It’s hard to believe that this will be my fourthLED flashlight review, but it’s true. Every time Lumaray releases a new light, I have to wonder what they could possibly do to improve upon their past version, but each time they manage to surprise and impress me.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
First there was the FL6, an intensely bright six LED flashlight that borrowed its good looks from a science fiction movie’s prop department. Next came the FL12, which I described as an “FL6 on steroids” due to the addition of a cluster of six additional LEDs bringing its total LEDs to 12, and its total brightness from ~320,000 mcd to 720,000mcd. A new and improved six LED design was introduced as the FL6 2006, which delivered much longer battery life, improved brightness (from ~320,000 mcd to ~700,000 mcd), deeper waterproof ratings (from 15′ to 50′), and an improved warranty (from one year to two). Now it’s the FL12’s turn to get a makeover, which brings us to the . Immediately evident are the differences between the waterproof ratings – 15′ to 50′, a difference in max brightness (~720,000 mcd to ~820,000 mcd), and the upped warranty. But there is also a new feature that caught me by surprise…modes; we’ll cover them further in this review.
Before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look at the FL12-RX…
|Size:||7.8″(inch) x 2.25″(inch)|
|Weight:||5.4oz without / 12.7oz with batteries|
|Battery Type:||3 “C” cell (not included)|
|Continuous Run-Time:*||?(Based on usage in one mode only)|
|?~400 hours, up to 8 hours at high brightness|
|?~600 hours, up to 20 hours at high brightness|
|?~600 hours, up to 20 hours at high brightness|
|Brightness:*||?(varies by mode)|
|?~820,000 mcd (~86 Lumens)|
|LED:||11 Nichia CS (Dual Temperature White), 1 Red|
|Beam Type:||?(varies by mode)|
|?Spot + Flood Beam|
|?Single Red LED|
|Switch Type:||Twist bezel ON/OFF|
|Water Proof:||Water proof up to 50′ (feet)|
|Warranty:||2 year Limited Warranty|
|?||(*actual usage may vary)|
The FL12-RX is available in Gunmetal Hero, White, Black, 2-Tone Grey-Yellow. I was sent the white version, which is accented with translucent yellow. Included in the box are the FL12-RX flashlight and an instruction manual.
Composed of a Polycarbonate called Xenoy?, which is described as “a high impact, chemical resistant product by GE” the body of the flashlight is extremely tough without the extra weight a metal body would require. Even though my first impulse would be to call the flashlight’s body by the generic term “plastic”, there is nothing cheap or cheesy about the materials from which it is composed.
One of the first things evident about the Lumaray’s design is that the only thing it shares with a classic flashlight is the baton shape and its purpose. Every section of the Lumaray is designed to meet a particular need, and all of the sections work together to create a perfectly conceived torch.? We’ll pick apart the FL12-RX’s various components soon enough, but this picture of the entire device shows that it will not easily roll, due to the deep grooves in the LED head and the shaft’s blocky “X” end. This will come in very handy if the user ever needs to set the light down momentarily – there will be?little worry that?it will roll away.
The FL12-RX measures 7.8″ long and it’s shaft is a comfortable to grasp 1.3″ wide. Deep circular ridges in the shaft add finger-grips when holding, but there is no rubberized coating or other non-slip agent coating the shaft. If there is a chance that the flashlight might be knocked from the user’s hand, it would be best to attach a wrist-strap.
The bulbous LED head measures 2.25″ across, and its weight with three installed “C” cells is a substantial 12.6 ounces. Here you can see what I have previously referred to as the head’s “six-shooter” design, with each chamber holding a bright white LED. The center cluster holds five white LEDs and one red LED.
As always, installing the batteries for the first time will be a bit of a trick. Installation eventually becomes second nature and completely do-able in a one-handed maneuver; but for the uninitiated, here’s how you do it:
Rotate the entire trigger unit to the right, so that the “quick release trigger pad” is no longer sitting on top of a ledge stop.
note how the edge of the yellow trigger pad is sitting on a white ledge stop
in this picture, the yellow trigger pad has been rotated until it no longer rests on a white ledge stop
Now that the trigger unit is no longer locked, the thumb is placed on one pad and the forefinger on a pad to the right.
While the thumb and forefinger are manipulating and pushing the trigger pad up, the three remaining fingers and the heel of the user’s hand push the shaft down, separating the two parts of the torch. This grasp takes a little bit of practice at first, but later becomes an easy to handle operation.
Until you get better at performing the operation one-handed, you can butt the end of the FL12-RX against something to help stabilize it as you do the downward motion; you can also use your second hand, a leg, or any flat surface.?
photo courtesy of Lumaray
Once the LED head has been removed, the three “C” cells can be inserted. Worth noting are the three black rubber gaskets on the neck of the flashlight’s shaft.
Two of the gaskets are strictly for water resistance, but the third also serves as a brake when removing the batteries from the compartment; it will keep them from noisily or too quickly dumping from the shaft.
