Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Disappointing, Basic Flashlight From Mag Lite: The 2 D Cell Flashlight Fizzles.

The Good: Provides decent emergency lighting, Durable
The Bad: Not very bright, A serious battery drain
The Basics: A surprising disappointment from the Mag-Lite brand, the 2 D Cell flashlight may be durable, but it hardly illuminates.

It might seem strange for me to review more than one flashlight from Mag Lite. The first time I wrote a review of the sort was for the Mag Lite 3 D Cell Flashlight (reviewed here!), but I discovered there were many differences between that one and the 2 D Cell Mag Lite flashlight.

Like my 3 D Mag Lite, the 2 D Cell Mag Lite I have is black, though unlike the 3 D flashlight, the 2 D is considerably less weathered. The reason for this is twofold: I use it less because the light is not terribly bright and I use it less because it seems to eat through the D batteries at a rate that is terrifying, making it impractical for me in most circumstances - nighttime walks in the woods, long projects in the crawlspace, etc. - where I would use a flashlight. Even so, it is light, works in a pinch and I keep it in my toolbox for the infrequent occasions I need a light while doing a project and I don't want to have to leave the area to find my 3 D Mag Lite. Even so, the more I considered this flashlight, the less I thought it was worthy of recommending, so I easily came to the conclusion that I would not.

The Mag-Lite 2D Flashlight is a heavy-duty enameled aluminum flashlight that is 10î long. This makes it ideal for storing in kitchen cupboards, drawers and/or automobiles where space might be at a premium. The ten inch long flashlight is a cylinder which is an inch and a half throughout the base where one grips and 2 1/8" at the lighted end, so in many ways it seems like the same animal as the 3 D Mag Lite. Even so, it is very light and even with the two D batteries in it, it weighs under one pound. The lightness of the 2 B Mag Lite might make it seem good for outdoors enthusiasts, but I've found several other Mag Lite and off-brand battery-operated flashlights which provide brighter illumination for longer than the 2 D Mag Lite.

The aluminum has been powder coated or enameled in black and no matter how many times I have dropped this, it has never chipped or dented. However, I have noticed a few scratches near the middle section of the flashlight, so the coating on this is not as impervious as some of the other Mag Lite products.

This flashlight is easy to use from its basic operation to the changing of its components. Operation is quite simple as there is a single button on it. Three inches from the lamp end of the flashlight is a rubber button 5/8" in diameter. That button is depressed to turn the light on (there will be a click) and pressed again to turn it off. The button operates smoothly and for all the years I have had my Mag-Lite 2D Flashlight, the button has never corroded or denatured. Despite the button's proximity to the light source, this flashlight has remarkable balance because of the grip right behind the button. When one naturally wraps their fingers around this flashlight with their thumb over the rubber button, they are wrapping their fingers on textured metal which prevents slippage. This works nicely when one is sneaking through a state park after hours after swimming illegally or is wearing gloves while holding the flashlight. The non-slip surface makes it easy to keep this flashlight stable and is a decent basic feature.

As for the light source, the 2 D Mag Like uses a MAG-2 CELL HK 1J2 lightbulb. This little light bulb appears cosmetically to be like every other standard filament type light bulb used in larger Mag Lite products. Even so, when the batteries are fully powered, this flashlight's bulb has a very unimpressive cone of light. The Mag-Lite 2D Flashlight lights a surface only about ten feet away adequately. When one tries to light objects that are further way, the light diffuses, so when one tries to light something about twenty feet away, it will still be heavily shadowed and while the field that is lit might be about five feet in diameter, there is not much light outside the lit circle under such conditions. This makes the 2 D Mag-Lite ideal for more cramped conditions. My partner and I use it to light our way when we go downstairs to go to the bathroom late at night (whatwith living with a mother who is fussy about us fumbling through the dark to get to the house's lone bathroom and my brother living in the living room with only a curtain for a door, who would be woken by flipping on lights).

The Mag-Lite 2 D Flashlight features a beam adjustment function that allows one to spread the light being cast from the flashlight out so it diffuses over a greater surface with less brightness. Unfortunately, this makes an already mediocre cone of light - about six bright inches cast ten feet away - into a very dim circle of light, about three feet in diameter. By twisting a ring at the light end of the Mag-Lite 2 D Flashlight, the light beam can spread out, but even signs that are not reflective that are about ten feet away may be impossible to read with the more diffused light source.

Replacing the bulb on the 2 D is identical to replacing the bulb on the 3 D Mag-Lite. As well, parts like the top, battery cap and even the bulb seem interchangeable with the 3 D light. To replace the batteries, one needs to unscrew the base (the end without the light source) and the D size batteries slide right out. One may simply unscrew, drop out the old batteries and slide in the new batteries. Unlike the Mag-Lite 3D Flashlight, the 2 D flashlight does not include an extra bulb in the base of the Mag Lite. To replace the bulb in the 2 D Mag-Lite, unscrew the ring at the top (the same one used to adjust the beam from tight to wide) all the way off. When one does that they must then remove the reflector inside to get access to the lightbulb. The lightbulb must be unscrewed and there is very little room within the top of the flashlight to do that. This requires very thin, long fingers to swap the bulbs out.

More than the minor issue of needing nimble fingers to swap the bulbs, the big issue with the 2 D Mag-Lite is the way it eats through the batteries. Fresh batteries keep the light on for only about three hours before the beam intensity begins to fade, and then only functional for about an hour after that. The fading batteries make the light brown and useless and the 2 D is one I use so infrequently that I think I only keep it around because it was a gift and it never hurts to have an extra flashlight. Besides, should the zombie apocalypse come, I would rather have to use fewer batteries to see in dark places. Then again, if a zombie is only ten feet away when one shines light on it, you're probably not going to last long anyway. The Mag-Lite 2 D is more useful for using around a dimly lit house late at night than it is surviving in a world populated by zombies.

All of the seals on the Mag-Lite 2 D Flashlight have rubber rings around it, which implies that it is waterproof, but I have never submerged this to test the resilience of it underwater. However, this flashlight has gotten wet in the rain and snow and a problem with a pipe in my old house and there were no adverse effects on the flashlight.

In the end, though, this is a disappointing D Cell flashlight and one most users will be able to survive quite well without.

For other tool or device reviews, please check out my takes on:
Stanley 84-110 Pliers
GE Softwhite 60 compact fluorescent lightbulbs
Great Neck Saw 15" Versabar


For other useful items for around the house, please check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment