Pax 2 Review – First Impressions
And then there were 2. With the second release from the 500 lbs gorilla of the vaporizer industry, Pax Labs comes the long-awaited Pax2. The Pax2 is smaller, lighter, smarter, and more durable than its predecessor the Pax making it one of the most reliable vaporizers on the market. Right away with the Pax2 we notice the difference in size from the original Pax. It is both shorter and a little thinner than its big brother making it 25% smaller overall making this portable vaporizer even more discrete. Another change that we notice right away is the new mouthpiece. The original Pax has a retractable mouthpiece that was also the on/off button. Which was a very cool feature, except for the eventual shortcomings. The mouthpiece would often become sticky with resin from several uses of the vape, it also would sometimes shoot out from the top of the vape and if you weren’t careful it could pop you in the face. Pax has done away with that which helped get the device down to its shorter size and height. This shorter size also makes it hide in your hand a lot better than the original. Now the mouthpiece is a flat silicone surface with a small slit near the edge of the vape that you sip your vapor through. The device is still activated pushing down on the top where a small button is concealed beneath the mouthpiece.
The Pax2 also has some new technical features that are very exciting. First, we will start with the Oven. The Oven is now deeper allowing for easier packing and more even heat across your herbs. The Oven is also smarter with the help of what Pax calls “Lip Sensing Technology”. The folks over at Pax Labs have incorporated this new feature along with an accelerometer in the device that helps save your battery and your herbs in your oven. The Lip sensor knows when you are hitting the vape and boosts the heat of the oven while you are hitting the vape. It does this because when you draw from the vaporizer you are bringing in cool air that passes over your warm herbs pulling in the vapor to your mouth and lungs. What also happens here is that cool air also cools down your herbs. The brains at Pax Labs figured out that with their lip sensor they could program the oven to boost up in temp to mitigate that drop in temp then you are drawing in cool air to make sure that your full hit stays warm and consistent. The Pax also has a built-in accelerometer which tracks the motions and movements of your Pax2. Why is this important you might ask? Well, have you ever been vaping gotten distracted by something maybe a phone call or a crying child? Well, then you know that most vapes just keep on heating while you are away from it and thus rotating all of your herbs and wasting all of your vapor. The accelerometer of the Pax2 knows when you have left your little buddy behind after it detects no movement after 30secs. The Pax2 then enters a “cool down” mode and the LED lights on the front of the Pax2 turn blue. The oven will cool down 10 degrees at a time for 90secs. After that, 2 minute period of idle and cool down the Pax2 will automatically turn itself off saving both your battery and your weed.
The Pax2 like the original also gives you that high-end consumer electronic feel that you get with a new tablet or smartphone. It’s Apple-esque packaging and presentation stick out from the pack when you see this beauty on the shelf of your local head shop. The package includes your Pax2 unit, a maintenance kit for cleaning (pipe cleaners and a bottle of alcohol), the USB charging dock, USB cable, an extra screen for the bowl, and the Pax standard 10-year warranty. Overall a quality product from a reliable manufacturer at a reasonable price now at only $179.99. You also have the option of purchasing the Pax2 with a 2-year warranty for as low as $149.99 an all-time low price for the Pax2. Making it one of the best luxury portable vaporizer brands in its price range.
Having enjoyed the original Pax quite a bit to say that I’m excited for the Pax2 would be a huge understatement. As with the Pax before it, the Pax2 is incredibly easy to load. Simply stand the Pax2 on its head and it will stand upright leaving the bowl open to being filled. I always had the best success loading the Pax with fine to a coarse grind of weed which lets the oven heat the herbs evenly with minimal stirring needed. After the bowl is loaded I replace the magnetic oven lid and flip the device over. To turn the Pax2 on just give the center of the mouthpiece a single click. The four LED lights in the signature Pax “X” light up a vibrant purple color indicating the oven is heating. There are now 4 heat settings pre-programmed on the Pax2 instead of the 3 on the Original. The Heat settings are 360ºF (182ºC) – Low, 380ºF (193ºC) – Medium, 400ºF (204ºC) – Medium-High, 420ºF (216ºC) – High. The heat up time on the Pax2 is incredible at a lightning 45secs to reach temp it is much improved over the Pax and other vaporizers in the market. For our first bowl, we are going to start with the Low and Medium-high settings to get a feel for this bad boy.
