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What makes this what I want

I am looking for a good flashlight to use camping or when the power is out. I have seen some reviews on ones such as the ultrafire. For a similar price the one you offer seems to have lower output then this. The open source of this is nice but I'm not sure its something I need.

heres a link to the one on amazon i was looking at..http://www.amazon.com/UltraFire-Flashlig...

thanks

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Jon,

Apart from the open source programmability that you've already mentioned, the other differences between the UltraFire C2 and the HexBright Flex that are most apparent to me, are in:

  • The maximum lumen (amount of light cast)
  • The likely durability of each (its resistance to damage & wear)
  • The design (the in-hand feel, the way the components fit together, and the look).

Differences

Maximum Lumen:

The info I found on the C2 indicates it's capability is between 250 and 300 lumen max (the various specs found were in disagreement). The Flex comes pre-programmed with a high of 500 lumen, but can be re-programmed to emit more than 650 lumen (I'm not sure of the actual max) at the cost of increased battery drain.

Durability:

The body of the C2 is assembled from multiple pieces that screw together, and these pieces seem to be made of a somewhat thin, light aluminum. The Flex is a uni-body assembly (one piece) and is made of thicker aluminum.

With a uni-body having fewer points of failure than a multi-piece body, the structure of the Flex is already inherently more rugged. And when the added thickness of the body material is taken into account, it can clearly withstand much rougher handling & use without denting or cracking—better protecting the fragile internals.

The end-cap (closing the body and housing the button) on the Flex is the only externally separate piece and probably shouldn't be considered part of the body, since its only structural function is to seal the end. Despite this, you'll note the end-cap was also made nicely robust.

Design:

Other aspects of the design not already covered include:

The roughly straight profile

The Flex has less contour stepping (diameter changes) across its length, providing a more consistent and firm grip. Its profile also allows it to lay still on flat surfaces and to easily be strapped or attached evenly to another object. In contrast, the C2 is more likely to roll on flat surfaces, and when strapped or attached would be prone to shifting unexpectedly or facing at awkward angles unless additional efforts were made.

The long and durable grip surface

The gripping surface on the Flex comes from large-scale ridges and hollows along its length and a faceted cross-section (derived from a hexagon, with the points clipped/chamfered), and so bumps, scrapes, and dents don't harm the grip. The C2 has a cylindrical cross-section, with much of the grip coming from the 'cross-hatch' texture cut in to the surface. This surface texture can easily be compromised by bumps and scrapes that don't noticeably damage the body or even dent, and over time it will also wear smooth in patches with normal use—from my experiences with flashlights and other metal items using similar surface-based textured grips.

The look

Compared to the UltraFire C2, the HexBright Flex has a matte (non-shiny) finish, is roughly symmetrical across its length, radially symmetrical around its long axis, and has a simpler & cleaner profile while still being visually interesting. Obviously this last element of the design is almost entirely a personal preference/taste matter, but for me the Flex has the clear advantage in the looks department.

Final Note

Regarding the Surefire R1 Lawman to which you linked at the end:

While the Lawman has a much higher maximum brightness (750 lumen vs. 500 lumen) with a longer battery life at that maximum (1.75 hours vs. 1 hour) than does the Flex, they're in completely different price categories (Lawman @ $455 vs. Flex @ $99 pre-order / $129 retail). So, to me the only sensible comparison to make is one of value per dollar. The result is that with the Flex you get 2/3rds of the brightness at 22% / 28% of the price of the Lawman. Or, to put it another way, with the Lawman you pay $0.60 per lumen vs. $0.20 / $0.26 per lumen with the Flex.

Thoughts?

I hope that this was helpful and answered your question (and hopefully wasn't way too long or detailed of a response).

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Can't even come close in my reply but having had my Flex for a few days and testing it, I can say that it outperforms the Mag Light I was using by a longshot. Smaller, lighter, but much stronger feeling, and the programability puts it in a class by itself. 500 Lumens, with the beam pattern it has, is exceptionally bright and is good for quite a distance. So unless you need to spot boats or something at a distance over 50', you don't need anything else. and at the price point, it can't be beat.

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The HEXBRIGHT FLEX is the last flashlight you will ever need to buy.

1. Quality and robustness of construction is best in class.

2. Every component is designed to be able to be replaced and/or upgraded.

3. Arduino allows you to customize it's functionality to whatever you need. Want a tactical 500 lumen blast? Need to be able to have 30 hours battery life at 50 lumens? How about a stobe that flashes morse code S.O.S? You can make it do all three or just one, or dozens of variations.

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Priced way too high

There are dozens of flashlights available that have specs similar to or better than Hexbright Flex and many cost $40 or less. Some offer a lifetime warranty. And several even have CREE LEDs like Flex: Example

The ability to program the flashlight is a cute add-on, and something I would probably spend no more than a half hour or so playing with. That hardly justifies the double or triple price point. You can nitpick on a few specs, but I think most buyers would choose something that is 98% as good when it is 1/3 the cost.

Sell the Flex for $49 and I will buy one immediately, and I'd probably buy one or two as gifts. But $130??? I just can't justify it.

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Comments:

The HexBright FLEX isn't $130, it's $99.00 on Amazon.com.

It is true that it's more expensive than many other flashlights, but the construction is significantly more solid & durable than any other flashlight I've come across, using substantially more material in the housing than is the case with the bargain-basement sort (such as the one you linked)—which is important to me, since I need to know I can rely on its continued operation in emergency circumstances.

And while the programmability option isn't important to everyone, it's more than just a "cute" add-on. The ability to custom-tailor the way the light works has been a huge deal for me.

Bottom line: it's more expensive because of its higher quality and additional features, which features & quality may not be a priority / important to every person in every circumstance.

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jon vonnieda will be eternally grateful.
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