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Wicked Lasers Sonar II Burner Blu-ray Laser Pointer review




  • Recommended by TR

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Wicked Lasers Sonar II Burner Blu-ray Laser Pointer
  • Wicked Lasers Sonar II Burner Blu-ray Laser Pointer
  • Wicked Lasers Sonar II Burner Blu-ray Laser Pointer
  • Wicked Lasers Sonar II Burner Blu-ray Laser Pointer
  • Wicked Lasers Sonar II Burner Blu-ray Laser Pointer


Our Score:


Every now and again we get e-mails here from companies asking if we'd like to review their products. Sometimes we're interested, sometimes not. And sometimes, just sometimes that invitation comes from Wicked Lasers, whereupon the unanimous consensus was, unsurprisingly, to the effect of "we need to look at everything!" It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess that, in an all-male, fairly geeky office, lasers are universally accepted as pretty darned cool. You have seen Star Wars, The War of the Worlds and Moonraker right?

Alas as we don't yet have a Gadgets section, or any roadmap with one featured, finding a reason to justify playing with lasers is pretty difficult. Except, that is, that Wicked Lasers offers a particular model called the Sonar II which packs a particularly interesting laser diode with which all of you should be familiar. A Blu-ray laser to be precise, exactly as sported by the PlayStation 3 and, in fact, any other player you care to name. That, frankly, was all the justification we needed to have a unit shipped over from the states - all $1,999 (~£1,000) worth of it.

Importantly at this price, build quality is impeccable. The Sonar II, according to the spec sheet, is constructed from aircraft grade aluminium and you can believe it holding the device. At 155mm long with a 20mm diameter it isn't small, and with a pair of CR123A batteries, as usually seen in cameras, it's pretty weighty too. That said, the weighty nature simply adds to the sensation of holding a quality piece of equipment - exactly how a £1,000 laser pointer should feel. The white colouring and addition of an official Blu-ray sticker at the end of the casing just adds to the air of coolness exuded by the device.

As the name rather unsubtly suggests, the Sonar II is the second generation of Wicked Lasers' Blu-ray sporting pointer. Whereas the original used a diode that was pulled straight out of a Blu-ray player, WL has managed to find a source of diodes for the Sonar II. Clearly, not having to throw away a butchered Blu-ray player for every Sonar II made can only be a Good Thing.

The Blu-ray diode inside the Sonar II produces a 405nm beam packing 60mW of power, which might not sound like much but when you consider that the entire beam is converged on a circle of around 2.5cm2 at a distance of 10m it sounds more impressive. It is partly because of the extremely short wavelength that the laser can be so powerful. A quick GCSE (O-Level to the less youthful among you) recap reminds us that higher frequency (shorter wavelength) equals more power. On the subject of power, Wicked Lasers strongly advises using lithium, rather than alkaline batteries as they offer significantly better battery life for the same power output.

Because of the diode used, it's important to remember that these lasers can in many ways be more dangerous than a red or green laser. As there is next to no infra-red radiation being emitted by the diode, it's harder to tell just how much energy is being focussed at the beam's point. Shining the Sonar II at my hand at about 40cm distance it was still possible to feel some heat, but most of the 60mW of energy is going to be towards the ultra-violet end of the spectrum so the beam is doing more damage than you might realise.

That's borne out in the Sonar II's classification as a Class IIIb laser product. In a nutshell, that means that direct exposure to the eye of as little as 100th of a second can and will cause permanent retinal damage and even diffuse exposure could be dangerous. Hopefully Wicked Lasers will start providing a set of protective goggles for this wavelength as it does with its other pointers.


August 3, 2008, 4:06 am

ٟ,000 for a laser pointer? Is this a belated April fools joke?


August 3, 2008, 4:47 am

I still believe in freedom of choice but when that choice, however safe and sound with sane-minded adults, its a dangerous item for any shelf!!! There is only one thrill hetre when its switched on... to see some damage caused!!! No thrill of that nature can warrant its sane use nor legal approval unless we have legislators and criminal Chief Justices who themselves harbor such sucked agendas with excuses for whatever Constitution they suggest in upholding...


August 3, 2008, 6:34 am

Not a bit of it :)


August 3, 2008, 8:17 am

Pfft... HDDVD drives are going for 㿅 at game station. You could pull one of those apart and get the same laser for a LOT less. Then hook it together in a mag-light casing with some kind of electrical gubbins. MUCH cheaper.


August 3, 2008, 11:53 am

Sorry, I must have missed something. What. Is. This. For?

A laser pen is dirt cheap so it doesn't need to be FOR anything. This is a grand. Even the loaded will spend their cash on inconsequential toys that have an actual purpose - dressing up a chihuahua to make it presentable; gold teeth to redecorate your face, etc.

Either argue for its utility or revise its rating, because 9 out of 10 for a torch - is even way beyond AppleShaft territory.

(Oh wait, you think Sith's a film - sorry the jigsaw is complete.)


August 3, 2008, 12:21 pm

i'm on that website now :D


August 3, 2008, 3:02 pm

� for a laser pointer and a recommended award? How is a Class IIb anything but dangerous? You are insane my friend - I'm dialing 999 right now.


