Arizer Air Max and XQ2 Premium Bundle: Unboxing and Review
April 22nd, 2023 *Updated May 19th 2023*
Written by Glenn D. Howard
I’m gonna level with everyone. I went into this project as an attempt to tamper my V.A.S. I just couldn’t justify another ‘unsubstantial’ dry-herb vaporizer acquisition, unless I found a way to harness that purchase as an opportunity to prove to myself above all else, that I could direct, produce, star-in, and edit a full length video review.
Afterall, this college film major needed to give himself a project he’d be passionate about. At the time of writing this review ‘April 27th 2023’, I acknowledge so much more has been learned, lusted over, and caused me to clench my wallet tighter than any pinball machine I’ve had the pleasure of tilting like a crazed nostalgia junkie lunatic.
Having spent the better part of five months scheduling, filming, editing, and fixing the boosted audio in the middle of 2 ½ hours of raw editing material, I spent my off time seshing with the good people of Troy’s 420 Vapezone Discord server. Feeling the pulse of my fellow ent’s opinion, it was clear to me that Arizer might as well have been yesterday’s news. Ball-Vapes rightfully earned their place as the ultimate frontier to vaporize flowers, duplicating the headiness of any combustion based bong hit.
Better yet on a portable level, the TinyMight 2 has won over the hearts of many as a portable powerhouse, in more ways than one, perhaps an equal to their desktop ball-vape brethren.
Terp pearls have even permeated to the reaches of stems for nearly any existing desktop and portable vaporizer that isn’t a Mighty+ cooling unit. Yet even that might not be sacred territory for Storz-Bickel, depending on the direction they may or may not head with their next flagship portable vaporizer.
To quote Ed Harris’s senior office from Top Gun: Maverick: “The Future is coming” he tell’s Pete Mitchell Maverick “And you’re not in it.”
I’d like to believe that Arizer gave the dry-herb vape market a similar response when it launched its $287 ‘Premium’ bundle last Fall, in the way that Tom Cruise’s character retorts to Ed Harris “Maybe so, sir, But not today.”
Yet unlike Maverick, Arizer is not pulling Mach 10 to save an aviation project from the Pentagon’s budget cut death row. Their session oriented vaporizers have gained a following due to their longevity, durability, affordability, and flavor profiles. However, some might deem that Arizer is playing coy by holding onto legacy products, as they continue to sell the.. *fast forward tape* the Solo and Air have been relegated to ‘The Arizer Vault’
On that note, everything in the universe is subject to change. And just in the way that death and taxes are inevitable to any living being, it also applies to capitalism. Just to clarify, none of us should be rooting for the death of a product, or viewing an older method of plant-material extraction as invalid, or unworthy of participation. Your Mighty+ didn’t get relegated to the landfill as soon as you received your Tinymight 2, just as how you’re probably still going to hold onto that Volcano Hybrid after your first Ball-Vape (Take your pick of B0-B2, TKO, Freight-Train, Freight-Train Pro-Engine, Pinky, etc..).
And even if you sell your Mighty+ to replenish your wallet after the purchase of a Tiny Might 2, or your Volcano Hybrid for a ball-vape, whoever is the lucky person to buy that second hand vaporizer from you, is not only going to help the planet by reducing e-waste, they’ll fall in love with your old flame, or should I say vaporizer because there’s no flame? *Das da joke!*
The Session Vaporist’s Kitchen Sink
Right off the bat, $287 for Arizer’s latest portable and desktop vaporizer, with free shipping from Canada to the U.S, is just madness in the best possible way. It is a reasonable price to spoil that best friend of yours who may have only known a life of combustion, the grandma who partakes in an occasional toke, or that person living with V.A.S who hasn’t owned an Arizer product before and is looking to have their latest portable and desktop added to an ever growing collection.
When you receive this package, you will have a full day ahead of you, that is if all of the components are in working order. This package comes with a metric-shit-ton of glass. The chances that something might have broken on its way to your doorstep is monumentally high.
