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Wicked Lasers Evolution Pro In-Depth Review

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I received a Wicked Lasers Evolution Pro unit; here is my in-depth unbiased review:

Warning: This thread is loaded with 21 images (I could add more later if anybody wants
any specific shot) so it may take a while to load. All pictures were taken with a Nikon D90 18-105mm f/3,5-
5,6 lens, using +4 and +8 lenses for the macro shots. I'm very sorry for the chromatic aberration introduced
on macro shots but it's physically impossible to eliminate chromatic aberration. All pics were retouched with
Photoshop CS4 and optimized for visibility and fast loading on forums so they may have noise and artifacts
due to compression and forced lighting.
Also, this laser is not for sale yet so nobody knows anything regarding its pricing or technical
specifications.



Unboxing video - Watch In HD!



Shipping & Packaging:


The package was shipped via UPS, it was the fastest shipping I've ever received, less than 2 days
(remember I live in Argentina). Too bad I had to pay 50% taxes on the declared value. Good thing that the
laser was marked as a "Wicked Mini Light" with a $30.00 declared value.






It came packaged in a nice black "Wicked Lasers Box" filled with pink foam pieces.





The laser itself came inside another black box, nicer, with the laser's shape cut out in high
density foam (really high density, I mean it). There were no instructions, not even
on correct battery insertion.
Nevertheless, as you can see in the "Unboxing" video, I placed
the batteries incorrectly and pressed the button two times without getting the diode to lase, that's when I
remember the laser was case positive (positive pole towards the end cap). Luckily for me the Evolution Pro seems
to have an inversed polarity protection circuit.








Included inside the first black box there was a very informative graph where I could see the
average power (in Watts) versus time (in seconds). It is pretty steady the first 105-110 seconds (around two
minutes of run time) which is more duty cycle time than I usually give to my pointers. After two minutes it
starts to stabilize at 130mW.

The unit I received peaks at 164,9mW and averages at
145,8mW






Power demonstration:

Popping Balloons - Watch In HD! (The weird noise at the end is me moving a chair)


Lighting red-tipped Matches (I recommend muting this video since I shot it with a Fuji
A310 because I didn't want to compromise my D90's CCD sensor)




Design & Features:


Video Mini Review - Watch In HD!



From now on you'll see how picky I really am...
The host boasts a black anodized hard aluminum body, it came with very (very) minor
defects on anodizing but they're not visible unless you really look for them. It also has a pen-like clip whose
quality is good, it doesn't fall off if you use it and that's very important. The only con I saw there was that
the clip was 7° crooked to one side, not too much of a problem but again, I'm very picky and strict.








The design is fabulous. It's beautiful, elegant and yet it has that "awesome" feel we all like;
Wicked Lasers really put some good though on it.
Without batteries this baby is light as a feather, lighter than a DealExtreme 30mW laser. It is well balanced
for pointing, aided by the rugged spikes on the main body (which are not harmful at all, they're well rounded
and not annoying). When the batteries are added it gains a bit more weight which gives it a sturdier
feel (I'd personally rather it was a little heavier but that's just me, most people like their portable devices
to be light).
The tailcap has a nice connection to the batteries and is very well built, although the threads on it are not as
smooth as I'd like them to be (especially on a tailcap, used regularly to replace batteries), the
tolerances could be a little higher. I could not fix this with teflon tape.








Regarding the safety features, this is an FDA approved laser!
It includes a red LED indicator light for when the button is pressed. The great thing about it is that it is not
as bright as other regular LEDs, it's perfectly enough light to let you know that it's on and it does not
bother the user or introduce any annoying light to the pointing experience
, which I greatly admire since
one of my pet peeves is bright annoying indicator lights on devices
(for example DVD
writers with bright yellow LEDs, you can't watch a movie without it bothering you unless you throw a T-Shirt
over it)
.






The commonly known annoying and long safety plug was redesigned into a mini safety pin which gets inserted
in the tailcap. When the pin is not in, the laser will not work when the button is pressed and viceversa. It
doesn't interfere with usage and doesn't make this feature into an ugly one either; it's like having an FDA
approved laser without losing any portability, great!






