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2005 SHOT Show LED Flashlight Review


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PremierLight

PremierLight has been in the business of making affordable LED flashlights for awhile now, and this year they were showing three new lights.

PL-BPL-B's light source is five 5mm LEDs powered by three AAA alkaline batteries with an advertised run time of 10 to 15 hours. The anodized aluminum body is 124mm in length and 25mm in diameter, and weighs 120g without batteries. A midbody switch allows the user to select either constant on or SOS signaling, while an integral compass is recessed within the tailcap. The MSRP is $20.

PL-5PL-5, with a single watt LED as the light source and powered by two 123A lithium batteries, allows the user to choose between two power settings. At the lower power setting, PL-5 emits 7.5 lumens. At full power, it emits 15 lumens. PL-5 can also be set to issue an SOS signal blink. The advertised runtime is 15 to 20 hours. The anodized aluminum body measures 142mm long and 25mm in diameter, and weighs 150g without batteries. It retails for $40.

PL-10PL-10 uses 7 LEDs powered by two 123A lithium batteries, and has an advertised runtime of 10 to 15 hours. At its brightest setting, PL-10 emits 75 lumens, while the lowest setting it emits 25 lumens. The anodized aluminum body is o-ring sealed. A midbody control switch is used to select one of three brightness levels or an SOS emergency flash. A battery power indicator allows the user to see at a glance approximately how much battery life is remaining. PL-10 measures 142mm in length, 25mm in diameter, and weighs 150g without batteries. Its MSRP is $60.

Princeton Tec

Princeton Tec was showcasing three new LED products – two headlamps, and a small accessory light.

EosThe Eos headlamp uses a one-watt bulb which produces up to 60 lumens of output. A collimator lens collects the light to maximize beam potential. Without a rear battery pack, there are no wires and the light weighs only 105g with its three AAA batteries in place.

There are three light output modes (high, medium, and low) plus an emergency flash setting. The light is waterproof to 1 meter and comes in a limited range of colors. Retail price will be $37.

ApexThe Apex headlamp features a three-watt LED surrounded by four lower output LEDs, for a flexible system which enables you to find the balance between brightness and runtime that best suits the need of the moment. It is waterproof to 1 meter. The bright center LED of the Apex is fitted with a collimator lens. The three-watt LED is operated independently from the lower output LEDs. Each power switch has three power settings (low, medium, and high) and there's also an emergency flash setting.

The Apex hasn't yet been tested for battery life but the designers are expecting it will be around 8 hours of high output with the three-watt LED, and up to 500 hours with the low output LEDs on the lowest setting. The light uses a four-AA battery pack which may be used with lithium, alkaline, or NiMH rechargeable batteries. It comes in three colors, orange, black, and olive drab. Retail price will be around $70.

PilotOriginally designed to replace the standard wire clip on an existing headlamp, the Pilot is a miniature light which clips to a headband, backpack strap, hydration strap, or any other one-inch webbing. It is powered by 2 lithium coin cells, weighs around 15g with the batteries in place, and has a burn time of around 13 hours. A simple press activates the light into positive on mode, while holding the switch down puts the light into emergency flash mode. The light comes with a choice of three LED colors (red, green, or white), with body colors to match. The light easily detaches from its clip base to be used as a handheld, and will retail at $10.

StreamLight

At the StreamLight booth, there were a lot of new LED lights. Most of these were simple variations on the tactical theme which StreamLight does so well.

ScorpionThe very popular Scorpion tactical light is now available in an LED. It features a one-watt Luxeon Star and a typical light output of 42 lumens, powered by two 123A lithium batteries. Fully regulated, the light will run for 1 hours at maximum intensity, followed by two hours of declining but still useable light. The body is made of machined aluminum and covered by a slip-resistant rubber sleeve. It has an anti-roll head, and is o-ring sealed for water resistance. The rear switch allows the user to choose momentary on (a light push) or constant on (a solid click). Scorpion LED measures 145mm in length, with a body diameter of 24mm and a bezel diameter of 32mm. It weighs 150g with batteries, and a variety of accessories are available. Scorpion LED's MSRP is $85.

NF-2NF-2, another popular tac light, was also being showcased in an LED version. Powered by two 123A lithium batteries, NF-2 LED has a light output of 42 lumens. Runtime should be in the 1 -hour range, followed by two hours of declining but still useful light. Made of aircraft grade aluminum with an anodized finish, the body is o-ring sealed for water resistance. A polymer grip ring, designed to provide stability when using the light one-handed, can be slid along the body to fit different hand sizes. NF-2 LED measures 137mm long by 22mm in diameter, with a bezel diameter of 32mm. The light comes with a removable spring steel pocket clip and a wrist lanyard. The retail price is $100.

TL-2Did I mention StreamLight does tac lights? Yet one more variation of the tactical light theme seen at the StreamLight booth was an LED version of the TL-2. Like other StreamLight tacticals, the body of TL-2 LED is made of anodized aircraft grade aluminum and comes in a color choice of black, black, or black. Surety of grip is provided by ribbing along the body. The light output, batteries, and runtime are essentially the same as the above two lights. TL-2 LED measures 133mm long, 23mm in diameter, and has a bezel width of 32mm. It comes with a pocket clip and an adjustable wrist lanyard, and retails at $100.

StreamLight's 2L3W Task-Light differs from the tac lights in that it has a midbody switch and runs a three-watt Luxeon LED. The switch lets you choose full power (around 77 lumens) or low power (around 19 lumens), and of course the runtime depends upon which one you use the most. At full power, you get around an hour and a half of bright runtime followed by another hour and a half of useable declining light. At low power, the light should run for nine hours or more. 2L3W is made of machined aircraft aluminum with Type II black anodization. It measures 155mm long, 25mm in diameter, and has a bezel diameter of 34mm. Retails at $115.