The first hit on this setting was absolutely beautiful. So much flavor that I really didn’t expect from a vaporizer with a steel oven but holy cow am I pleasantly surprised. The vapor is cool and flavorful, some might remember the original pax giving vapor that was quite warm. That is something that I say is much improved with the Pax2, I think in part to the new mouthpiece design. The Vapor travels up an air path along the side of the device then hits a 2 tunnel pathway that directs the vapor around the edge of the mouthpiece to help cool the vapor before inhalation. Hit after hit, I get constant vapor clouds which is probably a nod to the Lip sensing technology that they had built into the device. After a few minutes, we decide to kick up the heat on Pax and push it up to the Medium High setting. To toggle between the different heat settings on the Pax2 you need to enter the “heat selection” mode. To do this press and hold the top button, the LED lights will then turn red and light up the pedals indicating your heat setting. Click the top button to cycle through the 4 heat settings, when you have reached your desired heat setting press and hold the button again to return to heating. Hit after hit we got more and more vapor. The room we are testing in begins to look like something out of a Cheech and Chong movie it was amazing. Such a small little aluminum tube creating such a big impact in the testing room, incredible.
After the first bowl we were left quite pleased, surprised, and honestly stoned. So much so, in fact, I found myself playing with the “Lip Sensing Technology” to see what it was all about. The front LED display of the Pax illuminates in Purple when it is heating up and turns green when it is at temperature. When your lips come into contact with the mouthpiece the lip sensor sends a signal to the oven to bump up the heat. You can actually see the Pax2 engage the extra heat in the light animations. When your lips touch the mouthpiece the lights begin to pulse upward indicating the heat is rising. Pretty cool when you’re already medicated and looking at it. The pax also has a similar animation when the oven enters the “cool down” mode, the lights turn blue and the animation motions downward indicating a decrease in temp.
The first week with the Pax2 was much like being reunited with an old friend. It was a very familiar feeling from that I had when journeying around with Original Pax but with all of its new improvements. Again it gives you a similar feel like when you get the latest Smartphone. The iPhone 6 isn’t that much different than the iPhone 7 however it has the subtle features and quirks that make it new and exciting to you the user. Also at the same time, the bit of familiarity and uniformity gives you a sense of comfort. You know that you got what you paid for and that it will be a reliable piece of hardware for the years to come.
With the first weeks of use with the Pax2 it’s easy to take notice of the improved battery life. The original Pax and Pax2 are both powered by a built-in 18650 battery, a common power source for portable vaporizers. The Pax2, however, features a newer more powerful 18650 that gives you an extra 800mah of vape time. In total, you should get about 4-5 full bowls and vape sessions of 10-15 minutes with the Pax2 or 50-60 minutes of total vape time. This is awesome because that means that the Pax2 is a vape that one can take out for a full day of usage and not have to worry about looking for a power brick to get a quick charge. The “cool down” feature also helps with this improved battery life by turning off when oven when forgetful vapers leave their vape behind with the oven on such as myself.
The Shorter stature of the Pax2 makes it more discrete than that of the original Pax. It’s short enough that it almost completely hides in the clench of my fist and I don’t consider myself to have huge baseball glove size hands either. It makes it very easy to go on nice walks with the Pax2 in even populated areas and just kind of walk along and vape as you go. I never found a reason or situation to use the High setting on the Pax2. The medium-high setting was more than enough to fully vape a whole bowl down to a nice brown ABV color but I know there are some out there that try to make their vaporizer like a portable smoking device rather than a vaporizer. Typically I found that the Medium and Medium-High settings were my go to for the Pax2. The medium was a nice mix of flavor and vapor that gives you full flavorful hits with plenty of ploom to fill the lungs and give you a good cloud on exhale. The Medium-high was mostly heat and vapor, not that the vapor was hot on inhale but it was more about the vapor production on this setting than flavor chasing.
Hidden Features and Easter Eggs
Also, this vape is full of little tricks and hidden gems that are activated using motion and the accelerometer. To check the battery on the Pax2 simply shake the vape back and forth and the LED lights will display the battery life one 1-4 scale. The Pax also has a stealth mode that dims the LED lights to activate stealth mode shake the Pax2 until the LED X shows the battery then press the button on the top while it is still being shaken. In addition to these features, the Pax still has a few Easter Eggs. Using the “spin technique” you can access these different features. To do so you hold or lay the Pax2 horizontally and spin away or toward you 3 times which will cycle and activate the feature. The features are listed here in order and to toggle between each you will need to repeat the spin technique. So to reach the 5th feature “Simon” you would need to do this 5 times for a total of 15 spins.
