So I went to a bike store to buy a cheap headlight ($30) for my bicycle.
Whilst at the store I had a look at the more premium model lights… and.. wow they were like $200… Although… their CREE lights definitely were of good quality!
But no, I’ll stick to my $30 light.
After coming home, AliExpress started sending me some ads about a flashlight brand called Nicron. Never heard of them before.. let’s try out a few of their products! (although I don’t exactly go on about searching for torches every day either)
Just a disclaimer, I don’t have any scientific tests for any of these torches. I did however, bring them out to dark environments to test them in the real world
Battery: 2x AAA
Modes: On / Off
Price: $17.50 [link]
This torch was the most basic out of the three torches I bought - just a simple on/off push button at the end of the torch. However compared to the other torches, this torch allowed you to adjust the spread of the light beam (aka the zoom).
Being made out of metal, it had a nice weighty and sturdy feel to it, and is also supposedly weatherproof (IP65). Its relatively thin and pen-like form factor made it easy to carry around as I could just put it in a pen-slot in my bag.
In terms of brightness, it was comparatively weaker than the other two that I had purchased - however I did not use a fresh set of AAA batteries, and I had no idea about their remaining charge… so not really a valid test.
Battery: CR123A / 16340 (rechargeable)
Modes: Low / High / SOS / Off
Price: $20 [link]
I was quite surprised with the performance of this tiny keychain flashlight!
Despite its small form factor, I felt (perceivably) that the output was brighter than the previous pen torch, and it also had a longer throw through the dark. Whilst also lightweight, it definitely felt sturdy given its metal construction
I found the twist mechanism abit clumsy however, as you can’t really guarantee that (when in my bag) the torch wouldn’t accidentally turn itself on through bag movement.
I also didn’t like the fact that whilst charging the torch (USB Micro), you had to switch it to an On mode - understandable as I can see this is a design choice to avoid discharge from current leaking. Every few seconds whilst torching the torch would flash (by design) to indicate that it was charging, however this meant that I had to keep the torch stored away whilst charging, or else it would be distracting.
Overall though, it was quite a nice torch that I think I’d bring around
Battery: 18650 (rechargeable)
Modes: Low / Medium / High / Turbo / Green / Red / Red Strobe / Strobe / SOS / Off
Price: $40 [link]
At twice the cost of the other two torches, I’d hope that this torch would be much better, and it definitely is!
The torch has a 90° rotatable head which allows hold the torch more ergonomically whilst walking - or perhaps to allow you to illuminate the path whilst you walk with it clipped onto your bag / belt. The green and red lights are separate leds (2 of each colour) housed just outside of the main LED’s reflector.
This torch gets bright - and it certainly did a great job throwing light at quite a distance in quite difficult rain conditions. Pretty impressive considering how small the LED really is. If you put your hand in front of the beam, you can definitely feel the intensity of the light - your hand getting warm after only a second or so.
On standard operational modes other than low, there is an electric whine that can be heard - I assume it’s the capacitors within the circuit; it’s only really noticeable if the location your are in is relatively silent - definitely not a problem whilst outdoors.
Like the other two, the construction of the body is entirely metal (apart from the charging port cover and the power button), and it has a nice feel and weight to it. Speaking of charging, it has a USB-C port; and the torch doesn’t have to be on to charge.
While the torch is on, there is a status LED that indicates the overall remaining charge - Green, Yellow and Red - so this was handy to quickly tell the battery voltage without taking out the battery and probing it with a multimeter
It also has a magnetic base - which I’m abit indifferent to. Personally it could go without.
For the price of $40, I’d say that this is an exceptional torch that had exceeded my expectations! Definitely something that I’d leave in my bag - even if albeit heavy.