By David Ponce
I gotta start this review with full disclosure: Wicked Lasers is a sponsor of this site. I think the banners here and there are hard to miss. But, since I didn’t want to give the impression that I’m trading editorial for money or review units, I’ve actually gone out of my way and made a dang video of what this laser can do, just so you don’t have to take my word for it. But, if you do ask me, let me tell you just one thing: that “wicked” is more than deserved.
Most laser pointers commercially available today top out at 5mW. The “Extreme Nexus” model that was sent to me rates at 95mW (they got some 300mW models, by the way). And let me tell you something, that’s a difference that’s really hard to miss. The laser is green, and is plainly visible without smoke, fog or dust, especially in dimmer settings. Not only that, but it actually burns. Yeah, the kind of burning that you can feel on your skin. And yes, it does light matches, it burns through dark plastic things and pretty much looks like a freaking light saber that extends for miles and miles into the sky.
The thing turns heads, no matter where you use it, and it rather makes you feel uncomfortable taking it for a spin in polite settings.
So, the verdict, out here: it’s a truly outstanding (though pricey) laser experience that you can’t buy anywhere else. Come inside for all the gory details and a longish video.
Okay, so if you’re not the type to enjoy reading a wall of text, then perhaps you’d enjoy a low qual, grainy video of me talking (and showing the laser) for eight minutes. If that’s the case, enjoy this here video.
This particular model sells for $369, though they have a very basic 15mW model starting at $99, and also a 300mW supernova-on-a-stick model that goes for $2000. The Nexus comes in a nice wooden box, with space for two spare AAA batteries. Battery life does last the rated 2 hours, but since output is directly related to battery health, you get the most juice in the first 10 to 15 minutes. However, don’t think that this is a bad thing. Even after one hour, the laser is visible, and the dot it makes quite bright.
In fact, it’s this particular dot that initially speaks to the laser’s power. It’s very hard to look at the dot, especially if it’s on a white surface. If you look at it long enough, it’s like staring right at a 100W lightbulb.
Then, if you’re indoors and aren’t completely flooded with light, you immediately notice the laser beam itself. It’s bright green, and visible without smoke, dust, fog or whatever else. If you take it outside, at night, you get a very strange sensation using it… See, you basically have what looks like a really, really long “light stick” that comes out of your hand. And you can wave it around, into the sky, and it just extends further than the eye can see, and it just feels weird to be able to do that.
The unit itself feels quite solid. There are no rickety parts, and there’s a clip should you be the kind of guy that enjoys walking around with an insanely powerful laser tucked in your shirt pocket. The “on” button does not stay down: you have to constantly keep your finger on it. This is due to the recommended usage cycle. You should not keep the laser on for more than 100 seconds. After that period, just let it cool for 10 seconds, and you’re good to go again.
If you point it at your skin (yeah, it’s fun to do stupid stuff), after a second or two, you feel a sharp, quite painful prick.
So, does it light matches? Yes. But, make sure that the match is dark, or dark red. A white match will just reflect too much light, and not heat up enough. Also, steady your hand, and it’s better if you have fresh batteries, though even if you don’t it’ll still work.
Does it cut electrical tape? Yes. But slowly. Don’t expect to slice through it, like with a lightsaber or something.
Does it burn through garbage bag? Hell yeah, and quickly at that. But, you have to be relatively close. So, no, you can’t burn your neighbors bags from three miles away.
I didn’t pop any balloons, though I’ve no doubt that it would work, as long as they’re dark.
The specs on this unit say that it has a range of 38 miles. Honestly, I believe that without hesitation. The problem, though, is that you can’t actually see that far, unless you’re standing at the top of something really high, and more importantly, you have some binoculars. It’s recommended that if you want to try it out, and do a real range test, you place someone 38 miles away, and shine the laser at them… but at that distance, you better have a tripod, because even the slightest shake gets amplified tremendously 38 miles away.
I went to the top of a mountain, and shone it on a target 9 kilometers (about 5 miles) away, and it reached without a problem. The dot, even at that distance, seemed relatively small (though it was hard to accurately measure it). Not much more than a foot or so across, which means that the beam is well focused.
Finally, the unit has a life expectancy of 3000 to 5000 hours. That’s a long time, and a lot of batteries. My money says you’ll get bored with it sooner, but hell, it’s nice to know it won’t just die in a couple of days, especially when you’ve spent some serious dough on it.
-Laser beam visible without fog, smoke or dust
-Burns through dark plastic
-Has a range of 38 miles
-Scares young children
-Peak output lasts about 10 minutes
-AAA batteries are more expensive