Ultra Sabers Custom Lightsaber Review: An Elegant Lightsaber for a More Civilized Age
When you think about Star Wars and the one thing about the Jedi that you wish you could have in real life, what do you imagine? No, besides the Force. Right: lightsabers.
We’ve all, at one time or another in our childhoods, run around pretending any old thing was a lightsaber. Many of us have probably also owned (own) one of the plastic, telescoping children’s toy sabers that manage to pretty decently capture the satisfaction of igniting a blade out of thin air, but what’s a Padawan to do when looking for some something that feels a little more real?
Try Ultra Sabers, if you’ve got the galactic credits to handle it. It might surprise you to find that custom-built lightsabers are a bit of a specialty item, so they can get a bit pricey depending on how fancy you want to get, but they’re also a big step up from the toys most of us are familiar with.
Sure, you’re supposed to build your own lightsaber to truly complete your Jedi training, but having someone else do it for you is so much more practical in the modern world. Ultra Sabers specializes in customized sabers with a ton of options for the metal hilt, polycarbonate/LED blade type and color, sound, and more. Ours, which you may have seen on Instagram or pictured above, is roughly similar to Luke’s in Return of the Jedi, though with a bright orange blade.
However, if you’re looking for exact replicas, this is not necessarily the place for you (though they will convert replicas to their own technology if you’d like). You’ll notice designs similar to those from the movies, like the “Archon v2.1” we got (there’s actually one with a thinner neck to look even more like Luke’s), but putting down the money for one of these means you want to establish your own Jedi identity.
After a few days with ours, I’ve come away impressed. There’s a mind-boggling amount of potential customization, but these are your main options:
Our saber is a standard saber with premium sound, and the blade emitter and pommel are also interchangeable through the Modular Hilt System for custom lightsabers. Yes, for those who were unaware—I’m sure you saber veterans are well beyond needing this review anyway—there are enough custom lightsaber makers out there to warrant a standards system. If you were feeling pessimistic about the world we live in, just keep that encouraging fact in mind. Anyway, our saber is every bit as satisfying as I could have hoped without going for the pricier “emerald” options, which sport extra blade lighting effects. From the second I took the saber out of the box and pressed the “on” button (which is easy to push but well protected from accidental presses), it felt about as real as I could expect from a lightsaber.
The saber crackled to life with a familiar sound, and I was hooked. It’s a good thing it’s not actually real, or I’d have cut my own leg off within the first 30 seconds of spinning it around—though the clashing sound it made when the blade bounced off my shin made me laugh.
The premium sound is excellent and does a pretty good job of detecting the difference between moving quickly (VOOooo) and actually hitting something, which is where that clash sound comes in. (I’ve had several instances so far where I was spinning it around and accidentally grazed a piece of furniture, and the sounds followed those actions fairly “realistically,” to my delight.) There are plenty of different movement and impact sounds to keep things from getting repetitive. You can also press the power button again to get a crackling, unstable-sounding idle hum, and holding the button turns the power off again with an equally familiar audio queue.
Skip to the end of this video for an idea of what it’s like in action:
Sometimes I get an errant clash sound when I pass the hilt from one hand to another a bit roughly, but I think that’s more because of my lightsaber skills than the sensor. The sound is also impressively loud, which I honestly prefer for maximum effect, but I’ve muffled mine with some simple balled-up paper towel in the pommel (which screws on and off easily enough) since I live in an apartment and don’t want to annoy my neighbors—let alone people who live with me and aren’t quite as enthused about my Jedi antics.
I can only imagine how fun a lightsaber duel with a friend would be using these, and they’re plenty durable for it. Not only is the blade made for it (unless you’re trying to do some real damage, I’d imagine), but I’ve already dropped the whole thing on a thinly-carpeted cement floor more than once, and it’s come out fine.
If I had one recommendation for anyone interested in ordering, it would be to put the extra cash in for a charging port if it’s compatible with your other options. The premium sound sabers run on rechargeable Li-ion batteries (charger included), but if you don’t have a charging port, getting them out can be tense business. You have to remove the pommel and get the speaker/battery/soundboard assembly to slide out and then remove the batteries. The tricky part is doing so around the sound board and without pulling too hard on the whole assembly, as it doesn’t come out very far.
It’s not a deal-breaker, and getting the batteries out certainly wasn’t hard. I was just worried that I might accidentally break something in taking the guts out, and I’d feel better not having to run that risk. (Batteries also kind of break the illusion of realism, if that would bother you.) The battery life is solid, though, and I got a few days out of it (during which I could barely put the thing down) before I had to charge them myself for the first time.
Overall, a lightsaber like this is basically sacrificing the telescoping blade aspect of cheap toys for an unmatched sense of realism in every other way, and I love it—and if you want to remove the blade to carry the hilt around for cosplay or just in daily life, you can. That said, it’s also an expensive option if you want to get some of the bells and whistles that, let’s be honest, you’re definitely going to want. If you have the spare cash and a lightsaber that gives the feeling of the real thing sounds worth it to you, I’d absolutely recommend Ultra Sabers.
Ultra Sabers provided a sample unit for the purposes of this review.
—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—