Photos by Gabrielle Lurie.
The PAX 2 is a solution to problems we didn’t know we had. With this second product offering, the San Francisco-based company once known as Ploom — now known as PAX, after its most successful product — is improving on the model that, with over 500,000 units sold, didn’t seem to need much improvement.
Almost all of the features that have made the PAX 1 a proven winner are retained. There is the 10-year warranty. There is the magnetic door to the “oven” where your product is heated, which flips open with a fingertip. There’s the signature X of LED lights that glow green when the product is hot enough to take a puff.
PAX 1 and PAX 2 side by side.
The PAX was already compact enough to fit in a pocket. But at 25 percent smaller, the PAX 2 is even slimmer and can disappear completely in a big enough hand. The PAX 2’s heating element is also slightly faster, which means about ten seconds less waiting time before seeing the welcome green glow.
The PAX 2 is also smarter. The heating unit now has a “lip sensor” that tells the unit to “automatically cool down” when not in use. That’s, well, cool – but the PAX 2’s most visible change, and one that most users will appreciate, is in the charger.
Instead of the PAX 1 pedestal mount, which required a power outlet, the PAX 2’s lithium-ion battery is charged via a magnetic coupling that plugs into a USB power outlet. This means that you can charge via a computer. Or if you’re on the go, an AC adapter with multiple USB inputs is all you need to keep both your iPhone and vaporizer ready.
And while we don’t have exact data for you, the battery life seems strong. We played with our PAX 2 all weekend and showed it to an awed crowd, and it wasn’t until our second night – with no intermediate recharging – that the LED X flashed disappointingly red (meaning death).
Vaporizers have thus far avoided the iPhone’s planned obsolescence route. But should you swap a PAX 1 for a PAX 2? Possibly not. There was absolutely nothing wrong with our PAX 1, as far as we knew. Still, PAX 2 is definitely an improvement, and there’s no reason to believe that the current market leader’s second offering won’t appeal to an image-conscious, money-making audience. This is the kind of sophisticated smoking alternative that wouldn’t look out of place next to an iWatch, and just the kind of vaping gadget to obsess over.
But you’ll have to wait a little longer. The first orders are being taken today, but the PAX 2 will be officially launched in April. Meanwhile, the price of the PAX 1 has dropped to $199.99 and is available at good outlets such as VapeWorld.
cool factor: huge. People want to know what it is, and if they know it, they want to try it. Sleek brushed metal and eye-catching LEDs that, when you discover the Easter Eggs, will “play games with you,” business leaders promise.
practical: Easy to load, activates with a single push of a button. The only downside may be the size of the oven. A gathering of four or more people may require frequent reloading, which must wait for the oven to cool down a bit. Other than that, vaping on the road — or in the back of an Uber — is a foregone conclusion.
affordability: It’s the iPhone among the vapes, which means it can command a similar price. The PAX 2 should cost about $250 (UPDATE: make that $279.99…) and the PAX 1 is now available for $200 and under.
General: This is the go-to vape and the standard by which other vapes are judged for a reason. It can’t have concentrates, of course, but for vaping flowers, this is the Cadillac option.
To score: 5/5