Head Torches from Ledlenser Review– Which is the One for You?

Peak buying season for torches is not-so-slowly creeping up on us, so while the rest of us enjoy our summer breaks, the torch suppliers are beavering away ensuring that dealers have enough stock to meet demand when the clocks go back in October.

I have become a fan of head torches after initially being quite sceptical. What converted me was having to work under a car bonnet one wet, dark and wintry evening, trying the find the catch to release the headlight housing so I could replace the bulb. I needed a beam adjustable from spot to flood, and a beam housing that could be moved downwards, so that I could hold my head at the correct angle to see what I needed to see. But end users have a variety of other needs too, so LEDCO UK sent me a couple from their new i-Series range to try out.

Top of the Range - Ledlenser iXEO 19R

Packed into its own padded black nylon case surrounded by an informative sleeve, it is clear that this 5-in-1 2000 lumen max super light (handheld torch, headlamp, helmet light, area light, emergency light) is aimed at demanding users, such as professionals in heavy industries such as tunnelling, construction and utilities as well as mountain rescue and the emergency services. Accordingly, it is IPX6 rated in terms of water protection – i.e. protected against strong water jets.

The kit itself is comprehensive, as it comes as standard with a self-adhesive helmet connecting kit, belt clip and extension cord, to give the option to hang the Li-ion rechargeable PowerBox on a belt or bag. A neoprene battery bag has a belt loop, and can be used instead of the belt clip if the battery pack needs more water protection. There is also a mains charger, and a USB lead so that the battery pack can be used to charge a mobile if needed. A nice touch is the soft cloth and brush to clean up the lenses occasionally.

It is worth a look at the battery pack to explore some of the ways it can be used. The plastic casing has a slightly matte black rubberised feel to it and has various catches and sockets. On one end, there is the inlet socket for the charger/connection lead and the USB socket. This has a rubbery cover that no doubt helps to achieve the IPX6 rating. A small lever is used to lock the battery connection lead into place so it is secure and waterproof. There is also a blue light battery charge indicator on this end.

On the opposite end is a plastic catch onto which the head of the torch can be attached making the whole thing into a handheld device. If this seems like a bit of a fiddly arrangement – it is, but after you have done it a few times it works better – it’s just a matter of getting used to the way in which the clips work. To make it easier, a short connection cable is also included so there is no need to remove the coiled cable from the elasticated headband. All the cables, apart from the short one, have lockable connections so that they are secure against movement and water ingress.

The iXEO 19R Torch Head

This torch head in sharp black, with bright yellow lens mounts and adjusting levers, looks a bit like a two-eyed monster when viewed full frontal, and the arrangement promises complexity. However, it really is quite simple to use. There is a single rubberised switch on top of the head. Press once on the top for dual half beam, press twice for dual full beam, and a third time for selecting the Optisense option that automatically controls the amount of light for the user. So on Optisense, a night worker would have near full beam when looking far ahead, but when looking at a map close up, the light would automatically dim so as not to dazzle.  A fourth press activates the dual strobe lights. However, press on the right side of the switch and the right-side light will come on in the same sequence as above. The same is true if you push the left-hand side of the switch except that the left-hand light will illuminate. An addition press in any mode of the front switch activates the maximum 2000 lumens, which literally turns night into day. More than enough light for even the darkest of environments.

The two yellow levers on each side of the switch work independently and move the focus of each light from spot to flood – thus making it possible to have full flood or spot in either lights, or a mixture of one flood and one spot in whichever side you need. The levers work smoothly, as does the switch – you won’t find the torch moving on your head if the headband is adjusted properly and the helmet mount is very secure. It is possible to click stop the head of the torch from horizontal to nearly 45 degrees for close up viewing, and behind the lights themselves is a ventilation system that cools the LEDs, apparently making them brighter. A new bit of information to me.

Finally, by pressing the switch and holding for 5 seconds, the battery is locked so that it cannot be accidentally activated when it is packed in a rucksack, for instance - a useful feature.

