One of the most notable things about this BioLite product is the omission of a thermoelectric generator, something that's become a staple for the company's product line. It was left off for the sake of affordability and also probably contributes to its relatively lightweight build. Don't worry, it's still a viable off-the-grid product if you consider the solar-panel-emblazoned carrying case which is being sold as an optional $60 accessory. Whether or not you opt to charge by the sun, it's still a handy way to carry the FirePit around, so the case is worth considering. It's also free if you pre-order on Kickstarter.
Charging with the solar case alone would probably require a few days of sitting in the sun, but the FirePit is being positioned as more of a home, beach or car-camping type of product and when the 10,400mAh battery is fully charged you can get from 5 to 30 hours of fan time depending on what speed setting you use. You can also charge up devices from the battery's USB port or connect one of BioLite's gooseneck FlexLights for improved visibility. Just like the smaller CampStove and CookStove, this battery and fan unit is easily removable, so you can take it inside when you want to charge it.
The BioLite app (Android / iOS), which was originally developed to control the BaseLantern XL, will now also include FirePit controls. You'll be able to adjust the fan speed and monitor exactly how long the battery is expected to last. It supports Bluetooth LE, so you should be able to power on/off remotely using the app, but with the increased temperature shielding, expected range should be about 30 feet. It's easy to adjust fan speed from the FirePit's control panel, but why interrupt your reverie by getting up.
The fan drives airflow through three vented metal tubes: two running along the top and one centered at the bottom. The 51 "air jet" openings help to create convection and, when burning wood, also help keep smoke to a minimum. A higher fan setting keeps flames relatively low with heat distributed to the sides (for cozying up to) while a lower setting interfere's less with the flames, letting them reach higher. Controlling that airflow also helped our charcoal get up to temp quickly, so we could get cooking faster.