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A quality LED flashlight with extra batteries is one of the essentials everyone should have in their emergency kit, so this month we’ll be covering plenty of different lighting options. Of course, we’re also flashlight geeks at heart, and can’t resist machined aluminum, high output LED bulbs, and computer-designed lenses and reflectors. That’s why we’re sharing the Coast HP7R rechargeable LED flashlight with its Flex Charge Dual Power. It’s a compact, high power, versatile, and durable flashlight that’s designed for people that depend on their equipment for daily use, sometimes in life or death situations. Given those qualifications, we can place our trust in it when the lights go out.
Let’s start with the numbers. At 5.58 inches long, and 1.18 inches around (excluding the 1.47 inch bezel), the 7.2 ounce HP7R is substantial without being too bulky or heavy – not too big to carry all day, not so small that it gets lost in a purse or backpack. Output is 201 lumens on high, and 22 lumens on low. That translates to run times of 7 hours, 45 minutes, and 38 hours, 45 minutes respectively, when using the included lithium ion batteries. To give you an idea of the energy density of Li-ion, four alkaline AAA batteries only provides 2 hours on high, and 22 hours, 15 minutes on low. No run time is quoted for the flashing mode that is activated between high and low, but its alternating pattern is so annoying, you wouldn’t leave it on long. Either way, output is more than sufficient for finding your way around a dark house, and with a max beam distance of 1003 feet (306 meters), powerful enough for search and rescue missions, or signaling for help.
Since a flashlight with dead batteries is pretty useless, the Flex Charge Dual Power provides multiple options. Coast includes two Li-ion battery packs with each HP7R, then throws in a cartridge that holds four AAA batteries, and even packs that with a set of Duracells. To make sure you’ve always got charged batteries, they provide a USB to micro USB charging cable, along with a wall outlet adapter and cigarette lighter (now known as the more politically correct 12V accessory outlet) adapter. Two batteries, three charging options. And that’s not even the best part. A twist of the tail cap reveals an o-ring sealed Pro-Tek charging port, so batteries can be charged in the light, or outside of the light. That’s flexibility. Other accessories include a wall or vehicle mount, belt clip, sheath, and even a lanyard.
So far, every person we’ve demonstrated the HP7R to has been impressed by the ergonomics, output, and Flex system. The sealed tail cap switch is slightly recessed so it’s easy to turn on and off, but not by accident. Just as important as output, the light quality is outstanding too. On the widest flood setting, it’s very even all the way across. Just before the spot setting, it projects a sharp image of the LED itself, which goes back out of focus at the longest end of the range. Switching from spot to flood is easily accomplished with the Speed Focus Control, and the Long Range Focusing Optic System assures you can go from lighting a room to illuminating distant objects by simply pushing or pulling the bezel with your thumb and forefinger. Twisting the bezel locks it at whatever position it’s set to – a nice touch for those in-between settings. Of course, it’s waterproof, resistant to impacts, and covered by Coast’s lifetime guarantee.
This is the part where I feel like a script writer for a late night infomercial. “What’s all this going to cost you?” Well, the suggested retail price is $147.49, but you can certainly find it for less if you shop around. We (“we” being Coast’s super cool marketing guy) had an even better idea: Why not give one away? That’s right, they shipped us two, and I’ve got a brand new one all sealed up, waiting to be sent to one lucky reader. But you have to help us out to be in the running. Head over to our Facebook page, and “Like” this review (Or use the button on this page), then like the Coast Facebook page too, so you can stay notified of their new products and giveaways too. On Wednesday, September 11th, at 5PM Mountain, we’ll choose one random reader that’s done both. So get your Likes in before then. Good luck!