This is obviously a choice bit of kit that is designed and made to the high standards of Ledlenser, and has the price tag to match. I don’t think it will disappoint the target users because it is genuinely powerful and capable – but take a good look at the instructions to get the best out of it, because it is sophisticated.

iSEO 5R

In the mid-range of i-Series head torches, the iSEO 5R is a lot more compact and cheaper than the above. Nevertheless, it is still part of the industrial series of head torches because of its IPX6 weatherproofiing and glare free red LED light option. It sports a180 lumen light output with a range of 120m at full spot. At full beam a completely recharged battery will last 10 hours, but with low power beam selected, this goes up potentially to a very useful 50 hours. Or, if you want, you can use three AAA batteries instead.

Charging is done via a short USB lead that can be plugged into a computer/laptop, or one of those new USB enabled mains sockets.

The switch is a simple button switch on top of the battery housing. One press selects full beam, another press selects low power, a third starts the strobe light, and a fourth switches the beam off. To select the red light just hold down the main switch for a few seconds longer, and another press will engage the red strobe light.

There is also the battery lock option to prevent accidentally switching the torch on – simply hold the switch down for 5 seconds.

Beam focusing is simply done by a twist of the outer lens bezel, and the light can be angled by a full 60 degrees by a stopped ratchet.

Although this torch is very light, weighing just 105g, it is supplied with the option of a self-adhesive hardhat mount with extra helmet clips for industrial users.

Ledlenser is proud of its quality control and manufacturing and this small torch does not escape the process. Such a light, compact and effective torch will surely gain fans. 

New Lighting Season, New Products! From the Creators of AP Pro Series

New Lighting Season, New Products! From the Creators of AP Pro Series

Active Products, creators of the best-selling AP Pro Series range of high performance torches are pleased to bring to market this autumn five new and improved products to expand their AP Pro Series Professional torch range coinciding with the start of the 2016 lighting season.

Exciting new Additions to the AP Pro Series Range

Brand new AP ProSeries products include;

  • 270 Lumens COB LED + 100 Lumens LED Rechargeable Inspection Lamp & Torch
  • 250 Lumens Cree LED Battery Spotlight

Upgrades to the existing range;

  • 150 Lumens High Performance Head Torch, upgraded from 100 lumens.
  • 300 Lumens High Performance 2AA Aluminium Torch from 125 lumens.
  • 430 Lumens High Performance Torch, upgraded from 210 lumens.

Active Products was established in 2003 and have established a solid reputation supplying affordable, high quality torch products to the DIY, wholesale and Retail sectors.  Their range of torches extend from their budget range of great value AP torches to their high end range of Cree LED professional torches; the AP Pro Series, now an ever popular choice for retailers looking to offer a premium torch brand that strikes the balance of achieving high quality at an affordable price point. 

All AP Pro Series torch products feature the latest CREE LED technology and a minimum five-year guarantee on Flashlights and 3-year guarantee on Rechargeable Spotlights which are packed full of nifty features that make the premium torch range appeal widely across trade professionals, emergency services, commercial use and every-day DIYers who are looking for powerful performance and longevity from their torch.

LED and CREE Explained

It’s now quite commonplace to see torches with traditional LED, with many featuring multiple LED’s to enhance performance. However products featuring the ‘CREE’ LED logo see the power source coming from a small micro-chip rather than bulb and brings with it outstanding energy efficiency, brilliantly intense, bright white light, offering a truly remarkable lifespan of the chip when compared to a normal incandescent bulb.  With CREE LED’s efficiency levels, the torch products built with CREE technology achieve brighter light for a much longer period of time,  meaning the torch will use smaller and few batteries than a standard torch, with CREE LED lifespans estimated to be around 100,000 hours.

Exceptional Brightness at the Click of a Button

New for 2016, the 250 Lumens Spotlight packs a real punch.

With its unique handle for precise torch light positioning, the 250 lumens Spotlight will light up the darkest corners with its brilliant bright white light.  The incredible lighting range of 300 metres and up to 100 hours of battery life, the 250 Lumens spotlight will suit the toughest demands from a wide range of users.

