Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nitecore EZ AA R5 Review (The best EDC light on the market)

The nitecore EZ AA R5 is a lightweight and powerful flashlight, engineered to the highest standards in build quality and advanced regulating electronics. It combines extreme portability and the use of a single aa battery, to make one of the best EDC flashlights on the market. There are plenty of lights out there that can claim the same quality, but none come close to the size and power of the nitecore EZ AA. The AA produces 160 lumens in a package that will easily fit in a shirt or pants pocket. Besides the small size and powerful led, making it special is the fact that it can run without the need for an expensive power cell. Like the name implies, the EZ AA runs of of the same cell that you can find  in just about every electronics store. Quite possibly the most popular battery cell on the face of the earth, the aa battery. Usually a single aa cell usually would not produce enough energy to deliver the lumen output of the nitecore EZ AA, but thanks to the latest in dc to dc converter technology, the nitecore is able to boost power to adequately run the powerful cree led. As of this posting, the EZ AA holds the record for being the worlds most powerful 1 aa flashlight and after using it, I absolutely agree. Over the past month I have been carrying the AA, to see how it held up against my every day tasks. I performed a variety of tests including, battery draining, pocket wear and useable light output. Without spoiling the results I can tell you that the AA delivered  power and performance in a 1 aa light that I have never seen before.

The detailed specs

The Nitecore EZ AA is a tiny light for its power, coming in at only 3.3 inches in length, .67 inches in diameter and only weighing .81 ounces without the battery. This makes the AA around the same size as most aaa lights, without sacrificing anything in power and performance. One of the nicest features is the ability to tail stand, allowing the unit to be used as an emergency light for camping or home use. The nitecore also features some of the highest quality components, including an anodized aluminum exterior, covered in a type 3 hard coating to resist wear and tear. The same coating is wrapped in a nicely textured knurling, allowing for easy operation of the light and a firm grip in the hand. The AA features an O ring, which allows the unit to have an IPX-8 waterproof rating. It also features an impact resistant, optical grade glass lens with an anti reflective coating, allowing for the most efficient light output possible. The rating states that the AA can be under water at a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes, without any water penetration. This makes it perfect for the occasional accidental drop in a puddle. Beneath the lens is an orange peel textured aluminum reflector, which allows the nitecore to project an even spread of light over a wide area. At the heart of the unit is the 10mm neutral white cree xpg r5, which delivers up to 160 lumens while still being extremely power efficient. Powering the led is a sophisticated dc to dc power converter. The converter not only boost voltage from the power cell to the led, but also limits harmful amounts of energy from damaging the bulb. The nitecore can handle a variety of different battery technologies including, alkaline cells, Nimh, NiCD, disposable lithium and the rechargeable 14500 lithium ion battery.

Drain testing

Over the course of a month I put the EZ AA through a variety of battery tests. The first was on it's ability to provide maximum light on a NiMH cell. For my testing I used a combination of an 1800 mah and 2600 mah NiMH cell. The 1800 mah cell provided around 20 minutes of maximum output and around 1.5 hours of useable light while locked onto the maximum setting. The 2600 mah cell provided around 1 hour of bright light and around 3 of usable light. The run times for the lowest setting are 13 hours for the 1800 mah cell and 25 hours for the 2600 mah cell. During some tests I switched to a normal alkaline cell, which had much lower overall performance. The alkaline was only able to achieve around 30 minutes of bright light at the max setting and around 35 minutes of useable light. On the lowest setting, the alkaline cell was able to achieve a good 23 hours of light. I was unable to get a NiCD or 14500 battery for testing.


Operating the AA is quite easy, first you need to fit it with your choice of battery cell then twist the knurled head all the way to the left. Once twisted, the light starts out in it's low 6 lumen mode. To get to a different mode, the user should turn the light on, then off within 1 second to activate the ramping user interface. The light output will increase from 6 to 160 lumens, with medium and high settings indicated by 1 or 2 flashes. Once you find your desired output, just twist the light off and the setting is locked in. What I like about this UI is that the setting is saved, regardless of if the light is left off for a period of time or has the battery totally removed.

Light output

The EZ AA is rated for 160 lumens of light, but that light is spread evenly over a large area. When testing I found the light output to throw as far as 50 feet of useable light (426 feet rated throw), which is less than most spot focused competitors featuring less lumens, but perfect for it's intended use for general illumination. When testing indoors, around 10 feet from a 10 foot high wall, I found the coverage to be quite well, with around a 6 foot diameter in the highest output mode. In comparison I performed the same test with a 105 lumen led lenser p5 in spot mode and only achieved a 2 foot diamater, although with a much more focused main beam. As far as the color temperature, the xpg r5 puts out a nice netural white light, between 3,700 - 5,000 depending on output mode.

