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Meet the smart vapes: App-enabled vaporizers seek to cash in on cannabis

Wondering what the world of weed tech will look like if legalized marijuana continues to gather steam? SIlicon Valley is way ahead of you.

Ry Crist
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Ry Crist
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1 of 12 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Vapes are getting smart

Legalized marijuana continues to pick up steam in the US, with 66% of Americans now in favor of decriminalization, per Gallup. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley weed-tech startups are positioning to cash in ahead of a potential flood of new customers. That includes a recent crop of app-enabled smart vaporizers that seek to leverage tech to deliver a better high.

Scroll through for a hands-on look at three of the top options currently on the market from Pax, DaVinci and Firefly.

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2 of 12 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

DaVinci IQ

First up, the DaVinci IQ. At just 3.5 inches tall, it's a stout little smart vape with an attractive metallic build, a built-in LED display and a companion Bluetooth app.

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DaVinci IQ

With the IQ, you can vape using customizable preset temperatures called Smart Paths. You'll customize those using a companion app on your phone -- it pairs wirelessly with the IQ via Bluetooth.

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4 of 12 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

DaVinci IQ

The replaceable, rechargeable 18650 (3,500 mAh) battery is good for about 90 minutes of heat, per DaVinci.

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5 of 12 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

DaVinci IQ

After loading in whatever substance you're looking to vaporize, you'll press a button to preheat the IQ, then draw vapor from it via the mouthpiece.

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Pax 3

Perhaps the most well known of these high-end, handheld vaporizers is the Pax 3, which was created by the same team that produced Juul electronic cigarettes. It's been around for a few years and is now available for $170.

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Pax 3

The LED flower on the Pax 3 serves as a multicolor indicator light. It turns purple when it's preheating, then green when it's ready for you to draw vapor from it.

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Firefly 2 Plus

The newest of these smart vapes is the Firefly 2 Plus, a third-gen model that's currently available for preorder at a price of $250.

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9 of 12 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Firefly 2 Plus

Like previous-gen Firefly smart vapes, the 2 Plus comes with a magnetic lid, complete with a little window that lets you see what you're vaporizing as you vaporize it.

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Firefly 2 Plus

The 2 Plus has no power button. When you're ready to use it, you just hold your finger against the touch-sensitive button on either side of the device. The light flashes green for a few seconds as the device heats up to whatever temperature you've set it to in the app, then it turns solid when it's ready for you to take a hit.

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11 of 12 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Firefly 2 Plus

When the built-in battery runs low, you recharge the 2 Plus by docking it in a charging cradle.

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12 of 12 Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Firefly 2 Plus

Here's a look at Firefly's app, which offers temperature controls, a calibration slider for incremental temperature tweaks, and the ability to select which button activates the device -- left, right, either or both at once.

The Pax and DaVinci apps are a bit more fully featured. DaVinci lets you activate a quick hit Boost Mode in addition to those custom Smart Paths, while Pax lets you activate a Stealth Mode that dims the lights and optimizes fast cool-down between draws.

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