Sort N Bank coin sorter

Concept: 2 out of 5
Execution: 2 out of 5
Yeah, but: Every home can use one. It makes a great gift.

The Long Version: I have to admit that this is an embarrassing review to write. It's even more embarrassing that this is something that I've only owned for about a week; this is the sort of product that looks like a forlorn fugitive from the `80's and should have fallen out of a box while I was cleaning up the garage. But no, I bought it from a massive office supply chain that won't even condescend to list the Sort`N Bank on its website, for the low-low price of $16 - and change. Naturally.

The Sort'N' half works, but the Bank part is problematic. It doesn't have a massive capacity; lots of coins will choke the screens and need to be cleared away. I had hopes that this would become an easy storage place for all of the change that I accumulate, but it's not up to that task. I guess Sort N Put The Coins Somewhere Else wasn't as catchy a name. Or perhaps the trademarkable abbrevation is supposed to be short for 'SortING Bank', not "Sort AND Bank'. If only the inventor had included his Hotmail address on the product so that I could resolve this mystery.

The amount of change in these photos is about all the trays can handle without being completely clogged, but smaller amounts are sorted easily. It's great at sorting the wheat from the chaff when I empty out my pockets, leaving the valuable stuff on top for easy re-use and sending the lesser denominations to the bottom for recycling or landfill. Just don't toss the change down with a flourish: the trays are a little bouncy, ruining the dramatic effect of the gesture.

Using screens to sort items according to size isn't a new idea. What US Patent 359832 details is an ornamental coin basket with no claims about a sorting ability. And it is decent desk-candy, provided you have room beside your pin-art and Newton's clicking balls. Just tell yourself that its occasional need to be picked up and shaken vigorously is a substitute for dusting.

...But wait, there's more!

The "As Seen On TV" sticker does not disappoint. The TV spot for the Sort N Bank is classic cheese, and is not to be missed. (I'd like you to see that again.) The ad fails to highlight one of the reasons to own this product - instruction step #2 is "Shake Unit" - but the voice-over and hand model is a woman, and Penny tells me that that's a joke that only guys find funny. But since the Sort'N Bank is something that can only be purchased and used with a certain level of tongue-in-cheek irony, I'm not about to apologize when my sense of humour turns juvenile.

I love the internet.

But wait, there's still more (updated June 2009): The biggest weakness in the design of the Sort'n'Bank is that the tray to screen the pennies from the dimes is at the smallest end of the inverted pyramid. It has the lowest capacity, but pennies are very common; the holes to sort out the dimes need to be nearly the same size as pennies, so they clog very easily. My solution has been to use the Sort'n'Bank without the bottom tray, so that pennies and dimes fall to the bottom, and then use a magnet to separate them later. Leave the magnet in the bottom and most of the sorting will already be done. It's like magic.

The only catch is that some of the recent Canadian pennies are made from steel instead of copper, so they need to be separated from the dimes by hand. Still, it mostly works. And since the metal value in a copper penny exceed its face value, maybe it's not such a bad distinction to make.


Helvetica (Documentary)

Concept: 5 out of 5
Execution: 3 out of 5
Yeah, but: It's hard to evaluate. It's like being asked what you think about off-white paint. It's just there.

The Long Version: There aren't that many good typefaces, and Helvetica is one of the classics. Modern, clear, Swiss and san-serif, in the past fifty years it has become the default for signage and corporate identities. In his directorial debut, Gary Hustwit had the brilliant insight to explore the ubiquitous. The feature-length documentary Helvetica is the result.

The film's not just about typography, but explores many aspects of design and culture. It's said at one point that typography looks like it's about the letters, but that it's really about the space between the letters. "Helvetica" looks like a documentary about a font, but it's really about the design and its role and influence in culture. It's a fascinating look at something that goes unexamined every day.

One of the points that the documentary makes is the ways typefaces affect the tone of what's written. It implies an interpretation. Imagine the word "Shark" written in script or in bold block letters: the word is the same but it says something different. At the same time Helvetica is shown to be something of a chameleon. It's the font for American Airlines and American Apparel, and each company uses it to project a very different image. After watching the documentary, I start to see Helvetica everywhere, adding my own experiences and examples to the dozens of divergent uses shown in the movie.

