Focus Review and Focus to Xmax Comparisons Background: The Focus and Xmax are similar types of cigar-pens. Another Xmax user and I have been beating up the Focus for 2 weeks as our daily driver for this review. We average 3 sessions each per day. We’ve been using the Xmax for months before the Focus and at times as our daily driver. You may get different results than I did due to the type of herb you use (dry, moist, cure, etc.) as well as personal differences like lung capacity. Summary: Ever seen one of those car advertisements where the base model is $14,999 and the luxury package is $25,999? The Xmax is the base model and the Focus is the luxury model. Both units will take you where you want to go but only the Focus will do it in heated leather seats. Detail Testing: - Battery life: I used the same battery for the Xmax and Focus, (Samsung 18650 25R). The 25R is/was the recognized standard for 18650 batteries. The battery test was done the same way for each unit. Charge the battery using an Intellicharge I2 external charger, set temp to high, (428F), allow the unit to run for 5 minutes, wait for it to cool off for 10 minutes before the next session test. Run the test till the unit won’t turn on because the battery is too low. Focus: 12 sessions and even had enough to start a 13th session! Normal Daily Use: 8 sessions. Xmax: 6 sessions. Normal Daily Use: 4.5 sessions. Conclusion: Focus beats Xmax by a large margin. I could probably get an entire day’s use from one full battery on the Focus. Wouldn’t come close with the Xmax. - Heat Settings: Focus: 6 settings, 320F, 338F, 356F, 374F, 392F, 428F Xmax: 5 settings, 356F, 374F, 392F, 410F, 428F Conclusion: My favorite settings are 374F, 392F so either unit will work for me. I can push the Focus to 428F and since removing the mouthpiece screens the Focus is harsher than before but still smoother than the Xmax with a similar mod. The Focus wins by having 2 lower settings and more smoothness. Note: I don’t do concentrates. Combustion: In each case I completely wasted the herb so it was dry and more burnable and then gave it a beat down at 428F. Focus: Did not combust and had the most blackened ABV. Xmax: Did not combust. Conclusion: Neither combusted and I suspect neither will. Focus wins by taking the herb to a more completely spent state. - Initial Time to Reach Temp/Peak Vaporization: Recorded using a stopwatch against a freshly charged battery and again when the battery reached lowest usable level. Focus: 30 seconds to reach high heat level in each case. Another 15 seconds is needed to heat soak the herb and reach peak vaporization. Total time till first optimal draw is 45 seconds. Xmax: 100 seconds to reach high heat level in each case. At 100 seconds the heat soaking of the herb has reached peak vaporization. Total time till first optimal draw is 100 seconds. Conclusion: Focus wins easily by time recorded AND the focus oven air holes can be blocked to enhance the heat soak as well moderate the air intake. - Taste: Both units were tested at 392F for the number of draws where the taste was favorable. If you vape at lower levels you could extend the tastiness. Focus: 2 tasty hits. Bit smoother. Xmax: 2 tasty hits. Conclusion: I’d give a slight advantage to the Focus for smoothness. There are many hits remaining in both units after the taste dissipates. - Ability to Overload Oven Temp: Both are purely conduction vapes requiring draw moderation to keep the vapor coming strong. You can overrun the oven with either of these units. In each case the initial draw will produce nice clouds. A continuous mid to high level draw and the vapor ceases to be visible at the end of the draw. The Xmax seems to be able to handle the harder draw a little better but it is sacrificing smoothness. The Focus can be used ‘dry’ at the highest temp unlike the Xmax to mitigate some of the oven cooling. Conclusion: There is no clear winner. - Session Time: How long a session will last and how convenient it is to extend the session. Focus: After 5 minutes the Focus turns off the oven and ‘sleeps’ for 3 minutes before turning off. Holding the button for 2 seconds wakes the oven and you’re back in business for another 5 minutes. Brilliant! Xmax: After 5 minutes the unit turns off. Conclusion: Focus wins this one easily. This area makes the Focus a much better group vape than the Xmax. - Learning Curve: I’m color blind so discerning what the one light on the Focus was trying to tell me about battery strength/temp selection was frustrating for the first two days. The Xmax has a separate light for each temp level so it was initially easier to use. The Xmax button press can be erratic though and I have had to turn it off/on to reset or figure out where I was in the sequence. The Focus adds vibration to the mix which lowered