Davinci IQ vs PAX 3: A PORTABLE VAPORIZERS BATTLE
Consumer technology has always had a tendency to go small. Small vaporizers won’t typically hold up against the likes of larger vaporizers in terms of vapor production, but there’s something riveting about packing as much tech as possible into as little space as possible.
We’re going to talk about two highly-portable, conduction-style vaporizers with all of the latest, bleeding-edge specifications that you’d expect from a premium vaporizer as well as a few features that are totally unique. At their release, the Pax 3 and Davinci IQ cost the same: $275. However, since then, the Pax 3 has dropped in price. It’s now only $200 while the Davinci IQ maintains its $275 price tag.
First, Let’s briefly talk about the Pax 3.
Pax is no stranger to the vape nation. The Pax and Pax 2 were both considered by many to be the best low-profile vaporizers of their times. The Pax 3 is very similar in performance, but it improves upon battery life and offers a feature-loaded app that gives the user a lot of customizability.
It was just the successor that Pax needed to seize the next generation of high-end vaporizers, but Davinci surprised everyone with their newest unit. The Pax 3 had a little bit of competition before, but the release of the Davinci IQ really gave Pax a run for their money.
The Pax 3 is a well-known, premium vaporizer, but why is the Davinci IQ such a big deal?
Davinci was previously known for their Ascent unit. It was a fairly run-of-the-mill vaporizer. It did its job well, but it wasn’t particularly impressive. The Ascent
was a gre
at little vaporizer, but it’s safe to say that Davinci, at the time of the Ascent’s release, was not leading the industry like they are right now. The Davinci IQ has a shape that’s similar to that of its predecessor, but besides that, it’s a totally different beast. It has a totally new interface, and it’s hiding some uniquely innovative features under the hood that we’ll talk about later.
We have a lot here to talk about…
These are both high-end vaporizers, and each is packed with its own unique features. We’ll compare and contrast all of them, and by the end we’ll have a clear picture of what each vaporizer is. More importantly, you’ll know which vaporizer is best for you.
The Davinci IQ and Pax 3, in terms of performance, are very similar vaporizers. Both units are built around portability, but it seems that both Pax and Davinci have packed their units with as much power as possible. There are only a handful of low-profile vaporizers that will come close to the Pax 3 or Davinci IQ in terms of performance. These discreet vaporizers are leading the industry with a crazy size to performance ratio. Basically, if you want a powerful, feature-packed, discreet vaporizer, you can’t do better than these two units. They’re almost neck and neck in terms of performance.
But which is better?
Well, if you were buying one of these based purely on performance, I’d have to suggest the Davinci IQ. While the vapor production is similar, the IQ vaporizes herb more evenly due to the IQ’s 360-degree heating technology. It isn’t a huge difference, but there’s is a noticeable edge that the Davinci IQ’s advanced heating technology provides. There are a few more key features that aid the Davinci IQ’s performance, but we’ll get to those in the design and quality sections.
The Winner is: Davinci IQ
Comparing two of the most high-quality vaporizers on the market can be tricky, but once you analyze all the key features, there’s a clear winner. Both the Pax 3 and Davinci IQ produce some of the most high-quality, flavorful vapor available.
What makes the Pax 3’s vapor better than that of the average vaporizer?
A lot of the appeal with premium vaporizers is based on extra features. Apps, cool user interfaces, and miscellaneous unique features are very appealing. Both of these vaporizers have all three. At the end of the day, however, vapor quality wins the battle. Vapor quality is dependent on even heating, quality materials, and the design of the air path. The Pax 3 hits all of these points very well. In fact, the Pax 3 hits these three points better than the vast majority of vaporizers on the market. However, the Davinci IQ pulls ahead yet again with very clever engineering.
But what makes the Davinci IQ stand out?
First, there’s the flavor chamber. This is a first for herb vaporizers, and we give a lot of credit to Davinci for coming up with such a cool, fun, and innovative idea. The flavor chamber is a small pod that can be filled with any herb, and it’ll add flavor to the herb that’s being vaporized in the herb chamber. The vapor is produced in the herb chamber, and it’s then pulled through the flavor chamber. This cools the vapor more, so it effectively adds flavor to your vapor while making the hit smoother.
It’s a great idea, and, in action, it absolutely works. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, lotus, or even hibiscus to the flavor chamber. It will totally change the vaping experience.
We’ve already discussed the IQ’s 360-degree heating, but let’s dive into that a little more… The Davinci IQ uses what they refer to as the “pearl.”
It’s made from zirconia, as is the IQ’s herb chamber and air path. The material itself, as well as the shape of the pearl, provides the unit with even heating and tasty vapor. Ceramic materials tend to make the most of an herb’s flavor, and zirconia is a high-quality ceramic material. The difference isn’t huge, but purists are going to gravitate towards the IQ for this reason. The Pax 3 uses ceramic materials as well, but it doesn’t use zirconia.
