Smarty, Tasty, Crafty
Any new product release by Storz & Bickel is an event to quicken the pulse of serious vapers worldwide.
The German company that legitimized the vaping industry in 2000 with its revolutionary Volcano has consistently raised the bar of quality vapor production.
But for S&B fanboys and girls, Christmas cam early in 2014 when the company released not one new portable vaporizer but two.
And it should be! The Crafty and Mighty are both great vapes that share their core technology, operation and the familiar S&B black & orange exterior. But each address different lifestyle issues and will appeal to different users.
SMALL AND SWEET
The Crafty is the smallest S&B vaporizer so far, with a size of 11.0 x 5.7 x 3.3 cm (4.30 x 2.2 x 1.3 inches) and a weight of 135g (0.3 lbs). It has a plastic exterior but the quality and solidity mark it out as another well-built piece of German engineering.
It takes about 2 hours to charge the dual Lithium-Ion Battery (via mains adapter or USB). It can only be used once it’s around 20% full once the battery has fully discharged.
The Crafty arrives with a grinder, brush, spare sealing rings and a useful filling device.
START HER UP
Pressing the orange button on the side, a red LED light in the base lights up to indicate it’s on and warming to its set temperature (factory setting: 180 degrees C).
It takes around 2 minutes to warm up, when its LEDs turn green and it gives a double vibrating toot-toot. Pay attention; you’ve got to be quick as it powers down if you don’t use it or press the on button in 60 seconds. It’s easy to miss it if you’ve wandered off in the time it takes to heat up.
With the Crafty (as well as the Mighty, Plenty and Volcano), vaporization functions on the basis of a full hot air convection heating combined with conduction. The convection heating provides an immediate and continuous vaporization, whereas the conduction ensures that there is vapor created from the very first breath.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THIS
Storz have opted to use an app to alter all settings on the Crafty (via a Bluetooth chip inside). There are no temperature ‘up’ and ‘down’ buttons or LCD screen. The set temperature can be boosted by 15 degrees by double pressing the on button.
The free Remote Control App allows you to set the Basic and Booster Temperature of your device according to your personal preferences. It also allows you to read off the battery charge status on your smart phone, to turn on and off the vibration function, and to activate an alarm and vibration function for your smart phone.
You can download the app for free from the Apple Store (for iPhone 4s or higher) or from the Google Play Store (for Android with Bluetooth low energy fully enabled). Simply scan the QR Code with your iPhone and you will be forwarded directly to your App Store.
THE CRAFTY’S NIFTY FILLING
Ground herb is poured into it, then it twists securely onto the heat chamber in the same groove as the removed cooling unit. Pull out the inner stopper and the herb can be easily and tidily swept into the chamber.
Charged, it takes around 2 minutes to get up to 180 degrees. The mouthpiece swivels 180 degrees to go from stored flat to user ready – a simple trick but it solves the ‘fragile mouthpiece’ problem of many portable designs.
The vapor at 180 degrees is light but still quite thick, flavoursome and cool. Boosted to 195 degrees, it becomes even richer but still nice and cool. It is without doubt the finest vapor we’ve come across; better than any portable and most desktop devices.
Storz & Bickel recommend regular cleaning of the Crafty, and this is more thorough than a quick wipe down with some isopropyl alcohol. First you need to dissemble the cooling unit by removing it as you would for filling, then working the mouthpiece back and forth to pull it out of its socket. Mind that you catch its tiny sealing ring.
The cap lock is opened by pulling rearwards and flicking it up with your fingernail. This allows the cooling unit cap to be removed from the cooling unit base. Large and small sealing rings are removed (using the chamber filling tool), then all the bits brushed free of crumbs then soaked in alcohol or warm soapy water. Once dry, the cooling unit is reassembled in reverse order.
This is either very thorough or very annoying depending on your view, but you’ll see it is necessary – the filters and cooling tracks do gunk up quickly. It’s just the price you pay for such great draw and vapor quality.
FEAR OF FRAGILITY
My only real reservation is regarding the dismantling and re-assembling for cleaning process. It’s quite brutal; I feel like I might break the mouthpiece and or the slide back locking panel when I prise it open with my fingernail. Time will tell.
But that should not put you off considering the Crafty and its Mighty sibling. The Germans have done it again, setting the bar for portable quality at a new height.