PAX 2 vs. PAX 3
PAX redefined portable herbal vaporization by bringing an as-of-yet-unknown sense of style and minimal design to the category. Still, the first PAX Vaporizer had some serious issues, not the least of which was a moving mouthpiece that literally required lubrication.
That made the step up to the PAX 2 a major improvement to an already impressive product. The mouthpiece was simplified, the design streamlined, and the heating and vapor channel improved to a new standard that made it worth the upgrade for owners of the original.
So what improvements does the PAX 3 provide? Apart from a shinier finish, it’s harder to tell the two apart. Still, there are some under the hood changes that are definitely worth taking note of, particularly if you’re deciding between the two models.
While PAX has always done a bang-up job with herbs, the previous models never tried to break into the world of cocnentrates. Now, the PAX 3 includes a special oven insert, which allows you to crank the temperature and enjoy your favorite extracts on the go.
That’s not the only included accessory either. Both units pack in a charging cable and dock, and two mouthpieces -- flat and raised. The PAX 3 also tosses in a half pack oven lid with a taller insert, allowing you to keep a tight bowl without filling the oven all the way, plus a few extra screens. There’s a small multi-tool on a keychain for stirring and turning as well. Thats right around $40 of, in my book, essential accessories included for free with the PAX 3.
Heat Up Time
Having spent time with both devices, the most striking distance is by far the heating speed. The PAX 2 is by no means a slouch, which makes the PAX 3 even more impressive. It goes from ice cold to the third heat setting, an optimum vaping temperature, in 10-15 seconds, depending on the battery’s current charge level.
After the initial heat up, The PAX 3 gets back up to temperature instantly between inhales, making it an efficient session vape. With the PAX 2 you need to wait 5-10 seconds for it to get back up to vaporization temperature between draws.
That’s a seriously fast heating time for portable, herbal vaporizers. It’s good news not just in terms of discretion and ease of use, but also in terms of efficiency. Faster heating means the materials in your oven spend less time hot, so more goes in, and less goes out into the air.
While finish might seem like a purely aesthetic choice, it’s important to remember that portable vaporizers spend a lot of time in your pocket with keys and change, and are prone to being dropped. The brushed finish on the PAX 2 means minor dents and scratches could go unnoticed. Even a well-loved one could pass for a like-new model, under the right light.
The finishes on the PAX 3, on the other hand, are mirror-like, a reinvigorated look for the line, but one that could potentially come at the cost of longevity. As the PAX 3 travels with you, it becomes increasingly likely to take a big scratch or banged-up corner.
Granted, it may not look quite as nice after some time on the road, but it shouldn’t affect the PAX 3’s impressive performance.
Haptic Feedback and an App
There are two major components to the connectivity and software side of the PAX 3 update. The first is a seemingly minor feature that’s actually a rather major quality of life improvement -- tactile feedback. The unit vibrates at you when you start it up, and then again when it’s ready to vape. It’s a nice touch that helps avoid you having to look down at the light to see whether it’s ready to go
The second piece of the puzzle is even more significant. The PAX 3 has Bluetooth LE, allowing it to connect to your smartphone wirelessly. The PAX Vapor app allows you to tweak settings, control the device, and trigger games or special modes at the touch of a button. It also allows for firmware updates to the PAX 3, so if PAX Vapor rolls out new modes or games, you’ll be able to take advantage.
The game-changing updates that drew PAX owners to the PAX 2, allowing them to stop buying lubricant for their mouthpieces, are more significant than what we saw this time around. Apart from a few minor functional differences, the PAX 2 and PAX 3 are remarkably similar. The third iteration improves on the second’s offering with a much faster heat rate, and a connected app, but if you don’t dabble in extracts, you won’t find those upgraded features all that compelling. Where you can tell the difference is in price.
The PAX 2 sits at an even $200, while the new PAX 3 costs $80 more. If you often find yourself wanting a way to vaporize concentrates, the more expensive option is worth the extra bucks, and you get some extra goodies for free there. The PAX 2 is still an awesome, budget-friendly option for the loose leaf purist, who doesn’t need the frills.