Several weeks ago, I posted some ridiculous deals for a Cree Q5 AA light on the Facebook page. Sold through Amazon, the latest low price was $4.99 with free shipping, shipped directly from Hong Kong, but it looks like the price has gone up to $5.43 (BBQbuy@7w 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Zoom Light Lamp). I was hesitant to buy the light, not knowing what kind of quality I was getting, but the price sang to my thrifty innards, so I bought one. I did, however, choose one that was already stateside, paying about $10 on Amazon with free shipping on my order, which was over $25. (That stateside light is now $8.88 and eligible for free shipping)What I got for $10 was an LED light powered by a single AA that will beat any mini Maglite.
My version of the light is branded Ultrafire, a brand out of China that makes tons of LED lights, including knockoffs of Surefire 6Ps. I’m familiar with the brand, and I have found the quality to be pretty solid. The Q5 light is slightly longer than a AA battery, made of black anodized aluminum. The light is fitted with a telescoping bezel that allows a wide flood beam to be adjusted to a narrow spot, and it included a sturdy pocket clip that is almost too sturdy—once I clipped it on a pocket, it was vise-gripped in place.
Now, obviously, the price of this little booger fit my thrifty conditions, but that wouldn’t be a deal if I bought a $10 turd. I expect even a cheap flashlight to provide adequate light and be durable enough for the abuse I’ll throw at it. I had no plans to make this a “tactical” light, but I did plan to throw it in a bag and have it work any time I pulled it out.
When the light came in the mail, I immediately ripped it out of its package and threw in the first AA I found—which I pilfered from another device. Even with a used battery, I got a week’s worth of use out of it. I used it like a kid would, turning it on even when I didn’t need it. But it still lit up when I did need it. The flashlight puts out an impressive beam, even on a regular AA. With a fancy 14500 battery, it’s supposed to put out even more light, but it still compared well with my Surefire 6P LED. I don’t really know how many lumens it’s putting out, but it’s much better than any mini-AA light I’ve used in the past. Check the photo of it (left) alongside my Surefire (below). It’s the perfect brightness for a task light, giving much more lumens than a penlight, and the beam throws well at night, as the photo shows.
I was afraid the telescoping bezel would be flimsy and worthless, but it actually feels solid. And it actually focuses the beam from a wide flood to a narrow spot. It focuses so much, that you can see the shape of the LED when the bezel is fully extended. I’ve tossed the light in my bag for almost three weeks now, and it hasn’t let me down. That used battery survived the first week, and I pilfered another used one to take its place. The second one is still going strong.
While I’m no flashlight expert, and this review is most definitely not technical nor scientific, I like what I got with this cheap little torch. I can stick an inexpensive AA in it and trust that it will give an impressive amount of light for such a small package. My only real gripe with the flashlight is its tail switch. It’s impossible to reach with my thumb if I hold it in a “tactical” grip. I either have to hold it in a “cigar-style” or hold it so my index finger can hit the switch. Also, there’s no momentary option with the switch, since it’s a “reverse clicky”—unless you turn it on and hold the switch in, letting up when you want the light on. But that’s not very useful, in my opinion. So don’t plan on clearing any buildings with it or strapping it to a rifle, and you’ll be pleased.
For such a stupid-cheap price, I don’t think you can go wrong with this AA pocket powerhouse. Whether you spend 5 bucks and wait several weeks, or spend a little more for one that’s already stateside, you’ll be getting a deal. And that’s what we’re all about, right?