Just an FYI, if you have a Gander Mountain store in your area. Not shilling for them, but they're selling two new single led luxeon star lights under their Guide Series brand. One is a three watt (2 - 123's) and the other is a five watt (think it took 3 - 123's).
I got the three watt for about 60 USD. It's made in China, with an aluminum body (just over 5"), has a two stage clicky (low/hi), and includes a lanyard. Sorry, not able to post pictures.
Be advised that this light has a pronounced square pattern (as I understand it, might be typical of the type of led), and the beam is very, very tight -- much more so than any other light I've ever seen. However, that's what I was looking for as an edc for work (I work for a large grocery firm and not only have to unload trucks and dig through pallets of merchandise, but also the local power goes out a lot during bad weather).
The low setting made me think it was a weenie, but when I clicked the switch one more time, things got bright and white. Of course it's brighter than my Terralux mini-mag and other LS lights, but I had expected some coloration from a Chinese made, house brand light. Nope, not much. It's pretty darned white. Battery life is claimed at 200 hours, but of course that's gonna be optimistic.
For what I need, it fits the bill nicely for the price, but the tight beam and square pattern are things that anyone looking at this light should know about.
Has anyone seen the 5 watt in action? I can't remember but I think that one was about 80 USD, and if the beam is wider and not as square, that could be interesting for the money.
I just got back from Gander Mountain to pick up the 3 and 5 watt Guide Series flashlights at 40% off. That's 35.99 for the 3-watt Luxeon and 47.99 for the 5-watt Luxeon, folks. Not too shabby! I think the sale goes through 7/30, judging from the fine print on the "40% Off All Guide Series" sign.
Boy, you were right about the three-watter, chmsam - that's a very nice, white and tight beam there. I won't be able to check for any sidespill, though, until tonight. The lens is very convex, which I suppose is the reason the beam is so narrow. I don't have an Inova X1, but I sort of envision the same sort of effect (only in this case, the beam is quite square). Also nice is the low-power setting. This is something many of us here have been calling out for in some of our favorite lights (do you hear that, Longbow?). These flashlights show that it can be done, and inexpensively, too! The flashlight's body and head are each about a quarter inch wider than a minimag's, but the overall length is a good half inch shorter. Takes 2 CR123s.
The 5-watter has a much different optic, with a reflector, that creates huge sidespill and a tight, quite greenish hotspot with plenty of artifacts. The head of this one screws right off, exposing the Luxeon Star LED. (Can anyone tell me what to expect when I remove the two tiny phillips screws to look underneath the LED for a bin code? Will there be tiny wires or just a pressure-fitted set of contacts? Any risk in doing this?) This light is about a half-inch longer than the AA mini-mag, uses 3 CR123s, and also has a very useable low-power setting.
Both of the above lights have clicky 3-stage tailswitches (low-high-off-rinse-lather-repeat) with no momentary mode. Also, you have to release the clicky to get any light...no light appears while the clicky is depressed at any time. I guess you could say that there is a "momentary off" mode. Both tailswitches are recessed just enough to allow the lights to stand on end. Also, there's O-rings throughout, so I guess they're at least water resistant. The finish looks to be HA-2, flat black. I just now noticed that all the "smooth" (unknurled) stretches of the bodies contain very fine, concentric grooves...I guess that's what makes the finish look so flat. Wrist lanyards are included.
I also picked up a third Guide Series light, a 6-LED + Xenon which uses 2 CR123s. Same finish and wrist lanyard as the others, this one has a 4-stage clickie near the head with the same characteristics as the lights above, except the modes are as follows: 3-LEDs/6-LEDs/Xenon(no LEDs)/Off. I guess this is something like the Twin Task series lights, which I have not seen in operation. Boy is that Xenon beam a jarring "brown spidery" thing, full of artifacts! But the Xenon has nice sidespill, and I can't complain about the price...$17.99.
