Hey guys, today I want to do something a little different, I’m going to take a look back at vape history with a deep dive on a controversial device - the Ghost MV1, which was made by the now defunct Ghost Vaporizers. Along with bringing you guys general coverage and reviews of new products, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the stories behind some of the older vaporizers that I imagine a lot of you would have owned. There’s a lot of interesting history in our little space in the world. I’ll go over the history of the Ghost Vaporizers company, talk about the device itself and what it’s like to use, then I’ll share my final thoughts.
The Early History of Ghost Vaporizers
Compared to the present, where new vaporizer releases are fairly spaced out, back in 2017 the vaporizer industry was in full swing, with tons of new manufacturers popping up, and they were bringing out new devices all the time. When you fast forward to today, a lot of those companies have either disappeared completely, or their space in the market is not nearly as prominent as it once was. Everything changes and the vape space is no exception.
Ghost Vaporizers sort of came out of nowhere, suddenly this company just seemed to exist with top-level marketing materials and an ultra-professional appearance. They had a beautiful website and super high-quality rendered promo videos, things we weren’t seeing from other manufacturers very often in 2017, or even today, apart from some big and established brands.
To promote the Ghost MV1 initially, they had a massive RV that was covered with MV1 branding and imagery, they sponsored either a band or a festival, and essentially took this RV all over the United States to promote the device. It seems like this would’ve been quite an expensive endeavour, and maybe not the wisest use of funds, because I’m not sure how many people go to a music festival looking to buy a $375 vaporizer. If they had the marketing budget to do something like that, I think they could’ve got more bang for their buck with more traditional advertising methods.
Ghost Vaporizers clearly had some big capital behind it, to have a device almost ready to go and a big marketing campaign implemented to launch it, means there are some serious bucks behind it. Typically in this industry we see companies start smaller and then grow gradually, but Ghost came in hot from the complete opposite direction, big money from the get-go.
The Vape Critic was the number one reviewer back in 2017, and he took a huge liking to the MV1. He praised the device, saying it was one of the best he had ever used, and was very bullish about it overall. I don’t remember the exact details, but he offered some sort of satisfaction guarantee, where he would personally buy the device back from you if you didn’t like it. He took a lot of heat over this for some reason, which seemed unwarranted, people can be mean.
Ghost Vaporizer officially launched the MV1 in the second half of 2017 with four different colour options, and I received one in gunmetal grey. My model worked very well, it had none of the issues that some units seemed to be experiencing, and I remember my first hits being huge and tasty. Like the Vape Critic, I was also impressed.
In 2018 Ghost Vaporizers continued to spend heavily on marketing, when I went to Champs in 2018 they had one of, if not the biggest booth at the entire show. This kind of stuff must have burned through their initial capital, booking these large booths, not to mention staffing them, is very expensive.
The Downfall of Ghost Vaporizers
As the MV1 got into the hands of more users the problems began to pile up. The most common issue people ran into was an overheating problem, but the oven door was also problematic on a number of units. Apple banned vaporizer-related apps on their App Store during this period, so the app (which probably cost Ghost Vaporizers quite a lot to develop) that would allow more intricate control of the MV1 was no longer available, which didn’t help.
Towards the end of 2018, Ghost Vaporizers released a new Stealth Edition of the MV1, which was also sort of a secret v2 upgrade. They improved the overall tolerances, updated the firmware, the heat sink, as well as the door latching mechanism. I definitely noticed an improvement to the door situation, and again my device worked just great, not everyone had the same experience though. I think the slowing of sales momentum and an increase in warranty and customer service claims meant Ghost started to get into a bit of a tight spot. I remember a customer told me that Ghost wanted to FaceTime him to verify device issues, which he was really uncomfortable with, and it seemed in general that they weren't forthcoming with fixes for the issues that people ran into.
2019 is where the company seemed to run into some serious trouble. Batteries became a huge issue, they were having difficulty stocking them, so customers were unable to find replacements for their device, which was a major problem since it was a proprietary battery. Ghost also started doing some crazy promotions and bundling, things like buy one device and get four accessories for free. These are the sort of things that companies do when they really need to move products, even if they are losing money on the transaction itself.
I heard a lot of rumours that Ghost were working on a follow up device, but in the end the company was a one trick pony, aside from the updated Stealth Edition, they didn’t release anything aside from the MV1 and its initial accessories. If you check out Troy‘s post on 420VapeZone.com, you’ll see that he says that Ghost stopped doing any affiliate payments in mid 2019, owing him around $1500, and apparently they owed some people even more for their affiliate sales program, which is not a cool thing to do to the people who help you market your product.
The battery issue never seemed to get resolved, and the drastic promotions didn’t give them the capital they needed to right their course, so in April 2020 Ghost Vaporizers sent out an email announcing that unfortunately the company was going to be completely ceasing operations. They mentioned COVID-19 as one of the reasons, but at that point it was extremely new to the world, and seemed like a convenient excuse when the problems had been ongoing for quite some time at that point. Once the company went under, the warranty on the device was worthless, so anyone who had an issue was SOL.
