The Vivant Alternate vaporizer features hybrid conduction/convection heating, a digital display and a removable battery in an attempt to allure users to a cheaper alternative to higher end vaporizers. While this unit has great potential we found a few issues that are worth discussing. Continue reading for the full scoop!
Review: Vivant Alternate
How it Works
The Vivant Alternate is pretty straightforward to use borrowing its design from the ever popular Storz & Bickel Crafty.
To load the unit rotate the mouthpiece/cooling chamber 90 degrees to remove it from the Alternate and expose the heating chamber.
Vivant includes a grinder/packing tool which you can screw onto the device to make loading the Alternate less messy, but you can also just pack the unit with your fingers if you don’t want to go through the extra steps or already have a superb grinder like the Zeus Bolt. Once the unit is loaded swivel the mouthpiece back into place and you are ready for your first session.
To turn the Vivant Alternate on, press the power button at the bottom of the device 5 times. The display will illuminate and flash the last set temperature and then it will display the current temperature.
Use the + and – buttons to set the unit to your desired temperature and then press and hold the power button for about 5 seconds. The word “Heat” will appear on the display and the unit will begin to heat up.
There is an LED on the front of the unit that will glow red and then turn green once the unit reaches temperature. You can also look at the digital display to see where your temperature is at.
The Alternate has a default timer of 60 seconds at which point the unit will go into sleep mode. You can update the Vivant Alternates firmware via their website, which will allow you to change the timer up to 5 minutes.
This unit takes around 2 minutes to reach its max temperature.
The Alternate can be set anywhere between 80C to 220C which gives you a decent temperature range to work within.
And because the unit is a precise temperature control unit you can set the unit down to the individual degree for an extremely customized session. With such a wide range of temperatures it is sure to satisfy most users.
With such a large range in temperature you are really able to customize the type of vapor you receive based on your preference.
Those who prefer thinner vapor will be able to do so by using lower temperatures, while those who prefer thicker vapor can boost the unit to its highest temperature.
Because the Vivant Alternate uses a combination of conduction and convection heating, the vapor output from this device is actually pretty good. Not as good as a unit like the Crafty and not quite as powerful as the Utillian 720, but still pretty decent especially for the price point.
The one area where the Alternate suffers is flavor. There is a very distinct plastic taste we found while using this unit. We hoped that this flavor would diminish with time but unfortunately after multiple sessions the plastic taste is still there. This flavor is fundamentally different from the normal taste of a new vaporizer which may have a ceramic quality to it because of the heater.
The flavor persisted at all temperature settings but seemed to get worse as the device heated up. The mouthpiece and external shell of the unit are all constructed from glass-filled polycarbonate and while this type of plastic is rugged, it does not handle high temperatures particularly well. The odor and flavor we are experiencing is definitely coming from the plastics in the mouthpiece. We really wished that Vivant used a more reliable plastic, especially for the mouthpiece, like PEEK, which is what the Mighty & Crafty use.
Based on vapor quality alone, we could not recommend this unit because the flavor of our herbs were diminished by the flavor of the actual device.
The Vivant Alternate is almost entirely made from plastic components besides the actual heating element itself. We already touched on the plastics used in the Vivant Alternate and how it directly effects the vapor quality.
We also are curious to see how the outer shell stands up to more rugged use. Glass filled poly-carbonate does tend to be fairly rugged but just how rugged remains to be seen.
We wish that Vivant worked out some way to secure the included stirring tool to the unit, as it tends to fall out whenever you go to dump out your vaporized herbs.
When we first saw that this unit had a removable battery we were thrilled, as this was the biggest complaint about the Crafty. And while we applaud for Vivant for making the battery swap-able we question how safe it actually is.
After we finished a session on the Vivant Alternate we popped out the battery and to our surprise it was very warm to the touch. When we started feeling around the battery bay we noticed that the entire bay was warm with a hot spot near the bottom of the battery bay. This particular spot is quite warm to the touch and makes us concerned about the safety of the internal battery being exposed to this heat over time.
If anything, the batteries on the Vivant have the potential of dying rather quickly and as we have seen with e-cigs, there is a chance for these batteries to explode if put under enough stress.
So while we love the idea that the Alternate has a removable battery, without proper insulation we really worry that the lifespan on the batteries will be less than optimal and in worse case scenarios could be potentially dangerous.
The battery life on the Vivant Alternate is also less than ideal. We found on a single charge we could only get around 3 – 4 sessions and the unit lasted on average 40 – 50 minutes.
Considering the unit is extremely similar to the Crafty and only uses a single 18650 to power it (like the Crafty), it does not surprise us that the battery life appears to be just as weak.
The Vivant does have the advantage of allowing you to carry around spare batteries which is a big plus.
The Vivant Alternate is a fairly portable device. It will easily fit in a pocket or purse for easy storage and travel. The ability to carry extra batteries to extend the life of the unit also adds to this units overall portability.
As we mentioned the stirring tool is not secured in the device and we could see it easily being lost when you go to dump your herbs out after a session. We’ve almost lost the tool a few times, as it tends to fly across the room when we turn the unit upside down to empty it.
If you are looking to make this unit even more portable we highly suggest picking up the Zeus Armor Case. This unit fits perfectly and there is enough space for the accessories, charger, as well as a custom spot for the Zeus Bolt Grinder. The case is splash resistant, odor resistant, and shock resistant offering a wide range of protection for this vaporizer.
One thing we really did like about the Vivant Alternate is the built in digital display at the bottom of the unit.
This small addition gives users precise temperature control right at their fingertips and doesn’t rely on an external app like the Crafty does. It also makes the Alternate very easy to use, just turn the device on, set your temperature, hold the power button and wait for it to heat.
We are thankful that Vivant released a firmware update to the unit that allows you to change the default timer from 1 minute to a maximum of 5 minutes. Only having 60 second cycles was beyond annoying and the ability to change this makes the unit far more user friendly. Even installing the firmware update was a breeze.
We had high hopes for the Vivant Alternate, we loved the design, loved the idea of the removable battery and we really liked the price.
However after our time with the unit we are a bit disappointed. The unit has great potential, but the distinct plastic flavor we received from this vaporizer really ruined the overall vapor quality from the device. We really hope Vivant rethinks the plastics used in this vaporizer and focuses on a more satisfying flavor experience.
Our other reservation comes from the removable battery. While we give Vivant credit for allowing for a swap-able battery, the battery bay lacks insulation and the battery itself gets quite warm during operation. Having seen horror stories of E-Cig batteries exploding, we are worried about how this heat and stress will affect the battery long term.
If you are looking for a unit like the Vivant Alternate, we highly suggest checking out the Utillian 720. It does a far better job at preserving the flavor of your herbs with no plastic flavors or odors and it uses a non-removable 18650 Lithium-Polymer battery which is far safer than the Vivant Alternates Lithium-Ion.
If you have questions about our Vivant Alternate review or just want to let us know what you think, feel free to drop us a comment below! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep up to date with all our contests, sales alerts and other fun stuff! Thanks for reading and as always, keep vapin’!