When me and Kara filmed the first part of our video review back in mid January of this year, launching the series ‘Kara & Glenn IRL’, I recall how me and her swooned over the packaging design during the unboxing. Aesthetically, the jet black high gloss packaging takes on the aura of a nightmare fueling gadget from Black-Mirror.
Arizer didn’t create an entirely new package for this bundle, yet bubble wrapped both of these Dyson-esque wonder-works of modern graphic design within an inconspicuous cardboard box from USPS. On the side of both the Air Max and XQ2 boxes include a pack in list, complete with single line illustrations (orthographic views) of every component within.
Then a moment came where we encountered a shattered mini-whip, which sat wrapped inside a dainty strip of ruptured plastic air-pads, ending with a single strip of what might have been the world’s thinnest bubble-wrap.
At that point, me and Kara were debating on ending the first part right there. We ultimately decided to set-aside the fractured mini-whip, and continue playing with the rest of the XQ2 until wrap up for part one. As fate would have it, my primary camera died several minutes after we decided to continue, and our secondary camera had footage so grainy at 1080p 60fps, that I struggled to revive said footage through color correction in DaVinci Resolve. I decided while editing in post that our secondary camera would stay relegated to a POV shot of the unboxing, with quality insufficient to see all of part I through to the end.
Arizer’s Customer Service comes In Clutch
After having filmed part one, and not meeting again for the next two weeks, I was determined to contact Arizer’s customer-service ASAP for a replacement mini-whip. Half-awake behind the keyboard of my Macbook Pro, I typed up a short and sweet request for a replacement mini-whip, and submitted my ticket directly on Arizer’s website, including a PDF copy of my receipt.
This request was sent out on Friday January 20th, 2023, at 4:42 AM P.S.T. I heard back later that evening at 8:48 PM.
“Hi Glenn, Thank you for your email. I am sorry to hear you received your Order with a broken part. Glass parts are not covered under warranty, but since you received it in this condition we’ll certainly replace the part for you. You will receive tracking information once shipped. If you have any questions or require any assistance please let me know and I will be happy to help in any way I can.”Email Conversation with Arizer Representative
A tracking number was generated by 8:53 PM. The mini-whip would then ship out on the following Tuesday January 24th at 5:00 PM, arriving at my Nor-Cal doorsteps by January 31st at 12:35 PM.
At no added monetary cost to me except for time, the product testing could commence, and many balloons would be inhaled.
Unboxing The Air Max
First up with the Air Max, you receive a sticker of Arizer’s logo, reminding me of the joys I’ve had unboxing new Apple products. The instruction manual is a more standard affair, yet is full color on high gloss paper, with a quality rivaling that on the Nintendo Wii’s manual. Oh gosh, if I keep this talk about paper up, I’m going to sound like Patrick Bateman from ‘American Psycho’.
Past that, you will see the Air Max, resting in a thick paper tray with call-outs for the temperature up and down buttons, as well as the menu button. The screen is adorned with a thin plastic film protector, with the words hello and a face, of which I’ll coin as the ‘Arizer Smiley Emoji’, yet for the purposes of this review, we’ll call him ‘Bill’. Kara directly compared Bill to the sinister digital avatars and corporate branding within Black-Mirror.
Arizer provides the Air Max with three glass stems, each with their own travel tube (which is perfect for microdosing, i.e. pre-packing on the go). Your default stem is the 70mm glass aroma tube. For water pipes, you have a frosted glass aroma tube with a 14mm male adapter. For those of you looking to spritz up your room with the included packet of lavender botanicals, you are also given the glass aroma dish’. Disclaimer* Not once did I use the aroma dish in my time testing the Air Max. This is a feature that makes a lot more sense on a desktop vape with fan assist, of which I did test on the XQ2.
