Compact vaporizers are probably the fastest developing niche in dry herb portables at the moment, and for very good reasons. Users aren’t just looking for something handy. Small no longer equals less power and the G-Pen Elite 2 (review | buy) and the DaVinci IQC (review | buy), are moving past just basic, these two come packed with features and complex tech - all while still being straightforward in use, and delivering top-notch sessions.
- Updated & Upgraded
- Sleek, Minimal, Compact Portables
- On-board Controls & Displays
- Zirconia Ceramic Parts
- USB-C Charging
- Kit and Accessories
- IQC Smart Paths and Smartphone app
- IQC: Conduction Heating
- Dual Heating Technology
Updated & Upgraded
Both the DaVinci IQC and G-Pen Elite 2 are upgraded and updated versions of very successful predecessors.
The DaVinci IQC takes the iconic and road-tested design of the 2016 original IQ (review | buy) and refreshed it to be more functional, improving its ergonomics, applied materials, and overall performance. It still retains several DaVinci signatures such as a lightweight and portable body, LED light display, zirconia pearl, and customizable smart paths. But it stands out from the rest of the brand’s products by having a more rugged look, new hi-temperature silicone replacements for zirconia parts, and USC-C charging.
The G-Pen Elite 2 follows its successful predecessor - the Elite (also released in 2016) and looks-wise, it's nearly similar. Under the hood and as far as tech is concerned, it’s been completely redesigned and is made for 2022. It features a fully colored OLED display, haptic feedback, a two-part zirconia mouthpiece (with a spiral ceramic airpath), a dual heating convection/conduction ceramic chamber, and a 2100mAh battery that charges via USB-C.
Sleek, Minimal, Compact Portables
Most devices of this size follow a pretty similar design and are some of the best-looking devices out there. They’re made minimal, discreet, and give barely any clue that they’re vaporizers - especially at first glance.
The IQC sports a durable and dense-looking sandblasted aluminum body. Sandblasted aluminum was actually the same material used on the original IQ, but changed to brushed aluminum on the IQ2. The IQC comes in several colors and all in a matte finish.
The IQC’s design is a refreshed take on the classic IQ - the original, the IQ2, and even the much smaller Miqro (review | buy) all had monochromatic looks and aluminum lids. This change in body material and the blacktop outline definitely adds to the new rugged, rough feel of the IQC.
G-Pen Elite 2
The Elite 2’s body is constructed out of a zinc alloy and feels durable, dense, and solid in your hands. Its components have a pretty standard placement; the mouthpiece sits on top, the tactile buttons are placed on the sides, the USB-C port is located at the base, and there’s a small oven tool that slips right into the body.
One of the Elite 2’s best features is its ergonomic design. All the lines, grooves, and dips on the Elite 2 are more than just attractive. They guide your hand to the most comfortable and ideal grip, and the buttons are also shaped in descending sizes so you won’t ever have to fumble or look at them.
On-board Controls & Displays
An on-board display or any means of communicating device status is essential to any device and the same can definitely be said about on-board controls. Other compact portables employ the use of LED lights/ strips, haptic feedback, and extend control to a smartphone app.
The DaVinci IQC and the G-Pen Elite 2 have both controls and a display. The IQC even takes it up a notch by being compatible with its app.
The LED grid on the IQC is actually a DaVinci signature and has remained largely unchanged since the original device.
The grid is comprised of 51 individual LEDs that display the current temperature levels, device status, and battery level. To dim the LEDs, activate “stealth mode” by pressing the power button together with the down arrow button. On the right of the device are 3 small, tactile buttons for power, and for turning the temperature up/down, or toggling through the smart paths.
Full-Color TFT Display, LED Light & On-Board Controls
The G-Pen Elite 2 has onboard controls and several device menus. Located on the rear bottom of the Elite 2 is a full-color TFT display that shows the current device status, operating temperature, and battery level. For further discretion, the screen is completely invisible as soon as it shuts off and then that whole shiny section just looks like a design choice rather than a display. On the side are the buttons - which are shaped in descending sizes so you won’t ever have to fumble around looking for the firing button.
Since the screen is at the back, there’s a small LED light in the front that blinks during heating and becomes solid when it’s good to go. The light sits at an angle so it's only visible when you’re looking down on it, but not from any other direction.
Zirconia Ceramic Parts
In recent years, zirconia has become more and more popular as a material in vaporizers. It’s a strong, lightweight material, with low thermal conductivity, and helps keep the vapor pure and free of impurities.
The IQC’s Flavor Chamber & Pearl
DaVinci is the brand that definitely made this material their signature and applied it to all of their devices. Devices in the IQ line all feature a zirconia flavor chamber, mouthpiece, and a small pearl within the oven. Since the IQC is meant to be the more “rugged” device in the pack, it has a silicone mouthpiece instead.
- Flavor chamber: It cools down the vapor, and can double as a small storage container - holding just enough herb for a single session. On the former devices, the lid that sealed the flavor chamber was also made of zirconia- but on the IQC, it’s been replaced with the same hi-temp silicone that’s present throughout the device.
