EDC Review Reviews

Klarus Mi1C Review

The Klarus Mi1C is a small EDC style light with a great pocket clip. It includes a rechargeable 16340 battery that has an onboard microUSB connector for recharging. Thanks to Bestlight.IO for sending me this light to take a look at. Use the code LIQUID at checkout to save 10% on your order.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/JlKb6
The Video version of this Review:

Size & Construction
This is a very small light https://i.imgur.com/aMdafMR.jpg 54.60mm in length https://i.imgur.com/3z8qTyb.jpg to be exact and 21.8mm in diameter to be exact. Weight came in at 1.55 ounces with battery and clip. It’s made of aluminium that is very nicely anodized a black finish with low gloss. The body has a nice texture on the battery tube and the tail cap has flat spots to help you unscrew it. The tailcap is also magnetic and decently strong. The head is ribbed. If I compare it to my Olight Smini here it’s identical in size.

This light breaks down into 3 major pieces, the bezel can be unscrewed with a lock ring pliers. There are springs on both sides of this light. The magnet in the tail can be easily removed (Just remove the spring) https://i.imgur.com/795TSUE.jpg The clip is removable and fully adjustable anywhere around the light. Overall it’s a fantastic clip for EDC. https://i.imgur.com/dqkBdyo.jpg

LED and modes
The LED in use in this light is a Cree XP-L HI V3 in cool white. https://i.imgur.com/TM2YsLP.jpg I didn’t observe any off colors in the beam. This light features 4 main modes and 2 flashing modes with soft mode changes in between each mode. There is no direct access High or Low mode. Mode spacing could be improved in my opinion. As you can see in the table https://i.imgur.com/FT1LoSl.jpg there is a big difference between high at 600lm and medium at 45lm. Low is listed at 10 lumens and moonlight is thankfully at 1lm. Strobe is at 600 and oddly SOS is only at 45 lumens. These were all with the 16340 battery. I would have liked to see another mode between High and medium, something like 150 or 200lm as I think it would be very useful.

On High mode I noticed the light flickers slightly at the beginning before it stabilizes. I tried to capture this on video but was unable to, it’s not very noticeable. This light also has a blink system used to show the battery capacity.

Lockout
There seems to be an error maybe due to translation in the manual about lockout mode. I found it hard to get the light out of lockout if I followed the manual until I figured it out. To activate lockout press and hold the button when the light is off, hold through moon light mode and the light will flash 3 times. If you push the button again the light flashes twice showing it’s locked. To unlock press the button 3 times quickly and the light is now unlocked.

Lens
This is a very floody light thanks to it’s drop style lens. https://i.imgur.com/7pxIX0F.jpghttps://i.imgur.com/zpM0yY7.jpg It has no reflector https://i.imgur.com/NHQXve8.jpg to keep it as short as possible. I measured the lens at 16mm in diameter and 5mm tall. Personally I would prefer a TIR style reflector like what’s on the Olight Smini because I prefer that beam pattern for EDC uses.

Night Shots https://youtu.be/iVtaloS5hYs?t=4m31s
Beam Shots for the Klarus and then the Olight

Battery
This light does need a moderately high drain cell in order to get the full 600 lumens for more than a few seconds. Included is a Klarus branded USB rechargeable 16340 battery that’s stated at 700mah. It has a microUSB https://i.imgur.com/3v83YXH.jpg connector built into the top of it. When recharging there is a Red LED on top and when it’s full it turns blue. I measured this battery recharging at 0.33A. I had no complaints with this battery. There is not room for an 18350 battery in this light. The light is compatible with standard CR123a cells as well.
Runtime Graph
Here is a graph of runtime I did on the included battery on a full charge.  As you can see temperature regulation played a pretty big roll in the output of this light with the light stepping down as it got hot. I think an additional mode between high and medium would be a nice compromise between more usable light and heat.


EDC
As an EDC this is pretty darn great. I really like the captured pocket clip https://i.imgur.com/dqkBdyo.jpg that allows for very deep bezel up carry. https://i.imgur.com/MXWky4V.jpg It’s fully rotatable on the light and nicely accommodates jeans that have a larger seam at the top.There is a magnet in the tail that is strong enough to hold the light up but not much more than that.

Package
This looks like a perfect little stocking stuffer to me. It’s like it’s already wrapped up and with a bow. It’s a very nice presentation box. Inside you get 2 extra o rigns the manual and that’s it.

Pro
* Good low lumen mode
* Very well constructed light with excellent anodizing
* Great in the pocket EDC ability, no issues with accidentally turning on.

Cons
* I am just not a big fan of the light output of the lens here. It’s too much a super even flood and has very harsh edges. I would have a more hot center allowing the light to be pointed.
* Mode spacing could be better. It needs something between High (600lm) and Medium (45lm)
* No USB cable included for recharging.
* There seems to be some translation issues in the included manual about lockout mode.