Remove the battery of the Air Max and you’ll find a 26650. These batteries are absolute chonkers, coming in at 26 mm in diameter, compared to 18 mm on your typical 18650. You can learn more about the differences at ecolithiumbattery.com. Holding the Air Max without the battery, you’ll discover that the majority of this vaporizer is a stainless steel shell with an included oven. The heft of this vaporizer is 2/3rds battery, while the remaining 1/3rd is an oven with an OLED screen and internal wiring.
To round it off, you’ll also receive a stirring tool, which has a small yet convenient plastic tube for storage. This is the exact same one you’ll receive with the XQ2. The rubber tip makes slotting into the plastic tube feel secure, and gives you an added grip when stirring your bud, or as a backup for your dab sessions.
Unboxing The XQ2
The XQ2’s packaging nicely compliments that of the Air Max. While it is using a thinner paper material, versus the smartphone box thickness of the Air Max, it remains eye-catching. Feel welcomed (or disturbed in Black-Mirror style) with the glossy black box, featuring a high resolution beauty shot of the XQ2 up front, including orthographic views and descriptions of its contents.
Remove the clear circular sticker tabs (ideally with a box cutter to avoid ripping the box art), and you’ll be greeted to an equally high quality manual, with our smiley face friend ‘Bill’ greeting you up front.
Underneath the manual is a small box spanning the width of the main package. Inside is the whip, two connoisseur bowls, a mini-whip, and the aroma tube, all wrapped with a dainty strip of plastic air-padding and coiled bubble wrap. As a reminder, the chances that you will receive broken glass are very high, so take it slow and inspect every piece you receive.
After you get through the first bit of box-ception, there are two boxes propping up the one you just opened. One of them holds the nozzle, six bags, stirring stick (same included with the Air Max), two silicone sleeves for your connoisseur bowls, mesh bowl screens, mesh caps for the whip and mini-whip, glass stem for balloon consumption, and silicone cap for holding the vapor in. The box opposite of this contains your AC adapter, U.S power cable, and a C-Cell powered IR remote.
In the midst of this box mayhem is the star of the show itself, the Arizer XQ2. It is well protected with a top styrofoam sleeve, and a bottom tray to hold it in place during shipment.
Upon first impressions when plugged in and powered on, you might have just bought yourself the world’s most stylish LED spaceship mood light. You can choose from adaptive, spectrum, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, cyan, and green color modes. My personal favorite is the pink, which goes best with my desired chill-wave sticker aesthetic.
These are all changeable through the dedicated light cycle button of the XQ2’s remote. The multicolor LED rim might be my favorite addition to the far-out space alien industrial design of the XQ2, because it lets you adapt its aesthetic to your mood. Different strain? How about some different lighting to go with it?
Seshing with The Air Max
With my daily driver the Mighty+ on loan with Kara for the next several weeks, I challenged myself to incorporate the Air Max into the majority of my portable cannabis + hemp consumption.
At first, it was a bit awkward to load the stems. Prior to this, I’ve always used vapes where the bowl holds your material. To pack an Arizer stem, you need to pack it tightly enough to prevent material from falling into the oven. The goal here is to maintain a clear glass airpath with your herb. If your load isn’t packed tight enough, you’ll be greeted by combustion inside a stainless steel oven. The heat transfer is so direct that a glass stem is needed to transfer the energy to your semi-tightly packed herb, which is lifted less than a millimeter from the oven floor. After two dropped bowls, I was in business with a medium grind, packed by my pinky finger in a twisting motion.
This is the most ritualistic process I’ve experienced with a battery powered vaporizer. While loading stems in a goldilocks fashion to optimize airflow and prevent combustion is a longer time investment, you will be rewarded with the ability to hot swap preloaded stems during extended sessions.
Set the timer for 15 minutes and blast off at 428 through the 14mm WPA adapter, you’ll likely clear the first bowl in under six minutes. Now imagine owning two spare stems, you could cycle through several strains by the end of your session! I did something similar to this, yet instead with a combination of the included 70mm aroma stem, and the 90mm 3D Flow Stem from sneakypetestore.com.
