Olight Wave Headlamp



Manufacturer Specifications

  • High and Low Outputs for White LED
  • Red LED with strobe function
  • Non-Contact Gesture activation for Low mode, and red LED Modes
  • Special designed diffuser for short range lighting
  • Lens: Tough ultra-clear tempering glass, with anti-reflective coating
  • Split battery design effectively reduces weight-bearing
  • Output (w/o Diffuser)/Runtime:
    • High: 150 Lumens/3 Hours
    • Low: 5 Lumens/72 Hours
    • Red LED: 4 Lumens/60 Hours
  • Beam Distance: 65m
  • IPX-6 Water Resistant
  • Anti battery reverse protection
  • 1 Meter impact resistant



Output Modes
o        High: 150 Lumens/ 3 Hours
    • Low: 5 Lumens/ 72 Hours
    • Red LED: 4 Lumens/ 60 Hours




Design (body):

The H15 has three elastic bands for support. It has the option of removing the third over-the-head strap if you desire).  The battery pack is located in the rear ( 4xAAA) and the wire runs along your right ear.  The elastic bands are a bit thinner than other headlamps I have seen with a rear battery format such as the Led Lenser H14 (name coincidence?) and the Fenix HP11.  The reason I’m assuming this is possible and works fine is that the weight and size of the battery pack is significantly smaller in the H15 because it uses AAA batteries.


The wire that runs along the side of the headlamp is a good length.  I have seen other headlamps where the wire is too long and sticks out too much along the side, catching on branches if you are too close.  This wire lies taught along the band.  It also has 2 clips which can be used to adjust where the wire is attached to the elastic band.  (These clips are removable).

The H15 seems to have been intended as a lightweight yet balanced headlamp.  I have personally never reviewed a headlamp that has a rear battery pack that only uses AAA size batteries.  The rear battery packs always seem to use AA and the reason this is the case is that the weight would be too much on your forehead so it’s moved to the back.  Most of the popular Petzl headlamps use 3xAAA batteries in a front design, so the added weight of a fourth AAA battery isn’t drastic but Olight has decided that moving this to the rear would make for a better overall balance.  Part of me doesn’t really understand why this was designed this way.  I think it would have been quite simple to use AA batteries and this would give you almost 3 times the battery life.  If they were concerned with weight, perhaps using 2 AA batteries instead of 4 AAA would have made a bit more sense.  I am aware of the fact however that 4xAAA batteries produce more voltage than 2 AA which can lead to higher brightness so perhaps this is what they were going for.  Regardless, I have found that AA batteries are more effective in terms of battery cost and battery life in the long run and I prefer them in my flashlights and headlamps.

However, I cannot say that it’s a negative aspect of the headlamp because it does cut down on the weight considerably.  For example, people who need a headlamp for running would find that the balance and fit of this headlamp is fantastic.  It doesn’t budge on your head and fits tight so the battery pack doesn’t shift around when you are running.


Design (front)



The reflector and front case of the headlamp is a nice small design.  With the obvious benefit that it is much smaller since it doesn’t contain any batteries.  The front is made of plastic and contains the main XML led with a built in diffuser over it, as well as two 5mm LED, one on either side of the XML.  There is also a transmitter and a sensor above the red LEDs which are used for the hand waving mode of operation which I will get to later.  The power button is located above the center LED and is nice and large and has good positive feedback when clicked.  There is also a button underneath the diffuser which causes the diffuser to pop open and allow for more concentrated lighting without using the diffuser at all.  The diffuser lid simply pops out via a spring mechanism to roughly 90 degrees, basically pointing straight out.  This diffuser is not very large but you can imagine that if the headlamp is operated by waving your hand in front of the sensor, you can forget that the diffuser is sticking out and with a quick wave of the hand, you can hit the diffuser and break it right off if you are too close to it.  I haven’t had that problem personally, but I can imagine it might happen in the future.  I think it would make more sense to have the diffuser cover go up 180 degrees and point straight up.  This would solve the problem of hitting it with your hand when you are trying to switch modes.


The diffuser is then closed by simply pushing it down over the reflector until it clicks in place.



The reflector on the XML is slightly orange-peel and provides a nice mix of throw and flood.  Obviously with a large LED like the XML, the light output will be skewed towards flood.  This is therefore not a headlamp that throws light a great distance but it does provide a nice-sized spot for close to medium range.  With the diffuser on, the light is almost completely a flood light.