I have an Olight Smini in copper and really like it as an EDC light. It has a TIR style lens which makes a very useful wide beam with a hotter center. The Mi1c I thought would be very comparable and have the added features of a magnet in the tail cap, be lighter and a great clip but instead the super floody nature of the lens kind of turned me off. I used the light out one night when I was out photographing the sunset to navigate down some trails and out of Golden Gate park https://i.imgur.com/TSiTgGR.jpg. It did work for this but I wished I would’ve had my Reylight Ti-Lan I also had brought on my trip instead.. It was good for up close but further away the super even floody beam provided long shadows that made it hard to determine the trail. Part of this is due to the big difference in lumens between high (600) and medium (45).

In all fairness this isn’t a light to take on a hike. In more normal urban EDC use this light did better. It’s worked well to find the screw the went under a piece of furniture, to make sure the mailbox was empty at night, and to avoid spiders in the backyard. It’s clip is fantastic and it’s fantastic as an EDC. It’s lightweight and well built and rechargeable nearly anywhere. With the attractive box it would make a nice stocking stuffer too. Take a look at it on Bestlight.IO.

EDC Review Reviews Travel

Reylight Ti-LAN Review

Today I have the Reylight Ti Lan on my review table. Thanks to Rey at Reylight for sending me this light at a discount so that I could review it.

Photo Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/vtqan
YouTube Review:

The Ti Lan shares many of it’s features and design characteristics with the Reylight Pineapple so if you like it you will like the Ti Lan and save a few ounces.

Construction
The Ti Lan is made from beautiful titanium alloy that has been bead blasted as it’s finish. I like this because I think it shows fewer scratches because it’s bead blasted. This can be debated but the Ti LAN is also offered in a polished titanium.
The machining is good and the finish is uniform. The TI LAN differs from the Pineapple the most in the design of the head https://i.imgur.com/T1DHpD6.jpg , battery tube and tail piece with space for 6 tritium vials. https://i.imgur.com/CyKY2js.jpg This one has 3 round side panels and on one there is a light surface level etch of the logo. Threads are nicely cut and plenty of them. When installing the battery, instead of unscrewing the back of the light I would recommend unscrewing the head and installing the threads that way. https://i.imgur.com/fB6N0M0.jpg My Ti Lan kind of disassembled itself when I unscrewed the rear cap. I will put a little locktight on the threads to solve the problem. The lens has a very light orange peel, and the glass is hardened with antireflective coating. The rear piece of titanium does unscrew to remove the clip or to aid in Tritium install.

This light has really been designed for Tritium inserts all over. There are a total of 10 cutouts on the light. 3 are on the body of the head https://i.imgur.com/T1DHpD6.jpg , you have 6 through holes in the bezel https://i.imgur.com/0d3YMbn.jpg of the tail cap, and 1 in the on/off switch cover itself. If you are unfamiliar with Tritium, it’s a radioactive form of Hydrogen gas. It’s used in Flashlights, high end watches, and firearm sights enclosed in small glass tubes that are lined in phosphorus.

While the titanium saves some weight, this isn’t a super light weight flashlight for it’s size though. All measurements are without batteries.

Pineapple V2 in brass is – 3.2 oz
Ti LAN in titanium – 2.31 oz

Length = 96.15mm
Diameter of the head 21mm

LED & Modes
This light is a tail click, that tailstands https://i.imgur.com/4JJnsqM.jpg. I have not had any issues with it turning on accidentally in my pocket. The LED in use is the Nichia 219C in neutral white. This isn’t the highest output LED but the light quality makes up for that in my opinion. It’s probably a high CRI but this isn’t specifically stated. Light color is similar to my BLF 348 which is high CRI. Neutral white is just really nice and high CRI provides more accurate colors. I will trade these over more lumens anyday for every day practical use.

Modes
I like that this light starts on moonlight, however moonlight is so low at 0.02 lumen that you have to be in nearly pitch black for it to be useful. That said the 3 remaining higher modes are pretty useful especially when running a 14500 lithium battery. On screen now is a table of the light’s performance with both types of batteries. As you can see there is a big performance difference between AA NiHM batteries and 14500 LIthium batteries. Max of 110 lumens with a AA isn’t class leading, however with a 14500 it’s a lot better. I use the lithium batteries in it as my EDC to get that extra boost in performance. On High with a 14500 this light gets hot, really hot when ran for 5+ minutes. It does not step down due to temp. On my standard temp test (1 minute high it got to 101F At 5 minutes this was up to 135F. I have parts for a new rig to measure temp and lumens on the way in the next month or so. I don’t hear any buzzing in the lower modes with the Ti Lan like my first generation Pineapple had.https://i.imgur.com/dSTCT2o.jpg

I don’t have any major issues with the pocket clip. https://i.imgur.com/khtWeXJ.jpg It fits pretty well on my pants pocket and stays in place. It’s a capture clip, and non reversible. If you were to remove it, it would leave a visible ring on the light. I do wish it was slightly deeper carry as I do with most knives and flashlights but it’s not too bad. I don’t care for the nib opposite the clip for a lanyard but this can be fiiled down. No lanyard is included and it’s a very small hole. The light is IPX-4 water resistant but i did not test that. I did bend the clip once during carry but this was my own fault. I was able to take it off and bend it back on the table pretty easily.

The Ti-LAN has a new box that I like quite a bit. https://i.imgur.com/YcP7dTm.jpg It has your lumen and runtime chart and basic operating instructions. Considering Reylight is a very small company its’ very nice and does the job well.

