Hitoki Trident hands-on: I’m in love with a $500 laser-blasting water pipe

TThere’s no better, brighter, shinier example of mankind’s immeasurable ingenuity and technical imagination than the myriad ways we’ve devised to get stoned, whether we smoke it, eat it, drink it, really squeeze it between two hot plates and then smoke the sticky effluent or gently heat it in a ceramic crucible to siphon off the atomized happy crystals. But never before in human history—although it’s fair to assume these CERN folks know how to party—have we smoked weed with lasers. The Hitoki Trident is the desktop flower water pipe that makes Pew Pew Pew to get you high high high and I’m in love love love.

Pew Pew Pew Laser Bong

Andrew Tarantola / Engadget

The Trident exudes futuristic sophistication as if the Death Star were a bong. I’m really impressed with its precise design and well-crafted aluminum construction. You can hear it as the waterbox seal hisses shut tightly, you can feel it in the clacking click as the upper laser housing sits on top of the heating chamber – it’s the same confident thump you hear in the closing doors of a Rolls-Royce – even the silicone tubing has a premium feel, not the cheap PVC tubing that some brands use. Nothing leaks, nothing rattles, nothing sloshes, nothing gets ridiculously hot for no reason. I am really impressed.

I have a feeling that using the trident should be more complicated than given how many little things go into it. The machine consists of three parts: the lower water chamber, the middle water filter base and the upper battery/laser unit. Unscrew the acrylic water cylinder, fill it a quarter full, screw it back onto the water filter base that holds the ceramic loading chamber which you should have filled with shredded plant matter. Plug the suction hose (or the optional $30 silicone mouthpiece) into the port on the side of the device. Snap and twist the top stage onto the bottom two sections and double-tap the power button on top to unleash a 9-second blast from its 445nm laser and vaporize vegetation. Now, when I say vaporization in this context, I don’t mean what a volcano does by leaving desiccated but still intact plant matter behind. I mean vaporized, like terminator 2 evaporated.

Pew Pew Pew Laser Bong

Andrew Tarantola / Engadget

Smoke is filtered through the lower water chamber as you draw, and an integrated carburetor on the back of the unit allows for easy chamber cleaning. The Trident can handle both bud and concentrate, although a surefire way is to simply toss a glob of budder into the heating chamber to clog it all up—you’ll need to pad the bottom of the bowl with some bud and top up with the concentrate instead.

The device can even double as an aromatherapy device, but when you’re paying that much just to burn some dried lavender and make the room smell pretty, we need to talk about your spending priorities. That’s what candles are for.

Pew Pew Pew Laser Bong

Andrew Tarantola / Engadget

You’ll need to remove the top between puffs and poke at the heating chamber to clear the airflow vents, although you’ll only need to do this once per bowl as there’s generally nothing left but a bit of coal ash after two rounds with the laser. Cleaning is also straightforward—wipe down the lower chamber with every water change, sweep out the heating chamber between sessions, and occasionally rub out the pan with a little isopropyl. Just don’t drop the laser assembly, that’s the only part the company doesn’t sell individually.

The battery with a capacity of 1400 mAh is charged via a USB-C port and an included 5A wall plug. It takes around 90 minutes out of the box to fully charge the device for the first time, but only requires occasional power-ups after that. The company claims each full battery is good for almost 300 sessions and I have yet to charge it, 6 grams and a few dozen shells for testing.

Pew Pew Pew Laser Bong

Andrew Tarantola / Engadget

I also appreciate the immediacy of the process. They don’t sit and wait for a pouch to be filled, or a chamber to be electronically heated, or even for leaves to catch fire and burn. You activate the laser, and just as you remember to start inhaling, there are clouds of thick smoke—cool, filtered, and ready to greet your alveoli.

My only two bugaboos are the length of the hose and the color scheme of the power button. Given the Trident’s tall, narrow, and generally top-heavy cylinder shape, I worry about misjudging the available hose length and tipping the machine over with potentially catastrophic results. And if I’m going to use the trident as a conversion piece – a focal point for my smoking room – I don’t want something to be passed around like an ordinary lightbulb. A longer hose could allow for a more sophisticated social smoking experience – give me something bright, shiny, and metallic to poke guests with while making a mark.

Pew Pew Pew Laser Bong

Andrew Tarantola / Engadget

Also, and I know this is stupid, the fact that the heat level indicator at the top of the unit starts at red for the coolest setting, then green for medium and blue for the highest heat is driving me nuts. This is the opposite of what the rest of the industry uses – blue or green is always coolest with red and white leading the way. It kind of makes sense that blue is the hottest here since the laser’s wavelength is in the blue part of the spectrum, but it still throws me off. With an MSRP of $500, the Trident is expensive – expensive by PS5 standards. It’s available in either black or rose gold and costs $30 more than a Volcano Classic (though still $200 less than the newer hybrid version) and $100 more than the Puffco Peak Pro.

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Russell Falcon

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