If you were searching for an example of how far the flashlight industry has come over the past few years, you need look no further than Streamlight’s LED Nano Light.
It’s not that long ago that we consider an AAA flashlight with an incandescent bulb to be the smallest practical light we could carry around on a keychain. The LED Nano Light makes that class of flashlight look positively obese.
At just under 1.5 inches in length, and weighing in at a fraction over a third of an ounce (including batteries!), the Nano Light is stunningly tiny. Any smaller, and it would tip over into too small. As it is, it falls just on the right side of size versus usability.
The main selling point, obviously, is that the Nano Light is truly compact enough for you to carry it anywhere without a thought. It comes with a very useful clip to attach it to a keychain, a purse, or even the zipper pull on a jacket or fleece. You’re definitely not going to resent the weight of carrying it around.
And it has the looks to match up to its Streamlight pedigree, being machined from aircraft grade aluminum with a sleek black anodized finish.
Of course, at this size and weight you’re not going to get the most powerful flashlight in town. Powered by four LR41 alkaline button batteries, the LED bulb will put out an average of 10 lumens for around 8 hours. It’s not a regulated output – it’ll be brighter when the batteries are fresh, getting steadily dimmer as they lose juice.
Speaking of the LED bulb, it’s rated to last 100,000 hours, which is great, but also a totally meaningless number. Why is it meaningless? Well, if you do the math it comes out at over 11 years of continuous operation, but the batteries would need changing 12,500 times!
And if you factor in a buck a time for the batteries, you’re looking at $12,500 to get to the point where the LED burns out. No-one uses a keychain light like that, so the huge LED lifetime really isn’t a number to pay too much attention to.
Operation is extremely simple – there’s only one mode and it’s activated by twisting the barrel. This can be a little fiddly when wearing gloves, but it’s made slightly easier by the fact that the clip attachment doesn’t rotate, so you can use that to keep the back end of the barrel stable while you twist the head.
So far, I haven’t had any problems with the barrel twisting in my pocket, causing the flashlight to come on. It has just the right amount of torque to ensure that it doesn’t twist accidentally, while at the same time not being overly awkward to use.
One aspect that is awkward, though, is replacing the batteries. The four button cells have a tendency to spin as you put them into the barrel, with the result that what should be a simple job can turn into a frustrating 3D puzzle. Streamlight provide a small plastic tube within the battery compartment which appears to be there to make the task easier. It didn’t do a great deal to help, as far as I could tell.
Another annoyance is that the Nano Light comes in one of those terrible blister packs. Why manufacturers insist on using these when consumers hate them so much is beyond me. Streamlight, please take note: lost the blister packs and you’ll have much happier customers.
Those small niggles aside, the Nano Light should be a welcome addition to anyone’s keychain. It provides a steady beam that’s not too bright and is very simple to use – just what you need when you’re struggling to locate a keyhole or find the coins you dropped.
The standard model comes in black, but there are various colored special edition models branded for organisations such as ‘Concerns of Police Survivors’ and ‘National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’.
The black model is widely available for under $6, with the colored versions costing a little more, depending on the model.
All-in-all, the Nano Light is something of a no-brainer. It never hurts to have a flashlight with you, and this tiny marvel will ensure that you never have to worry about that happening.
- Tiny and lightweight
- Useful clip
- Decent output for such a small size
- Operation with gloves can be fiddly
- Changing the batteries takes practice
Streamlight 73001 Nano Light Miniature Keychain LED Flashlight, Black