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15 лучших EDC-фонариков 2018

15 лучших EDC-фонариков 2018

Из всех EDC-вещей небольшие по размерам фонарики карманного формата являются едва ли не наиболее полезными. Их использование позволяет легче попадать ключом в отверстие замка; подсвечивать себе дорогу на участках без уличного освещения; выполнять мелкий ремонт, а также мигать в случае опасности. Для этой подборки были отобраны 15 малогабаритных осветительных приборов, которые станут вашими верными помощниками в городе и за его пределами.

  • Тактический фонарик от Anker
  • Устойчивый фонарик Noco Xgrid XGB3L
  • Фонарик-наключник Nitecore Tip Keychain
  • Ударопрочный фонарь Streamlight Microstream
  • Компактный фонарик Mecarmy Illuminex-4S
  • Титановый EDC-фонарик Mecarmy Illuminex-1S
  • Фонарик-наладонник Olight S1R Baton
  • Непотопляемый фонарь с магнитным креплением Olight S30R Baton III
  • Яркий фонарь Nitecore MH12
  • Фонарик-брелок Surefire Sidekick
  • Eagletac DX30lX2-R — мощный фонарик на каждый день
  • Фонарик с зубцами Streamlight 88052 Protac HL
  • Брутальный фонарь Fenix TK20R Tactical
  • Фонарик с тайником и зажигалкой Mecarmy X7S
  • Фонарик в форме карабина Mecarmy Fl10 Titanium

Устойчивый фонарик Noco Xgrid XGB3L

Корпус фонарика Noco Xgrid XGB3L привлекает внимание своими прямыми углами. Такая форма была выбрана отнюдь не случайно. Наличие 4 граней позволяет располагать его на гладких поверхностях без опасений, что он скатится с них на землю. Приспособление надёжно защищено от пыли и жидкостей, а установленный внутри светодиод выдает поток до 250 люмен. Источником питания здесь является аккумулятор, способный поддерживать работу устройства в течение многих часов.

Цена: — $29.95 | Перейти к покупке

Though not the first to make a USB rechargeable keychain light, Surefire have applied their philosophy of ‘excellence in illumination’ to this EDC essential.

———————————————————————————————————————
Author’s Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
———————————————————————————————————————-

Taking a more detailed look:

The Sidekick comes in a cardboard blister pack.

Inside is the Sidekick itself, a short USB charging cable, a metal clip and the instructions.

The underside of the Sidekick has a metal heat sink panel with the model engraved onto it.

At the top is the power button and a moulded Surefire logo. The main body is a tough plastic and has a split ring at the rear.

On the angled corner at the front you can see the micro-USB port for charging.

I only noticed the small piece of plastic case under the micro-USB port was cracked when I was preparing these photos. This has not affect the function at all.

Set into the front is Surefire’s MaxVision Beam reflector assembly. This has a multi-faceted reflector surface to smooth out the beam without the losses of a textured reflector.

Looking straight into the faceted reflector at the Cree XP-G2 LED. (For some reason Surefire don’t specify the actual LED anywhere in the documentation.)

Plugging in the micro-USB cable to charge the Sidekick.

Even the compact metal clip has ‘SF’ on it.

The split ring is very stiff, so getting the clip on isn’t easy, but its not going to come off by mistake.

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.

The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball «Off-White», and the walls are a light sandy colour called ‘String’ again by Farrow & Ball. I don’t actually have a ‘white wall’ in the house to use for this, and the wife won’t have one!

Since the days of the Solitaire keychain light, I’ve always had a compact EDC light on my keys. This shrunk to the photon size button cell type, but those really only served as a last ditch light, so the size I used grew again to include a USB rechargeable or AAA powered light. The beam of the Sidekick is a revelation in keychain lights, with its wide floody beam (with no glare) and plenty of power.

Just look at this beamshot and you probably think we were looking at something you wouldn’t attach to your keys. A really excellent EDC beam.

Modes and User Interface:

The Sidekick has three output levels Low, Medium, and High.
From OFF, press the power switch to select Low, press again within 2s to change to Medium, press again within 2s of the last press to get High, and once more cycles to OFF.
If you are using either Low or Medium, if you wait over 2s before pressing again, the Sidekick will turn OFF (instead of going to the next mode and then OFF).

