In the rapidly expanding area of portable vaporizers, the latest contender to step into the ring is the FlashVAPE. Made in Canada and boasting a number of unique features, this flashlight-shaped vape yielded good reviews on the FC forums, and so we decided we had to try it out.
What’s in the box?
The FlashVAPE comes in a (eco-friendly) cardboard box with the FV logo and a ‘Made in Canada’ print on it. This vaporizer is available in black or silver.
For the friendly price of $129.99 (~€125), you’ll get the following:
- FlashVAPE Vaporizer
- Carrying pouch
- 2 glass straws
- 2 straw protectors
- Cleaning brush
- 2 Lithium (Li-Fe-Po4) rechargeable batteries
- Smart charger
- Instruction manual
Resembling the looks of a flashlight, the FV definitely sports a unique design and as a result scores pretty good in terms of stealthiness (until someone sees you take a hit from it, that is). It is somewhat larger than I expected it to be, but when holding it for the first time the solid feel of this unit made up for this. The body being made almost entirely out of aluminum makes this thing feel like a tank.
A glass window at the top allows the user to see the vapor building up during heat-up. The (large!) bowl sits just below this part, and can easily be taken off to load it. Just below the bowl are three ventilation holes (on each side) that allow for fresh air to be drawn in during use.
The (glass) mouthpiece is inserted on the side of the vaporizer and is kept in place by a rubberized end.
There are two buttons: An on/off button (in the base) and a power-on button just below the bowl. A green indicator light will tell when the FV is heating up. The base can be unscrewed, revealing the battery.
Ease of Use
Using the FlashVAPE is fairly simple; all you need to do is load the bowl (it is important to fill it no more than half full), connect the glass straw, turn the unit on and press the power button for 4 to 5 seconds. You should now start seeing vapor build up in the top chamber. After 5 seconds, release the power button and slowly inhale the vapor. After the first hit, give the vaporizer a shake to redistribute the herb inside the bowl.
The power button allows the user to control the temperature, providing for thicker vapor (higher temperatures) when pressed for a prolonged time. However, keeping it pressed for too long will allow combustion to take place, so it is important to release the button in time.
What’s more, this is also one of the few (portable) vaporizers out there that is able to vaporize (pressed) hash. I found this to work best with medium to soft hash, and by breaking it up in little chunks (about half the size of a pinhead). It does require some more heating compared to flowers, about 10 to 15 seconds.
A fully charged battery will last about 2 to 3 bowls, depending on the size of the load and the temperature you’re vaping at. Charging an empty battery takes about 2 hours . Since it comes with two batteries, it’s advised to always keep one battery in the charger. Overall, not bad!
Vapor Quality and Taste
What immediately struck me after the first hit, was the clean taste. The vapor inhaled is cool (after all, you’re not directly drawing with the heat source turned on) and has a great taste to it.
There is a slight learning curve however, and it took me some tries to get thicker vapor. I’d say the learning curve with the FlashVAPE is about similar to that of the Magic-Flight Launch Box, where novice users generally don’t have much trouble getting vapor from of it, but in order to produce thicker clouds of vapor some more practice or experience is required. Now, there are a number of so-called ‘Advanced Vaporization Techniques’ that will make a great difference when using the FV. As for myself, I’m a big fan of the method where you’ll keep the power button pressed while – slowly – drawing. This method is very similar to that of the MFLB, and for those who have used a MFLB will have no trouble getting this technique down. Our review unit actually included a sheet with these and other techniques printed on it, but they can also be found on the FC Forums.
Basically, the key with these methods is to maximize the amount of vapor being produced without reaching combustion. Getting the feel for it is extremely important and can make a great difference in your vaporizing experience. Practice definitely makes perfect!
Effiency & Durability
The ABV from the FlashVAPE is brown and very uniform, especially when you remember to give it a few shakes during a session. As this is a conduction based vaporizer, it is also important to grind the herb very finely before use.
Cleaning the bowl (amongst the other parts) is important for maintaining good taste, as leftover ABV can cause that nasty ‘burnt popcorn’ taste. It can require some fiddling (a cleaning brush is included) to get rid of all the smaller particles of herb from the screen inside the bowl. To prevent the lid of the bowl from getting sticky, I used an alcohol swab to clean any resin leftovers. There is actually a section on cleaning the FV in the user instruction sheet, plus virtually each part can be taken apart for thorough cleaning, so no complaints there. The instruction guide contains few images, but all steps (and a number of do’s and don’t’s ) are explained very clearly.
As stated earlier, the FlashVAPE is one of the most sturdy vapes I’ve come across. It feels incredibly solid, and with the exception of the glass straw (and perhaps the glass cover), there’s not much that I can see breaking or getting damaged on this unit when being dropped from a considerable height.