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Wicked Lasers Photonic Disruptor Pro In-Depth Review

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I received a Wicked Lasers Photonic Disruptor Pro unit (I didn't even know I was going to get one); here is my in-depth unbiased review:

Warning: This thread is loaded with 18 images 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. Beamshots were not tweaked but they had long exposures since they were night shots. Sorry for their bad quality, I had to take them quickly as a lot of cars were passing by and I couldn't leave both the laser nor the camera on the tripod for too long in the middle of the driveway.


Shipping & Packaging:

Exactly the same as in the Evolution Pro unit I received some months ago, click here to see how it was packaged.

One thing I have to add, though, is that this time the foam inside the Wicked Lasers black box (the one that contains the laser) was of much lower density. On the one hand, it was easier to remove the laser from the box, but the higher density foam used in the Evolution Pro box made the package overall seem of much better quality.
In addition, the PD Pro box's foam was covered with black fabric glued to it which had to be torn into pieces to allow me to remove the laser, which was positioned inside a transparent plastic bag that protects it from dust and other problems during shipping that many of us complained before. This was Wicked Laser's way of solving the problem, I like it, the laser came 100% clean.


If you're wondering why I didn't take pictures of this box, it's because I opened the laser before taking pictures this time, the packaging does indeed look exactly the same save for the foam insert I commented on. Plus, I wasn't going to take pictures of ripped apart pieces of a plastic bag.

One thing I have to emphazise on again is the fact that the laser didn't come with any instructions at all regarding how to insert batteries. This can be easily solved by engraving a "+" and "-" symbol inside the barrel or by glueing a piece of paper indicating the same. Still, this is a unit that isn't going to be sold directly via their website so it's understandable. But it is definitely not acceptable on other units such as the Evolution Pro. Nevertheless, for the 90 (or so) remaining units, the sticky paper idea could work (or maybe just include a piece of paper with directions).

I did not receive a power graph this time, but I compared the visibility and brightness to the one of the 150mW Evolution Pro and to an O-Like 125-150mW module and they were all about the same. If I had to estimate the power on this unit, I'd say it's about 120-130mW.



Specifications:

  • Built with military grade aluminum
  • Dimensions: 179mm x 25mm (thanks bryce007)
  • Waterproof design (up to 20 meters deep)
  • Divergence: 1,2mRad (fixed focus)
  • Beam diameter at aperture: 1,5mm
  • 100mW of 532nm
  • Powered by two AA batteries
  • Turn On-Off tail switch


Body & Feel:

I am not kidding when I say this is the sturdiest laser I've ever held.
It boasts an Aircraft Grade aluminum host (very hard, looks like stainless steel on the outside). I'm guessing it's either a 2024 (Cu: 4,4%; Mg: 1,5%; Mn: 0,6%; Al: 93,5%) or a 7075 (Zn: 5,6%; Mg: 2,5%; Cu: 1,6%; Cr: 0,23%; Al: 90,07%), though I believe it's a 7075, which is hard aluminum used for big airplane structures.




Like practically every other Wicked Laser host, the design is fabulous and very attractive.



It looks good no matter what.



As far as nitpicking with minor imperfections go, I really can't say anything with this one. Seriously, the finish is flawless, and there are also very small machining lines (circumferences) visible on the host which in my opinion add to the laser's appeal (and add a bit more of grip if you ask me).



The head has a removable front cap (very, VERY hard to remove because of the O-Ring that prevents water from getting in).



Removing it (it took me twenty minutes before I could actually unscrew it... If only I had Kenom's biceps and jayrob's hands) reveals the O-Ring and the smooth threads:



The window consists of a thick protective coated glass, around 2mm thick, also backed up by an O-Ring.



The front cap arrived clean with minor quirks on the coating (they don't make any effect on the beam/dot).



The module is removable. I took it out just for the sake of the review, though I stopped at the heatsink, I didn't want to compromise the integrity of the laser.



The driver's PCB is held in place by a plastic piece between the PCB and the aluminum heatsink.



