When it comes to illumination, the outdoor world is one that has become dominated by LED headlamps -- and for good reason: Convenience and longevity of light rule. However, LEDs still don't come close to generating the dazzling power and illumination afforded by high-end xenon gas-filled lamps and, in that category, the clear favorite for our team is the SureFire E2e Executive Elite -- a slim, 4.5-inch, 3.1-ounce tiny wonder.
The E2e Executive Elite is a nearly penlight-sized flashlight that boasts a light output as "bright as a four D-cell flashlight," according to the company. In side-by-side tests with several much larger four D-cell flashlights, the E2e's light was not only as bright, but it was also much more white and focused. The E2e's durability is amazing. We've dropped it, stepped on it, kicked it, dunked it in water and generally tossed it with careless abandon into drawers, bags, glove compartments and more. Yet it still shows little wear or tear. The flashlight's weatherproof case is machined from aerospace-grade aluminum with a choice of super-hard military specification Type III hard-anodized finish,
The E2e comes with a tempered Pyrex lens window (yes, the same company that manufactures high-end glassware for cooking), a high-output lamp assembly, removable steel pocket clip, and two 10-year shelf life lithium batteries. The beauty of lithium batteries is they don't die when cold like alkaline, and they also have a much longer shelf life, making the flashlight an ideal candidate for glove compartment, camping gear boxes, household emergency lighting stashes, ski-in cabin illumination and much more.
Our testers love how comfortably the flashlight fits into the palm of the hand, with the textured case providing a secure and sure grip even when the hand is wet or cold. The on-off switch is located at the base or tail-cap of the E2e and the light can also be activated by twisting the tail-cap for constant on or by depressing the tail-cap button with a thumb for momentary illumination. The tail-cap can be locked in the off position to eliminate accidental activation when stowed -- essential when traveling or during the day when the light is tucked into a backpack pocket. One tester thought a removable leash would be great to make sure the light can't be dropped (the dark metal case could make it hard to find again) and to allow easier carrying so you can release it and still have it accessible. But isn't even a nitpick, just a small wish.
Will this lamp replace a headlamp in the backpack? Well, it depends on your illumination preferences. If you don't like headlamps, it is more than a worthy candidate. The E2e is incredibly light, incredibly compact and puts out an incredibly bright light. However, the light is so bright it will likely leave you seeing white spots if you flash it onto a white paper at night -- so using it for reading might require sunglasses. And, the bright light does come at a cost -- just under 1.25 hours of burn time with two 123A-volt lithium batteries. You'll need to tote along an extra pair of batteries (or more) if you plan on using the lamp for any extended length of time.
The lamp is also pricey, but you do get what you pay for. In this case, we've not used a better compact flashlight, period!
SNEWSÂ® Applause Meter: 5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $95 (box of 12 SureFire 123A lithium batteries -- $15)
For more information:www.surefire.com or 800-828-8809