Packed full of fantastic features, this handy spotlight is floatable and submersible and water resistant (IP x 7), perfect for boat owners and offers a tough, high quality rubberised finish users have come to expect from the AP Pro Series professional range.

The 3 modes of operation include high, low and flashing useful to emergency situations and the safety lock prevents unwanted on/off activation. 

For tradesmen, DIYers and Campers looking for hands-free convenience, the durable tilt adjustable stand will enable the light to be sat sturdily on surfaces to position the beam where needed for hands-free operation.

Built with XP-G2 CREE White Technology and coming with a 5-year guarantee, this latest addition to the AP Pro Series is a powerful, lightweight spotlight delivering exceptional performance in an innovative new design at an affordable price. RRP £39.99

The Multi-Purpose Inspection Lamp & Torch in One

New for 2016, Inspection Lamp and Torch, no tool box should be without one!

For those people looking for an ultra-bright inspection lamp with a handy built in torch the search is over. The latest addition to Active Products AP Pro Series range sees the creation of the dual purpose Inspection Lamp and Torch, a versatile new lighting solution featuring two high performance lighting options within one unit, allowing users to toggle easily between the 270 lumens inspection lamp, featuring powerful COB (Chip on Board) LED technology and 100 lumens CREE LED torch light.

The rechargeable unit with handy USB connection and 1.5m USB cable is simply packed full of useful features, making it suitable for mechanics, plumbers, electricians and the building trade and a general great all-rounder torch for campers or homeowners to keep on hand for emergency use.  The 30m beam projection on the inspection light provides fantastic coverage for mechanics working with cars and the 2 built in swivel hooks in the rear body, plus three built in magnets is designed for hassle free hands free operation.

With a 3 year manufacturer’s guarantee, the two in one Inspection Lamp and Torch is everything and more users have come to expect from the Active Products AP ProSeries high performance range or torches. 

We’re delighted to be adding innovative new products to the core AP ProSeries range, which continues to be a strong seller with retailers including Halfords, B&Q and Argos.” Says Ted McLoughlin, Sales Director at Active Products.  “Buyers of hand held torch products are looking for added value features and seriously powerful performance, all at an affordable price point.  Buyers' feedback suggest our AP ProSeries range is an excellent fit for today’s demanding consumer.”

For further information on the AP ProSeries range, please visit www.approseries.co.uk, for trade enquiries please call the Active Products team on 01371 872842 or email [email protected].

LED Lenser P7R – Rechargeable Quality

Aimed at: Pro and demanding users of torches.

Pros: Rechargeable, compact with a powerful and adjustable beam.

In the increasingly competitive market for torches, consumers have been spoiled. We can get torches from the £1.99 petrol station special up to devices costing £200 or £300 with beams like lighthouses. We have come to expect bright LEDs, focusing optics and some degree of weather and shock protection as standard. It seems as if we are all lumen hungry now, where 15 years ago we didn’t even know what a lumen was.

Pitching unashamedly into the quality end of the market is the new LED Lenser P7R – part of LED Lenser’s Professional Series of torches. If you want to shout quality these days, then the torch (or whatever) has to be presented in a well made and striking presentation box into which the product is nestled like a piece of expensive jewellery. The P7R is no exception – as the picture shows.

Printed discreetly on the lid are the key specifications of the product – 1000 lumens beam strength, a maximum beam distance of 210 metres and a battery life of up to 40 hours at Eco setting. Not bad for a torch that is 15cm long and will fit comfortably into a wax jacket pocket.

Underneath the dense foam packaging is all the stuff you need to get the torch working. There is a well made ballistic nylon belt pouch with elasticated sides to hold the torch securely. With its red stitched highlights and hook and loop fastening, the pouch looks like it has been specially made for the P7R and is not just a “generic one size fits all’. There is also a nylon wrist strap that can be attached to the base cap if needed.  And then, of course, there is the all-important charging base. There is definitely a touch of the “designer” about this base. Made out of strong black plastic it has complex curves like a shoehorn, with the USB charging lead on one end.