 


The H15 has a plastic latch mechanism for tilting the headlamp and has 8 settings.  It does not point straight down.  It holds in place quite well and does not slip.  Since the batteries are not on the front, there is much less strain being placed on this latch mechanism so it holds very well.



User Interface/Operation:

Perhaps the most popular feature of this headlamp will be the mode operation.  This is obviously its selling point and Olight has made this clear by calling it the “H15 Wave”.  I have never personally seen a headlamp operated in this manner and was excited to try it out.  I could immediately see some uses for it, for example when wearing gloves in cold weather or when you forget where the power button is located on a headlamp that is on your head since you can’t see it and you end up feeling around all over the place trying to find the button.  A quick wave of the hand is much easier.



The way this system works is that it has an IR transmitter which transmits a signal (looks like an LED on the front of the case) and on the other side there is a receiver.  When you swipe your hand quickly across the sensor, the signal is reflected back towards the receiver and this is interpreted by the circuit and the mode is switched or the light is turned off.  Therefore, if you wave your hand once across the sensor, the reflector picks up one signal and turns the light on or off.  If you wave your hand up and then down quickly, the sensor picks up two signals in quick succession which indicates a mode switch.  This obviously takes some getting used to and you will find that you will turn the headlamp on or off when attempting to switch modes by mistake.  It just takes some practice and a quick hand.


The waving system gives the headlamp a fairly complicated system of clicks and waves which you need to do each time you want some light.  First, you must click the battery pack button to turn on the power.  Without this, nothing will work.  The battery pack has a red LED on it which indicates that it is turned on.  The main headlamp will still be off at this point however.  You must then click another button on the front of the headlamp to turn on the light.  If you want to have it ready to be used by the hand-waving system, you must then turn off the light by waving your hand, not by the front switch.  Once you have done this, the headlamp is ready to be used with the hand waving system.  To turn if off for good, you just hit the power switch in the back and everything is turned off. 

I am slightly concerned about how much power the sensor uses for the waving system when the light is technically in standby mode for “off”.  I like knowing that my flashlight is not using any power when it is turned off.  The H15 is still using power when it is “off” if you have turned if off by waving your hand.  If you want to make sure no power is being used then just switch off the battery pack.

I have noticed that in close spaces, where your head might be a few inches from a tent, a wall, or a branch, the waving mechanism is accidentally activated and the light turns on or off.  For example, I was using the headlamp to look under a cabinet and it kept turning off because the sensor was really close to a shelf.  I really wish there was a way to disable the sensors so that the mode operation would be controlled by only the buttons which you can already use for mode operation anyways.  In tight spaces it would be invaluable.  Also, when I am outdoors in the summer months, headlamps attract all kinds of flying critters and I can already imagine some moths with large wings activating the sensors by mistake.

The H15 only has memory mode when it has been turned off with the hand waving system.  Once the battery pack is switched off, the memory is erased and the light will default to the low white LED mode every time it is turned on.

The H15 also has 2 red LEDs on the front as well as one on the battery pack in the rear.  These red LEDs are accessed by using the button on the front.  One click will switch between the white LED and two red LEDs.  There is only one brightness mode for the red.  There is, however, a blinking mode for the red LEDs as well which is accessed by waving your hand or by holding down the button for 2 seconds.  The battery pack has a fairly dim red LED that will always be on when the battery pack is switched on. 

 
                                                                      Turned off


                                                                   Turned on




One thing which I noticed was that the modes can also be operated in the traditional way by holding the button roughly 2 seconds to switch modes.


Design (head/reflector):


LED/Beam:

The H15 uses a Cree X-ML LED.  The tint on the beam is a nice white color with perhaps a very small warm tint as well. 


Conclusion:

The H15 is a very innovative headlamp which implements a new mode-operation system in order to give the user a very easy way to turn the light on or off or to switch modes quickly.  This system is very easy to use and I always applaud a company that tries to be innovative in its designs and include features which are new.  While I do have some concerns about the battery type choice and the battery drain of the sensors, the ease of operation is definitely worth it.  Overall this is a nice and small, yet powerful and feature-rich headlamp that would be great for many types of uses.