The tailcap can be unscrewed to reveal the internal safety pin mechanism. This is great if the pin
ever gets stuck or if the laser suddenly stops working because of the pin (which shouldn't ever happen, but
as we all know, electronics are sadly not perfect).
One complaint is that the laser dot isotype on the tailcap is not centered, that could be easily fixed by
adjusting the engraving machine.








One more great addition: A glass dust cover which protects the lens. It is AR coated (hopefully for 532nm)
(I couldn't get the AR coating to show on the pictures so you'll just have to trust me on this one). This cover
is also easy to unscew, allowing for easy cleaning and laser head inspection.












The body is very long compared to regular pen pointers. It's larger and wider than a DealExtreme
pen pointer but it fits my hand perfectly, it is comfortable for pointing and thus I can classify this as a pro-
con because it's not great for pocket portability but it's more comfortable than regular pen pointers (it
really is, it offers a better grip; however I don't compare it to shorter lasers such as Romisen hosts).






Now the beam shots!
I'm sorry but I couldn't use the tripod for the laser since I was already using it for the camera
(this is the reason the beam is not perfectly depicted). I'm still waiting for my mini tripod + clamp from
DealExtreme. When it arrives I'll take these pictures again.


Also, before the pictures I'd like to add that the beam did come off 3-4°
crooked
, I can't let that pass on such a high quality laser. Maybe it was my unit but it is not a
compromising issue, although most buyers will want the best from their unit.

The beam is tight, very tiny (good enough for burning and pointing to infinity). Divergence is good
too, I can't measure it but it should be around 1,2-1,3mRad.
After using it for long periods I can positively say the laser never mode hopped at all. It stays at TEM00 all
the time and the dot is a perfect circle.









To summarize:


Pros:

۰ Stable power @ 150mW for two minutes of runtime
۰ Excellent design
۰ Hard body, can't be scratched easily
۰ FDA Approved
۰ Safety features are non-intrusive
۰ Great grip, fits hand perfectly
۰ Clip doesn't fall off if played with
۰ Came very well packaged with a nice case
۰ Comes with a power graph with peak power and average power readings
۰ Uses AA batteries, easily found anywhere for quick replacement
۰ Virtually no IR leakage, couldn't see any on the pictures I took or on the videos either.
۰ Shipping was the fastest I've ever had


Cons:

۰ Very long body
۰ Not suited to carry in a pocket
۰ Glass cover can get scratched and smudged very easily
۰ Beam doesn't come out perfectly straight
۰ Threads are not smooth enough
۰ Didn’t come with instructions on how to insert batteries (may lead to killing the diode)
۰ Batteries rattle a bit inside the body
۰ Had to pay 50% taxes for $30.00 declared value



This is just me being picky:

Subjective Pros:

۰ LED Indicator is not annoying at all
۰ Very light without batteries
۰ Wicked Lasers engraving is cool
۰ Didn't come with a "Warning" sticker (I know those are mandatory but I just hate them, they make the laser look awful)
۰ Raised button is more comfortable for pressing
۰ Button looks like it could survive a good beating, silent press but good feel
۰ Didn't come with batteries (this is a pro because some lasers are held by customs because of their
batteries. Furthermore, the fact that they're not included in the case means that it doesn't need to have
two extra holes for batteries)


Subjective Cons:

۰ Not heavy enough for a 100% sturdy feel
۰ Clip is not perfectly aligned with the body
۰ Anodizing is not 100% perfect (but again, it's just me being picky)
۰ No permanent tailcap clicky switch
۰ It would be nice if safety goggles were already included with this laser



All in all, it's a great laser that works up to spec (and more) with great new features and it's FDA approved.


I hope you enjoyed reading the review as much as I enjoyed writing it and taking the pictures (plus
videos).
I will take requests on pictures, if you'd like to see anything I didn't show here about the laser let me know
and I'll make it happen :)
 
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robjdixon

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Brilliant review Niko - there is nothing left to say for when I do mine now!

I think Wicked are now trying a mass push for people to respect their lasers - They have been widely ridiculed on this forum, and now are trying to show everyone that they are trying to change. LC is changing too - they are going to not be as close-knit with Wicked Lasers, and will have discussions on other brands. Whether you look at this with scepticism or not, it seems like they are trying to change their public image.
 
