The Gadget: The Torch flashlight from Wicked Lasers is currently being reviewed by Guinness as the world's most powerful flashlight. At 4100 lumens, the Torch can easily start fires and even fry eggs.
The Price: $US300
The Verdict: Simply put, the Torch flashlight is like carrying around a floodlight in your hand. It is easily the most powerful and semi-frightening flashlight I have ever seen. However, let's not kid ourselves into thinking that this a practical device. The only reason anyone should ever buy the Torch is to impress other nerds.
Last month I reviewed the 160 lumens Duracell Daylite and found it to be a good choice for anyone looking for a powerful, practical flashlight. It's not a fair comparison by any means, but analysing the results from that test against the Torch gives you a good idea of how bright this thing really is.
In order to illustrate its power, Wicked Lasers has released several videos showing the Torch burning paper, lighting matches and frying eggs. These claims are true—as you can see from my own test illustrated in the video above. But the heat this thing gives off is not all fun and games for pyromaniacs. It also severely limits the usability of the flashlight. After a few minutes of use, the Torch becomes too hot to hold in your hand. According to the user's manual, it should only be used in 3 minute intervals with at least 2 minutes of "rest" in between.
As you might have guessed, the battery life for the Torch is almost nil. I'm not sure what the exact figures are, but I doubt that you could get more than 10 minutes of continuous use out of a full-power 30-minute charge. And, to be quite honest, the scary charging unit above is fairly unreliable. I found myself frequently resetting the magnets because it registered a full charge prematurely.
Obviously, I can't recommend something this expensive, impractical and, quite frankly, dangerous—but if you are willing to drop $US300 on a gadget that will impress your friends for a minute or two, the Torch will definitely get the job done. [Wicked Lasers]