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Tag Light, retail $14 (See update below for new purchasing info)
Manufactured by Abitax
Last updated: 06-22-06
If you like em small, then the Tag Light is just what the doctor ordered.
Barely larger than a big vitamin pill, this tiny white LED light is incredibly bright for its size.
It's brighter than the Arc Flashlight, many times brighter than the Infinity, and almost as bright as the Photon II, a light normally considered "the" standard against which all single white LED flashlights are judged.
The Tag Light comes ready to use. For momentary light, just give it a squeeze. If you need it to stay lit, slide the convenient switch forward a bit, and it stays lit.
The light comes with a metal clip for attaching it to a keyring or a zipper tab, so the Tag Light can be carried unobtrusively with you wherever you go.
This light is unique in that it uses a pair of lithium CR1220 coin cells. These batteries are supposedly available at Hosfelt Electronics for $1.09 apiece.
The battery change procedure looks a bit overwhelming, but full pictoral instructions are included with the light.
To start with, turn the light switch-side down, and pull off the clear lens. The LED will come out, but should stay in the lens if you're watching what you're doing. Remove the plastic spacer and the dead batteries.
Put in two new batteries with the (+) side facing the (+) embossed on the body of the light. Slide the spacer back in, plug the LED back in, and snap the lens cap back on.
Now that I have actually done it, it's much easier than it looks or sounds in print. All of the parts fit neatly back together with no wasted effort. The only thing you need to watch is which way the LED came out, so it goes back in that same way. With the light face-down, the longer lead goes into the notch cut into the switch slide. It's easy if you pay even the least bit of attention to what you're doing. :)
The Tag Light appears to have been well-made, but there are some thin and probably fairly delicate components inside.
So when you're changing batteries, don't sit or step on any of the parts that come out.
The light is very small and light, and can never be damaged by falls on any soft surface, such as my no-pile, no-backing excuse for carpet. It bounces around on the bare floor well too, but if it ever does fly apart, the pieces will remain unbroken and you can easily reassemble it following the instructions for changing batteries.
The flashlight is not waterproof, so don't drop it in toilets, tubs, fishtanks, or 'tubes of death'. If it does get wet, take it apart and allow it to dry before reassembly. Lithium batteries generally don't like to get wet, so you may need to replace those especially if the light falls into seawater. If the light floods, open it up and allow it to dry before putting it back together.
The batteries which came with it were explicitly labelled as demo units and may have had substantial usage already.
I won't be able to do any life testing until I can find replacements.
The Tag Light comes with a metal clip to attach it to zippers, keyrings, purse straps, etc.; but this ring is made of a cheaper metal that doesn't have as much "spring" in it as some other similarly designed clips. When you squeeze it too far, it doesn't rebound all the way and leaves a gap in the clasp that leaves open the possibility of loss. An accidental compression that leaves the clip open is repairable by pulling the clip apart a bit and then resetting it, but I don't think it will take too many of these before metal fatigue leads to breakage. My personal advice: Affix the existing clip to a sturdier one, and use the sturdy one to then affix the light to whatever you want to attach it to. If you don't mess with the original clip any more than you have to, it should stay together alright.
Actually, so long as you don't ABUSE the original clip, it is plenty strong enough because the light itself is so tiny and light.
Light starts off at 10,820mcd.
Spectrometer plot of the LED in this flashlight. Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.
Several samples have been tested over the last six to eight months, each with various small refinements.
I now have enough batteries to do a run-time test... I'll try to have the results by the end of the Memorial day weekend.
oops... I got stuck doing other stuff. That test will begin tonight, approximately seven minutes from now (5PM PDT) :-O
At 5pm, the light puts out about 11,000mcd but that drops *really* fast because the batteries are so tiny.
At 8pm, it's still above 1,000mcd, or just a tick less than a Photon III set to "low".
Remember, this light was designed for *very* intermittent use, not to be left burning with those tiny batteries. So you'll have longer, brighter life when you use your Tag Light like it was intended.
At 8:30, output dropped below 1,000mcd, and 9:40, it's still at about 900mcd.
So the death spiral has stopped, and it's remarkably stable at this point. Not all that bright, but still plenty to find keyholes and wander around the house after dark.
At 10:15, it's at 853mcd.
At midnight, it's 737mcd. That's 7 hours continuous so far, and it's still usable.
At 1:30 before I went to bed, it was around 500mcd and I shut it off for the rest of the night.
9:00am Sunday, after a rest it started off at 5,000mcd, and it's falling off pretty quickly.
By noon it was pretty much finished - down to a couple hundred mcd and not bright enough to be useful unless one was adapted to darkness already; then maybe one could still find the can with it.
So let's figure this out...
Bright to very bright light: About three hours on and off.
Usefully bright light: About five additional hours.
Useful but dim light: About another 4 to maybe 5 hours total.
Not that bad considering both the very small size & capacity of the CR1220 cells and the brutal nature of the test.
When used intermittently, I believe it will stay reasonably bright every time you use it until you've accumulated 8-10 hours, then dimmer but still somewhat useful in intermittent-use situations like keyhole illumination for another dozen hours total beyond that.
The switch has been slightly redesigned, so it now locks firmly into place when slid into the "stay on" position.
Squeeze-on operation is still supported.
The switch on the earlier models didn't always stay fully on after some amount of usage.
Brightness on this sample measured a peak of over 13,000mcd, which quickly falls off because of the tiny battery size.
Again, this fall-off is normal for this LED/battery configuration. Light is meant primarily for intermittent use and is also excellent for point-to-point signalling.
Lights may be ordered by individuals through the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bulk discount is also available if you wish to do a group buy.
Tag Light - the world's smallest white LED flashlight - can now be purchased from Techass.com. Their price is $14.95.
Any updates related to this review will be posted as they happen.
PROS: Very tiny
Bright for its size Reasonably durable
Surprising battery life considering cell type & size and overall light intensity.
Potentially difficult to find batteries
May be *too* small for people with very large hands
Attachment clip is a bit cheap.
PRODUCT TYPE: Micro sized keychain light
LAMP TYPE: LED, 5mm, white
No. OF LAMPS: 1
BEAM TYPE: Central hotspot with soft fall-off
SWITCH TYPE: Slide on/off, momentary squeeze on
BEZEL: Clear bezel with magnifying lens.
BATTERY: 2 CR1220 lithium coin cells
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Not yet measured
WATER RESISTANT: Splash resistant only
ACCESSORIES: Mini caribiner type attachment hook
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