Almost every day I will go check out Candle Power Forums, the flashlight discussion area where I learned about Maglite upgrades, battery chargers, and LED flashlights. I haven’t bought another flashlight for myself since I bought the Fenix L2D and I’ve been very happy with it, using it whenever I take the dogs out at night.
There are improvements that could be made though. One thing is I’d like to have a “momentary on” where you halfway push the switch and it comes on until you let go. The Fenix has a “reverse clicky” so that you have to click it on and then you can do a “momentary off” which isn’t the same (and can also trigger a strobe effect, which is annoying), so momentary on really takes two clicks. I do that a lot just to see what is ahead on the sidewalk, but I don’t want the flashlight on all of the time. With the other flashlight bodies I bought with the Fenix I realized that the 2xAA length is kind of long, the single CR123 is too tiny, and the single AA doesn’t have enough brightness. So to get the right size and even more brightness you can get a flashlight with 2 CR123 batteries in it. I looked at the Eagletac P20C2 which has momentary on but if you flash it twice, it goes into strobe mode (I don’t know what the deal with strobe mode is; it is supposed to be able to disorient an attacker, but how often do you need that?). So I was strong and didn’t get that. I’m also not crazy about how you switch brightness levels. To go between bright and strobe and you halfway click the button on the end of the flashlight as I said. But to get to the less bright levels on the Fenix, you twist the head of the flashlight just a little and then click power to go to low, again for medium, again for high (the brightest level is turbo) and again for SOS flashing. What I’d really like is something near the switch that you could activate to go between high or low without twisting the head. It’s just awkward (that word has a w followed by k, followed by another w!) to have one control on one end of the flashlight and the other at the other end. Some flashlights just have two brightness levels which is okay, but they rarely get the lower level just right. Some are programmable in that they let you set the brightness of the low level yourself (the Quark tactical lights let you program one level with the head tightened and the other with it loosened; it would be better to let you program the tightened levels so you could leave it tightened and click once for the level of low you want and again for high or vice versa or with more intermediate levels if you want). Nobody seems to have gotten it just right.
Then lately I was reading about some really tiny lights, really for keychains that have just one AAA battery. Maglite makes something called a “solitaire” that has an incandescent bulb (eats batteries) and produces almost no light (really, here is a comparison; one person says he’s seen matches that burn brighter and longer). Fenix makes a couple of versions: one is the E01 which is cheap ($17) but also doesn’t produce that much light and only has one brightness level. For $40 you can get the Fenix LD01 (earlier version was called L0D) which is brighter and has three levels of brightness. There is also an Arc AAA which Candle Power people like. Then lately they have started raving about the iTP A3 EOS and the same light with a different look called a Maratac AAA (detailed review). The iTP has two versions, one with only one brightness level and the other (called the Upgraded) which has three light levels. You turn it on and switch levels by twisting the head. First twist goes to medium, twist off and on again and it goes to low, and again for high (some people get the light, then get tired of all the twisting and buy the single mode light). Anyway, it can be had for only $20.50 at a CPF friendly store called Battery Junction where they also give a discount code of 5% off. I went there and added it to my cart along with some cheap AA and AAA battery cases (I have a lot of batteries lying around now so it would be good to keep them in groups), got the discount, but shipping was $8! So I canceled that and looked some more. I found GoingGear.com who had it for the same price, reasonable shipping (a couple of dollars and free for orders over $49) and, looking at the CPF discounts page they offer 10% off. Once I went through checkout I found out they charge Georgia sales tax, and this is because they are based in Smyrna, a local company. Even though the tax wiped out most of the discount, I am glad to support a local company.