Another week, another new Heat not Burn device to play with. I’m really enjoying watching how the technology is developing, and how various companies are starting with the basic concept then bringing in ideas from other products – mostly e-cigs, but with some clever innovations pulled from other places, too.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I got another interesting package in the mail. This contained an AVBAD device and, as a little bonus, nine packs of Healcier herbal sticks in assorted flavours. I’ll come back to the herbal sticks later on; first let’s look at the device itself.
For some reason I like flat boxes. Maybe that’s because I can slip them into one of the concealed pockets most of my jackets are infested with, rather than having to carry them. Who knows? In any case, the AVBAD comes in a nice flat box. Slide off the protective sleeve and open the lid, and everything’s neatly presented in a single layer of foam. One little nest holds the AVBAD; another, hidden under a flap, has a USB charging cable and a pack of cleaning swabs. There’s also an instruction booklet in several languages, including English (luckily).
The AVBAD is what I can best describe as a funny shape. It’s a sort of rounded-off parallelogram, with the removable HEET holder at one end and a USB charging port on the front edge. How can you tell it’s the front? Well, it has a row of icons printed on it. And that’s where this device gets innovative.
Actually it got annoying at first, because I couldn’t work out how to switch it on. There are no actual buttons on it, just those printed icons. One of them is the usual power icon, which was promising, but poking at it didn’t seem to do anything.
I assumed poking it should have done something, because some of the technology the AVBAD borrows comes from mobile phone touch screens. The reason it has no buttons is that it uses inductive sensors instead – the same technology that tells your phone what bit of the screen your finger is smudging right now.
This is actually a pretty smart idea. If you’ve owned a few e-cig mods you’ll know that the buttons are usually the first thing to fail. The tiny microswitches they use have a fairly high average life in terms of the number of clicks they’re good for, but it is an average. The chances are that out of the three or four buttons on your mod, one or two will go on forever and another will fail in a few months.
Inductive sensors don’t have that problem. Because they have no moving parts they don’t wear out, so as long as you keep the device reasonably clean the sensors should last pretty much forever. Using them on the AVBAD was a smart move, and definitely piqued my interest in the device – but I couldn’t get it to work. Anyway I’ll come back to that too.
In terms of build quality I was more than happy with the AVBAD. The body is plastic, but from the weight there may be some metal structure inside as well. All the parts fit together very nicely, and while it’s a fairly light device it also feels rock solid. Of course, none of that matters much if it’s a terrible vape, so how does it perform?
Vaping the AVBAD
Putting a full charge in the AVBAD takes around an hour and a half. Once that’s done, using it is simple – just slot a HEET into the holder, turn it on and tell it to start heating up.
Oh yes – turning it on. It took me a long time to figure this out. I was holding my finger on the power button, tapping it three times, tapping it five times, tapping it once – no matter what I did, nothing happened. Finally, with some (not much) help from the instructions, I figured it out. To turn it on you have to put your finger on the power button then swipe it down over the other buttons; everything lights up for a few seconds and that’s the AVBAD ready to go.
Powering up the heater is simple once you’ve turned the device on; just tap the power button three times. It will vibrate and buzz to let you know it’s started, then buzz again when it’s warmed up and ready to vape. That takes just under 20 seconds, which is about average.
The AVBAD is a temperature control device with three selectable levels; to choose, you can page through them using the “gear change” button, just below the power button. Illuminated numbers show which mode you’re on. I did try all three, with my usual Bronze HEETs, but found the highest setting was more to my taste.
Yes, the AVBAD delivers a good vape. There’s plenty of vapour and the taste is excellent. It tails off a bit towards the end of a stick, but that’s pretty normal – there’s only so much vapour one HEET can produce. The AVBAD will buzz to warn you after four minutes and ten seconds, or 14 puffs; you then get another 30 seconds or two puffs. Personally I wouldn’t bother with the last two, though – after 14, the HEET is pretty much done.
Anyway, that’s the situation with HEETs. Now let’s look at the Healcier herbal sticks that came with the AVBAD. The box they arrived in is boldly marked, “Stay fresh stay non-nicotine”, and the details below that state that they contain no nicotine or tar.
I’ll say right now that I have no problem with nicotine. In the sort of doses people vape it’s not harmful, using it doesn’t cause the social problems associated with most other drugs, and there’s really no reason to stop using it. If you do want to stop, though, herbal sticks are probably as good a way as any.
My package included various flavours of Healcier stick; Regular (tobacco-flavoured), Menthol, Blueberry, Citrus, Grapefruit and Coffee. The manufacturer told us that some flavours are designed for the Asian market, which has different tastes, and my experience certainly reflects that – I really didn’t get on with a few of them.
On the other hand, the sticks deliver plenty of vapour – just as much as a HEET – and it’s warm and satisfying. The menthol sticks were pretty good, and I enjoyed the coffee flavour too. Would I switch from HEETs to Healcier sticks? No; I want my nicotine. However, if you want to be nicotine-free for some reason I’d say these are definitely worth a shot. Get a pack of each flavour, try them out and see which ones work for you. Apart from the absence of any nicotine hit they vape just fine.
To learn more about the Healcier herbal zero nicotine sticks please visit them at http://skshealcier.com
I was very impressed with the AVBAD. It’s an ingenious little device, well made and effective, and (once I figured out how to switch it on) simple to use. Its battery holds enough power to get through 15 to 18 sticks on a full charge, making it a viable option to carry around all day, and the vape really is pretty good. I have high hopes on the durability front, too – the inductive buttons should never fail. Overall? Yes, I’d happily buy one of these.
For more information about the AVBAD please feel free to visit their website at http://www.avba-d.com