R.I.P. Ghost Vaporizers.
Design of the Ghost MV1
The MV1 has a bit of a polarising appearance, it certainly didn’t look like the average vape coming out in 2017, or even today. To me it has a futuristic, Star Trek phaser type of design, especially with the nice shiny gunmetal finish mine has. Physically it’s a handful, it’s shorter than a Storz & Bickel Mighty+, but it’s really heavy, weighing a hefty 12oz, and measuring 5 inches tall, 2 1/4 inches wide, and 1.6 inches deep.
On the top there's a glass mouthpiece that retracts back in the device when not in use, and leads to the removable heat sink with a ceramic interior. You don’t see a ton of ceramic used on vaporizers, but it’s used in a few places on the MV1.
On the back there’s a button placed conveniently where your finger naturally rests, and further down is the massive removable battery. It looks to be two 18650s in a custom housing, providing 2600mAh of battery and giving you around 10 to 12 sessions, which isn’t particularly impressive, making extra batteries a necessity for some users. The battery itself has a micro-USB port used for charging, which will take at least two hours for a full charge. Ghost did sell an optional fast charger which charges much faster, but that means more expense and physical objects to deal with.
On the front of the device at the bottom is the power button, alongside an LED which communicates things like power level and mode. For a device of this size I always found it odd that they went with such an oversimplified control scheme. Having even the most basic screen makes things so much easier, and you are much less reliant on a manual to find your way around.
Near the top on the front is the button which opens the door to reveal the oven and the crucible. The crucible is made from ceramic, and it has a metal lid that just sits on top of it to keep things in place when you close the door. I really wish the crucible lid snapped in place, but overall I really liked how this system worked, although I think it’s complicated by using more components than necessary, leading to more maintenance requirements and points of failure.
Overall, the MV1 feels rock solid and great in your hand, although it always seemed front heavy to me when you set it down on the table.
Operation of the Ghost MV1
The Ghost MV1 is a 100% convection and true on-demand vaporizer, which was one of the main things that made it so attractive to many people. Once you’ve turned it on and selected your temperature, you’re only around 10 seconds away from a super tasty and incredibly powerful hit. The very first time I used it I couldn’t believe the cloud it spit out, it was just a test toke and it got me absolutely ripped. This thing is a serious heavy hitter, and the flavour is intense. There is definitely a learning curve, and the results can be inconsistent, especially if your battery is low on juice. It seemed like some people had issues with their MV1 that led to uneven vaporization, but mine always delivered even and fantastic hits.
To utilise the different temperatures and modes, I find the control scheme a bit meh. With all the free real estate on the front of the MV1, Ghost could’ve added two buttons, a small screen, or multiple LEDs, anything that would make it easier to understand the operation. I hadn’t used it in some time, and I couldn’t even remember how to turn it on, let alone set the different modes or temperatures. The modes are controlled with the front button, as is the temperature, and the button on the back is to control the vaporization function itself, making it the perfect one hit at a time type of device.
The crucible works best with a full pack, and it holds around the same amount as an Arizer stem. I always worried about flower falling down into the heater due to the opening and closing of the crucible lid, it never actually happened, although it was never a daily driver for me. The MV1 can also be used for concentrate, it even features a separate mode for it. I find that it works OK, better than many dual-use vaporizers, but like most it works much better with flower.
When you use the device natively the vapour is surprisingly cool. You would expect to cough more due to the plentiful volume of the hits, but the effective heat sink and good airflow do an admirable job of producing smooth clouds. When it’s working properly the hits are fantastically flavourful and incredibly strong. If it could deliver them with consistency, I think it would have been a really popular long-term use vaporizer.
Between the two models, the Stealth Edition has a noticeably improved door and latch system. It goes in easier and locks in better, if Ghost had used this set-up from the start I think they would’ve avoided a ton of grief. I didn’t notice any performance differences with the updated firmware, but the matte black finish is gorgeous and has a better texture, I definitely prefer the Stealth Edition.
Ghost Vaporizers came right out of the gate with a huge marketing push and a bit of an unorthodox approach. It seems like they focused more on flash than performance, and ended up blowing through their cash way too fast. I think they misread the consumers in this space, and it’s possible their market research focused on the cannabis smoking community, rather than our specific vaporizer community. I don’t think their flash and dazzle resonated with the people they needed to buy their product, so the excessive spending was wasteful and didn’t achieve its intended result.
The Ghost MV1 was a very expensive device, towards the top end of prices in the portable market, but for many customers it failed to deliver the results they expected for that high cost, and the warranty process left something to be desired. I was lucky, and mine always delivered a great experience, it just didn’t quite have what it took to be my daily driver or one I would reach for very often, but I always got super tasty and strong convection sessions from it.
I think new vaporizer companies could learn a lot from the MV1 launch, hopefully better managing their start-up funds to increase their chances at longevity by focusing on marketing tactics that yield better results for significantly less money.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down vape-memory lane, thanks so much for reading and watching guys, I really appreciate it.
Keep it green, keep it sneaky!