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The good people at PAX set out to improve on their already critically acclaimed PAX 2 in certain decisive areas. The main idea behind the PAX 3 vaporizer is to move PAX devices into high-end vaporizer territory at a mid-level price without abandoning conduction heating. A daunting task to say the least and we’re eager to find out if they’ve succeeded.
This device may be a conduction vape, it seems hell bent on mimicking on-demand convection vaping in terms of heating and cooling. The PAX 3 heats to your desired temperature in about 15 seconds and will cool down immediately after vaping. The coloured LED lights behind the vape’s signature ‘X’ gradually turn from a dark blue to an ‘all-clear’ green and back, depending on whether the device is heating or cooling.
The oven of the PAX3 holds about 0.3 grams which should easily yield about 20 extended draws when gradually cycling through the 4 temperature settings. A second oven lid with a bulbous protrusion will allow you to only pack the oven half-full while still holding your herbs firmly in place. The concentrate insert has the obvious drawback of actually sticking awkwardly out the vape’s back end (maybe so you won’t forget you’re vaping concentrates now?) but it does the trick in terms of performance. The container is rather spacious and two tubular air intakes should prevent the PAX 3 from leaving behind a sticky trail of melted concentrate. Make sure you hold the vape more or less straight, there’s always the risk of concentrate seeping into your device.
The battery life on the PAX 3 is one of the more noticeable improvements over its predecessor. The battery seems to hold out forever and you should be able to have three comfortable, extended vape sessions with one charge. Charging the battery only takes 90 minutes and the only drawback is the magnetic connection between the USB charger and the device which could be interrupted if the unit is only slightly moved.
The device is quite small which invariably comes at the expense of cool vapour. That being said, the vapour produced by this device doesn’t grind the back of your throat either and the silicone mouthpiece stays nice and cool, even at higher temperatures. The vapour has a clean taste, fully allowing the aromas of your herbs to be appreciated in all of their facets.
PAX 3 review - Build quality
The PAX 3 vaporizer is the same size as its predecessor and easily fits in the palm of your hand. The unit has a comfortable feel to it and a reassuring weight. The aluminum shell with a matte finish is available in rose gold, black, silver and teal. These coatings make the vape easy on the eyes even though they have a tendency to show fingerprints and are not immune to scratching or even chipping along the edges of the oven lid. Make sure you keep your keys and change in your other trouser pocket.
All materials connected to the air path are of medical grade quality. The oven and mouthpiece are located at opposite ends of the vaporizer which makes for a longer vapour path resulting in a cooler vapour. The oven lid clicks into place with magnets and is therefore easily replaceable. One tiny drawback of this otherwise ingenious design is that the main air intake occurs along the seams of the lid. This means you’ll be able to smell the residue of your herbs if you hold the back of the vape up to your nose, so you may want to avoid doing that. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. In any case, PAX sells special odor caps to seal off both ends of the vaporizer for maximum discretion.
PAX 3 review - User friendliness
Another feature we know from the PAX 2 is the single control button located between two air slits on the mouthpiece. Even though this is counter-intuitive for many users who would expect to find the controls on a vape’s body, you get used to this way of handling your vape rather quickly. This single button controls the works: turning the vape off and on, going in and out of temperature control mode and cycling through temperature settings. Haptic feedback lets you know when the device is ready to vape so you can rest your eyes on your conversation partner instead of staring at your vaporizer. The instruction manual in the box is only there to get you started and PAX provides additional instructions on their website.
Well, not quite a gyroscope but the built-in accelerometer and smart-gesture control do make you feel like the vape is spookily aware of how you’re handling it (so be gentle). Waving the vape around shows the temperature level and picking up the vape will automatically activate the oven while setting it down will immediately initiate cooling.
Normally we would dismiss an integration with an app on your phone as a needless gimmick. This time, the PAX 3 vaporizer actually has caught our attention with an app that expands the device’s already impressive capabilities in a useful manner. Aside from the standard option of customizing the temperature settings by one degree increments, the app allows you to choose from four heating modes. Stealth mode maintains lower temperatures so you’ll produce barely visible vapour. In flavour mode, the device will only heat up to these lower temperature when drawing in order to preserve your herbs even more. Boost mode will limit your device’s cooling which is useful if you’re into thick clouds and efficiency mode will automatically increase the temperature during a session, eliminating the need to cycle through the settings manually. You can even increase the vape’s stealth by turning off the lights while the device is heating and cooling.
The PAX 3 vaporizer comes with a reassuring 10 year warranty. Cleaning the device is easily done by soaking the different parts in isopropyl alcohol. Fluffy cleaning rods are included which you can insert in the airpath during more thorough cleaning sessions.
The PAX 3 is available with a basic kit (maintenance kit, one flat and one arched mouthpiece and a standard oven lid) as well as with a complete kit (concentrate insert, half-pack oven lid, multitool, carry case and additional screens) for about €50 more. The basic kit allows less habitual herb enthusiasts to enjoy the PAX 3 experience while remaining firmly in the mid-level price segment. The complete kit has the advantage of offering accessories at a much more advantageous price than when buying each accessory separately.
Most of the accessories available for the PAX2 are also compatible with the PAX 3, which should ease the transition for PAX 2 users. Check out the compact water pipe adapter and additional herb capsules for pre-loading purposes if you’re planning on taking the on-the-go vaping experience to the next level.
The PAX 3 definitely has a leg up on the PAX 2 in terms of heating/cooling time and battery performance so PAX enthusiasts should consider an upgrade. With its mid-level price and obvious on-the-go appeal, the PAX3 seems geared towards mobile vapers who refuse to skimp on quality. Flexibility, vapour quality, customizability, discretion...this device can look high-end portable vaporizers in the eye without flinching. The PAX 3 seems to be designed with the discriminating user in mind who’d rather focus on having meaningful interactions during a night out than fiddling with a vape.
- Smart gesture control for rapid heating and cooling
- Useful app integration
- Herbs and concentrates
- Impressive battery life and charging time
- Good value for money
- Coating prone to scratches
- A bit of a learning curve
- Minor imperfections: concentrate insert sticks out a bit - both ends can get a little smelly
The PAX 3 is PAX’s latest attempt at proving that a top-of-the-line portable vaporizer can be sold at a mid-level price. Through significant strides made in terms of battery life and heating/cooling time, this vaporizer definitely outperforms the PAX 2 and stands out among its peers in the same price range. The smart gesture control is finely attuned to your vaping needs and is a key factor in the device’s ability to heat up and cool down rapidly. It successfully bypasses the most common objection we have against conduction vaporizers and manages to be a more than decent concentrate vaporizer to boot. PAX’s most recent addition to the vaporizer universe should therefore be at the top of any serious vaping enthusiasts’ list.
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