Two models of diving torches that have the peculiarity of a 26-degree tilted body to facilitate handling and differ only in the mode of operation. Apart from that, what can I say? They impress with the power of the light beam and the quality of the finishes
by Emanuele Zara
I received two torches from Best Divers, the Cobra and the Cobra Pure, housed in two rigid cases! As soon as I opened them, I was immediately struck by the strange curved shape, a design I had never seen before! It's an ergonomic solution that follows the natural 26-degree inclination of the wrist; the hand and fingers that hold them fit perfectly on the body. Like the trigger of a gun, the power button is located below, within reach of the index finger; in practice, you operate it like pulling the trigger of a rifle, just to give you an idea!
Looking closely at the two Cobra torches, which seem identical at first glance, I noticed the small "Pure" label integrated at the bottom of the logo on one of the models. By reading the small multilingual leaflet included, I understood the difference between the two torches: it concerns the on/off system. The Cobra is designed to be turned on and stay on once you push the power button forward and has other functions, such as multiple flash signaling. The Cobra Pure, designed for fishermen, is programmed to stay on when you hold down the switch, and it turns off when you release it; nothing else.
After testing them in the sea, I must say I prefer the Pure version because it's intuitive to use, and there's no risk of it staying on, ensuring incredible battery life.
A system developed by Best Divers uses a magnetic connection that allows external charging of the lithium-ion battery, guaranteeing up to 500 cycles. And, importantly, the Cobras cannot be disassembled: a pressure relief valve has been inserted in the back part to prevent any risk of explosion in case gas develops during charging. Lastly, the sliding power buttons are equipped with a mechanical lock for transport.
The technical specifications listed in the instruction sheet explain that the torches have a black polycarbonate body and an aluminum head. The bulb is a single Luminus SST40 LED, with over 1570 lumens. The beam has an angle of about 9 degrees, of the hot spot type. The internal battery is integrated and non-removable, a 21700 lithium-ion (4000 mAh - 3.7 V). A green LED on the left side indicates operation and flashes when the battery drops below 15%.
The Cobra has a runtime of 145 minutes at maximum power, while the charging time is 3-5 hours, done through the USB cable and the separate magnetic terminal. The circular attachment is at the top of the metal head. Waterproofing is guaranteed up to 120 meters.
The dimensions of the Cobra are as follows: head 42 mm; body, minimum 25.5 mm, weight in air with the included lanyard, 275 grams.
The torches were tested on a seabed characterized by limestone cracks, with a surface water temperature of about 14 degrees. A 6mm jacket and 5mm pants wetsuit were used, as well as a short speargun.
The Cobras are ready to fish, just position the lanyard and take them into the water. I still recommend reading the instruction leaflet first: it contains useful information to maintain the battery's efficiency, and more.
Having said that, the first thing that intrigued me is that strange curved shape. The first impression is "applause," as the body is easily gripped in any position, with excellent overall handling ergonomics. The trigger command is immediately intuitive.
I went into the water with my friend Carlo, and we exchanged the Cobras. Both work very well, and the different on/off system has enthusiasts who prefer one mode over the other. The lanyard is comfortable, especially thanks to the tube and PVC sleeve that wraps around it; I usually adjust it to be able to grip the torch with a simple wrist rotation. In this case, the Cobra is immediately graspable, thanks to the tapered body and the rounded back, an excellent combination.
We move further out to sea. I chose the Cobra Pure; I like the fact that it only turns on when I slide the power button, and when I release it, it turns off. We start fishing. There are some limestone slabs, and occasionally, a scorpionfish surprises us in this winter sea. I position myself in front of a crevice; with my index finger, I slide the power button back. The bright white light, very concentrated like a spotlight, illuminates the crack in every small recess. I observe the wall carefully and see the head of a moray eel. The light intensity is impressive, it dazzles; there are no peripheral halos, and the performance leaves you astonished even with a fishing line. The moray eel is small, so I move on. I continue, but I encounter nothing. My friend spears a nice mullet, and his Cobra is handed to me.
We move to the base of a drop-off. I go down between two rocks, and in a dark area, I turn on the torch: the shadow zone is brightly illuminated! I observe the Cobra from the side: I slide the power button, and the torch stays on at full power, indicating operation with a green LED that appears through the polycarbonate body on the left of the flashlight; it doesn't bother me. I also look for some mullet; they gather in schools here but never stay long in one place.
