Welcome again fellow Field Venturers. As most of you know, I try to run this blog specifically tailored to those who do biological field work – whether that be professionally or recreationally – and obviously my main interest is Reptiles and Amphibians (though I will post a mammal or invertebrate from time to time.) In keeping with this, I like to offer gear reviews of whatever I can get my hands on, and oftentimes that means flashlights. Why? Because I’m out a lot at night, looking for critters. Usually I am interested in the big, really bright lights; but for this review I’m going to be scaling down and taking a look at the Lumintop Tool.
The tool is small – powered by a single AAA battery kind of small. Is completely concealable in the average sized male hand. Instead of a twist on/off like most mini flashlights, the Tool has a click-switch on the butt, and depressing the click switch half way controls the light’s intensity – the intensities go in order of medium (32 lumens), low (5 lumens), high (105 lumens), and there’s somewhat of a memory function – albeit a marginally annoying one – where if you turn the lamp off, it will come on at the next intensity. E.g. – if you turn the light off on high, the next time you turn it on, it will be on medium; if medium, then low; if low, then high. The memory function only ‘remembers’ for a few minutes, if you turn it on hours later it will start at the beginning of the medium – low – high circuit. The Tool’s charge purports to last 30 minutes on high, ten hours on medium and 60 hours on low. So far (using the Tool sporadically but regularly,) I think these are somewhat conservative estimates (although they might be more accurate if you use the light for an uninterrupted amount of time.) The Lumintop tool will cost you a mere $20 on amazon.
Overall Brightness – 9/10
Wow. Honestly, the only reason this isn’t given a 10/10 is because it obviously doesn’t compare to other lights in larger classes with a more robust power source… But, again: wow. The tool really surprised me with how bright it is given its size and AAA battery source. I’d take it road cruising for sure – in fact, it’s a really nice addition to just have in my pocket on a day-to-day basis when the suns getting low, conditions are good, but I just don’t happen to have my camera bag on me with its arsenal of lights. The high setting is actually bright enough to shine up arboreal lizards (chameleons, iguanas, etc.), albeit as a backup light, or perhaps a light that doesn’t look overly suspicious in an urban setting.
Width of beam – 9.5/10
Lamentably, most flashlights seem to prefer spotlighting to floodlighting. This isn’t a problem with the tool – it has what is perhaps a nearly perfect floodlight, spreading its lumens over a wide area. I’m really impressed by this; even the likes of the Fenix TK-45 (when adjusting for lumens) doesn’t give as nice of a beam width. The only light I have that does a better flood is the HP15 when paired with a diffuser, but the Tool gives even that a run for its money.
Throw – 8/10
Balancing throw with beam width is give-and-take, but I actually think the Tool does the job of representing both very well. It is able to light across the field behind my house quite well, obviously not as much throw as a spotlight, but a great bit for most applications – especially those herp-related.
Water/Light Penetration – 7.5/10
Listen, I really like this light after a few weeks of use, but everything has its limitations – don’t use it for shining for fish or aquatic salamanders and expect it to stack up to bigger, more powerful lights. That said, I was by no means disappointed with the way the light performed – just not overwhelmed either.
Battery – 9/10
On one hand, AAA’s are a little bit more annoying than AA’s; but on the other hand, we would, by definition, be dealing with a significantly bulkier light if AAA’s were used. As is, I’m impressed with the output, and AAA’s are still widely available at most gas stations, and certainly any dollar store, Walmart, etc. – and there are plenty of both in the southeast. The torch itself lasts a goodly long time on its battery – currently I’m using a Amazon Basics AAA (non-rechargeable, though I intended to invest in rechargeables soon).
Size – 10/10
For a normal-to-large sized person, this light’s size is amazing given the output. Those with sausage fingers might find some problems with it and its small click-switch (I stress might, not entirely sure), but all others should love it.
All aluminum, 110 lumens, perfect diffusion for $20. Do I really need elaborate?
Dependability – 9.5/10
No apparent problems here.
Ruggedness – 8/10
The Tool is entirely metal, so rugged overall, but I did have to dock it a couple of points for a potential problem: there is a slight gap where the tailcap and the head articulate to the body. This gap attracts grime, sand and dust. This isn’t a huge problem; it just requires a little extra care when opening the light to not allow any sand into the threading.
Other – 9.5/10
Everything else checks out – it’s an attractive light. I docked another half a point because of the memory function (see the introduction) and because the tailcap seems to attract pocket lint, but I can’t really compare that to any other light, as I’ve never had one small enough to fit easily in my pocket before. Not a big deal other than a minor cosmetic consideration.
OVERALL SCORE – 90/100
Lumintop sent me this light for review purposes – I’d actually never heard of Lumintop prior to this and wasn’t expecting much. The Tool exceeded expectations, and it goes with me everywhere I go now. As a matter of fact, this light is one of the few lights I can recommend to anyone, even non-herpers. Keep it in your glovebox, in your pocket, anywhere a light might come in handy, and with the $20 pricetag it’s affordable to get a couple strategically placed around the house and in vehicles. If Lumintop’s other lights are of the same caliber as this guy, I can’t wait to get my hands on them and start reviewing them for Field Ventures! The Tool AAA and Lumintops other lights can be seen on Lumintop’s website, http://www.Lumintop.com; check em’ out.