The head unit is replaced by simply pushing it back in position. The levers will retract and slide over the base of the unit, once again securely catching on its ledge. At that point, the yellow trigger pad should be twisted to the left, so that each of its edges are once again sitting on a white ledge stop.
Jumping to the opposite end of the FL12-RX for just a moment, we see that there are various hole configurations molded into the end that will allow a wrist lanyard or other attachment to be added…
…without affecting the torch’s ability to stand on end. This is useful when the light is needed for “hands-free ceiling bounce mode”.
The FL12-RX can also be stood on the LED head for a muted lighting effect when needed.
Now let’s talk about the various modes for operating the FL12-RX. In previous models, the user had the option of twisting the LED head 180? to the left to turn it on, or 180? to the right to turn it off. There are no external buttons or switches, which means less entry points for water, sand or dust.
This version takes the on / off twisting operation to a whole new level…
The FL12-RX features 5 electronically selectable modes, which “provides the flexibility of having 5 unique flashlights in one.”
The five settings include:?
– all eleven white LEDs, or Mode 1 – Full Power. According to the included manual, “In Mode 1, a combination of spot and flood beam is produced. Optically enhanced warm white LEDs provide range coverage while the center 5 cooler white LEDs allow for medium flood. By integrating two different LED color temperatures, the FL12-RX produces a unique soft-warm light similar to daylight. This mode is most useful in areas where full brightness is required with the best color rendition, or to illuminate and entire room.”
– only the middle five white LEDs, or Mode 2 – Flood. According to the manual, “The center white LEDs provide a flood light when you need to work in close quarters. It yeilds the perfect illumination for reading, writing, working on computers, inspecting automobiles, etc.”
– single red LED – Mode 3 – Red Light. According to the manual, “Select Mode 3 for a single bright red LED beam. Useful for avionics, boating, photography, where preserving night vision is necessary.”
– only the outer six LEDs – Mode 4 – Spot. According to the manual, “Six optically enhanced warm white LEDs provide a bright spot beam. It is used while viewing objects at medium to far distances. The warm temperatures of the LEDs are more soothing to the eyes, increasing visual depth of field perception.”
– animated strobe mode (quickly flashing red and white) – Mode 5. According to the manual, “The emergency strobe flashes between the center six LEDs and the outside optically enhanced 6 LEDs. This animated strobe effect can be seen over two miles away. Use this mode for a distress signal, or to gain someone’s attention. It is intended for outdoor use only. It is not recommended for use indoors. Extended use in close quarters may cause mild dizziness and headaches.”
Each time the LED head is twisted, a new mode is entered in the order I just specified. There is a lower level, or “softer” starting brightness for each mode (except strobe), which according to Lumaray will “lessen the impact on your eyes after it has adjusted to the darkness.” When the FL12-RX is first switched on, it enters Mode 1, or full power. To enter the other modes, the LED head should be quickly turned off then on which will advance to the next mode. This step is repeated until the torch is in the user’s intended mode. Anytime the user wants to return to Mode 1, they should turn the light off and wait three seconds.
Granted, not everyone is going to need a flashlight with so many possible modes, but the good news is that using the different modes can help preserve battery life. For instance, continuous run time is rated at ~400 hours, with up to 8 hours at high brightness in Mode 1 (full power). Running the light in Mode 2, or center lights only, extends the run time to ~600 hours, with up to 20 hours at high brightness. In Mode 5, or animated strobe, continuous run time is rated at ~1200 hours.
I can’t possibly do an LED flashlight review without showing the beam at the end of my 37′ hall, so for those of you that are wondering – have a look at the illumination provided by the five center LEDs in Mode 2…
…versus that provided by the 11 LEDs in Mode 1.
As always, one last useful feature in every Lumaray is the glow-in-the-dark coating that covers the interior of the head unit. According to the Lumaray site, “The glow inside of the LED housing makes it easy to locate the flashlight even after the unit powers OFF for up to 8 hours. The glow will achieve its maximum brightness with only 15mins of charge at full power. Each time the unit is activated, the glow element is automatically charged. The glow is visible from all sides of the flashlight allowing it to sit in any position (even facing down on the bezel) and still be easily located. For the FL12RX, custom Ultra Green powder is injected directly into the glow housing which increases the glow power by at least 30%.”
Every time I review a Lumaray light, I feel like I need to be careful, that I should restrain myself a bit because I get a little too enthusiastic about the product. But really, it is hard not to. Simply put, Lumaray lights are some of the best I have ever used, and the company keeps coming up with ways to improve a product that needs little if any refinement. As always, I’ll put in my vote for a rubberized grip, but otherwise…the Lumaray FL12-RX is the closest to perfection that I’ve ever seen in a handheld torch.
What I Like: Rugged futuristic design, one handed battery removal and replacement, waterproof and submergible to 50 feet, incredibly bright twelve LED cluster head design, programmable modes
What Needs Improvement: No non-slip rubber coating on shaft, various modes may be confusing for some