All told, I just went out and paid $101.97 plus tax on these three nice lights. If I can, I'll try to get some photos of the lights and beamshots as soon as possible. <font color="green">
I was just about to post something about these lights, and you beat me to it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] I also purchased the 3-Watt Luxeon and 6LED/Xenon Guide Series lights from Gander Mountain during the 40% off sale. I also like the 3-watt light; very bright, white and tight beam (and very square hotspot). I still have to try it outside to see how the throw is, but I'm guessing it's pretty good. The low/high level is nice, and when I compared it to my Streamlight 3AA LS Tasklight, the 3-Watt on high pretty much wiped out the Streamlight when the hotspots were superimposed (although the Streamlight does have a brighter sidespill). Seems like a pretty good buy for $36.
I'm still trying to decide if I like the 6LED/Xenon light, as the beam pattern is very weird. This must be due to the fact that the LEDs, instead of being recessed into the reflector, actually protrude out into the reflector. This can be clearly seen in the xenon beam, producing all sorts of artifacts around the edge of the "hotspot". I do have the Streamlight Twintask 2L, and that has a much nicer xenon beam (and the Twintask is smaller). I had purchased a few of these to give as gifts for car glovebox use, as a less expensive alternative to the Twintask 2L, but now I'm not sure if I really want to give them to people because of the funky beam (of course, they're all non-flashaholics, so they may not notice the difference). I'll have to try it outside, to see how well it throws and how bad the beam looks in real life, as opposed to against my study wall.
I saw the 5-Watt light and was very tempted, but didn't want to drop the money until I had heard someone else's experience with it. Of course, $48 is probably the least expensive 5-watt out there, so I should probably just snatch it up while I can, like a good flashaholic. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] How do you like the 5-watt? Is it noticeably brighter than the 3-Watt? Is it more of a flood than the 3-Watt?
Did you also see the Guide Series 1-Watt 3 C Cell flashlight, on sale for $24? I didn't pick it up initially, because it seemed big and bulky to me, but now I'm thinking it probably has a pretty good runtime with the 3 C Cells, and could make a good emergency/power outage light (kind of like the Streamlight Propolymer 3C 10LED or 3C Twintask). And $24 is a pretty good deal. I may have to make another stop at Gander Mountain today!
The 5 watter is bright (VERY), but mine also has a slight green tint, and there are artifacts, but for a Chinese unknown manufacture light, and especially at that price, I'll overlook it. With 3-123's, it's a bit big for EDC, but that's why coat pockets were invented, or I was thinking maybe a Fatboy.
Well, right up until the water heater started acting up -- cold showers until I can get the heating elements to break loose -- almost bent a steel shaft trying to turn the wrench to get 'em out. Rats!
Interestingly enough, Browning makes a 6LED/Xenon flashlight powered by 2 CR123's in it's Black Ice line, which they also had at Gander Mountain. I looked at one, and it has the same LED/Xenon reflector configuration as the Guide Series 6LED/Xenon, with the LEDs protruding out into the reflector. The bezels also looked similar, so maybe the Browning and Guide Series lights are made by the same manufacturer. I think I remember reading elsewhere on the forum that the Browning Black Ice lights were probably made by Nuwai, so perhaps the Guide Series lights are also made by Nuwai? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thinking.gif[/img] Anyway, the Browning 6LED/Xenon lights were selling for $50 I think, so the Guide Series version was a much better deal.
Just got a few coupons for Gander Mountain in the mail, including $25 off the purchase of $100 or more (in the local Clipper magazine). Also, 10% off all camping equipment, which probably would apply to these flashlights, since they're sold in the camping department.
[scratches chin] Hmm...what shall I do??
That 5-watt unit has a really nice hot spot, but the spill is what is really awesome...I can light up my entire back yard (50 x 25 feet) easily from about ten feet away. The 3-watt unit has NO sidespill, but tremendous throw. I hope someont thinks about modding this one soon!
Well, I stopped by Gander Mountain again, and handed them my receipt, my '$25 off' coupon, and the credit card I used last week. They graciously refunded $25 plus tax.
So the three lights I bought there (and described above) came to about $76 total [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grinser2.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grinser2.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grinser2.gif[/img]