Conclusion
This is a really nice EDC light in my option. It’s not tactical, but instead super practical and definitely attractive looking. It sits well in my pocket and is comfortable to EDC, and a lot of that I attribute to being a nice diameter. I am a Titanium fanboy and I really like how the bead blasted finish looks. With a AA battery or NiHM battery the performance is behind the curve, and about what you would expect out of a smaller non neutral white AAA light. However with a 14500 the performance is pretty good, combine that with the neutral white high CRI LED and a tail switch this becomes a great EDC in my opinion.

The Ti LAN is now available available on Amazon with Prime shipping. It makes it fast and easy to get a great elegant EDC light.

Coupon
Use the code J6PSMOWA on Amazon to get the Reylight Ti-Lan for $59
Sandblasted http://amzn.to/2fTPIn0
Polished http://amzn.to/2y416mJ

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

AstroLux MF01 Review

The Astrolux MF01 the newest light from Astrolux and Banggood. Thanks to Bangood for sending this to me to show my subscribers and Reddit. The MF01 is a numbers light. It has 4x 18650 batteries, 18 Nichia 219 LED’s in neutral white, 12,000 Lumens at peak, all in a light slightly larger than a pop can.

Image Album: https://imgur.com/a/vTp72
Youtube Video:

Physical Appearance
This light has a satin black finish with mild hash grips on about 50% of it’s body. https://i.imgur.com/ovhRVGX.jpg It provides some added grip but I would recommend using the included lanyard. I like that they choose OD green for the lanyard color as it goes well with the glow under the button and who doesn’t like OD green. The bezel is a polished stainless steel I believe. https://i.imgur.com/Xi2U6lu.jpg It’s screwed on very tight but should be removable with a strap wrench. This light is IPX-7 rated for moisture.

The head of the light is larger than the body 72mm vs 49.5mm.
Length comes in at a measured 128mm at its longest points.
Weight with batteries is a hefty 726.6 grams.

This light does tailstand well and is stable when doing so. https://i.imgur.com/4Gj4VVY.jpg This light does come into 3 distinct pieces, the head, the battery tube, and tail cap. https://i.imgur.com/vz2yHDn.jpg The battery carrier itself is two tick pieces of brass with circuit boards on each end. https://i.imgur.com/lHYWpOd.jpgThere are 4 metal tubes that are rubber lined that are the structure. https://i.imgur.com/dv3737F.jpg Each is screwed in. More on battery configuration and what works later.

Threads a triangularly cut and close together. https://i.imgur.com/P7N92qX.jpg They were well greased from the factory. You can mechanically lock out the light by unscrewing the rear cap to break the electrical connection. Build quality is on par with other lights in this price range and I can’t find any glaring flaws.

I really like that this light has a tripod adapter both in ? and ¼ dimensions. https://i.imgur.com/AgX7JTV.jpg I think this is a must on one of these coke can style lights. They tend to be so floody and work well but if you are using it to light a large area the tripod mount makes it easy to mount and hold in the position you need. https://i.imgur.com/eJZLXqS.jpg The adapter to convert between sizes is nice too. It mounts pretty flat. https://i.imgur.com/mEiVKgo.jpg

Performance
Heat is a bit of an issue on this light. It’s no surprise that when in turbo and making nearly 12,000 lumens with the Nichia LED option that this light gets quite hot. When the light gets to 60C (140F) degrees it will reduce the output to around 2500 lumens to maintain temperature and prevent damage. During my standard 1 minute turbo test the light got to 109F. https://i.imgur.com/Anx18E6.jpg I didn’t get it to the 60C it states step down occurs at.

The Nichia 219 LED’s produce a whiter neutral white output and only sacrifice a small amount of output in doing so. The human eye can’t tell the difference between the 12000 lumens that this light produces with the XPG3 LED and the 11526 lumens it produces with the 219C LED’s. What a little strange is On low and turbo the XPG3 LED’s produce more lumens but on Medium, Medium1 and high the 219C LED’s produce more lumens. Throw distance is the same.

Nichia 219C
Low – 70 Lumens – 214 hours
Medium – 700 Lumens – 14 hours https://i.imgur.com/P5pAjLw.jpg
Medium1 – 1100 Lumens – 4.7 Hours https://i.imgur.com/rWD3qnF.jpg
High – 6800 Lumens – 4 Hours https://i.imgur.com/5GKFMic.jpg
Turbo – 11,526 Lumens – 3.5 Hours https://i.imgur.com/pRtyWs5.jpg

A little comparison between the Emisar D4 (Nichia), Astrolux MF01 (Nichia), Nitecore TM06s https://i.imgur.com/2l81G3Z.jpg

Batteries play a big part in the performance of this light. Astrolux recommends Samsung 30Q batteries. For my tests I used KeepPower batteries based on LG HG2 and are button tops. These are similar specced batteries but sag a little. This light is designed for use with button top cells cells in a 2S2P configuration. The 2s means two cells in series doubling voltage, and 2p means two cells in parallel adding capacity. Doing this gives you the best of both worlds but means you have to put the cells in the carrier correctly or there could be devastating results. You can run flat top cells in this light if you pry the white plastic rings off of an empty carrier. https://i.imgur.com/dv3737F.jpg They are held in place with a small amount of adhesive. While I don’t recommend this it’s possible.

