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Princeton Tec Impact Report #3

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  • Jeff Widman
    Name: Jeff Widman Height: 6 2 Weight: 154 lbs. Age: 15 yrs Area of Residence: Bellingham, WA (two hours north of Seattle.) Item being tested: Princeton Tec
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2001
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      Name: Jeff Widman
      Height: 6'2"
      Weight: 154 lbs.
      Age: 15 yrs
      Area of Residence: Bellingham, WA (two hours north of Seattle.)
                  Item being tested: Princeton Tec Impact LED Flashlight
                       Report Number: 3
      Test Duration/Location/Conditions: I have tested this flashlight for over fifty hours, so far. I do not know the exact amount. Since originally installing the batteries that came with the light, I have used it as a reading lamp at least 4-5 days a week. I have also used it to take a few night walks, and once as a light for running at dusk.
      I have not actually taken it backpacking, but I have still put it through quite a bit of use.
      Price: Manufacturer's suggested retail price is $29.99 (Not the $16.99 I mistakenly wrote in my last report.
      Convenience/Ease of Use/Performance: I have remained extremely impressed. The light turns on and stays on. The incredible battery life allows me to avoid worrying about wasting battery life. Several times I have purposely left it on for several hours at a time. I have yet to notice any drop in brightness. This light keeps going and going and going.
      I have been extremely impressed with the lanyard. Big enough to promote easy use, while still weighing a mere 6 grams. The cord lock on the lanyard has the unique (to this model/manufacturer) feature of locking in the open position to allow easy adjustment. The light has an extremely comfortable fit; I took it running and never ended up using it (I got home before it got dark enough to use,) but even while running, when I normally hate to carry things, I really didn't have any problems. The light is extremely well balanced in my hand.
      Last night I spent about half an hour comparing a Princeton Tec Pulsar II to the Impact. The Pulsars are not as focused. They illuminated a wider area around my feet, but once I started looking at things five feet away or more, the narrower focus of the Impact made it much brighter/better. I do not know about PT's claim to illuminate items 50 yards away; last night was a full moon and I could detect noticeable illumination at approximately 30 yards distance. I would not hesitate to say that a dark night would increase the illumination distance by at least 10 yards. 
      Maintenance/Durability: The case has held up with no noticeable wear and tear. The head of the light is coated with a rubbery material, which does leave marks. Once I had my hands full, so I used my teeth to turn the light off. The teeth marks, though minor, are still visible on the head. The LED is still going strong. Still on the original battery set, yet I guesstimate that I have only used about 1/3 of the batteries. As I mentioned above, the lanyard is very handy. The lens was a main area of concern for me, but it still looks as good as new. I haven't taken this light into some extremely abusive situations, but it looks like new after several deliberate droppings.
      Drawbacks: Very few. I mentioned in my last report the color "The color of the light is a possible drawback. Dark black! (Ever seen light black?) If you drop it, the little sliver of moonlight might not make this visible. Possibly consider a neon yellow/green. Or simply paint your flashlight with reflective paint. I personally prefer the dark black color, as it allows me to paint it if I want to. Possibly Princeton Tec should offer both colors." I was happy to notice that REI was selling a 'granite' (speckled white) color. PT eliminates one of my complaints.
      Price is a drawback. As Ed succinctly put it, "I doubt that I would have paid $30 for this light, but now that I have it, I would definitely pay another $30 to replace it."
      Weight is the only drawback that I am seriously concerned about. The incredible burn time is obtained at the incredible weight of 5.7 oz. Lithiums have been mentioned as an option to reduce the weight to around 4 ounces total. Normally I would shy away from the expense of Lithiums, but I am more and more becoming convinced that they are the way to go.
      Customer Service: ? The shipping was prompt and the packing professional. Limited Lifetime warranty, however, I STRONGLY doubt that I will ever have to make use of it.
      Possible Modifications/Improvements: ? I really don't know how the light could be improved. Jerry mentioned using a baseball cap and Velcro to create a headlamp. Personally, I may easily do the same, but not until I start carrying a baseball cap. :-) I really like having a flashlight as compared to a headlamp.
      Overall impressions/Quality: "Overall, a great light, the best one around in its category, but it fills a specific niche, and is not for the weight weenie." I still firmly believe everything that I wrote in that statement (from my previous report.) This light will not become a part of my normal summer backpacking ensemble. Why? Frankly it's just too heavy. I'll take the lower runtime and comparative awkwardness of my Pulsar IIs to the Impact. However, this light will be my only flashlight that I'll use for night games, for car camping, and for winter backpacking. Winter, and to a lesser degree spring and fall, are when I would seriously consider the Impact for backpacking. The Pulsars are extremely tough to use with thick gloves. In winter, when I would normally stay awake longer than the sun, I will just bring my artificial sun, in the form of this light. Whether or not you would be willing to use this as your normal summer light, I would still HIGHLY recommend that you buy one. It'll be the only flashlight you'll ever use for anything other than backpacking. And, I can almost guarantee that you will not wear it out. In fact, I would be surprised if you wore the batteries out before the manufacturer's recommended expiration date.
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