Hey guys it’s Max here from Australian vaporizers and here it is; the Firefly 2. Lots of people have been waiting for this one, including myself but how does it stack up against the competition? Well, let’s take a look.
Firefly Vapor started up in 2012. It was cofounded by an ex-design manager of Apple which really grabbed a lot of people’s attention. The original Firefly was released shortly after and despite its flaws it was a very popular unit.
I for one, wasn’t the biggest fan but mainly because I’m very rarely impressed by discrete portables. Give me a tanky, boisterous, workhorse covered with LED’s any day. But, I digress. The Firefly 2 made its debut just a few months ago now and the hype has been pretty overwhelming.
There’s been a lot of improvements made, some fairly obvious and some a little more subtle. Is this really the Holy Grail that everyone’s been making it out to be though? Well, let’s get into it shall we? Once again I’ll just do a quick unboxing to start things off.
Definitely one of the nicest boxes I’ve seen in a while. Sort of similar to the original Pax but as you can see here, once we slip this part off, it’s actually magnetised. Took me a few seconds to realise this when I first opened it which was slightly embarrassing.
Anyway, the first thing we see when we open it up is the unit. Let’s have a closer look at it. Portability-wise, it’s a huge improvement. Here’s the original Firefly just to compare. It wasn’t exactly huge but it is extremely heavy.
This time around though they’ve used a die-cast magnesium alloy for the housing which has cut the weight in half without making it feel cheap or rickety. The original was one of the heaviest portables on the market so to say it’s a welcome change would be an understatement.
They’ve done away with the old on/off switch and instead have gone for these dual touch sensors (one on each side). Sliding door on the bottom here to remove the battery; same as the original. It just feels like it locks into place more securely which is definitely a good thing.
On top we’ve got the token glass window so you can watch your herb as it slowly cooks away. Now if you’re not familiar with the design, essentially we’ve got a magnetised lid here. When we take this off, we’ve got a filling chamber underneath.
One of the most unique things about the Firefly is that the vaporpath is actually formed by the lid itself. The vapour is drawn out of the bowl and channels between the lid and this shiny, what I assume is glass-coated stainless steel, surface here, then finally through the filtered high-temp plastic mouthpiece.
This is a bit strange because Firefly Vapor state the vaporpath as being “Borosilicate glass”. The walls of the filling chamber are indeed made from glass but the base of the filling chamber looks like it’s made from stainless steel.
So if you want to get technical, the vaporpath is comprised of stainless steel, glass and plastic. As far as the heating element goes, it’s made from an “FDA Approved Super-Alloy”. As far as I’m aware the exact constituents of the alloy haven’t been stated but they’ve implied that it’s a high quality Nickel/Chrome.
Firefly have also stated that “Unlike cheap Nichrome elements, it does not break down under repeated heat cycling”. Good to know I suppose. Moving on to the rest of the kit we have a charging cradle, a usb 3 cable for said cradle, a pack of 3 concentrate pads, a cleaning kit with some alcohol wipes, 2 picks and a brush, last but not least there’s an extra battery, great to see.
Definitely everything you need to get going but it’d be nice if they’d included a USB wall adaptor, especially at this premium price-point. Using the Firefly 2 is kind of and interesting one. It seems pretty straight forward — and for the most part, it is — but there are a few little tricks that need to be applied to really get good results.
Most of these can be found on the back of this little cardboard insert from the box here but we’ll go through them when we start loading it. For now, as with any brand-new vape, it’s best to do a few dry runs just to burn off any factory materials from the element.
To do this simply touch and hold the two sensors at the same time. There’s no power switch so it actually stays in a kind of “sleep mode” until you touch the sensors. Great for quick sessions. You’ll notice after a few seconds of holding the sensors, the little green light will go from flashing green to solid.
This means the bowl’s reached the set temp. The bowl itself will also start to glow; hence the name “Firefly”. After about 30 seconds the heat will automatically cut out so to complete the burn-off I’d just repeat this about 5-10 times.
I know this isn’t stated anywhere in the manual, but in my eyes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Once you’re done with your dry runs, you can open the unit up and fill your first chamber. Now there are two ways to do this.