UI
The UI of this light is pretty simple and well explained in the manual with a diagram. From Off clicking the button once enters normal mode in low. Clicking again increases each mode spacing (5 in total) all the way to turbo. If you double click you have a shortcut to turbo. Triple click when off or on gets you to the special modes which include Tactical strobe, SOS, and location beacon. When the light is on just long press to shut it off. This light does have memory modes. When the light is off you can Long Press the button to go into lockout and the breathing LED will stop. Long press again to deactivate it.

Low Voltage protection is shown with the glowing LED under the main button. Astrolux calls it a breathing light as it fades in and out slowly. Green is above 6.8V, Red is 6.1V, red flashing is below 6.1V and at 5.8V the light turns off.

Table Top + Rest of Outdoor https://youtu.be/X5YeLTnUrWU?t=7m42s

Airport Security
I brought the Astrolux MF01 with me on a recent business trip and I can comment that the TSA will take an interest in this light if it’s in your carry on luggage. I watched the guy running the Xray machine stop, inspect my bag, turn his head to the side and frown and immediately pull my bag out for manual inspection. The nice TSA agent grabbed my bag and knew immediately I had a flashlight and we actually started talking about it as she was pretty interested. She was really impressed that it was capable of 12,000 lumens and mentioned it was a lot more then her MagLite. Once things were inspected and a sample was put into the mass spectrometer, I was cleared for my flight. On the way home I took the light out of the bag and put in in a bin like it was a laptop and it passed through without issue.

Packaging and extras
The package is a nice heavy white box with a line drawing of the light. Nowhere on it mentions the brand or the model. Inside the light is held in place with white foam. https://i.imgur.com/UAN9SEE.jpg It’s easiest to take the first layer of foam out to get to the light. The light comes with 2 extra orings, a tripod mount adapter, and a lanyard. The directions are pretty good explaining the modes, parameters, and low voltage protection.

Pro’s
* Great output with a more neutral white color and HIGH CRI.
* Lanyard + tripod options
* Fits in the hand pretty well

Con’s
* No Direct access to low modes.
* Mode spacing could be improved.
* My batteries are a little looser then I would like but this hasn’t cause issues. Be careful about cells that are too long as they can deform a spring.
* No included belt pouch

Summary
What surprised me about this light it’s more than just a flood like many in this format. This actually throws a decent amount given how short the optics are. The optics in front of each of the LED’s really make a difference in the beam pattern. Given the cost of this light I think it’s a good value. Many high output lights are pretty expensive and this is one of the lowest cost per lumens out there right now. In the lower modes the runtimes are impressive. I would like to see a mode lower than 70, and something between 1100 and 6800. I could see someone using this for light hiking or out in very rural areas. If you are looking for a really high output light thats in between a flood and a throw, check this one out.

Astrolux MF01 is available from Bangood at: https://goo.gl/Lvx5oT
Use the coupon code: e04bc8 to get the MF01 for $85.95 updated price
Samsung 30Q Batteries https://goo.gl/7cr1QT

Flashlight Reviews

Olight PL-Mini Review

Olight adds to it’s growing family of weapon mountable lights with the new Olight PL-Mini.  Thanks to Olight for sending this to me to try out. Weapon lights are one of my favorite things to test as it gives me an excuse to head to the range for some target practice and testing. The PL-Mini is designed to be very small, and rechargeable. This breaks tradition from most weapon lights that use lithium primary cells like CR123s or CR2032s.


Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/MhnJR
Video Review:

 

Build Quality
This light has a machined aluminum housing, with a built in non replaceable battery. The light housing is mostly pinned together. It has a tool free quick release with a spring loaded side. https://i.imgur.com/3TG5pq2.jpg https://i.imgur.com/glNkKvA.jpg My side was slightly stuck but it freed up easily and has not been a problem. The comes preinstalled with the Glock sized rail piece, but a 1913 rail piece is included in the packaging along with an allen key to change if that’s what you need. I really like the quick release system that’s tooless.

The toggles/buttons are made of plastic with some texture on top. https://i.imgur.com/xNG7Nrh.jpg They have a small amount of rubber between the switch surface and the surface of the light that squishes when depressed. It’s not a mechanical feeling switch like on some of the Surefire weapon lights. The buttons only are able to be pressed down, not from the side or not towards the muzzle. I do like that at least on my G19 here they are much closer to the trigger guard making it not much of a reach to turn on or off. https://i.imgur.com/NkVE9PQ.jpg I shot about 200 rounds with this light attached and had no problems with the light turning off or malfunctioning. Water resistance is rated at IPC6. I had no problems out in the rain with the light.

Size and Weight
This is one of the smallest and lightest weapon lights on the market that I am aware of. It’s a perfect fit on my Glock 19 adding very light weight and no extra length. Weight came in at 2.32oz. I measured the length at 61.3mm, Width at 26.1mm, and height at 27.1mm.

This light uses a Cree XP-L HI LED in cool white. It’s very centered in the light. Lumens is quoted at 400 lumens on high with step down to 60 lumens. That doesn’t sound like a lot but as you will see from my night shots It’s enough in my opinion, especially considering the small weight and size. This is a great self defense or home defense option. It throws more than I expected. The reflector is smooth and the lens is anti reflective coated.

