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QuickDraw 500DLX: The PAX Buster

That imitation is the sincerest form of flattery is an obstacle for novelists who want to avoid flattering their predecessors. Every time I add a careful line or two to my autobiographical novel, “The Tiger’s Revenge,” I must review prior passages, from Kipling to King, to ensure my originality. By the time I have found the lines I was thinking of, the blandly pleasant San Francisco day has whiled itself away.

Today, as 20 minutes past the four o’clock hour approached, my pet monkey and footman, Stephan, fulfilled his daily duty and delivered a new vaporizer to my writing desk.

QuickDraw’s 500-DLX is an imitator, arriving a few months behind San Francisco’s own PAX 2. Conveniently, it provides roughly the same experience for a lower price.

It employs a similar shape: too wide to be called a vape “pen,” but short enough to fit in the pocket. The 500-DLX uses QuickDraw’s own system of cartridge mouthpieces, which slide in and lock magnetically.

Stephan hates his red organ-grinder uniform, especially the billed cap and the jacket’s epaulets. He tossed the cap to pick at lice while he watched me unfurl the 500-DLX’s complex packaging.

He really liked the glossy card of clear instructions. (Yes, he can read: he is my sometime-editor. He came home with me from India, where he nursed me back to health after the tiger found me.) Even he squinted a bit at the small font, but the directions were clear: three clicks to unlock, then hold to begin heating, and two clicks to choose one of three levels of heat.

This last is essential as the 500-DLX’s high setting tends to char dry flowers. My Sonoma-based associate, Thelonious Dapper, found charring weed to taste a little like dog food. Stephan liked that, given his larcenous snacking habits, but for most of us, the medium setting provides the ideal stream of clean vapor.

Not long ago, I reviewed the 300-DLX in these pages and found its flexibility to vape dry herb, liquids, and extracts to be a big plus. With the 500 series, QuickDraw is offering just the dry weed option for $150, and a package with all three cartridge mouthpieces for $200. Both undercut the PAX 2’s $279 tag. All provide large payloads to reduce reloading.

I had some wax and tried the extract cartridge; along with the liquid cartridge, this has a different system of holding the button down to heat the product. I recommend the low heat setting here — the vapor stream on medium was too much for me. Stephan saw my reaction. With a hurt, even betrayed air, he confiscated the device and the wax, and took them up to his eyrie atop a bookshelf in my tiny TenderNob apartment.

The 500-DLX does not match the PAX 2’s impeccable design, but it functions as well. All these devices compromise portability by requiring one to sit to manipulate the cartridge and little cleaning tools to load up, so they don’t replace the rolled joint for sidewalk action. But the 500-DLX has the payload to achieve a clear high before repacking.

I must sign off in haste — Stephan still has not returned the device. Is it any wonder my novel proceeds so slowly?

THE VERDICT

Cool Factor: Pretty cool. It feels quite solid; the magnetic USB charger head glows with a green LED; the mouthpiece cartridges have a high-tech look. It’s very cool unless you know someone with a PAX 2. Then, your knockoff is busted.

Practicality: No pocket vape is perfectly portable, but the Quick Draw’s greater payload brings it closer to the mark than most. It’s powerful enough to produce a good vapor stream, and the three-in-one flexibility is great. Managing the heat setting is key.

Affordability: If you don’t want to use liquids and extracts, this is only $150. For $200, you get three-in-one flexibility: a very solid value. It is somewhat of an imitation, but not a cheap one; if you need cheap, there are e-cig vape pens very cheap. I will also edit your unfinished novel for you so goddamn cheap, you won’t believe it.

Overall: It performs well, has solid technology, and great flexibility. If the only complaint is that it’s an imitator, it’s not much of a complaint.

Score: 4.5/5

QuickDraw DLX 500, $30 Available at Vape World.

Photo by Natasha Dangond