JetBeam PC25 Review


   

The Jetbeam PC25 is a flashlight in the 1x18650 format which utilizes the new Cree XML emitter.  The feature that most stands out on this particular model when compared to other flashlights in the same battery format is the side switch on the tailcap which controls the modes.  The XML emitter produces a great amount of brightness, rated at 400 Ansi lumens.  This model uses a side-mode switch on the tailcap for mode operation.

Manufacturer specifications

Manufacturer Specifications
Cree XML LED  (50,000 hour lifespan)
Battery: 1x18650 or 2 cr123 (lithium)
Dimensions
-Length: 143mm
-Diameter Tube: 25.4mm
-Diameter Tail: 26 mm
-Weight: 108 grams (excluding batteries)
- Four Digitally-regulated brightness levels
- Reverse Polarity Protection
- Tactical push-button tail cap switch for momentary-on
- Tail cap side switch for simple, fast operation of modes.
- Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum
- Toughened ultra-clear double glass lens with anti-reflective coating
- Removeable tactical grip ring.
- Lightweight design (108 g)

Output Modes
-Turbo: 408 lumens, 2 hours 15 minutes
-High: 160 lumens, 5 hours 
-Mid: 45 lumens, 19 hours
-Low: 8 lumens, 273 hours
-Strobe: 408 lumens

-Waterproof: IPX-8, 2 meters


The Jetbeam PC25 arrived in a very professional looking case which made a great first impression.  Instead of the traditional cardboard/plastic mix, the PC25 came packaged in a solid black plastic case which doubles as a carry case for the light.  The case is padded inside as well for maximum protection.  Inside the case were the flashlight, a very well made user manual, a jetbeam warranty card, a holster, a lanyard, 2 spare o-rings, and a spare rubber tailswitch.  Starting with the manual, it was nice to finally see more presentable documentation, as flashlight manuals tend to be very simple and hard to read.  Especially if the flashlight is given away as a gift, the manual is quite important.  Combined with the very presentable hard plastic case, it almost seems as if Jetbeam purposely made the PC25 very gift-friendly. 









The lanyard is a nice quality one.  It has a plastic size adjuster which is designed to prevent having the light slide off your wrist.  This plastic adjuster is not as strong as others I have seen however, and it tends to slide when the PC25 is hanging from it.




The rubber tailswitch and the o-rings are good quality replacements.







The PC25 comes with a nice holster that is standard quality.



The PC25 is geared towards tactical use, which is quite evident in its size and construction.  As opposed to many of the flashlights I have seen in the 1x18650 configuration, the PC25  has no clip.




This flashlight is very well built and is well designed.  The flashlight is a tactical design with a thin body tube which increases in diameter the closer you get to the bezel and the tailcap.  This, of course, is because the reflector is designed to be larger so therefore this increase of diameter gives the flashlight the potential for more throw.





One feature which was surprisingly missing on the PC25 was the complete lack of knurling.  There is one strip of what might look like knurling near the head, but this is mostly as aesthetic feature as the head does not need to be rotated for operation.  The PC25 seems to favor the tactical design in order to provide grip, which works, but it still would have been nice to have at least some knurling on the tailcap or the center of the body tube. 






On the topic of grip, the flashlight came installed with a plastic tactical ring.  This is the first time I have seen these rings constructed of plastic.  To be honest, I don’t really see this as an issue, even though I tend to prefer all-metal construction, because the tactical ring is not a structural part of the light and therefore it does not need to be all metal.  The plastic seems to work very well and it even has a benefit in that it makes the flashlight lighter, which was one of the features that Jetbeam was trying to incorporate into this design.  This ring is also incredibly easy to remove.  You simply unscrew the tailcap and the ring screws right off.  The tactical ring also has a small hole in it for lanyard attachment.





The PC25, as with some other 1x18650 flashlights I have tested, does not come with a clip.  This might be something someone is looking for and it’s important to recognize that you won’t be able to clip this onto your pockets. 
 

The  aluminum on the PC25 is fairly thin and this is shown clearly in the weight.  However, it feels sturdy and well made.  I also want to mention that the body of the flashlight heats up a bit after its been left on high modes for a while, meaning that the heat-sinking is working as it should.





The threads on the PC25 are standard triangular threads.  With newer flashlights starting to move towards squared threads, I would have liked to see those incorporated into the design.  I believe they are a large benefit since they provide a tighter seal and prevent thread grinding.  Having said that, the threads on this model are very smooth and operate as they should.  (also, keep in mind that the threads are not hard anodized.  I am assuming this is done because of the multi-mode tailcap.)





