Reviewed: The Elite by Wicked Lasers

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Wikipedia breaks down the science behind lasers:

A laser is an electronic-optical device that produces coherent radiation. The term "laser" is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A typical laser emits light in a narrow, low-divergence beam and with a well-defined wavelength (i.e., monochromatic) (corresponding to a particular color if the laser is operating in the visible spectrum). This is in contrast to a light source such as the incandescent light bulb, which emits into a large solid angle and over a wide spectrum of wavelength.

Laser = narrow beam of light. Laser color = dictated by the wavelength of said narrow beam of light. nm = nanometre which equals one billionth of a metre or one millionth of a millimetre.

No longer novelty keychain accessories; start getting serious

Back in college, I owned a small pen laser that I used for presentations, disorienting household pets, and for taping to the underside of a Nerf gun for cubicle warfare [to complete that Rambo bad-assness]. In all honesty, I never really believed that a laser pointer powered by two button cell batteries deserved to carry the name "laser". These button cell powered lasers are the closest thing – for consumers – to the real thing [hardcore lasers], right..? WRONG!

Green laser by Wicked Lasers

Wicked Lasers introduced me to Guinness Book of World Records caliber lasers. I immediately discovered what real handheld lasers were all about.

We’re a bunch of laser enthusiasts, maybe even laser maniacs, who – like you – have been searching all over looking for the highest powered, highest quality, affordable laser pointers. Those cheap laser key chains found at local electronics stores are a ridiculous joke at most. We found ourselves frustrated, very frustrated. The selection of laser pointers found on internet sites we visited were very run of the mill and cheaply made. Where is all the unique stuff? Where are all the true lasers that can burn, cut, and project a laser beam hundreds of miles away?

We finally realized that if we wanted lasers up to par with our standards, we simply needed to create it ourselves.

Hardcore lasers created by laser enthusiasts yearning for more – more power! This type of "if it’s not good enough, make it yourself" mentality can only mean good things right? I experimented with an unreleased model – The Elite – scheduled for public release on 11/21. Being my first serious handheld laser, expectations were high. The end results only re-confirmed my belief that keychain lasers are a) a joke, b) a novelty, and c) do not deserve to carry the name "laser".

Appropriately named, The Elite Wicked Laser

The Elite came packaged in a plastic sleeve, shrouded in bubble wrap, and encased with a faux maroon carbon fiber case. For a brief moment, I relived the days of entertaining myself with a cheap keychain laser from the Dollar Store. Sturdy and well constructed, The Elite was operated by a single button sitting flush with the outside of the case.

Danger

Although Wicked Lasers does offer handheld lasers capable of lighting a match, burning a hole through paper, emitting a focused beam of light for many miles, or scorching wood, I have yet to hold The Elite focused against any one fixed object long enough to confirm similar burn results. Paul S. received a a similar laser and conducted his own paper test confirming the power of these little handheld lasers.

The Elite is a green laser operating at the 532 nm wavelength. Unlike traditional red and blue lasers, green lasers are suitable for use while stargazing [because the light beam is easy to follow during low light conditions]. I put the laser to the test at Discovery Park and was amazed at the strength and brightness of the laser for pointing out objects in the distance. Despite the overcast night, the green laser pierced through the clouds like a highly focused spotlight.

Not your standard keychain pen pointer

Laser video screenshot

Safety first! The Elite is capable of causing some serious retinal damage! Remember the warning to never point a laser pointer at another person? The same holds especially true for Wicked Lasers.

Remember eye protection

During testing in low light conditions at Discovery Park, I somehow inadvertently managed to hit a reflective sign over 500 yards out that reflected the laser back at me forcing me to close my eyes momentarily – despite wearing protective goggles.

What I’ve learned from handling a Wicked Lasers

Wicked Lasers, more specifically green lasers like The Elite, demand a certain level of responsibility from their owners.

Paper test

Although anyone planning to purchase from Wicked Laser possesses a genuine interest in the science of lasers, there may be individuals who are simply interested in experiencing what a real handheld laser does. For the latter, Wicked Lasers offers a wide range of handheld lasers ranging from a slim 5mW CORE to the 200-300mW Spyder II GX.

Want a Wicked Lasers of your own? Save 10% at checkout with coupon code 531.

Discuss - 8 Comments

  1. Sam says:

    Lasers are pretty cool, but I don’t have enough fascination to justify paying $50-100 for one, or imagine myself in situations where one could really come in handy.

  2. Myke says:

    Derek I’ve been eyeballing one of those lasers ever since I saw this video by the guys over at graffitiresearchlab.com.

    You can find out how it works and the open source code at that website.

    Theres got to be some great buildings in Seattle you can do this with.

  3. Derek says:

    @Myke there are a number of great buildings that can be used as a digital canvas. Surprisingly, I had never seen the video you linked. Glad I did! Now I just need the rest of the toys to do something like that.

  4. Mik says:

    Which one did you buy?

  5. Derek says:

    The model is from The Elite Series. From my understanding it has not yet been released. It is a early review unit from Wicked Lasers.

  6. Sam: compared to the other lasers offered at wicked lasers and the power of this one, it will likely be $500+.

  7. eric johnson says:

    i can just imagine accidentally bringing this to a meeting and carving dots into expensive screens and walls during presentations.

  8. Todd says:

    Hey All, I got a cheap one for 29.95 on Ebay from seller LASERPENS that will burst balloons and burn tape amazing light, its advertised as
    a 5 Mw but its adjustable up to 15Mw and its very bright for the money a real fun toy, no POT MOD necessary at the POT is fully adjustable
    no mod just put a small screwdriver in the adjustment HOLE and make it brighter by turning counter clockwise, It uses battery’s faster but
    you can adjust it back again.. Lots of FUN..

    PEACE..