The format of the movie is a mix of talking-head interviews interspersed with examples of designers at work and samples of popular culture, with a score that's usually understated and well-chosen. The film is 80 minutes long, with another 95 minutes of interviews included as bonus features. I'm glad that it was perpetually rented out at Queen Video because it spurred me to eventually buy my own copy. I had to laugh when I saw that the 'security seal' uses Helvetica to identify the package - the documentary literally can't get away from the influence of its subject.

Further Reading:
HelveticaFilm.com, the main web site for the documentary.
Wikipedia has pages about the documentary, the typeface, and Arial, a derivation on Helvetica that's also mentioned in the film.


Pelican 7060 LED Flashlight

Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 5 out of 5
Yeah, but: This is the first time I've seriously considered a perfect 5/5 rating.

The Long Version: In 2004 the Los Angeles Police Department had a problem: their standard-issue 2-pound Maglite flashlights were too heavy and expensive to keep using. By the spring of 2007 Pelican had turned the LAPD's requirements for a new light into a shipping product: the 7060 LED. To save everyone a lot of reading, I'll say it now: this is by far the best flashlight that I've ever used.

Here's the rest of the quick version: It's regulated with a flat 90 minute run time, incredibly bright, large but not outrageous, has two switches, and is rechargeable.

Meet the Family:

The photo above shows my collection of 'serious' lights. On the far left, giving off the lovely orange light, is my trusty 2xAA Mini Maglite. Mine was already an old light when I found it in a parking lot twelve years ago; this model is often the first "good" light people buy. For this photo it's using a pair of freshly-charged Eneloops batteries. To the right of it is my Pelican M6 2330 LED, a model that uses a pair of 3V CR123A batteries, and these cost so much that I don't keep a spare set on hand. On other side of the same coin, the batteries cost so much that I barely use the light, so they're probably still fairly fresh. Next to it is my 2410 "Stealthlight" - yes, the bright yellow one - that I reviewed here. It's also using freshly charged Eneloops, but it takes four of them. And finally, on the far right, is the 7060 LED. All of these lights have their bezels 18" from the seamless paper that forms the background, so there's no trickery involved in this photo. The 7060 really is that much brighter than the rest of the group.

There's no perfect do-everything flashlight, just as there's no one perfect camera, car, or pair of shoes. There are some that are better in each broad category, but I won't be attaching my Pelican 7060 to my keychain and I wouldn't explore a dark building with a Pelican L1 or a Gerber Infinity Ultra, which are the lights on the far left of the photo above. But if I had bought the 7060 first, it and the Gerber would be the only two flashlights that I'd own. The LAPD's 7060 is far superior to the M6 unless I really need a light that will fit in a pocket, and it's only second to the 2410 for one specific task that I rarely need. (More on that later.) The maglite has only sentimental value.

Like the kids from my high school, flashlights that are bigger aren't necessarily brighter: it all comes down to what's driving the lamp. So the fact that the 7060 dwarfs the rest of the family and that it's the brightest is a bit of a coincidence. If having a smaller size is a serious factor, you can probably find lights that use the same Cree 3W LED as the 7060 but with a more compact power supply and construction. I'll leave that as an exercise for interested buyers, because last time I did serious flashlight comparison on-line, I wound up buying the most expensive light I've ever owned.

And With That, Back to the Light:

Compared to the centre of the beam, the corona isn't particularly bright. But if you're close enough to what you're lighting that the spot is too narrow to use, then there's going to be plenty of brightness in the spill of the beam. The composite photo above gives a good impression of the brightness of the light overall. The inset image is shot at -4EV - which is recording only 1/16 as much light, or 6.25% for the metric types - and shows the ringed pattern of the beam better. There's actually three separate levels of intensity, with the width of the main beam being 10% of the throw distance, a dimmer corona being 30%, and the total spill being about 60% of the throw. If you light a wall that's ten feet away, the centre is 1' across, the brighter corona is 3' across, and the total spread is 6'. Neat.

A lot of other reviews have made a big deal about how far the 7060 throws its light, and it's very true. If you're doing serious research into this light, believe whatever the other reviews tell you. If you have a more casual interest, it's probably enough for me to say that I can put a decent spot of light on the roof of a grocery store that's at least 250m away. It's not a searchlight, but it might let me know if someone's actually stealing that car when its alarm goes off sixteen floors below in the middle of the night.

