I’ve never had my opinion shift so quickly when it comes to reviewing a product more than with the KandyPens Oura concentrate vaporizer. Let me tell you, reviewing this product has been an emotional roller coaster with a few highs (no pun intended) but mostly lows. I was ecstatic about reviewing the Oura – internet hype over this vaporizer has been insane, with some consumers and YouTubers putting this on their “Top E-Rigs of 2019” list. Thanks to VapeActive, we got our very own to try out.
A lot of heady dab bros out there will tell you that this device is a direct competitor to (and possibly better than) the Puffco Peak. I’m here to cut through all the paid youtube reviews to tell you that this simply isn’t true. Here’s our unbiased review of one of the most sought after vaporizers of 2019 – the KandyPens Oura.
Look and Design – 2.75/5
Aesthetically, the design of the Oura is good, not great. We received the black base, which personally fits my aesthetic. If black isn’t for you, the Oura comes in seven different colors. I’m a huge fan of options, so that really appealed to me. That being said, no matter which base you get, you’re always going to be stuck with the sort of weird, round glass that comes standard with the vaporizer kit. It has a bulbous, almost onion-esque shape to it, resulting in the mouthpiece being a little smaller of an opening than what I would consider ideal. You definitely have to pucker up a little bit when hitting the Oura.
However, my biggest pet peeve with the design of the Oura isn’t with the aesthetics of the glass, but the functionality of the base – more specifically, the “haptic feedback.”
While there is technically haptic feedback, the base really only vibrates 1. to let you know that the heating cycle is over (not that Oura is ready to hit, there’s no warning for that) and 2. the unit is shutting off. It doesn’t vibrate when you’re cycling through temperatures, it doesn’t vibrate to let you know that the heating cycle has started, and as I mentioned before, it certainly doesn’t vibrate to let you know that the atomizer has reached the right temperature to take a dab. I don’t think I would mind this as much if I hadn’t already seen what a true haptic feedback experience could actually be in the Puffco Peak.
I think the most annoying part of the design of the Oura is the button on the front. It’s not an actual button, but rather a touch sensor that you tap to use. This is the only means of controlling the Oura – tap 5 times to turn it on or off, three times to change the temperature, and twice to heat it up. There are a couple of problems with the design of the “button”, the first being that the sensor itself is kind of iffy. If you tap too fast, you run the risk of your touch not being registered. Tap too slow, and you might turn off the heating cycle while you were just trying to change the temperature. Again, there’s no haptic response to tapping the button, so it really is a guessing game when it comes to trying to figure out if you actually managed to press the button or not. Compare this to the Puffco Peak, which has a physical button that you have to press to activate, and vibrates every time you push it.
I really wish the Oura had a physical button because my last complaint about the touch sensor is its location. The button sits front and center of the base, which means that when you hold it to take a dab, your pointer finger naturally rests right on top of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally changed the temperature or ended the heating cycle MID-DAB just because of where the button is and how it’s designed. Because there’s no haptic response to the button being pressed, half of the time you don’t even notice that you shut it off.
Build Quality – 4/5
The Oura has an extremely solid feel to it in-hand. The base has a decent weight and has a light rubber coating which makes it easy to grip. The glass piece is pretty solid (I’ve tipped it over a few times with no damage done to it) and it has a flat base that allows is to sit upright without being inserted into the base.
However, when we actually went to use our device, the atomizer blew out on the third heat cycle, resulting in an extremely plastic-y taste. The bottom of the brand new quartz chamber was black, as well as the coil in the atomizer. We reached out to VapeActive, who informed us that another customer recently had a similar issue, and they were able to get a new atomizer under the warranty but that they had to do it through KandyPens directly. According to VapeActive, “The Kandypens Oura come with [a] lifetime manufacturer warranty (atomizer, glass and the unit.)”
