Welcome to Laser Pointer Forums - discuss green laser pointers, blue laser pointers, and all types of lasers



Laser Pointer Store

Wicked Lasers Spyder III ARCTIC - my review

MojoLA

New member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
259
Likes
13
Points
0
So after 7 months of waiting (I ordered it in July), I finally got my much ballyhooed Arctic yesterday.

There's been a lot said about this laser and Wicked Lasers, so I'll keep this brief and to the point: I love it.

The infamous Lightsaber host really is a work of art, and it's a very solid build, it feels not unlike a Maglight. The cool metal texture feels nice in the hand, and while it's about a third too small to use as a lightsaber prop, it's certainly on the large side for a handheld... But being small isn't the point of this laser - if I want a pocket burner I can play with my Yobresal build; this thing is meant to command attention and impress even with the laser off, and that it does.

But most people are in agreement that the host looks cool, what about the functionality? The dreaded "smart switch" had me worried, but after a learning curve of maybe 5 mins I had the thing turned on in just a few seconds. No, its not instant on, but you can get it up and running fast enough.

To be honest, I think the Smart Switch is a good idea - the whole point is that if some idiot finds it laying around or someone grabs it from you they won't be able to turn it on and hurt themselves or anyone else. It really does give peace of mind, since when I took my Yobresal build to work and showed it around, every time someone handled it I was understandably worried about an accident - that won't happen with the Arctic. Ultimately, I think taking 2 seconds to turn it on is a fair trade off for the protection.

Once you have it up and running, the dim green glow of the smart switch and battery indicator really looks cool - a nice touch. And all the buttons and switches feel solid, unlike some cheap builds where the switch sometimes feels loose.

The laser itself is very clean and solid. The beam divergence is excellent (as tight as a focused Yobresal) and the dot is clean and free from dirt/smudges/scratches. I don't know the exact power, but at 20 feet away I could feel it sting my hand within a second.

Oddly enough, despite everyone's desire for more power, my favorite feature of this thing is the ability to switch it to half power with a click of the smart switch. This mode will make me feel more comfortable in handing it over to friends, as an accidental flash will be less likely to cause injury; I can make sure that this thing is only at full power when i'm using it (at half power it took about 5 seconds for my hand to feel it at 20 ft away).

When you pop on the included "training lens" output is further diminished by about half (they say 80% but it looks more like half to me - also note that the threading for the lens and battery compartment are machined very well). With the training lens on and the Arctic in half power mode, the dot is Essenstially equal brightness to a 5mw green, a very handy reference point. In this state, the laser is basically safe and I would have no worries about anyone playing with it (I couldn't feel a sting at all in this mode).

Aside from safety reasons (and preserving battery life), those of you who are into laser lumia shows will really appreciate the ability to run this thing at different power levels; at full power, it's way too bright for lumia, and with all the possibilities of reflection I wouldn't even try it. At half power, its much safer to use for a laser show and still plenty bright - i was able to clearly see lumia patterns on the wall even in daylight with the Arctic at half power! At half power with the training lens, its PERFECT for night time lumia applications. Better still, when the battery has about half an hour of run time, in this mode the color of the beam darkens to a really nice purple that looks almost identical to a 405nm - so its almost like getting two wavelengths in one :)

Another reason this baby sings for lumia shows is the duty cycle - the Arctic is basically 100%! It doesn't specifically say this in the manual, but after leaving it on for two hours straight, not only was the battery still going but the host was not even warm to the touch. Some may complain about the size of the Arctic, but the size and design of it is part of the reason it handles heat so well.

All I all, clearly I am a happy customer. The Arctic is not the smallest or most powerful laser you can buy, but its not trying to be. Not every laser we own has to fit into the same category; if I want to burn matches or magazines or stick a laser in my pocket I have builds that can do that (although lets all be honest - the burning thing loses it's charm very, very quickly).

I'd say the Arctic is the trophy wife of lasers - its stunning to look at, will make your friends jealous and has a few uses, but she's not going to satisfy your every whim.

At the same time, i doubt any members of this board are LOOKING for just one laser to keep them happy all the time, so any deficiencies of the Arcric are moot.

