“…what it lacks in portability and discretion it more than makes up for with water filtration, ease of use, and aesthetic beauty.”
SPEED REVIEW (SUMMARY)
Cloudious9's Hydrology9 is one seriously cool vape. It's just as much a fashion statement as it is a luxury accessory and yet somehow it still manages to be a potent water filtered vaporizer the likes of which the world has never seen. While it's not the most portable and subsequently more suitable for home use, it does manage to take the best of both world, the glass water filter and the cordless handheld vaporizer, and combine them to create a hybrid vape that works well, is easy to use, and looks better than any vape we've ever seen. We recommend it for the vape connoisseur that just can't seem to get their hands on enough high-end vapes as it's definitely one for the collection. But we also recommend it for anyone who just wants a really cool handheld for the house. If you're interested in picking one up, we suggest buying it from an authorized retailer like this store here.
*This is a quick summary, in-depth review below.
With five preset temperature settings, the new Hydrology vaporizer doesn’t offer much in way of temperature options. And to make matters worse, its manufacturer, Cloudious9, has yet to share the exact temperatures or even so much as the range that the temperature settings correspond with. While this perhaps simplifies temperature selection to some extent, it also unfortunately turns the temperature selection process into a bit of a guessing game even for experienced vapers such as ourselves. What we found was the on the lower settings, the vapor was a lot more wispy, light. And on the higher settings, it was definitely thicker, more dense, but it wasn’t on par with the density we see in some of the other high priced portables like the Mighty. So as far as temperature range and options are concerned, even though we don’t know exactly what numbers we’re working with, we’re really not all that impressed. But it is enough to get the job done and there are more options than we saw in the original Pax, so it’s not all bad.
While, as stated, we don’t know the exact temperatures of each setting because the manufacturer has yet to release such information, we do have a rough understanding of what the temperature settings and their corresponding colors entail. This is how you decipher it:
- Blue – Lowest temperature setting and also the starting temperature setting.
- Yellow – Second lowest temperature setting.
- Orange – Middle temperature setting.
- Purple – Second hottest temperature setting.
- Red – Hottest temperature setting and also the last temperature setting that the vape reaches before it automatically shuts off.
Note: Just so that there’s no confusion, the red and blue lights are also used to convey how much juice is left in the vape’s battery. More on that in the “Battery Life” section of this review.
Heat Up Time
The Hydrology 9 doesn’t have the fastest heat up time we’ve seen in a portable, but at just about a minute to reach vaping temps, it’s by no means the slowest that we’ve seen. To turn it on, simply click the button three times and it’ll turn right on. Three quick clicks will also turn the device off. Once it’s on, indicated by the flashing green light, it’ll heat up to the first temperature setting, the lowest setting (blue), in approximately one minute. After two minutes, you’ll see a green light as it automatically shuts off its heating element and the session draws to an end.
The battery on this intriguing new “portable” vape lasts for anywhere from 7 to 15 sessions. This might sound like a while–which don’t get us wrong, this is more than enough time to get the job done–but it’s actually not quite as long as you might think given that it automatically shuts off after a couple of minutes. But a session or two is generally enough for us, so expect to get multiple separate sessions out of it before you really need to recharge its internal 2000 mAh battery. Which unfortunately takes 2 to 3 hours to completely recharge – longer than we’d like, especially given how little time it gives you to vape in comparison to some of the other portables out there. Then again, those “other portables” we’re thinking of don’t have built-in water filters so we’re not really complaining, just wishing the Hydrology charged a bit faster and/or offered a little more vape time. At the least though, we wish they’d do away with this two minute auto-shutoff feature because it’s really cramping our style.
To check how much power is left in the battery, hold the button for three seconds while the device is already turned off and the LED lights will indicate the status via by a color coded system, which deciphers as follows:
- Red = Low Battery
- Blue = Medium Battery
- Green = Full Battery
As far as portability is concerned, it’s hard to call the Hydrology9 a portable vaporizer because it’s just not all that portable. If you do manage to stuff it in your pocket, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to be poking out the top of your pocket by more than a little bit. In comparison to the Arizer Solo 2, a portable vaporizer that we described as “bulky” when we reviewed it, the Hydrology still doesn’t look good. It actually makes the Solo 2 look compact in comparison. But if you’re not worried about this and you look at as more of a cordless handheld intended for home use, it’s definitely not without its appeal. After all, how many cordless vaporizers have you seen with built-in water filters?
