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Saphire Hot Shot Bowl

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[b]Saphire Hot Shot bowl review[/b]

[b]Height: 9cm[/b]
[b]Diameter: 7cm[/b]
[b]Depth: 2.5cm[/b]
[b]Capacity: 4 - 6g (recommended), 15g (fully loaded)[/b]
[b]Construction: clay[/b]
[b]Finish: fully glazed[/b]
[b]Airflow: 8 x 4mm holes[/b][b]
[b] Purchased from: [url="http://www.hookahforum.com/topic/40958-wwwsmoking-shishade/page__view__findpost__p__496368"]www.smoking-shisha.de[/url]
[b]Design: 10/10 [/b]

The key selling point of this bowl is a tobacco-saving design, that smokes well for 30-45 minutes, on just 4-6g (one teaspoonful) of shisha. There is some genuine innovation here; while the hole placement is not unlike a Crown bowl, the combination of this with a wider bowl and some air space seems to be unique to Sapphire.

[b]Build quality: 9/10[/b]

The bowl is constructed out of good quality clay and is fully glazed. There are trivial imperfections and variations between bowls, but they are finished to a very high standard.
My only concern is about the base of the bowls; there is a disc of clay, barely 2mm thick, with a hole for the grommet, which, at first glance, gives concerns about durability and stability of the bowl. However, it has not presented any problems as yet, and indeed the bowl took a fall from a height of over 2 feet onto a wooden surface without breaking (not an intentional part of my test procedure!)

[b]Price: 8/10[/b]
[/b] [left]The RRP on these bowls in Germany, where they are made, is 12€ / £10 / $16. This is already expensive at least by European standards, and import costs make them still more expensive anywhere else. In fairness, though, the price is comparable and competitive with the typical US prices on Tangiers phunnels or Crown bowls.[/left][left]
[/left] [left][b] Value: 9/10[/b][/left][left][b]
[/b][/left] [left]Taking into account the cost of the competing American-made bowls, the price looks quite reasonable, and given the shisha-saving nature of the bowl, the overall value for money is excellent.[/left]
[b]Performance: 9/10[/b]

This score is given for "does what it says on the tin"; I'm not going to pretend you can't get a thicker smoke out of a bigger bowl, but, the fact that it smokes well at all on a single teaspoon of shisha is impressive. Personally I'd choose a bigger bowl for everyday use, but this is great for rare or imported shisha.

[b]Availability: 6/10[/b]

This might seem like an odd criterion on which to rate a bowl, but it's a fairly important one if you're proposing to buy the bowl in question. The majority of German retailers carry them, but not all ship internationally, and not all of those who do accept credit cards. One UK retailer has them at the rip-off price of £20 (yes, hookahshop.co.uk, I'm talking about you...); I don't know of any US retailers that have them at the time of writing, though HookahJohn might be doing his research. So, at the moment, the best way to get hold of these is to order them in from Germany, which gets proportionally more expensive the further away you are. This is an issue that deserves to be fixed; these are great bowls and I would urge US, UK and European retailers to look at stocking them, preferably at competitive prices, but, right now, availability is not great.

[b]Ease of use: 10/10[/b]

Very easy to pack; dump a teaspoonful of shisha in, and use the back of your spoon to clear it from around the holes, forming the shisha into a cone shape. No need to handle the shisha, avoid large holes, or whatever. Pack it as tight as you like without blocking the holes. Also very newbie-friendly as the enforced gap between foil and shisha makes it almost impossible to scorch, and the wide rim makes coal placement a breeze. Finally, the foil often comes off clean enough to reuse, so maximum points in this area.

[b]Flexibility: 10/10[/b]

While this is intended as a tobacco-saving bowl, you can just as well fill it up, with about 15g or 3 teaspoons, for tobaccos that want loads of heat, longer duration, or multiple smokers. In this respect, the design is more flexible than most other tobacco-saving bowls.

[left][b] Cleanability: 9/10[/b][/left][left][b]
[/b][/left] [left] This bowl definitely requires washing out after use as opposed to a quick wipe, but it is fully glazed and it washes clean with minimal effort. Seems not to mind the dishwasher, either.[/left]
[b]Efficiency: 10/10[/b]

What can I say... smokes well for 45 mins (Nakhla) or an hour (Tangiers), using the shisha to the full and lasting pretty much the duration of one set of coals. It couldn't be more efficient.

[left][b] Overall: 9/10[/b][/left][left][b]
[/b][/left] [left][b] This won't replace your everyday bowl, unless you live in a situation where you can't afford to smoke a 25g bowl when you want, but it does what it claims and it does it very well. Great for short sessions, multi-pipe sessions, and rare or imported shisha. [/b][/left]
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See also [url="http://www.hookahforum.com/topic/40972-first-impressions-of-saphire-hot-shot-bowl/page__view__findpost__p__496491"]this thread[/url] for pictures & first impressions, predating this review.
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