My opinion

In my opinion the EZ AA is the best light out there to use with a single AA battery. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the other guys have, but that allows the AA to be easier to operate and smaller to carry. It is plenty bright, has desent battery life and pushes a large amount of light out to a broad area. The build quality is flawless, which will also contribute to extended reliability and a great in the pocket feel. Over my useage the AA never failed to perform and also held up to my in the pocket abuse. I honestly feel that it will be a great choice for anyone who needs to carry a small but powerful light and would definitely recommend it. The only negative thing I can say about it is that the tail stand mode is not as stable as I would have liked it.

You can buy a nitecore EZ AA R5 of your own from a variety of online retailers including, amazon.com and ebay.com.

*prices may vary

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Energizer 9 Led Hybrid Solar Lantern Review

The energizer corporation, legendary for their rechargeable and alkaline batteries has recently gotten into the solar business.....well sort of I should say. They just rolled out 3 new solar rechargeable products, including a spotlight, flashlight as well as a solar lantern for outdoor and emergency uses. I recently reviewed the solar lantern over the course of 2 weeks and am completely wowed by it's performance and run time. It has an orange and white plastic exterior, giving center stage to a clear acrylic light diffuser. The diffuser holds 9 led bulbs and is fully adjustable. Lifting the diffuser spreads light a full 360 degrees, while folding will cover an area of 180 degrees up to 10 feet away. Lifting the diffuser will also expose both a metal light reflector and locking battery compartment door. The door can easily be unlocked, by twisting clockwise using a straight flat headed object, such as a screwdriver or small coin. Once inside the user will notice space for 3 alkaline D cell batteries and a small secured green battery pack, located at the top left of the compartment. At the rear of the unit is a small 0.5 watt solar panel used to recharge the green battery pack. The solar cell is encased in an adjustable orange housing and uses amorphous silicon technology (great for solar efficiency in low and high light conditions). Also located around back, near the top is a 5 position switch controlling the led bulbs functions and selecting between the two power sources. The unit is pretty light weight, weighing only 1.5 lbs without the D cells, between 2 - 2.5lbs with the D cells ( depending on battery brand).

Unlike other solar lanterns I've used in the past, the energizer has a great deal of light output and tons of ingenious features to make it one of the best on the market. One feature includes the cleverness to accommodate 3 regular D cell batteries, in addition to the solar battery pack. This allows users to not have to worry about accidentally forgetting the batteries during their next camping or fishing trip. A second innovative feature is the ability to adjust the led's up or down, providing the right type of light for any application. As far as the led bulbs there are 9 total, 8 white and 1 amber. The white bulbs are located inside of twin fogged diffusers, for even light dissipation in almost infinite adjustable positions. Running at 66 lumens, the 8 white led's  provide room filling light without any dark spots or light artifacts. The single amber led provides less than 5 lumens and is intended to be a used as a night light. Even though it's light output is rather faint, the amber bulb still allows users to see basic items comfortable within 2 feet of the front of the unit. Probably one of the nicest features on the lantern, is the ability to run off of either the alkaline cells or the solar battery pack. Selecting between the two sources is easy with the built in 5 way switch. The middle position is off, while  the left 2 functions control the night light and high beam. The left position runs off of the solar power pack, the right providing the same functions runs off of the 3 D cell batteries. As for run times, the solar power pack provides 2.5 hours of bright illumination, 4 hours of total illumination. The 3 Alkaline cells will provide up to 165 hours of light, with around 4 days of bright light. Even though there is a slight voltage difference between the solar 3.6 volt pack and the combined 4.5 volts from the alkaline cells, light output is near the same.

I will be the first to admit that I am not really a devoted camping / outdoors person, so the energizers uses will come in handy mostly when I'm at home. For that use, it provides a stable lighting backup in case of a power grid failure and the occasional handy job requiring a bright light. I like it's ability to provide light, without the need for hazardous fuels or an open flame. It is more than bright enough to light up an entire room and will run for days with D cell batteries. I do however have some issues with the unit, the first being the white exterior. Not that I don't like the design, just that the white color extends to the base of the unit, so if you place it anywhere less than immaculately clean it will get dirty. The second issue is that there is no charging or battery life indicator located on the unit. This would be a great feature to let me know if the unit is getting adequate sunlight and also the batteries current state of charge. The last issue is that there is no low setting for the white led bulbs.If added the low setting could extend run time a few hours with the solar power pack, or a few days with the D cells. Overall I feel that the energizer hybrid solar lantern is an excellent product, with many great features and uses. It has an affordable price, is made by a trustful company and is a necessity for those pesky bad weather situations. I would definitely recommend this product to family and friends in a heartbeat. My only hope is that energizer corrects the noted issues in later iterations of this lantern.

