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Dino Direct CNI/X-Series/Viper style Violet Pointer - 30mW... Updated with photos


New member
May 26, 2008
Hi everyone.

This is a brief review of one of my recent purchases from Dino Direct.

I was looking for an inexpensive, reasonable quality violet pointer, or two, as my first foray into this wavelength, and at a power level that's safe'ish to use without too much fuss.

I came across this CNI style/copy violet 30mw pointer and at $36, or £23 delivered (to the UK no less!!) I decided it was worth a punt and ordered two.

The laser comes in a fairly common pointer style box, non-felt, with a textured black finish. One advantage over the common grey felt boxes is that it doesn't show dirt as clearly. Overall, not much to say here other than it's nice to have a different look. Inside you'll find the usual instruction manual with one notable point; the manual states a manufacturer's warranty period of "ONE year from the date of purchase." Interesting as these pointer style lasers normally only come with 90 days, from my experience. I've yet to confirm this feature though, so take that as you will. One thing that always makes me smile is the totally random names that the included batteries tend to be called; "Goldfish"? Anyway, it's nice to have a couple of cheapies included to fire it up as soon as you get it.

Build Quality:... (7/10)
The unit definitely feels more than $40 worth as far as build quality is concerned, but still not in the same league as the CNI's. Plus I think this style looks a bit nicer compared to the more common ones found on ebay, for example.

On closer inspection you can see the differences between this unit and a CNI one. I've compared it to my Nova Lases X-25 and you immediately notice that the design isn't quite the same. Also, when the X-25's been lying around for a while, it feels initially cold to the touch, due to good quality metals I guess, with a good weight, and very robust. The Dino Direct one, on the other hand, feels ever so slightly lighter, and as a result marginally less sturdy. Saying that, everything fitted flush, no marks or scratches, nothing loose, and a general glossy finish that seems well made. Again, definitely better than I'd expected for the price.

One area that stands out though is the switch/button. It's not the rubber covered style of the CNI, and is grey plastic. It has a very positive feel when pressing it, and works well. I never hold out much hope for these though as I have a couple of old pointers that have seen a lot of use and lost their "click". Still work, but more like a touch sensitive button than stiff click.

Finally, a few aesthetic changes are also noticeable. The ends of the laser are square and not rounded like a CNI, and the clip is slightly different. More a matter of taste as to what you might prefer. Overall, I'd say the main difference is material quality. With the Dino Direct one being in no way poor, but slightly less than the CNI one.

Performance:... (8/10)
Without an LPM to check this out on, yet, I can't really offer much here other than the following. The beam/dot doesn't fluctuate at all, and is very uniform over extended periods. I guess I wouldn't have expected anything less at 30 mW, but still I really like it. I haven't got any smoke around so couldn't take any decent beam shots. In fact, at 30mW is it normal to expect to see a beam? A beam is slightly visible in the night sky, or pitch black room, but in general low light. Nothing is visible unless I shine it through the steam coming off my brew, for example.

All things considered I rate the output very well but would appreciate any feedback as to other owners of 30mW violets as to beam visibility.

One thing I'm still really enjoying is seeing how different materials fluoresce in the violet beam. Great stuff!

Purchase experience:... (6/10)
I would have rated them a solid 8/10, at least, if it wasn't for the extended delay in processing my order. It took a whole 7 days between paying, and despatch. I can appreciate this may have been due to this particular model not being immediately available, or some other general logistical limitation, but as I'd been in contact making enquiries before purchasing, I'd have expected that when I was told they are in stock, then that means immediate processing and despatch.

Saying that, the staff I dealt with were friendly, polite, and responded fast to any enquiries. Also, at the end of the day, considering the shipping was free, I can't really complain. If I'd give them one suggestion it'd be to manage their customers expectations better. If it will take a week to process, say so from the start. It wouldn't have affected my purchase decision at all.


I would recommend these lasers as fun pointers with a bit of added style and quality, and Dino Direct for a wide range of inexpensive, and a few higher end lasers, with friendly service, and great value.

The pictures where you see two pointers side by side are the Dino Direct (foreground) compared to the CNI style (background); for comparison.

Thanks for reading. :)
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