Leatherman Serac S2 Flashlight

Concept: 2 out of 5
Execution: 2 out of 5
Yeah, but: It's nice and small, and that may be enough.

The Long Version: Leathermans achieved a rare accomplishment with the S2: they market both a flashlight and multitool under the same name. That's an own-goal that even the camera companies rarely accomplish – very impressive. This review is of the flashlight, which takes a single AAA battery with an aluminum case and two power settings.

I use this light as a little torch that I can carry everywhere in my Billingham Hadley camera bag; I need something dressy but small. It travels with me, lets me find my way in strange hotel rooms, and shows if I drop something in the footwell of a car, bus, or plane. Handy stuff, but this is a light utility light, not something I'd be using to explore a dark alleyway or abandoned building.

The S2 has two power settings, one of which is too dim to read by, and the other is too bright to use for very long. They're selected by lightly pressing the tailcap switch; each press toggles the mode, which means that it alternates between bright and dim each time the light is turned on. To hit this point again: whichever brightness setting was useful last time is not what it will turn on with the next time. Handy, no?

The redeeming feature of the S2 is that it has a built-in regulator. This means that the brightness remains constant for most of the battery's useful life, while other lights will peak early and then taper off. It's a nice feature, and suits a light with this sort of a price tag.

So the S2 is small with businesslike styling, has two brightness settings, and has a consistent output. It's a nice mix of features, and does what I want it to. It's just that the brightness toggle bugs me. It's not a critical flaw, but it is enough that I wouldn't rush out to buy another one if my current S2 flashlight were to get lost. It does the job, but it's not that hard a job to do.

last updated 21 nov 2010


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