If you read as many flashlight reviews as it takes me to decide to buy a new light, you'll quickly learn that almost every LED light is said to have a "white" beam. To a normal person this is true, but I'm a photographer. The photo above is a composite of two calibration shots taken on a neutral grey target. The left-hand side is the light from the LAPD's Pelican 7060, and on the right is the effect of the Recoil 2410. (They are metered differently and can not be used to compare brightness.) The stripe running across the middle of the photo shows what a true daylight-balanced light source would be. It's a little hard to see in this small photo, and most monitors are free spirits when it comes to colour reproduction anyway, so trust me when I say that both the Pelican 7060 and 2410 are tinted green. The 2410 is a little more blue and a little less green (6050K, +25 magenta) than the 7060 (6000K, +29 magenta) which gives it a slight advantage.

So colour-critical photography is the only time that I might reach for my Pelican 2410 instead of the 7060, although the power difference might be a bigger consideration in actual use. But it's worth noting that both of these lights are passing pretty strict standards to even be considered. My M6 has only a slightly visbile green tint, but it's so not-white that it's essentially unusable (6300K, +40 magenta) for my photography. And the M6 is far better than my old 4xAA Princeton Tec "Impact XL" LED. There's a reason why the Impact isn't in the family photo - as the green sheep, it has wandered off and I can't be bothered to look for it. But once again: for normal use by a normal person there's little or no functional difference. The tint issues that are critical to photography probably wouldn't even be visible to someone who isn't attuned to looking for it.

About The Construction:

There's a certain irony to the original LAPD mandate of designing a flashlight that can't be used to beat people up. The 7060 is still a hefty light, and certainly feels tough enough that it could do some damage. The grip is very good, and the balance point of the flashlight is almost at the front switch, making it top-heavy. Add the aluminum heat-sink to the equation and I have no problem imagining some out-of-court settlements. Perhaps the LAPD and/or Pelican forgot that the Monadnock PR-24 baton that Rodney King made famous is also made from plastic?

Even with all of the comparison photos that I've seen, I was still surprised by the size of this light when I first took it out of the box. The black ABS plastic body doesn't have sex appeal of finely machined metal, which would have both reduced the case's diameter and allowed a smaller heat-sink, but its larger size makes it a better tool even though it makes it a worse toy. I was also surprised at the weight of it, since it being called 'light' is in comparison to a 3D Maglite, but others that I've handed it to have been surprised at how little it weighs. Regardless, this isn't a flashlight that gets tucked in a pocket. Pelican does include a souvenir belt holster, which might be useful for someone who rarely plans on carrying their light this way, but I've already lost mine. When I need to take it out of the house I'll just add it to the bag that I usually carry to work, which has a pocket just right for the 7060, or include it with my various camera gear.

The two bright spots below the head of the flashlight are the terminals for the recharging dock. The charger is a grey plastic that doesn't match the look of the 7060, and is designed to be wall- or vehicle-mounted. To keep the light in place in a bouncing squad car the charger must need a very tight grip on the light, and as a result it will scratch the body of the light no matter how carefully it's inserted and removed. The Pelican video shows it being snapped into place; other advice I've seen says to carefully slide the light down into the cradle. Neither works, but snapping it in is easier. It's a tool, so a few scuffs don't bother me.

The last point that's worth noting about the Pelican 7060's construction is that it has two independent on/off switches, both of which allow momentary-on control. I find that I use the one on the body more than the one on the tail, but it's certainly nice to have both. Now whenever I use my 2410 (body) or 2330 (tail) I wonder why they weren't designed with two switches. It seems like such a natural idea now that somebody's done it, but I couldn't imagine why it would be useful until I tried it.

And Finally:

Perfect marks are very hard to get around here: a score of 2 out of 5 is for something that's decent and serviceable, with a lofty "3" being reserved for something I really respect. To get a ranking of "4" requires an exceptional idea or a near-flawless execution. I'd really like to find something that gets a truly perfect score, and the 7060 comes very close, but it lacks that final spark of brilliance to put it over the edge. I'm honestly not sure what a 5/5 product will look like, but I think I'll know it when I see it. Until then, I have only the most minor complaints about what is otherwise a flawless light.

Open It! Household Multi-Tool

Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 3 out of 5
Yeah, but: It looks too much like a tool that's "just" for girls

The Long Version: We've all been there: Still in the store parking lot trying to open some cool new device for our cameras or computers, or maybe a new CD we want to check out on the way home.
Or it's Christmas Day and a loved one is turning red from frustration (or blood) fighting the tamper & theft resistant plastic clamshell packaging that's everywhere these days.
And what about the poor kids hearing all the bad words when mommy can't figure out how to free their new toy right now?

