Top positive review
48 people found this helpful
Bright, easy to carry, durable, well-made
on January 8, 2013
I picked up a Maglite Solitaire for my wife as a stocking stuffer this year and immediately liked the idea of having a useable light on my person at all times (preferably attached to my keys since I am forgetful). The issue with the solitaire is that I wouldn't consider it as useable for anything other than maybe reading a map or looking in the glove box for a spare napkin. Now, I've had several Maglites, and they have proven to be a reliable, quality, American-made product. Unfortunately, they have fallen way behind in terms of modern LED technology (although they are starting to catch up), so I started searching elsewhere. My (long) list of criteria were:
- Small enough to be carried on a keychain
- Multiple modes (with special modes like SOS being a plus)
- A very low mode with LONG runtime that could be used for longer-term emergencies or for close quarters so as not to ruin your night vision
- A medium mode with sufficient light and runtime for navigating around if you run out of gas in the middle of nowhere at night, or have to spend a couple hours fixing your car on the roadside
- The ability to accept lithium batteries since I live in a cold climate and would likely be using the light outdoors
- Waterproof and durable so it works when I need it
I have this bad habit of getting a little bit obsessive over technical details when I am purchasing some kind of tool, so I actually spent weeks looking at different options including other FourSevens lights, Fenix, NiteCore, EagleTac, and so on. In the end, I made the decision to buy the FourSevens Mini ML Gen 2, and I think it was absolutely the perfect choice. I picked the ML over the ML-X because the ML had 50 hours more runtime on low than the ML-X does.
I've found the low mode to be very useful actually. Since I always have the light on me, I often use it for navigating around the house at night and checking in on the kids so as not to have to turn on every light in the house. It does a great job of identifying end tables, laundry baskets, and Tonka trucks left on the floor before they become a hazard. On a bright night even against snow it is not very visible outdoors, but if you were lost in the dark woods on a cloudy night (for a week) this thing would let you get around. It is also more than enough for doing small, close tasks such as reading. The runtime is an awesome 150 hours, which is more than most of us will ever need.
The light gets very bright on medium. I have no problems using it to spot my dogs when they are rooting in the bushes along our back fence at night (about 40 yards from where I stand). This mode would probably be more than adequate for almost any task you needed to do (fixing a flat, finding something buried in your trunk, walking the dog, finding something you dropped at night, hiking). It is about twice as bright as the old AA incandescent Maglites, but seems much brighter because the beam quality is so good. Runtime is about 8 hours, which is great.
This setting lights up my entire backyard in about a 120 degree arc. I'm not sure what I would use it for except maybe blinding an attacker (although you have to twist on and off three times to get there, so I probably wouldn't try it), finding a lost pet at night, or signalling incoming aircraft. The spot lights up things 75+ yards away, and the peripheral light is just awesome. Like I said, it covers about 120 degrees with very bright light. Runtime is around an hour, but I can't see why you would need to use this mode for very long.
This light has a strobe, SOS, and beacon mode. I find the SOS and beacon to be great options if you were ever to get into trouble. I could see setting the beacon on top of your car to signal a tow truck or a friend if you were stuck, so it could come in handy even if you are not a wilderness backpacker. I'm not sure how useful the strobe is though. I would think of the strobe as something you would use if you needed to disorient an attacker so you could get away or fight back, but to engage the strobe you have to turn the light on and off 7 times (or something like that) in rapid succession. It is hardly something you could do at a moments notice.
Operation is easy. The light in its off position is loose (not tight like Maglites) are, and you tighten it to turn it on. At first it felt a little backwards to me, but wasn't a big deal. If you want to switch modes, you turn it off and back on real fast. If you want the special modes, you turn it off and on 6 times (two cycles). Someone reviewing the light said that the loose bezel was a major flaw, but it doesn't seem to be an issue. I don't think having a loose bezel get tightened is any more likely than having a tight bezel get loosened in your pocket. I've been carrying this every day, and it has not turned on by itself yet.
This is a very well made light. Fit is good, the finish is flawless. It is brighter than you would ever need it to be, will run longer than you probably ever will need it to, and has a nice setting right in the middle that is the best of both. Is it a little big for a keychain? Maybe... I tend to carry a lot of stuff on my keychain, so I don't really notice it at all. If you are like my wife and only carry three keys, then you probably won't like it. I think it is a very small price to pay to have such a useful tool with you at all times though. I will probably buy a few more to keep around (maybe the AA one since it uses common batteries). I would definitely recommend it to anyone that wants to keep a light on them.