The first is to fill it right to the brim and tamp it down a bit as the manufacturer recommends. There’s one problem with this method though and that is that, in my opinion, this doesn’t really promote good heat coverage.
They do recommend stirring it after every few draws but I kind of feel like this renders the convenience of quick usage a bit pointless. There’s no use having a unit designed for stealth and then having to open it up and stir it around mid-session.
If you’ve packed it loosely enough, you can just tap it against your hand to mix it around but the lower portion of your herb can still get stuck and overcook if you’re not careful. The second method is the one I personally use at the moment.
It’s not stated in the manual but I’ve gotten decent results by half filling the chamber and popping the concentrate pad on top of the load. If you’re familiar with the Mighty and the Crafty, this is common practice for those units and I’m not really sure why it hasn’t been recommended for the Firefly 2.
Perhaps the lack of airflow might become an issue when the pad gets really dirty? I honestly don’t know but I haven’t had any problems using it this way. Just bear in mind that this method works best with lower temp settings.
Regardless of how you’re packing it, it’s always best to use coarsely ground material. It’s really important not to grind finely; believe me, I’ve tried it. I did NOT have a good time… Best case scenario is more frequent cleaning.
Worst case, you’ll get a mouth full of herb like I did and that’s not pretty. Depending on how dry your herb is you might even be able to get away with breaking it up between your fingers. Moving on to temperature control.
By now you might be thinking, how the heck do you change the heat setting? Well, you can’t… At least not on the unit itself. There is however a smartphone app (yes, just like the Crafty) that links your phone to the unit via Bluetooth.
Actually, I say “just like the Crafty” but it’s actually a little different. The app gives you a choice of 6 heat profiles; 5 for dry herbs ranging from 171 to 215 Celcius and 1 for concentrates which is roughly 260.
Would’ve been nice to see full temperature control to the degree but these 6 still seem to work fairly well. So we’ve got low, low-medium, medium, medium-high and high. Depending on how you’re planning on filling the unit I would recommend somewhere between the low-medium (if you’re partially filling and using the liquid pad) and medium-high (if you’re filling it completely and stirring it mid-session like the manufacturer recommends).
As usual though, as a general rule of thumb, start of low and work your way up. The app also allows you to check the battery life and change the behaviour of the sensor buttons. So how do you check the temp setting and battery life without the app? Well to check the battery level just tap the right sensor 3 times.
It’ll either flash blue between 1 and 4 times to indicate the level or it may flash red which indicates that it needs a charge. For the heat settings, same deal but with the left sensor. This one will blink between 1 and 6 times, once for each temp level.
Please bear in mind that there’s no way to change the temperature setting without this app so if you don’t have a compatible smartphone or you’re not comfortable using one then you’ll pretty much be stuck on the default Medium-High heat setting.
Your preferences are saved to the vape’s firmware so you can use a friend’s phone to set it up. I just think it’s a bit inconvenient, especially seeing as there are a lot of known compatibility issues with certain phones at the moment.
Heat up time is by far the best thing about this unit. 2 – 5 seconds from ambient to draw is nothing short of amazing. There are only a few vapes on the market that heat this quickly and I can tell you now, they’re nowhere near as good as this.
Airflow is pretty good, especially for the size. It does tend to get worse with time due to the tiny little screen in the mouthpiece getting clogged but as long as you stay on top of the maintenance (which we’ll discuss shortly) it won’t be an issue.
So just a quick tip here, before you take your first full draw it’s best to take a few short puffs just to heat-soak your herb a little. This will help with vapour production when you do go ahead and start your session.
Without further adieu here’s the demo sesh. I want to start by saying that overall, I am happy with the vapour production. There is a catch though, it took me a little while to get the technique down.
It seems to be a delicate balance between grind consistency, packing method and draw technique. There’s a huge margin between the results you’ll get when you first use it vs the results once you’ve mastered the groove.
I’ve outlined most of the factors already but when it comes to your proper draws it’s best to make them as deep as possible. As I mentioned earlier the unit will heat for about 30 seconds before it times out but ideally you’ll want to let your herb preheat for a few seconds past the solid green light and try your best to draw for at least 10 seconds.