I rather admire how Zibra has figured out that there was a problem, then pretty much solved it.
This tool looks a lot like gardener's pruning clippers, but with a few important differences.

In one handle is a retractable razor blade for cutting wrapping paper, CD/DVD cellophane and tape strips, etc. There's also a tiny flip-out Philips-head screwdriver for certain types of restraints and battery compartments. These are functional but not of high quality and won't last more than a few years in my opinion.
But they are just a whistle and a bell.

The main bit of brilliance is the Z shape of the cutting blade section combined with a big hole.
When you attack a plastic clamshell with the Open It! the bent blades and the hole allows enough room for the complex contour of the package edges to pass through as they are sheared off, and that makes all the difference!

The following photo of a partially-opened pocket knife package illustrates this point:

See how the cut-off section passes through the blade gap and stays out of your way?
I've tried this with scissors and you end up getting stabbed in the hand, then you have to bend it out of the way to continue cutting which deforms the package and slows progress.
One clever detail makes all the difference, and I applaud them.

Please keep in mind that this was a small pocketknife's packaging--there is obviously plenty of room for the bigger clam's protrusions.

The handles are big and comfortable, with a hard rubber no-slip grip and enough leverage to make cutting very easy.
The chopping blades are sharp enough for the job but ground at a high angle that makes them fairly safe in households with children, plus there's a lock to keep the handles together when not in-use.
The bright orange is easy to locate in a messy junk drawer.

Not only do busy moms and grandmas need a product like this, they deserve it.
People with limited hand strength and limited tool boxes need one, too.
The bottom line is that using this tool is going to be much simpler and easier than any other method of busting open a plastic clam.

In a fitting Catch-22, your OpenIt! resides in the exact same type of package it was designed to defeat.
Hopefully it will be the last time you'll have to do battle with an annoying retail contraption and possibly lose.

Ever gotten deep inside a fairly simple cardboard box and found a stout nylon cable-tie keeping you from finally liberating the object of your kid's capitalist desire?
Snip! for the win.


MEC Pod Sling Pack

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 4 out of 5
Yeah, but: Cheap and common: bad in people, great in bags.

The Long Version: I've owned this bag for at least a few years, and Mountain Equipment Co-op is still selling them for the same $21 that I paid all that time ago. The colours change from time to time, and now they're available in left and right-hand versions, but the design hasn't changed at all. It has a pocket on the strap that's big enough to hold a cell phone or a camera, a pouch on the side for a water bottle, a slash pocket running up the length of the pack, and the main compartment that's big enough to hold an SLR with a small lens on a large body or a large lens on a small body.

Yes, when it comes to me and bags, it's all about the cameras that will fit in them.

But this is a great all-purpose bag for people who don't carry cameras, too. It's a hands-free and gender-neutral purse that's easy to use, and it's cheap enough that if it only gets used occasionally it's not a major error. I have a larger Blurr bag that does a very similar job - except it will hold the E-1/E-3 with the 35-100 lens - but the MEC one is better made, better designed, and cheaper. It's hard to argue with that.


Kleen Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 3 out of 5
Yeah, but: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence..."

The Long Version: Yes, BPA. I'd have to say it eventually, so I might as well start there. Canada has recently listed Bisphenol A as a toxic chemical and has banned it from plastic baby bottles. But in a press release, Canada writes: 'The preliminary research tells us the public should not be concerned. In general, most Canadians are exposed to very low levels of bisphenol A in polycarbonate. It does not, therefore, pose a significant health risk.'

Everyone's buying stainless steel bottles anyway. Those who know me know that I'm not overly into health scares or health in general, but like a magpie, I like shiny things. A stainless steel water bottle is perfect for me. Pictured is the Kleen Kanteen 12oz / 500ml model, but I usually use the 27oz / 800ml model.

As far as water bottles go, this one works very well, and is my favourite of the designs that I've seen and used regardless of material. The diameter is comfortable to hold - it fits standard bike bottle holders - and the mouth has a lip on it that's comfortable to drink from. (Although it is prone to splashing when I drink while walking.) It's easy to fill, easy to clean, seals well, and it's not as bulky as plastic. There are different cap styles available, meaning that I was able to mix-and-match to get the loop top that I like, an it can be replaced if the seal ever gives out. But one major difference between plastic and metal is that it's an excellent heat conductor, so cold water warms to room temperature quickly, and hot beverages are outright dangerous. Be careful washing it. (My suggestion for cleaning it is to use cool water and a small amount of mouthwash instead of detergent.)