There are two o-rings on the PC25.  One on either side of the battery tube.  I actually like the fact that they are red because it makes it easier to see them and to see if they are in good shape.  The black ones tend to blend in with the flashlight body and are harder to see.








Size/Balance:
As with all tactical flashlights, balance is a very important aspect since the flashlight needs to be able to be comfortably held in a tactical grip for prolonged periods of time.  The PC25 has a center of balance that is a little off center, towards the head of the flashlight.  It is a very small amount so the balance is very good.  It is very comfortable to hold in both the palm of the hand as well as in a tactical grip.  It was actually surprising to me to have the balance there since I thought the large head would make the flashlight much more top-heavy.  Since the body is very ergonomic, there are no objects or rough patches getting in way of your fingers.  Overall a very comfortable flashlight to hold.

                                               



          



The tailcap has what seems to be a brass cover over the spring mechanism which comes into contact with the battery when it’s inside.  This is a nice feature which is especially important in flashlights which will be using rechargeable batteries like the 18650.  I have had cases where this spring starts to scratch off the metal of the battery.  In the PC25 I don’t have to worry about it.  It’s also nice to see dual springs on either side of the battery.  This gives it a nice amount of shock protection in case the flashlight were to be dropped, protecting both the flashlight and the batteries.









Design (head and reflector):

The PC25  is a flashlight which is seemingly geared towards having an even mix of throw and flood.  This is evident in the design of the head, which is larger in diameter than the rest of the flashlight body.  The reflector that it uses is slightly orange-peel.  When compared to similar 18650 sized flashlights such as the Lumapower Trust 2, the NexTorch T3, and the Eagletac T10, the PC25 has the nicest mix of throw and flood. 



LED/Beam:

The PC25 uses a Cree XML LED which is housed in a module which is not easily removable or replaceable.  This XML LED puts out a very bright beam which is rated at an ANSI standard of 408 lumens.  I really like that Jetbeam has moved over to the ANSI standardized lumen rating system.   It takes the guess work out of the process of trying to determine exactly how much light it puts out in comparison to other models and brands.  Big thumbs up to Jetbeam for that.

I will note that the tint of the XML led emitter on the PC25 is a very nice white color, with no hints of blue whatsoever.  I have noticed that on some XML flashlights, the lowest levels of output are plagued by a bluish tint.  On the PC25 for some reason that is not the case.  The tint is very easy on the eyes and thus makes it great for outdoor use. 

     
                                                                    Jetbeam PC25 on far right

User Interface:
The PC25 uses a mode-switch system that, as stated previously, has its own button on the side of the tailcap.  This is the first time I have seen a dedicated mode button on the side of the tailcap in a flashlight.  The order is always:  Ultra low(8 lumens) à Low (45 lumens)à Medium (160 lumens)à High (408 lumens)  This order repeats itself once the highest setting is reached.  Once the desired setting is reached, you can simply turn the flashlight on and off with the tailcap button and it will remember the mode that it was turned off at and will turn on at the same mode.  The strobe is accessed by pressing and holding the side mode button. (It must be held down in order to work.  You can’t activate the strobe and leave the flashlight on a table for example since the button needs constant pressure) 

                                              


I was very intrigued by it and was curious to see how it would work over time.  The idea itself is very good.  By having another button to change modes, mode operation becomes very straightforward and easy.  This is especially important when giving the flashlight as a gift.  You simply turn on the flashlight by the tailcap and then use the other button to change the mode.  When you are holding the flashlight in your hand and staring at the mode-change button, the operation of this system is very easy.  The mode button has a nice feedback to it.  It is also a huge benefit in a tactical sisutation to be able to have quick access to strobe mode.  The PC25 gives you this with the mode button.  Simply press this button while the flashlight is off and the goes into variable strobe mode ( a very effective strobe system I will add).





Unfortunately, for my personal use, this small side switch on the tailcap is hard to feel with gloves on and the button is impossible to see at night since it is black.  This means that I have found myself wasting time feeling the flashlight body with my fingers in order to try and find the mode switch button, rotating it slowly until my finger came across it.  Sometimes I also rotate the flashlight body slightly while holding it without even noticing, and the mode button is not where I think it is.  To me this is a big drawback of this system.  I believe the way to make it work in the future is to have perhaps a glow-in-the-dark system on the rubber tailswitch for the mode, and to make this button larger and have it stick out further so that it is easier to find simply by feeling it with one’s hand.


