Dont I have enough flashlights? Well, I have one unfilled niche. This flashlight is AAA and small enough to be a keychain, for emergencies so I always have a flashlight on me.
Now how did i choose this from the wide selection at Dealextreme? Its quite easy with my simple criteria
- Lowest possible price
- Multi mode
- Relatively Bright
- AAA. Yes I know this is more expensive and less common compared to AA but I need small size. I avoided button cells because I would sacrifice brightness and I would have resupply problems.
- Not generic, at least have a class A chinese brand. That way I get slightly more quality and hopefully I get a tougher light.
Hi 150LM 1200mA > Low 80LM 900mA > SOS 120LM
LM means lumens, mA is milli amps. And one nice thing about the light is that it has a mode memory. What that means is that the light remembers what the last mode was. So the logic of the circuitry is simple. If the circuit finds out that you turned the light on-off-on with 1 or 2 seconds in between the two ons, it will move to the next mode. So if you turn the flashlight on after a long time, the mode it is in will be the last mode used. Nice trick. If this trick was not present as a second choice I would choose the Low mode to be the default mode.
Now since I insisted on AAA and multi mode, I had to make a few sacrifices. First, no knurling and the shiny finish. No knurling means that I might have problems holding this if my hands were slippery and the shiny finish is not stealthy but it looks good. Its shiny! Second, its a bit longer and noticably heavier. It is made of stainless steel though, thts why its heavy. It sits a bit heavy in my pants pocket but I should get used to it over time. If there was an aluminum multi mode AAA flashlight in the same price range available, I would havegotten that but no other choice was available.
Build quality and machining is good except for a little sloppyness at the contact for the Positive end of the battery. A wipe with a clean rag helps. You can barely see the junction between the body and the tailcap BTW. Even with your fingers you can barely feel the seam. The Seam between the body and the head is another matter. Of course you can see the gold plated ring but with your fingers you can definitely feel the seam.
No sharp edges or roughness. The screws are not as well made as say my maglites and its a little difficult to screw back on specially when fighting the spring's pressure but its ok and it should improve with a little petroleum jelly lubricant.
The tailcap protrudes out and you cannot sit the light on its base. It also does not have a candle mode, i.e. a naked bulb with no reflector.
An unusual feature is the use of glow in the dark green rubber for all the 4 O rings and the tailcap. I havent tested how the glow lasts. These are all 10 second exposures with my Canon 590IS digicam.
Here's a little enhanced shot of the O ring at the glass face. This also glows in the dark after you turn the light on for a few seconds.
The light is very bright at high mode. Comparable in intensity to my other lights like my maglite LEDs. Low mode light output is quite good too. The reflector is deep and shiny. Being of a smaller diameter, we dont expect much from the reflector but it does its job. At 1 meter the central spot is a bitlarger than 1 foot in diameter. Unlike my maglites, much more light spills out. Even the spill is bright enough to work by. All are acceptable compromises for a smaller diameter flashlight.
The light on the Left is my maglite AA. You can see that the area of spill is a little brighter and the delineation between the central spot and the spill is more gradual.
The tailcap switch feels good. Hope it lasts.
Well, so far so good. A good quality light. Thanks again to dealextreme.
update: I'd also like to point out that since this is a keychain light, size is a factor in choosing this. And its now Aug 25, 2010. Still works like a charm. No problems