Sunday, August 11, 2013

UltraFire WF-502B a review

So I recently purchased a handfull of these flashlights for various people and had a chance to try them out along with mine to get a feel for a sample N>1. So first off, these things are available from various sellers through Amazon. They are billed as >1000Lumens five mode (Hi, Med, Low, Strobe, SOS) flashlight for use with 18650 rechargeable batteries. So I'll give you the Good,  the Bad and the Ugly. They are available for anywhere from $4.50 to $10.00 from various vendors through Amazon.

Well, I have been out of the photolithography engineering for a few years so I no longer have access to fancy light energy sensing equipment so I cannot give you a definite output value but compared to a variety of SureFire, StreamLight and Fenix flashlights, I would say it is very likely to be in the neighborhood of 1000 Lumens. Also, compared to the other flashlights this little bugger has an impressively tight hotspot in the center of the beam. In actuality, the beam was even tighter and brighter than both the Fenix PD31 and PD35.

Function is through the tail cap switch. you can only cycle through the entire range of settings. So turning it on is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get when you push the button. Also, there is no way to flash move and scan with this light. Once you turn it on and back off you would have to cycle through all the settings again before you can use high again.
In addition if the rechargeable goes you CAN NOT substitute two 123's till you get a recharge.

Where to start? How about China. These things are made in China and shipped from China. They arrived wrapped in a single layer of plastic foam. No commercial packaging with instructions or warranty information or anything. There was one slip of paper in the package we'll talk about later. It was in a simple plastic bag with a customs sticker on it that indicated it was a gift. So no duty paid on import. This is slimy unfair competition plain and simple. Back to that piece of paper, it was a letter in Chinenglish from Coco Fed Inc. the seller through Amazon. The letter explained that Amazon charges a 5% surcharge so they can sell quality stuff for less directly to you rather than through Amazon. I find that to be slimy at best and a violation of Amazon vendor agreements at worst.

So there you have the facts. I hope I didn't let too much of my personal feelings creep through. And just so you have a frame of reference I am a bit of a light geek and have a collection of SureFire, Streamlight and Fenix lights that I used for comparison along with a couple more at work.

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