Vaping with Julia – Sigelei Zmax v5
Julia Tests Her Loyalty
“I’m not sure if I’m the best choice to review the Sigelei Zmax since I own just about every iteration of the SMOKTech ZMAX and I’m very fond of my collection.” Julia, when asked to review the Zmax by Sigelei.
I understand that the name ZMAX is not exclusive to SMOKTech, or Sigelei for that matter, but there is just something about how a SMOKTech ZMAX fits in my hand, the placement of the sizable firing button, the ease of use, the swift movement through the menu system, and the relatively inexpensive price tag, that makes them very appealing. I feel comfortable with a SMOKTech ZMAX, and the truth is the Sigelei Zmax gives me a very different level of comfort. Not bad, just different. Still, it’s my responsibility to be as unbiased as I can, so here it goes…
Sigelei Zmax v5 Telescopic (Gun Metal)
While the Sigelei Zmax v5 offers telescopic abilities, allowing you to use a IMR batteries of 18350, 18500, 18650, or even God forbid, 2x 18350’s stacked, (never never never do this) a voltage spread of 3.0v to 6v in .1v increments, and variable wattage of 3w to 15w in .5w increments, it sells for roughly $15 less than the SMOKTech ZMAX. How’s that for value?
MyVaporStore, Spinfuel’s official supplier of most of the hardware we review, sells the Sigelei Zmax for just $65.78, whereas the SMOKTech ZMAX sells for 74.95 to $89.95, and I was trying to understand the reason(s) why for quite a while. Is the SMOKTech ZMAX made better? If it is, I can’t tell. So why is more expensive?
Feature to Feature – Function to Function
SMOKTech ZMAX has an amperage output of 4-amps while the Sigelei Zmax offers 5-amps, both can use 510 or eGo threaded clearomizers and tanks, by way of using a “eGo T” connector for native eGo threading support. (Clearomizers like the EVOD will fit, but not all eGo-threaded devices will, there are no outside eGo threads on either device)
Both units can be used in RnS (RMS) or NEA (MEAN output mode), and both deliver regulated power, meaning that they will maintain their voltage or wattage output until they need to be recharged at 3.3v. About the only difference I can find between the two, except for the obvious telescopic feature of the Sigelei is that the SMOKTech ZMAX still has an LCD screen and the Sigelei as of v5 offers an OLED screen for a brighter display and no more ghosting of the number “888” showing through the display like they continue to do with the LCD displays.
I never use the NEA mode (MEAN output mode) because with the RnS mode you get a more accurate vape. It samples the output voltage constantly while it is pushing power to an atomizer, clearomizer or even a simple 510 cartomizer.
Using the Sigelei Zmax for two weeks I firmly believe that in RnS mode (and probably NEA/MEAN) the measurements for heat-related voltage drift is more accurate than the SMOKTech ZMAX. (All that really means is that the voltage setting stays within range better, but it would be hardly noticeable to most vapers who are not obsessed with these things) Below I’ll relay a story about how we discovered this.
The USB Adapter AS Portable Charger
MyVaporStore surprised me by including in my package a new USB Adapter that allows the Sigelei Zmax to used as a portable charger, including the ability to recharge a cell phone. I didn’t expect it, but every customer that buys the Sigelei Zmax v5 will get one of them.
If you find yourself in need of some emergency power to keep your cell phone going until you can get back to the normal way of charging your phone you can connect your cell phone to the Zmax through the USB charger.
Choose ‘Mobile OUT ON’, and press for 10 seconds and it will charge the cell phone. To verify that is working the OLED window will show ‘Warning!’ and ‘No smoking’. Well, yea obvs… To stop charging your cell phone press the button for another 10 seconds and disconnect the cell phone and Zmax v5. Make sure you have set Mobile Out OFF after charging your phone. If you don’t, the Zmax won’t allow you to vape until you do. And keep in mind that your transferring the power, your Zmax is loss the power it gives to the phone.
Real World Usage
The Sigelei Zmax is a welcome edition to my ZMAX collection, despite the fact that they come from different companies. For the most part they are identical devices, feature and function wise anyway, while the aesthetics are somewhat different.
The SMOKTech ZMAX and ZMAX Mini come in several finishes and colors, whereas the Sigelei Zmax comes in stainless steel and Gun Metal. Gun metal is way better looking than the stainless steel, in my opinion of course, so that’s the one I have.
I’m not crazy about extending the telescopic tubes all the way out to fit 2x 18350’s, or even one 18650, so I’ve been using a few 800mAh 18350’s with it most of the time. Sure, the telescopic feature offers the convenience of different battery sizes, but at some loss of aesthetics.
The “vape” is wonderful. Working through the menu system is familiar and fast. The firing button is firm and direct. The onboard microprocessor regulates accurately, allowing you to have a quality vape all the way through the battery charge. Say what you will about the ease of using eGo or Spinner batteries, until they too are regulated I’ll stay with APV’s that assure a great vape far longer than a non-regulated battery can.
