Temperature Controlled Heat-not-Burn?!
Last year I got a chance to review the Lambda T3 from Shenzhen Original Technology and, in my opinion, it was a pretty good device. It looked good and it performed well overall. It was also the first device that had two different settings for heating. Until now.
Lambda CC Overview
Some highlights of the Lambda CC include:
- OLED display
- Variable temperature (200-300°C)
- Variable “smoking” time
- 3200mAh battery
- USB-C charge port
It seems that the good folks over at Shenzhen Original Technology Co. have taken a leaf out of the vaping industry handbook. One of the early “big” advancements was temperature control (or limitation, whichever your viewpoint), so it isn’t really a big surprise to see that make its way into heat-not-burn devices. It was also one thing I noted in the review of the Lambda T3 was the heating settings – high and, of course, standard; and how each mode fared. Bottom line was, the high setting was too much, while standard was subdued.
Naturally, with any new product, I was eager to get my grubby little mitts on the device and put it through its paces.
In the Box
As you would expect with any new heat-not-burn device, you get the usual accessories – a cleaning brush, a USB cable – though in this instance it is a USB-C cable like the IQOS3 Multi, not a microUSB as is the norm for most other devices – along with a manual. Strangely, there weren’t any cleaning swaps included. Not that it mattered to me as I have plenty from previous reviews.
Being that the Lambda CC is the second device I’ve seen from Shenzhen Original Technology, I had certain expectations about the quality of the device (even though I’ve commented on it before, I’m rarely fussed about the box itself, once opened it rarely hangs around). Given the Lambda T3 was aluminium (with or without tempered glass), I was expecting something similar. Instead I was greeted with a rubberised casing. In all honesty, I prefer that over aluminium. It just feels better in the hand. Plus, it’s not so much of a smudge-magnet. As an all-in-one device it is, just like the SLS CP in my previous review, up against the King of all-in-ones – the IQOS 3 Multi.
Going up against the IQOS 3 DUO, while somewhat unfair given the budget of PMI, is an honour for the smaller manufacturers; it means they’re doing something right.
All the key features of the Lambda CC feel sturdy and well made. I’ve been hauling this thing to and from work the past fortnight, it’s been dropped in the centre console of the car, stuffed in pockets and it’s remarkably unscathed. So, far so good.
The OLED display is a bloody Godsend. Particularly for the battery level. Not that you’ll be charging that often if you’re not a heavy user, but I’ll get to that in a bit. The display is clear and shows all the relevant information including:
- Stick count
- Current “smoking” time
- Current temperature (in °C)
- Battery level
Despite the additional features – variable temperature and “smoking” time, the Lambda CC is ridiculously easy to use. Changing the temperature is easy with the convenient + and – buttons at the base of the OLED display – properly spaced out so that even chunky thumb over here isn’t accidentally pressing both. Also, as a “minor” point, the warmup time of the Lambda CC has been improved. I’d tentatively suggest that at the temperatures I’m using it at, it’s the quickest out there. 260°C is ~15 seconds, with 270 a second behind that.
To change the “smoking” time, you need to click the main button (located at the top of the OLED display) five times in quick succession, then use the +/- buttons to adjust. For the lower temperatures (~250°C and lower) I’d recommend extending the time by ten seconds per 10°C of temperature. Although, with HEETS Blue, 260°C and 5 minutes was, for me, spot on. I did try the Blue HEETS at temperatures above 260°C, but frankly it wasn’t worth it. The Sienna HEETS however, needed a little more temperature to really bring out that gorgeous tobacco flavour. 275°C was my sweet spot for that. Just to note, you can change the temperature during a session, rather than just setting it beforehand.
The stick count can also be erased, if you so desire, by five clicks of the main button, then another five followed by simultaneously pressing both the + and the – buttons. It’s not something I’ve bothered with personally, and I doubt a stick count would be all that useful for most users. It does help to have a visual guide of how many sticks you’ve used when it comes to taking advantage of the 25 second self-clean (eight clicks of the main button). As with the SLS CP, it’s best to perform that every couple of days, or every pack of HEETS depending on how much you use the device. Just to make sure you get the best taste you can.
As with the Lambda T3, the entire top cap is removable – it’s also magnetic so it doesn’t just drop off when it feels like it – to grant you plenty of access to the heating chamber for the onerous cleaning duty. One thing I did notice is that there does seem to be more general detritus in the chamber after a HEET has been used. It wasn’t consistent but there definitely were times when inserting the HEET I could feel the rubbish crunching. I don’t know if that is due to the blade composition (titanium rather than ceramic as found in the SLS CP and IQOS) or whether I just had some HEETS that preferred to fall to pieces.
When comparing the Lambda CC to the Lambda T3, or even the IQOS 3 Multi, the battery life of the Lambda CC is remarkable. It arrived with about 75-80% charge and it’s had around 30 HEETS through it without the need for a charge. This device is aimed at heavier, or more mobile users where battery life isn’t just a luxury, it’s a must have. The Lambda CC has battery life in spades. The only downside to increased battery life is the charging time. Even taking advantage of USB-C, the charging time (from flat) is around 2 ½ hours. Not ideal, but it is the trade off for the battery life you get. Manufacturers need to find a way of adding rapid charging to their products. Combine rapid charge with the battery life of the Lambda CC and you’ll have an IQOS beater, and I don’t say that lightly.
I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the IQOS and the IQOS 3 Multi. My esteemed reviewer colleague reviewed the IQOS 2.4 and IQOS 3 and we both agree, in principle, that the IQOS is the device to beat. I will be reviewing the new IQOS 3 DUO soon too and I’m pretty sure that will be equally as good as the earlier IQOS versions. My previous review of the SLS CP convinced me that the independent manufacturers have got a good handle of what is needed in a device to beat the King of heat-not-burn.
Adding variable temperature and heating/vaping time to the Lambda CC is a damn good combination. Add a generous battery capacity on top followed by a rapid warmup time, and I’ve now got a third device that I’d take with me regularly.
All that’s left is to ask: “when are we going to get rapid charge?”