Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen 3xAAA Tactical LED Flashlight Review @ ModSynergy.com
Back in June 2010, I reviewed my first LED flashlight on ModSynergy and the Dorcy flashlight got me hooked on LED flashlights as a hobby. Since then I've been intrigued with the world of flashlights. Flashlights have come a long way from incandescent models that are taxing on batteries and not as bright to the new high power LED variants that are much more powerful and also capable of being powered by a AA or AAA batteries you can pick up anywhere.
The flashlight is without a doubt one of the most invaluable tools ever invented. This hand-held battery powered light source comes in various shapes and sizes and can provide important lighting in emergency situations such as search and rescue, home power outages, in leisure settings such as camping, hunting and much more.
'Light-emitting diodes' or LED has just about every benefit over incandescent lighting technology possible. Whereas incandescent light bulbs generate lots of heat, LEDs are the opposite. Incandescent lights soak up lots of energy (from batteries for example) while LEDs do not, resulting in longer run times. Also, incandescent light bulbs have a much lower lifespan than their LED counterparts. That is why you would have to replace the incandescent bulb than you would on an LED flashlight. In fact, on an LED flashlight, you'll likely never have to replace the LED, because they are either soldered on the board or they last a very long time (anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 hours). You probably still have old electronic devices (1970-1980's) that use LED's and they are still working today (I have quite a few).
Not every flashlight is made the same and components such as the LED and reflector are some of the components that matter in a flashlight.
I recently reviewed the Nitecore D10sp R2 LED flashlight and it was the smallest LED flashlight we've reviewed thus far. Sold in the EDC (every day carry) category, it was very small and almost the size of a single AA battery meaning it could fit in tight spots. But for some, this flashlight could be too small. Our other flashlight reviews were the opposite as they were dimensionally large. Like tiny USB key drives that could be easily misplaced, the same could be said for a very small flashlight. Just like The Story of the Three Bears, the key is to find the size that is just right.
Another Dorcy LED flashlight makes its way through our hands. So far with my previous Dorcy reviews, I was super impressed with the 220-Lumen rechargeable CREE XRE LED flashlight (41-4299) that it earned an Editor's Choice award rating but the same could not be said for the MetalGear 160-Lumen LED flashlight (46-4415) that I said missed the mark from what I was expecting.
The aluminum alloy 200-Lumen Tactical LED flashlight is model number 41-4289 and operates from 3xAAA batteries sporting a bright CREE Q5 LED with an ability of illuminating up to 200-Lumen. With the Nitecore D10sp R2 flashlight we saw that there was no conventional clicky switch mechanism but rather a piston drive system. With the Dorcy it too eliminates the traditional clicky switch form and decides to use a twist on/off push button pressure sensitive tail cap switch that enables momentary or full on function. Read on to see the other features of the Dorcy (41-4289) and see how it performs for a $39USD LED flashlight.
A privately held company headquartered in Columbus, OH. DORCY have marketed Flashlight products for over 55 years. DORCY is proud to be business partners with many of the world’s largest retailers. Sears Wal-Mart ACE Hardware TruServ Target DORCY is the only Flashlight manufacturer to have true factory ownership and a fully staffed Hong Kong office. Complete packaging and distribution center in Columbus, Ohio.
The 200 Lumen LED Tactical Switch Flashlight features a High Powered Cree® Q5 Solid State Diode – one of the brightest LED's available today! This light offers state of the art performance with an optimized parabolic reflector system that maximizes light output. The tactical switch design offers either a momentary “ON / OFF” capability or a constant “ON” feature, utilizing a push button for momentary or a twist for constant illumination. The durable aluminum alloy construction allows this flashlight to operate in extreme conditions at temperatures from more than 30 degrees below zero to over +130 Fahrenheit. Complete with 3 AAA cell batteries, this flashlight will provide 3 hours of continuous use.
Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical LED Flashlight Product Features and Runtime
The Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical LED flashlight comes in those dreaded plastic blister packaging that I despise because they are sometimes difficult to tear apart. A tab is located at the top that helps place the flashlight easily on showroom shelves. The nice thing about plastic see-through packaging is that you can see the full product and not have it hidden behind the package like some other products. Dorcy designers do a nice job with the popping red color insert and product features displayed beside the actual flashlight. Three Energizer AAA batteries are also included as part of the bundle to get up and running right away. On the back of the package contains a more features, operational instructions and a warning and warranty disclaimer. The flashlight is made in Taiwan.
Opening up the package, there isn't any extras that are included. All you have is the Dorcy LED flashlight and the three Energizer batteries. Nothing else is included, no holster for protection, no wrist strap (meaning it doesn't sport one), no replacement rubber o-ring gaskets, nothing.
The disappointing thing is that the Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical has no eyelet for a wrist strap, meaning there is no way to prevent it from falling if it slips out of your hands. Thankfully with the sturdy aluminum alloy metal construction, the flashlight will most likely survive a fall. The Dorcy is a very strong flashlight yet it's very lightweight coming in at only 4.64 oz. Once you've felt it in your hands, you know it should be able to withstand punishment. Measuring in at 5.5" L X 1" W and having a bezel diameter of 1.5" the flashlight fits comfortably in the hand and is able to fit it smaller corners rather well.
Two things missing that I would have liked is a holster for the flashlight and a wrist strap.
The Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical contains a high-power CREE Q5 LED. CREE LEDs are the most widely used high-power LEDs in current day LED flashlights and for good reason as they are known to be high quality, long-lasting, and they provide amazing power. Dorcy specifications call for a rated 200-lumens and it'll be interesting to see how it performs. Three AAA batteries means that the operating voltage for this flashlight is 4.5v.
Most people will elect to use standard AAA batteries and this flashlight is something worth considering for those who are seeking an AAA LED flashlight. AAA batteries compared to their AA counterparts do tend to have a little lower capacity but runtimes are specified to be in the 3-hour range. The flashlight is unregulated, so I would avoid using rechargeable batteries such as NiMH because if they get below 0.90v, it will damage the cell. I would only recommend using NiMH rechargeable batteries if you are able to swap them out once you notice severe dimming of the LED.
Considering our couple of LED flashlight reviews have been around the 130-700-lumen range, depending on the battery configuration used, I will compare and see how the MetalGear 3xAA stacks up in comparison.
As stated earlier in the review, the Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical is comprised out of an aluminum alloy metal construction and is finished in what looks to be black paint, possibly powder coated finish. The finish is very smooth and shines when the sun hits the exterior. The Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical is extremely strong being able to withstand more scenarios than most people will ever put their flashlights through. Dorcy states that the aluminum alloy construction allows the 200-Lumen tactical to operate in extreme conditions at temperatures from more than 30 degrees below zero to over +130 Fahrenheit. This is evidenced by the rubber o-ring gaskets that are on the flashlight.
Once you've experienced an aluminum constructed flashlight such as this one, you'll never want to go back to plastic. Not only will aluminum perform better on impact, it acts like a heatsink and will be better for heat distribution and dissipation, whereas plastic flashlights would trap heat in the flashlight and not be as tough. Disadvantages would be under be cold weather, the aluminum exterior gets very cold quickly.
On the body of the flashlight, Dorcy decides to apply knurling (diamond cross pattern) in the middle portion of the flashlight. The logo has its own flat rectangular spot which acts as a grip as you place your thumb on it. The knurling is very light compared to the Dorcy rechargeable CREE XRE LED flashlight which has an aggressive and deep feel, this one is similar to the MetalGear model. The whole flashlight is smooth and the knurling should be the opposite. Using the flashlight for extended periods of time, the flashlight heats up and because the flashlight is smooth and that there are oils on your hands, sometimes handling of the Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical becomes slippery.
With no wrist strap being on the flashlight, the Dorcy can roll off tables, however, the head of the flashlight has multiple spots that are flat edges and will prevent it from rolling off.
Inserting batteries inside the Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical is simple. Simply unscrew the end cap section of the flashlight and piece comes off revealing the battery chamber. A plastic battery holder is inside and easily slides out for you to place the batteries inside. Re-insert the battery holder into the chamber and screw the cap back on. The spring on the end cap acts as a contact once screwed back on for the flashlight to operate. You have two options, the first being a full-on by screwing down the end cap until tight or an intermittent on/off by unscrewing the end cap 1/2 turn and pressing the switch for intermittent on/off function.
Even though the Dorcy packaging and specifications both fail to include tail-standing as a feature, the Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical is able to tail stand just barely because of the fact that the end cap has the word "TAIWAN" embossed and it prevents the flashlight from falling over. Tail stand means you can stand the flashlight on its back and have it illuminate the room you are currently in. Some flashlights do not have this ability and it's really a great attribute for all flashlights to have.
The flashlight can be taken apart into 2-pieces. The end cap comes off and the head which houses the reflector and front lens comes off as well. You cannot gain access and remove the lens and reflector as you can do on the rechargeable CREE XRE LED flashlight. The reflector system on this flashlight is optimized to maximize light output in conjunction with the CREE Q5 LED and you can notice the light orange peel effect on the reflector. You can also see a darker ring near the actual LED, and it'll be interesting to see if this ring shows up in real operation.
As with previous Dorcy LED flashlights, the LED cannot be taken apart but it is neatly installed and presented with the US. Patent information beside.
The end cap which houses the battery holder showcases the rubber gasket that will prevent liquid and dust from entering inside the flashlight. The flashlight did come lightly lubricated from the factory which is a good trait. Lubrication on the threads is important in such flashlights to provide a clean and easy fit, and good seal for the rubber gaskets. There is no mention of waterproof ratings or anything of that nature, but the flashlight contains rubber o-ring gaskets on top and bottom, so I'm sure there is decent protection from dust and exterior liquid like rain, but wouldn't trust using this submerged in water.
This Dorcy is a very simple flashlight and most enjoy that. Either screw the end cap tightly for a full on function or unscrew end cap 1/2 turn and pressing the sensitive switch for intermittent on/off function. There is only one level of brightness on the flashlight.
From looking at the front of the flashlight and inside the reflector, I can already see that the Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical could be a mix between throw and flood as the orange peel is evident but lightly applied. If the reflector contained an aggressive orange peel effect, it would have been a flood light. No orange peel effect would constitute a thrower (think laser beam).
Not only will I share with you in words my personal experience with the Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical, I will seek to determine if the rated lumens is accurate by way of a digital LUX meter. Tests are completed with a fully charged battery in place.
Results - How does it shine?
Lumens Rating Results - Take it as a guideline, not definitive
The Dorcy (41-4289) 200-Lumen Tactical has become one of the commonly used flashlights in my collection because it's has great brightness and extremely useful in illuminating areas near and far. The hotspot is small but strong allowing it to reach far distances, yet the light orange peel effect allows it to illuminate and flood nearby objects with ease. There's lots of spill light available. It's seems to be a great all-around flashlight, overall just fantastic stuff for the money.
The color cast is different in that it casts a light yellowish cast but it's easy on the eye. And it only costs $39USD through Dorcy Direct meaning the value element is there. There is a small ring of halo that is seen in the beamshot, so the Dorcy doesn't have the smoothest beam but its still good. The lightweight feel of the flashlight is a welcome addition as 4.64 oz is not heavy. The only weak part of the flashlight is the plastic battery holder, but if you are easy with it, it will last. For over 2.5-years now it has been as reliable as they come. No issues.
Under operation the flashlight has good heat dissipation as the whole body from top to bottom becomes warm but not hot.