- Zirconia Pearl: The pearl sits on a short thread, allowing you to screw it out a bit and packs the material tighter - effectively reducing the amount of space in the oven. Since the IQC is a conduction vaporizer, it’s best for the material to be as close to the internal heating element as possible and the zirconia pearl helps with that. The pearl heats up to create a more even heat distribution, therefore creating a more even “burn” of the herb.
G-Pen Elite 2: 3-part mouthpiece
Grenco Science might just be making multi-part pieces their signature. Their other recent release, the G-Pen Micro+ (review | buy) had a two-part mouthpiece while the Elite 2 has a three-part mouthpiece, with 2/3 pieces made out of zirconia.
- The Outer Zirconia Shell: Zirconia is a strong material with low thermal conductivity – which simply means it’s not going to get uncomfortably warm, nor is it fragile.
- Inner silicone sleeve: This sleeve has a screen to filter particles, protects the helix encased inside, and keeps heat from dissipating outwards onto the mouthpiece.
- Zirconia helix: The helix is designed to effectively lengthen the vapor path, ensuring that you get only the coolest and purest results.
The entire mouthpiece connects to the main device body via strong and snappy magnets hidden under the housing.
Finally, more and more devices are veering away from the old and outdated Micro-USB and are now charging via USB-C - which is way more stable and just as accessible.
Both devices however have pretty drastically different batteries and charge times. The DaVinci IQC is powered by a removable 18650 battery that lasts around 6-8 sessions on a full charge, and a full charge from empty will take 2 hours. I highly recommend considering purchasing a replacement battery (buy on amazon) so you can swap the dead one out for a charged one when needed.
The G-Pen Elite 2 is powered by a 2100mAh battery, which is good for about 60 minutes of continuous use. It charges from empty to full in just under an hour and a half.
Usually, updated devices are priced higher than their predecessor and this is true for the Elite 2, which is priced at $249. That’s a pretty big jump from the $169 of the older Elite.
However, since there are a number of material swaps on the IQC- such as the former zirconia pieces that have been replaced with hi-temperature silicone parts, and the aluminum lids were swapped out for antimicrobial polymer lids. These changes brought down the price from the IQ’s $295 to $229 for the IQC.
Kit and Accessories
Both devices come with everything you need to start using the device straight away. They both come with their respective charging cables, cleaning tools, and manuals. The only outlier is that the IQC’s kit comes with an extended mouthpiece which can be used as a water pipe adapter.
The Elite 2’s entire kit comes inside the brand’s signature smell-proof hemp hard case, which also has a cut-out for your device and holds it in place.
IQC Conduction Heating
The IQC features conduction heating - meaning it heats the herb via direct contact. The resulting vapor on the IQC is delicate, clean, and flavorful. While conduction heating usually results in harsh and hot vapor, the IQC’s sealed zirconia/glass vapor path does a very good job of cooling down vapor. The zirconia pearl also helps regulate temperature and helps heat the herb more evenly than it would if it wasn’t there.
IQC Smart Paths & Smartphone App
The IQC has two modes: Precision mode and Smart Profiles. Precision mode allows for to-the-degree temperature control which is similar to what you get on the Elite 2.
Smart Profiles are a DaVinci exclusive and it’s fully customizable via the accompanying smartphone app. Essentially it gradually increases the oven temperature during your session and lasts 8 minutes. Once you select your Smart Profile setting, the LED lights flash until it reaches the right temperature and vibrates to let you know when it’s ready.
By default, these are the pre-set smart profile temperatures:
- Mode 1: starts at 350F and increases to 370F
- Mode 2: starts at 370F and increases to 390F
- Mode 3: starts at 390 and increases to 410F
- Mode 4: starts at 410 and increases to 430F
Dual Heating Technology
Dual Heating is what makes the G-Pen Elite 2, one of the most exciting releases of 2022. Dual Heating is a patent-pending technology (currently exclusive to the Elite 2) that harnesses the capabilities of both conduction and convection heating. Meaning that the two heating systems can work independently of each other. It uses conduction to heat up the herb in the oven, and then a draw-activated convection system that generates heat outside the oven and pulls it in with every inhale.
Vapor Quality: The first draw is a little thin, which is typical of small devices - yet, once the temperature builds up in the oven, the vapor becomes thick and dense – as you’d get on a conduction vaporizer. But it’s also flavorful and very nuanced – which is obviously the result of conduction heating.
Between these two devices, either one that you decide to get will be an excellent, well-performing device that won’t disappoint. Getting the G-Pen Elite 2 or the DaVinci IQC all depends on what you prefer - smart features & and a rugged design or onboard controls and a sleek, minimal device.
If it were up to me, however, the Elite 2 might be a bit more expensive at $249, but its hardware and features are well worth the +$20. Also, being able to experience a new heating method and being able to compare those results with other methods is quite exciting. To read more about the best devices available and all our in-depth reviews on each one, check out our list of the best dry herb vaporizers of 2022.