In my experience people tend to fall in to two categories when it comes to torches: those who use them and those who live in a house with electricity and lights and all that normal stuff.
As myself and Mrs Muz live in a shed in the middle of nowhere (we’re renovating our grotty old house) we fall in to the former category, which is why I’ve been testing the Coleman Divide+ (with battery lock) – because I’m not a fan of face-planting trees on my way to bed.
The aluminium-bodied Divide+ is a simple affair with one crucial difference which torch-users all over the world have universally been failing to cry out for since the dawn of time: if you twist the head it disconnects the contacts from the batteries to supposedly save juice.
The pointless marketing ploy world-changing innovation means that people who live in a house with electricity and lights and all that normal stuff can stick their torch in a cupboard and forget about it for six months until it’s time to read the meter, at which point – with a twist of the head – the beam will be just as strong as when it was put away because the batteries haven’t been leaching the teeniest tiniestbit of power through the contacts every day. That’s the theory anyway.
Call me cynical, but in all my days I’ve never grabbed a torch with a slightly weak beam and thought: “If only I could disconnect the batteries without having to take them out… that would save me so much heartache and help me sleep better at night.” Instead what I’ve thought is: “I should really change the batteries. I’ll wait until they go flat.”
Which leads me to think that Coleman is solving a problem which doesn’t really exist* in the normal world in order to appear innovative and forward-thinking. Maybe I’m just being middle-aged and mean about it. I dunno.
*Ed – I must admit that “parasitic battery drain” was a new one on me too, so I did some research on t’internet and it’s a real thing. But only occurs in some torches (most often ones with fancy electronic circuit boards in), and some helpful chaps on the candlepower forum, and a Danish blog have done some nice write-ups.
But look – raised eyebrows and quizzical looks aside, this torch is terrific.
I’m not a fan of hand-held illuminatory equipment which does more than a torch should, like drive your car home for you when you’ve been to the pub, light the BBQ, put up your tent and download your favourite movies. What I want is a torch with a strong beam that I can switch on and off.
With regards to the latter feature the Divide+ functions as it should with a low-profile rubber button on the shaft (including a high/low setting) but in terms of the beam it simply excels. In fact I’m going to stick my neck out and say that it’s the most powerful torch I’ve ever used, and I’ve used a lot.
Here’s how I came to that conclusion.
When I was first given the Divide+ containing four brand new AA batteries I waited until Mrs Muz took our new dog, Grumble, out for an ‘empty’ before bed. As she returned down the pitch-black country lane – still a good two minutes’ walk away – I shone the torch over the gate at her, measuring the strength of the curse word she used and the volume at which it was shouted. A mile offshore, sailors were blushing. And we live in the Midlands.
On her return her unsolicited review went thus: “You xxxxxxx. That was xxxxxxx like xxxxxxx daylight, you xxxxxx xxxxxx”.
I’d call that a success.
So, in conclusion, setting aside a USP that I can think of very little realistic use for other than keeping the unit in your car for emergencies, the Coleman Divide+ (with battery lock, lest we forget) is still a very, very good torch. It’s nothing more than a simple, regular torch, granted, but if you want the closest thing to a bona fide light sabre (and who doesn’t?) you can’t go wrong with this.