What makes a good EDC (every day carry) light? Here’s my criteria :
– rugged construction
– uses commonly available batteries
– small (pocketable)
– bright beam
– long lasting
The new Fenix L1T LED flashlight fulfills all of the above, and does more besides.
Fenix is a little-known company based in Shenzen, China which has attracted attention since early this year. They have a knack for producing good quality flashlights that both look good, and perform well. Their line of Luxeon LED flashlights have set the standard for affordable EDC. Starting with the L1 (single AA), L2 (double AA) and L0 (single AA) lights, they have since come up with the L1P, L2P and L0P, which are brighter. Fenix hasn’t stopped there, and their rate of new flashlight introduction has set many rivals to shame. The latest wonders to come out of Shenzen are the L1T and L2T (two-stage versions of the L1P and L2P), the Civictor V1 (an even more affordable version of the L1), and the P1 (which uses the CR123 battery commonly seen in high-end lights).
I ordered my L1T from David Chow of Fenix Store. Standard shipping, from the US took less than a week to arrive.
The L1T comes in a blister pack package. Standard accessories include a lanyard, a replacement tailcap switch, a couple of O-rings and a nylon holster case. They quality of the accessories is nothing to write home about, but they are a welcome addition to the package.
The light itself is surprisingly small – 9.1cm long and just 2cm in diameter. This is around the size of a Victorinox Climber Swiss Army Knife. It fits very well in the hand, and the aluminium body is well machined and sturdy, and the hard anodization (Type III HA) should protect it well from scratches.
The L1T uses a 3-watt Luxeon LED (T-Bin), which should last for 100,000 hours. The head of the light has a ultra clear, AR-coated glass lens and a polished metal reflector.
The tailcap is a “clickie” type- it provides good tactile feedback and has an audible click. You can stand the light on its tail, so it works in “candle mode”.
The light is extremely easy to use. For high output, just tighten the head all the way to the right. This provides a respectable 37 lumens of brightness, with 3 hours of battery life. For low output, slightly loosen the head. The low output mode will put out 10 lumens of light for approximately 10 hours of battery life.
The L1T uses a common type of battery – the ubiquitous AA. For all-around general use, you can choose alkaline batteries. For the environment (and cost) concious, you can choose rechargable NiMH batteries. For best performance, lightest weight, good temperature tolerance and long storage life, you can use Lithium AAs.
For under US$45, the L1T represents a great value. It’s a small, good-looking flashlight that has elements usually seen only in high end lights (glass lens, T-bin Luxeon). A comparable EDC light from an established company like Surefire (like the Surefire L1) will set you back more than twice the price.