Batteries:
The PC25 accepts either an 18650 or 2 cr123 batteries.  Different from many other flashlight models, you won’t destroy the drivers and circuits by mistakenly inserting the battery the wrong way so this is one less thing you will need to worry about.

                             


Conclusion:
The PC25 is a very impressive flashlight which has its build quality, case, brightness, and dedicated side-mode button as its primary selling points.  It is very lightweight for its size as a 1x18650 flashlight and this is a nice benefit for tactical reasons.  The XML LED does not need much explanation.  It is simply the best LED in terms of brightness and runtime that is currently in production at the writing of this review ( October 2011).  It is good to see companies like Jetbeam taking advantage of the superior advances in technology.  While there were some issues with the operation of the side mode button, the design is very innovative and can be very effective.  I am always one to applaud companies that make changes in designs and take risks in order to create a product that is both different yet effective.  Jetbeam has done well on this aspect and we are all looking forward to other innovations by the company in the future.





Elzetta M60 Review (ZFL-M60)

Elzetta M60 Review (ZFL-M60)

  

The Elzetta ZFL-M60 is a two mode flashlight that runs on 2xcr123 batteries.  It is marketed towards firearm owners and people who require durability and quality above all else and it delivers on those points.  The company Elzetta is what I would consider a specialty flashlight manufacturer.  As opposed to other flashlight companies which tend to focus on multiple uses, such as tactical and around-the-house use, Elzetta seems to focus on military/security with it’s flashlight design.  As of the writing of this review, I believe Elzetta makes one design of flashlight which is the M60, although it does come in different configurations (bezel, switches, 3-battery, etc).

Manufacturer Specifications

Cree XP-G (50,000 hour lifespan)
Battery: 2xCR123 (included)
Dimensions (listed)
-Length: 125mm
-Diameter (body): 25.1mm
- weight: 150g (5.3oz)
Dimensions (measured)
-Length: 133mm
-Diameter (body): 25mm
- Diameter (widest): 38mm

- Digitally-regulated circuit maintains constant brightness
- physical structure resistant to shock
- Dual mode push-button tail cap switch (Low-High)
Tightened=high
Loosened=low
- Emitter is patented Malkoff Devices dropin
- Flashlight body made from 6061-T6 high-quality aluminum
- 8 degree optical beam projection
- Type III HA anodization
-O-ring seals at all points of entry
Output Modes (2 modes)
-High: 235 lumens for 1.5 hours (regulation drops after 1.5 hours)
-Low: 15 lumens 40 hours
-Superior Impact resistance

MSRP:  $180 (Crenelated bezel and Hi-Low mode tailcap configuration)


The Elzetta arrived in a standard plastic blister packaging with the flashlight itself, a service card, and included batteries which were already installed.


                                                           


                                                             

Since its flashlight is intended to be used as a weapons and security flashlight, Elzetta has obviously made it a point to make its flashlights very sturdy and strong.  The machining on the M60 is very impressive and its thick aluminum body and bezel can withstand a lot of punishment.













An interesting design feature of the M60 is the tapered head, which decreases in diameter as you approach the lens.  Normally flashlights either maintain the same diameter or increase the diameter in order to accommodate the larger reflector.  This design is possible because Elzetta has chosen to use an optics system to focus the light being emitted by the LED instead of a standard reflector.  This makes the opening on the end quite small and provides very obvious benefits.  For starters, the lens being so small means that the glass has much less chance of being scratched.  Second, it allows for  a hefty bezel to surround the lens which also protects the glass.  Also, it allows for a thicker lens which is much more resistant to shock.









Another selling point of the M60 is the LED system that it uses.  The patented Malkoff devices design is quite advanced and provides for superior heat dissipation by means of contact with the aluminum body.  It is also a drop-in module which can be replaced in the future if need be.  With the ever increasing advancements of LEDs, it’s nice to know that your flashlight won’t be completely obsolete in LED technology in a few years.  The head of the M60 can easily be removed and the pill taken out and replaced.


