KENSINGTON FLYLIGHT



Kensington Flylight, retail $19.99 (www.kensington.com/html/1207.html)
Manufactured by Kensington (www.kensington.com)
Last updated 05-04-04





The Kensington Flylight is a USB-powered light used for illuminating your laptop computer's keyboard in a dark place. Instead of a white LED, the Flylight uses a red LED, to make this light more night vision friendly, and to not disturb those around you with the light.

It has at least a 17" flexible neck, and it will stay put wherever you aim it.


 SIZE



To use the Flylight, just plug it into your computer's USB port - doesn't matter which one. It turns itself on when your computer boots up, and turns itself off when you shut the computer down.

It can be plugged in or unplugged even if the computer is already running; no need to reboot or power-cycle the computer when using this product.

Adjust the Flylight as you see fit by moving its flexible neck. This neck is flexible, but it will stay put wherever you put it, so you do not have to keep adjusting it once you have it set the way you like.



Because the Flylight is powered from the USB port of the computer you're using it with and does not have its own internal batteries, this section can and will be skipped.

Current consumption is not known and not explicitly stated; though the website does state that the Flylight uses less than 90 seconds per hour on a typical laptop computer's battery.



Because this Flylight is a loaner sample, I won't try to drown it in the toilet, stomp on it, swing it against a steel rod, run over it with a 400lb Rascalator, or inflict other punishments on it that I might inflict upon a "keeper" sample.

The Flylight appears to be reasonably durable, and I don't see anything that might cause it to fail when you needed it. Where the cord enters the USB plug is equipped with a strain relief, and the business-end where the LED is located is outfitted with a metal collar, so the LED-end cannot become damaged by ordinary accidents you might have with portable computer peripherals, like dropping the Flylight, hitting it against a doorframe, slamming a briefcase lid closed over it, and similar.

The beam produced by the Flylight is very usable, even though it's generated by a single red LED. I had no trouble at all reading the keys on my laptop computer using only the Flylight's light. The only thing about the Flylight that's even remotely bothersome is that some red light comes out the sides of the Flylight's plastic window. But since the Flylight uses red light, this "leakage" isn't that bothersome. Just my 2 here; individual results may vary.

According to the person who sent his Flylight to me for evaluation (P.B. of Arizona), this spill or waste light can be negated by doing the following:
I slip a 1 inch piece of 3/8" ID black plastic tubing over the business end of the light. Slipping the tubing back and forth also give the ability to "focus" the light into a larger to smaller area.

The Flylight is lightweight and portable; meaning you can take it pretty much anywhere. You can coil it up as you see in the photographs near the top of this page, and it will be none the worse for wear. So you can put it in a briefcase or in your laptop computer's carrying case, and it will hide in there discreetly until you need to use it.



Flylight in use on my Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop computer.
Light is dimmer than this photograph makes it appear.



Side view of the keyboard with the Flylight on the far side of the keyboard.
Light is dimmer than this photograph makes it appear.



Side view of the keyboard with ambient light (from a NNW-facing
window about 10 feet away) and the Flylight both illuminating it.



TEST NOTES:
Sample of the Flylight was received on 05-03-04, is a loaner, and has to be returned to its owner ASAP; with no dings, smashed bulbs, busted plugs, or rat pee in it. So I will not stomp on the Flylight, dash it against a steel rod, try to drown it in the {vulgar term for feces}bowl, run over it with a 400lb electric wheelchair, or have it endure other indecencies that a light usually has to endure for the sake of this website.

For the purposes of this web page, I plugged it into the USB port on the back of my Toshiba Satellite Pro 460CDT laptop computer. I currently have it plugged into a front USB port on my Dell Dimension 4500 desktop computer, where it's lighting my keyboard now so I can type web pages like this in the dark.

Kensington makes these in white, red and (I believe) blue, perhaps yellow. Check the website to be absolutely, positively, 100% certain of this.

Even though this was a loaner sample and had to be returned to its owner, I believe it deserves the 4 1/2 star rating I gave it, and a spot in my Trophy Case.


UPDATE: 00-00-00



PROS:
Bright enough to do the job
Reasonably durable construction
Portable
Not bothersome to use
Decent warranty coverage


CONS:
Not waterproof or submersible; but since this is a computer peripheral, this will not figure into the final rating
Spill or waste light might be bothersome to some users (see one potential solution above)


    MANUFACTURER: Kensington
    PRODUCT TYPE: USB-powered computer keyboard light
    LAMP TYPE: Red LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Wide spot with soft fall-off at perimeter
    SWITCH TYPE: N/A
    BEZEL: Metal; LED protected by plastic window
    BATTERY: N/A
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER RESISTANT: Very light sprinkle-resistance only
    SUBMERSIBLE: No
    ACCESSORIES: None that I'm aware of
    SIZE: 19.0"L x 0.25"H x 0.5"W
    WARRANTY: 5 years

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star RatingStar Rating





Kensington Flylight * www.kensington.com/html/1207.html







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