By Victoria Dekker
Where tech-heavy handheld vaporization is concerned, it doesn’t get more next-level than the Firefly 2. Since its spring 2016 debut, the unit has ranked as one of the hottest and most-hyped releases to hit the market in recent history. But is the pricey little vape really worth the cost of entry?
The Firefly 2 is a convection heated, touch sensor-activated handheld vaporizer. The 2 is a reincarnated version of the brand’s original unit; it’s smaller, lighter and, apparently, recharges faster than the previous model.
It’s best for more coarsely ground flower, and doubles as a concentrate vape. The unit retails between $450 and $500 in Canada, depending on the retailer.
The Firefly 2 features capacitive sensing technology, which requires the user to touch one or two (depending on specified presets) sensors on the side of the unit to begin heating. A bright green indicator light illuminates when the unit is ready to go, and a warm orange glow radiates from peek-through side vents. Once the skin-sensor connection is cut, the Firefly powers down.
The Firefly offers the option to select six preset temperature settings, ranging from 340 to 420 Fahrenheit (and hotter for concentrates). Heat settings and sensor customization can only be adjusted through the unit’s Bluetooth-paired app, downloadable free for iPhone and Android.
The unit comes with concentrate pads, a charging dock, an additional battery and a cleaning kit. The packaging presents like every Apple product you’ve ever unboxed, and unwrapping the Firefly 2 feels as exciting as cracking open a fresh, new iPhone (fittingly, created by a former Apple designer).
Without question, the Firefly 2 is a very impressive little piece of canna-tech. It pairs to a Smartphone with Bluetooth technology, features Gorilla Glass on the underside and fastens with a magnet. It’s a great conversation piece for the cannabis gearhead, and it’s a brag-worthy accessory to pull out at a party.
The vape comes equipped with a powerful convection heater (which heats plant matter with hot air) and borosilicate glass bowl (virtually shatter-proof and with excellent thermal properties) and vapor path and with a 55-hole pattern at the base, allowing for liberal airflow with every inhale. The magnesium alloyed body is sleek, fits comfortably in the palm and, at 140 grams, it’s reasonably light.
The unit heats up lightning-fast and cools down even quicker. It’s lightweight, and the design is eye-catching. Flower only burns upon inhalation, so there’s minimal waste. It’s a great unit for conserving cannabis, but needs to be stirred occasionally, or the flower will burn unevenly.
It requires a slow, steady and shallow pull to achieve a decent pull. The vapor is cool, smooth and highlights some of my favourite strains’ more discreet terpene notes. The technique requires a little third-party research and practice to nail, and if you own the unit, prepare to explain how to use it every time a new person joins the circle.
In the decade or so that I’ve been vaping my flower, I can’t recall a time I was more excited to try a new piece of tech. I really, truly wanted to love this vaporizer. For the high entry price and glowing reviews, I was ready to make a place for it in my go-to gear kit.
But if we’re being honest: for all its features, ultra-sleek design, future-forward engineering and all the hype that’s come along with its release, the Firefly 2 seems needlessly technical and a bit disappointing, all hype considered.
I noticed a few technical issues with my Firefly 2 right out of the box. The batteries run dry quickly – a lot quicker than any of my other handheld vapes. The unit lasts for one session on a full charge, but I often find it completely dead if I don’t charge it again immediately after. Firefly support suggested I turn off the Bluetooth on my iPhone after adjusting the heat settings, because the unit may continue to attempt to pair while not in use.
Also, they strongly suggest using hand-torn flower over milled, because excess battery power may be required to heat small fragments; a real bummer for me, because one of my favourite indica blends comes exclusively pre-milled from my licensed producer. The modifications helped a bit, but didn’t increase the battery life by much.
While the batteries do charge lightning-fast (about 45 minutes to full power), it would be nice if the unit came equipped with a USB port, rather than requiring a device-specific charging dock. Because Firefly includes two batteries in the kit, theoretically, a user could have a fully-charged battery at the ready (IF she remembered to, y’know, charge the extra battery in advance).
And now, the app. Yes, a vaporizer with built-in Bluetooth technology and wireless customization is inarguably next-level. And, yes, it’s a reasonably impressive feature to tout in your session circle.
But does the mobile integration add much to the experience? Not really. Does the added tech improve upon cerebral effects? Not at all. Because the Firefly 2 doesn’t offer the option to change the heat settings any other way, using the app to do it seems limiting and even a little cumbersome. Again, techies may dig the mobile functionality of the unit, but the features may be wasted on those who prefer analog simplicity who aren’t surgically attached to their Smartphone.
So, is the Firefly 2 worth the price of admission? Depends who you ask. Is it pretty, enviable and worth bragging about to your sisters anyway? Without question.
Where to buy: Vape World - https://www.vapeworld.com/firefly-2-vaporizer
Victoria Dekker is an award-winning print and online journalist, covering life, culture and business in the cannabis sphere and beyond. Connect with her on Twitter @deadtowrite.