This base is designed to be attached vertically to a wall with the screws and plugs supplied. There is about a metre and a half of cord attached to the charging end, so it should be enough for most users to find a convenient place to put it. Although there is only the USB option to plug into the charger this may not be too limiting. Apart from being able to charge from a laptop or desktop computer, mains plug sockets with USB fittings are commonly available nowadays.

Once fitted to the wall, the torch has a strong magnetic cap that holds the torch vertically while it is being charged. This charging solution, I have to say, is neat, efficient and stylish and minimizes the clutter that usually surrounds the “charging stations” that are a feature of modern life with all our rechargeable devices.

Unusually, the rechargeable battery was not in the torch when it arrived for testing. It was packed into the nylon pouch for protection. All it takes to mount the battery is to unscrew the back cap of the torch and mount it into the removable cartridge, taking care to observe the polarity. When the rear cap is removed it is an opportunity to have a close look at the design and engineering of the product, the body is made of alloy, and there is no doubt that it is high quality. The milled grips are well done and the black finish is thorough.

The rear cap also contains the switch mechanism, and I am pleased that the designers have adopted a simple switch system that does not entail switching through all modes whenever you use the torch. A simple hard press on the bright chrome switch will turn on full beam and another firm press will switch it off. However, a quick double press will select Eco mode that is significantly less bright than the main beam.

The beam focusing system is similarly simple. To unlock the torch head simply twist it to the right and then it will slide smoothly backwards and forwards, using your thumb and forefinger. The user can choose whatever setting he wants between full beam and flood beam and then lock this position by a simple twist to the left.  

Not all LEDs are created equal, and I was pleased to see that the quality of the LED Lenser LED was good. Shining it onto a wall, at full beam, there were no black spots or rings. This shows that the focusing optics are doing their job and the intense spot needed at the end of a beam will be there. Similarly, at full flood setting, there was a good even spread of light with no spots or rings. In the full darkness of my back garden (no street lights out here in deepest Sussex) the flood beam illuminated a wide area that made it possible to work over the whole 12 metre wide garden.

The spot beam is powerful too, and shone right across the playing fields opposite with a noticeable centre to the beam.

The P7R is positioned at a very competitive centre of an already competitive torch market so is up against some stiff competition both in terms of price and quality. In my mind there is no doubt about the quality of the LED Lenser P7R – the designers have done a good job designing a torch with an LED that is super bright and then allied it to a simple patented focusing system with quality lenses that make the most of the bright beam.

The packaging and accessories reinforce the quality message, as does the elegant charging system. As usual, quality does not come cheap, so the target market is not those who would be happy with a cheap copy. Regular users might be police and emergency services etc, who need a reliable, robust torch that will deliver the light needed as well as being easy to carry and hold and then recharge at the end of a shift. 

Princeton Head Torch - A New American Rival in a Competitive Market

Aimed at: Everyone from campers to anglers to kitchen drawer domestic occasional users.

Pros: Light, compact, adjustable with red beams too

Head torches have become very popular in the last few years – every naturalist on telly has one, as does every competitor on a survival show. Anglers, campers and just about every trade uses them, especially as the evenings draw in. There is a market niche for every single one of them - from £5 Bonfire Night single use and then into the kitchen drawer, to the powerful rechargeable, adjustable lights used regularly by professionals.

Enter the Princeton Tech REMIX, a 150 lumens compact head torch that is, unusually, made in the USA. From a dealer’s perspective it is well packaged for information and security. Mounted on a card so that potential buyers can look closely at it, its five major features are clear to see – namely 150 lumens of light, a beam distance of up to 73m, four modes of light, IP4 weather resistance rating and adjustable beam settings. Its two sets of beams are contained in a small casing about 55mm long and 45mm deep. The main beam is a bright white LED beam, and the smaller lights are a cluster of three red LEDs.

On the back of the blister pack are the three Duracell AAA batteries, the head strap and a simple set of instructions explaining the four mode switch and the single twistable bracket to enable the beam to be aimed where it is needed. LEDs are very energy efficient, so users can expect a runtime on full beam of about 28 hours, while on the lowest setting (flood low) we can expect batteries to last about 150 hours.