- Party Mode: All four lights are different and cycle through different colors. There appears to be a rhythm/pattern to the color cycle. Lip sensor activation increases the speed of color change. The oven is on. Standby timer extended to one minute between sensing movement or lip.
- Party Timer: All four lights are stationary. When the Pax 2 is moved the lights jump into a random light configuration, occasionally one or more of the lights are very dim or off. If the Pax 2 is held face down the lights flicker and change rapidly. Lip sensor activation makes the lights flicker and change rapidly for up to 10 seconds. At 10 consecutive seconds of lip sensor activation the lights freeze. Removing your lips and replacing them starts another 10-second flicker display. The oven is on. Standby disabled.
- Light Painting: In this mode, all four lights show the same color and cycle through colors while the Pax 2 is being moved, when still, the lights are off. Waving the Pax 2 through the air yields a color changing stream of light. The heater can be turned off in this mode by selecting a fifth available temperature, all four light blue.
- Color Carousel: The lights react to movement and position of the Pax 2. When laid flat the Pax 2 shows blue. When face down, an orangish-yellow. When I hold the Pax 2 upright and give it a little circular flick, the colors begin to cycle with a noticeable pattern. The colors can be seen transitioning from one light to the next as if there is a big globe of colors inside and the lights reflect whichever colors face forward. The heater can be turned off in this mode by selecting a fifth available temperature, all four light blue.
- Simon: Spin the Pax 2 until all four lights flash white three times. The Simon game will begin. Hold the Pax 2 face up, horizontally in front of you. Observe the pattern displayed on the lights, then repeat the sequence by leaning the Pax 2 towards the appropriate light. The heater can be turned off in this mode by selecting a fifth available temperature, all four light blue.
Simon and Funky Town!
Playing the included Simon game isn’t just for mindless fun. It also unlocks, even more, features than before. If you can manage to play Simon with enough agility and whit to get to level 20 you will unlock the tune of “Funky Town” by Lipps, Inc. From here on every time you power on your Pax2 you will hear the subtle tune of “Funky Town” that is played using the vapes circuit board.
If you can keep your composure and reach level 40 you unlock a new set of colors for the game Simon itself. The colors switch from the standard, Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green to a more sophisticated Magenta, Azul, Amber, and Forest Green Hue. Personally, I haven’t had the patience to get to level 60 so if anyone reaches that and finds something please let me know what it is.
Cleaning the Pax2 is almost as simple as the device is to use. Redesigning the mouthpiece to not be a pop-up retractable piece has proven to be a huge improvement. Not only with the day to day operation but also with cleaning. To clean the Pax2 you only really need to snake out the air path with one of the included pipe cleaners. The Maintenance kit of the Pax2 comes with several pipe cleaners and a small bottle of alcohol. Dip the pipe cleaner in the alcohol and start to swab out the airpath until it’s clean.
Other parts to be aware of are the oven and the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece cleans really easy with a quick wipe with a paper towel or napkin. You should also make sure to wipe out the cavity where the mouthpiece sits. The last area that needs maintenance is the oven. The steel oven is just as easy as the mouthpiece with a quick wipe of the oven and the lid. You should also make sure to clear out any gunk that might be in the seal of the oven lid as well.
The Pax2 is everything you wish had been designed into the original Pax and more. The reduction in size and the increase in battery life make it more discrete and more portable than almost any other vaporizer on the market. It has a 10-year warranty to take care of any hiccups that might come along during its lifespan and with a well-established company such as Pax Labs I can imagine them keeping good on that 10-year warranty. If it’s not what you are looking for then the cheaper option of a 2-year warranty is even more enticing.
The Pax 2 is a perfect vaporizer for almost anyone. Whether you are a seasoned vaporizer enthusiast that is looking for a simple discrete on the go option. Or if you are a beginner to vaporizers and want something that is both simple and that you won’t immediately grow out of. The Pax2 should satisfy whatever your need or lifestyle. The hidden features and games show the care and quality that Pax put into the design and production of the Pax2 and I personally can’t wait to see what they come with next.