With a mostly isolated glass airpath, my time with the Air Max was an extended visit to terptown. The Stickybrick Jr still wins me over for pure flavor, being able to brush your glass intake with the flame of a torch for precise heating, it’s *chefs kiss* terp-liciousness. That being said, the 90mm 3D Flow stem will bring you dangerously close in flavor performance.
The ‘3D Flow’ stem was a recommended accessory from a friend over at the 420 Vapezone Discord server, and I’m glad I made this purchase ahead of time, letting me use it directly after unboxing the Air Max. Outside of running the Air Max through my Mobius Sidecar with the 14mm WPA adapter, I found the included 70mm aroma stem to be too harsh on the throat. A bit of extra cooling goes a long way towards preserving both comfort and flavor, so be sure to choose your stems wisely.
Being a vaporizer where glass stems are the selling point, the Air Max might have lost a few points for portability. The included aroma tubes are an ingenious solution. Not only does the silicone cap help to prevent glass from shattering in the event of blunt impact, it also keeps the herb within the preloaded stem fresh. Suddenly, we are talking about an experience more in line with dosing capsules, paraphernalia that can travel with you in the side compartment of a small bag.
So to my surprise, when paired with a mountain hardwear fanny pack, I felt more spontaneous with sessions. I could simply fire up the Air Max, grab a loaded stem, and be tokin after a 1 ½ – 3 minute heat soak. What I wish I had known at the time was how to power off the damn thing. While it takes menu + ‘temperature up’ to power on, you must hold down the menu button individually for two seconds for power off. This interaction did not appear obvious to me, as most vaporisers I’ve used have set button presses for power cycles mapped to a single button.
Over my time with the Air Max, it took me roughly eight 15 minute sessions, gradually temp-stepped from 368 .F – 428 .F until the included 26650 reached 18% charge remaining. The included charging brick and cable had me back to 100% in around 1 ½ hours. The benefit of being removable means multiple batteries can come with you. Arizer sells spares with an included case and charge indicator.
For the time being, I’ve been perfectly happy with the 26650 remaining inside the Air Max, as the battery cover threading is infuriatingly thin. Any small amount of dust or flower particulate leads to a noticeable crunch. I’m afraid of scratching and/or misaligning the threading with the slightest amount of crap sticking to it. So if I do hot swap batteries down the road, I will make sure to always carry a spare OEM S&B brush with me. Don’t trust the threading to be clean, make sure to always brush it off!
Seshing with The XQ2 (My First Desktop Vaporizer)
I was over the moon to try this device. With a constant power source, it meant having a device that could go the distance for extended sessions, reaching temperatures I have never successfully vaped at until now. TableTop Bong has a fantastic video demonstrating the capability of running the XQ2 at 500 .F with terp perls, inflating a balloon, then running it through water.
While a revisit on my part is well overdue with the terp perls, at the time of writing, I have ‘experienced’ roughly a dozen balloons through water at 500 .F, and my face was still melted with each and every single one. My tolerance is likely forever changed until the next tolerance break. It doesn’t help that now I essentially own a mini-cannabis hookah lounge when running the whip directly through the XQ2.
On the night before my cousin’s birthday, her, my work buddy and I partook in the 4/20 festivities prior to midnight, because you can’t leave the homies hanging on 4/20. From their individual experiences with the balloon through water, and XQ2 w/whip directly through water, they both complimented on how smooth the vapor was continuing into the higher temperatures.
We went through two balloons filled by two nugs in the party stem of the connoisseur bowl. The first started off at 448 .F with no heat soak at low fan speed, producing high light and wispy hits with low in-bag vapor density. Our refill six minutes later at the same temperature, this time with fan speed set to high, made all of the difference. One of my favorite tests with balloons is to hold a filled one up to a light and check for vapor density. If you can barely make out objects through the bag, then you are ready for some thick clouds.
