Review: The Torch, a $300 flashlight

Let’s be honest for a moment: an awful lot of the stuff we cover here at CrunchGear isn’t really necessary. All the silly USB gadgets, geek gizmos, and other doodads are fun to own, but don’t make your life demonstrably better. So I was pretty excited when I was given the opportunity to review The Torch from Wicked Lasers. Billed as the world’s brightest flashlight at a whopping 4,100 lumens, this seemed like the kind of thing that might be worth having. I mean, who doesn’t like flashlights? They’re great for when the power goes out, and to take camping, and are a generally practical gadget that does make your life better.

The Torch costs $300. That’s a $300 flashlight, friends. It comes with a custom rechargeable battery, and a custom battery charger. My first indication that the Torch was more than I would ever need in a flashlight came when I realized that the battery charger included a heat sensor, to ensure that the battery didn’t overheat during the charging process.

The Wicked Lasers website has video of the Torch frying an egg, as well as lighting paper and matches on fire. I first thought “Wow!” and then I thought “Why on Earth would I need a flashlight to fry an egg?” I was skeptical that the Torch would actually light fires, so tested it for myself:

Yes, the Torch does, indeed, light fires. You’re probably thinking, like I was, that this would be a great addition to your camping gear: no more matches! Then, like me, you’d sit down and read the product manual and become disappointed. The big, custom battery for the Torch provides approximately fifteen minutes of actual use, suddenly making this a not-quite-as-useful flashlight as you first thought.

Making things even worse, you read that the Torch should only be used for about three minutes at a time, lest the thing become too hot to hold. Indeed, the Torch gets hot during use.

The only legitimate use I can find for the Torch is, surprisingly, home safety. I’m not a gun owner, so I’m at a disadvantage if my home were ever to be invaded. But with the Torch, I think I actually stand a fighting chance against an intruder. This thing is so bloody bright that it will cause severe damage to a person’s eyesight if shone directly at their face.

The Torch, I can safely say, is not going to make your life better. The only people who will want to buy the Torch are those people who insist on being able to say that they own the brightest flashlight in the world. And I’ll wager that these people never actually use the Torch once they buy it.