There are no indicator lights on the Sidekick, so no charge or low battery indicators. Instead the Sidekick uses its main LED. For low battery, the output simply reduces sharply to a lower level and starts to fade out. There is no sudden turn off, so while there is no actual ‘warning’ it is clear you are low on power.

For charging, the main LED is used as the indicator. With the USB power connected, the LED blinks to indicate the Sidekick is charging. During the charging process the LED sometimes comes on steadily for a few seconds then has a series of blinks. I’ve not so far managed to determine if there is an actual pattern to this. Ultimately, once fully charged the main LED comes on steadily at the low level and stays on as long as power is connected.

The default order of the modes is L-M-H, but this can be reversed to H-M-L by carrying out the following steps:

1. Plug in the charger.
2. Press the switch three times until the High level is activated.
3. Leave the Sidekick On for 5 seconds or more, then press the switch once to turn Off.
4. Unplug from the charger and test the sequence.

To return to L-M-H, repeat the previous steps except in step 2 you press three times to activate Low.
(Stopping on Medium at step 2 does not do anything.)

Batteries and output:

The Sidekick runs on a built-in 640mAh Li-ion battery.

Surefire have commented that the charge rate is fixed around 450mA, but it always seems to charge faster than the instruction manual, or this information, would suggest. In my experience (with a good charger) even fully depleted, it takes less than an hour to charge.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

For Detailed output measurements, please go to the Exclusive Content at Tactical Reviews , but remember to return to this forum to discuss the review.

* Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

There is parasitic drain but as the light is sealed this could not be measured. During normal use over a period of over 6 months, the Sidekick has never noticeably self drained.

For such a compact lightweight light, the Sidekick has a fantastic performance on High. Not fully regulated, the output does however remain above 250lm for a full 45 minutes — very impressive for a keychain light.

For the runtime graph, please go to the Exclusive Content at Tactical Reviews , but remember to return to this forum to discuss the review.

Troubleshooting

This section is included to mention any minor niggles I come across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

No issues were encountered during testing.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar ‘issue’ that might be fixed in the same way.

The Sidekick in use

Though it is compact, the Sidekick is relatively large for a keychain light. It gets away with this thanks to not being heavy and the plastic housing seems to help reduce its overall presence. Here it is shown next to a AAA keychain light and a photon button cell light.

With this extra size and relatively high cost (compared to its rivals, and especially in non-US markets), the Sidekick needs to work well to justify itself. The excellent beam and 300lm output do just that.

Ideally I prefer a smaller keychain light, but the extra size does make it more stable to hold, and you just don’t get that kind of output and runtime from something smaller and lighter.

If the housing were 100% plastic there would be heat issues, but Surefire have used a metal side panel which allows it to conduct heat out of the Sidekick. When using the High output this can get quite hot to the touch.

Perhaps the biggest annoyance for me has been that it is very similar in size to my car key, and when reaching into my pocket I now have to do the ‘pocket juggle’ of my keys to identify if I’ve grabbed my car key or the Sidekick.

The power button is quite stiff and has little feel to the click. The stiffness is an advantage in not having accidental activations (none so far, which I cannot say about other keychain lights), and eventually you do get some feel for the subdued click.

Not being a tactical light, the modes being L-M-H is ideal as for general EDC you most often only need a little light. One disappointment is the use of visible PWM in the Low mode. Medium and High have no PWM, and if only that Low mode was the same it would be much better.

Battery capacity is really great with the 640mAh cell always having plenty of output and runtime for everything I’ve thrown at it. Even with some unexpected night time strolls needing the path to be lit, using the full 300lm and plenty of other On/Off cycles to check things, and I’ve not needed to keep on recharging.