In my testing with the Ceiling Bounce App the gradual step down from 400 lumens to 60 happened after just a few minutes and then slowly over the course of the next 6 minutes the light was down to 60 lumens.  It remained here for a about 45 minutes. At the 62 minute mark it took a rapid decline to zero and shut off due to low voltage protection.

Still beam shot

https://i.imgur.com/nE5jX6j.jpg

Hallway beam shots https://i.imgur.com/eoe6oVq.jpg

Heat really isn’t an issue with this light. I didn’t bother to test this because after 10 minutes of run time it was barely warm to the touch.

Charging
The PL-Mini uses the familiar magnetic charging system Olight uses on other lights but with a twist. This charger is labeled on the bottom as “Special” and the magnet is installed in reverse to other chargers they have on the S30R iii, S2R, etc. I asked Olight what the difference was and they said it’s designed for faster charging, especially for use in the field. From a completely low battery I charged it to full in one hour. The charging numbers are pretty low, but given the size of the battery it’s decently fast. The charging speeds I was was 5.07V at 1.86W with 0.37A. Battery capacity is listed at 260mAh. The light also will turn on during recharging, so thats’ a great way to extend runtime if you needed and it opens up other use cases like using it as a bike light.

I do wish Olight would have explained this in the manual or on the website. I feel like it would have been a smarter choice to make the charger a bit of a different design or anodize the aluminum differently, or a different color cable/USB end so it stood out more from their standard charger.

Is it Safe?
It looks like Olight has taken steps to make the charging port on this light safer the previous magnetic charging designs they use. It will not start a fire with steel wool was placed on the charging contacts. I didn’t measure any live voltage on the charging contacts.

Packaging is typical of other modern Olight lights. https://i.imgur.com/b5o3frT.jpg It has a retail cardboard box, with graphics on the outside and relevant information. Inside is a plastic try containing the light, 1913 rail, alan key, and recharging cable. The directions are brief and complete.

Since this is a new light there isn’t any Holster support yet from established manufacturers. This has been a problem with other Olight weapon lights. I am surprised they don’t establish a relationship with a few manufactures so that holsters are available during launch instead of months later. I feel like this would be a quick way to boost sales of a new light quickly.

I think this will be a popular weapon light from Olight. It provides more than enough light to use in a self defense situation while being in a very small package. I like the ergonomics of the light with the buttons being for left or right handed shooters, and the buttons being closer to the trigger guard. Being rechargeable means it’s less expensive and more convenient to use while on a patrol or during training. It’s simple to operate with only one mode. I think the price is pretty attractive for its offering given others on the market for a rail mounted light.

Pro’s
* Perfect size and weight for a compact pistol like a G19, CZ P10C, etc
* Impressive throw for the size and amount of lumens.
* Decent runtime for most situations, and good recharge time.

Con’s
* No holsters commercially available yet.
* I wish the PL-Mini charger was more distinctive in its look, since it’s not compatible with older Olight rechargeable lights.
* Timed step down. Since this light doesn’t get very hot I wish it would run on high until the battery gave out.
* No Strobe or mode options. Just turn it on.
* Only a 2 year warranty, usually most Olight products have a 5 year warranty.

Olight official store: https://www.olightstore.com/olight-pl-mini
Olight official eBay store: http://bit.ly/PLMINIeBayUS

Audio Reviews Review Reviews

Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless Headphone Review

I did a review video a few months ago on the Anker SoundBud Sport and since then they have been my most used wireless headphones. I really like them and have been using them when I mow, around the house cleaning, and more. Today’s review is on the new Anker Soundbuds Curve. Thanks for Anker for sending these

Check them out at Amazon http://amzn.to/2wxH2VM

The Soundbuds Curve take what’s great from the Soundbud Sports and changes how they stay in the ear with a hoop that goes behind the ear. This helps them stay in place when being active like our running.

 

Sound is just a little bit better then the Soundbuds sport in my opinion. The bass is fuller and more robust definitely. I think this is due to the slightly larger size and how they fit into the ear.  I didn’t have any trouble with bluetooth range while I had my phone in my shorts pocket while wearing the headphones. Pairing was easy too by just holding the center button on the remote. The remote has volume up and down as well as the ability to skip tracks.

 

These headphones have CVC Noise Cancellation technology, an important thing to note about this is it’s for phone calls only. These are not a replacement for your Bose noise cancelling headphones for use on mass transit. It only works for phone calls, not music playback.

 

I have found them comfortable to wear for hours at a time  during normal uses. However the larger size does have a drawback. While traveling sometimes like to rest my head against the wall of the plane, my hand, etc. These stick out of your ear a bit more making that not as comfortable. During normal uses though they are very comfortable. There are 3 different ear wing sizes and 3 tips so make sure you get the right size for you. For the best sound quality you want the tightest fit.

 

Battery life is claimed at 12.5 hours at I assume a 50% volume. I found this to be pretty accurate. It is more runtime then the Anker Soundbud Sports, and I would expect that due to the larger size there is more space for a battery. These charge pretty quickly, a 10 minute charge will give you about 30 minutes of run time. Charging is easy over microUSB on the remote.