Now, I don't know why, but the tailcap doesn't have the Wicked Lasers isologotype printed/engraved on its back. In addition, it's a bit darker than the body as you can see on the first two pictures. Nevertheless, it's as hard as the body. I accidentally dropped it on a hard surface and I couldn't find any scratch on it (mind you, the following picture was taken after dropping it).



The inside of the tailcap consists of a simple spring. I'm not too keen on the "Twist On-Off" switch idea, I'd much rather have a clicky switch. Dividing the tailcap in two pieces, where one screws on the back and the other is twisted to turn the laser on and off would be much better. It's just a matter of the "satisfactory *click* sound feedback" I prefer on electronic devices.



Just as the front cap, the tailcap threads on the body are flawless and smooth. I really like this since it was one of my biggest complaints about the Evolution Pro. They even came oiled up with the perfect exact amount of oil (not too much to see it drip, not too little to hear the threads squeak).
It also has a double O-Ring protection so you don't need to worry about turning the laser on and off underwater.




The PD Pro is not much longer (if any) than the Evolution Pro, it's just thicker and sturdier. However, it is much longer than a CNI pen.



The laser by itself:




Duty Cycle:

A member had asked about the duty cycle on these units on the WL Clearance Sale thread. I sent Steve an E-Mail with this question and the answer I got was:

"100% Duty Cycle"
For a laser this size, I had to try that myself. A 100% duty cycle was hard to believe but not impossible.

While I was taking beamshot pictures outside (scroll down to the bottom of the review to see them), I took my cell phone and used its chronometer feature. I had the laser on for 5 full minutes while I took the pictures I needed. I proceeded to touch the laser's head and I didn't feel any temperature difference... so I decided to leave it on for longer. I waited for it to reach 8 minutes before I got bored, then I touched the laser's head again and... I couldn't feel any temperature difference either!


Why is this so important?
Because the temperature outside that day was of 31°C.

The laser didn't mode hop during any of the 8 minutes the test took place on, nor did its power fluctuate, it remained constant and at pure TEM00.

Regarding battery duration, I've been using this laser every night since it has arrived, it has around 2 hours of usage already and I'm still using the same (fresh) AA batteries I used to power the laser on for the first time.

In case you're wondering, the barrel will fit fatter batteries. I tried a pair of Soshine AA's I got from DX, which are the fattest AA batteries I've ever seen (it takes a lot of pressure to put them into my wireless mouse... I can't even begin to tell you how hard they are to take out), and the PD Pro fit them perfectly. As far as AA Duracell cells go, they fit perfectly too, they don't rattle much (rattling is greatly decreased when the end cap is screwed in). However, I just wrapped the batteries in two thin sheets of paper (Post-It thin) to eliminate the rattling completely. I suggest all of you PD Pro owners (and soon to be owners) do this, it's very easy to do and it will add to the sturdyness of the laser.



Burning Capabilities:

This laser was not designed to be a burner. The divergence is great, a bit better than the one on the Evolution Pro unit I received.

I could not light any matches without external aids, it's not focused for close burning. However, I could pop sharpied water balloons as seen in the following video (I had to protect the D90's sensor with safety glasses):





Waterproof Testing:

I couldn't find anything deeper than my bath, so I shot the video there:



I do have to add that I took it to a trip to a farm where there was a 1,8m deep pool. I tested it there to the deepest I could go and it worked perfectly. No water got in no matter what. Furthermore, the pool had just been cleaned and there were massive amounts of chlorine dissolved in the water but it didn't affect neither to the coated window nor to the body.


Beam Shots:

All beam shots taken at night with long exposures.



Here you can clearly see how well IR filtered this laser is.



Final beam shot.




