Published on March 18th, 2013 | by Trick9
Sigelei Telescoping ZMax V3
Telescoping ZMax V2
Summary: Easy to use, and performs like a champ.
While Sigelei is one of the bigger names in Chinese mod-builders these days, what really put them on the map was their take on the original version of the ZMax: A variable-wattage mod obviously styled to emulate the American-made Provari. It’s been considered by many to be the standard in variable wattage mods ever since, even holding its own against the much lower-priced Vamo released later.
Over time the ZMax has continued to evolve, and as it has, it has started to move away from its Provari-clone roots. The latest incarnation of the ZMax is the V3, now available in the telescoping version we just got our hands on.
Users of earlier ZMax models will find much familiar here. It still sports a Provari-like single-button interface, with the familiar eight options. Through the interface, it is possible to turn the unit on and off, adjust voltage or wattage up and down, check battery voltage, configure what is displayed on the OLED when the button is pressed (voltage/wattage, atomizer resistance, or remaining battery power), turn
the OLED on and off, switch between variable voltage and variable wattage, and switch between mean and RMS modes. The ZMax V3 in variable voltage mode can be set from 3.0 to 6.0 volts in .1-volts increments, or 3 to 15 watts in .5 watt increments in variable wattage (or “power”) mode.
One significant difference from older ZMax models is the new OLED screen. Capable of using seven characters across each in two lines of output allows a lot more information to be displayed than the old three-character LED used by the original ZMax models, and takes a lot of the guesswork out of navigating the user interface. It is now much clearer what the different options mean, without having to remember cryptic menu codes.
We found the device to be fairly accurate, only straying up to .2 volts from what it was set for, across its entire range. The ZMax was easily much more accurate than our eVic or Vamo, among others. It is quite likely the second most accurate mod we’ve tested, being barely beaten by the Provari.
As a bit of a stress test, we hooked up an AC9 RBA and turned our ZMax up to 15 watts. We were very impressed by how it performed, cranking out huge clouds of vapor.
Build Quality: 7/10
While we found the Telescoping ZMax V3 to be a great performer, we can’t say we were as
impressed with the overall build quality. There is a lot of screech as the unit is telescoped, and the bottom section tends to be slightly loose and wobbly. The battery fit is good, however, and it does have the feel of a mod you could drop without pieces breaking off of it.
We were more impressed with the look of the device than we were expecting, given the photos we
had seen of it online from suppliers. Rather than the polished chrome we were expecting, what we received was a brushed stainless unit that we think looks much better. We’re not particularly fond of how the grooves in the top cap are broken unevenly by the translucent LED button, though, as it makes it look as if the button was just tossed in as an afterthought, rather than being considered in the overall design.
While telescoping features are starting to show up in other variable mods (one example being the GS Sub 2.0 we previously reviewed), it’s still quite rare to find them in variable wattage mods like the ZMax. This does give an edge in flexibility over other mods that only allow a single battery type, or require a complete change of tubes to accommodate multiple sizes.
While the Telescoping ZMax is quite large as a result of having to store electronics and display in the head of the unit, it is no larger than a standard Provari, and much shorter than a Vamo, when used with the same types of batteries.
We were very impressed with the ZMax’s performance, and its accuracy in particular. We have come across few mods as accurate across their entire range of possible settings. We have experienced no misfires with the
button. The ZMax seems exceptionally willing and able to do exactly what we tell it to do.
This mod seems to set to retail in the range of about $80, though it’s new enough that it’s not easy to find yet at online retailers. Co-op pricing on the device has been ranging from $53 to $61, though this may come down as it is more widely adopted. While this price is obviously quite a bit higher than the Vamo, another variable wattage device, for many the far better performance of the ZMax will easily justify the price difference.
Overall Score: 7.6
Update: The day after posting this review, about 24 hours after receiving our ZMax, it no longer works. After it began starting to randomly reset this morning, the display no longer turns on when a battery is inserted, and no amount of button-mashing will wake it up.
It’s quite likely a fluke, but we thought we should mention it.
In case you were curious, this is what a ZMax V3 looks like when you cut its head off.