2006-02-14

Microlight: New and Improved

some of you know that I'm a fan of the Inova Microlight, a small LED flashlight. we bought some more today, and I noticed that they've changed.

A quarter, an old-style Microlight, and a new-style Microlight.

for those who've never seen a Microlight, a quarter (which is 24 mm in diameter) is provided for size reference.

as for the two Microlights, the one on the left is the old model, whereas the one on the right is the new one. the obvious differences:

  • the new one is black with a smoky-black shell; the old one is smoky-black with a clear shell.
  • the new one is slightly larger.
  • the new one's clip has notches at each end. I don't know what this accomplishes.
  • the new one's clip is held in place differently. see photo below.

Side views of both Microlights, with the newer model in the foreground. The older model's clip is crimped on both sides; on the new clip, there is only one crimp, and it is larger.

but there are other differences. first, the new one is much brighter. second, the interface has changed. the old version had two ways to turn it on: you could press the ribbed face (the face you're looking at in the first photo) to turn it on momentarily, or you could slide a slide-switch on the other side to keep it on as long as you needed.

the new version has four modes. 'signal mode' is the same momentary-on from the previous generation, and is the default setting. the slide-switch is gone; it is replaced by three other modes. if you hold down the light button for 15 seconds, the light exits signal mode and turns off. then, you can turn it on in any of three ways:

  1. one press: high-power mode. this is the direct equivalent of the slide-switch.
  2. two presses: low-power mode. same thing, but it approximates the brightness of the old version.
  3. three presses: strobe.

all in all, I like the new design. certainly the improved brightness is a win. Mag-Lite had better make their Mag-LED really cool if they want to top this.

and no, I'm not on the Inova payroll.

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