Although the buyer has to attach the head strap and insert the batteries after purchase, these are not difficult to do. The adjustable elasticated head strap is 25mm wide, so is comfortable and easily supports the 83g weight of the torch without that feeling that it is slipping down one’s forehead.

Most compact head torches rely on a multiway switch to select different light modes and the REMIX is no different. In this case it is handy to read the instructions because the timings on the switches are critical to change modes. Get used to a lot of quick double – clicking and you will soon be able to select the mode you want without having to flick all the way through the switch cycle.

Light quality is good for such a compact head torch and the cluster of three red Ultrabright LEDs are particularly bright on full setting. I know that many hunters, anglers and naturalists like red LED lights because not only do they use less battery power, but they are also less dazzling than white lights, so eyes do not have to become accustomed to the dark again once the white lights are switched off. Animals are also not spooked by red lights either.

In a competitive market, price points are vitally important, but this little head torch is well made, efficient, has the right specs and is light and compact, so it has all the ingredients to compete. 

 

LED Lenser – Make A Bright Start in 2016

LED Lenser enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2015, picking up more awards for its market-leading range of top quality Torches and Head Lamps, and reaching out to nearly 20 million people in the UK with a combined TV and radio campaign in the run-up to Christmas.

Firmly established as first-choice lighting instrument for professional tradesmen, emergency services personnel, search & rescue teams and serious outdoor enthusiasts, LED Lenser is renowned for superior performance and perfect light in any situation. Ideal for night work, outdoor tasks, safety checks and emergency repairs, LED Lenser makes superior quality torches that turn night into day, with consistently bright, white quality light.

LED Lenser sets the standard for professional lighting, with innovative features like patented Advanced Focus System optics and Smart Light Technology across the range. Engineered in Germany torches have aircraft-grade aluminium bodies, gold-plated battery contacts and high-powered CREE LEDs. A huge range of Head Lamps provides everything a tradesmen needs, including lightweight, high-power and fast-charging options for hand-free light in the darkest of spaces. Popular models like the P7.2 hand torch, the mini-rechargeable M3R and the H14 head lamp series have helped make LED Lenser an essential tool for any domestic or industrial work space.

The company promises to continue to lead the way in 2016, with more new products, superb trade offers, enhanced packaging and dealer support. Tool trade dealers can make a bright start in 2016 by stocking LED Lenser Torches and Head Lamps – essential lighting instruments for any tradesman’s toolbox.’

For more information, please visit  www.ledlenser.co.uk or ring 01344 876222

Inova T3R USB Rechargeable Torch-A Solid Performer

Aimed at: Demanding users who need a pure light from good optics and tough body that will take a few knocks.

Pros: The torch has options of low and high power and strobe functions. Very well made alloy body and rechargeable via USB too. 

The choice of products in the torch market is truly overwhelming in my view. We have torches that cost less than £1 and others that are over £200. Relative quality is hard to tell sometimes because the “lumens” (light output) is not always a true measure of how good a torch is. The quality of the optics and the means of focusing the beam have a part to play as well. The general rule that you get what you pay for applies to torches, but there are pockets of good value and high quality to be had for the canny buyer.

With a typical internet retail price of around £65 the T3R is aimed unashamedly at the quality end of the market – typically the consumer who perhaps is a regular torch user – professionally or personally – who needs a reliable and relatively powerful device and who likes the idea of a rechargeable, thus eliminating the need to buy batteries.

The T3R has a reassuring “heft” in the hand. This is because it has a body that has been machined from solid aerospace grade alloy. It also has a US military spec, hard coat, black anodized finish, with a regular deep knurled pattern machined into the body exterior for good grip. The torch has a “made for serious business” feel that will reassure users of its rugged toughness. It is built to withstand a drop of 1 metre onto a hard surface and it also has IPX4 standards of water resistance. These measures indicate a device that is strong enough for tough and sustained use in domestic or outdoor environments. 

