We've been waiting a while for dry herb portables to adopt the "box mod" style form and the LINX Gaia is the first we've seen that really nails the look and feel. The first thing you notice about the Gaia is that it's incredible tiny. At 2" x 1" x 3.1" and about 5 ounces it's small enough to nearly disappear in your palm. The brushed aluminum shell is sleek and lightweight while the clear OLED digital display and three button functionality make controlling the unit simple and intuitive. The LINX Gaia is one of the fastest heating vapes we've tried, reaching any temperature between 200-428°F in about 30 seconds or less. The quartz chamber is a unique new feature we haven't seen in a dry herb vape before - the flavor is just as neutral as ceramic though residue doesn't stick nearly as much, giving quartz the edge for easy cleaning. The biggest factor in flavor and vapor output is the heating style. The Gaia is a convection / conduction hybrid which in our experience is the best option for a portable as it imparts the strengths and minimizes the weaknesses of both individual style. Convection is known for great flavor, conduction is known for thicker vapor and greater battery life; hybrids are right in the middle. LINX mentions on their website that the Gaia is nearly 100% convection though there is only one real way for us to know: Let the teardown begin!
WARNING: Do not follow along with these steps. Disassembling the Gaia (and pretty much any other vape) instantly voids the warranty. Let us handle the dirty work and keep your vape and warranty intact.
LINX Gaia Top and Bottom Plates
Gotta hide those screws somewhere right? Vanity covers are becoming more and more popular; lets see if we have some sneaky screws under here.
Screw Cover Removal
Yup, there they are! Four screws on the top and four on the bottom attach the top-plate and base-plate to the chassis of the Gaia vaporizer.
Screw and Plate Removal
With the 8 screws and cover plates removed we get our first look at the Gaia's internals You can already see some wiring, some silicone, and some PCB -- here comes the good stuff!
Chassis and Heater Removal
With the chassis removed we now have access to the electronics housing and the heating element. The Gaia's heating chamber is nearly completely isolated from the electronics. Air flows directly from the intake on the side of the unit up through the heater. If you cover the air vents you can push out a small amount of vapor through the USB port but that would never occur during normal usage. The electronic housing makes perfect use of available space, leaving nearly no room to spare within the chassis.
PCB Removal and OLED Display
To remove the circuit board from the internal housing we needed to snip the connection wires. The Gaia's circuit board is a standard layout with a reliable design; the button actuators look and feel sturdy as do all of the connections. The OLED display is connected to the front of the PCB via ribbon cable and friction fit into place.
18650 Battery Removal
Like most other modern portable vaporizers the LINX Gaia has a fixed internal 18650 Li-ion battery as its power source, specifically the EVE18650 CX. The CX battery features an 8.14Wh charge capacity which equates to about 2200mAh in more common terminology. The EVE battery's charge capacity is good for up to an hour of vaping time and provides a higher than average maximum discharge current which explains the Gaia's ability to reach vaping temperature so quickly. The battery is secured and internally shock protected by two silicone sleeves over the positive and negative sides. On the left side of the battery in the picture you can also see the regulator plate - this plate regulates the voltage output of the battery and also acts as a fuse, protecting against short circuits and overcharging.
Quartz Chamber Removal
With the heating element wires snipped we can now remove the heating chamber assembly from the electronics for further examination. The top section of the heating chamber is threaded and allows us easy access to the clear quartz chamber piece.
Inside the Heating Chamber
Now that the quartz chamber is out we can see the heating coil below. Air enters the heating element through the five holes on the piece in the far right picture. The air then travels up through the heating coil, raising rapidly in temperature before passing up through your material in the loading chamber. LINX claims nearly 100% convection but the heating coil does eventually heat the quartz chamber piece as well, leading to about a 50/50 convection and conduction mix. Considering the crazy small size of the Gaia paired with only having a single battery the energy efficiency of this unit is impressive. Maintaining battery life of roughly an hour per charge with a significant amount of heating being convection would typically require two batteries.
We've been using the LINX Gaia for a couple weeks now and it's definitely one of the most subtle and discreet options available. Typically when a vape is this tiny there are sacrifices made in either battery life, vapor output or flavor and we were pleasantly surprised to find the Gaia isn't lacking in any of those departments. The Gaia has little to no learning curve, the controls are simple, it's incredibly pocket friendly and the vapor production is high quality making it a great choice as a stealth portable or a unit to introduce others to vaping.
If you have any thoughts or feedback on our Gaia teardown please let us know in the comment section below. We always appreciate seeing ideas on how we can improve or what you'd like to see more of in the future. Also remember to swing by our Instagram and Reddit pages for contests, updates and general PIU style goofin'. If you'd like to purchase your own LINX Gaia you can grab one HERE.