It is so extremely close, but the IQ has the clear lead in terms of quality.
The Winner is: Davinci IQ
Ease of Use
The Davinci IQ and Pax 3 are both extremely easy to use, and determining a clear winner will be difficult. The Pax 3 is certainly easier to turn on. Simply press the mouthpiece, and its up and running. The IQ is powered on by pressing the select button five times. It’s not hard to operate, but comparatively, the Pax 3 is easier to turn on.
Loading the herb chamber is a different story. The Pax 3 isn’t difficult to load, but the Davinci IQ makes loading your herb chamber so easy. It’s wider, so naturally, the chance of your ground material falling from the sides is greatly reduced. The sides are also slightly inclined, and it acts kind of like a funnel. The Pax 3 is easy to load, but the Davinci IQ actually makes it quite hard to make a mess.
So which is easier to use?
We’re going to give the lead to the Davinci IQ for one reason. The previously mentioned factors leave the IQ and Pax 3 at a tie, but one feature makes the Davinci IQ much easier to use: precise temperature control. Adjusting the temperature is something that many people will likely to do a few times per session, and doing so is far easier with the Davinci IQ.
The IQ features an interface that allows the user to fine-tune their temperature without the use of an app. The IQ does have an app, but you don’t need it to set the temperature. The Pax 3, on the other hand, requires the app for precise temperature control.
It’s a close one, but the Davinci IQ beats that Pax 3 in its ease of use.
The Winner is: Davinci IQ
Like every other category so far, the designs of both models are superb. These are both top-of-the-line vaporizers, and to determine a winner we have to nit-pick. This is especially true here because the designs are very alike. The sizes are comparable. The IQ is shorter if you’re using the stealth-oriented mouthpiece, but it’s also wider.
Strictly speaking in terms of ergonomics, the Pax 3 has the benefit. Its thin, curved design makes it easy to grip. In the average hand, it’ll likely disappear from sight. You can certainly close your hand around the IQ, but it doesn’t feel as natural.
Both of these vaporizers come with two mouthpieces, which is always a nice inclusion. It allows every user to find their preference. The Pax 2 comes with a standard flat mouthpiece as well as an elevated mouthpiece that resembles that of the original Pax. The Davinci IQ’s standard mouthpiece is actually recessed, so your lips go inside it when you pull. It’s very discrete and works well, but the IQ’s straw mouthpiece will feel more natural to most. It also allows more airflow, which will result in larger hits.
But what about wax?
Yes, both of these vaporizers are intended for use with both dry herb and concentrates. The Davinci IQ’s “oil can” is very nice. It fits the IQ like a glove, and it vaporizes concentrates like a dream. The Pax 3 vaporizes concentrates just as well, but the insert’s quality doesn’t match that of the Davinci IQ’s oil can. It feels flimsier, and it doesn’t fit the Pax as snuggly as the IQ’s oil can. It works fine, but it doesn’t sit completely flush with the rest of the vaporizer. It’s a small gripe, but it’s worth mentioning.
Both have LED-powered user interfaces, but these aren’t LED screens. They’re simply LED lights. The main difference is that the Pax 3 uses four LEDs and the IQ uses a whopping fifty-one LEDs. These 51 LEDs manage to do a lot more than the Pax’s four LED lights. They work in unison to display numbers and, at times, moving images. During the heat up period, the Davinci IQ indicates the increasing temperature with arrows moving upward.
So what’s the verdict for Davinci’s unique take on the user interface?
It’s an elegant solution. Displays are cool, but they tend to take away from the design when the unit is intended to look minimalist. It seems that both Pax and Davinci were focused on making elegant, minimalist, feature-packed vaporizers. Neither were willing to ruin their vaporizer’s design by adding a screen, but both approached the problem a little differently.
Pax stuck to their tried and true design with their four-leaf LED interface, but they added extra functionality with the app. The IQ did something similar, but instead of reserving precise temperature control for the app, they just used enough LEDs to fully replace the display. It may seem counter-intuitive to replace a screen display with fifty-one LED lights, but that really couldn’t be further from the truth.
The fifty-one LED lights consume less power than a screen display would, and it keeps the unit looking clean and minimal. The fifty-one lights, when powered off, just look like holes for airflow. It doesn’t stand out very much, and it manages to offer the user precise temperature control without the use of a smartphone.
That’s another win for the Davinci IQ.