Some people have complained about their lasers unexpectedly dying, but so far so good; to be honest, the build quality of this thing does inspire confidence, so frankly I'd be surprised if it suddenly just croaked (also note some of the users who have complained about their dead Arctic have also admitted it was after they had taken it apart to see what made it tick or to mod it - sorry folks, but that's YOUR fault, not Wicked's).

The worst I can fault WL is in how long it took to show up. If you're going to buy it and then check every week to see where it is, you're going to end up pissed off, demand a refund and then add your name to the list of people who hate WL. But if you can just order it and forget about it until it unexpectedly shows up, you'll be happy (note that i have yet to hear of a single case where someone either never got their laser or was refused a refund. Not one).

The bottom line is, even if people have qualms about the exact power output of the Arctic, or wish it had this feature or the other, ultimately its hard to argue that the Arctic is a damn cool piece of kit - when you have this thing in your hand you simply don't want to let go.
 
Last edited:

Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
42
Likes
15
Points
0
Nice review. I've had my Arctic since late September, and it still amazes me each time I pick it up. The nighttime beam appearance is nothing short of magical. Do be careful of feeling the heat of the beam - at full power and at close range it will develop painful burn injuries days after exposure.
 

danefex

New member
Joined
Aug 30, 2010
Messages
1,668
Likes
222
Points
0
Good call... I waited exactly 4 months to the day (ordered June 20th, rec'd Oct 20th) and despite all the negative criticism (especially from the early 'flawed' models) I am extremely happy with my S3 Arctic. Not only has it functioned perfectly since the day I've received it, but I feel it will be worrth more than it's current value up the road because so many people tried & cancelled before getting theirs :beer:

On the flipside, I do feel bad for those who've had problems (a lot of folks) or who've gotten crappy G1's when WL was still 'debugging' the whole lightsaber-laser thing...
 

MojoLA

New member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
259
Likes
13
Points
0
Yeah, for whatever reason it became "the in thing" to hate on Wicked. There are issues with all of these Chinese laser companies and people may laugh but so far Wicked's customer support has actually been the best (I'm still waiting after 2 months for Dragon Lasers to issue my refund for diffusion filters I never got).

Every now and then they lag in an email response, but every time I contacted them they were professional and courteous and always wanting to make sure the customer is satisfied. They even have that 24 hour phone line! I called several times at all hours and always got a human who had access to the production and shipping status of all orders, so you can always call them and get a real time update.

I think a lot of people jumped the gun in requesting refunds; yes, the long delay in shipping was discouraging, but as I said above, they do not have a history of actually shafting anyone - if those people had just taken a deep breath and stopped worrying about when their laser would show up, they'd actually have one now.

I think it's funny how those people take every opportunity to announce how they were "lucky" and got a refund early on, as if it's something to be proud of. The Arctic is a very cool product and like you said, it's certainly going to only go up in value, especially if the FDA gets around to regulating these things and you can't buy one anymore.

Think about it - we all pretty much agree that these high power lasers we like to buy really have no practical use (aside from lumia shows) and the only reason we own them is because they are cool! And I think even the haters might admit in private that as far as cool goes, the Arctic is the coolest.

Hobbyists enjoy showing off their lasers to friends (seeing their reaction to burning something is one of the few perks we get) but when you show people the Arctic, they get far more excited because they've actually HEARD of this one!

Lovr it or lump it, you can't deny that the Arctic is the one and only rock star in the world of lasers.
 

FutureOne

New member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
175
Likes
26
Points
0
Great review. I have 2 of them. Both are slightly different in that one has a slightly more focused beam, and the plastic membrane on the main power switch is thinner.

Other than that they are basically the same. I waited around 5 months for my first one (bought second one off a member from here).

Extremely happy with both. I could care less about burning stuff, I just like to light stuff up with a ridiculously bright blue dot.

Living practically beside an airport limits my outside use to near zero. I'm too chicken to do it. Will probably go up north in the summer and blast it at a completely empty sky and see what it looks like then.
 

lazeerer

New member
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
3,664
Likes
523
Points
0
Nice review. Unlike the old artcit he ones "G1" THe G2 have little to no issues.