 

No IPX Water rating is given but instead Anker says they are water resistant and nano coated. In my experience with the Soundbuds Sport, sweat and light mist will be fine but take them off before a major rain storm or taking a shower.

 

What’s in the Box?

In the box you have a round zipper case which contains the headphones themselves and a with a small carabiner to clip onto your bag, . Other accessories include a short flat microUSB cable for charging and a total of 3 different ear wings, and 3 tip sizes. Oddly enough for me these fit well in my ear the first time and I didn’t have to adjust anything. You also get a small clip

 

Summary

For the price, especially when they go on sale, I can definitely recommend the Anker Soundbuds Curve because they sound good, have great battery life for their size and are comfortable to use. Check them at Amazon while they are on sale for a limited time http://amzn.to/2wxH2VM

Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Anker HS2 Runners Headlamp Review

2017 has seems to have been the year of the headlamp. Today I have the Olight HS2 which is a bit of a break from the usual design of using a right angle light found in many headlamps. Thanks to Olight for sending me the HS2 so that I could take a look and review it.

Full Photo Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/URvhR

Youtube Review:

For more details and purchase check out the links below.
http://bit.ly/HS2eBayUS
https://www.olightstore.com/led-flashlights/headlamps/headlamp-olight-hs2

The HS2 is primarily designed to be used for runners. Olight’s CEO is an avid runner and wanted something small and lightweight but with runtime to use for early morning or late evening runs. While it should work good for that it also will work for other headlight tasks decently well. However it’s lack of a very low (Moon light mode) does limit very up close work or hiking where you want to preserve your night vision.

 

Physical appearance

The HS2 takes a different approach to their other headlamps by using 2 drivers and two different optics to give you both flood and a bit of throw at the same time. Each emitter can be used independently or together and I will go over UI in a bit. The small emitter up front is removable from the strap but not the plastic holder. This detached piece allows you to power the light via microUSB if you want. When on the headband it’s attached via a coiled wire to the head strap. The battery pack is a small rectangle that when worn goes on the back of your head. The switch is a large blue button on the left hand side of the headstrap. The connector between the two pieces was very stiff to plug in the first time. You really need to force it until there is no gap. If you purchase an HS2 and it’s not working make sure you check this out.

 

The head of the light is removeable from the band. It looks like the nut would allow you to do this but instead it disassembles the light itself. To get it off, you can slip it off the strap itself but not off it’s holder. Similarly the battery is sewn into the strap making removal or replacement not possible. The biggest problem I see with this is if I wear this out running and get it all sweaty I would like to wash the headband. With this setup and the IPX4 water rating you can’t just throw it in a machine. You can rinse it in the sink but that’s about it. IPX4 means it’s water resistant to splashes and light rain and normal dirt. That’s a little disappointing because it limits washing, but from a practical use for runners it should be ok. Weight is right at 4 ounces ready to run. Overall build quality is good and what I have come to expect from Olight.  

 

Since this was designed as a runner’s light to be worn on the head, I think at a minimum it would have been nice to include a piece of reflective tape on the battery pack, and if you took it a step further maybe 1 LED on the battery pack itself to act as a “tail light” for other runners, bikers, cars while out running.

 

Performance

This light uses a Cree XP-G2 LED in cool white. One LED is behind a lens to focus the beam and the other is behind a frosted piece of plastic to diffuse it. The result is one floody light and one more spot. I didn’t notice any abnormal tint shift in the output of the cool white but would like it more if they offered a neutral white version. All modes have PWM but it’s not something that I noticed.

 

Olights runtimes have been proven to be accurately published and the HS2 is no different.

  • Mixed Beam High – 400lm – 2hr 12 min
  • Mixed Beam Low – 100lm – 9hr
  • Throw Beam High – 200lm – 4hr 30 min
  • Throw Beam Low – 50lm – 18hr
  • Flood Beam High – 200lm – 4 hr 30 min
  • Flood Beam Low 0 50lm – 18hr

 

There is no step down due to temperature or time and I really like this. In my testing the head of the light got up to 117F after 10 minutes of run time. That is HOT but it doesn’t touch your skin so I think this is acceptable. This light normally runs at the LiPo backs nominal voltage of 3.7V but if you choose to run if off a USB battery bank it will also run on 5V. This gives you a bit more performance because of the increased voltage. The UI and operation remains the same no matter what power source you use.

 

UI

The UI of this light is pretty easy. For startup, between modes, and at shutdown there is a nice fade in/out ramp. The light has two brightness modes on each LED and on both combined. You can run it on Flood, or Spot, or Both at the same time. To switch between them, just double click after the light is already on. Triple click to activate an SOS mode (Both LED’s at the same time). This light does not have a memory mode and always starts in high with both LED’s burning. I ended up running both LED’s at the same time during most of my testing. I think for most running applications people will use both as it lets you see what’s around you and directly in front the best. To turn off just long press and the light will gradually power down.

 

The lack of a mode lower than 50 lumens limit’s this lights use for some traditional headlamp activities as 50 lumens is more then you need in many cases at short range or while trying to preserve night vision.

