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Monday, June 22, 2015

Product Review: Ultrafire 7W LED flashlight

I picked up one of these a while back when I needed a new light to keep in my motorcycle jacket.

Yes, I have one for each of my different jackets, and one in the truck, and one on the bike, and several in the house; if you've been caught in the dark without artificial means of light, you know why. If you haven't, your time will come.


Overview

In any case, after some browsing around I ran across this one and decided to give it a try. Be warned: they come in a range of prices starting at just under $4 and going up. depending on current version/ which model/ which color/ power source. Some have adjustable focus, some have multiple modes(low, high, strobe), some come with a rechargable battery and charger. This one, at the time, was $3.80 for one that runs on a single AA battery, adjustable focus, and three modes.

Also be warned that, while the price on most includes shipping, it can take a while for them to arrive since they're coming across the Pacific; I think they wait until they've got enough to fill a container, or at least a significant part of one. Though given how much stuff is imported here, that doesn't take long.

Features
  • The body is aluminum with various knurling and patterning for grip and looks, and has a pocket clip. 
  • It has a tailswitch that turns it on and off. 
  • The tailswitch also changes modes if you get a multi-mode; turn it on it and it's on high, bump the switch to go to low, once again to get the strobe. It does not have memory; turn it off, when you turn it back on it defaults to high. 
  • Focus the beam by sliding the head in and out: all the way back is flood, all the way forward is spot. 
    • If you slide it all the way forward, the spot is a very nice image of the LED; back it off just a touch and you get just light. 
    • Finally, when the collar is all the way back, the field is round; the closer you get to spot, the more it begins to show square.

Performance
How's it work? Overall, pretty well. 
  • It's quite bright. Since the tailswitch is a bit recessed, you can turn it on and set it upright on the base to use as a lamp.
  • Battery life is good. After having used it off & on for a while, I stuck in a new battery (Heavy Duty from a pack that was on sale at Harbor Freight), turned it on and left it on bright. 
    •  At one hour it was a touch dimmer; at two hours noticeably dimmer but still very usable. 
    • Right now it's coming up on three hours, and while dimmer, in a dark house or outside at night you'd have no problem finding things or getting around with it. That's pretty good for a $4 light.
    • Note: after three hours I turned it off, and it would not come back on; I guess there was insufficient charge left in the battery to kick the LED on. When I inserted the old battery it had before I started the test, it again worked normally.
  • It's also been dropped a couple of times(no, not deliberately) with no damage. 

Recommendation
I like good flashlights, but -- especially if you need several -- Surefires and Streamlights and such get expensive. Here's one alternative that seems to hold up pretty well for little money.

Editor's Note:  I have been a big fan Cree Ultrafire lights for some time now. I recommended it, albeit without a review as thorough as this one, in an earlier blog post.  If two BCPers recommend something, you know it ought to be pretty good.

The Fine Print


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License


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