S3 Arctic 1 Watt Laser Review

Finally, there is something brighter than the Streamlight Protac HL USB – Best Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight. I seem to be the one that ends up with items that fall in to the “why in the hell did this get made?” category. and this is the second item from company Wicked Lasers that falls into that area.  The first was the “Torch” – the flashlight so bright it could set things on fire.  While the Torch was maddeningly crazy, it was something that you could justify because it could be used for survival…somehow.  The S3 Arctic 1 Watt Laser however, is something that is purely for those of us out there who dream of being able to hold a lightsaber – and for those of us who really don’t comprehend how powerful 1 Watt really is.  I first requested to review this laser, because my geek side took over and I thought it looked “frickin cool”.  I mean, come on – it’s a blue laser!  Little did I realize (despite numerous warnings on their site) how crazy this laser really was.

To look at it in pictures just doesn’t begin to do it justice – yes, the pictures make the light that is emitted look bright, but no where near bright enough.  Look at the projected dot on the wall for more than a second, and you’ll inadvertently be seeing dots for the next few minutes.  The brightness though isn’t where the real danger comes in – after all, if you’re dumb enough to stare at a laser, chances are you’re too busy drooling and dumping hot coffee in your lap to actually play with one (or read this); it’s just common sense not to stare at bright lights.  The real danger in this bad boy, comes from not realizing what happens when you leave a 1 Watt laser shine on something for too long.

It takes literally two seconds of having it shine on your skin before you will feel it burn, and it’s not a normal burn either – but one that you’ll feel under your skin.  I let human curiosity take over with my friends when they didn’t believe me, and shined it at each other; I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard as they inflicted pain on each other because they just didn’t believe me.  It’s not just skin though – I’ve used the S3 Arctic to set paper, cardboard, and pieces of wood on fire with little to no difficulty at all.  Powerful?  Damn straight.  It’s that power that makes me keep the thing locked up in a safe lest my son get a hold of it and think it’s some kind of toy and burn the house down.

Thankfully though, the people at Wicked Lasers have something called the Smartswitch 2.0 on the laser in order to prevent little hands from figuring out how to work it.  Once you hit the large power switch on the bottom to turn the thing on, you then have to know how to work the Smartswitch to actually get the laser to shine.  It requires a certain sequence of short and long button presses, and once you accomplish that feat the beam finally shines.  The laser also has a number of different firing modes – low intensity strobe, low intensity constant, high intensity strobe, high intensity constant, and distress.  In distress mode the laser shines “S. O. S.” in Morse Code, which could be extremely useful if you ever get stranded and happen to have the S3 on you.  You see, the beam of the S3 Arctic can go OVER 6800 meters.

Before we continue, let’s take a second to just let that number sink in….

There we go – yes, over 6800 meters, or just over four miles.  I have to say that I went into the country with this, and was able to at least say that from on top of one hill, a person two miles away was able to see it without any issue.  I didn’t have any areas around me that I could test the full four miles however, so I can only assume that figure is accurate based on the brightness level at two miles (still too bright to look at for an extended time).  One of the neatest things that I got along with the S3 Arctic, was a case full of different focusing lenses.  There was one that made an “X”, one that made a straight line, one that reduces the beam’s power by 80%, another that makes the beam work like a floodlight (very useful), yet another that causes it to act like a very bright flashlight, and finally my favorite (and one I wish I had when I was a young party animal) – the galaxy lens.  The Galaxy lens basically turns everything into a party by splitting the beam into a few hundred little dots – yes, it is as cool as it sounds.  I live directly across from Allegheny College in Meadville, and I mess with drunk college kids almost daily with this – it has provided me with literally hours of entertainment in that aspect.

Editor’s Rating:

[rating:4.5/5]

Excellent

The Bottom Line:  The S3 Arctic 1 Watt Laser might be an insane purchase for insane people, but I can’t complain about its functionality one bit – it works exactly as advertised; there might be no practical reason to buy one, but if you have the extra money this is quite the eye turner.

Pros:

  • The battery seems to last forever – in the time I’ve had this I’ve had to charge it twice, and I’ve had it running for hours
  • Unlike some other lasers (or the Torch), you can leave the S3 Arctic on as long as you want and the casing will never get hot
  • If I was able to take ONE item with me to a deserted island, this would be the thing; fire starter and signal flare all in one, the S3 does more than you would think

Cons:

  • The price is pretty expensive for what some might consider a high tech toy
  • It is EXTREMELY dangerous if you don’t show the laser the respect it deserves – seriously, you can hurt someone bad with this
  • I can see how a person with no kids might hate the Smartswitch, and not being able to disable it can be frustrating

You can grab the S3 Arctic 1 Watt Blue Laser from Wicker Laser’s site for $299.95, but before you do be sure to read their “Blue Light Hazard” page – I swear it’s not about shopping at a K-Mart.  You can also pick up the lens kit for another $49.95, and really if you get the laser you NEED this accessory.

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11 Comments

  1. I purchased directly from Wicked Lasers and received my unit and found that it was defective. I contacted customer service and they were responsive, BUT they sent instructions on how to put a piece of tin foil in the battery compartment to try and fix the issue. I told them that for this much money I should get a replacement. they agreed and processed a return…thats where the problem started. I had to ship the unit back and get it checked in – that took 2 weeks. then Wicked Lasers sent out a replacement, which took almost a month to get to the US, spent two weeks in customs and now is lost. It has been lost for over a month without a shipping update – tracking the shipment shows it has been “in transit” for a month and has been in shipping for nearly 3 months. I have contacted customer service over and over and they just are not helpful at all. they just say i have to wait for a while. 3 months is long enough. great product AWFUL customer service

    1. Hey T, if you paid on a credit card, call them (the CC company) and dispute the charge. This will nip it in the bud.

  2. Great review.  I got my Arctic S 3 last week and I love it.  I was so impressed with the quality and with how much fun I have been having with it that I decided to order the “Big Boy”, the 1 watt Krypton for $1000.00, a lot of cash for sure, but totally cool inventions.  They can be dangerous for sure, but so can a hammer.  Shipping was great for me, 8 days and it was at my door. 

  3. I ordered one today, they look pretty cool.  I wonder if they will get banned in the future, these things can be very dangerous.  It is like a weapon, really.  Great review.  I have read a few complaints about the reliability of  the Wicked Laser Artic S3, could be true, could be false.  I am looking forward to getting mine. 

  4. Hahahaaha. What an idiot, this guy is joking about pointing the laser at his friends skin. In the website it states mild exposure to the skin could cause cancer. Way to go.

  5. Awesome review. I own one of these Monsters myself and an S3 Krypton. maybe your next purchase will be the krypton 1Watt? :P 

  6. Not shopping at K=Mart, huh?  Did you hear about all the college degrees people that had to work at McDonalds?  Great.

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