 

Charging

Charging of the onboard 2000mah lithium polymer cell, is accomplished via micro USB on the battery pack itself. Using the included cable plug it into your favorite USB power source. The 4 small blue LED’s will come on to let you know it’s charging. When all 4 are lit and solid you know it’s ready to go. These also serve as a battery indicator just press the button to get an idea of the available charge. This setup allows you to run longer if by hooking up to a larger mobile powerbank via a wire if you would like. This light will work while charging too.

 

This light does have a low power indicator, while using it. When the battery reaches 10% those LED indicators will begin to blink. You will also get an audible tone for 10 minutes. If on high combined and you switch a lower mode you will get more runtime. To stop this just press the blue button. Since the battery is mounted on the back of your head hopefully you will be able to hear the beeping even with headphones in. I do wish they had a visual indicator at maybe 20% (Fast short strobe) that gave you a little extra time to get home before things went dark.

 

Packaging

Packaging is typical Olight. It’s high quality printed cardboard. Inside you got a micro USB cable to charge that’s olight branded but not proprietary. On the outside of the box you have the typical relevant information to learn about the light in a retail setting. I really like that Olight included a zippered carrying case to keep everything together. I wish more headlights on the market did this.

 

Pro

  • Nice light profile (Flood + Throw) with smooth ramping up and down.
  • Great runtimes on low and good on high, No stepdowns in output due to temp or time.
  • Really easy to use UI and charging system
  • Comfortable and balanced head band & light weight operation
  • Can run from a USB Powerbank at 5V to increase runtime and performance.
  • No assembly of the headband itself is required

 

Cons

  • I would like an additional low lumen mode which would make the light more versatile.
  • I wish the light started in Low mode not high.
  • The light and battery should come off the strap to allow you to wash the headband or improve the IPX rating.
  • Currently no high CRI or NW options

 

Summary

I was at my local runners shoe store over the weekend and they were selling headlamps for runners for nearly $40 that ran on AAA batteries. The Olight HS2 is clearly better than those for a price that matches its performance. This is a specialized headlamp for runners and it makes some design compromises that would make it a little better for hiking or camping uses like lack of a moon light mode. It’s arriving on the market at a good time as the days are getting shorter and the runners are still out in force. I think this would make a decent hiking or camping headlamp too given it’s nice mix of flood and throw though still. I have enjoyed using it around the house and in my yard because of it’s light weight and split beam characteristics and can recommend it, especially if you are a runner

For more details and purchase check out the links below.
http://bit.ly/HS2eBayUS
https://www.olightstore.com/led-flashlights/headlamps/headlamp-olight-hs2

Review Reviews

Eufy Genie Review

Today I have a brand new product from Eufy, the Eufy Genie. This Genie is like the Amazon Echo Dot which I also have. A special thanks to Eufy for sending me the Genie to feature on my channel and compare it to my Echo Dot. My feeling is that this is going to be a little  longer review but I will try and keep it short.

For a limited time you can get the Eufy Genie under $30 on Amazon by using this link http://amzn.to/2wk2wXP

The Eufy Genie is black glossy plastic around the edges with flat black plastic on top. It’s round in shape and it’s profile tapers in. On top there is a small LED ring of multiple RGB LED’s that light up when in use and give a status indicator.

I really like how when the Genie is not active the lights shut off. It seems like my Dot likes to come awake all the time. I didn’t like it in my bedroom for this reason. However the Genie so far is great in my bedroom as it doesn’t produce extra light when not actively being used.

The speaker is downward firing and is even from all angles. There is a Micro USB power input in the rear and a ?” audio connector for audio out. Both the power supply and audio cable are included in the packaging.

Setup is slightly more complicated with the Eufy Genie then the Amazon Dot. After powering on I launched the Eufy Home app. You have to create a login, and it’s not shared with the Eufy website. I do wish they added SSO signin options which would make signing in with your Google or Facebook account. Once logged in the app guides you through joining the wifi network the Genie creates, once joined you pick your real wifi network, input your password. You can stop there but you shouldn’t you want to signin to your amazon account to allow the Genie to get access to Alexa services and skills. Once logged into Amazon basic setup is done and you can start asking your Genie to do stuff like ask it the weather.

 

Sound Quality & Voice Responsiveness

The speaker is much louder on the Genie then on my Dot. Anker seems to be doing some EQ processing on it on to prevent distortion when loud which is good but has the side effect of removing the lower tones. When listening to Local radio, podcasts, etc. It leaves something to be desired when listening to the latest top 40 hits.

The synthesized voice is good, it’s a little different then the Dot but sounds similar. I found voice responsiveness to be equally as good as my Echo Dot.

Pros

  • Price point is lower. This makes it great for a second device or someone just wanting to try the technology.
  • Louder & better quality speaker (Although less low end) then the Amazon Echo Dot for a lower price
  • Has most of Amazon Echo Dot’s feature set built in including all the skills.
  • Will control Eufy other smart home devices like the upcoming robovac or lightbulbs.

This is a brand new product and Eufy is making firmware upgrades to address some of these issues. As of August 2017 here are a few of the limitations.