After this, let the sensors go and draw for a couple more seconds just to clear the vaporpath. If you leave it heating for too long after you stop drawing you won’t get an even bake. Don’t draw too quickly either, just a nice moderate pace.
Cooling capacity is alright given the size and how powerful the heating element is; it’s a 50w element. It’s definitely cooler than the Pax 2 as well as most other discrete portables but nothing too amazing I suppose.
Taste is quite good but please bear in mind that if you’re filling it all the way up and you forget to stir it, it does get a bit too toasty. The same goes for just about any filling method if you’re using the highest 2 dry herb presets.
These, in my opinion tend to give a pretty smokey taste, especially if your herb’s on the dryer side. Like the original, the manufacturer claims that it heats via hot-air convection (or from a distance) but I feel as though convection is a bit of a buzz-word these days, especially seeing as most portables use a combination of convection and conduction due to the limited amount of space beneath the chamber.
Honestly, in my opinion, I’d say that the Firefly 2 is a lot closer to being a conduction vape than say, the Mighty or the Arizer portables. I’m not too sure what it looks like under the hood but the poor heat coverage seems to support my point.
Let’s take a look at the battery. Underneath this sliding door here we’ve got a user-replaceable lithium-Ion. Nice and easy to remove and fit which is great. The battery’s charged internally via a micro USB cable and the included dock.
Because of this, it can’t be used while charging. You can expect roughly 4-6 sessions from a full charge which seems to be fairly average among portables. I was surprised to see that they’ve stuck with the same 770mAh battery that ships with the original Firefly.
Mainly because the battery life of that unit was TERRIBLE. The extra battery they include makes it super-easy to extend that figure again so if 4-6 uses isn’t enough, just bust it out and bring it along with you.
Aaaaaaand standard disclaimer: It charges in just under an hour which is fairly quick for the capacity and I can confirm that it is compatible with the original Firefly external battery charger. It’s kind of tough to give a clear verdict in regards to maintenance for the Firefly 2.
Due to the layout of the vapourpath and the fact that there’s no top filter on the chamber, it will gum up quickly. In saying that though, aside from the mouthpiece, this unit is one of the quickest and easiest portables to clean.
There are a lot of vapes around these days that tend to stay pretty clean as long as you brush them out after every session; the Firefly 2 isn’t one of them. The build-up is particularly sticky so you’ll need to give it a wipe down every few sessions.
These two surfaces here as well as the filling chamber are going to be prime real estate for resin build up so the included alcohol wipes or some Isopropyl on a bit of paper towel work perfectly. Next up, disconnect the mouthpiece by clicking it to the side.
You can get away with just dusting it out with the brush but when the build-up gets a bit too intense you’ll want to remove the little screen with one of the included pick tools. Drop the screen into a little jar of Isopropyl for a few minutes then rinse it with water and leave it to dry.
Finally, once this is all done you can refit it into the mouthpiece and pop the mouthpiece back into place. Replacement parts won’t really be an issue unless you lose one of the removable pieces so as long as you’re careful with it you won’t really need to buy anything down the track except for batteries and cleaning supplies.
Okay, so overall, I do think the Firefly 2 is a nice unit but only for selective purposes. Namely quick, on-the-go sessions. I speak to a lot of people who have kids or live in some other situation where discretion is really important and for those people, this is pretty much the perfect solution.
The build quality is awesome, the battery life is average, which honestly is the best you could hope for from any instant heat vaporizer. The maintenance is really simple and the heat up time is second-to-none BUT if you don’t like fiddling around and you’re expecting perfect results straight out of the box then I would probably go for something like the Mighty or the Pax 2 instead.
There’s a lot of practice involved with getting decent vapour production and it was a little frustrating for me at first. Lastly, the back end of the unit tends to heat up quite a bit after several consecutive draws so if you like long sessions or you’re planning on using it with friends then this can get really annoying.
Anyway, that’s me for today guys so if you’ve got anything you’d like to add; any questions, thoughts, musings, reflections, queries, inquiries or any other synonym that you can think of that I’ve missed, please let us know.
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