So named for its ability to vaporize any raw cannabis (bud or wax), the Atmos Raw (Part 1 of my review) was High Time’s Winner for best vaporizer pen in their tech issue last year. Being one of the only portable vapes that can handle any kind of raw cannabis, it is not hard to see why this pen is so popular.
This item retails at most stores and at the official Atmos site for around $175; just like with so many other new things that come out in 2012, what you’re actually paying for is the very small technology. However, I’m going to let you all in on a Weedist secret: the Atmos Raw is available on EBay for about $80. I’m certainly not sure how the vendor on EBay sells them for that cheap, but there you go. Be forewarned, however: if you do choose to get a pen from a “non authorized” retailer, you will not be able to get a warranty from Atmos, which will definitely come in handy if (and unfortunately, most likely when) the pen starts having problems.
After excitingly taking off the shrink-wrap like a kid on Christmas morning, I was eager to get vaping. One of the first things I noticed was that the chamber is actually quite small- to actually make it look more like a pen, the chamber only holds a few hits worth of anything (even finely ground-up bud can hold only a few hits, though earwax was a bit more).
It’s obvious why the chamber is so small, and this definitely cuts down on the portability of the Atmos Raw. However, the Atmos Raw can be used with any other Atmos cartridges, as I discussed in my review of the Atmos Rx. In fact, I decided to batch these two pen reviews together, because I actually bought the Atmos Raw first.
The reason I needed to get an Atmos Rx in the first place was because the battery of my Atmos Raw died within the first month of owning one. One day, it simply would not light up like normal; because I still wanted to use both the glass cartridges and the raw chamber, I decided to just go ahead and get the Atmos Rx simply so I could use this battery. This actually worked out very well, since the Raw and Rx batteries can use the same cartridges.
After talking to the Atmos Raw rep and getting some good pointers, a co-worker at the dispensary was joking about how if a guy like me who regularly sells Atmos pens can’t figure out how to keep the pen from not breaking, then there was very little hope for anyone else. This led me to start not only thinking about writing this review, but also coming up with some great rules I’ve learned and have started following to ensure that my pen lasts. So, without any further adieu, here we go:
Prospero’s Rules of Atmos Raw Vaporizer Pen Best Practices:
- Do NOT over-charge the battery. Follow whatever the instructions tell you do to; if it says to only charge for a maximum of 2 hours, don’t expect to charge it for 3 and still have it if you charge the battery too long, it WILL die.
- These Things are Fragile! Even though the Atmos look strong, you need to be careful. The Atmos Raw is great for on-the-go smoking, especially if you use a strain specific glass cartridge. However, don’t ever mess with the battery and/or coil, heating unit, or anything else that requires electricity. Take care when cleaning any of the parts of the Atmos Raw or any other pen, even when just using the re-loadable cartridges. The customer service rep I spoke to at Atmos recommended taking apart the unit after every use to let it cool down and ensure that nothing will go wrong. While that might not be necessary for every single vaporizer pen, it obviously prolongs the life of the Atmos. I’ve started just simply disconnecting the parts when I get home; having to do it after use definitely ruins the portability, but I’ve been getting by just fine keeping it connected after using it.
- Whenever possible, use a screen. If that screen can be a glass screen, that’s better. For the Atmos Raw, a glass screen is available. The instructions that come with the Atmos Raw discus exactly how to use the glass screen for “total vaporization”. The glass screen is the absolute the best way to go; just let it heat up for about 10 seconds and then take the cleanest, fullest hit possible. Atmos sells these screens extra on their website for $8.99 per pack, and then another $9 in shipping. Yes, it’s ridiculous that’s the price for shipping 3 glass screens (total package less then 1 pound), but it is worth it. Some MMJ dispensaries actually sell the Atmos Raw with glass screen included, so be on the lookout for that.
- Make sure to not let it go off in your pocket. If it has a locking mechanism, great. The Atmos Raw is designed with that in mind, which is why the button to activate the battery is flush with the rest of the pen; on the Atmos Rx, however, the pen is raised above the rest of the pen and does not have a locking mechanism.
- Do NOT overload the chamber. Even though the Atmos Raw has a small chamber, you will block the airflow if you load too much into the chamber. After the first few uses, I honestly just stopped using raw bud; even though I think that raw flower is definitely delicious, I have to confess that I think that earwax and shatter concentrates are best. The Atmos Raw is a great substitute for a dab hit for anyone that doesn’t want to deal with a torch, glass nail, and piece. Concentrates taste delicious from the Raw, and I really think that this is one of the best pens for anyone with a very high tolerance.
- Atmos Raw can use any other Atmos cartridge. The battery of Atmos Raw is compatible with other Atmos cartridges. Even though it’s a larger initial investment by about $100, it’s worth getting the raw because you then have more options of what you can smoke.
The final thing I’ll say is that I really do think the Atmos Raw is a great pen, but only if you keep the above in mind. I’ll definitely be waiting for the day when the “IPOD” of vaporizer pens comes out that is a totally perfect unit. Until that day, I still like my Atmos Raw.
July 12, 2013 Update:
Atmos has a new model that definitely improves many of the problems with the Atoms Raw: the Atmos Bullet, here’s my review.
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