The pitch: "An amazing credit-card sized light and magnifier"
The Owl Optical Wallet Light is a thin, credit-card-sized gizmo that's advertised to provide magnification and light wherever you may need it. The Owl combines two features: a translucent window that provides 3X magnification (about the same as you'd get with a toy magnifying glass), and a small LED light. You can use The Owl to read the fine print in newspapers, on prescription medication labels, maps, etc. In dim settings, such as in restaurants, you can also turn on the light to see more clearly.
Reviewers are split down the middle about the effectiveness of The Owl. In a convincing video clip at StarReviews, you can see The Owl at work; the reviewer gives it six out of six stars, saying it's especially good for reading menus in dark restaurants. A panel of staffers at Reader's Digest magazine, however, complains that The Owl's small LED doesn't provide enough light to to see clearly in darker settings, and editors note that you can't replace the LED when it dies out -- once The Owl stops working, you have no choice but to buy a new one.
The most serious issue with The Owl Optical Wallet Light, according to users posting online at Amazon.com and Infomercial Review, is that many of these lights seem to be defective out of the box. We found plenty of complaints that The Owl simply wouldn't light up, or that the light blew out after only a couple of uses.
1. Reader's Digest
Readers Digest staffers give mixed reviews of The Owl; they like the 3X magnification and its compact size, but almost all complain that it doesn't provide "enough light to see clearly in darker settings." A few examiners dislike the fact that once the light dies, you have to buy another Owl. Despite the dissatisfaction, The Owl receives an overall rating of three out of four stars and is deemed good enough to purchase.
Review: How Do As Seen on TV Products Really Rate? The 2006 List, Jody L. Rohlena
This anonymous review is entirely positive -- which is at odds with most of the reviews we read. Still, this site has a useful video where you can see The Owl in action.
Review: Owl Optical Wallet Light Video Review, "StarArthur", June 29, 2009
While there are a few positive reviews here from owners of The Owl (one user says it's good for reading menus in dark restaurants), the complaints outnumber the compliments. Some say the light is too dim to illuminate fine print, rendering The Owl useless. Many users complain that their product was defective -- in some cases, the light was inoperable out of the box; for others, the light died after several uses.
Review: The Owl Light, Contributors to Amazon.com
4. Infomercial Review
The Owl does receive a three out of five star rating on this site, but only two users have posted reviews as of yet. Opinions are completely divided: one user says his Owl was broken right out of the box (the light was inoperable). On the contrary, the other user says the Owl has been very helpful after his recent eye surgery.
Review: Owl Optical Wallet Light Review, Contributors to Infomercial Review