ProPolymer LuxeonAdded to the ProPolymer series of lights was a one-watt Luxeon Star LED powered by four-AA alkaline batteries. Featuring a push button switch at the tail end, the sturdy but lightweight polymer body comes in a choice of black or yellow, and is non-conductive, corrosion proof, shock resistant, and water resistant. The light output is in the 40-lumen range, and has a continuous runtime of 4 hours good light followed by 2 hours of dimmer but still useable light. It measures 178mm in length with a body thickness of 25mm and a bezel width of 43mm, and will retail at $50.

Stylus ReachStylus Reach, a sleek little pen light with a flexible cable extension, is now available with a longer reach. Marketed as the Stylus Reach 18, the cable measures 18 inches in length as part of an overall length of 25.5 inches (648mm). The light weighs a scant 99g with three AAAA alkaline batteries in place. Bright enough for most cramped-space tasks though not bright enough to light up a room, the typical light output is 4.3 lumens over a 60 hour runtime. With the longer cable, the light can simply be draped around your neck as if it were a stylus accessory. Retail price is $35.

Argo HPArgo HP, StreamLight's brightest LED headlamp, features a one-watt Luxeon LED powered by two 123A lithium batteries. A push-button switch on the top of the light allows the user to choose between high (24 lumens) and low (6 lumens) power, and as always you can expect battery life to vary according to which setting you use the most. At high power, the batteries should last for 4 hours of continuous runtime, followed by 3 hours of declining but still useful life. At low power, the batteries will last for 20 hours or more. The headlamp can be tilted downward. It measures 75mm at its widest point, 51mm at its deepest, and has a bezel width of 41mm. Argo HP comes with two headbands: a standard elastic one for regular wear, and a no-slip rubber strap to be worn with hard hats. Argo HP has a retail price of $65.

SureFire

From SureFire this year is the Outdoorsman series of tactical LED lights. MilSpec Type III anodized finish comes standard on the knurled, airplane-grade aluminum bodies, which are o-ring sealed for water resistance. The lights can be equipped with a lanyard, and come with a handy black oxide coated stainless steel pocket clip. Tailcap switches provide momentary on (a light push) and constant on (a solid click), and are locked in the off position by a simple twist.

Surefire beam patternThanks to SureFire's well designed lens, the beam from these lights is very smooth. At closer distances, the bright center spot is nearly square, becoming more circular at slightly longer distances. The lights can be accessorized with a blue, red, or diffuse filter for more specific tasks.

E1LE1L features a three-watt Luxeon LED powered by a single 123A lithium cell. It has a maximum output of 25 lumens over a runtime of 4 hours (one hour high output, followed by three hours of useable output). It weighs 82g and has an overall length of 95mm, with a 25mm bezel. Retail price is $98.

E2LE2L replaces the now-discontinued E2O light. The light source is a three-watt Luxeon LED powered by two 123A lithium batteries. Its output is 30 lumens, with a 6-hour runtime (three hours of high output, followed by three hours of useable light). The pocket clip is fairly long, enabling it to be used with somewhat thicker clothing. Overall length is 133mm, with a bezel width of 25mm. The light weighs 99g, and will retail around $115.

U2Not in the Outdoorsman series, the U2 Ultra features a four-die, five-watt Luxeon LED powered by two 123A lithium batteries. The light measures 156mm overall length, with a width of 37mm at the bezel. It weighs 162g, and comes with a wire-style pocket clip. The body is Type III anodized aluminum and has an anti-roll feature.

As with most SureFire lights, the tailcap switch of the U2 Ultra provides both momentary on and positive on. Midbody, a power selector ring allows the user to vary the light output through six levels, from a barely-there 2 lumens up to fully powered 80 lumens. Battery life will vary with the output, and ranges from one hour at the brightest setting to 40 or more hours at the lowest setting. Retail price should be in the $270 range.

Vortex

At the Vortex booth, three new LED lights were being shown off.

PL1PL1 is a small keychain light measuring 40mm and weighing a mere 11g with the batteries installed. The polypropylene housing is water and shock resistant and incorporates a large and sturdy ABS clip so the PL1 can be attached to the brim of a cap to serve as a hands free light. The four function switch allows on, off, slow blink, and fast blink operation. The superbright LED will run for about 8 hours on two CR2016 lithium batteries. PL1 retails at $6.

KC1A larger keychain light, the KC1, was also introduced. The water and shock resistant machined aluminum body is anodized inside and out to provide maximum protection for the 1 watt Luxeon Star LED housed inside. A shatterproof polycarbonate lens protects collimator optics to provide a smooth prefocused beam at 35 lumens. The KC1 is powered by a single 123A lithium battery to provide a run time of about two hours. This little powerhouse measures 60mm long and weighs 70g with the battery. KC1 sells for $57.

TC3Finally, there's TC3, a 3 watt Luxeon Star LED housed in machined aluminum body which is anodized inside and out and o-ring sealed for water resistance. The dual mode switch is part of the tailcap and provides both momentary and constant on operation. TC3 is powered by two 123A lithium batteries which provide a run time of around two and a half hours. TC3's light output is around 65 lumens. It measures 130mm in length, and weighs 140g with the battery installed. The MSRP is $120.

2005 SHOT Show LED Flashlight Review (click to return to the intro)
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Contributing Editor: Kathy Jackson
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
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URL: http://www.equipped.org/SS_2005_LEDFlashlight_Review-5.htm
First Published: February 11, 2005
 
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