Can a compact dive light be both a primary and a backup dive light?

WiseDive_c1600_slideshow_new-960x358The Danish dive-torch brand WiseDive has been making waves with their compact, high performing dive torches. With the smaller version of their popular dive torch, they’re looking to cater to divers looking for slightly lower outputs, a smaller unit, and perhaps also a smaller price tag.

Unboxing
The Compact 1600 comes, like all other torches from WiseDive, in a black foam box, accented with an orange zipper. The foam inside is cut out to hold the torch, the charger cable, and the docking station used for charging. Unfortunately, the company uses the same box for all their torches, meaning the inside compartments are cut to hold either the Compact or their standard dive torch and canister lights. So the foam doesn’t fit either one perfectly, which is a bit of a shame. The box holds the Compact just fine, so from a protection point of view, there’s nothing wrong with it — but still, it detracts some from the feeling of exclusivity. The torch itself feels extremely well made; its all-metal exterior makes it feel robust, even indestructible. It’s comfortably light, without seeming flimsy.

Charging
Users charge the torch by removing a small plug in the base of the unit and then mounting it in the supplied docking station, which is then plugged into a wall socket. A light ring at the base of the torch shines orange while the torch charges, and turns blue when it’s through. A full charge takes roughly three hours, but in return provides a whopping 20 hours of light at 20 percent output.

Use
Users operate the torch by a simple, single button. Press once to turn on, once to turn it off. If you depress the button and keep it down, the torch cycles through various output levels. The torch comes with five standard output settings, 20 percent, 40 percent, 60 percent, 80 percent and 100 percent, but the supplied software allows you to program additional steps if you prefer (for Windows PCs only). The torch also features a nifty flight mode, where four consecutive presses of the button followed by turning the torch off locks it, and makes it impossible to turn it on by accident. To unlock, press four times and turn the torch on. The torch also has a strobe effect, if you really, really need to catch someone’s attention.

The light on the base that indicates charge level while charging also lets you know how much charge remains, via a series of flashes in blue and orange. This takes some memorization, but works well, and saves you the risk of running out of light suddenly during a night dive.

Output
The torch output is impressive. According to the manufacturer, it clocks in at 1200 lux at 5 meters on 100 percent. Suffice it to say that it has enough light for anyone’s needs. My Compact managed to outshine a number of canister lights on a series of night dives, and even at 20 percent you’ll get more light than most torches of this size at 100 percent. The torch definitely lives up to its slogan, “the cure for darkness.”

Bottom line
The Compact 1600 is a relatively small and lightweight torch, and could work equally well as a primary light and a backup, though perhaps it is a bit large for backup needs. Its optimal use is probably as a primary light used for travelling. It’s small and lightweight, and it offers plenty of output, which makes it perfect for traveling divers. And with 20 hours of light on a single charge (and 50,000 hours on the LEDs), you could spend an entire vacation diving without charging once. The main drawback is the price tag. As all the WiseDive torches, the price is steep and the Compact 1600 is no exception — expect to pay $617 for this baby. For the discerning diver, however, it is a great choice. wisedive.com

 

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