Recharging is one of those ‘love it or hate it’ things due to the main beam being used as a charging indicator. As it has never taken more than 1 hour to charge I haven’t needed to charge it overnight, so it is not that the main beam flashing and then going onto Low disturbs my sleep. However, the flashing can be annoying if you are in a room with lowered lighting. I was surprised by the Sidekick turning on the Low output once charging is complete, but actually it is a very clear indication that charging has finished, and even with a good charging circuit, it is never a good idea to leave any device on charge for a long time for no reason. The Sidekick tells you clearly to take it off charge. You can look at this either way, and to start with I thought it was not good, but having got used to it find it works pretty well.

Читать еще:  Как выбрать носки. Часть 2

The beam is very good, with a smooth floody profile and a neutral tint, which makes it so much better to use than lights with a 5mm LED or those with a more focused hotspot. This combined with the 300lm output, which is reasonably well maintained for a full 45 minutes of constant runtime, make this a really strong performer and the slight size penalty you pay is worth it.

Light Review: Surefire Sidekick (Compact Fob Light)

Though not the first to make a USB rechargeable keychain light, Surefire have applied their philosophy of ‘excellence in illumination’ to this EDC essential.

Taking a more detailed look:

The Sidekick comes in a cardboard blister pack.

Inside is the Sidekick itself, a short USB charging cable, a metal clip and the instructions.

The underside of the Sidekick has a metal heat sink panel with the model engraved onto it.

At the top is the power button and a moulded Surefire logo. The main body is a tough plastic and has a split ring at the rear.

On the angled corner at the front you can see the micro-USB port for charging.

I only noticed the small piece of plastic case under the micro-USB port was cracked when I was preparing these photos. This has not affect the function at all.

Set into the front is Surefire’s MaxVision Beam reflector assembly. This has a multi-faceted reflector surface to smooth out the beam without the losses of a textured reflector.

Looking straight into the faceted reflector at the Cree XP-G2 LED. (For some reason Surefire don’t specify the actual LED anywhere in the documentation.)

Plugging in the micro-USB cable to charge the Sidekick.

Even the compact metal clip has ‘SF’ on it.

The split ring is very stiff, so getting the clip on isn’t easy, but its not going to come off by mistake.

The beam

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.

The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball “Off-White”, and the walls are a light sandy colour called ‘String’ again by Farrow & Ball. I don’t actually have a ‘white wall’ in the house to use for this, and the wife won’t have one!

Since the days of the Solitaire keychain light, I’ve always had a compact EDC light on my keys. This shrunk to the photon size button cell type, but those really only served as a last ditch light, so the size I used grew again to include a USB rechargeable or AAA powered light. The beam of the Sidekick is a revelation in keychain lights, with its wide floody beam (with no glare) and plenty of power.

Just look at this beamshot and you probably think we were looking at something you wouldn’t attach to your keys. A really excellent EDC beam.

Modes and User Interface:

The Sidekick has three output levels Low, Medium, and High.
From OFF, press the power switch to select Low, press again within 2s to change to Medium, press again within 2s of the last press to get High, and once more cycles to OFF.
If you are using either Low or Medium, if you wait over 2s before pressing again, the Sidekick will turn OFF (instead of going to the next mode and then OFF).

There are no indicator lights on the Sidekick, so no charge or low battery indicators. Instead the Sidekick uses its main LED. For low battery, the output simply reduces sharply to a lower level and starts to fade out. There is no sudden turn off, so while there is no actual ‘warning’ it is clear you are low on power.

For charging, the main LED is used as the indicator. With the USB power connected, the LED blinks to indicate the Sidekick is charging. During the charging process the LED sometimes comes on steadily for a few seconds then has a series of blinks. I’ve not so far managed to determine if there is an actual pattern to this. Ultimately, once fully charged the main LED comes on steadily at the low level and stays on as long as power is connected.

The default order of the modes is L-M-H, but this can be reversed to H-M-L by carrying out the following steps:

1. Plug in the charger.
2. Press the switch three times until the High level is activated.
3. Leave the Sidekick On for 5 seconds or more, then press the switch once to turn Off.
4. Unplug from the charger and test the sequence.

To return to L-M-H, repeat the previous steps except in step 2 you press three times to activate Low.
(Stopping on Medium at step 2 does not do anything.)

Batteries and output:

The Sidekick runs on a built-in 640mAh Li-ion battery.

