Allow me to fill you in on a little secret: hookah pens and e-cigarettes are pretty much the same thing. This is a great thing if you’re a hookaholic looking to switch to vaping, since it opens the door for variety and diversity. When it comes time to pick one, there are tons of e-cigarette vaping devices to choose from.
Still, it just isn’t the same. Cigarette smokers may not mind the futuristic aesthetics of your common everyday vaping devices, but hookah fiends expect a little more from their smoking session. The overall look and form factor is incredibly important when it comes to the vaping devices we identify with, and that’s where the Starbuzz E-Hose comes into the picture.
The Starbuzz E-Hose is special in that it’s a vaping device disguised as a traditional hookah hose. Like every other vaping device in existence, it utilizes a battery powered atomizer that vaporizes e-liquid. Though branded as a Starbuzz product, the E-Hose has been designed (and is presumably manufactured) by Square Smoke. As such, it retains all of the quality we’ve come to expect from Square made e-devices.
When they say “E-Hose,” they aren’t kidding. Upon first glance, this bad boy look almost identical to the handle of a traditional Egyptian hookah hose. The guys over at Starbuzz/Square didn’t overlook any details here, and there’s no doubting the fact that this thing is visually authentic–right down to a faux-carpet grip (it’s actually rubberized, but this is a good thing).
The E-Hose comes in five different colors–purple, pink, black, blue and red. They all look pretty good, but the red version leans a bit too much on the pinker side of the spectrum. This is naturally a preferential thing, and hey, I can’t say I’ve never used a pink hookah hose before.
The stem has two protruding extremes, much like what you would find on a real Egyptian hose. The same thing can be said about the mouthpiece, which again, perfectly mirrors what it’s supposed to. All in all, the Starbuzz E-Hose is a remarkably stylish vaping device.
Setting up the Starbuzz E-Hose is a relatively simple process, though it isn’t fool-proof. In order to get it working, you have to unscrew the top protruding end and insert up to two flavor cartridges (more on that in a bit). After that, you have to feed the mouthpiece through topper, and then screw it back onto the stem.
Once it’s all set up, do what you do best–take a nice big hit from the mouthpiece. The E-Hose doesn’t restrict the length of your pull, so go ahead–suck away. The end result is a nice, big cloud of flavorful vapor that looks suspiciously identical to hookah smoke.
The first big difference between the E-Hose and most E-Cigarettes (other than how it looks) is the fact that it utilizes proprietary flavor cartridge in lieu of a normal e-liquid chamber. This is both a blessing and a curse. Let’s look at the good things first.
The nice thing about any proprietary addition (like Starbuzz flavor cartridges) is consistency. These flavor cartridges are designed to be used solely with the E-Hose, which means you’ll get a comparable experience regardless of the flavor you choose. And since you’re given the option to use two cartridges at once, you can still mix and match flavors and get a relatively personalized experience.
There’s a price to pay for this convenience, however. Though they cover most popular Starbuzz flavors–including Blue Mist, Pirate’s Cave, and Sex on the Beach–variety is limited to whatever they currently offer. This isn’t a problem if you’re already sold on the Starbuzz flavors they provide, but it’s strangely restrictive for everybody else.
With that said, they do cover most bases with what they do offer. Here are the flavors currently available for the E-Hose:
A big problem I have with vaping is that it doesn’t really replace the sensation of smoking an actual hookah. Though they typically get the flavor right, and still provide “buzz” if you opt to include nicotine, the experience just isn’t the same. And it’s no different with the Starbuzz E-Hose.
Before you take what I just said as a knock against the E-Hose, consider this: we’re all a little different, and our expectations are going to be different as well.
Let me say this: when it comes to flavor, the E-Hose is a roaring success. The cartridges retain everything that makes Starbuzz shisha offerings so great, and (probably even better) provide a consistent flavor experience.
With a shisha/charcoal set up, the flavor is directly proportionate to coal placement and how burnt up the shisha is. This can result in unpleasant flavor at times. With the E-Head, the flavor is the same up until the cartridge is depleted.
And I did enjoy using the E-Head, it just felt like something was missing. It took me a while to pinpoint exactly what that “thing” was, until I realized it was the bubbles. I have been smoking traditional hookahs for so long that I’ve psychologically associated the sound of hookah bubbling with a decent smoke. So I guess you can say it’s all in my head.
I had never even considered this before switching to e-hookahs, but smoking hookah can be a very social activity. Sometimes there’s nothing better than the ability to get together with a group of friends and congregate around a properly set-up hookah. Take turns, pass the hose around, tell stories in between puffs. How awesome is that?
Starbuzz apparently recognized this subtle detail well before I did, and made an effort to keep it going by throwing in two rubberized mouthpieces with each E-Hose. These tips look a lot like the cheap plastic ditties you’ll find at hookah bars, but they’re of much higher quality. And unlike disposable tips, you can wash them out in between uses.
As for everything else, well, I guess that’s another personal preference. The E-Hose is certainly big enough to pass around without feeling a little awkward (try sharing an e-cigarette among friends–it’s weird). And since it looks like a real hookah hose, the visual sensation is still partially there.
So yeah, using the Starbuzz E-Hose in a social gathering isn’t exactly the same as a real hookah. But for many, it’ll probably be good enough. And since it’s far more portable than an actual hookah, you can socialize in more places. That fact alone may make the E-Hose a worthy investment.
I’ve read reports all over the Internet suggesting that the E-Head is a widely pirated product. I haven’t run into any of these knock-offs yet, but I don’t doubt that they exist.
The best advice I can give is to make sure you buy your E-Hose from a reputable online seller. I personally use Southsmoke for all my hookah needs, and they deliver the goods without any hassle every time.
There’s no denying the fact that the E-Hose is a stylish vaping device. On looks alone, this thing is gorgeous. Though it doesn’t require the use of a “real” hookah, it possesses an aesthetic quality we’ve all come to expect from a hookah experience.
And the flavors are great. Like, really great. You may not get an astronomical variety when it comes to flavor cartridges, but what they offer should entice most traditional hookah smoker.
But here’s the deal–as it stands, the Starbuzz E-Hose currently retails for $199.99, which is quite a bit more expensive than comparable e-cigarettes. Is it really worth that much?
At the end of the day, that’s totally up you. I can say this–the E-Hose is undoubtedly a premium product, and it’s built to last. Some may argue that the added benefit of mobility alone is worth its price in gold. The E-Hose really does offer a well emulated hookah experience that you can take just about anywhere.
My final verdict: as an addition to your e-hookah arsenal, the Starbuzz E-Hose is totally worth it. It’s a great product that delivers everything that it promises. Will it replace your hookah altogether? Maybe, maybe not. For reference, I currently use a Square E-Head (check out the full review here), and I’m not looking back. Do I mind having an E-Hose as well? Not even a little.
The E-Hose is available at most online hookah shops, though for the best price, be sure to check out Southsmoke. These guys currently offer that Starbuzz E-Hose for $169.99, which is a whopping $30 less than most online hookah sellers. You can go directly to their product page via the link below.