Starlite 128L, retail $6.50 (Sino Union Tech. Co.)
Manufactured by Sino Union Technology Co
Last updated: 05-29-08

LED Light

The Starlite is a very interesting little light. A white LED "bulb" runs from just 2 "AA" cells - a very interesting feat because nobody makes a white LED that can run on anything less than 3.4 volts! The secret is in the bulb though.

This light comes in attractive transparent "I-Mac" style case colors, and features a small wrist lanyard and a traditional barrel-mount slide switch.


To use this engineering miracle, unscrew the head & remove it, then place two "AA" cells in the barrel, button side facing out. Screw the head back on, and be done with it.

A traditional slide switch on the side of the barrel is used to turn the light on and off. Slide it forwards to make it go on, side it back to shut it off. This is how a flashlight is supposed to work.

I guess I jumped the gun on this part, and already told you how to change the batteries. :) Remove the Starlite's head, put batteries in button (+) side facing outwards, replace head. Just like your old fashioned Eveready two piece.

Battery life is as of yet unknown - this will have to be tested... you will very likely read it here first.
First estimates point to a lifetime of 50 to 80 hours though, with the first 10-12 hours being at or near full power.

This cute and loveable little flashlight is made of an as of yet unidentified transparent plastic, and should be durable to the point that it won't fall apart the second you pick it up or bang it into something while using it. Drop tests on this one will have to be performed (goodbye, cute and loveable little light) and if breakage occurs, the camera will get used again. :)

(It broke from a single 7 foot drop, so here's the picture)
it busted
As you can see by the picture, the light split in two on impact, but the pieces stayed attached and the light was actually still burning when I retrieved it to take its picture. The LED bulb & power converter remained intact, and can easily be used in any other 2-cell PR-style flashlight.

The Starlite is not water resistant to any major degree; if dropped in a pond or creek, water will almost certainly pour into the light through the switch opening. So this might not be the ideal candidate for foul weather outdoor adventures - though it will work perfectly well for fairweather camping & hiking, and it is splash resistant enough that a little rain probably won't hurt it.

Now, here's the interesting part about this flashlight - the bulb. The company calls it the "Night Pearl" and they are made to run on 1 and 2 cells.
When you look at it, it just looks like someone stuck a white Nichia LED in a flashlight bulb base, but that's where any similarity ends. Apparently, the maker of this light has managed to create a power converter circuit and stuff it in that tiny bulb base! This is what allows you to run a 3.5 to 4.0 volt LED on just 2 to 3 volts! This circuit is buried in there pretty good, and it would take total destruction of the lamp in order to expose any components inside - which themselves would probably also die in the break-in attempt. So I won't be able to tell you very much about the circuit or exactly how it works.

As a single white LED light, the brightness of this one is reasonably impressive, though the beam is a bit irregular; in part due to the magnifying lens built into the bezel. The main portion of the beam is narrowed to approximately 15, but a wider spill beam of around 30 exists which is bright enough to use as a walking light at night.
LED Light
Both main and spill beams are shown in this picture.
Main beam is 25,500 to 35,700mcd, spill light is about 5,100mcd.

The reflector & lens are responsible for the high reading.
Note that only the small "hot" area near the beam center gets this bright.

As you can see by the picture, the beam is a bit irregular, but still perfectly usable in typical situations that any other white single LED light might be called upon to handle.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED in this flashlight.
USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.


One of the samples is slightly, but noticeably brighter than the other two.
One of the samples has a more eccentric beam profile than the others.

I have heard from a trusted source that a very few of these actually have their LEDs almost aimed sideways, so quality control during the final assembly & inspection process may be an issue.

Light comes in the following colors: clear blue, clear purple, clear green, clear blue, clear green, and clear white. Manufacturer requires a minimum order of 12.

The following is from a letter they had sent to a prospective buyer (a regular guy like you or me who wanted some of these lights), you may find it useful for contact & ordering info:

Dear xxxx
Thank you for your intresting in our products.
During our promotion period of LED flashlight products (May 15,2001 to June 16, 2001), we offer a special price to our clients. Due to commercial reason especial limitation price, the company does not accept the order from individual. We encourage people buy from the company, organization, association ect. The minimum quantity must be 12 PCs (STARLITE-128) per order. We accept the credit card payment from oversea by PAYPAL
The minimum charge of UPS is US $37.80 for 0.5kg to each state of America.
Summarize your questions and answers as below:
1: The price of the STARLITE-128 is US $6.50/piece.
2: The price of NPLB-LED BULB is US $4.50/piece.
3: The minimum order is 12 PCs
4: The company does not accept P.O from individual
5: The company accept payment from PAYPAL
6: The shipping cost by UPS is $37.80-0.5kg
7: The average shipping cost of STARLITE-128 is US $37.8/12=$3.15

Best regards
Mr. Horacce Lee

The above text is exactly as received; no corrections in spelling, syntax, or grammar were done.
For questions, you should e-mail Mr. Lee from the above link. Please do not ask me, as I was not involved in the purchase of the tested samples and don't know a lot about this.