Surefire have commented that the charge rate is fixed around 450mA, but it always seems to charge faster than the instruction manual, or this information, would suggest. In my experience (with a good charger) even fully depleted, it takes less than an hour to charge.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Surefire Sidekick using built-in cellI.S. measured ANSI output LumensPWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
High320
Medium60
Low3100

* Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

There is parasitic drain but as the light is sealed this could not be measured. During normal use over a period of over 6 months, the Sidekick has never noticeably self drained.

For such a compact lightweight light, the Sidekick has a fantastic performance on High. Not fully regulated, the output does however remain above 250lm for a full 45 minutes – very impressive for a keychain light.

Troubleshooting

This section is included to mention any minor niggles I come across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

No issues were encountered during testing.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar ‘issue’ that might be fixed in the same way.

The Sidekick in use

Though it is compact, the Sidekick is relatively large for a keychain light. It gets away with this thanks to not being heavy and the plastic housing seems to help reduce its overall presence. Here it is shown next to a AAA keychain light and a photon button cell light.

With this extra size and relatively high cost (compared to its rivals, and especially in non-US markets), the Sidekick needs to work well to justify itself. The excellent beam and 300lm output do just that.

Ideally I prefer a smaller keychain light, but the extra size does make it more stable to hold, and you just don’t get that kind of output and runtime from something smaller and lighter.

If the housing were 100% plastic there would be heat issues, but Surefire have used a metal side panel which allows it to conduct heat out of the Sidekick. When using the High output this can get quite hot to the touch.

Perhaps the biggest annoyance for me has been that it is very similar in size to my car key, and when reaching into my pocket I now have to do the ‘pocket juggle’ of my keys to identify if I’ve grabbed my car key or the Sidekick.

The power button is quite stiff and has little feel to the click. The stiffness is an advantage in not having accidental activations (none so far, which I cannot say about other keychain lights), and eventually you do get some feel for the subdued click.

Not being a tactical light, the modes being L-M-H is ideal as for general EDC you most often only need a little light. One disappointment is the use of visible PWM in the Low mode. Medium and High have no PWM, and if only that Low mode was the same it would be much better.

Battery capacity is really great with the 640mAh cell always having plenty of output and runtime for everything I’ve thrown at it. Even with some unexpected night time strolls needing the path to be lit, using the full 300lm and plenty of other On/Off cycles to check things, and I’ve not needed to keep on recharging.

Recharging is one of those ‘love it or hate it’ things due to the main beam being used as a charging indicator. As it has never taken more than 1 hour to charge I haven’t needed to charge it overnight, so it is not that the main beam flashing and then going onto Low disturbs my sleep. However, the flashing can be annoying if you are in a room with lowered lighting. I was surprised by the Sidekick turning on the Low output once charging is complete, but actually it is a very clear indication that charging has finished, and even with a good charging circuit, it is never a good idea to leave any device on charge for a long time for no reason. The Sidekick tells you clearly to take it off charge. You can look at this either way, and to start with I thought it was not good, but having got used to it find it works pretty well.

The beam is very good, with a smooth floody profile and a neutral tint, which makes it so much better to use than lights with a 5mm LED or those with a more focused hotspot. This combined with the 300lm output, which is reasonably well maintained for a full 45 minutes of constant runtime, make this a really strong performer and the slight size penalty you pay is worth it.

Review Summary

______________________________________________________________________________________________
Things I likeWhat doesn’t work so well for me
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Excellent MaxVision Beam.Bigger than most keychain lights.
300lm output.Easily confused for a car key.
USB rechargeable.Built-in non replaceable cell.
Lightweight.Main beam flashes then comes on constantly while charging.
45 minutes runtime on High.Visible PWM used in Low
L-M-H mode order.
Comfortable and stable to hold.
Strong, small, metal clip.

Discussing the Review:

Please feel free to add comments to the review, but the ideal place to freely discuss these reviews is on a forum. If you started reading the shorter forum version of the review, but followed the link this full exclusive review, please return to that forum to discuss the review there.
If you read the review entirely on Tactical Reviews, please consider one of the following to join in any discussion.

