A couple of years ago (2012) I reviewed the Wicked Lasers Torch (see Other Articles to Read at end of post), touted at the time as “the most powerful handheld flashlight in the World”, and at a whopping 4100 lumens, it was wickedly bright, extremely hot, but sadly very utilitarian looking. The designers at Wicked Lasers have recently introduced a next generation of the Torch called the Flashtorch that has much more operational polish and more stylish looks than its predecessor. They have fortunately sent me one to try out.
Like the Torch v.1, the Flashtorch housing is constructed of a powder-coated, military grade aluminum. The front lens is made of a specialized heat-resistant glass, so it will not shatter under the tremendous amount of heat the Flashtorch generates.
The original Torch had a very stubby MagLite (like I said, utilitarian) look and feel to it (top). The new Flashtorch is just the opposite, with a lightsaber hilt look and feel. While a cosmetic thing, this contrast is a nice improvement on the original. Other than looking more high tech, the new Flashtorch has several operational improvements that make it a definite step-up from the previous version.
- Lamp Output: 4100 Lumens w/an Adj High Efficiency Reflector
- Dimensions: 63mm x 48mm x 293mm
- Weight: 610g
- Power Supply: 18650 Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
- Battery Lifetime: 10-40 Minutes
- Power Consumption: 16.8V@10A
- Bulb Type: 100W Halogen
- Expected Bulb Life: 2000 Hours
- Casing: Mil-Spec Type III hard anodized in black
- LED switch: Low, Medium & High Power modes
- Tail switch: On/Off Button
- Warranty: One Year
Wicked Lasers includes the Flashtorch, battery (either 1500 or 3000 mAh), power brick and cable, and nylon belt pouch.
The Flashtorch’s bulb is not a LED like a majority of today’s high-end flashlights, but a filament-based 100W halogen, estimated to last for 2000 hours of use. It is truly amazing how much heat that little bulb can generate. Surrounding the halogen bulb is a high efficiency reflector that funnels the light into a more concentrated beam. The base of the flashlight has an on/off switch to help ensure that it is not inadvertently switched on.
The flashlight has an LED illuminated power level switch just below the head of the flashlight. The Flashtorch has three power settings: high / medium / low. On a fully charged battery (3000 mAh), low (30% power) will last 80 minutes, medium (50% power) will last 50 minutes, and high (100% power/4100 lumens) will last 20 minutes. It is a definite improvement over the original Torch that would only last a measly 5 minutes on maximum. The 3000 mAh battery is a $50 upgrade to the standard 1500 mAh battery the Torch usually ships with.
The original Torch required the battery to be removed for recharging. The new Flashtorch can be recharged without having to remove the battery. Just below the head of the flashlight (opposite side from the switch), there is a covered power port and LED indicator light. The Torch automatically shuts down and LED switches become non-responsive when plugged in. The LED switch blinks to indicate that the flashlight is in Lock Mode. Once charged, double click the tail switch to transition back to normal mode. Wicked Lasers warns to not leave the Torch in Lock Mode when not charging.
The power cable and brick are huge, as big as one you would use on a large laptop. It is bulky and cumbersome to say the least. The battery plug port has a LED indicator light on either side that glows red while charging and green when fully charged. It takes quite awhile to recharge the 3000 mAh battery depending on how depleted it is.
The Wicked Lasers Flashtorch is just as bright as its predecessor. In my original review I classified it as a “handheld spotlight”, and this new flashlight is true to form. This picture was taken on a dark evening before the moon came out. As you can see, it lights the place up… The light the Flashtorch produces is more yellow and warm than the white light an LED produces.
While the Flashtorch has fewer limitations than the original Torch, there are a few things to be aware of. The biggest being that after a few minutes of use, the head of the flashlight gets seriously HOT. Watch this video to see how quickly and effectively it lights things on fire. Impressive. Even on the low power setting, the head gets hot and the body of the flashlight becomes quite warm. The entire aluminum body of the Flashtorch is meant to disperse heat from the head.
Having gotten to try both Torches by Wicked Lasers, I have to say the second generation is much more tech-stylish, operationally functional, and just plain impressive. If you need to illuminate a large area, the Flashtorch is definitely worthy of considering. But if run-time and excessive heat are more important factors than pure brightness, an LED-based flashlight might be a more viable option. As you saw in the video, the WL Flashtorch doubles as a very effective fire starter as well (who knows when you will be in a dire situation). Finally, for those seriously considering the Flashtorch, I highly recommend spending the extra $50 get the 3000 mAh battery with double the capacity of the standard.