Other specs are not too shabby either… The maximum light output is 234 lumens, not a class leader, but as I have said before, the quality of the reflector and the LED are important too. I found that the light was clear and bright. The T3R boasts a nice round halo of light with no dark spots or lines in it with a wider halo of less intense light around the middle. This is an indication of quality optics. The double–sided anti-reflective coated glass lens on the front of the torch must take some credit for the beam quality I guess.

When high beam is not needed the low beam option is a mere 20 lumens, giving enough light for walking down a dark path in the woods for example, but at the same time ensuring that the battery lasts a lot longer.

The specs say that the run time on full beam is two hours and forty-five minutes; while on low beam the run time is 40 hours. A considerable energy saving indeed.

The beam range is given as 152 metres – which because the T3R has a good concentrated beam actually makes sense. In pitch dark from my back window into the fields opposite the centre spot of the beam was clearly visible surrounded by an aura of clear light that was well focused too.

There are rechargeable torches and rechargeable torches – some are easy and flexible, others are more difficult. The T3R provides a lot of options for recharging to suit all the expected needs of the target market. There is a simple charger plug that can fit three different plug types. The UK standard plug is easy to fit on the charger and feels like it is solid enough to be safe and long lasting. Other charging options include a standard USB connection and an in-car adaptor. Optional extra chargers will fit solar panels and computers for an even greater range of charging choices.

The lithium ion battery pack is separate from the torch itself, so it would be possible to replace it or have a spare one if needed. The battery is put into the torch by unscrewing the end cap that includes the integrated switch mechanism. The end cap can be turned half a turn anti-clockwise to lock the switch out so that it is protected from accidental switching during transit, or in a pocket for example.

For initial use, the manufacturers suggest that the battery should be fully charged. This charge takes about 4 hours and is a common thing to do with lithium ion batteries.

After this, it is suggested that the torch is plugged in to recharge after use to keep the battery fully topped up. There is no danger of overcharging. While charging, there is a red indicator light to indicate charging status. In use, the USB charging point on the torch is covered completely. When you need to recharge, simply unscrew the front end of the torch to reveal the USB plug into which the charging lead is plugged.

The multi-purpose press switch on the rear end of the torch controls the various light modes. One firm push means full beam is selected. A slower push selects low beam and a quick then a slow push selects strobe mode. If the switch is pushed only part way in in each mode the light switches off when you release the switch.

Because lithium ion batteries deliver full power until they run out quite suddenly, rather than slowly fading like old batteries did, there is a built-in warning of imminent loss of charge – the light will start to flash quickly before turning off automatically. This should prevent deep discharge, which is the enemy of long life for lithium ion batteries. Time then for a full charge if possible.

There is no doubt that the T3R looks and feels like a quality product and that reflects its quality price tag. The alloy body is good to handle and all the functions work smoothly. There is even a delicate but useful wrist loop that is threaded onto the rear cap. The T3R comes with a limited lifetime warranty covering manufacturing defects.

With its range of charger options, users should never be without a method to top up the battery when needed, so it should suit professional users like paramedics or roadside assistance personnel. 

For more information on Inova Torches and other products from Whitby & Co , please visit www.whitbyandco.co.uk

A Brilliant All-Rounder. The AP ProSeries Rechargeable Spotlight upgrades to 350 Lumens

Active Products announce the re-launch of their latest AP ProSeries rechargeable spotlight with CREE LED that now offers 350 lumens for the same price.

Supplying some of the UKs largest retailers and builder’s merchants, Active Products have built an established reputation for producing high quality, sensibly priced products and are best known for the creation of the original AP Torch lighting range created in 2003, followed by the introduction of the premium AP ProSeries range featuring CREE LED in 2009.

The AP ProSeries offers a versatile range of hand-held lighting; all built with the latest CREE technology, a three-year guarantee and consistently attracts five star reviews from both professionals and domestic users who strongly rate the products balance of performance, durability and affordability.