CandlePowerForums – Flashlight Reviews Section (Largest and Friendliest Flashlight Community Forum)

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EdgeMatters – Sponsored Reviews (UK based Forum for Knife Makers and Collectors)

Сверхнадёжный комплект

SureFire E1D Defender | Seiko 2nd Generation Monster | Zero Tolerance 0450

«Скупой платит дважды» — распространенная среди EDC-энтузиастов поговорка, предостережение против покупки чуть менее дорогого, но гораздо менее производительного инструмента. С предметами, выбранными нами для данной категории, вам не придется волноваться о подобной проблеме. Они отличаются более высокой стоимостью, но при этом она компенсируется за счет самых лучших материалов и высокого качества изготовления; таким образом, инструменты будут превосходно выполнять свои функции на протяжении долгого времени.

Титановый EDC-фонарик Mecarmy Illuminex-1S

Ещё один представитель линейки Mecarmy Illuminex, получивший обозначение 1S, выгодно отличается наличием титанового корпуса. Случайно сломать его практически невозможно и даже нанести мелкие повреждения вряд ли получится просто так. В остальном приспособление полностью повторяет характеристики алюминиевого аналога, то есть максимальный световой поток здесь составляет 130 люмен, а продолжительность работы на полном заряде аккумулятора — 6 часов.

Цена: — $45.90 | Перейти к покупке

Титановый EDC-фонарик Mecarmy Illuminex-1S

Ещё один представитель линейки Mecarmy Illuminex, получивший обозначение 1S, выгодно отличается наличием титанового корпуса. Случайно сломать его практически невозможно и даже нанести мелкие повреждения вряд ли получится просто так. В остальном приспособление полностью повторяет характеристики алюминиевого аналога, то есть максимальный световой поток здесь составляет 130 люмен, а продолжительность работы на полном заряде аккумулятора — 6 часов.

$45.90 | Купить

Light Review: Surefire Sidekick (Compact Fob Light)

Though not the first to make a USB rechargeable keychain light, Surefire have applied their philosophy of ‘excellence in illumination’ to this EDC essential.

Taking a more detailed look:

The Sidekick comes in a cardboard blister pack.

Inside is the Sidekick itself, a short USB charging cable, a metal clip and the instructions.

The underside of the Sidekick has a metal heat sink panel with the model engraved onto it.

At the top is the power button and a moulded Surefire logo. The main body is a tough plastic and has a split ring at the rear.

On the angled corner at the front you can see the micro-USB port for charging.

I only noticed the small piece of plastic case under the micro-USB port was cracked when I was preparing these photos. This has not affect the function at all.

Set into the front is Surefire’s MaxVision Beam reflector assembly. This has a multi-faceted reflector surface to smooth out the beam without the losses of a textured reflector.

Looking straight into the faceted reflector at the Cree XP-G2 LED. (For some reason Surefire don’t specify the actual LED anywhere in the documentation.)

Plugging in the micro-USB cable to charge the Sidekick.

Even the compact metal clip has ‘SF’ on it.

The split ring is very stiff, so getting the clip on isn’t easy, but its not going to come off by mistake.

The beam

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.

The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball “Off-White”, and the walls are a light sandy colour called ‘String’ again by Farrow & Ball. I don’t actually have a ‘white wall’ in the house to use for this, and the wife won’t have one!

Since the days of the Solitaire keychain light, I’ve always had a compact EDC light on my keys. This shrunk to the photon size button cell type, but those really only served as a last ditch light, so the size I used grew again to include a USB rechargeable or AAA powered light. The beam of the Sidekick is a revelation in keychain lights, with its wide floody beam (with no glare) and plenty of power.

Just look at this beamshot and you probably think we were looking at something you wouldn’t attach to your keys. A really excellent EDC beam.

Modes and User Interface:

The Sidekick has three output levels Low, Medium, and High.
From OFF, press the power switch to select Low, press again within 2s to change to Medium, press again within 2s of the last press to get High, and once more cycles to OFF.
If you are using either Low or Medium, if you wait over 2s before pressing again, the Sidekick will turn OFF (instead of going to the next mode and then OFF).

