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Lifewire / Sandra Stafford
IP65 dust and water resistance
Metal body becomes warm when flashlight runs
Alternating light settings are inconvenient
Despite a tough all-metal body and waterproofing, the Anker Super Bright Tactical flashlight becomes too hot, too quickly to make it worth recommending.
Figuring out which flashlight offers the features you need for your outdoor hobbies can be a tough choice. The Anker Super Bright Tactical Flashlight is a lightweight flashlight with a sturdy body and IP65 rating that promises to keep out water and dust, making it ideal for outdoor use. We put it to the test to see if it was worth the price.
Anker makes quality products, and this is no exception. The anti-slip aluminum body feels weighty and durable, but is nonetheless lightweight. The flashlight can balance on its base for use as a lamp. The sliding head allows you to focus the light for a pointed, zooming effect, or diffuse the light over a wide area.
True to the warning, the flashlight becomes uncomfortably warm within ten minutes of turning it on.
The button is located on the bottom, making a back-handed hold (like a cop holding a Maglite) the natural choice, but we didn’t prefer to hold it that way. A benefit to the design is that the button is protected by metal bezels.
As soon as we opened the flashlight, we noticed something troubling: “Hot” printed where the scope meets the flashlight handle. True to the warning, the flashlight becomes uncomfortably warm within ten minutes of turning it on. For a small flashlight with no other way of holding it to become so hot is a pretty big problem. The average user who only needs a flashlight to make a trip to a dark basement won’t be affected, but the handle becoming too hot to comfortably hold eliminates the possibility of using it for hiking at night.
The Anker Super Bright Tactical Flashlight includes a rechargeable 3350mAh battery. Milliamp hour (mAh) is a measure of battery capacity. For comparison, AA batteries typically have under 3000mAh. The battery, once inserted into the flashlight, is charged by a micro USB cable inserted into the base of the flashlight. It’s protected from overcharging by an overcharge prevention circuit. The battery never has to be removed for charging, so it’s not likely to be lost. On the chance that it does fail, the battery can be replaced by any 18650 battery (a rechargeable lithium-ion battery).
We thought the battery life was great. Anker advertised the battery life as six hours, and we found it lasted nearly seven. It took around three and a half hours to charge from empty. We thought the battery life was decent for a flashlight that you won’t use daily. If you need a flashlight for daily use, such as nightly walks, this would need to be recharged fairly often.
The Anker Super Bright Tactical Flashlight boasts a reasonably bright 900 lumens Cree LED and five light settings: high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS. On the highest light setting, the light was visible from about 900 feet away in the flat Texas desert. The manual indicates that the flashlight should remember your last choice and automatically use it after a long button-press, but we didn’t find that to be consistently true.
The metal body becomes hot after a few minutes, keeping you from being able to use it for very long.
Occasionally we were able to bring up the last light function that was used, but in general, the flashlight toggled through all the options. If we wanted the highlight option, we had to get all the way back through the strobe and SOS functions. Someone must want these, but we wonder about the utility. Would most people recognize an SOS signal delivered by a flashlight? All of these functions bogged down what could have been a perfectly serviceable flashlight. Because of that, we wouldn’t purchase this flashlight over a similar-priced one with a simple feature set.
This flashlight costs $27.99 MSRP. This is a little expensive for a flashlight that’s unable to be held for a long time without growing unreasonably hot. We would pass it by in favor of a flashlight that has fewer light functions. If however, you need or want a strobe, low light, or SOS setting, it boasts the excellent quality you’d expect from Anker.
The ROMER Rechargeable Handheld Searchlight is a superior choice for hours of outdoor use in the dark. The plastic handle is comfortable to hold, unlike the Anker flashlight’s metal body, which becomes hot after a few minutes of use.
If you want a flashlight for occasional use, there is no reason to spend as much as the Anker costs. The J5 Tactical Flashlight is cheaper, under $15, and has a simple functionality with three light functions. One thing to note is that like Anker, there is no way to reliably choose the one function you actually want. Half-presses cycle through the three options quickly, though.
This flashlight has a few too many flaws.
The Anker flashlight has a quality build that we expect from Anker, but the nice things end there. The metal body becomes hot after a few minutes, keeping you from being able to use it for very long. Numerous light functions were a headache that added little to the design. We’d pass on this one.