The rechargeable spotlight has recently been relaunched by Active Products, now offering 350 lumens versus the previous 220 lumens.  This mighty spotlight also offers a line-up of superb benefits including beam distances up to 420 metres, fantastic white light brightness and brilliant beam performance from the sophisticated CREE LED bulb.  Other features of this great all-rounder includes;

  • Simultaneous flood to spot – provides flood & spot in one beam
  • Adjustable stand for hands free operation
  • Shoulder strap included
  • Beam distance – up to 420 metres
  • Water resistance – IP4 standard
  • 1 metre impact – robust design to withstand 1 metre drop
  • Battery life – up to 14 hours uses 6v  rechargeable battery
  • Durable & lightweight high grade.

“Our innovation pipeline is driven by demand from our retailers and consumers. With the hand-held lighting market showing strong growth and consumers demanding more power and more durability from their torches, and all at excellent value price points, our new 350 lumens, which RRP of £44.95 is a great example of achieving the important balance of high quality, superb performance and affordability.” 

The AP ProSeries range can be found across a wide variety of DIY, Superstore and Mail Order companies and across the wholesale sector. 

For more information regarding this product and the full range of AP Torches visit Active Products

 

Active Products (UK) Ltd

Barnston Warehouse, Chelmsford Road, Great Dunmow, Essex, CM6 1LP, UK

Tel: 01371 872842   Fax: 01371 877949  Website: www.active-products.co.uk

Active Products’ ProSeries range capitalises on the trend for gadgets

The gadgets industry is growing fast. Increasing interest in useful and affordable technology is one of the reasons why the AP ProSeries range of torches and spotlights has taken the market by storm in the last three years

Products like the 100 Lumens Head Torch have been racking up 5-star ratings and glowing reviews across popular, well known retailers. They have also become popular gifts at Christmas time, and manufacturers Active Products have experienced increased demand year on year from retailers in the run up to the Christmas trading season.

Ted McLoughlin, Sales Director at Active Products, explains why he thinks the AP ProSeries torches and spotlights have become popular Christmas gifts: “I think it’s a combination of their affordability, their usefulness during the dark, winter months, and all the nifty features that make them efficient, durable and fun to use. The AP ProSeries 100 Lumens Head Torch, for instance, has a really clever on/off motion sensor that you activate with a simple wave of the hand. It’s a fantastic hands-free gizmo for gadget lovers, as well as being handy and practical for dog-walkers, runners, cyclists and anyone who might be tinkering in their shed on a dark winter’s afternoon.”

The range benefits from Active Products’ partnership with Cree, the innovators behind the LED bulbs in the ProSeries torches. A Cree bulb is energy-efficient but pumps out double the light of a standard LED, and lasts 50,000 hours longer.

The AP ProSeries range, including the 100 Lumens Head Torch, is available from B&Q, Halfords and Argos with an RRP of £25.99. More detail about the range can be found at www.approseries.com.

New 150 Lumens Torch from Active Products Lightweight and Rechargeable

The market for torches of all kinds in the UK seems to be almost limitless – with everything from budget models coming in at less than a fiver (sometimes even half that!) right through to the professional quality flashlights costing over £200. The two things that seem to be pushing this situation are the ever-increasing pace of development of LED chips and battery technologies, including Lithium Ion. 

Active Products has a knack of introducing competent, well-priced and useful torches onto the UK market, so it is not a surprise that the company has now launched an upgraded version of the “old” one million candle power rechargeable spotlight. The “new” version has much in common, and fortunately, retains the features that made the previous model a success. 

Firstly, the new model is made in bright yellow plastic so it is, what I guess in modern parlance, would be called “high vis”. The main handle, stand and front lens rim are made in black plastic that is a sharp contrast to the yellow. 

Secondly, the body shape of the new version is square and boxy. It is also noticeable that it is much lighter than the “old model – no doubt due to the fact that the new battery is a 3.7v non-replaceable lithium ion version. Lithium ion has many advantages because not only is it much lighter than the old NiCad battery technology for example, but it is more efficient and less likely to suffer from memory effect when recharged. 

The new body shape offers several advantages in terms of the versatility of the torch in use. For example, the flat base of the boxy shape means that the torch can be stood upright so that it shines like a searchlight – which could be useful in some situations. 

