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My rating: 5 out of 5
I’ve been a massive fan of the smaller £3ish CREE Zoomable torches for years, the ones that run off either an AA or 14500 battery. I’ve loved them and plenty of friends and family have been blown away by how good they are and purchased their own.
I was eager to try a more expensive model as I thought, if the £3 ones are so good, this one must be absolutely amazing. The cheaper ones use one 3.7V 14500 cell, this uses two significantly larger 18650 batteries, so you can imagine how much more powerful it is. This type of torch is great in low light, but the distance they can go across say, a pitch-black field, is astounding. Zoomed in and focused, you could pick out objects at least 100 metres away in pitch black.
If I can get the camera to take a decent picture, I’ll get a few photos to demonstrate this and update the review by adding them.
You’ll need a pair of 18650 batteries which will run you about £15, and a decent charger too, so I understand it’s a larger investment if you don’t already have a suitable charger. I’ve attached a photo showing you the size of the batteries compared to a silver AA and a branded AAA battery.
I originally purchased some Panasonic batteries, but being flat-topped, whilst they’re good enough to use, they’re not quite filling up the torch all the way such that they rattle if you shake the torch and can occasionally cut out the power, so they’ll be going back to Amazon and I’ll try another pair and update my review. So yeah, don’t buy these to use with this torch.
Turns out you need to buy “button top” batteries with a traditional positive tip end, rather than flat top batteries.
I’m a big fan of the Nitecore series chargers as shown below, and already have both a D2 and D4 model, and I’ve owned an I2 in the past. The difference in the models are that the D models cost a couple quid more and have a little digital display, I guess not an essential feature but I like it, and obviously, the 2 models charge 2 batteries and the 4 will charge 4 at a time. I like them cause they’ll automatically detect the type of battery and can be used for your normal rechargeable AA and AAA, etc, as well as the special lithium 3.7V batteries like the 14500 and 18650 commonly used in torches and ecigarretes. The cheapest will run you about £8 from abroad or £12 on Amazon Prime.
You can get plenty of very cheap chargers for a few quid but I’m sure you’ve seen how often these “ecig” batteries like to blow up when used on cheap chargers, so I wouldn’t risk it. I’m sure there’s dozens of other choices for decent ones, and I can only speak from the experience of what I’ve tried, have a look around and find a reputable one.