Thursday, March 1, 2012

LED Lenser P2 EDC Flashlight

 I've been down in Portland, OR all week long on business.  While at the hotel, I glanced over at the little place where they have tourist attraction fliers.  I saw that the Leatherman retail store was nearby, so I decided to take a short trip over and check it out.  Finally, I was free to fondle all the Leatherman tools I want without having to ask someone to take them out of a glass case for me.  The other thing I was very interested in was their lineup of LED Lenser flashlights.  Recently, Leatherman purchased LED Lenser and added their products to the Leatherman family of tools.

I ended up taking a new light to the hotel with me.  I purchased the P2 keychain light.  I was in the market for a really small flashlight for everyday carry (edc), but was unsatisfied with either low quality cheapo lights or overly expensive brand name lights.  Besides, I like to go against the grain as often as possible, so giving LED Lenser a crack at this opportunity was a no brainer.  LED Lenser seems to have struck the balance between good quality products and reasonable pricing, and that is something worth talking about.  It's not often you find a company that makes a good product for a reasonable price anymore.  Most companies seem to think they can just get away with charging an arm and a leg for their crap and people will pay for it.  Well, that's because they do.  I think that companies like LED Lenser are necessary to help bring outrageous prices down.  Now, I must preface what I'm about to say with the fact that LED Lenser lights are made in China.  That's not a bad thing per se, but if you're all bent about buying only American, then more power to you.  So, how does LL help bring prices down across the board?  Well, if everyone starts seeing that their products are nearly as high quality as something like Streamlight or whatever, they will just save $40-$70 and go with the less expensive option because it will work 95% of the time.  Now, if said product is meant to save your life the other 5% of the time, that's a different story all together.  But if it works for edc 95% of the time, and it costs much less, it only makes sense to go with it.  Why pay more for a utility light when you don't have to?

So, for less than $25, I walked out of the store with the following: a nice little presentation box, ideal for gift giving, a 3 3/4" long flashlight with a removable pocket clip, a standard AAA Duracell battery, a good little nylon case with a carabiner attachment, and a nylon lanyard.  That's not bad, and considering the size of this light, it is impressive.

When you consider a light for edc, size and weight are huge considerations.  Pardon the irony.  The footprint of the P2 is very small.  Sitting next to my Leatherman Wingman puts the size into perspective.  The Wingman ain't a big tool.  It's like a medium size, as far as Leatherman tools go.  Having this little light, which literally disappears into your pocket is a nice piece of insurance.  It weighs just over an ounce, with the battery installed.  It's not exactly heavy.  Something like this is great for edc because when you just have to have a light, it is there.  Everyone needs a light at some point or another.

The P2 is just bright enough for the sort of utility tasks you might put it through.  At 13 lumens, it throws a pretty good beam across a large room, or can illuminate the ground so you can quickly find dropped keys or a wallet.  13 lumens certainly isn't the kind of spotlight type lighting of some of my other flashlights, but consider this: my Maglite XL200 flashlight uses three times the batteries and is about 3 times as fat, not to mention heavier.  The P2 disappears into a pants pocket, where the XL200 makes you feel like you have a flashlight with you.  Is that a bad thing?  I don't know.  If your priority is to carry an aircraft landing light around in the event you need to guide a Cessna safely back to earth, then you might opt for more light at the expense of comfort or convenience.  Personally, I feel that an edc light needs to be bright enough to do most utility tasks and be small enough to be unnoticed when not needed.  Why should your gear be intrusive?

The user interface (ui) is a small push button clicker in the tailcap.  It is a on/off clicker with momentary operation.  Depending on how you deploy your light, this gives the option of holding it overhand with your thumb over the clicker or like a syringe for utility work.  The button appears to be made of aluminum, so no rubber cap to wear out and tear.  As you can see, the lanyard hole and keychain attachment points are back there too.

All component appear to be well made.  You can see a rubber o-ring on the tail cap, which seems to be the standard these days.  The threads feel precise too, with no squeaking or roughness as the two pieces thread together.  The battery compartment is loose enough to allow the battery to go in and out easily, but when it's all together, nothing rattles.  The clip is removable for an even smaller footprint and to prevent snagging if you use it in a purse or bag of some kind.

The lense on this light is remarkable.  It is some sort of prism that allows you to adjust and focus the beam with great precision.  The adjustment is made by twisting the bezel to make the lense go further away from the LED, and as you do, the beam focuses sharply.  I've noticed the center of the light is intensely white, while the edges of the beam, just before cutoff are slightly blue.  This is by design so the center of the beam is crisp and makes eye fatigue less of a problem in pure darkness.  From across the room, (say 12-14 feet), the lit area of a wall is about 6-7 feet across.  That's not bad for a light that literally disappears in my hand.

Here's a picture of the presntation case with the lid open.  The light sits there nice and pretty with the accessories.  Not pictured is the aforementioned nylon case, which utilizes a belt loop with a snap on the bottom.  You could weave the loop through a piece of MOLLE webbing or something on a backpack if you wanted to.  The carabiner itself is just a little dollar store quality clip, and it simply gives you more options.

I'm going to give this light a workout here for some time.  If I find I like it, I may just order more of these products.


1 comment:

  1. Nowadays there ar ea lot of flashlights which impress with their quality and performance. Many companies produce various LED flashlight and sometimes we think what light is better or even the best. Recently I have had an experience with Armytek company and its products. A month ago I purchased Armytek Predator 670 lumens and happy that this light met all my needs. The price is not high, about $110. It's good for this well made and multifunctional light.