I used think that there's a slightly metallic taste to the water, but eventually I figured out that there's a metallic taste to the bottle. It seems obvious now that I say it; the water itself tastes just the way it does after being run through my Brita filter, even after sitting in the bottle overnight. But the bottle is magnetic, which marine-grade stainless steel isn't. I don't know if that means that the bottle could eventually rust, but since I'd update this review if it did, you can assume that it hasn't happened yet. (For what it's worth, I've been using it since 22 May 2008.) Otherwise I have no complaints: it's a solid product in a utilitarian and useful way.

It's my review, so I'll rant if I want to: I've never understood the idea of paying for Bottled Water: take something that's essentially free, add some marketing, incur some distribution costs, and all of a sudden it's selling for more than fossil fuels. I thought the idea was dumb years ago, but it's a market that reached what I can only hope is the pinnicle of self-parody with "Fiji Water." To quote the company, the source is "Far from pollution. Far from acid rain. Far from industrial waste." According to Pedro, each litre of water produced 'consumes' (read: contaminates) 6.74L of water. And Oxfam's report says that 53% of Fijians are "without sustainable access to improved water." More people in major cities in North America have access to safe water from Fiji than the people in Fiji do. How is that not a scandal?

Updated June, 2010: I've bought a couple of other stainless bottles since this review was originally written, but they sit in the cupboard while the two Kleen Kanteens are still in almost daily use. They've held up remarkably well, with no signs of deterioration of either the metal bottle or plastic cap. There's been some minor scuffing and scratching, of course, but it looks new enough that a couple of my co-workers had to find different colours when they bought their own. So after two years, I still think that these Kleen Kanteen bottles have gotten just about everything right, and have yet to see anything better.


7-Eleven, Bloor and Spadina

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 2 out of 5
Yeah, but: The world's biggest seller of cooked hot-dogs can't be all bad.

The Long Version: 7-Eleven always makes me think of William Gibson's Bridge trilogy, in which the convenience store chain Lucky Dragon plays a pivotal role. They're in places where they probably shouldn't be, and at one point security guard Berry Rydell realizes that it's the only store for miles that actually sells anything that anyone actually needs.

But downtown Toronto isn't a dystopian society that has broken down after a catastrophic earthquake - we're temblor-free. And within a block or two of the 7-Eleven at Bloor and Spadina there's all kinds of food stores, Chinatown, discount retailers, heath food supplies, and the most expensive shopping district in the city. So it's not like there are no other options.

There are even several other convenience stores, coffee shops, fast-food places and donut stores, most of which are cheaper and/or better than 7-11, several are open 24 hours, and are all within a few dozen metres of the intersection. In one way or another they all sell some of the same things that the Seven-Eleven does. But they're not actually on the corner, or they don't have the bank machine, or they don't routinely put their 2L bottles of coke on sale.

So 7-Eleven isn't always the best choice, doesn't have the happiest employees, and doesn't usually have the lowest prices. It is convenient, brightly lit, and sells just about everything. But they don't call them "happy employee and low prices" stores, they call them something else.

But 7-Eleven is similar to Gibson's Lucky Dragon in one other way: both attempt to saturate and control popular culture. Naturally, a large corporation has its own web site, but so does one of it's products: slurpee dot com. And like Luke Skywalker, 7-Eleven has its own day to celebrate its existence - July 11 - which happens to be today. That's not a big deal, if Coke had a numeric name, I'm sure they'd do it too. But what really amazed me is that 7/11 has made a registered trade mark out of the term "brain freeze." That phrase currently gets half a million hits on Google, and two out of the first ten are related to 7-Eleven. I wonder if the rest are using it with permission?


Pelican Recoil 2410 LED Flashlight

Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 4 out of 5
Yeah, but: Great light, good price, but it could still be better.

