There are lasers and then there are lasers. The Spyder II GX is a crazy 200-300mW green laser that can burn through paper, balloons, and skin and generally blind you if you’re not careful. How much does all this fun cost? $1,699 including a pair of absolutely essential shades that will keep you from blinding yourself.
I had used WickedLasers before but those models were mere laser pointers compared to this monster. It comes in a Mil-Spec Type III hard anodized case with rubber washers on all the joints and includes two lithium ion batteries that last 60 minutes on one charge. Note that these batteries take a long time to charge, so be prepared to wait.
The first time I tried the laser I was actually able to light a candle. Subsequent tries resulted in lots of smoke but no fire. However, it can easily burn through black paper – just draw a dot with a Sharpie and you can get a hole in a few seconds – and burned dark tissue paper on contact.
This is not a toy. Seriously. Using it without glasses results in lots of after-glare and you could seriously damage your eyes. Another note: The laser is “water resistant” but not waterproof. Don’t put it in water.
Unfortunately submerging the product under water is considered miss use of product. It was never intended to be used under water. While it can operate in rain and seasonal elements, the Spyder IIGX, is made for a variety of demographics, however under water operations is not one of them.
I tried this laser under water and found water in the front filter. It didn’t touch the laser, so I expect it will just dry out, but since you can’t really disassemble it easily it’s something to think about when using this outdoors. It still works but it’s a bit disconcerting to get water inside your laser.
Here’s the bad news: This laser costs $1,699. That’s right. Almost $2,000 freaking dollars. There are some rumors that they use this beast over in Iraq to mess with insurgents, and I wouldn’t be surprised. It shoots a straight, bright beam for what seems like miles – I was able to hit the Verrazano Bridge from 96th Street in Bay Ridge, which is about a mile away.
I did a few tests, one trying to recreate my candle test and another basically shooting holes in paper. The results were immediate and dramatic. This laser is great for stargazing and educational experimentation but please, please don’t play around with it. It’s more a weapon than a laser pointer, but it’s totally amazing.