But as far as portability goes, for those who do wish to transport it, we advise using a big soft, padded, and protective case. After all, it does have glass components and you don’t want those breaking during transport. Cloudious9 does make a leather carrying pouch that is sold separately for those interested in picking up a case designed with its specific dimensions and needs in mind, but even with it, it’s just not all that portable of a vaporizer. At just over six inches tall, this is no inconspicuous vape that you casually stash in your pocket, unless perhaps you’re talking about a large coat pocket. This is more on par with the type of device you might stash in a backpack or handbag. But even then, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s adequately shielded given the glass in its design.
To summarize, it fits comfortably in your hand, but it is by no means the type of “portable” that stuff in your pocket. We tend to think of it more as a handheld home vaporizer without a cord.
The vape itself does not have any apparent issues from what we’ve gathered, or at least not that we ourselves have run into while using it. But that’s not to say that we don’t have some issues with it. As we mentioned earlier, it would be nice if its battery lasted longer and recharged more quickly. It’d also be nicer if it was compact because for a portable, it’s just not that portable.
There’s also the discretion factor – this vape just isn’t that discrete. It’s too big to go unnoticed. You’re better off using it indoors, preferably in your home. And with all of its glass and its price tag being what it is, it’s really not the type of vape you bring out unless you’re carefully transporting it to a friend’s place or something along those lines.
Then there’s the leaking aspect. When it comes to water and electronics, the two just don’t mix and when they do, bad things tend to happen. Which is why we’re relatively paranoid about the water inside of it somehow leaking out and damaging the vape. For reference, it can leak if it’s not properly assembled so be extra careful when assembling it in order to ensure that everything is nice and snug before you use it. Also, we don’t ever leave water inside of it due to our concern, perhaps unfounded, that it could leak. So if you want our advice, always empty it after you’re done using it – this way, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Now while we say all of this, we don’t want to make it clear that its California-based manufacturer claims that it has anti-leak and anti-rust protection, not to mention the fact that we’ve neither seen it leak nor heard of one leaking. So you’re probably good to go as far as the leaking is concerned, but in our opinion, you’re better safe than sorry so go the extra distance and take the precautions you deem necessary in order to reduce your perceived risk of leakage to an acceptable level.
Outside of these complaints (because let’s face it, that’s all they really are – these aren’t real problems), we just don’t have any real issues with this vape. The Hydrology9 is pretty solid, it just doesn’t produce vapor on par with what we were hoping for. Not that it’s bad, just that it could have been better. But more on that in the “Vapor Quality” section below.
Cleaning & Maintenance
The first time around, we found that cleaning this vape and its many pieces to be a bit of a hassle. However, once we got a hang of it and figured out how all of the different pieces come apart and then fit back together, the cleaning process, while not a breeze, became pretty straightforward. We suggest cleaning it regularly to keep it shining and to, of course, keep it in proper working order.
Here’s how to clean it:
- Remove the cap.
- Unscrew the mouthpiece.
- Remove slotted piece.
- Remove glass chamber.
- Unscrew water cap.
- Remove silicone piece.
- Unscrew perforated ring.
- Remove bottom cap securing oven chamber.
- Clean all non-electronic parts with a microfiber cloth dipped gently in a little bit of isopropyl alcohol.
- Rinse non-electronic components with warm water and then allow time to dry completely.
- Clean the oven using the included cleaning brush.
- Reassemble once everything is clean and dry.
Warning: Avoid getting any moisture in or near the oven. You do not want to get your oven wet under any circumstances as doing so could cause damage to the vape.
This is actually easier than it sounds. All of the pieces come apart and fit back together in a pretty intuitive fashion, making it easy to pull apart and piece back together when it’s time to clean – once you get the hang of it, that is.
The Hydrology9’s body is made from a space grade anodized aluminum alloy and its mouthpiece is made from borosilicate glass. Its oven, or heating chamber, is made from food grade porcelain and its body, the transparent part, is made from the same material as the mouthpiece – borosilicate glass. While glass might not seem like the ideal material to construct part of the body out of, its mid section in this case, we must admit that it sure does look cool, especially when lit up by the vape’s LEDs. All in all, the construction seems very solid and the craftsmanship unquestionable. This is undoubtedly one well put together vape.