  • The Genie can’t be used to voice command Spotify or Pandora (This is expected to be fixed soon)
  • The Genie can’t use the call Echo feature yet but this is expected to be fixed soon.
  • The Genie can’t do voice ordering from Amazon at the moment
  • There isn’t a bluetooth radio but there is an aux cable to attach a larger speaker system if you wanted to. I don’t’ think this is as big of deal given the improved sound quality.
  • As of right now you can’t rename the command key phrase
  • Setup is slightly longer due to having to set it up in the Eufy app and the Amazon Echo app.

 

Value Proposition and Summary

As of late August 2017 the Eufy Genie has a few limitations when compared to the Amazon Echo Dot. Most of these will be fixed with software updates soon according to Eufy within 2 weeks. Once the firmware is updated and many of these fixes are in place,  I feel like the two devices will compare closely enough that I can with confidence recommend the Eufy Genie. I like that the speaker is louder than the Dot. In my bedroom it’s easily loud enough to read me the news, stream a local radio station in the morning while getting ready, or listen to a podcast. It won’t be my main music device in my bedroom due to lack of low end tones but it’s great for something that’s easy and voice controlled. I like how the Genie builds on an already established platform and nearly all the Amazon Echo skills are available and compatible. Best of all is the price. At normal prices you can save about $10-15 over a Dot and get a louder speaker.

EDC Flashlight Reviews

Blitzwolf BW-ET1 Review

This light was provided by Bangood for testing and review. They have provided a Coupon code for anyone interested in purchasing that brings it to $25.95 when you use the coupon code 8980bc at Banggood https://goo.gl/iaWk7P

Small Photo Gallery: http://imgur.com/a/oCojV
Video Version of this review:

The Blitzwolf BW-ET1 is a small pocket carry flashlight  that was sent to me by Banggood for testing. It’s main feature is it’s ability to ramp brightness instead of defined modes. Blitzworlf is a brand probably better known for their electronics chargers and cables. To me it looks like they took a lot of inspiration from Anker in the packaging and brand philosophies.

The EBW-ET1 is one of two flashlights that I can see Blitzwolf is currently making. Construction is average quality. There isn’t anything bad to report nor is there anything extraordinary. Anodizing seems standard, with a light gloss to it, there is a lot going on in the design of this small light. This light does come into quite a few more pieces then I expected, 6 to be exact excluding Orings.  This has the potential to be a place for increased water ingress even though it’s rated for IPX-8. You are able to unscrew the tail cap and remove the neodymium magnet if you don’t want it.

It can run on AA batteries or 14500 lithium cells which is how I am running it for increased performance. If you use AA then you can use 2 of them with the optional extension tube, it can’t use two lithium batteries though.

Emitter
This light uses a Cree XPL-V6 LED that is listed as having a 5000k warm white output. In my testing it’s not as warm as my Nichia 219b in my Reylight Pineapple. https://youtu.be/pt9YqSoZ1aw?t=6m20s The light does have a hot center spot with a lot of flood. No beam distance is given. The lowest mode is listed as 2.5 lumens with a 14500 and 600LM with a 14500. If battery voltage falls below 3.4v turbo is not possible with a lithium battery. It doesn’t have a low voltage protection for lithium cells, so a protected battery is recommended. Maximum temperature achieved during my one minute test was 90F.

Controls 
With the stepless controls you press the only button and hold, stopping at the brightness you want. Once you let off the button if you press again you’re going down in output. The light will blink once, to let you know you’re at 1% brightness, twice to give indication you’re at 50%, and strobe 3 times to show your at maximum brightness. There are shortcuts to jump to 100% brightness by double clicking the mode button. If you triple click you will get SOS/Strobe mode. Long pressing in this mode allows you switch between patterns. Double click to exit this mode. The light also has memory that can only be reset by removing the light. No button lockout is mentioned so it’s best if you use physical tail switch for that. https://youtu.be/pt9YqSoZ1aw?t=4m25s

Packaging
In the box you get the flashlight itself with single battery tube, hand strap, soft light baton, manual and warranty card. For the normal price I think you really should get the extra body tube and definitely a pocket clip. The box itself folds out nicely and is foam lined. The manual has taken a lot of influence in it’s design. Its simple, straightforward and easy to use.

Mine didn’t come with a pocket clip which means as an EDC it’s not going to work with my system very well. Some of the marketing photos show a pocket clip. It’s a small narrow light so if it had a pocket clip it should work decently well. I checked with Banggood to see if mine was just missing a clip and they said no. is a size comparison with other 14500 lights I have like the Reylight Pineapple and Olight S1A.

If you can catch this light on sale at a good price then It’s a decent option for a neutral white stepless light that will run on AA or 14500 cells. At normal price it’s more on the expensive side of things. Mine didn’t come with a pocket clip which means as an EDC it’s not going to work with my system very well. For a light marked as a EDC, the lack of a pocket clip is a killer. Moving past that this light has pretty solid performance for it’s size and I like it’s in a neutral white by default.

Pro’s
-LED Tint is nice at 5000k
-I like that it comes with a soft light baton, I wish more lights came with this as standard
-Stepless driver is nice and easy to use

Con’s
-No Pocket clip included. It’s very needed on a light this size
-The extended battery tube should be included
-No low voltage protection with lithium batteries. Use of a protected battery is strongly recommended