So we contacted KandyPens, and sure enough, they responded within a couple of hours, asked for our address, and shipped us a new atomizer with 3-day priority. The Customer Service Rep who helped us, Kali, also told me that if I wanted to, I could send her some images of the atomizer so that she could troubleshoot what went wrong and make suggestions for avoiding the problem in the future. The new atomizer that they sent us technically functions, but not really as advertised. We’ll get more into that later on.
Long story short, the biggest upside to the build quality is that if anything breaks, it’s covered under a lifetime warranty. After spending over $100 on new atomizers for my Puffco in the last few months, I can say that I definitely appreciate this warranty.
Hit/High Experience – 7/10
I have had just as many bad experiences smoking out of this device as I have had good ones. Of course, the first couple of hits were terrible – nobody likes the taste of a burned-out atomizer. However, our replacement atomizer, while it functions, seems to be weaker than it should be. I’ve tried every size dab on every heat setting, and I can’t find a consistent method of getting milky cloudy hits in one heat cycle. Let me explain what I mean.
Whenever I smoke out of the Oura, I can never just heat it once. I load my dab, heat up the rig, and hit it, but the vapor never milks. It’s just a thin cloud of mist in the glass piece, followed by a small hit. You would expect this while set to the lowest heating setting, but I found this to be true of the highest as well. After this first weak hit, I always check the chamber to see if there is still any oil in there, and low and behold, there always is. Then, when I run the Oura for a second heat cycle, I get hit with the clouds I was expecting the first time around. Having to double heat cycle every time I want to do a dab is really annoying, and something I would expect from an atomizer about to die, not a fresh one (and don’t forget that the reason I even had to get a second atomizer is because the first one died right out of the box.)
When I was in contact with Oura customer service, I asked about what the quality assurance procedure looks like with this device, and if atomizer issues happen often. Kali assured me that my issue was out of the ordinary, but a quick search of the comments on KandyPens’ site shows that I’m not the only one who received a dead atomizer out of the box, so I’m not sure how thorough the QA process actually is (although every unit does come with a dated QA tag inside the box.)
A lot of people use their atomizer mishaps as an opportunity to talk about how great KandyPens’ customer service is. And it truly is amazing – from the time I contacted them to the time I received my replacement atomizer, only three days had passed, with almost no questions asked. It was really easy to replace, but the question I really found myself asking is why did I have to replace my brand new atomizer, to begin with? And why does the replacement atomizer not function as a brand new one should? I understand they’re under warranty, but that doesn’t excuse my need for two replacement atomizers in the first 2 weeks, with barely any use in between. It’s gotten to the point where I haven’t bothered reaching out to KandyPens for another one because I’m not in the right headspace to receive information that could possibly hurt me.
Maintenance and Longevity – 3.5/5
Another huge problem with the sub-par atomizer performance is you end up with a lot of heated up oil in the rig that didn’t actually get vaporized. Because of this, the oil pools up and gets everywhere in the atomizer while it’s liquid, and then when it cools, it leaves a sticky mess everywhere inside. After even just a couple of uses, there was wax not only in the atomizer but in the pathway that the vapor follows to the glass, clogging up the rig. This, in conjunction with the oil not fully vaporizing, creates a positive-feedback loop that results in having to clean the rig way more than any other than I own. I don’t mind the maintenance if I’m getting the high I want, but the Oura requires more maintenance and upkeep than even the Puffco (which I complained about a lot) with significantly less satisfying performance.
When it comes down to it, I really don’t see myself getting an Oura, and if I had bought the one I tested, I would not have been happy with it at all. I mean, at $349.95, this is no small purchase to be disappointed in. If you have $350 burning a hole in your pocket and it won’t hurt you at all to spend, then sure, maybe this is a worthwhile purchase. But at that point, I don’t know why you wouldn’t just spend an extra $30 and get the Puffco Peak, or an extra $50 and get the Dr. Dabber SWITCH, which is vastly superior to either product. Or, you could just Venmo me that money so I can replace all the oil I’ve wasted testing this rig.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh. It’s not that bad, but there are definitely better options on the market in the same price bracket. And if the only thing I can say after reviewing the product is “it’s not that bad” then that means that it isn’t really that good either.