You can get an energizer solar lantern of your own by checking with your local retailers or by shopping various online stores.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lenmar Powerport Flash Review

The lenmar powerport flash is a neat little combination of usb backup battery and led flashlight. It's powered by a 2,000 mah lithium ion battery, which has ample advantages over more common lithium polymer cells. First is the performance, not only will the ion cell hold a charge longer in storage, it will also give off a little more energy during discharging. Another plus of lithium ion is the number of cycles it can typically take. Most lithium ion cells will give 1,000 cycles before needing replacement, while lithium polymer will only give around 500 cycles. This means that overall the powerport flash will outlast the typical polymer type backup batteries flooding the market. Other features include 2 usb ports, capable of charging small devices like mp3 players, cellphones and bluetooth headsets with ease. The usb ports provide 500 mah at 5 volts when operating off of the internal ion cell and 1,000 mah at 5 volts when operating off of an external 12 volt source. Both ports are controlled by a simple on off switch, along the units left side, which uses a blue led light to indicate operation. Additional features include a bright led flashlight, flip out 12 volt adapter and a 4 led power gauge. The flashlight is a bright 4 led module, located to the right of the usb ports. At first I assumed that the flashlight would merely be a toy, but after using it for 2 weeks, I found it to be quite bright and useful. Not only did it provide enough light to make my way to the trash cans at night, but thanks to a 40 hour run time, can also be used in a power outage / emergency situation. The flip out 12 volt volt adapter is another nice touch, it will come in handy when on the go allowing it's user to recharge from a power pack, solar or an automobile without the need for extra adapters or tips. On occasion, I hooked the flash up to a 10 watt 12 volt solar panel and got a full charge in just a few hours. This makes the flash a great device to take outdoors or on a long driving trip. A second way to charge the power port is by using the included mirco usb to male usb adapter. It simply plugs into the rear of the unit, then into a usb power source. Both the 12 volt and usb method of charging will take around 2-3 hours to charge, depending on the sources power output. Another function on the flash includes the power gauge at the bottom of the unit, which features 4 bright amber led's. The lights indicate anywhere from a 25% to 100% state of charge, allowing a user to easily see the reserve capacity of the battery. The powerport flash truly is a great backup battery with a lot of great features, in essence combining the capability of 2 pocket items in one. The price is affordable, the value high and it's longevity lies on the backs of  its superior technology and a repeatable company. To sum it all up, I would recommend the flash to both family and friends. It will keep all of your devices charged up, even as your devices are upgraded to newer and newer versions.

To get a powerport flash of your own, please see the links below:

Link to Lenmar's site

Link to Amazon

Monday, May 16, 2011

Led Lenser P5 Review

What is the P5 ?

The led lenser P5 is one of the smallest flashlights in the led lenser lineup, but still extremely powerful with it's 105 lumen output. It's powered by one 1.5 volt AA alkaline cell, which sends power to a microprocessor to step up voltage to a cree led. Ahead of the led is an innovative optics system, incorporating both a powerful lens and a smooth reflector. The lens allows the P5 to cast light in an intensive spot up to 426 feet away, while the reflector allows the light to cover a wide, full moon shaped area of around 30 feet in the users immediate viewing zone. The cree led in the p5 cast a cool blue light, much like you would see in a high kelvin (6000k +) H.I.D. bulb. Some users may see this as an advantage, for it's ability to efficiently light up things far away, but some will also note the false color rendering of the bluish white tent. As far as the beam quality in both spot and flood modes, there is a slight ring noticed around the outer area. It is more present in the spot mode, covering the immediate area around the main hot spot, but not so much as to affect the quality of light. The body of the P5 is made up of high quality, anodized aluminum alloy, with led lenser logos, optics sticker and serial number along the sides. The anodizing should be good enough to halt sever scratching, but even better protection comes from the included belt holster. As for the operation of the light, turning it on comes by way of a click switch, located at the tail end of the unit. The switch allows the user to access both momentary and constant on operation modes with ease. On the head of the lenser, you'll find the speed focus system, which allows a user to quickly switch from flood to spot in mere seconds. The system is operated by clinching the head with your index finger and thumb, then sliding up and down to change modes. I found the operation of this system to be quick and easy, with very secure and fluent motions. Along the sides of the P5 is a textured grip, in a grid configuration. This allows a user to safely operate the light in any type of situation.

