***If one of the mods could move this to the Review section that would be great!***
For the longest time I thought that everything made by Coast was overpriced and of relatively low quality, especially when factoring in the price. I didn't even consider buying one until recently when I saw some positive reviews of the P7/P14. I hope this review will help improve the poor reputation that Coast seems to have on CPF. Now onto to review:
The Coast P7 (P7 from now on) is made out of machined aluminum. It is most likely type II anodized, so it will scratch easier than flashlights that are type III hard anodized. It has some non aggressive knurling on the middle of the body and on the tailcap, which improves the grip of the light slightly. The P7 uses a three stage forward clickie which is located on the end of the light. It also has a small hole in the tailcap so that you can attach a lanyard. It uses a 4xAAA battery carrier, that is permanently attached to the tailcap. The P7 has 24k gold contacts on the battery carrier to minimize the energy lost at the contact points.
The P7 uses an optic which can be focused down to a spot, or defocused so that there is no hotspot at all and the beam is all flood. This is the first light I've seen that has a useful focusing system. Focusing or defocusing the light is done by sliding the head back and forth. When the head is all the way down it is defocused, and when you push the head forward it focuses. My only gripe with this method is that you can accidentally focus the light if you push forward too hard on the head. I would personally prefer that the head twisted to focus/defocus the beam. There are also holes near the head of the light to help with heat sinking. These holes mean that the light is NOT dunkable! Coast claims that it is only splash proof. Inside the head of the light is a Cree Q4 bin LED.
The P7 is 5.5" long and weighs 6.8oz with batteries installed.
Maglite 2AA Minimag Compared To Coast P7
The P7's beam is the most impressive I've ever seen from a flashlight! It can be focused down to a spot to give incredible throw, or defocused so that it is 100% flood. Here are some beamshots to illustrate this:
Coast P7 Spot
Coast P7 Flood
The P7 has a three stage forward clickie. If you press the light momentarily it turns on in boost mode, which drives the LED at 130%. Once you click the switch fully it turns on in low mode (15%). A second click turns the light to high mode (100%), and your third click turns the light off. When in either low or high mode if you press the switch it gives you boost mode momentarily. I've found this very useful when in low mode and wanting more light for a short period of time. It's not quite as useful when in high mode, because the difference in brightness isn't that much to the human eye.
There has been some discussion about how my overall output numbers might be a bit high for this specific light. Because of this I removed them and will only leave the lux at 1 meter. I'll add the lux at 1 meter for low and high later on tonight. However, I'm sure that this light puts at least what the manufacturer claims on the front the package (167 lumens).
I personally have no way of testing this, so I can't say for sure. A member of another flashlight forum tested this light with NIMH cells and it ran for slightly over 1 hour on high. Coast rates the runtime of their lights to the point it takes for the light to completely shut off. Because of this the runtimes they list on their packaging need to be taken with a grain of salt. This is also one of the main reasons why they have received a bad reputation among flashlight collectors.
The best beam I have ever seen!!!
HUGE output for such a small light
Great user interface
Not fully waterproof (only splash proof)
Overall I think this is a great flashlight. The beam is a real work of art and has yet to be duplicated by any other manufacturer. The entire light has a really nice hefty feel to it, and you can tell it is not a cheap flashlight the second you pick it up. In the last year Coast has really improved the overall quality of their flashlights and should be noticed for doing so. This light might not be for everyone, but if you're looking for a pocketable high output focusing flashlight, there isn't a better light on the market.