There are no indicator lights on the Sidekick, so no charge or low battery indicators. Instead the Sidekick uses its main LED. For low battery, the output simply reduces sharply to a lower level and starts to fade out. There is no sudden turn off, so while there is no actual ‘warning’ it is clear you are low on power.

For charging, the main LED is used as the indicator. With the USB power connected, the LED blinks to indicate the Sidekick is charging. During the charging process the LED sometimes comes on steadily for a few seconds then has a series of blinks. I’ve not so far managed to determine if there is an actual pattern to this. Ultimately, once fully charged the main LED comes on steadily at the low level and stays on as long as power is connected.

The default order of the modes is L-M-H, but this can be reversed to H-M-L by carrying out the following steps:

1. Plug in the charger.
2. Press the switch three times until the High level is activated.
3. Leave the Sidekick On for 5 seconds or more, then press the switch once to turn Off.
4. Unplug from the charger and test the sequence.

To return to L-M-H, repeat the previous steps except in step 2 you press three times to activate Low.
(Stopping on Medium at step 2 does not do anything.)

Batteries and output:

The Sidekick runs on a built-in 640mAh Li-ion battery.

Surefire have commented that the charge rate is fixed around 450mA, but it always seems to charge faster than the instruction manual, or this information, would suggest. In my experience (with a good charger) even fully depleted, it takes less than an hour to charge.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Surefire Sidekick using built-in cellI.S. measured ANSI output LumensPWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
High320
Medium60
Low3100

* Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

There is parasitic drain but as the light is sealed this could not be measured. During normal use over a period of over 6 months, the Sidekick has never noticeably self drained.

For such a compact lightweight light, the Sidekick has a fantastic performance on High. Not fully regulated, the output does however remain above 250lm for a full 45 minutes – very impressive for a keychain light.

Troubleshooting

This section is included to mention any minor niggles I come across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

No issues were encountered during testing.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar ‘issue’ that might be fixed in the same way.

The Sidekick in use

Though it is compact, the Sidekick is relatively large for a keychain light. It gets away with this thanks to not being heavy and the plastic housing seems to help reduce its overall presence. Here it is shown next to a AAA keychain light and a photon button cell light.

With this extra size and relatively high cost (compared to its rivals, and especially in non-US markets), the Sidekick needs to work well to justify itself. The excellent beam and 300lm output do just that.

Ideally I prefer a smaller keychain light, but the extra size does make it more stable to hold, and you just don’t get that kind of output and runtime from something smaller and lighter.

If the housing were 100% plastic there would be heat issues, but Surefire have used a metal side panel which allows it to conduct heat out of the Sidekick. When using the High output this can get quite hot to the touch.

Perhaps the biggest annoyance for me has been that it is very similar in size to my car key, and when reaching into my pocket I now have to do the ‘pocket juggle’ of my keys to identify if I’ve grabbed my car key or the Sidekick.

The power button is quite stiff and has little feel to the click. The stiffness is an advantage in not having accidental activations (none so far, which I cannot say about other keychain lights), and eventually you do get some feel for the subdued click.

Not being a tactical light, the modes being L-M-H is ideal as for general EDC you most often only need a little light. One disappointment is the use of visible PWM in the Low mode. Medium and High have no PWM, and if only that Low mode was the same it would be much better.

Battery capacity is really great with the 640mAh cell always having plenty of output and runtime for everything I’ve thrown at it. Even with some unexpected night time strolls needing the path to be lit, using the full 300lm and plenty of other On/Off cycles to check things, and I’ve not needed to keep on recharging.

Recharging is one of those ‘love it or hate it’ things due to the main beam being used as a charging indicator. As it has never taken more than 1 hour to charge I haven’t needed to charge it overnight, so it is not that the main beam flashing and then going onto Low disturbs my sleep. However, the flashing can be annoying if you are in a room with lowered lighting. I was surprised by the Sidekick turning on the Low output once charging is complete, but actually it is a very clear indication that charging has finished, and even with a good charging circuit, it is never a good idea to leave any device on charge for a long time for no reason. The Sidekick tells you clearly to take it off charge. You can look at this either way, and to start with I thought it was not good, but having got used to it find it works pretty well.

