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REVIEW: Maglite XL200 LED Flashlight

June 9, 2012



PRICE £25/30

Okay, this is one of Maglite’s new generation flashlights, the “newest member of our XL series”, with “advanced features” and “stunning brightness”. Marketing spiel, or a true step forward for the torch?

Let’s look at the feature list. There’s a “‘Spot-to-Flood’ adjustable LED beam”, the unit is “Anodized for corrosion resistance and durability”, and has a “rugged, machined aluminum [sic] case”, along with “Intelligent Energy Source Management – continuously monitors the balance between high brightness and efficient power usage allowing for prolonged battery life”, is “Powered by three (3) AAA alkaline batteries (included)” and is “Individually serial numbered”. A serial number? Why?  –?

You can also purchase a hipster holster, in order, I presume, for those moments when you need to quick-draw your Maglite XL200 and pump six rounds into a fast approaching terrorist or zombie… sorry. Wrong mag.

So, wading through the necessary advertising waffle, what’s it really like? Is there a genuine reason to buy one? Or should I just stick with a cheap wind-up dog-walking unit from ASDA, with or without a serial number, cheap as chips at £2.99?

Using a wander up Ben Lomond as an excuse to test a bunch of kit, I brought the Maglite XL200 along for the ride. Yes, there is not much call for a Maglite in the daylight hours on a mountain, but as can be seen by the picture below, those 172 lumens sure do stack up to a beam visible in daylight – and is blinding to look at directly. At night, this little unit is truly stunning. I mean, stunning stunning. For one such as I, used to walking the mutt with a standard wind-up torch, the Maglite suddenly allowed me to see where the hell I was going. A rebirth of night vision, one might say.

The flashlight itself is small, compact, and fits well into your hand with the ergonomic perfection of something like a well-machined mouse (that’s computer mouse, for those not paying attention). It’s light in weight, sturdy, not too small that you’d lose it, and not so big that you dread carrying the lump. The blurb talks of “rugged machined aluminum”, obviously some new alloy discovered by Maglite, but it really does feel like a quality tool. The various modes are activated by a touch button on the base (convenient) and the modes are well thought out and useful. What gets my vote for a 5/5 score, however, and warrants carrying this unit on any climb or ride or dangerous pursuit, is the 5-click SOS function. Yes. Lying there with a broken leg, or your head squashed between two rocks, activate this SOS function and the flashlight will happily signal your distress for up to 218 hours (better than 127, right?). Often, I have pondered what I would do if I fell down a gully with a broken coccyx and had to wait for an air ambulance. How would I signal for help? Now I know. I have my little Maglite friend. During the entire Lomond trip I got some security from the knowledge I had a backup, a friend who knew how to signal for help. I gave my leedle Maglite a name. Bill. And I am very happy to say, Bill scored Top Marks.

So, condemn! thy hellish wind-up crappy rechargeable device to the bin! And buy a Maglite XL200. Not only is it cool (baby), one day it could save your life.



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