The beam created by the Malkoff devices is quite impressive, especially considering the small size of the lens system.  It has a defined hotspot and a few concentric rings of decreasing brightness around the hotspot followed by a nice outer ring of dim light.  It is not completely smooth like a standard OP style reflector but it definitely gets the job done and is much better than I thought it would be before turning it on.  If you are someone who loves a perfectly smooth beam profile on a white wall then you might be a little disappointed but I believe it’s more than good enough.  In practical use, however, you won’t even notice any difference between this and a standard reflector.  If I had to compare, I would most likely say that this style of beam is quite similar to a smooth reflector, with some rings but a nice hotspot.  It’s quite impressive that the M60 can produce such a nice hotspot and beam profile with such small lens system.
The M60 also comes equipped with a lockout function on the tailcap which basically means that you can unscrew it just enough so that it won’t turn on accidentally.  This is a nice feature to have if you are afraid of having your flashlight accidentally turn on when it’s in your pack.







Keep in mind that although the Elzetta M60 utilizes 2 CR123 batteries, it DOES NOT accept 1x18650 in lieu of the cr123.  It has become almost standard practice in flashlights these days to have these battery formats be interchangeable.  Most of the flashlights I have reviewed that use 2xcr123 batteries are also capable of using 1x18650 battery.  This is a nice little touch that I enjoy because the more battery formats a flashlight can use the more likely I am to have spare batteries that I can use in the flashlight in an emergency situation.  I was a little disappointed that the M60 did not accept 18650 batteries ( they won’t fit in the battery tube).  In fairness, however, companies such as Surefire also use primarily 2xcr123 batteries in their flashlights and their flashlights also do not accept 18650.  In the end if you don’t mind using primary cr123 then this won’t be an issue for you.








The knurling on the M60 is top notch.  It is very fine and divided into 3 bands along the center of the battery tube.  It is by no means aggressive knurling but it provides a nice smooth feel and sufficient grip.



This version of the M60 comes with the newer style tail switch which has 2 levels of brightness.  When fully tightened, the flashlight will go to high mode.  When slightly loosened, the flashlight will go to low mode.  Keep loosening and the flashlight will be “locked out” meaning that it won’t even turn on, a great feature for preventing accidental activation.








Elzetta currently has essentially one model in their flashlight line which they have perfected over the years.  There are of course variations to their model, with crenellated bezels, single mode switches, and 3 cell versions, but the basic idea and construction of the flashlight is the same.  This continuity is nice to see because you know that you are getting a product that has been thoroughly tested over the course of many years and that the design quite simply just works.  There have been no reasons to change the design because it is very effective at its purpose.  The M60 is a great flashlight in a small package that is ideal for weapons mounting and security and its durability and strength is something I don’t question whatsoever.  It is a very well made flashlight and I believe that if compared against most other flashlights on this website in terms of durability to shock, it would come out on top.



Some flashlight companies have begun using a removable bezel ring system which means that if the bezel is damaged or scratched it can easily be replaced.  The M60 does not have this feature as the entire bezel is one piece.   This is a nice feature if you care about your flashlights looking brand new at all times, but personally I don’t.  Since it’s a tool, I don’t care either way.



The dual mode tailswitch is a nice addition to the M60 line and works very well.  One minor caveat with the switch, is that since it works on “contact pressure”, if the switch is set to low mode (and only rotated the least possible amount), when you push the button hard enough to turn the light on, it can flash to its brightest mode momentarily while you are pressing down.  It will then revert to low mode once you have let go of the switch.  Same thing when it is being turned off.  This can be fixed by loosening the tailcap a little more so that the pressure from pressing the button won’t activate the high mode.


The threads are standard triangular threads and come very well lubricated from factory.






If you are still unsure of which flashlight to purchase, keep in mind that Elzetta is an American company and its flashlight are made in USA.  It’s nice to see that not all modern high output flashlights are being made overseas nowadays.



Balder BD-1 Review




The Balder BD-1 is a new flashlight as of September 2011 which is the first line of flashlights by the company Balder.  This flashlight uses a Cree XPG R5 for an advertised brightness of 145 lumens on 1xAA battery.  It has a user replaceable stainless steel strike bezel which can be switched to a standard smooth black hard anodized bezel (included).  This first flashlight by Balder is a nice design which seems to have a focus on build quality.