The beam is very good, with a smooth floody profile and a neutral tint, which makes it so much better to use than lights with a 5mm LED or those with a more focused hotspot. This combined with the 300lm output, which is reasonably well maintained for a full 45 minutes of constant runtime, make this a really strong performer and the slight size penalty you pay is worth it.

Review Summary

______________________________________________________________________________________________
Things I likeWhat doesn’t work so well for me
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Excellent MaxVision Beam.Bigger than most keychain lights.
300lm output.Easily confused for a car key.
USB rechargeable.Built-in non replaceable cell.
Lightweight.Main beam flashes then comes on constantly while charging.
45 minutes runtime on High.Visible PWM used in Low
L-M-H mode order.
Comfortable and stable to hold.
Strong, small, metal clip.
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Discussing the Review:

Please feel free to add comments to the review, but the ideal place to freely discuss these reviews is on a forum. If you started reading the shorter forum version of the review, but followed the link this full exclusive review, please return to that forum to discuss the review there.
If you read the review entirely on Tactical Reviews, please consider one of the following to join in any discussion.

CandlePowerForums – Flashlight Reviews Section (Largest and Friendliest Flashlight Community Forum)

EdgeMatters – Sponsored Reviews (UK based Forum for Knife Makers and Collectors)

Though not the first to make a USB rechargeable keychain light, Surefire have applied their philosophy of ‘excellence in illumination’ to this EDC essential.

———————————————————————————————————————
Author’s Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
———————————————————————————————————————-

Taking a more detailed look:

The Sidekick comes in a cardboard blister pack.

Inside is the Sidekick itself, a short USB charging cable, a metal clip and the instructions.

The underside of the Sidekick has a metal heat sink panel with the model engraved onto it.

At the top is the power button and a moulded Surefire logo. The main body is a tough plastic and has a split ring at the rear.

On the angled corner at the front you can see the micro-USB port for charging.

I only noticed the small piece of plastic case under the micro-USB port was cracked when I was preparing these photos. This has not affect the function at all.

Set into the front is Surefire’s MaxVision Beam reflector assembly. This has a multi-faceted reflector surface to smooth out the beam without the losses of a textured reflector.

Looking straight into the faceted reflector at the Cree XP-G2 LED. (For some reason Surefire don’t specify the actual LED anywhere in the documentation.)

Plugging in the micro-USB cable to charge the Sidekick.

Even the compact metal clip has ‘SF’ on it.

The split ring is very stiff, so getting the clip on isn’t easy, but its not going to come off by mistake.

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.

The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball «Off-White», and the walls are a light sandy colour called ‘String’ again by Farrow & Ball. I don’t actually have a ‘white wall’ in the house to use for this, and the wife won’t have one!

Since the days of the Solitaire keychain light, I’ve always had a compact EDC light on my keys. This shrunk to the photon size button cell type, but those really only served as a last ditch light, so the size I used grew again to include a USB rechargeable or AAA powered light. The beam of the Sidekick is a revelation in keychain lights, with its wide floody beam (with no glare) and plenty of power.

Just look at this beamshot and you probably think we were looking at something you wouldn’t attach to your keys. A really excellent EDC beam.

Modes and User Interface:

The Sidekick has three output levels Low, Medium, and High.
From OFF, press the power switch to select Low, press again within 2s to change to Medium, press again within 2s of the last press to get High, and once more cycles to OFF.
If you are using either Low or Medium, if you wait over 2s before pressing again, the Sidekick will turn OFF (instead of going to the next mode and then OFF).

There are no indicator lights on the Sidekick, so no charge or low battery indicators. Instead the Sidekick uses its main LED. For low battery, the output simply reduces sharply to a lower level and starts to fade out. There is no sudden turn off, so while there is no actual ‘warning’ it is clear you are low on power.

For charging, the main LED is used as the indicator. With the USB power connected, the LED blinks to indicate the Sidekick is charging. During the charging process the LED sometimes comes on steadily for a few seconds then has a series of blinks. I’ve not so far managed to determine if there is an actual pattern to this. Ultimately, once fully charged the main LED comes on steadily at the low level and stays on as long as power is connected.

