If you are a cannabis consumer, even a casual one, chances are you have heard of the PAX portable vaporizer. Now in its third iteration, this OG pocket vape is better than ever and still a step ahead of the competition. We got our hands on a PAX 3 to check out all the updates and to give it a quick review.
The PAX 2 was a big step up from the first version that was launched by Ploom (the original company) back in 2007, and now we have the third version which looks very similar to the PAX 2. How do you improve on something that's already so damn good?
With an MSRP of $274.99, we are still at the high end of the spectrum on price point. Colorways are Black, Gold, and Silver. The unit is now produced in a shiny high gloss vs. the PAX 2's more chilled out matte finish.
The packaging is the same premium look and feel as it's predecessors and practically identical to the PAX 2 aside from more stuff in the box.
One of the immediate upgrades that we noticed is the new app that works with your phone/tablet to dial in exactly the right temperature. A vaporizer that works with your phone might seem like a bit of overkill to most, but the simply user interface is a lot easier to use than most other vapes with multipel heat settings, so from a usability standpoint the app is a big step forward.
Upgrades from PAX 2
- You don't need to cram the chamber full anymore to get a good hit, the provided half pack oven of flower will get you a nice ploom of vapor.
- PAX 3 comes with a concentrates chamber for other formats
- PAX 3 app improves on overall taste with the taste setting bringing out the terpenes flavor profiles better than ever. If you like flower and taste is big for you, this is an essential setting.
- PAX 3 heats up faster than the 2, not dramatically, but it is faster for sure and vibrates when it's ready to go.
- More efficient airflow and a better burn, there is no flower left behind, and the waste is all evenly browned, no multicolored nuggets upon extraction with the PAX 3
- Improved battery life was negliable, so not something we would list as a selling point.
In regards to overall performance with dry flower, the experience is very similar with the big upgrades being format chamber, half-pack oven, and the new app functionality - which we love.
Our next big test was to use the concentrates chamber to see how the PAX 3 handled other formats. So let's break out the wax and give it a spin. We used the highest setting (as recommended by PAX) to get the wax and the vape ploom was very similar to the flower and not like one of those big nasty dab clouds. The taste and overall vapor are better than most wax pens. The PAX 3 delivers a consistent hit using wax and does the job quite well, especially on the flavor retention - no nasty burn taste. With so many concentrates companies focused on terpenes these days it's nice to have a device that can deliver on the taste as well, not just the intensity.
We prefer flower overall, but the experience is very similar to dry herb and wax which is perfect for those that want a stronger format without sacrificing the other things. The PAX 3 also seems to extend the life of your wax and gives you a longer session than you would get out of most wax pens, but be careful as the chamber and the vape tend to get HOT.
So let's talk about the tech a little bit and what makes it so cool and user-friendly. The app connects via bluetooth just like most devices like wireless headphones, etc. Connecting is pretty straight forward, so once that's done you can name your vape and start dialing it in. We named our PAX 3 Dillon Francis, it just made sense to us for so many reasons.
So along with temp, you have the modes which are pretty fun and again make it easier for many people to get the desired effects without nerding out on temperature.
The 5 Dynamic Modes
Standard: Use-activated temp control.
Stealth: For ultimate discretion.
Boost: Keeps your device in high gear.
Flavor: The most delicious possible.
Efficiency: Don’t waste a drop.
Another very Apple-ish feature is the haptic alert, which is very similar to what the Apple watch does. Haptic just means that the device will vibrate to alert you when it's ready to pull some plooms, which is pretty handy when you are sitting around waiting to fire up.
So... to upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the buring question? If you have a PAX 2 and you have it dialed in and only tend to use flower, there might not be any urgent need to purchase the PAX 3 other than fanboy envy.
If you are someone that just hit the vaporizer market or is looking to upgrade to a high-end vape that is ultra portable, packed with features, and is multi-format the PAX 3 is a fantastic option and has dialed in the user experience to perfection.
More on PAX 3 Here
PAX also makes a smaller and more affordable version for concentrates only called the PAX Era that uses its own pod system which can be found at various dispenseries in Californian and Colorado.
So if you are strictly a concentrates user and want all the benefits of the PAX 3 without the high price tag, including the app, the Era is worth a look as well.
More on PAX Era Here