The Winner is: Davinci IQ
The Pax 3 is fairly easy to clean, but it’s substantially more difficult to clean than the Davinci IQ. To be fair, a quick clean will be about the same with both the Pax 3 and the Davinci IQ. However, the Pax 3 sometimes requires a deeper cleaning that’ll require some pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. A pipe cleaner fits perfectly in the Pax 3’s airpath, and running it through a few times should get the job done. Luckily, the Pax 3 comes with everything you’ll need to clean the first few times.
The Davinci IQ is another story. Due to its design, you’ll never have to clean anything but the herb chamber, and it’s fairly easy to clean. All you’ll need is a cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol. Although the Pax 3 can be harder to maintain, it’s only harder because it gives the user the option to clean the air path. The IQ doesn’t offer this option because it isn’t necessary to clean the air path in this case.
This category falls to a tie. We can’t really take away points from the Pax 3 for allowing the user to clean the air path, but, unlike the IQ, you do need to clean the air path, which objectively makes the unit harder to clean.
This is a Tie
Realistically, both of these vaporizers are priced more or less as they should be. The Pax 3 starts at $200, which is about what you’d expect to pay for a premium vaporizer right now. At its release it was the same price as the Davinci IQ: $275. The Davinci IQ has maintained its price of $275.
So, at their current prices, which is the better value?
We’re going to call this one a tie. Yes, these vaporizers are very similar, but the extra $75 spent on the Davinci IQ is justifiable. In most respects, the IQ was better engineered than the Pax 3. This isn’t extremely evident on the surface, but Davinci’s acute attention to detail paid off. Additionally, the IQ has a few features that no other vaporizer has, which would justify a higher price alone.
The Winner is: Davinci IQ
The Pax 3 is a premium vaporizer that specializes in portability and discretion. When Ploom made the Pax, they had size in mind. The Davinci IQ falls into the same category. It was clearly designed to be a small, stealthy vaporizer. Both are fantastic examples of what premium, low-profile vaporizers should be. They do everything well, and they look great while doing it.
The Davinci IQ is a specialty device for another reason, and it’s actually the first portable vaporizer in this category. It has a feature that no other portable herb vaporizer has had: flavor mixing. The flavor chamber might seem like a gimmick, but it’s a game changer. What truly makes this feature stand out is how effective it is. You can really taste a difference when using other herbs to add flavor to your bowl.
In conclusion, these are both great conduction-style vaporizers that are loaded with features. Both are engineered using high-quality materials and cutting-edge technology. It’s a very close battle, but Davinci’s close attention to detail won them the gold. The specifications for both of these units on paper doesn’t tell the full story. In that respect, they’re nearly identical.
However, practically, the Davinci IQ is the superior device. It would just barely win over the Pax 3 without the flavor chamber, but the inclusion of the flavor chamber puts the IQ well past the Pax 3. It’s a very unique and innovative feature. Aside from the extra features, the Davinci IQ has consistently matched or surpassed the Pax 3 in every category, making it the definitive winner. There’s so much to love about it from its uniquely beautiful user interface to its innovative flavor chamber. We hope that this sets a trend and breeds a new category of flavor-blending herb vaporizers.
There aren’t very many vaporizers like these two. There are plenty of portable vaporizers, and there are plenty of premium vaporizers. However, portable vaporizers in this price bracket are pretty rare. There are still a couple of viable alternatives that may spark your interest, so let’s take a look at them. For more awesome portable vaporizers, check out our list of the best portable vaporizers.
The Firefly 2 is similar in size to the Pax 3 and Davinci IQ, but it costs more than both. At $330, this vaporizer isn’t cheap. Unlike the Pax 3 and IQ, the Firefly 2 is a pure convection vaporizer. Conduction units vaporize by means of direct heat, but convection units vaporize by pulling hot air through your ground material. Convection vaporizers are usually better for flavor.
But compared to the Davinci IQ and Pax 3…
The Firefly 2’s flavor is just a little better. Some won’t even be able to notice a significant difference. It’s $130 more than the Pax 3, and that extra bit of flavor is really the only significant advantage. It’s a good choice for flavor purists, but it simply won’t be worth the price to most.
The Grasshopper is an interesting little vaporizer. It isn’t as premium as the IQ or Pax 3, but the concept behind it is very similar. The Grasshopper is all about stealth, portability, and power. It’s the size and shape of a pen, but it’s powerful enough to fill balloons of vapor with ease. You can hit it directly just like you can with the Pax 3 and IQ, but the mouthpiece tends to get pretty hot. That’s to be expected when you take into consideration its sheer power and all-metal design.
That’s really its only drawback, and it comes with a rubber tip to make it a comfortable experience. That tip also functions as a water pipe adapter. It’s $275, which is a pretty good price for this unit. It has a very impressive power to size ratio that’s currently unrivaled. It doesn’t have an app or a lot of extra features, but it does what it’s designed to do very well.