Shadow GF2 review

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Azazelo
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Shadow GF2 review

Apologies for pic quality and lack of sophistication, it’s my first post… Another review of the GF1 with the GF2 extension tube is at:

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19745

This reviewer has all the detailed specs, good pictures and technical goodies that I lack, mine is more of a subjective thing because I am pleased with the light.

The GF2 differs from the GF1 in that you only get the longer tube version for the 18650 battery and it is in a gray color rather than the mud-brown of the GF1. The above review had the light coming with both tubes, but I only saw one version or the other when I looked, with the longer/shorter tube sold separately. I’ve only had the light about a week, but so far I like it very much. It is solidly constructed and not much bigger than the battery. It is shorter than an AAx2 light and about the same diameter. I wanted a light with a side switch, and chose this one mostly after the above review. Mine came in a little cardboard box, wrapped in bubble wrap, with a spare glass lens and extra O-ring (the Wallbuys people just opened the box and stuffed the other parts of my order in there as well). It is an attractive light in a nice color and fits well in the hand. I got mine from Wallbuys and it is about US$35. I had a discount code to get it for a little less, so I was able to get it and a battery for $35, with free shipping.

It also comes with a nice wrist strap that you can cinch so it stays with you even if you drop it. It does not have a pocket clip, though, and I do not know if Wallbuys has any clips that can be used for this purpose. It has a bright central spot, but it is much more of a floodlight than a “thrower”. The reflector is textured enough to even out any artifacts of the LED.

My camera is not good at taking night pictures, but here is an example of the GF2 on its highest mode. The tree in the center of the picture is about 50 meters away. I think it is actually brighter than the picture shows. You can see that it has a nice even beam with no dark spots.

The light will light up your yard on high mode for over an hour and a half with a good battery, and I really like that you have a useful low mode that will last for over 30 hours. As an aside, my cat stepped on it on the nightstand and turned it on while I was gone over the weekend, running the battery down without me knowing it. So, after charging it back up, I checked the anodizing and you can unscrew it half a turn to prevent accidental turn on, and the friction with the O-ring tends to hold it in that position. I suppose this would negate any standby drain as well.

The three main modes (high, medium, low) are well spaced in my opinion. The low is just fine for indoors, the medium does most outdoor uses and the high (stated at 480 lumens) just lights up everything far beyond what you would expect for such a small light. There is also the usual and universally annoying strobe mode which you can get by double-clicking the button from any mode or even if it is off. Otherwise a short press on the button switches from one mode to the next and the light always starts in low mode (no memory). The low mode is not a “moonlight” mode by any means. If it the 5% of full that the specs say, it would be about 24 lumens. When the battery starts to go, you get a warning flash and the high mode is disabled, but I would guess this means you still have a few hours of use left at low mode, so you are not immediately stranded in the dark. The light does have PWM at the low and medium modes, which you can spot if you close your eyes and wave it in front of your eyeballs, but in normal use I did not notice it and had no problem with it.

It is going to be the light I carry in my backpack all the time, and for the price I may buy a few more in time to give as holiday presents. The only down side for the casual user is that it uses 18650 batteries, but if you are buying this light for yourself or someone else, you know that ahead of time and know to buy that type of battery and charger if you or the recipient does not already have them. The manual is also not in English, so if you give one as a gift you will need to find a translation or write up directions for the person you give it to. I’m not a flashaholic (yet), but I can see why some of the features or their lack might annoy people, but for me and as a budget light, it fits the bill just fine. If I could give it stars, I’d do 4 out of 5.

Edited by: Azazelo on 07/28/2013 - 11:08
MRsDNF
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Hi and welcome Azazelo This looks like a nice little light. You have to love the forward positioning of the switch on these small lights. If your cat can turn this light on how do you think it will go in a pocket with accidental switching on? Thanks for the review.

 

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Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

leaftye
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Thanks for the review.  It's a nice light.  I might not be able to resist it if it had a firefly mode.  It's still quite tempting even without it.

The low mode should be lower.

Azazelo
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Well, since I didn’t see it happen I don’t know the exact details. I am going to guess it was a cat foot, since you can lay the switch on a flat surface and press without turning the light on. You have to depress the center of the switch below the outer level of the switch to turn it on, but you could do this with a small item in your pocket. All by itself in a pocket, it seems that an accidental turn on would be very unlikely.

Playing with it, you can lock it out with maybe a twelfth of a turn, and since the forward switch is on a protrusion, you can nudge it back into contact with the same grip you see me holding it in, a sort of thumb and forefinger twist, which I imagine anyone here with a control ring flashlight is familiar with. Only time will tell if I have any further problems with it.

In reply to Leaftye’s comment, I think a firefly mode would be neat, too. I was very tempted by the Klarus ST2C, but I know the amount of light I need and how often I need it, and the extra cost was just not quite worth it. Practically speaking, the number of times when I need a flashlight to stay on for a month or two will be very few, but being able to run up to 35 hours at a useful level is three full nights of use without needing a recharge, and that is a good enough duration for me.

Azazelo
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If you like the design but not the price, Wallbuys has a clone with a magnetic tail for US$12:

http://wallbuys.com/Product/XP-11-CREE-XM-L-700LM-5-Mode-Magnetic-Tail-Cool-White-LED-Flashlight-Black-1×18650—10791