Review: Wicked Lasers are truly wicked

Posted in Review by Darrin Olson on August 3rd, 2008

Review of Wicked Lasers Elite 125Wicked Lasers recently gave us the opportunity to check out one of their popular laser pointers, which gave us quite a surprise. Actually, before we received it we called it a laser pointer but not any more. Wicked Lasers assured us that it is not a laser pointer – it truly is a wicked laser, and we can’t disagree.

The sample product we received was from the Elite Series of green lasers, specifically the Elite 125. This laser appears to be around the middle of the road for the different lasers offered by Wicked Lasers. The average output power according to the company runs from 125mW to 149mW. They also have lasers in their catalog with as little as 50mW and as much as 300mW. The Elite 125 for us had plenty of power and made it very clear why this is not a laser pointer for regular presentations. For starters it would be difficult to see anything on a presentation screen because the light from the laser is way too bright, even from across a large room. Also, the crowd would be so distracted by what you’re using to point with they’d never pay attention to anything else you’re trying to show them.

WickedLasers Elite 125 pointing at camera.We took the opportunity to use the laser quite extensively to light up things from great distances and burn things from close distances. In our WickedLaser review we answered some of the more common questions people have about these types of lasers:

Who uses a laser like this?
One of the first questions we all had was “Who would use one of these lasers?”. We had to do some thinking and research to avoid a long list of mischievous uses that come to mind. Some of the more practical uses we came up with include:

  • Astronomy: At night the green laser makes a VERY visible beam that seems to point as far as you can see and would be excellent for point out constellations and points of interest in the sky. I would imagine the beam would eventually hit the eye of an alien light-years away and start some intergalactic war, but we can let the next generations deal with that. (Be sure to avoid any moving objects in the sky since this could really mess with pilots while flying).
  • Construction: I could imagine that people working in construction, especially on very large or very tall sites, would find a laser of this type very handy. We were able to put a green dot on the side of buildings over 400 yards away (which was the furthest object in sight), in bright daylight. This would be useful in pointing out different areas of a construction project that need changes or work.
  • Being seen when lost: Sure, if you have a small mirror during the day or a bright flashlight at night you might be able to get the attention of a plane or vehicle going by trying to rescue you, but if you had a laser of this power you will no doubt get anyone’s attention within a line of sight. Plus, if no one does come by for a while you can use it to start a camp fire and possibly even disorient some animals to catch for food.

Green laser pointing at hand.Just how powerful are these lasers?
As I mentioned earlier, our sample was the Elite 125 which has an output power of 125mW to 149mW, which is about half as powerful as WickedLasers offers. With it we were able to shine the green beam during the day at least 400 yards from where we were, but it could be seen for miles. During the night the laser actually made a visible beam that seemed to go on in the sky as far as we could see. We were unable to measure the exact distance that it would reach but you can rest assured that it is measured in miles. Shining the laser beam and putting a green dot on things over great distances was cool in itself, but we had also heard that the Wicked Lasers could burn right through things. This turned out to be very true. The laser did much, much better on dark colored items and did not disappoint.

  • A clear plastic bag showed the light as very, very bright but gave almost zero results as far as burning as the light passed right through it, but a black garbage bag would cut easily with the laser from as far as a foot away.
  • Dark colored balloons could also be popped with little difficulty from up to a ten foot distance.
  • Pointing the laser on just about any dark colored plastic (I used my mouse) would cause it to start emitting a line of smoke and visible melting within seconds.
  • Pointing the laser at your skin at close range would also cause burning (and noticeable pain) within seconds.

To assure the output power of your laser, you can get an inexpensive laser power meter from a number of sources but the folks a WickedLasers assured us that our sample with a pair of fresh AAA batteries will put out the specified power.

What does a powerful laser cost?
Again, before we received a laser from Wicked Laser we were thinking it was a laser pointer and maybe a little more powerful than most, but this turned out to be quite an understatement. While a decent laser pointer for presentations might run around $50, it’s weak power likely will reflect that $50 price tag. The products from WickedLasers are not priced cheap, but the products are not cheap, either. The Elite 125 that we are reviewing retails at just under $600. The Spyder II GX model goes for almost 1700 with an output of up to 300mW, and Evo goes for as little as $70 for just 5mW of output.

Most of the lasers from Wicked Lasers also come with at least a 3 month warranty and the company will replace the product with a completely new one, even if the damage was a result of shipping. After a few hours of use our sample product did have an incident where the button that turns on the laser was stuck on so the laser was on all the time unless we removed the two AAA batteries. John from WickedLasers assured us that this is not a common occurrence and that the product could be completely replaced if necessary. Ours somehow fixed itself and has worked perfectly since, and we have to admit we are a little rougher on them while testing than a normal consumer might be. Here’s a breakdown of the pro’s and con’s we found with the Elite 125 laser from WickedLasers, as well as a summary of our review:

Pros:

  • Very, very powerful laser that can shine very long distances and melt things with nothing more than a beam of light.
  • Solid build, similar to something like a MagLite, made of metal and very durable (not waterproof, or vodka proof for that matter). The lens is also protected behind a metal cover with only a small whole for the beam to come through.
  • Backed by a replacement warranty that covers the laser, even if the damage was caused by shipping or the people at customs messing with it.
  • Very compact at the size of large pen and running on only two AAA batteries.

Cons:

  • Dangerous. This laser is very powerful but can cause damage to eyes and can distract or disorientate people very easily. It’s definitely not a toy and we’re actually a little bit frightened of it.
  • Runs on two AAA batteries. This helps keep it compact but also goes through batteries fairly quickly. In our tests we could get close to 90 minutes of life out of one set of AAA batteries, but only about the first 10 minutes gave the most impressive shining and burning power.
  • Price. These are quality lasers and we can’t argue that the Elite 125 is worth the $600, but it’s still $600.

Summary:
These lasers do not disappoint. It’s not going to work like a laser gun or a light saber like you would see on a sci-fi movie but be glad it’s not. The power it has to cause damage to eyes, skin and inanimate objects, not to mention the distance it could send a beam of light, was more than impressive was verging on  actually scary. If you are interested in lasers or in need of this type of product, Wicked Lasers gets our recommendation.

Danger label on the green Elite 125 Wicked Laser

WickedLasers

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