Holiday Gift Guide: Tenth Day of Christmas
Tony Sculimbrene 12.20.17
On the Tenth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a light worth hyping
The Choice: The TorchLab BOSS 35
The BOSS 35 is the best light on the market as of 2017. It not only does a bunch of things well, but it does a bunch of things better than any other light out there. It is still, a year later, the brightest or one of the brightest lights available for its size and battery format, coming in at 200 lumens more than the FourSevens burner Mini, which, itself is brighter than the oLight and a host of other production lights in the 1xCR123a format. It’s retro body tube allows for effortless tail standing, amazing grip, and has discrete but useful light escapes on the head.
The clip is the best I have seen on a light. The clicky is crisp and snappy providing excellent feedback. I even prefer the forward clicky set up now that I have gotten used it to (on a forward clicky, the clicky engages when to start to push it, not when you release it after a full press like on a reverse clicky). It allows for fast and effortless mode selection. The UI is dead simple and the stock outputs are ideal, with a true moonlight low and a retina searing high. The light has a ton of interchangeable parts, with a crenellations bezel, lots of aftermarket clips, and a body tube that makes the light a great 18650 light (the BOSS 70). There is even a diffuser tip for the light.
With all of that, the BOSS 35 would be the best light available. But that is only half the equation, hence the “light worth hyping.” The programmability on the BOSS 35 is easily the most sophisticated in the world. First, you can select a huge range of outputs and modes for four different “slots” on the light’s output menu. Second, you do all of this via a web-based programming system. Finally, to actually program the light you drop it into “receive mode,” hold the light’s emitters up to a computer screen, and press play. A video of coded light pulses plays and tells your light what you have programmed it to output. It is impossible to accidentally reprogram your light and the actual interface and programming could not be simpler. Between the ease of use, speed, and range of options nothing in the flashlight business comes even close. This is the best light in the world right now and I don’t see that changing for the foreseeable future.
Scrooge Before Ghost Visits oLight S1R
If you have less than $100 and you absolutely need lumens, at 900 lumens, the S1R is hard to beat. It has a docking charger, a magnetic tail cap, and a good solid side switch. There are tinier versions in the oLight line up, but a lot of them have pretty poor optics and the S1R isn’t much of a thrower itself. Still, if you want to impress friends and blind family members, this is a good budget choice.
Scrooge After Ghost Visits Lux RC Artifact
It’s the same light engine as the BOSS 35, but it is housed in a beautiful ceramic body tube that is significantly smaller and is masterfully hand painted. They were sold one at a time for a while on the LUX RC site, but they seem to have slowed. Any light on that site could slot in here—they are all amazing, though extravagantly priced.