Are side switches over-rated ?

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Boaz
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Are side switches over-rated ?

Seems to me ChibiM nailed it when he said he's never been a fan of side -button lights over rear tail clickies .

 Seems that side button lights are really just a knee jerk reaction to wanting old maglites.

It may be typical for a noob to assume a side button is preferable to a rear clicky.

 My feeling is a side button is really only needed on a heavier light where using a tail clicky would feel awkward . And any side button needs to be done well or it just leads to floundering stupid panicked  button searching. When a light leaves you feeling like an idiot,pawing at it like a dog digging at the door wanting to go outside I tend to start loosing love for it. 

 What do you think  ?

   Side, rear, motion or voice command ?

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Geuzzz
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I do like my sideswitch lights. But that is mainly because they have “silent” e switches. Much better for sneaking around than those loud clickies.

Dutcheee
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I used to prefer side e-switch lights.
The +:
Smaller (shorter) light design possible
Smarter firmwares and freedom in U.I. design
Almost silent activation (only fwd clickies are totally silent in momentary)
Maximum LED current not limited by switch

Now I prefer (fwd) clickies on my EDC lights:
The +:
Always easy-to-find switch that does’t accidentaly engage.
Easy to mod into an illuminated tailcap.
Can be used with gloves.

Too bad fwd clickies are very hard to find in small form factors.

The e-switch has more plusses, but the few plusses for a clicky still make me prefer them on smaller or “tactical” lights. For a size Q8 and up for around the house or camping use I prefer e-switch.

Since I have a lot to choose from, overall I think I use tailclickies about 90% of the time.

nottawhackjob
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They can make plenty more sense if you tail stand a lot.

During black-outs for instance they’re real handy, or for any situation where you need overhead lighting such as working on something while you’re on your back – like under a car IOW.

And having both tail and side switch on a flashlight can be the best of both worlds – IOW. You know depending on the application IOW. So are they overrated IOW? Nah. Plus they’re still not even close yet to tail clickies in overall quantity of sales IOW so it’s not like they’re gonna eliminate tail clickies from production any time soon. So who cares IOW?

Maybe over-preferring vs overrated is the better thought here. IOW. Big Smile

Lumens is lumens. Lumens make money. So follow the money.

Dutcheee
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Oh and you forgot twisties Boaz! My first EDCs were all twisties. Nice & small.
But I can’t stand them nowadays Facepalm

thisnameisvalid
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One thing I do like about most e switches is how silent they are, but I find the position of them useful as well.

eas
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No. They aren’t overrated.

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Hobbyfotograaf
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I also like side switches on flashlights.

manithree
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I like the side e-switches. The UI on my Q8 and D4 is awesome. I have a hard time wanting any light now that doesn’t work like that. And the tiny D4 is amazing. Sometimes I wish the D4 had a tail switch for lock-out, but then I remember how short it is, and just keep twisting the tail cap every time I put it in my pocket.

And I have to say, even though I can see the technical advantage of the e-switch circumventing the current limitation of a physical switch, I put off buying any emisars for a long time because I didn’t want something that likely to cause a fire in my pocket. But the UI is too compelling.

SIGShooter
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I don’t like side switches because I have a hard time finding the switch by feel alone, but even worse are lights with a tail on/off switch and a side switch to change modes. This forces me to change hand position when turning it on and then changing the modes using just 1 hand. When doing so the light inevitably shines away from what I’m trying to light up.

Of course this isn’t a problem using both hands and the forward clicky tail switch is a positive thing but not enough to balance out the negatives for me.

Lightbringer
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I can’t picture a Q8 with a tailswitch…

Depends on how you’re gonna use the light. Twisties are great for not accidentally lighting up the inside of your pocket but can be cumbersome to use one-handed, and can be annoying to switch modes. Sideswitch (e-switches) always have parasitic drain, unless it’s a dual-switch setup. Tailswitches are generally the noisiest of the bunch. With e-switches, you can get nice shortcuts to firefly, turbo, etc., even from off, plus ramping, etc., if programmed into the UI.

Each type has pros and cons. Depends on the function, the UI, etc.

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chadvone
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Some of my lights wouldn’t have switches if they didn’t have side switches.

klrman
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I like side switches if they are countersunk so that the light doesn't constantly turn on in the holsters. DX80 being the most guilty of this.  Even with it in e-lock, a microbe could set that thing off in the holster.

pinkpanda3310
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Depends on the light. IMO side switches are more suited to mid-larger size lights and are better for navigating complex UI’s.

On smaller edc lights I prefer tail switch, ‘simples’ Big Smile

toddcshoe
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I like both. Just depends on the from factor of the light. Bigger head heavy lights benefit from a side switch I think. Keeps the light better balanced in your hand I think. I don’t understand the whole “I have to have a quite switch “ thing. I am getting ready to fire up a few hundred to a few thousand lumens. Why does it have to be silent? I can light up a whole room but damnit I don’t want you to hear my switch. Makes no sense to me, but, hey, to each their own. In some more complicated UI’s I find it easier to navigate and set options with a side switch. Tube lights, S2+ style, I like rear clicky’s.

