The Torch Reviews Site. An online resource featuring testing, evaluation and comparison of all the very latest in commercially avaliable Torch (flashlight) technology. From the small to the large, the dim to the bright – the best of all kinds are featured here in their respective sections accessible on the left. My main aim is for these reviews to help you make the best choice by being very comprehensive and informative, covering all important aspects in organised sections to pick out every last detail that you might be interested in. Lights are rated on the merits of their different features and add up to an overall score out of 50 for an at-a-glance comparison. Hopefully your questions will be answered along the way but if I can be of further help please use the contact button to get in touch.
Overview of the Review Format. The best torches to buy
When each new light arrives here, the review process begins. Depending on what sort of light it is, and where it came from (ie, did I buy it, was it sent as a sample or is it on loan from someone nice?) it will undergo different tests as well as being used round the house and at work too. All the results are brought together and presented in the following Review format…..
In the beginning, each newcomer is dealt with as soon as I can- I begin by unpacking it, installing the batteries and turning on for an initial “first impressions” test-firing- and I make notes about this process for the writeup as it is, after all, the first thing most people do with their new torches 🙂 . The light and its packaging are photographed (sometimes several times) for the review pages. I then begin the page writeups-
A short introductory paragraph outlining what the light is and what it does. Accompanied by a photo or two as previously taken, and a link to the manufacturer and dealer`s web sites, if they have them.
Number and Type of batteries. Number of LEDs or Bulb type/rating. Size. Beam half-angle. Measured (peak) current draw/battery voltage, Beam Candelas.
These points will obviously be different for each “family” of lights (LED, fluorescent, etc), but you get the idea.
The Beam TargetBeam Profile.
To give viewers an idea of what the beam is like, I shine each light onto a specially calibrated test-target, and take a picture. This means I can adjust the camera to best show the shape of the beam- hotspots, flaws and all. It still struggles to render some colours correctly- LEDs especially, but I try to correct this as best I can. Everyone sees things a little differently, and different brands of PC monitor and Video card show colours differently too, so this may not be totally accurate, but at least I try.
This relates to the supplied retail packaging, if it had any. What does it look like, how easy is it to open. This can also include a detail of what was supplied with the light- ie, batteries, Lanyards, spare bulbs, etc.
Battery installation and removal procedure- how easy to do. This section can also include battery life figures published by the manufacturer, and whether or not I agree based on initial measurements I make regarding current, voltage, etc. Battery life time tests I may perform myself come further on.
Bulb changing procedure, if relavent (ie, some LED or flourescent lights cannot have their bulbs/tubes changed). Also mention bulb life figures published by the manufacturer, and whether or not I agree. Long term testing to prove or deny those life figures will usually be noted seperately.
How to turn on and off- and how easy or hard. And in the case of Multi-mode or variable brightness models, how does the switching arrangement work?
The look and feel of it in your hand, how heavy, how easy is the switch to operate, what`s the grip like? This also refers to how well it stands on its own- can it be used for “candle mode”, will it roll away if you put it down, how steady is it (in the case of area-lights, etc meant to be stood on end).
How does it perform- beam brightness, beam quality. What has it been actually used for (by me) and what do I think it would be good for? This can also include reference to beam brightness and things like, for example, how many times I`ve had to replace the batteries during normal use.
How tough is it/does it seem- and how did it hold up to any drop tests or rough handling? Does the switch seem flimsy, could a drop damage things inside? Did the bulb break after only a short fall, or the beam go all askew? These would be generally initial observations, as any issues regarding breakage or faults developing in the future will be covered further on.
Long Term Testing.
This, along with the final section, gets posted after a while of “living” with the light and anything that happened to it will get noted- did it start to flicker, did it leak underwater, did the bulb blow after only a few hours. Also any battery life tests that may be performed will be noted here- often accompanied by brightness/voltage/current(whichever is best) versus Time graphs. I don`t always get the chance to do these due to time constraints and the fact that batteries are so expensive, but if anyone specifically wants me to do a battery life test on a light, let me know and I`ll see what I can do- I`m always willing to help out potential Torch buyers (especially if you can provide the batteries!).
Summary and Conclusion.
The final part of the review where everything is brought together in a brief summary- a list of its good and bad points and overall- was it the best torch ever made, or could the design do with a serious overhaul? As far as a rating goes, well that is featured toward the top of the page, on the left- in the space where the nav buttons are on this page.
Bite Sized Reviews.
Mini-reviews for the simpler lights out there (and the ones that have been hanging round here waiting to be reviewed for too long!). Regular visitors will have noticed that updates here at the Torch Reviews Site are infrequent at best, due unfortunately to a chronic lack of time. To try and correct this slightly and provide more info about more lights, more often, I have introduced Bite- Sized reviews which don`t take me so long to write, but still give the important facts and details you all want to know, as well as the usual categorized rating out of 50.
Bite-Sized reviews will comprise of the usual list of the light`s vital statistics, photos of the unit itsself and of course a beamshot. The 5 rating categories adding up to the overall score out-of-50 is still there too. What differs is the main body of the written review. Instead of the current 9 headed sections (Packaging, batteries, performance, etc) the review takes on a more free-form appearence comprosing of just 2 or 3 paragraphs that get down to business and pick out the important points both good and bad. Also there will be no graphed run-time tests since those take so very long to complete. I try to cover everything you`ll need to know – the intention of Bite Sized reviews is not to give less information, but rather to tell everything in a way that takes me less time to write, and takes you less time to read!
Of course, there will still be a place for the full-fat original Torch Reviews Site evaluations, especially in the case of the more innovative and advanced lights. I`ll also be more inclined to give the full treatment to review samples sent in by the manufacturers in order to be as thorough as possible.
Bite Sized reviews will not be placed in a section on their own, but rather will nestle in between the full-sized pages in order to keep things simple and easy to find. You`ll know they aren`t the normal full-fat ones by a “bite” taken out of the corner of the thumnail image, and again from the graphic at the top left of each Bite Sized page!