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Brilliant review Niko - there is nothing left to say for when I do mine now!
Thanks, man! It took a lot of time and effort but it turned out well :D

EDIT:

I think Wicked are now trying a mass push for people to respect their lasers - They have been widely ridiculed on this forum, and now are trying to show everyone that they are trying to change. LC is changing too - they are going to not be as close-knit with Wicked Lasers, and will have discussions on other brands. Whether you look at this with scepticism or not, it seems like they are trying to change their public image.
I think they're doing a great job on that, an image is hard to build and it cannot be bought. Look at this laser, they really put some thought on it. Besides, the Evolution Pro will be advertised from 20mW to 130mW and the units we all got were well over 140mW.
 
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robjdixon

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Just ignore him Niko, he has done it in Ranged Unit's thread too. I think he is either jealous or on his man period
 

Jaseth

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Brilliant review Niko! Apart from the fact that you should get a tripod+clamp for your beamshots (hey, I can be picky too), I really like the pictures, video and overall walkthrough of the laser. I don't know if it's simply from being used to near-perfect custom lasers, but I do see quite a lot of irregularities in the anodizing and overall build.
Apart from that the laser does in fact look very attractive, especially performing with high stability.. and the packaging looks good.

Have you tested if the supplied power graph is actually correct? It seems that WL are trying to change their image for the better.. but I still wouldn't put it past them to find their single most stable laser and then just post the graph from that one with all the units they send out.

Seb
 

diachi

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Very nice review niko, plenty of detail! Well done :) .

Videos are good too and all the pictures really help get your point across.

Love your accent btw :p
 

Things

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Nice review Niko! Can't wait for my review lasers to get here, I hope customs doesn't snag them though! The beam looks pretty damn tight!
 
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Brilliant review Niko! Apart from the fact that you should get a tripod+clamp for your beamshots (hey, I can be picky too), I really like the pictures, video and overall walkthrough of the laser. I don't know if it's simply from being used to near-perfect custom lasers, but I do see quite a lot of irregularities in the anodizing and overall build.
Apart from that the laser does in fact look very attractive, especially performing with high stability.. and the packaging looks good.

Have you tested if the supplied power graph is actually correct? It seems that WL are trying to change their image for the better.. but I still wouldn't put it past them to find their single most stable laser and then just post the graph from that one with all the units they send out.

Seb

Whoa, thanks man. I really tried my best here.
Yes, if you're as picky as me then you will find some irregularities on the anodizing but they're really not that serious. I can't wait for the tripod+clamp to arrive, as soon as it gets here I'll take lots of beam shots and update the review.
I have not tested the laser for power since I don't own a laser power meter. I'm going to ask a physics professor at college if he can get me to one.
The graph is not the same, all of us got different graphs for sure.

Regarding power, I asked one of my clients to lend me one of their 125-150mW susie's green laser for comparison and I couldn't find any differences regarding brightness, they could be a few mW away (the Evolution with 20 or 30 more mW) but brightness is virtually the same, but the Evo's beam is much tighter (it is seriously freaking tight).



Very nice review niko, plenty of detail! Well done :) .

Videos are good too and all the pictures really help get your point across.

Love your accent btw :p

Thanks man!
I had to shoot the "talked" video 5 times since I couldn't get my facts straight even though I had written on a sheet of paper the points to cover. My accent is an English+American English mix :D


Well Done, Niko

+1

Peace,
dave
Thanks! :D
Did you see the video? I'll shoot another one this week and review the MXDL :)


Nice review Niko! Can't wait for my review lasers to get here, I hope customs doesn't snag them though! The beam looks pretty damn tight!

Yeah it does, you'll have to see for yourself. I hope customs doesn't hold it either, although WL do guarantee it is not going to get held there. Besides, they're FDA approved! ;)


Wow...that review was awesome...the pictures actually show how cool this laser looks in person!


Thanks! I almost filled my D90's memory shooting pics. When I saw jayrob's review I thought the laser was kind of tiny... now I know how big jay's hands are, I'd NEVER want to mess with him... I think he could rip my head off with just three of his fingers :yabbem:
 
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yes i agree , i am jealous that i did not get one

no need to flame war..

im surprised Grix or MGDett didnt get one since Ranged and niko got one..
 




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