Sure*Fire E2 plus LED Conversion, retail $TBA (http://www.surefire.com)
OEM light only manufactured by SureFire (http://www.surefire.com)
Modification done by the light's user.
The Surefire E2 is an uncommonly bright, compact flashlight housed in a durable aluminum casing.
The light uses special lithium camera batteries to power a 60 lumen bulb for about an hour.
Smaller than some penlights, the E2 puts out more light than most 2 D cell flashlights!
This flashlight is fairly straightforward to use. To get momentary light, press the rubberized button on the tailcap.
For continuous or hands-free use, twist the tailcap clockwise until you get light, and unscrew it to turn the E2 off.
When you first receive the E2, you will need to install the batteries - see below for that.
Like most incandescents, you will eventually pop a bulb and have to replamp the flashlight.
To do this, unscrew the head until it comes off, and remove the old lamp.
Install a new lamp so the bulb goes into the opening in the head, and screw the head back onto the flashlight body.
The lamp in the E2 burns very hot, so do not touch the bulb whether it is hot or cold, as the oils from your skin will cause the bulb to break or burn out much sooner than expected. If you forget and handle the bulb by the glass, clean it with rubbing alcohol & kleenex before installing it into the flashlight.
The E2 uses a pair of lithium DL123A camera batteries. To install them, unscrew the head and set aside.
Slide in two batteries, button-end facing up, and screw the head snugly back on.
Lithium batteries, especially big ones like DL123A's, are nasty things if you dispose of them wrong or get them wet, so for heaven's sake please don't flush them down the toilet or toss them into a trout-filled stream. Use a garbage can instead.
Battery life with the 60 lumen bulb is about 1 hour. If you use a dimmer lamp (a 25 lumen model is available for the E2, and one comes with it) you can extend the battery life to about 3 hours.
A member of Candlepower Forums has also been manufacturing a white LED replacement lamp that should extend the battery life to at least 15 hours. More on this lamp in the Test Notes following this review.
The E2 is a tough little bastard, to say the least.
It is made from thick anodized aluminum, and its small size prevents leverage-based fractures that can happen to longer flashlights, regardless of what they may have been made from. Since this is a loaner, I won't be able to put any serious effort into breaking it, as I'm sure the guy who lent it wants the expensive instrument returned mostly intact. :)
There is no mention of water resistance in the documentation, but the E2 is sealed on both ends with some pretty beefy O-rings, so I'm positive it will survive a fall into water without springing a leak. Because it uses lithium batteries, it would have to be designed this way to prevent the "evil white foam of death" from coming to get you after a water landing.
A sturdy stainless steel clip is attached to the flashlight to allow one to carry it anywhere, clipped into a pocket or belt.
The flashlight body has a deeply textured finish, making it easy to grip even with wet hands. The rubber button switch is also textured in a similar manner. Nice touch there.
The E2 is another flashlight that can start a fire on my test target.
This picture shows the E2 being fired onto a plastic plant about 20 feet away in a room already illuminated by a fluorescent light bulb.
The plant looks like it's too close to the sun, but I assure you it's OK.
The beam of the E2 is fairly narrow (around 8° to 10° I'd guess), but is completely circular and has an even, consistent light strength within the beam - none of that blotchy or ringed crap here. It falls off softly at its edges too.
One member of Candlepower Forums has come up with an innovative LED drop-in replacement lamp for the E2 that will greatly extend the life of the expensive DL123A batteries, as well as allow one to use batteries too weak to run the incandescent lamps.
This is a close-up of the LED retrofit lamp and the original incandescent that came with the E2.
To use the LED lamp, just drop it in like the original bulb.
The LED lamp is approximately as bright as a Photon II or any of the other direct-drive lithium micro lights, and can serve many purposes from walking the dog at night to reading a bar menu to digging through the first aid kit after that big quake.
I have heard from the original buyer of this sample, that the E2 does not come with the 25 lumen lamp, despite what the instruction leaflet says. It ships from the factory with the 60 lumen lamp only.
Lamp gave a reading of 114.5 foot-candles at 12".
Battery life test cannot be done as I have no source of DL123A lithium cells. Brock Neverman has done this test, and found it burns for about an hour on a set. The LED retrofit should allow a battery life in excess of 15 hours.
To obtain more info specific to the LED retrofit lamp, read this topic on Candlepower Forums.
Remember, it is a third party retrofit or accessory, and does NOT come with the E2.
Blindingly bright for its size, compact, extremely durable, easy to grip & use even in foul conditions, lithium cells give very long shelf life (won't die in your flashlight drawer).
Very short battery life with factory supplied lamps, batteries are expensive and may be hard to find.
*** DID NOT HAVE SAMPLE LONG ENOUGH TO FULLY REVIEW ***
Sure*Fire E2 *
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