I first saw one of these torches at a trade show last year and coveted it. Lifesystems finally sent one over for test a couple of weeks ago and this is an interim review.
560 Lumens. That’s damn bright by anyone’s standards, and Lifesystems sell the 560-VF as suitable for mountain rescue due to that phenomenal output from such as small torch. Indeed it’s tiny – it’ll fit in the palm of your hand or loose in any trouser pocket and not weigh you down thanks in part to the advance in LED brightness by manufacturer CREE and part because it runs on two CR123 Lithium batteries instead of AAs.
Out of the box it impressively lit up the garden so I took it out as my main torch on a search for a missing person last week. It was truly excellent at piercing through the darkness and I can’t fault it for either its throw of nice even light or its power.
But the batteries seem to have died quickly. I took it out again last night and it was useless. An initial second’s burst of light faded to a glow more like that of a pen torch so it was consigned to a pocket for the evening. I’d make a conservative estimate that it has been in use for 3 hours on the supplied batteries and it’s now kicking out a fraction of its potential.
The 560-VF ticks a lot of boxes for function and design, but if it’s going to eat its way through expensive CR123 batteries like that we’ll be having words.
I’m going to get some more batteries and keep trying, and we’ll see how it fares.
To be continued…