To Summarize:

Pros:

  1. Amazing power stability for long periods of time (100% duty cycle).
  2. Does not mode hop.
  3. Incredibly sturdy, hard body with a perfect finish.
  4. Waterproof design.
  5. Lots of O-Rings for protection, especially the two ones for the tailcap.
  6. Thick front window.
  7. Good packaging and über fast shipping service.
  8. Comes with a removable lanyard.
  9. Uses AA batteries (easily found on drugstores).
  10. Virtualy no IR leakage.
  11. Good divergence.
  12. Very hard to scratch/smudge front glass.
  13. Perfectly smooth and oiled up threads.
  14. Beam does not come out crooked at all.
  15. Batteries don't rattle.
  16. Removable module.

Cons:

  1. Long body.
  2. Not FDA approved.
  3. Twist On-Off switch (though it's not a problem to use underwater due to the double O-Ring protection).
  4. Tailcap colour differs from the body's (though other buyers have gotten their tailcap with the WL logo printed on them).
  5. No battery insertion instructions.

Subjective Pros:

  1. Heavy feel.
  2. No side-button switch.
  3. No annoying FDA safety features.
  4. Not suited for close-up burning (I don't really use my lasers for burning, especially not my 532nm lasers).
  5. Didn't come with a "Warning" sticker.
  6. Balanced weight through the whole body.
  7. Fits "fatter" batteries.
  8. Didn't come with batteries (customs on some countries might hold the laser if it came with batteries).
  9. Free pair of Laser Shades included with every order.

Subjective Cons:

  1. Uses AA batteries (I'd much rather use one 18650 for this body).
  2. No tail clicky switch (and no satisfactory *click* sound when turned on).
 



Prototype

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Excellent pictures Niko, the first ones look like something Wicked would use on the sales page. Nice Pro/Con review, not much else to say on the review, as it is what it's supposed to be, thorough and informative.
 
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Excellent pictures Niko, the first ones look like something Wicked would use on the sales page. Nice Pro/Con review, not much else to say on the review, as it is what it's supposed to be, thorough and informative.
Thanks, man. I appreciate it :)

I still feel like the pictures were a bit rushed (there were kids running around everywhere... holiday season...), oh well, maybe they'll improve next time :D

It still took me a very long time to take the pics and then to put them together (even after editing).
 

Ray J Neal

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EXCELLENT write up Niko. Very informative and straight to the point.

I will not be surprised if the remaining units sell out within the next week or two after reading this. I LOVE mine.
 

Pilgor

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awesome review of an awesome laser. Can't wait to get my Titan.
 

Moptsp

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Wow, does the beam really look like that at ~100mw? or is that only because of the long exposure?

Thanks,
Moptsp
 
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Wow, does the beam really look like that at ~100mw? or is that only because of the long exposure?

Thanks,
Moptsp
Not quite, but very bright indeed. The long exposure does help, but at night it does look almost like the first two pictures.
 

bryce007

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now that you also have both a PD pro and an Evo Pro, which one would you say you like better?
 
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now that you also have both a PD pro and an Evo Pro, which one would you say you like better?
Both are great lasers, but in my opinion the PD Pro is definitely better (host, finish quality, sturdyness, etc.).

This is because I'd rather have this flashlight style rather than a pen style laser. It feels like a flashlight that could really take a beating.
 

bryce007

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Both are great lasers, but in my opinion the PD Pro is definitely better (host, finish quality, sturdyness, etc.).

This is because I'd rather have this flashlight style rather than a pen style laser. It feels like a flashlight that could really take a beating.
I gotta agree with you there. Although the Evo Pro is higher powered and has a smaller divergence (in my case), I like the feel of the PD pro much more. It is much heavier, and nicer looking IMO.
 
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I gotta agree with you there. Although the Evo Pro is higher powered and has a smaller divergence (in my case), I like the feel of the PD pro much more. It is much heavier, and nicer looking IMO.
Exactly. Remember how I wanted a "heavier feel" on the Evo Pro? Well, the PD Pro has exactly that, and it's one of the main reasons I like the PD Pro over the Evo Pro.
 

mikeeey

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Kind of makes me want one...but... I think I'll still choose the Rayfoss 200mW waterproof laser using 1x cr123a battery for $135.
 




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