Neopixel Lightsaber Buying Guide
The neopixel lightsaber has taken Star Wars fandom by storm. Although neopixel sabers have been available on the market only since the mid-2010s, they have already become many collectors’ preferred choice in battle-ready lightsabers. The reasons for the booming popularity of neopixel lightsabers is hardly a mystery: They provide a visual spectacle that older, more traditional types of lightsabers can’t equal.
To be more specific, neopixel lightsabers—alternatively called pixel sabers or RGB LED sabers—include special light-emitting diodes inside the blade that enable it to closely replicate the appearance and dynamic effects associated with the lightsabers of the Star Wars universe as portrayed on the big and small screens.
It may be that neopixel sabers herald a new phase in history for lightsaber collectors. As NeoPixel technology continues to improve and these sabers are more widely disseminated throughout the fan community, the many benefits of these collectibles will surely become more and more difficult to ignore, and this will likely have a major influence on saber designs going forward. In the meantime, however, how can the enterprising collector get best acquainted with this thrilling lightsaber tech?
As it happens, Ultrasabers has a few suggestions. The fast-growing Ultrasabers catalog includes a number of high-quality lightsabers that take full advantage of the aesthetic and performance advantages of pixel technology. These sabers use the proprietary UltraPixel blade to provide the wielder with all the options that collectors have come to expect from this innovative technology.
The following is a guide to buying your first neopixel lightsaber.
What Is a Neopixel Lightsaber?
A neopixel lightsaber can be simply defined as a model in which the blade contains light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to provide illumination. The LEDs found in a neopixel blade are typically individually addressable—that is, each can be programmed separately from the others. This is a departure from standard lightsaber designs, where the light source is inside the hilt, and it is one of the main reasons why pixel sabers have such a distinctively powerful illumination.
The number of LEDs in a pixel lightsaber blade depends on the model. On the upper end of the range, you can expect to have over a hundred individual diodes along the blade.
What Does a Neopixel Lightsaber Allow You to Do?
A lot of things! Neopixels are both visually attractive and suitable for sparring.
Pixel sabers are popular among fans who enjoy the art of practicing solo lightsaber tricks and elaborate forms. These types of sabers provide several options that enhance these rewarding activities. Not only do pixel sabers look impressive in motion with their improved illumination, they also come with various visual effects that complement a choreographed routine. For instance, lightsaber wielders can activate shimmering light effects, accompanied by a sound that mimics a plasma blade cutting through the air, when certain motions are executed.
Collectors who enjoy using their lightsabers to spar with others will also find pixel sabers amenable to this purpose. This is another area where the unique audio and visual effects of neopixel lightsabers can augment the user experience. Commonly included pixel saber effects include extension and retraction options that replicate the rapid, steady lengthening and shortening of a plasma blade as it emerges from and retreats into the hilt—an impressive operation that, for any fan, will recall the characteristic ignition and shutdown actions of the lightsabers in the cinematic Star Wars universe. Blaster bolt deflection, which mimics the reaction of a blade as incoming fire strikes against it, is another much-valued feature.
However, many neopixel saber manufacturers stress that these products are best suited for “light to moderate” dueling. Really vigorous contact may damage the blade, and due to the presence of the LEDs inside, repairs may be significantly more expensive than with a standard blade. If you’re a hardcore dueller, you may wish to opt for a blade designed for that purpose (like Ultrasabers’ Heavy Grade blade).
How to Buy a Neopixel Lightsaber
If you’re looking for a pixel lightsaber to call your own, you have plenty of options among the various companies out there that are currently offering neopixel lightsabers for sale. The good news, though, is that you’re already on the website of a manufacturer that many collectors regard as the premier makers of pixel lightsabers. With its world-class UltraPixel string blades and supporting technologies, Ultrasabers has all the tools you need to get the most out of this highly innovative lightsaber style.
The pixel lightsabers from Ultrasabers come standard with a variety of first-rate features, including:
- 127 RGB (Red, Green, Blue) LEDs inside the polycarbonate blade that generate a wide range of visual effects, including extension and retraction with adjustable speeds
- Your choice of Obsidian Lite, Obsidian v3, Obsidian v4, UltraProffie Zero, or UltraProffie Lite soundboard
- Durable all-aircraft aluminum hilt
- Gesture-controlled settings enable on-the-fly adjustments of color, brightness, and sound
- 3.7V, 18650 cell Lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable battery
- Removable MHS-compatible pommel
You also have wide latitude to customize your UltraPixel saber to conform with your preferences.