The default order of the modes is L-M-H, but this can be reversed to H-M-L by carrying out the following steps:

1. Plug in the charger.
2. Press the switch three times until the High level is activated.
3. Leave the Sidekick On for 5 seconds or more, then press the switch once to turn Off.
4. Unplug from the charger and test the sequence.

To return to L-M-H, repeat the previous steps except in step 2 you press three times to activate Low.
(Stopping on Medium at step 2 does not do anything.)

Batteries and output:

The Sidekick runs on a built-in 640mAh Li-ion battery.

Surefire have commented that the charge rate is fixed around 450mA, but it always seems to charge faster than the instruction manual, or this information, would suggest. In my experience (with a good charger) even fully depleted, it takes less than an hour to charge.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

For Detailed output measurements, please go to the Exclusive Content at Tactical Reviews , but remember to return to this forum to discuss the review.

* Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

There is parasitic drain but as the light is sealed this could not be measured. During normal use over a period of over 6 months, the Sidekick has never noticeably self drained.

For such a compact lightweight light, the Sidekick has a fantastic performance on High. Not fully regulated, the output does however remain above 250lm for a full 45 minutes — very impressive for a keychain light.

For the runtime graph, please go to the Exclusive Content at Tactical Reviews , but remember to return to this forum to discuss the review.

Troubleshooting

This section is included to mention any minor niggles I come across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

No issues were encountered during testing.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar ‘issue’ that might be fixed in the same way.

The Sidekick in use

Though it is compact, the Sidekick is relatively large for a keychain light. It gets away with this thanks to not being heavy and the plastic housing seems to help reduce its overall presence. Here it is shown next to a AAA keychain light and a photon button cell light.

With this extra size and relatively high cost (compared to its rivals, and especially in non-US markets), the Sidekick needs to work well to justify itself. The excellent beam and 300lm output do just that.

Ideally I prefer a smaller keychain light, but the extra size does make it more stable to hold, and you just don’t get that kind of output and runtime from something smaller and lighter.

If the housing were 100% plastic there would be heat issues, but Surefire have used a metal side panel which allows it to conduct heat out of the Sidekick. When using the High output this can get quite hot to the touch.

Perhaps the biggest annoyance for me has been that it is very similar in size to my car key, and when reaching into my pocket I now have to do the ‘pocket juggle’ of my keys to identify if I’ve grabbed my car key or the Sidekick.

The power button is quite stiff and has little feel to the click. The stiffness is an advantage in not having accidental activations (none so far, which I cannot say about other keychain lights), and eventually you do get some feel for the subdued click.

Not being a tactical light, the modes being L-M-H is ideal as for general EDC you most often only need a little light. One disappointment is the use of visible PWM in the Low mode. Medium and High have no PWM, and if only that Low mode was the same it would be much better.

Battery capacity is really great with the 640mAh cell always having plenty of output and runtime for everything I’ve thrown at it. Even with some unexpected night time strolls needing the path to be lit, using the full 300lm and plenty of other On/Off cycles to check things, and I’ve not needed to keep on recharging.

Recharging is one of those ‘love it or hate it’ things due to the main beam being used as a charging indicator. As it has never taken more than 1 hour to charge I haven’t needed to charge it overnight, so it is not that the main beam flashing and then going onto Low disturbs my sleep. However, the flashing can be annoying if you are in a room with lowered lighting. I was surprised by the Sidekick turning on the Low output once charging is complete, but actually it is a very clear indication that charging has finished, and even with a good charging circuit, it is never a good idea to leave any device on charge for a long time for no reason. The Sidekick tells you clearly to take it off charge. You can look at this either way, and to start with I thought it was not good, but having got used to it find it works pretty well.

The beam is very good, with a smooth floody profile and a neutral tint, which makes it so much better to use than lights with a 5mm LED or those with a more focused hotspot. This combined with the 300lm output, which is reasonably well maintained for a full 45 minutes of constant runtime, make this a really strong performer and the slight size penalty you pay is worth it.

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