Manufacturer Specifications

·                 Cree XP-G R5
·                 Powered by AA/14500 (1-4.2v)
·                 Type III Hard Anodized
·                 3 Modes (High-Medium-Low)
·                 Forward clicky
·                 Removable pocket clip
·                 IPX-8 Waterproof
·                 Runtime: 145 lumens for 1.5hrs (AA) or 6 Lumens for 50 hrs.
·                 106x24mm, 70g (without battery)

Price: $45.99

Design:

The Balder BD1 is a flashlight that is quite hefty for its size and therefore heavier than most 1xAA flashlights.  It seems that Balder, a new company, has made build quality a priority and designed this flashlight to be very durable.



There is knurling on the head of the flashlight which is nice but it would have been nice if there was knurling somewhere else.  Since this flashlight is controlled by a tail switch and not by twisting the head, the knurling on the head would be better used along the body or even closer to the tailcap.  The overall design though gives good enough grip.



The clip is very well designed and is easily rotated and/or removed if the user desires.




One nice aspect of BD1 is that the entire bezel can be removed and the LED exposed to create a very floody candle-style flashlight when tail standing.  A nice touch that makes the flashlight useful as a diffused light source without the need for a diffuser.

                                 


The BD-1 has a removable stainless steel bezel which can be replaced by a smooth hard anodized bezel.  In comparison with other flashlights with removable bezels, like the Thrunite Neutron series, the bezel itself does not hold the lens in place.  If you remove the bezel the lens is still attached and can’t be removed.  It is therefore possible that the flashlight can be used with no bezel at all but obviously this wouldn’t be recommended as the bezel does a good job of protecting the lens from scratching.  I believe the stainless steel bezel if superior to the other one and therefore prefer to use it.  It is larger and you can see if the flashlight has been left on if you place it upside down on a flat surface.

           




           
The BD-1 can tailstand very well and has a nice lanyard attachment point on the tail, although no lanyard is included.  If you use a split ring to attach the lanyard then the flashlight can still tailstand because of the indentations on the tailcap.

        

            


The threads are not square but are lubricated and quite smooth.  There are also two extra O-rings included as replacements.

              



                                                           

The only other flashlight which I have personally seen which compares in thickness to the BD1 is the very well regarded Fenix TK20.  As can be seen the thickness is quite similar.  This makes the flashlight quite useful for outdoor/rough applications.

       


         

                                                Balder BD-1 on left and TK20 on right.

LED:

                              


                           

Operation

While the strength of the BD1 lies in its construction quality, there are a few downsides which are evident in its operation.  It uses a clickie on the tailcap for all operation.  A slight touch of this clickie will give you momentary on and this is how you switch modes, by slightly tapping the switch.  Once the flashlight is on, the mode cannot be switched.  It must be turned off and the process repeated.  Unlike Fenix flashlights with similar operation where the mode can be switched while turned on.  Also unlike Fenix the first mode on the BD1 is always the highest mode.  Since the BD1 has no memory, this will always be the first mode and if you have night adapted vision, might be an issue having to go through the 3 brightness levels.  I find that it makes more sense to start on the lower level first or to at least make it programmable.  I always find that the SOS mode is fairly useless for most everyday operation and is even a hassle so I like that Balder did not include it.

                                                         



 The circuitry on the BD1 is also different from any other flashlight I have previously seen as it takes a split-second to reach the appropriate brightness level.  For example, of you are on low mode and you switch to high mode, you can see the continuous ramping of brightness until it reaches the high mode.  It is not instantaneous like most other flashlights.  It happens very fast but it is still noticeable.

The BD1 is advertised as being 145 lumens on its highest setting but I can assure you that this is not very accurate.  For comparison, the Fenix L2D is brighter on its medium setting than the BD1 on its highest setting (both on freshly charged Eneloop batteries).  The Fenix L2D is advertised as having 53 lumens on medium mode so I would say the BD1 is just under 50 lumens on high.  I am not sure if this is an issue with my particular flashlight or if the extra brightness is achieved by using a lithium 14500 battery (which Balder claims are perfectly fine to be used with the BD1)  Regardless, it is quite far from the advertised 145 lumen brightness.

The beam is nice and smooth as a result of the OP reflector which the BD1 uses.  The color of the LED is a cool white on high and medium modes, but on low mode the tint is somewhat on the blue side.


Overall, the BD1 is a nice and well constructed flashlight that is sturdy and looks to be quite durable due to its thick body.  The brightness and mode operation is a bit lacking, however, but I’m not sure if this was a particular issue with this flashlight or with all BD1 models.




              

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