about temperature flexibility, we’re talking about whether or not you can choose the temperature your vape heats to. In that sense, these are both very flexible because they give you full control.The IQ takes it much further though. The Smart Paths let you choose additional temperatures ahead of time. Some of the special modes will change what the temperature is when you aren’t actually taking a draw. Once again, the IQ deserves the win.

SHOWDOWN

The IQ is the winner of this showdown!

Needless to say, DaVinci made huge improvements from one vaporizer to the next. The IQ easily beats the Ascent in every category I judged them on today except one, and the only reason it lost the ease of use category is because it has so many features!

I think the IQ is a great vaporizer. It had a rocky launch, but things seem to be getting on track now, complete with better customer support. The vapor quality won’t be as good as the Solo 2 or Firefly 2, but it’s still better than 90% of portables. Speaking of, the portability of the IQ is extremely nice for a vaporizer that offers so many other great features.

I used to like the Ascent, but as I’ve mentioned in other showdowns, it is starting to feel dated. I don’t see anything all that special about the Ascent that would lead me to recommend it over something else.

Also be sure to check out our Portable Vaporizer Ranking Chart to see how these units stack up against the field.

About Author

Milad is a gadget collector and master crafter extraordinaire. He loves taking things apart, marvel comics and 'Iron Man.'

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