the learning curve. The Xmax button is more tactile than the Focus button but the Focus’ vibration makes it more apparent where you are in the use sequence. Conclusion: The Focus is easier to learn than the Xmax. - Quality/Engineering: The Focus performs consistently each session. The Xmax button has been erratic at times. It should be noted that the Xmax has never let me down. The Xmax mouthpiece can come off in transit. The Focus mouthpiece screws in and eliminates this issue. The Xmax turns off after 5 minutes and the starting sequence has to be followed again to extend the session. The Focus goes into sleep mode (turns off the oven) for 3 minutes after the initial 5 minutes and can be woke by holding the button for 2 seconds. The Xmax 5 minute timer includes the time to reach the selected oven temp as does the Focus. The Focus reaches temp so much faster that the Focus allows the user to use more of the initial 5 minutes than the Xmax. The battery that came with the Focus is a good 2500mAH 18650 while the Xmax is a decent but lower rated 18650 at 2200mAH. The Focus loads easier as the top of the chamber slopes downward at a higher degree and the slope material is less ‘clingy’ to herb. Replacing the battery is easier with the Focus. With the Xmax you unscrew the middle of the unit and it’s a little awkward to screw back in. With the Focus you unscrew the bottom piece, the battery fits within its cup holder and you more easily screw the bottom in. Conclusion: Focus is the better thought out unit. Did the Focus engineers deliberately set out to improve on every aspect of the Xmax (Except price)? Focus feels more dependable but it will be months or more before a final dependability conclusion can be made. - Flower Conservation: Both the Xmax and Focus do an ‘ok’ job in this area with neither having the upper hand. - Initial Prep / Burn Off – The Xmax should have a burn off done of at least 6 high temp sessions. The old silicone mouthpiece will need to be soaked in ISO and rinsed a few times during the ISO soak to get rid of the taste and smell. The Focus will require no more than 2 high temp sessions to get rid of the ‘new smell’. Conclusion: Focus has way less smell and taste issues out of the box. - Maintenance: Like most cigar pen vapes the Xmax and the Focus are both weak when it comes to oven cleaning. The herb comes in direct contact with the oven. Reclaim can build up on the oven bottom and the oven cannot be removed for cleaning. I prefer vapes like the Solo where the herb is placed in a device that in turn is heated by the oven. The bottom of the Xmax and Focus oven will become caked with reclaim over time if not kept clean. If you allow the reclaim to build up on the bottom and restrict the draw it’s going to be hard to clean. The screens/filters in the mouthpiece are very small and will require timely cleaning but they are removable and easily cleaned. Conclusion: Neither the Focus or the Xmax have an advantage here. - Draw Restriction/Use: Neither unit is draw-restrictive. Conclusion: The Focus wins by having an adjustable intake. - Extraction: The ABV is consistent and dark in both the Xmax and Focus. No need to stir. The Focus can be used ‘dry’ at the highest temp where the Xmax is too harsh for me to use at the highest temp. Conclusion: The Focus wins by allowing for more extraction by using the highest temp and producing blacker/darker spent ABV. Miscellaneous Observations: - I like to fill half the oven and tamp down lightly and then fill the other half and do another light tamp down. Not packing enough to restrict the draw but enough to increase vapor production by having more herb in the oven. - Remember to allow 10-15 seconds or so between draws to allow the oven temp to heat soak the herb again for optimal results. - Bubbler – With just the standard unit mouthpiece both units can be used with my D020-D bubbler and/or my 14mm Gong. Remember to allow for a heat soak, moderate your air intake and/or close off all but one air hole and set the temp to high. - Security: The Focus wins easily. It feels heavier, is more substantial and has a covering that is easier to grip than the Xmax. If you’re attacked you could hold the Focus like a roll of quarters, start swinging and do some real damage. If it was just a little longer it’d make a nice Billy-club (Please excuse my feeble attempt at humor) Final Conclusions: The Focus is hands down a better unit than the Xmax. The look and feel of the Focus is impressive, it performs well and battery life is amazing for a cigar-pen. Still…the Focus is not going to replace the Solo as my daily driver or as my bubbler companion. I would recommend the Focus to anyone looking to add a cigar-pen to their collection, a starter vape, a night-on-the-town vape or as a top-o-the-line backup.