Your Neopixel Lightsaber Options at Ultrasabers
In keeping with industry trends, the neopixel sabers available from Ultrasabers are more expensive than standard lightsabers. This is a direct consequence of the relatively advanced technology that powers neopixel lightsabers and enables them to display their distinctive audio-visual effects. Even so, pixel sabers come in a range of designs and price points, giving collectors ample opportunity to find a good option for their budget.
Customizable options for your neopixel lightsaber include:
There are well over 100 neopixel hilts currently available in the Ultrasabers catalog, and they come in a wide assortment of designs. It’s definitely worth taking the time to explore the inventory of neopixel lightsaber hilts. To a large extent, the right hilt is a matter of personal aesthetic preference—but there are additional considerations that should be kept in mind before making your selection.
Grip design is an important consideration. You’re going to be swinging this lightsaber around, and you need to ensure that the size and configuration of the hilt will match your comfort level. On the Ultrasabers site, every hilt’s dedicated webpage lists the width of the device, so you can compare it with other options to determine whether you’re better off with a relatively large or small hilt.
You will also note that some hilts are marked “V3,” “V4,” or “V5.” What does this indicate? Merely the different generations in hilt design. A V5 hilt is an upgrade on the V4, which is itself an upgrade of the V3. This is not to say that a V5 is innately superior to a V4 or V3—it just has a few additional features that you may prefer:
- V4 – Can accommodate the Emerald LED driver, which produces a wide range of visual effects.
- V5 – Includes V4 capabilities, plus a standard windowed emitter and an A/V switch.
The different generations of hilts also tend to vary in their physical dimensions, so be sure to check the specs as well.
One of the more appealing benefits of neopixel sabers is the freedom from being restricted to a single blade color. It’s easy to change the lightsaber color whenever you like, without even needing to hook up to a computer. That means you don’t need to commit yourself to Jedi blue or Sith red when you order your UltraPixel string blade. You’ll always be able to access a variety of recognizable lightsaber colors: green, purple, yellow, white, orange, and many more.
The soundboard is the heart and soul of your neopixel lightsaber, as it generates the audio-visual effects that makes this saber so distinctive. You have several enticing options here:
- Obsidian Lite
- Obsidian V3
- Obsidian V4
- UltraProffie Lite
- UltraProffie Zero
As the soundboard is such a vital role in the ideal lightsaber experience, you should become acquainted with the different options and their relative advantages.
The Obsidian options all include a number of standard features, such as:
- Operating voltage: 3.1-4.2 (VDC)
- Sound quality: 16 bits @ 23.438 kHz
- ⏀1.3”, 4”-long chassis
- Audio amplifier and speaker
- Battery holder and electrical protection
- Automatic power-off at timeout and low battery
If you order the Obsidian soundboard, the speaker and battery will come already connected to the board; only the lights and the push button will need to be wired.
So how do the three Obsidian options differ? In part it has to do with the number of fonts: Obsidian V4 has up to 10 rewritable fonts, while Obsidian Lite and Obsidian V3 has only 1 each. The Obsidian V3 font is rewritable; the Obsidian Lite is not. Obsidian Lite also lacks a USB port, while the other two options include this feature. Audio memory also differs depending on which Obsidian version you have: Lite has 35 seconds’ worth, V3 can store up to 75 seconds, and V4 includes 340 (!) seconds of capacity.
But although the Obsidian Lite has the fewest features of the three options, it also has the lowest price, which can be an important consideration for the budget-conscious.
The UltraProffie soundboard is a relatively new addition to the Ultrasabers family. It is based on the hugely popular open-source ProffieOS, which is widely used in the fan community for customizing lightsaber soundboards. This is a highly user-friendly soundboard that provides the wielder with access to a broad spectrum of gesture-controlled settings.
Its features include:
- 25 preloaded sound and blade style presets
- Advanced motion-sensitivity controls
- Stealth mode (operates at ⅓ power to conserve battery)
- Motion effects: smooth swing, clash, stab, and force
- Choreographic effects: drag, melt, lockup, and lightning
- Blaster hybrid (turns the saber into a blaster)
- Automatic power-off at timeout and low battery
- Built-in USB recharge port
During the checkout process, you will also be presented with other customizations that can enhance your enjoyment of your neopixel lightsaber. Again, these are mainly a matter of personal preference. Options include:
- A/V switch (standard with V5 hilts)
- Blade retention screw wrench
- Blade plug
- Saber stand
- Micro USB cable
- DevPort module (available only with UltraProffie soundboards)
- Belt clip
- Belt clip wheel
In summary, neopixel lightsabers provide an enormous amount of value for the dedicated Star Wars fan. Feel free to contact Ultrasabers with your questions or concerns about these visually stunning lightsabers.