Updated: December 16th, 2014
The PAX Vaporizer by Ploom was a highly anticipated release last year and so far, it’s been an incredibly popular unit. Not only was there considerable hype before the launch, but the momentum and following that the PAX has generated has continued well after the launch of this pocket vape. So how does this unit stack up against other units in the same price class?Well, the most popular comparison is the PAX vs. the Arizer Solo vaporizer. Let’s have a look at who wins this battle: the long time champion of the handheld vape market or the contender?
Comparison Review of the Solo vs. PAX
This section evaluates the clarity and pureness of the vapour produced by a unit. Cooler, smoother vapour is better, as it is not only easier to consume, but also tastier. To get a feel for how important vapour quality is to connoisseurs, we ran a poll on our website for approximately eight months, asking what people look for in a portable vaporizer. In the Canadian market alone, about 70% of the voters selected vapour quality as their #1 consideration when buying a vape. Here’s how the Solo and PAX fair in this category:
The Arizer Solo produces dense and cool vapour. This category is the Solo’s strength. The vapour quality is amazing because that was Arizer’s primary focus when developing this unit. The vapour quality this unit produces is linked to two things: the unique design of the heating chamber and the use of glass. Glass is very difficult and expensive to work with, but still Arizer chose to stay true to the philosophy that glass offers the purest vapour quality. Though the unit sacrifices a bit of portability as a result of incorporating glass pieces into the build of this vape, it didn’t for a second stop the explosion of this unit on the market. The Solo is a champion portable for the very reason that is doesn’t fail to provide amazing vapor quality. To this day it is still the #1 selling portable.
Ploom had two things in mind when they made the PAX: portability and discreetness. So, the short evaluation of the PAX’s vapour quality is: it could be better. What makes the vapour quality of the PAX inferior to the Solo? Well, the vapour is very hot. This is understandable considering 1) the vapour produced doesn’t have a lot of room to travel, so there’s no chance for it to cool down 2) the air pathway that the vapour does pass through is stainless steel, which further conducts heat and 3) the batteries are directly above the heating chamber, further creating a hot environment in general within the unit. But Ploom, just like any other vaporizer manufacturer, was aware that certain sacrifices need to be made in order to win on other fronts when they developed the PAX. So, just because the PAX does not offer the best vapour quality, doesn’t mean that it is not a great vape. It means that, just like any other vaporizer, there is a tradeoff.
Winner: Hands down and without a doubt, the Solo by Arizer takes the cake in this category. Arizer poured all of their energy into ensuring the Solo offers the best vapour quality imaginable in a portable.
This category compares how convenient the unit is to carry around. Factors like size, form, weight and battery life are the primary considerations for this category.
The Solo does fit into a pocket or purse, but it is one of the larger, heavier units in the portable category. The glass drawing stems also makes it somewhat difficult to deal with when on the go. The Solo’s portability really shines when you take it out with the ZEUS Armor Case, making travelling much easier with its hardshell, odour-proof carrying case. It also comes with pre-cut foam inserts to keep everything in place from your ZEUS Grinder to the glass aroma tubes. Without the case, the glass aroma tubes can be more fragile to carry around. That being said, the Solo’s battery life is outstanding. Offering up to 90 minutes of continuous vaporization, the Solo will carry you through a weekend away from home without a problem with its heavy duty Lithium Ion internal battery. What is also important to note is that the heating chamber is insulated and isolated from the battery, making it last longer and leave the unit nice and cool while in operation. So, while this unit is not the smallest or the lightest portable on the market, it does offer substantial battery life worth considering if you’re looking for a vape that doesn’t need constant recharging.
Ploom’s unit looks like the most portable vaporizer on the market. Its small, lightweight and there are absolutely no loose parts. This unit was clearly designed with portability in mind. Even the temperature button is hidden behind the mouthpiece to make the exterior perfectly smooth and compact. The problem with this unit is that with such a compact unit, the battery within is not only smaller, but also packed quite close to the heating chamber. What does this mean in terms of battery life? Well, first, the lack of insulation will kill your battery faster. Second, a battery exposed to heat will not only run out faster, but it will also reduce its overall lifespan. Third, smaller batteries means less time to vaporize on the go and more recharging, more often. This means you’ll have to stop and recharge your unit every 40 minutes or so, which is quite a nuisance.
