Some months ago I happened across a Nebo Redline 220 LM, 3-AAA, 5-mode, Twist-Zoomie, at the hardware store, for a little under $30. Not being familiar with CREE flashlights, I was impressed. The build quality appeared to be very good. The zoom was smooth and the build was solid.
But time tells the tail. In the beginning, the light had a bright, even wide-angle spread and a sharp square beam at extreme zoom. Even on it's lowest power setting and at the widest zoom angle, you couldn't look anywhere close to the beam.
Unfortunately, the heat sync on this flashlight is very poor. Today, the beam is about half the brightness that it was and I can glance at the beam, in low-power mode, without hurting my eyes. In the beginning, you could see the gold emitter and make out the lines between the sections of the emitter. Today, the emitter has a brown cast to it and you can't make out any detail. (see image, below)
Here is the beam shape, at max zoom. In the past, the square was all white and you could make out the individual segments of the emitter. Now, there is a yellow cast over the whole thing.
In short, the build is solid and smooth. But The heat sync is so poor that the LED won't last. I would not recommend this light for any purpose, at any price.
That is kind of sad. You'd think they would include a warning to not run for more than X amount of minutes on high mode, like the turbo warning on some Fenix lights.. You might want to look into the Coast HP7, their new "Cyclone Heat Sink" is pretty awesome, I've run it on NiMH cells continuously quite a few times now with no ill effect. You can really feel that Cyclone Heat Sink working! The neck area near the head heats up after only 15 seconds on high 207 lumen mode (251 for the "newest") obviously indicating excellent thermal conductivity. The beam quality is also easily as nice as my SureFire E2DL, nicer actually, and having more spill even in full spot mode is great as well.
it’s rated at 220 Lumens, but like most 3xAAA the lumens drop off really fast. I’d say it’s 2X brighter than my Mag Lite 50XL, which is rated over 100 lumens. The focused flood by the aspheric lens is really nice with a max throw of 100+ meters. I’d say it’s pretty good for 30 bucks. I got one myself before I got my Trustfires.
I recall a thread a month or so ago on CPF. Someone had the same problem with the emitter yellowing and turning brown in his Fenix TK something (I wanna say TK41 or TK70).
In the end, the problem seems like some chemical got into the silicon gel in the LED and reacted to cause the color change. The recommendation was the open the light and let the chemical leave the emitter. According to the spec sheet, that should clear the LED back up and it’ll return back to it’s yellow self.