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April 17, 2012 Comments (0) Gear & Equipment

Energizer AA High Intensity LED Flashlight

I recently had the opportunity to review a flashlight that is not in my regular sphere of interest. Most of the time when I am looking for a flashlight, the categories I consider are: head lamps, tiny key chain flashlights, or CR123 driven ‘tactical’ style lights. The Energizer LED flashlight that I received falls out of those categories, yet delivers excellent performance.

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The flashlight came in basic retail style packaging, highlighting the flashlight and showing the set of included batteries. It also showed the basic specifications of one hundred thirty lumen output, ninety meter effective illumination range, a two hour continuous run time, a “high strength” aluminum body, an included lanyard, and water resistant seals. The packaging itself was tamper resistant, and required a minor amount of tearing and twisting to remove both the flashlight and batteries. The flashlight takes two AA type batteries, stacked end to end with the positive end facing the front of the flashlight. The tube is sized to allow enough room for battery diameter variance, but not large enough for the batteries to rattle.

The body of the flashlight has a pleasant silver color and a bead blasted style of finish. The texture is smooth and mild without being slick. Excellent purchase can be attained due to the aggressive knurling of the rear portion of the body of the light. The body comes apart into only two pieces. The main body and head of the flashlight are permanently joined, and the head does not come apart. The tail cap includes the power switch and spring to hold the two batteries in place. The threads in both the body and tail cap are well formed and distinct enough to ensure that cross threading would be very difficult to accomplish. A single O ring seal is positioned between the threads and outside tube of the main body of the flashlight. Inspecting the head of the flashlight, I discovered that it has an “orange peel” style reflector and a well centered LED. An orange peel reflector is generally used to smooth out the beam of an LED powered flashlight to eliminate any possible hot spots or dark spots in the beam.

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After the initial inspection, I tossed the batteries in and got down to business. It was, after all, dark outside. The first thing that I noticed was the tail cap has very distinct, positive clicks, with no hesitation and no sticking. The tail cap button operates in a manner generally referred to as “reverse clicky”. In order to turn the flashlight on, the button must be fully pressed in so that it clicks, and then allowed to return. Using the flashlight in a momentary setting requires turning it fully on, then holding the button partially down to temporarily turn it off. Releasing the button lets the flashlight resume illuminating. This is the same way that a side mounted button on a Maglite works. The is the opposite of the type of activation I am used to, which is generally referred to as either “forward clicky” or “tactical”. A reverse clicky style activation isn’t necessarily a large negative factor unless the flashlight is destined for a large amount of usage in a momentary style.

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Stepping outside, I turned on the flashlight and pointed it at some trees that are slightly over one hundred feet away. The beam easily illuminated a large swath of the trees. It also lit up the entire side of a neighbor’s house that was approximately one hundred fifty feet away again with excellent illumination. Shining it at the side of a house at that distance also allowed me to study the beam for defects and color tone. The shape of the beam is solidly circular both in the hot spot and flood areas. It doesn’t show any spots that are particularly hot or dim. The transition between the hot spot and the flood area of the beam is even and not too sharp. The spill softly illuminates a very large area. Comparing it side by side with another LED flashlight that is advertised at one hundred twenty lumens, it compares favorably for brightness, spill, and throw. The orange peel reflector is well designed and implemented. Where the flashlight falls a bit short is the color of the beam. It is a very cool bluish color, and that does not compare favorably to the more expensive light I put it up against. Overall, the beam color is the only significant downside of this little Energizer light.

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After playing with the light outside for ten minutes or so, I turned it on and let it run until the light output dropped off significantly. I don’t have testing equipment that will compare overall lumen output to seconds run, but the flashlight ran with the original batteries for another two hours and fifteen minutes before the light output dropped off sharply. During that time the head of the flashlight got pretty warm, but not warm enough to be painful. I was quite impressed with the overall run time.

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After conducting initial testing, I tossed the flashlight into my laptop bag and for the next few weeks made sure to use it in every possible instance. Not once did it fail to perform to expectations. It was banged around, frozen, dropped, duct taped to the barrel of a twelve gauge shotgun, thrown into a pond a few times, and generally abused. Aside from a few minor marks in the finish it still looks and performs as it did brand new.

Energizer made an excellently performing flashlight. The fact that it uses AA batteries, is relatively small, and has huge light output with good battery life and weather resistance are all reasons why it would serve very faithfully as a kitchen drawer light, a car light, a bug out bag light, a pocket light (for those who have moderately large pockets), or any other utilitarian standard where a well performing yet inexpensive light will shine. When I mention inexpensive, it can be found at major online retailers for less than thirty dollars shipped! That is inexpensive enough to buy several at a time for various redundant storage or for gifts. The Energizer high intensity AA LED flashlight is a definitely winner in the inexpensive flashlight category.

http://www.energizerlightingproducts.com/productlines/ultimatelithium/Pages/EMHIL21E.aspx

 

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