Published on May 11th, 2013 | by Trick1
Review: The Sigelei TMax
Summary: A mostly-solid, heavy box mod with built-in backup battery storage, but the Sigelei TMax has a few serious quality control issues.
The Sigelei TMax may not have been on the market long, but it’s already got a checkered past. There was a wave of excitement when it was released, which quickly subsided when it was revealed that the TMax, contrary to statements made in marketing material, was to be an 18350-only mod. At that point, interest mostly vanished. Then, when Sigelei announced they would be offering an 18650 version of the device, interest began rising again. Shortly thereafter, they revealed that the TMax would take both an 18650 and an 18350, at the same time, and people began to get very confused.
Our TMax arrived here at Vape Squad HQ recently. We bought it in a co-op on Facebook that did not go without its share of hassles. In addition to all the reconfiguration announcements we mentioned earlier, what should have been a 10-day process between payment and shipping dragged on and on as Sigelei kept changing their minds about what the TMax was supposed to be. Since it’s a private group we won’t mention the name of the co-op manager, but she did a great job of keeping the group updated on status, even if every delay from Sigelei seemed to push her one step closer to a nervous breakdown.
The Sigelei TMax is basically the popular ZMax variable-wattage mod in a box mod form factor, with the scrolling OLED display and one-button, eight-option interface familiar to users of recent ZMax models. It’s got essentially all the same features of the ZMax, including variable voltage and wattage, both in mean and RMS modes. Voltage can be set from 3 to 15 watts in .5-watt increments when in variable wattage mode, or 3 to 6 volts in .1-volt increments when set to variable voltage. Accuracy varied a bit, but was generally with .25 volts of where the TMax had been set. The variance from the set value surprised us somewhat, as we had previously found the Telescoping ZMax V3 to be quite a bit more accurate than we found the TMax.
So, about those batteries. We can’t be sure Sigelei won’t change their minds about the design yet again, but our model of the TMax does, indeed, hold both an 18650 and an 18350 battery at the same time. While this may sound like a recipe for a violent explosion, it’s really not. The TMax comes with two different battery caps: one with a spring the provides connectivity to the negative end of the battery, and a second padded cap that does not complete the battery circuit. This allows the TMax to hold two batteries at once, but only the one with the spring cap will be active; the second will only be sitting in storage until it might be needed as a backup, at which time the battery caps can be switched to activate it.
Another point of note about the Sigelei TMax: It’s a bit large and really heavy, even before you put two batteries into it. In unscientific comparisons against the roughly 20 other mods within arm’s reach at the time of writing this review, the TMax is easily the heaviest of them, and that comparison included some pretty beefy mods. We actually appreciate a bit of weight in our mods, and don’t really find the TMax to be excessively weighty, but if you’re, say, 105 years old or even more out of shape than we are, it may be a bit much.
The Sigelei TMax comes equipped with 510 and eGo threading, though we ran into problems with the eGo connector. So far, we haven’t been able to get any eGo-based atomizers to fire on the TMax. We’ve tried a Kanger EVOD, a Bauway CE8, and a couple generic no-name clearos, and so far none of them have worked. Whether this is a problem common to the TMax, or just a quirk of our test unit, we really can’t say.
It should also be noted that more than one member of the co-op through which we purchased our Sigelei TMax has, within the 24 hours that have passed since they started arriving on people’s doorsteps, managed to break the connector off the top of the mod. While we haven’t yet had that issue, we’d been forewarned and were sure not to over-tighten our atomizers to make sure it doesn’t happen to us before we got through testing it.
More a minor annoyance than anything else, we’ve found the button on our Sigelei TMax rattles like crazy. It works fine, but as the TMax is tilted that little plastic button moves around quite a bit, and it can be a bit distracting.
The current two-battery revision of the Sigelei TMax is just starting to show up at retailers, with a price tag just under $70. While we do like the mod, it would seem that even after all its revisions, the TMax may still need a bit of work before it will be a reliable mod. We’d recommend waiting on a TMax purchase until Sigelei has had a chance to work out the remaining issues.