Mr_DuctTape
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For wide diameter/pistol grip/top handled type lights i’m not likely going to fit in a pocket I’d definitely want a side switch, Whereas pocket carried /vertical carried I’d go tail. If reaction time is important you’ll reach tail quicker because orientation isn’t as important imo. Whatever your application prefers ymmv

stephenk
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Being a light painting photographer I’m not a fan of side switches (at least for on/off) as they are not accessible when in the connectors between the flashlight and light painting tool. Give me a tail switch any day! Not a problem for larger lights used for illumination only such as the Q8 though.

Enderman
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I prefer side switches over tail switches because when you hold the flashlight normally your thumb is always right at the switch, without having to change your hand position to reach the back every time.
Easy to turn on/off or change modes.
Fumbling or dropping the light is easy when you’re trying to switch from one grip to another with a single hand just to press a button once.

It’s not hard to find a switch on the side of a flashlight because they are often made form a different material than the body, such as rubber, and also textured.
You can literally just grip the flashlight and immediately feel where the switch is.

Flashy Mike
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The more options I build into my firmware,the more I appreciate e-switches. Meanwhile the UI is so feature rich that it can’t be used with a clicky anymore in a reasonable way.

Agro
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I’m all for e-switches as they enable much better UIs.
But location is a separate matter. Tail e-switch:

  • is harder and costlier to do
  • takes more space
  • may be less ergonomic in use
  • but is easier to find initially

I’d like to have a light with a tail e-switch. But so far this is not enough to make my buy FW3A. Wink

pinkpanda3310
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Agro wrote:
I’m all for e-switches as they enable much better UIs.
But location is a separate matter. Tail e-switch:
  • is harder and costlier to do
  • takes more space
  • may be less ergonomic in use
  • but is easier to find initially

I’d like to have a light with a tail e-switch. But so far this is not enough to make my buy FW3A. Wink


Klarus G20…?
Agro
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Thanks pinkpanda3310, that’s interesting. I think I’ll take a closer look at a later date. Which means “look and read” rather than “buy”, I’m not into flooders unless they are tiny and this one is too not interesting enough to make me reach to the pocket.

raccoon city
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I like flashlights that take one Lithium-Ion cell, and for those, rear tail clickies make the most sense to me.

I don't like it when flashlights turn on in my pocket, which is a problem with side switches (and twisties.)

Macka17
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I’m slowly changing over all the lights to Side sw.
Tail switches annoy me no end.

You lot will also find. As you get older and your thumbs aren’t so flexible. Tail switches often take several grips on the bloody torch to get the angles right to operate the things.
Side switches. 30%-100% are ideal outside. with 2%-30%-100% for inside.
ANY flashes do nothing but annoy me.
ALL torches should have the 1\4 turn tail cap to isolate the battery. and twisties I find are the best for thoce tiny little ones.

strayz
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I am one of the few people that feel each light has a purpose.

Some need tail switches and some need side mount.

Twisties are almost worthless… Well except Veleno Designs Quantum D2, it is special…

chadvone
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strayz wrote:
I am one of the few people that feel each light has a purpose.

Some need tail switches and some need side mount.

Twisties are almost worthless… Well except Veleno Designs Quantum D2, it is special…

What no Twisty LOVE

Newlumen
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I like both tailswitch and sideswitch equally.. it depends on the light.

Streamer
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Macka17 wrote:
I’m slowly changing over all the lights to Side sw.
Tail switches annoy me no end.

You lot will also find. As you get older and your thumbs aren’t so flexible. Tail switches often take several grips on the bloody torch to get the angles right to operate the things.
Side switches. 30%-100% are ideal outside. with 2%-30%-100% for inside.
ANY flashes do nothing but annoy me.
ALL torches should have the 1\4 turn tail cap to isolate the battery. and twisties I find are the best for thoce tiny little ones.

^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^ +1,000,000…..infinitum…. Aging hands are definitely a factor. Burning, Stinging, pangs that can shoot from hand/wrist/finger joints to the bowels of hell in a split second. I have both configurations of switches…side switches eliminate the pain though…. Getting older can suck …. Ughh

2 DOGS
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I like the side switches but the parasitic drain and sometimes being hard to find in the dark can be a problem.
As usual get both. Beer

Lightbringer
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chadvone wrote:
What no Twisty LOVE

Twisties represent!

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Enderman
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2 DOGS wrote:
I like the side switches but the parasitic drain and sometimes being hard to find in the dark can be a problem.
As usual get both. Beer

Just because a switch is on the side does not mean it needs to be an e-switch.
This topic is not about e switches vs physical switches, it is about tail vs side.

Also if the light is designed well then it takes the same amount of time to find a side switch as it does a tail switch, assuming you have working nerves in your fingers.

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