This light was on sale at Amazon for $23 and I’m a sucker for flashlights. It’s not for sale now and is $30. And for any FCC or whatever agents, I paid my own coin for this. Now, be elsewhere.
For me, the main selling feature was being rechargeable using a USB cable. This lets me charge it from a power pack, a USB port in a vehicle, a laptop or some of the solar gear I have. This makes it a great light for an extended (days until ?) situation.
The light uses a single 18650 (3350 mAh) rechargeable battery and has high, medium, low settings plus the seemingly obligatory but useless strobe and SOS settings. Honestly, I’d have traded those last two for two more lower power settings. A moonlight setting is really useful.
- 900 lumen light that can reach as far as 200 meters on high power
- 6 hour battery life on the medium setting
- Charging time of 6 hours
- 5000 hours LED lifetime
- IPX5 rating (you can use it in a rainstorm)
So here are my impressions. The light also has a focusing feature. I found it will focus to a spot that is very dense with little spill, and will focus out to a flood which has a rather dark center with a bright ring around it. You can focus it to a wider spot that is a little less intense but around twice the diameter as the tightly focused spot. I tested the focus at about 75′. While I can’t test it, I figure 200 meters is a pipe dream. I’d say 50-75 meters would be the usable range, but that’s a guesstimate.
Overall, the build quality seems good. The threads are smooth. The Anker-branded battery is held in place with a secondary internal cap that also holds the USB charging port. The tailcap is connected to the inner cap with a small shock cord, which I think is a nice touch. Water sealing on the tailcap is accomplished with an o-ring on the flashlight body. Anodizing on the aluminum body is smooth and even. Focusing is smooth, but the movement from spot to flood is short, perhaps 1/2″, so it’s a bit touchy. Once focused it holds that focus point well, although a violent swing of the light will move it. The tailcap switch is very “clicky” and works well as a momentary switch. The light has a crenelated hood that would allow it to be used as a strike weapon. Personally, God help you if you’ve gotten to that point, but at least it’s there.
The one flaw I found was the memory feature. The light is supposed to default to the last mode used. It does, occasionally. I usually have to cycle through the modes using the tailcap switch to get back to the last used.
I’ve run some tests on it. These are not rigorous lab readings-I used an iPhone app that measures lux using the camera and the iPhone timer to check it a one hour intervals. I used this website calculator to convert from lux to lumens.
Lux measurements were 295 on high, 218 on medium and 66 on low, all measured at a 3′ distance from the light. This translates to 775 lumens on high, 573 lumens on medium and 173 lumens on low.
Setting the light to the medium setting, at 7:30 PM I measured it at 218 lux (573 lumens). At 8:30 the measurement was 66 lux and the light was very warm to the touch. I assumed it had reduced power due to overheating. Setting it back to the medium setting, I got a 238 lux (625 lumens) reading. At 9:30 I again obtained a 66 lux reading. Still operating under the assumption of overheating, I again reset it to medium and obtained a reading of 179 lux (470 lumens). At 10:30 I measured 143 lux (376 lumens). Obviously the light had not reset the mode, and it was cooler to the touch. at 11:30 the measurement was 108 lux (284 lumens) and at 12:30 I measured 50 lux (131 lumens). At this point I was ready for bed. Based on the measured performance I would expect the light to have failed sometime in the 7th hour of use.
Graphically, it looks like this:
Without the anomalous reading at 8:30 the curves would be prettier, but I don’t toss outliers to make curves pretty. The data is the data even when the methodology is on the amateurish side.
Obviously, the light doesn’t live up to it’s touted 900 lumen rating. Still, 776 isn’t chopped liver. I would like to see the step from high to medium a bit steeper, say down to 400 lumens. And as I said earlier, I’d like to get those flashing modes off the light and add in two even lower modes, say of 90 and 10 lumens.
That said, we should bear in mind that most of the original tactical lights were rated at 60 lumens (23 lux), and even at 5 hours into the test, we were slightly better than twice that with a light that cost something like 15x less money. You have to love technological progress.
If the light hadn’t throttled its output during the first two hours of testing, I’m not sure it would have made it to the claimed 6 hour run time. Of course, I’d rather have the light throttle than burn out, and 5 hours or so isn’t a bad run time.
I have not tested it for water resistance. If I decide to do so, I’ll edit the results of that in here. Charging time from the point it was at to full charge was 6 – 8 hours. I didn’t have any way to measure other than check on it every so often while it charged, and I missed an hourly check.
I would not use this light as a primary tactical light. For that role, I have a couple of good Streamlights. However, if money was a heavy limiting factor, then yes, I probably would use this light in that role. For me, I see this flashlight more as something I can toss in my truck and forget, or leave plugged into one of the truck’s USB ports so it’s always ready to go. It’s cheap enough so that if you break it or lose it, you’re not going to cry much. You could buy 2 or 3 over time and spot them, on chargers, at various points around your home.
At the price, knowing what I paid for my “real” tactical lights, this thing is a bargain. It’s far more capable than most of the small, $15 LED lights on the market. I have a fair number of Anker products, and I’ve been satisfied with all but one. I would recommend this for anyone looking for a bright, capable light at a low price.