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    The Volcano is a special vaporizer for me.  Way back in the day when I started with vapes there wasn’t much choice on the market, and my first one was a huge piece of shit.  After that disappointment, I saved and saved until I could afford an original Volcano.  I absolutely loved everything about it.  That lead to all these other vapes and reviews and eventually even this video that you’re watching right now.

    The new Volcano Hybrid is replacing the old Digital Volcano, and while it’s relatively expensive at $700US, that’s still only a hundred bucks more than the old Digital.  It may sound crazy, but with the upgrades, the overall user experience, and the quality of Storz & Bickel, this vape is definitely worth its high price tag.

Design/Size/Weight/Features

    The new Hybrid design looks like an updated Digital.  It features new touchscreen controls and the entire display is much nicer and more refined.  I think the design is gorgeous, the buttons and dials are gone, and a sleek touch interface has taken their place.  The loading chamber has been improved and it now locks on top of the Volcano securely.

    The Hybrid name really applies to two new features.  First, there is now a whip function that goes with the balloons.  It is made of very dense material and magically it doesn’t attract pet hair.  The whip’s attachment allows it to rotate freely on top of your Volcano’s loading chamber when in use, so it’s perfect for passing around a group.

    The new Volcano is no longer limited to just convection heating with a new ring in the centrepiece adding conduction to the loading chamber.  Storz and Bickel is a company that’s serious about its vaporizers, so I guarantee you they put a lot of thought into this decision.  The added conduction results in much faster heat up and vapour production, and preheating can be done just by leaving the chamber on top of your Volcano, you don’t have to run air through it like recommended in the manual.

    The final major design upgrade is an excellent Bluetooth function.  You can now use your Volcano with an app on your phone.  It can turn your Volcano on and off from across the house, which is cool sure.  But it has so much more capability.  It can run “workflows” that program temps and times for filling up a balloon, giving you an unlimited number of ways to extract your vapour with custom settings.  It’s been a long time since I’ve got an app with a vape that I’ve actually continued to use, but this one is handy well past its novelty phase. 

    There are quite a few major upgrades, plus the tech is a full generation newer.

How to Use

    The power cord is now detachable, which is a much more durable design that I really like.  When ready to vape, press the heat button and your Volcano will start to warm up to the last temperature you had it set at.  The first thing previous Volcano owners will notice is the lightning-fast heat up time.  The Hybrid is producing vapour in about 45 seconds, compared to the three to five minutes of the Digital Volcano (which also needed a couple more minutes to heat soak).  The huge time savings alone makes the upgrade worth it to many current Volcano owners, and for me, it really changes how I am able to use the device.

    The chamber bowl is huge, fitting a half gram comfortably.  I find it best to fill up at least halfway and for smaller loads use the chamber reducer or dosing capsules.  The whip makes me cough at higher temps, but much less when I use fan assist, which was odd.  As you can see in the video, the ABV is just lightly browned after a few sessions, still having some green in it really.

The App

    Storz and Bickel did a great job with their app’s integration.  It’s handy to be able to turn on and pre-warm your Volcano from anywhere in the house and filling a balloon before you leave the house is very convenient.  Aside from that, you can change the vibration, adjust the brightness, change the automatic shutoff time, etc.  You can get device info like a temperature graph and total run time and see how well it responds to your adjustments.

    The final part of the app that I like are the workflows.  These flows program your Volcano to fill your balloon at any temp you like for different times with adjustments in between.  It's nice to fill a balloon to 75% at 385° then have your Volcano automatically turn up to 410° for the last 25% so it extracts all that extra kick from your herb.  I find about 30-35 seconds fills the balloon how I like it, so I have a few different workflows set around that.  If you’re a nerd for custom settings etc. then you’ll love messing with the workflow feature.

Vapour Quality (Taste, Smoothness, Size, Effects)

    The vapour quality is the ultimate reason you’re buying a vaporizer like this, and it is absolutely exceptional.  The device is crafted to high standards and the controls are so precise you can set the temperature very accurately.  Get the ultra-wispy clouds or make the balloon so thick you can’t see through it.  Taste from the first heating of your herbs, especially if at a lower temp, is completely pure with no flavours other than your strain.

    The vapour’s smoothness is probably the number one aspect I appreciate about the Volcano Hybrid’s vapour quality.  Even at 410°F, it is smoother than some vapes are through water.  Considering the amount of vapour you get from the whip and the balloons; the smoothness really is mind-blowing.  Hits can be as big as you want them to be.  My favourite method is to take in a balloon in three large hits without any inhales in between.  That pretty much finishes a balloon for me, and the effects can be super strong if done at higher temperatures.  This is still primarily a convection machine, and the potency of the vapour it produces fits that.

Efficiency/Convenience/Cleaning

    This is a “catch-22” for the Volcano.  It extracts tons of vapour from your material, but the chamber is so big it uses more material than other vaporizers.  And the flavour from fresh bowls is so good I always want to pack a new bowl, even when I could still get less tasty vapour from the current bowl.  The colour of the ABV really speaks to the efficiency of the device.  Even after numerous bags at 400°F, it isn’t even close to brown. 

    Passing around the whip for group sessions will get a lot of miles from a bowl, but I prefer the balloons myself.  They’re so convenient for personal use around the house.  The loading chamber is easy to clean with a quick wash in isopropyl alcohol, and the screens can be changed if needed.  I recommend replacing the balloons when they get gummed up, taste off, or start to leak.  They’re not super cheap, so don’t replace them more often than you need to.

Strong Points

    There is a lot to love about the Volcano Hybrid.  First, that vapour quality just can’t be beaten.  The smoothness compared to other vapes is remarkable and you can take as deep of a toke as you like, back to back to back, and almost never cough – while blowing out huge clouds with every breath.  The strength of the effects is also impressive since it’s primarily convection, plus those thick balloons are very easy and go down super smooth.

    The overall quality is apparent in all aspects.  From the packaging to the extremely thorough instruction manual, every detail was thought of.  The fit and finish of the device itself are worthy of its price tag.  And while it may not be perfect, their phone app is a fantastic addition to the experience and something I use often.  Workflows are a total gamechanger and dialling in your kind of balloon is something you’ll find yourself doing regularly.

    Lastly, and maybe most importantly, you can use your new Volcano Hybrid through water!  The whip adapter for our Mega Globe and C-250 fits the Volcano Hybrid’s whip perfectly.  Be sure to pick one of these up to go with your new Volcano.

Weak Points

    It’s difficult to use in the dark.  When you have physical buttons, you can feel what you’re pressing, but these integrated buttons are not illuminated, so in the dark, it can be hard to operate.  I don’t like how loud the pump is when it kicks on with this new Volcano compared to the older models.  And of course, the price.  That will make the Volcano Hybrid an unrealistic purchase for a lot of consumers.

Overall Thoughts

    It’s a super-expensive, German-engineered vaporizer that performs like no other vape on the market.  If you can afford the price, you will not be disappointed with the product.  The overall experience is pretty much unmatched.  I have a ton of vaporizers, but if I knocked my Volcano Hybrid off the table and broke it tomorrow, I’d still repurchase it.  It’s an investment and one that’s well worth it.

You can find the Volcano Hybrid and Storz & Bickel accessories at both sneakypetestore.com and vapenorth.ca.

 

KIG, KIS

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