August 3, 2008, 3:12 pm

If it doesn't make light-sabre sounds as you move it around, I ain't interested...although it might have its advantages for company presentations I suppose, being 'blinded by science' could be a definite possibility ;o)


August 3, 2008, 3:23 pm

Unadulterated exploitation of your position as a technology journalist - I love it! (If I were in your position, I'm sure I'd do it a lot more often than you!)

All male office? No Sandra?


August 3, 2008, 3:44 pm

What on earth is going on at Trusted Reviews?! Two pages of absolute tosh. On top of that you even have the audacity to give it 6/10 for value. Unbelievable. I take it the editor is on holiday?! I expect to see reviews of Vertu's next.


August 3, 2008, 4:50 pm

And it's damaging to skin and even more so to eyes?

I'm sorry, ٟ,000? Yes, that's definitely a 6/10 for value! :S


August 3, 2008, 4:56 pm

now THATS the kind of review I like reading


August 3, 2008, 5:59 pm

Damn. I was hoping it was.


August 3, 2008, 6:06 pm

Shame you couldn't get some action photos. Nothing in the review really inspires me to consider spending money I don't have to get one.


August 3, 2008, 6:17 pm

Yes, you could make one yourself, but it wouldn't have the built quality:


Sadly no sabre sounds, but coupled with an app from the iPhone App Store that *does* make saber soudns as you wave it it the possibilities are endless!

It's an all male office - Sandra is a freelancer so she doesn't work from here.

It was our editor who requested we have the laser in for review. I don't see what your problem is in our reviewing something a bit more outlandish for once. If you actually saw, held and used the laser you'd realise why it's actually still fairly good value - it really feels like a grands worth of kit.

We're going to try and get some pictures of the beam in the dark, but we're all runnish night time photographers so the ones we took didn't come out very well :p

Andy Vandervell

August 3, 2008, 6:56 pm

It's just a bit fun really, guys. I wouldn't take the scores that seriously.

Lord Comben III

August 3, 2008, 7:51 pm

Certainly did look like fun you lucky scamps :)


August 3, 2008, 10:05 pm

"It's just a bit fun really, guys. I wouldn't take the scores that seriously." - No, I certainly wont be taking Trusted Reviews scores very seriously from now on!


August 3, 2008, 10:36 pm

funny, i had always thought lasers were for burning things, not give stuff skin cancer...

star wars lightsabre battles would be so much longer if that were the case, you'd wait for your opponent to die of cancer before continuing.


August 4, 2008, 1:05 am

Ben: When has anyone taken us seriously ;)

ilovethemonkeyhead: Lightsabers are not lasers, they're a contained beam of plasma. That's of course discounting the more important fact that they're not even real.

Realistically I imagine you'd be hard pushed to do any physical damage to your skin with this laser, by I definitely wouldn't want it pointing anywhere near my eyes!

Geoff Sowels

August 4, 2008, 5:05 am

If you want good pictures, I'll happily pop over and take a few of your mysteriously lit-up cloud ;) Or you could just send me the Sonar II and I'll obtain a few decent snaps, send it back, you can have some nice RAW format images to publish and print in large-format for your office wall? :)

Nice device. Shame 'bout the price tag. I'd rather spend � + VAT on some nice lenses.


August 4, 2008, 2:24 pm

As already mentioned, we fancied doing something that was just fun, and yes being an all male office probably does enhance the "lasers are cool" opinion :)

Seeing a blue laser being used for something other than just an optical disc player is refreshing to say the least. And playing with this thing at night, with little ambient light polution is nothing short of stunning.

Yes it's expensive, yes it's potentially pointless for the majority of people, but that doesn't stop it being the kind of thing that I dreamt about when I was a kid!

Ultimately, I have plans to launch a gadgets section on TR, where we can cover things that are particularly impressive implementations of technology, but don't really justify purchase, other than the "I want one" feeling.

Let's face it, Sony's AIBO did pretty much nothing, but it didn't stop people around the world fighting for the chance to spend thousands of pounds on one. I remember running the first UK review of AIBO when I was still editing PCW - the sales of that issue were massive and the feedback huge.

Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions of stuff that we could potentially get our paws on, that would make a cool gadget review, let us know.


August 4, 2008, 11:02 pm


A gadgets section would be awesome


November 11, 2008, 5:27 am

Here are some reviews :



December 3, 2008, 6:30 pm

"Even the loaded will spend their cash on inconsequential toys that have an actual purpose - dressing up a chihuahua to make it presentable; gold teeth to redecorate your face, etc."

I can personally vouch that the purpose of buying lasers like these is fun. Pure and simple. Shining them up in the sky. Picking out a tree from a mile. Lighting matches. Making gorgeous patterns with diffraction gratings. Making luminous toys glow like fire. And just owning something that is pure sci fi. Utility is not the point.

I would say though that the price quoted is very high, compared to similar lasers that can be bought from other suppliers / home workshops. As always, it pays to shop around!

Great review though. Good to see the site branching out beyond the obvious.

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