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Portable light sources are essential to your photography toolkit when you’re ready to progress beyond natural lighting and take your images to the next level. While off-camera flash photography can be intimidating, LED lights can be quality solutions that are much easier to operate. One of the leading LED lights for photographers is the popular, yet pricey, Westcott Ice Light. If you’re looking for a similar solution that is significantly more affordable, the Polaroid BrightSaber Travel LED Wandd might be for you!
As its name suggests, the Polaroid BrightSaber looks very much like a sci-fi lightsaber, so it has the immediate bonus of functioning as a fun conversation piece or photography prop. But the main intent of the BrightSaber is to serve as a handheld portable continuous (LED) light source for photography or videography.
To be clear, there are two versions of this light, and they are quite different. The Polaroid BrightSaber Pro looks more like the Ice Light; it is more powerful, and thus more expensive at $169.99. There is also the BrightSaber Travel, which is less powerful, yet much more affordable at $69.99. This article is focused on the travel version.
Out of the box, the devices arrives in two separate pieces that must be snapped together. The button controls are located on the handle, which is also where the two included lithium ion batteries must be inserted. For most people, assembling the BrightSaber Travel will be a pretty intuitive process. Once assembled, the light works as advertised. The few buttons enable you to turn the light off and on and choose from 10 power settings to adjust the level of brightness needed. Unlike most other lightsaber LED lights out there, the BrightSaber Travel is flat rather than round. A thinner profile truly makes it easier for traveling.
The BrightSaber Travel packs an array of 98 low-heat 32000K LED bulbs that produce a very nice quality of light. If you wish to change the color temperature, you can simply slide on one of the three color gels included, or snap on the included diffuser panel. Due to the specific size and shape of the BrightSaber, it’s not very easy to get your hands on other color gel choices without resorting to a DIY solution.
It’s really difficult to argue about the low price point of the Polaroid BrightSaber. Even the Professional version is significantly more affordable than the popular Ice Light, and the Travel version is even cheaper! While there are other competitively priced light saber-esque LED lights on the market, none of them are produced by as reputable a brand as Polaroid.
As mentioned above, there are quite a few moving parts to the Polaroid BrightSaber Travel. There are the two pieces that must be snapped together, two lithium ion batteries, three color gels, and one diffuser.
Unfortunately, there is no bag included that will hold all of these pieces together, thus increasing the chance of losing parts. The lack of a bag is especially perplexing since this device is intended for travel use and its unique shape and size make it difficult to fit into standard camera bags.
Another downside to the BrightSaber Travel is its use of two non-standard batteries. They look like elongated versions of double AA batteries, and in my experience, they take an extremely long time to charge. It would be preferable for the device to use either one single rechargeable battery like the BrightSaber Professional does, or to use two standard batteries that can be more easily replaced.
If you’re seeking a portable, handheld LED light to one-up your photography, I highly recommend checking out the Polaroid BrightSaber. It comes in either the BrightSaber Pro version or the more affordable, slightly less powerful Travel version. Both work very well at extremely affordable prices.