After this second bag, I then moved the XQ2 plugged into an outdoor extension cord, to the top of an empty beverage cooler with a portable led lamp. This time, my cousin and tag-along buddy would experience the XQ2 directly through water. This is where both of them said the words ‘hookah’ and ‘lounge’ about several times. I started them off with a fresh load of herb (two hemp nugs) once again at 448 .F.
Over the course of twenty minutes, I gradually raised the temperature by 10 degree increments every five minutes. For the first ten minutes, I turned the XQ2 off to preserve the load, stirring in between temp stepping. For the last ten minutes, I figured leaving the XQ2 at 448 .F with the fan off before jumping to 500 .F would suffice, giving our throats time for a hot tea break. When we brought the XQ2 to 500 .F at max fan speed, the Mobius Sidecar became foggier than a San Francisco morning.
Out of curiosity for just how harsh a direct inhale from the whip at 500 .F at max fan speed was, I asked my cousin to pass over the Mobius Sidecar, removed my makeshift 14mm paper towel WPA for the 10mm glass whip mouthpiece, and went to town without the blessings of a purified airpath. My throat instantly began to burn and I went into a coughing fit. After downing the pain with my now lukewarm ginger tea, I ended the session with two long drawn out rips back through the Mobius Sidecar.
Before my first shared experience with the XQ2, I had learned early on in testing that the need for hydration approaches at warp speed without a bong. At any temperatures beyond 428 .F, I found the experience through both the balloon and whip to be exhaustingly harsh on the throat. I waked and baked by sipping balloons inflated at 500 .F, only to give in and go through water half way through the balloon.
Even at lower temperatures such as 448 .F, the vapor from a bag is so dense and dry, that sharing a full one with a dozen guests will have them all chugging water. For these reasons, I highly discourage subjecting your friends and family to dry balloons, or for that matter a dry whip.
While I am looking at this review as two separate products, It feels like an entirely different value perspective as a bundle. The ‘Premium’ bundle has gone on sale numerous times at $287, so I would be rather hesitant to recommend a full price purchase for either the Air Max or XQ2, especially when individual devices regularly go on sale for over $100 off of their listed MSRP.
In their own rights, both offer the latest portable and desktop experiences from Arizer. They aren’t promising to melt faces with the likes of heavy hitter ball vapes, unless modified with terp pearls (hopefully more on that from me in the future!)
What they will provide is an excellent complimentary setup for prior casualties of V.A.S (me included). Only time will tell if I revisit these devices as much should I come to own a Tiny Might 2, Vestratto Anvil, or one of the numerous ball vapes in the future. Yet something tells me they will stay in my rotation through the power of emotional attachment, as both the Air Max and XQ2 empowered me to both film, edit, and write my first vaporizer review.
Update: April 27th 2023 Both the Air Max and XQ2 can be purchased individually for $144 directly from ariser.com Therefore, buying the ‘Premium’ bundle no longer presents the same value it used to if you are looking for a discount on individual units. However, this is subject to change should Arizer revert individual unit prices back to normal.
Update: May 19th 2023
The price of the Air Max and XQ2 has gone up to $160 each, bringing the price of both individually bought to $320. The premium bundle however, still remains at $287.99, resulting in a current savings of $32.01 https://arizer.com/premium-bundle/
- You want the best session vape bundle money can buy
- You want to better understand the Arizer legacy and value.
- You’re new to dry-herb vaping, looking for a well rounded experience.
- You want to upgrade from one or both (Solo, Solo II, Air, Air II, V-Tower, Extreme Q.)
- You want to keep one of the included vapes, and give the other to friends or family.
- You are a generous gifter to a stoner in need of their first dry-herb vaporizer.
- You are a generous gifter to a stoner with V.A.S
- You need on demand in your vaporizers due to tolerance or time management.
- You already own a top tear session portable (i.e Mighty+, AVLP, TM2, Anvil, Dani).
- You already own a top tear session desktop (i.e Volcano Hybrid).
- You are satisfied with one or both (Solo, Solo II, Air, Air II, V-Tower, Extreme Q).