Winner: This is a category were most units are going to have a problem to compete against the Pax by Ploom, but the armor case and the far superior battery life makes the Solo the obvious choice for this category.
This category compares how stealthy a unit is. While design plays a key role, odour is also a consideration for discreetness. Units that are small, look like other devices and/or emit very little odour rank very well in this category. Here’s how the Solo and PAX fair in this category:
The Solo fits perfectly in your hand. When you hold the unit, it barely shows, so carrying it around is easy and effortless. That being said, when the vape is in use, the glass stem is clearly visible and while it is barely noticeable from more than 4-5 meters away. this still isn’t the unit’s most desirable features. Regardless, there are many ways to combat this issue that make it easy to enjoy super stealthy sessions on the go with this unit.
When it comes to dominating a category, the PAX does everything it can to rank high on the discreetness scale. It easily fits in your hand for carrying around, but more importantly when in use. This means that once the mouthpiece if popped up, you have the ability to take discreet draws. What’s more is putting the unit away right after taking a draw is quick and effortless. Use aside, the design and look of this unit screams discreetness. Most people won’t even know what this gadget actually is and when this unit was taken on a field test, it attracted no attention. Now, in terms of emitting odour, the PAX does emit a stronger odour that quite a few other portables, which primarily has to do with how high the temperature gets within the actual heating chamber as well as how loose the cover for the heating chamber sits. So, while the PAX is very discreet, it is recommended for airy, outdoor use.
Winner: The PAX tries really hard in this category again, but the Solo squeezes by as the more stealthy unit. Keep in mind that using the Pax outside, it does shine, but not enough to beat the Solo.
This category compares how well a unit is manufactured in terms of build quality, material quality, etc. The reliability, customer satisfaction and low defect rates are also taken into account.
The Arizer Solo is assembled in Canada with the highest quality components available. The heating chamber is a patented, one-of-a-kind, offering a hybrid conduction and convection vaporizing experience for superior vapour quality. The exterior sandblasted, anodized aluminum finish boasts a strong, quality feel and the glass pieces used are all custom and of the highest grade available, to again ensure supreme vapour quality. The internal semiconductors in the Solo also have simple functionality. And the general rule of thumb is that the simpler the design of a unit, the more reliable the unit will be over time (you can also see this in Volcano’s new handheld unit the Plenty, which has no digital components, making reliability its competitive advantage). This reliability component further adds to the customer satisfaction scores and low defect rates, making it a natural choice when contemplating the longevity of units across the board.
Ploom has received accolades for their product design. Also boasting an anodized aluminum shell, the PAX offers a pretty, delicate, stunning appeal. The PAX’s manufacturing quality shines in its beautiful, compact figure. With intuitive technology like a built-in motion sensor, Ploom is certainly ahead of the competition when it comes to features. Ploom did a great job at making a product that directly appeals to connoisseurs on a number of fronts. So, the indisputable fantastic design and unmatched 10-year warranty certainly adds a few points to the PAX in this category. However, the components used within the PAX are not as high quality as the Solo and since hitting the market last year, the PAX has is known to have quite a few defects (the one of main concern being the mouthpiece getting constantly stuck and in effect rendering the unit unusable over time).
Winner: Despite it’s great design and 10-year warranty, the PAX doesn’t offer enough in this category to out shine the Canadian giant: the Solo. This Arizer Solo has an edge when it comes to manufacturing quality and reliability.
So who wins? Overall, both the PAX and Solo are great portables, well worth their price. Keep in mind that these units are catered toward very different people. The PAX is the obvious choice if you are primarily concerned with the look and style of your unit whereas the Solo would be your pick if you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to vapour quality, battery life and reliability.
That being said, there can only be one winner and that is the Solo. The Solo Vaporizer produces better vapour quality, runs about 3-4 times longer, is built to work and last longer, and requires a fraction of the time to clean and maintain. The Solo is much more geared towards functionality and generally connoisseurs find functionality to be a more critical factor in a vaporizer than design. So, while the PAX is definitely prettier, the Solo is just a better overall performer.
Thanks for reading today’s PAX vs Solo, vape SHOWDOWN post. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the section below.
Take care for now and keep on vapin’!