Cloudious9 definitely went the extra mile in designing the Hydrology vaporizer’s water filtration system, which is certainly innovative to say the least. Ultimately, their goal was to keep the flow of vapor unobstructed while simultaneously keeping the water filtration system 100% leakproof. So you could see where this may have been a challenge to design. And according to Cloudious, it was exactly that, or “truly challenging” as they referred to it. In the end, they managed to figure it out and the result, their “tunnel tube” water filtration system, is currently patent pending. Does it work? Absolutely and it’s nothing shy of impressive. Looks great, works well, and as far as we can tell, it doesn’t leak.
Here are some tips on how to use the Hydrology 9 vaporizer:
- Stir your blend. If only once per session, be sure to stir your blend because this conduction-only vaporizer tends to vaporize the blend unevenly, especially when you pack it full. To avoid having to stir it mid-session, you can always try packing less.
- Grind your blend super fine. Use a grinder that really makes mincemeat out of your dried blends, something like the Magic-Flight Finishing Grinder will do the trick, as doing so will result in better cloud production.
- Fill the water chamber just passed the percolator, which is the section with the little holes. With a bit of testing, we found this to be the best way to fill it. However, it’s worth noting that the manufacturer recommends filling it no more than halfway.
- Solid concentrates will work. We realize it’s not designed for it, but we couldn’t help but give it a whirl to see if it’d work and were pleasantly surprised by the results: it actually works really well with concentrated blend types that won’t liquefy and run down into the vape. Be very careful with this and before you do it, contact the manufacturer first to make sure that doing so won’t damage your vape or void your warranty, both of which were risks we were willing to take for the sake of science (and for the sake of vaping concentrates out of a water filtered portable).
- Press and hold the power button for a few seconds to activate a cool little light show. There are two versions of this light show: slow and fast. Do this while the vape is on but not heating up and it’ll activate the slow version or do it while it’s heating up and it’ll activate the fast version. Just a little something to impress your friends and keep everyone entertained while you vape. We love it.
The Hydrology 9 warranty is guaranteed by the manufacturer to protect against any defects in workmanship or materials within two years of the date of purchase. This is a pretty standard 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty that helps ensure that every unit sold is just about as solid as the next, otherwise Cloudious9 will repair or replace it.
Hydrology 9 produces above average vapor, but not by much as it excels in some aspects and does less than admirable in others. Given what it entails, a water filter combined with a vape, we were hoping for thick clouds that would blow us away. What we got instead was super smooth vapor of average density and mass. As for the flavor, it tastes good but not exceptional. We’d rate it above average as far as purity and taste are concerned and well above average as far as smoothness is concerned. In summary, it’s smooth, relatively potent, and fairly tasty, but we’re still a bit disappointed given our high hopes that it’d pack a serious punch. But it doesn’t end there. There is some redemption: concentrates. When you crank up the heat and load up some solid concentrates, the results are actually pretty impressive. While it’s not technically designed to vaporize any forms of extracts, it actually works quite well with them – at least the ones that we tried, ones that we knew wouldn’t liquefy and leak into the vape as soon as the heat touched them. So while it might not be designed for it, it actually works quite well as a concentrate vaporizer. This, for us, bumps up its rating a few points because it not only makes it a dual-use vape, but it’s also a significant step up in the quality of vapor as it’s actually more impressive when it’s loaded with concentrates than it is when it’s loaded with the dried blends it’s designed for.
The Hydrology 9 might not be the most portable nor the most discrete, but for what it lacks in portability and discretion it more than makes up for with water filtration, ease of use, and aesthetic beauty. And while its vapor quality could be better, it’s still some of the smoothest vapor we’ve encountered – definitely a big factor for anyone in need of a vaporizer that produces super smooth vapor. So while there are some areas where we wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of improvement, the overall impression that we get after using this vape is that it’s solid. It does what it’s supposed to do and it looks great doing it. An excellent addition to any vape connoisseur’s collection. And for everyone else, this might very well be the best water filtered portable vaporizer on the market. If you’re interested in picking one up, we suggest buying it from an authorized dealer such as this shop here. And as always, happy vaping!