Near a canyon, I spot the dark back of a fish peeking out from under a large rock. I move down from the opposite side and before reaching the spot, I notice a large mullet. I move forward a bit and from an angled position, I turn on the torch. I illuminate the tunnel thoroughly, direct the beam to the right, and wait. After a few seconds, a mullet swims in front of the gun. I miss the moment and can't shoot, but I manage to illuminate its silhouette, and I see where it goes. I resurface holding the Cobra in my hands.
The second dive is the good one. I only use the light to organize where to aim the gun. A fraction of a second later, a mullet passes by again, and this time I take the shot, got it! I turn on the Cobra again, and its scales reflect the light; the silhouette stands out, the white lips are visible. A quality of light that's even exuberant in this moment!
If I had to find a couple of flaws with the Cobra? The weight, being all black, are the two aspects that would make finding them difficult on the seabed if you ever lost your grip or forgot to secure the torch to your wrist. And then, the PVC sleeve: I put the Cobra Pure down on the sand, and when I picked it up, the black tube was full of granules, sticking to it, and I had a hard time cleaning it. These are minor issues, however, compared to a truly interesting product!
Material and Construction Technique
Chatting with the technicians at Best Divers, I was informed that the design, project, and molds of the Cobra are made in-house in Italy. Both illuminators are constructed using the same material and technique. The body has a truncated conical shape curved at about 26 degrees to mimic the natural ergonomics of the wrist. The head, made of aluminum alloy, is cylindrical. The body, molded in polycarbonate, starts with a cylindrical progression of the same diameter, but after a few millimeters, it bends decisively and decreases significantly. At its thinnest point, just before encountering the swell of the back, it measures 25.5 mm. Inside the head, you can see the aluminum parabola with a smooth and reflective surface designed by Best Divers, which concentrates the LED's light beam. It is protected by a 4mm tempered glass. Inside the angled body, there is space for the battery pack, while the switch is magnetic.
Level of Finishes
We are faced with a lamp that is truly well-crafted in every minute detail. It is not disassemblable, which provides an important guarantee against potential flooding. The all-black color slightly distinguishes the head from the curved body. You can notice the demarcation line between the two components, but it's mainly an aesthetic factor as they do not separate. The metal head has a fine knurled finish near the end ring, providing a non-slip surface when held between the fingers. The magnetic stainless steel ring serves as the access point (completely stainless) for the charging connector and is slightly recessed on the top of the head to protect it from potential damage. The same level of care and finishing is given to the overpressure valve placed on the rear: it is even more recessed and protected from possible impacts! The magnetic power switch can be slid and has a sort of "resting point" for the fingertip; it's quite convenient and easily accessible with the index finger, although it's relatively smooth. This piece can rotate, turning about 45 degrees to the left, and you'll feel a small click—it's the locking knob. In the horizontal position, it's free; in the vertical position, it stops the movement. The transport lanyard is easy to adjust and sufficiently robust.
The Luminus SST 40 LED was selected with a color temperature of approximately 6800 Kelvin degrees, a cool white to enhance underwater details. And I must say that the performance is simply exceptional. The battery is a Lithium-ion 21700, 4000 mAh - 3.7 V.
At full power, the Cobra can operate for a remarkable 145 minutes without the green LED flashing to signal the need for recharging the battery. If it is not used for more than three months, it's necessary to perform a charge and discharge cycle (in water) at least every six months. These are the guidelines to follow to maintain the accumulator's efficiency and not to void the warranty.
It is the feature that distinguishes the Cobra from other models on the market. It fits well between the fingers and in the palm of the hand; you just need to get used to the fact that the switch is activated with the index finger rather than the thumb, like a rifle trigger 9.5 Construction level
Among the best I've ever seen. It almost deserves top marks 9.5
The Cobra is manageable and easy to use. The slider is easy to operate even with neoprene gloves 9
One word: impressive. A powerful, concentrated, pure white beam without any peripheral halo. It illuminates any crevice 10
145 minutes of continuous light is more than sufficient for any need 9
Price/Quality Ratio: The Cobra can be found at around 100€ on discount. An excellent price considering the product's quality 8.5
Material: Polycarbonate body, aluminum alloy head
Window: 4mm tempered glass
Parabola: Aluminum with a smooth, reflective surface
Switch: Magnetic, with a sliding knob with a lock
Illuminating Unit: Luminus LED, SST 40, 15 W Color Temperature: 6800 Kelvin degrees Luminous
Power: max 1700 Lumens Light Beam: approximately 9 degrees Battery: 21700 Lithium-ion, 3.7 V, 4000 mAh Battery
Life: 145 minutes at maximum power
Weight in the air: approximately 270g (with lanyard)
Maximum Depth: 120 meters.