SeaLife is most well known among divers for its waterproof cameras and housings, as well as its strobe and video-light systems. The company has applied its expertise in these areas to manufacturing dive torches as well. SeaLife produces one of the most compact torches on the market today, the SeaLife Sea Dragon Mini 600. This backup light can double as a primary.
A torch that literally fits in the palm of your hand, it still boasts an impressive 600 lumens of light output. At 5.3 inches long and 1.3 inches wide, and weighing only 3.4 ounces, that is truly impressive. Just as impressive, though, is how easy it is to use, despite the minute size. Designing backup torches is always a balancing act between making the light small enough to fit into any pocket while not making it so small that it is difficult to use, particularly if it’s intended for divers wearing thick gloves.
The torch turns on by twisting the head, a definite improvement on a more traditional flashlight button-style function, which can be hard to operate with thick gloves.
The light beam’s angle is 75 degrees, which allows for a pretty concentrated beam while still providing some peripheral light. It has two power modes, putting out either 100 percent or 40 percent of maximum effect. Which you choose greatly affects battery life.
The torch accepts either standard CR123 batteries or rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion batteries. The former is included with the torch, while the latter is an optional extra. With the standard batteries, the torch can shine for 60 minutes at 100 percent power or 150 minutes at 40 percent. With the Li-Ion batteries, those time frames are boosted to 100 minutes at 100 percent, and 250 minutes at 40 percent. In any case, it will suffice for most divers on a single dive as the primary torch. It’s also plenty as a backup, wherein you would deploy it only if your primary fails. Even if you’re inside a cave or wreck, there will be plenty of time to reach the surface (unless you’re doing some extreme cave dives, that is).
If you’re an underwater photographer, you can attach the Sea Dragon Mini to a variety of cameras, including the GoPro, by using the included adapters and mounts. Sealife produces a range of extras to add functionalities to the torch, including a hand mount that allows you to strap the torch to the back of your hand, similar to using a Goodman handle on a canister light. This is very useful if this is your primary torch, or if it’s a backup for cave or wreck dives, where being able to use both your hands while holding onto your torch is highly valuable.
SeaLife Sea Dragon Mini 600
Compact, only 5.3 inches long
Lightweight, only 3.4 ounces
Good beam angle of 75 degrees
High output of 600 lumens
Long-lasting, up to 250 minutes with optional extra rechargeable battery
Includes mounts for underwater cameras
Price is a bit high
Built-in rechargeable batteries would have been preferable at this price point
The combination of size and output is a definite sales point for the torch, but the price might be a bit too steep for some. At $130, it’s not the cheapest backup torch out there, but it does sport some impressive features.