My Experience with it

Over the course of two weeks using my P5, I found it to have elements I both loved and hated. As for the love, the 105 lumen output seems to be even more than the factory claim. This is probably a direct result of the superior optics located in the head of the unit. Not only does it allow for the most possible light output of the led to be projected, but it also allows the P5 to throw like much larger lights. I compared the output of the P5 to my favorite 2 AA flashlight, producing just under 100 lumens. The 2AA should have had the advantage, with both a larger reflector and more cells, but the P5 simply blew it away. I used my back yard as a testing ground and found that the P5 easily reached out well over 100 feet, while my 2AA was only able to achieve around 60. Some other likes of the P5 include its small size, allowing me to easily carry it with me on a daily basis and store it in a drawer. As for my dislikes, the P5 lacks the ability to use NIMH (nickle metal hydride) rechargeable cells. You'll definitely want to use rechargeable batteries, since the P5 only has a 3 hour battery life (of which you'll get 1 hour of bright light). So using the P5 will get expensive with frequent use. The second dislike is the fact that it's not water proof. The P5 is only rated to resist water, meaning it can be rained on, but not submerged. This will make me think twice about using it as an EDC light when fishing or camping. As for the rest, the P5 makes a nice light, that will give it's user years of trouble free operation (just as long as they don't drench it or use rechargeable cells). It's build quality and design will make it a popular light for years to come, so if you want one, go out and get it! It may be expensive, but I found it to be worth every penny.

You can find the P5 at  www.coastportland.com  and a variety of online and retail locations.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dorcy 41-4750 180 lumen flashlight review cyber light

The dorcy 41-4750 is a cross between a powerful led spotlight and a compact flashlight. At the heart of the unit is an extremely bright 180 lumen cree led, which has a run time of 5 hours from the included 4 AA batteries. The doryc has an incredible throwing distance for its size, right around 500 feet.....That is spotlight figures!. The unit features a strong rubber and plastic construction, meaning it can take a fall, ride in a toolbox and be used on a daily basis. Some of the extra features on the dorcy include a squared off bezel and tail section. This allows the cyber light to  stand or be laid flat without rolling away. It also features a convenient lanyard strap, which will allow for more stable handling of the light over rough terrain. The cybe light is also able to handle bad weather conditions without shorting out....Anything from light rain to heavy snow will not penetrate the units body. It will not however handle any submerging. Over my time with the cyber light, I found it to be exceptionally bright and durable. After about 8 hard drops on hard surfaces, hours of use at a time and a little rain, the dorcy has stood up to the task. The 41-4750 is truly a great value, it will outperform many more expensive lights, at a fraction of the cost. You can get a 41-4750 cyber light of your own, by going to dorcydirect.com

Dorcy 500 lumen rechargeable spotlight 41-1080 review

The dorcy 500 lumen spotlight is among one of the brightest led lights I have ever used. It uses 3 powerful cree led emitters, putting out about 167 lumens a piece. The light has a 500 foot throwing capability, making it as bright as most halogen spotlights on the market. What I like about the 41-1080 is it run time, it will run for over two and a half hours, while a standard halogen light will only last around 15 minutes. I also like it's low maintenance cost, it uses a inexpensive sla battery and never needs a bulb replacement. As far as the design, it's practically the same as any other spotlight, meaning I got used to it almost immediately after I got it. The only thing unusual was the extremely long battery life. Speaking of the battery, it only takes 8 hours to fully charge, from the wall adapter and 3 from the car adapter. In comparison, the average recharge times of a standard spot light are 24 hours from the wall adapter, 6 from the car adapter. The 41-1080 should  prove to be more reliable than a standard spotlight, not only from the led bulbs, but also from a special battery saving chip. The chip in the dorcy automatically shuts the output down, when the battery reaches it's low voltage cut off point. This means that the battery will never over discharge, giving you years more performance over a standard halogen light. The dorcy 500 lumen spotlight is truly a great upgrade from a standard halogen light. Not only does it perform better, but in most cases the higher performance doesn't equal higher price. The dorcy goes for about the same price as a two to three million candle power spotlight. You can find this light at dorcydirect.com as well as amazon.com.