I also like my Arctic. Its a very good laser.IMO That the G2 and I'm speaking on the one i own.;)

It took a long time for me to get it but it about 5 months but i dint care how long it took as i had alot more laser to play with in the mean time.:)

+1
 

MojoLA

New member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
259
Likes
13
Points
0
Lazeerer, that's a good point - having something else to play with while you're waiting makes the wait much easier. A few months back I bought the Yobresal build (1.2 watt 445nm, same diode as the Arctic) so once I had that I stopped "waiting" for the Arctic, since the Yobresal laser is essentially the same as the Arctic. I should probably do a comparison review :)

In any case, I think most people agree it was worth the wait. It really is the only laser out there that impresses people even with the power turned off! I know I enjoy just picking it up and handling it. Feels great in the hand... To fondle and caress it, to stroke that big, hard powerful piece of - ahem, I think I should stop!
 

madog

New member
Joined
May 14, 2010
Messages
530
Likes
15
Points
0
Lazeerer, that's a good point - having something else to play with while you're waiting makes the wait much easier. A few months back I bought the Yobresal build (1.2 watt 445nm, same diode as the Arctic) so once I had that I stopped "waiting" for the Arctic, since the Yobresal laser is essentially the same as the Arctic. I should probably do a comparison review :)

In any case, I think most people agree it was worth the wait. It really is the only laser out there that impresses people even with the power turned off! I know I enjoy just picking it up and handling it. Feels great in the hand... To fondle and caress it, to stroke that big, hard powerful piece of - ahem, I think I should stop!
Wow! i'm glad you stopped!
 

Trevor

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2009
Messages
4,513
Likes
548
Points
113
This mode will make me feel more comfortable in handing it over to friends, as an accidental flash will be less likely to cause injury; I can make sure that this thing is only at full power when i'm using it (at half power it took about 5 seconds for my hand to feel it at 20 ft away).
I would just like to point out that an accidental flash at "low" power is still guaranteed to cause permanent, irreparable eye damage. Don't let "low" power lull you into a false sense of security.

Even with the "training lens" on, it will still cause retinal damage.

-Trevor
 
Last edited:

MojoLA

New member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
259
Likes
13
Points
0
At low power with the training lens on the dot is the same brightness as a 5mw green - I'll post pics to show you.

While people should always be careful with a laser at any power, I really don't think, at that level, the Arctic poses a serious threat of instant eye damage.
 

FutureOne

New member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
175
Likes
26
Points
0
At low power with the training lens on the dot is the same brightness as a 5mw green - I'll post pics to show you.

While people should always be careful with a laser at any power, I really don't think, at that level, the Arctic poses a serious threat of instant eye damage.
I think I would have to disagree with this. A point blank hit in the eye even with a 5mw 445nm would probably cause at least some damage. It would suck to get a hit right in the macula even with a 5mw as it would probably do cause noticeable damage. Probably not catastrophic like 1W, but you only have 1 pair of eyes.
 

Trevor

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2009
Messages
4,513
Likes
548
Points
113
Please note the apparent brightness of 445nm vs. 532nm.



See why the brightness test is useless? You could be looking at seven or more times the optical power. That's 35-40mW. Enough for an instant retinal burn.

-Trevor
 

Krogith

New member
Joined
Dec 12, 2010
Messages
1,195
Likes
59
Points
0
At low power with the training lens on the dot is the same brightness as a 5mw green - I'll post pics to show you.

While people should always be careful with a laser at any power, I really don't think, at that level, the Arctic poses a serious threat of instant eye damage.
IMO Liston to twhite828. It may seem as bright as your 5mW 532nm green but you can see 532nm A TON better than 445nm.

So it's doing at least 30mW and thats on the low side really. It will Burn a spot in your eye with a reflection before you can blink for sure.

Be careful and Liston to senior members like twhite828
 

FutureOne

New member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
175
Likes
26
Points
0
I personally wouldn't be letting anyone handle my Arctics, or even my 50mw greens for that matter. People are wayyyy too irresponsible. I had a 15mw green a while back, and a buddy wanted to see it. So I gave it to him and the first thing he did was shine it into the neighbors window.

That's the last time I ever let anyone that wasn't my brothers or dad touch any of my shiat.
 

ducpham90

New member
Joined
Mar 9, 2011
Messages
4
Likes
1
Points
0
Nice review. I'm waiting until my get my hands on my Arctic in the next week. :drool: I hope the Smartswitch is easy to get used to.
 




Top