The Long Version: The interesting thing about the Pelican StealthLite Recoil LED 2410PL Flashlight isn't the marketing department's 90's throwback to groovy Stealth technology. (I'm not sure exactly what a 'stealth light' would look like, but it would probably emit infrared and not be bright yellow.) Instead you should pay attention to the word "Recoil," which means that the Pelican 2410 has a bright 1-watt LED immediately behind the lens that is turned to fire backwards into the reflector. Picture a satellite dish with a bulb shining into the dish from the tip of the receiver, and imagine it beaming light back into space instead of gathering weak signals from it. What you get is a tightly focused - collimated - beam coming from a reflector that's not compromised by having the light source poking through the middle of it.

The weak yellow light in the photo-illustration above is coming from a two-double-A Mini Maglite (without the Nite Ize LED upgrade), and the strong light is from the Pelican 2410. The 'orange-peel' textured reflector design is so good that the light thrown is in a square, matching the shape of the LED. This gives the flashlight a very long throw for a light using modest AA bateries, but at the expense of very little corona to light the periphery of the beam. Pelican rates the output at 32 lumens, which I have to trust because I can't measure it myself and am not really sure what it means. But it does sound pretty impressive, especially compared to the AA MiniMag's 5.3 lumens.

The 2410 runs on four AA batteries, and the body has a flat cross-section that makes it very easy to carry in a pack or tuck in a back pocket, albeit with the head protruding. Its plastic body comes in black or yellow; the "PL" version that I have costs a few extra dollars but has the glow-in-the-dark bezel that makes the light easy to find when it's off. I highly recommend it. It's also submersible, pressure-rated to 500 feet, and resists all kinds of chemicals that I wouldn't want to have splashed on me anyway. The plastic-bodied Pelican lights are occasionally derided by those who prefer more "milspec" designs, which may be why Pelican chose the macho name for its reversed-LED design. But no matter what it's called, this light's bright yellow case, glow-in-the-dark bezel, and plastic body that can't be used as a weapon isn't going to please those who wish they were Special Ops troopers. Get over it. The Pelican Recoil 2410PL is a great functional light, so pretend you're a Fire or EMS rescue worker instead. It's a more humane mental space to be in, anyway.

It's a sad truth: flashlights can be bright, small, and long-lasting, but they can't be all three at once. The Recoil 2410 is both larger and dimmer than my Pelican M6 2330 LED, at the bottom of the photo above, but the M6 also uses a pair of 3V lithium batteries that cost $15 a set and lasts about four hours before it drops below its rated 41 lumens. The hardware-store favourite AA Maglite at the top of the photo is also smaller and perhaps a little more stylish than the 2410, but is nowhere near its output. What all of these lights lack - but my little $40 Gerber has - is a regulator. This is a piece of circuitry that evens out the battery power so that the light output stays consistent for most of the battery life. It's a neat feature. If Pelican added that ability to a similar light I would consider buying it as well, and would certainly recommend it over the current design.

But it's also worth noting that this light is somewhat specialized. I have many flashlights, of varying power and cost, and this is the one that throws a narrow beam of light very far and is so cheap to feed that I'll use it without worrying about its run time. (I actually use Eneloops rechargeables in it, so it costs nothing and lasts nearly forever.) It's too large for every day carry, so it's unlikely to be the light that you always have on you. It's too bright to light up a mixing board in a dark club or to read a sheet of paper while doing a presentation with an LCD projector. But it's great for "penetrating darkness," as another reviewer wrote, which is what I use it for. I bought this light with the excuse that I can use it for photography, both for being able to compose and focus for available-darkness images, and to use it for 'painting with light'. Normal people might want to keep one in the car for emergencies, or on the bedside table for prowlers.

For a brighter all-purpose light, it can't beat the lights that run on multiple CR123A batteries, like my M6. General keychain and task lighting falls to either my Pelican L1 or my Gerber Infinity Ultra, which are modest lights with soft beams. But if I could only have one light that had to do everything, the Pelican 2410 is the one I would choose. The powerful light with good running time from inexpensive batteries is too good to pass up, and it's a worthwhile addition to any kit.

Updated 2 July 2008: I'm my own worst enemy. In researching this review - I do that sometimes - I found another flashlight that I want to add to my collection. It has many of the features that I love about my Peli 2410, such as the light carrying weight and nice clean light colour, but blows it (and my M6 2330 LED) away in brightness, throw, operating cost, and convenience. And I have a birthday coming up soon. So look for a couple more flashlight reviews this month: the as-yet-unidentified purchase, and my M6 before I send it to Craigslist.

Updated Again 17 July 2008: My review of the new light, a Pelican 7060, can be found here. It's a light so good that it has almost retired my 2410.

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