Monday, February 23, 2015

Nitecore SENS AA Sensible Review: Goodbye Fenix, Hello to Intuitive Lighting

Comparative sizes: Eneloop AA battery, Maglite Solitaire (non-LED), Nitecore SENS AA and Victorinox Swiss Army classic knife
I must be hardwired to automatically gravitate towards flashlights and tools as I have not outgrown my fascination of lights and Swiss knives.  Fact is, I can spend looking at catalogs for hours just to be fascinated and awed by what technology is available.  Notwithstanding the high tech, one of the things I miss in the newer stuff is durability.  I guess ever since planned obsolescence entered the lexicon of consumer electronics, you can only expect stuff to last for so long.  Sometimes, it's just too short for comfort.

As a contrast, I've had two Maglite Solitaires that lasted like 15-17 years (one got lost, another had the tailcap permanently bonded to the body but otherwise was still working until the battery power ran out) so when the Fenix EO5 I got from Tactical Asia last year lasted a mere three or so months, I went out on a limb and looked for the LED version of the Solitaire.  However, Hahn-Manila, the official Philippine distributor, still hasn't carried it years after Maglite finally gave in to LED tech most probably due to the low demand.   So I looked online and found a few sellers but the prices (upwards of P900) were a bit steep vis-a-vis the lumens (37) and features (only one brightness mode).  Perhaps, it was time to try another brand.

NO MORE FENIX FOR ME.  As a practice, I always have a flashlight attached to my keys along with a compact Swiss knife so you can say I felt bare having no EDC torch after my second Fenix  just refused to light up.  Getting another Fenix torch was out of the question as I've had two AA versions in the past two years and both lasted only a few months (the first, an EO1, had a battery leak issue).  Funny thing, my other China-made, unbranded 4 AA flashlight was much abused during trips and is still going on strong.  One thing apparent is I will have to settle for another China-made brand as almost all the brands are manufactured there anyway.  

It's fun and bewildering to research the flashlight forums and find all sorts of aficionados.  While I can understand quite a bit of the tech specs jargon, I don't want to get carried away by the unbridled wanting for lumens and throw.  I also certainly don't want to spend so much for a flashlight more so if it's going to be too big to carry on my key chain.  Also, call me old-fashioned or old school, but buying from a physical store beats buying online any day as a physical inspection can reveal details that no online site can. 

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