Storz & Bickel's Bluetooth-enabled vape: There's an app for that

While the Internet of Things (IoT) gets a lot of press, many devices don't need to be connected to the internet for them to benefit users. A case in point: the Storz and Bickel Crafty vape.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

special feature

Cybersecurity in an IoT and Mobile World

The technology world has spent so much of the past two decades focused on innovation that security has often been an afterthought. Learn how and why it is finally changing.

Read More

I'm not an expert on vapes, but I have a friend who is. He's spent thousands of dollars on vapes in the last five years, and closely analyzed their performance and utility. He's found that some highly touted vapes are almost useless due to crippling design flaws.

His favorite vapes come from a Swiss firm, Storz & Bickel (S&B). They offer a family of vapes ranging from handheld to tabletop "Volcanos" that weigh several pounds.

Manufactured in Germany, the S&B vapes offer a Bauhaus-style form-follows-function design. For this review I'm focusing on their Bluetooth-enabled Crafty vape, which I own.

Why Bluetooth?

S&B offers a family of vapes. The Crafty model has a near twin, the Mighty, which has a touch screen to control functions that, on the Crafty, are handled by a smartphone app.

The Mighty is larger and heavier than the Crafty, and, I think, the touchscreen makes it more conspicuous. But the big difference is that the tiny touchscreen and larger battery cost an extra $70, about a 25 percent premium.

With the free app, your smartphone replaces the vape touchscreen. But that begs the next question: why do you want to configure your vape anyway?

Well, with a microcontroller embedded in the vape, you have some choices. Set vape temp? Vibrate when it reaches operating temperature? Flash the lights to signify status? The app screenshots give some flavor of the options:

Courtesy Storz & Bickel

Herbal choices

The Crafty app helpfully points out the variety of herbs suitable for vaping. I haven't experimented, so I'll take them at their word. But I can say that I used to use liquids, thinking they were less irritating. But vaping herbs with the Crafty has turned out to be much smoother and satisfying than oils.

Here's a screen shot that includes some of their recommendations:

Courtesy Storz & Bickel

The Storage Bits take

The vape's use of a smartphone for status and control reminded me of a problem I had 25 years ago. I was product manager for the industry's first multi-vendor storage system, StorageWorks, and the engineers weren't happy.

Their problem: how would we build native interfaces for each vendor's system? Coding a unique interface for IBM, HP, and Sun, as well as DEC, and keeping each up to date, was more than we could afford.

Then browsers and HTML came along. We realized that we could use a (primitive by today's standards) web interface to manage our storage on other vendor's systgems. The web made multi-vendor storage possible.

Today, our smartphones are a handy and capable interface to all kinds of devices and information. Because the S&B Crafty is small and unobtrusive, I prefer it to its larger and costlier sibling.

And since this is a review, I can report that the Crafty works great. If you're in the market for a vape you can certainly do worse, and I doubt you can do better. I'm very pleased with my purchase.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. I got no promotional consideration for this review. I'm just a satisfied customer.