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Amphipod Xinglet Flash LED Vest
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The Amphipod Xinglet Flash LED provides ultra-comfortable, lightweight visibility with integrated front AND back flash LEDs.Airy patented construction won't trap sweat.Front access quick-clip release for fast on-and-off.Easy size adjustment for height/waist-wear over a t-shirt or parka.Uses small, lightweight, easy to replace coin batteries.Simple push button on-and-off.
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I run a lot at night. I also run at times on isolated roads, where cars have a tendency to gun it. My whole family worries about me. Honestly though, I love running at night, being out in the middle of nowhere, while the majority of the world is asleep.
So, to save my family a nervous breakdown I gear out like a X-mas tree running down the road. I wear a Road ID, but the sporty reflective anklet version (not available on Amazon at the time of writing this), use a Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp (the older green and black version) in blinking mode w/ the rear LED active, an additional Reflective Ankle Band, sometimes a couple Road ID Supernova Lights on the front and back, if I'm wearing a Hydration Waistpack, and then I have had the Amphipod Xinglet Flash LED Vest. On top of that, there's whatever reflective stuff is built into my shoes and clothing.
From what I've been told, I can be seen miles away. I get a lot of shout outs from drivers, and not always favorable. But I'd rather be seen, mocked and not run over. So, the LEDs on the Xinglet Flash, when they work, are quite visible. The reflective features work well too, like any kind of safety vest, but the Xinglet is much more streamlined.
The batteries worked for a reasonable amount of time, 3 to 4 runs a week (3-6 miles/run). Overall in the year I've had it, I've changed them once, if you don't count the time I experimented with turning the batteries around for travel. When packing it, the LEDs were often switched on getting compressed in my bag, so I had this bright idea that if I turned the batteries around they wouldn't discharge, nor turn on accidentally. I guess I was wrong, because by the time I got to my destination the batteries were completely dead. Don't do that. Maybe take the batteries out and store them elsewhere if you're concerned about turning it on accidentally. But then again, you better pack the whole thing between two sturdy supports if you don't want it to get broken. See my bullet points below.
As for fit, I'm about 5'11, 200 lbs, and it fits well, with plenty of room to go bigger or smaller. I found dialing it in a little awkward at first, because I thought the waist belt was supposed to sit low like a traditional belt. Not so much. Really it's intended to sit below your chest and sternum. Once I adjusted it to fit that way, all was well. I wear mine kind of loose, rather than snug, finding it has less of a tendency to cause clothing to ride up underneath, and it's generally more comfortable. Overall I forget it's even there.
The big fail here are the electronics. Aside from one of the LEDs burning out early on, both the front and rear light strips stopped working, just short of a year. Basically the solder point that attaches the LED strip to the circuit board failed. While investigating why one side wasn't working, the board and battery compartment came out completely on the other. It was fixable if you're crafty– handy with a needle and thread and know your way a soldering gun. I wasn't about to tear apart the stitching and get into all that, so I reached out to Amphipod. Once I provided photos and explained the situation, they approved a return for replacement or repair (their choice). Return shipping was at my expense.
Within about 10 days, I received, what appeared to be my original unit repaired. Included was a note about how to best care for the product, maximizing its lifespan. I've included a copy of that here, primarily because I found it kind of ironic, and second, it really illustrates what you should expect if you invest in one.
The few things that really jumped out to me, and inspired this review, were the following:
• "Make sure to keep moisture away from the electronics…" What?? OK, maybe, don't submerge the electronics, but this is a running singlet! So, essentially you are instructed to not sweat while wearing this item. Run in the rain? Think again. I'm being sarcastic obviously, but based on my experience, and other user reviews, the electronics on this thing should be more robust and better protected.
* "Don't hang your Xinglet…" Really? I always hung mine to dry. I hang ALL my gear to dry. This $45 (11/19/2016) piece of safety equipment can't be hung up to dry?? Huh. That just strikes me as curious. With that, I started to mentally put this piece of safety equipment in the "novelty" category.
* "MAKE SURE NOT TO BEND THE LIGHTED SECTION OF THE VEST" and "When in storage… Keep the light strip flat (not folded bent, crumpled or hanging." - Yeah, so if you expect to toss this in your gear bag, or jam it in your luggage to take on the road, think again. What it comes down to is, this product is FRAGILE. You really need to take extra care to make sure none of the electronics bend or twist.
So there you go. When it works, it'll make you highly visible at night. And if you run into a problem, customer support is pretty good, responsive and efficient. I couldn't find warranty info on the Amphipod website, nor on Amazon, but from a few other sources it appears to be 1 year. My experience supports that.
While I was waiting for the issues with this one to be resolved I ordered a Tracer360 which has been pretty good. It too has some quirks, but I think I'll stick with it and use the Xinglet as a backup. Not too mention I look extra annoying now with the Tracer360.
Mine could have very well been a defective vest but now I'm stuck with it as is and the lights no longer flash on either side. I DO NOT recommend this product as I feel my purchase was a waist of money. You will be better off spending $10 -$15 dollars on a basic vest without light just the simple reflective straps.
Update: I contacted the company about the switch issue and that it failed quickly. I received a reply pretty quickly from a customer service rep. She apologized for the failure of the product. She sent me a brand new one free of charge and a return authorization to send the broken one back. Though I am not thrilled that the product failed so soon, I was quite pleased with their customer service. For that they get another star.