If you feel that you’ve learned enough about the Sigelei Zmax you can skip the part below. However, if you stay with me you might enjoy it.
Last Sunday night Keira and I were home looking forward to Game of Thrones. We each had a SMOKTech ZMAX fitted with an AeroTank. I was vaping Strix Elixirs “The Keys” and Keira was enjoying an AeroTank full of Strix Blue Honey Cream. Kicking back with my iPad in hand I was going through some of Sunday’s email and came to one from a reader that asked me about the ZMAX. (I get asked about my fandom for the ZMAX often)
Turns out she was contemplating buying one (a ZMAX) and wanted to know which color I preferred and whether I liked the standard size or the ZMAX Mini. I read the email aloud to Keira and she asked me how I was going to answer.
When I told her I was going to say the standard size ZMAX and in red brass would be my choice for her Keira asked me if it wouldn’t be better to take out the Sigelei Zmax in order to make sure that I was happy with my reply. She had a point when she said that feature and function were as close as can be, but the price was a good $15 less, so why wouldn’t I recommend the Sigelei?
Long story short I took the Sigelei Zmax out and affixed the AeroTank to it and began vaping. Now, I know this is very rare, but somehow the Strix Key Lime Pie eJuice tasted better and was producing a noticeable increase in the amount of vapor over the SMOKTech ZMAX.
I’ve long said that the most important part of the vape experience is the clearomizer/tank, not the battery or mod. When it comes to flavor fidelity and vapor production, the biggest factor is the atomizer and what surrounds it.
What it comes down to is 3.7 volts is 3.7 volts, no matter what device you’re using. There are dozens of reasons why you would pick one device over another, but this wasn’t one of them…or so I thought.
Keira asked to try it so I passed it to her. After a couple of minutes of vaping her AeroTank of Blue Honey Cream she agreed with me and said that even her juice was hitting better. We decided to take out our multi-meter to see what was going on.
Maybe it was because of the age of my red brass ZMAX or Keira’s blue ZMAX, but both were off by a few increments in voltage when we tested them, off more than the usual variances. Both AeroTanks had 2-ohm Dual Coils and they tested just fine, one was 1.9-ohm and one was spot on 2-ohm. We were vaping them at 3.9v for me (for max flavor) and Keira was vaping at 4v (for throat hit and vapor), but when we put the Zmax to meter it turned out I was really vaping at 3.7v and Keira was vaping at 3.9v. Not much I know, but enough to make a difference we would notice. The Sigelei Zmax seemed to be hitting at exactly 3.7v when we set it to 3.7v. Go figure.
Clearly, something was throwing the SMOKTech ZMAX’s off; they could no longer be as dependable as they once were. When I wrote back I explained to the woman what we had just done, and without trying to confuse her I wound up telling her that the SMOKTech ZMAX was still an excellent APV, and the red brass was my favorite color because it’s not exactly red, it’s more like a brassy red that reminds you of putting a finish on wood and wiping it off to get a certain textured look. I also told her that I would probably start using the Sigelei Zmax more now that we learned it was hitting more accurately. The decision was certainly hers, but I told her not to overlook the Sigelei.
I certainly don’t have any inclination to dump my collection of SMOKTech ZMAX APV’s…I still love them all. But, in some ways the Sigelei Zmax has an edge over them, from the telescopic function to the OLED display, that will matter to some. I won’t know how dependable the processor chip will be in a year’s time, so it really comes down to price and aesthetics for most vapers.
When Sigelei decides, if they decide, to offer their Zmax in different colors and finishes I’ll be there. After living with it for a couple of weeks the only sensible thing to do is to start another collection. 🙂
UPDATE: Dave told me that the Zmax v5 is actually available in 5 colors, including Gold, Rainbow, and Black. MyVaporStore stocks the Stainless Steel and Gun Metal.
Seriously though, right now the Sigelei looks to be the better deal. The price is less, the performance is every bit as good as the SMOKTech ZMAX, maybe even better, and the USB Adapter is definitely a plus. Either one would make an excellent choice though. Variable Voltage, Variable Wattage, right on down the line of common features and functions; the Sigelei is an advanced personal vaporizer that gives you a big bang for the price. It made a believer out of me, and I am a hard core SMOKTech ZMAX fangirl.
- Adjust Voltage 3.0V to 6.0V in 0.1V increments
- Adjust Power 3.0W to 15W in 0.5 Watt increments
- 5A Output Limit
- OLED Displays Output Voltage, Output Power, Resistance, Battery Voltage, Power On/Off, LCD On/Off
- Short Circuit Protection
- >Low Resistance Protection below 1.2ohms
- Low Voltage Protection below 3.4V
- 510 & Ego connection – Fits all 510 devices and SOME EGO devices such as the EVOD
- RMS & Mean Voltage setting for proper test settings if desired with proper equipment.
- Mobile Charging On/Off option
- 1 x Zmax V5 Body
- 1 x Cell Phone Charging Adaptor