Since I’ve already let you into one of my subversive secrets – that I run incandescents around the place – it may be time to have a look at the Crees. I do have lightbulbs enough tucked away to last me probably way past my death, but the search for a viable replacement is interesting and by now there may be some real good choices for room lighting.
Anyway, since I was inundated with advertisers (Norwegian ones) wanting to sell LED flashlights at prices kinda resembling those of a small car, I went and pawed through what was really available out there. This is NOT a test, or anything as serious as that. But I have accumulated a few of these things and will probably be looking at more. I’m just going to list them with a short comment on my impressions.
This is an old and crabby Ultrafire which is zoomable. It’s supposed to be a 2000 lumens torch, which is almost certainly BS, and is supposed to be an Ultrafire, which is probably also BS. But the price was right (under $5, if I remember), and it has a tremendous plus: the switch is on the side, which makes it natural for one-hand operation. It also has a loader port on the other side, which is almost completely nonfunctional. Bottom line is that it’s perfectly usable, pirated or not.
This is another zoomable ultrafire, and it may be genuine. Same led as the old and crabby one (Cree XML-T6), but no side switch. It was a bit more expensive, but not much.
And yet another Ultrafire, this one rather simple. No zoom, just three brightness levels, Cree XML-T6. And this one is genuine. And cheap.
My personal favorite of the bunch. Very simple, very functional and it follows you like a penknife. The li-ion battery size is a bit smaller but with a sosmile travel charger, who cares? And this one, too, is a genuine Ultrafire.
Old Maglite which has gotten a Cree LED heart transplant (and a button on the tail). But it still has to use old AA bateries which *will* leak green ichor all over your equiment if you turn your back on them.
Nitecore P12, the most expensive of the bunch. And a very fine machine it is too. It has a weakness, though. One and the same as it’s most advanced feature. There is a side switch. Sort of. It has two functions: one is to show you how much power is left in the battery (it blinks blue to show you the power level), and one is to regulate brighntness.But the main (and only) on-off switch is on the tail.
It is *easy* to get down to the lowest brightness and actually thinking the damn torch is off. Stuff it in its holster, and voila: the next time you reach for it, it’s dead.
Generally, I’ll just say that there has been a lot of bellyaching about the pirated versions of Chinese electronics, and a LOT of that about the Ultrafire, as well as a lot of whining about how the Chinese only makes cheap garbage copying others. But their machinists are certainly up to snuff, and even the pirated Ultrafires are fairly good. The products remind me of back when my Dad was a sailor between Japan and Boston, and he brought home things like the first transistor radio I ever had. Tiny thing, but it brought me many nights of Radio Luxembourg and music :).