UPDATE 06-19-01:
Light was dropped from 7 feet and broke in half on impact. It was still operating when the corpse was retrieved; the switch actually held the two halves together until it was disassembled. The photograph in the 'The Punishment Zone' section above shows this damage.
Additional damage was discovered on the flashlight's reflector assembly; a shattering impact type of mark with spidering; but none of the cracks went all the way through so the head is still completely usable.

A memorial service was held for the Starlite 128 this evening at the First Church of Flashlightology.
The tiny chapel was packed with friends of the family offering their condolences.

Grieving family members of the slain flashlight spend a moment in silent prayer at the casket.

Friends & family weeping silently at tolietside as the casket is lowered.

The family has requested that donations of batteries
be made to the charity case of your choice in leiu of flowers.

Here's the dirt on the Star Lite 128.
Is it durable to the point of indestructibility? No, it isn't. Durability is pretty much on par with, to slightly better than your average "under $5" drugstore flashlight. It will hold up to day-to-day use, and live comfortably in your utility cabinet, flashlight drawer, or the top portion of your toolbox between uses. They also do well when kept on the nightstand for those unnamed nocturnal activities you might need to perform.

If you ever do break it, do yourself a favour and remove the bulb before throwing the light away... this is the most expensive part of the flashlight; you can put this in any other 2-cell flashlight and it will probably outlive you.

If you have kids who are always dropping or banging their play flashlight and breaking the bulb, give them one of these, or better yet, take out the bulb and put it in their existing 2-cell light. Never again will your kid come up to you crying and saying "mommy, my fash lite got broked again". And you'll save money on batteries, too.

Remember though, the bulb in the Starlite will only work in flashlights that use two batteries. It will almost immediately burn out if you put it in a 3-cell, and possibly spectacularly (and instantly) in 4- and 5- cell lights.

UPDATE 02-07-02:
The Starlite 128L has been discontinued in favour of the Starlite 128R and the Night Pearl bulbs. They are now available in single quantities from the following:

Sinotone International Limited
90 South Spruce Ave. Suite E
South San Francisco, Ca 94080
Tel: (650) 583-8306 Fax: (650) 583-8326
Contact: Mr. Zeng John
Email Address:

UPDATE 05-28-08:
Somebody asked me why I conducted the mock "funeral" over a toliet bowl instead of over a ditch or over a wastepaperbasket.
The way I see it is that my reviews need not read like a dry, boring technical manual in order to be informative; I did this "funeral" the way I did to add a little humour to the page.

I'll show a verse from an Anthrax song and let it do the talking:

...Seven years ago I wrote this one
Like Ernest and Julio, before it's time
Seven years later and it's holding up fine...

Yes, I performed this "funeral" approximately seven years ago, so the timing is more-or-less correct here.
The only part of the lyrics I changed at all was the word "we" to the word "I".

Cheery and colorful
Fairly unique
Reasonably bright
Cheap batteries
Easy battery change
Easy on/off switch
Less expensive than most other LED flashlights.

Not water resistant (splash resistant only)
Not as durable or impact-resistant as most (if broken, rescue the bulb to use in another 2-cell light)

          MANUFACTURER: Sino-Union Technology Co
          PRODUCT TYPE: Small handheld flashlight
          LAMP TYPE: LED, 5mm, white
          No. OF LAMPS: 1
          BEAM TYPE: Central hotspot with soft fall-off, sharp edged ring & corona
          SWITCH TYPE: Slide on/off
          BEZEL: Clear bezel with magnifying lens. Integral reflector
          BATTERY: 2 AA cells
          CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Average ~100mA
          WATER RESISTANT: Splash resistant only
          SUBMERSIBLE: No
          ACCESSORIES: None
          WARRANTY: Unknown

                PRODUCT RATING:

                DURABILITY: 3
                BRIGHTNESS: 7
                USEABILITY: 8
                BATTERY LIFE: 10
                BATTERY AVAILABILITY: 10

                OVERALL SCORE: 38

STARLITE 128L * Sino Union Tech. Co.

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