Along the bottom of the torch is a click-stopped stand that adjusts over about 160 degrees so that a wide range of angles can be selected. The click stopping is very positive and does not slip in use, so is able to be relied upon – a great virtue in a torch that may well be used in an emergency situation.

A new feature and one that many users will find very useful is the ability to use the main handle in two different ways. Used conventionally, the main handle is nicely shaped and contoured for the fingers. This handle configuration is comfortable and balances the lightweight of the torch for easy aiming. However, by pushing in the yellow button on the right hand side of the handle, the whole handle can be twisted round so that it becomes a pistol grip. Now the torch can be used at eye or head height more easily, so that it becomes an eye-guided searchlight. Outdoorsmen and campers would be able to make very good use of this feature and again, the flip over handle is very positive and robust so it is not simply an “add on”. 

I guess that because of the flipover handle the “standard” switch position of a button on the front lens cover no longer makes sense, so the switch is now located on the side of the torch near the front. It is now a small rocker switch with a definite “on” or “off” feel and is covered by a clear flexible plastic cover that gives some protection from water penetration. 

Active Products has also used the opportunity provided by adopting a lithium ion battery pack to provide a couple of recharging options that will reflect the intended uses of the torch. 

The standard charger is the SD 9300 that plugs straight into a mains socket. Active Products recommends that when the first charge is done it is charged until the charge indicator turns green. This first charge will take longer as it initiates the charging cycle that is important for a long battery life. 

On a full charge, the torch will give about four hours of light, and it is recommended that after every use the torch should have a top-up charge to keep the battery in good health. Also, it is recommended that the battery should be recharged every three months even if it is not used. Lithium ion technology needs such care in order to keep a healthy battery.

Another handy little feature is the provision of the 12v car charger in the package. Since this torch is likely to be used in the outdoors and as part of a car kit, it makes sense to have a non-mains charging option. 

Finally, there is a shoulder strap provided to fit over the metal loops on the front and back of the handle. A small criticism in my opinion is that the strap is too short for all users in all situations, so some people might choose not to attach it at all. However Active Products have already picked up on this and the length of the strap is now increased to a comfortable 100cm to suit all users and situations. 

With an upgraded light intensity of 150 lumens, the LED spotlight has more than enough power for general situations. It is noticeable that the beam has a very pure centre spot that is clear of spots and blemishes. This spot gives a beam distance of about 400 metres that should be enough for most users. Surrounding the middle spot is a halo of less intense light that helps the user to see things not directly in the main beam – very useful I think, and also a tribute to the continuing development of very good LED light chips. 

So to sum up – this is a very practical and well-priced torch with enough power for general household and camping use. It is light, easy to carry and the pistol grip handle is a useful option in many situations. Since power cuts are now a feature of life for many of us, it is always handy to have a torch around, especially one that can stand on its own in a variety of positions. 

For more information, please visit http://www.active-products.co.uk

‘LED Lenser’s mighty mini M3R

Convenience is everything with LED Lenser’s brilliant little M3R, the company’s smallest-ever rechargeable hand torch. It will blast out an impressive 220 lumens of light but at barely four inches in length will easily fit into a shirt pocket or overalls, making it a great choice for travel and jobs on the go. Rechargeable via mains or USB its generous 6 hour burn time is enough to covers most tasks in a day’s work but to be on the safe side there’s even a helpful Low Battery Message System to tell you when the batteries do need to be re-charged.

Performance-wise it offers the kind of superior technical ability that can almost be taken for granted with any LED Lenser torch: patented Advanced Focus System optics combine with micro-controlled Smart Light Technology for a high quality near-to-far beam and a choice of three useful light modes – Power, Low Power and Defence Strobe. A simple push-button Dynamic Switch at one end and single-handed Speed Focus at the other mean that selection of any light or focus setting is both simple and fast. Naturally it is built to last, with an anodised metal casing containing hard gold-plated battery contacts inside for optimum durability and power transmission. Supplied with wrist strap, belt pouch, clip, charger and one Lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

For further information please contact Richard Woolston on 1344 876222 or visit www.ledlenser.co.uk

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