Okay, so I was a bit skeptical of the "it's just like the first time" claim. Chalked it up to people smoking more than usual... "load testing" their EVOs, if you will. Throw in a little bit of subconscious "I gotta justify this $500-$1000 I just spent", and I figured it's maybe a little bit true, but probably mostly self-serving hype, and I better start preparing myself for an okay-but-not-mind-blowing experience. After all, my LSV did me well for a while, but it soon wore off, and I've been using more flower with each and every day.
Well, I got my EVO yesterday from FedEx at 5:30pm. By 6:00 I was dividing .15g into 3 ELBs. I never use this little herb with the LSV, I easily triple that. And searching for the "first time" feeling, I'll triple that 3 times over again. Like many of you, my tolerance is ridiculously high, and I figured that the virgin experience was just out of my reach without the use of lengthy tolerance breaks. But there I was, 3 hours later, still with that first time feeling! It was then I realized: It's for real. It's so easy. It takes so little. And this is everything I've been looking for.
If I didn't know any better, I'd say that the VXL Cloud EVO employs witchcraft to achieve such results. There is some amazing extraction going on. The combination of convection and conduction heating appears to be key. I also think the fine mesh of the ELBs leads to a finer aerosol that is more readily absorbed into the bloodstream. Basically, this thing is super-efficient in absolutely every area.
This morning, repeat performance, same result. I'm excited! I think I can finally stop chasing the dragon. This investment will easily pay for itself in the coming months, because I'll be saving so much on flower.
There are already good videos/pics of the LE & Straight Neck Fanatic tubes, and great reviews, so I'll keep mine short & relevant to some of the issues that come immediately to mind.
EVO: Small, light, easy to use. I do want to get a cord that is more pliable. I think the stiff cord is why I didn't like inverting the EVO on the Mobius Reti Bub. Also, I had a loose ELB cap fall into the Cloud Buddy. The heat is real, but the bottom is room-temp, easy to handle. The whistling of the bamboo is barely noticeable/audible, regardless of how slow/fast I draw.
Fanatic Straight-Neck HT: Incredible piece of glass! I first thought there wasn't enough room above the ice pinches. Turned out to be perfect; the placement helps ensure against over-filling with ice (it melts!), and the cooling effect is immediate. Made the experience incredibly enjoyable (No cough!). However, I immediately learned I DO NOT want to ever allow the full weight of the tube + gravity to rest on the EVO joint. Those joints locked up real good. I rocked and rocked, accidentally twisted, rocked some more, set it down and cried and thought great I've already broken it goddammmmnnnittt!!!! But then I took a deep breath, turned the unit off. Counted to 30. Rocked the HT and off it came. Phew! With this big bad heavy HT, I now hold the tube in my left hand, and slowly join the EVO from below with my right hand. I have no fear of experiencing joint lock again with this method. Thank God. That was scary. It's the weight and size of the tube that made it so scary, it just manhandles the bamboo when it's locked on tight. The Hydraline HT, on the other hand....
Hydraline HT: I was shocked by how small it is! Truth is, it's probably the perfect size. When filled with water, it stands perfectly upright without the aid of an hydrafoot. No fear of joint lock with this piece resting on top. Also has pinches! Dragless! (The double perc'd Fanatic tube has noticeably more drag, but is so easy to milk at low draw speeds with the EVO that it doesn't matter in the least.) The Hydraline is already my favorite piece to pair the EVO with. My Mobius bub seems unnecessary unless my EVO breaks. (I imagine within the next 6 mo's I'll buy a backup EVO, so that'll never happen!)
ELBs: Easy to use, and clean. Picked up some GUM Proxabrush Go-Betweens to clean them with. Perfectly sized and priced for the purpose. I'm probably gonna want to rig up something like @t-dub has for loading them, though. Haven't decided where I like to fill to, but probably somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 full. Combusted with a 3/4 full ELB last night (full with cap on). Accidentally left it in the EVO joint (vaked!) and tried to hit it when I 'remembered' it was there. Everything was going great until I thought "this thing just keeps on milking!" and BAM! combustion. Bummer. That was with the setting at 12. On the other hand, it was the smoothest, most satisfying bowl I've ever smoked, ever! No cough!
The Dial: I've already discovered I'll be staying in the 8-11 o' clock range. Everything comes out like coffee grounds if I hit it till it's done at the upper end of that range. No need to go higher. Haven't tried kief yet, might go up to 12 then. I was all ready to experiment with concentrates given the dragon chase and all, but now I don't think I'll even need to go there. Flower power's back, baby! Hashmarks on the EVO would be nice, but easily used a permanent marker (I chose dark blue, Sharpie has lots of colors these days!) to make tiny dots like @Deadshort480 did (I think it was him...). I only made three marks, 9, 10, 11. The hashmarks on the dial makes this easy to do, as others have noted. My marks are totally invisible unless you know where to look, and at just the right angle. Perfect for my taste. The dial rocks into place at 12, which is nice. If one is careless, it's easy to bump the dial to a higher/lower temp. It'd be nice if it was somewhat like a watch, where if the dial is pushed in, then turning it doesn't affect anything (but in this case it'd be 'locked' or prevented from turning when pushed in).
So, that's my 'short' review. Video will be forthcoming but will take time.
To anyone on the fence about purchasing an EVO....do it, get it, you will be OH! SO! HAPPY!
-Fame is Vapor