Longbow Micra – no frills review
Light Type:Luxeon Star
Light Class: Outdoor/WaterSports
The Micra is made by a local company, Longbow. The outlook of the torch is rather stylish and no fanciful outlook resulting in a very compact design. It uses the CR123 and specifications listed a curent-regulated circuit to provide almost constant output for 1hr followed by 3hrs of diminishing output.
To give you an idea of where this torch stands take it this way:
1) In terms of function the closest competitor will be the ARC-LSH.
2) Size-wise it will be the Surefire E1e Executive.
And thus the closest competitor is the E1e Executive running the KL1 bezel.
A lanyard is included with a quick clip. However the clip is of mediocre quality with the spring opening not closing properly, leaving a slight gap: a potential hazard to losing the light with the lanyard still secured to the wrist.
Bulb and Optics:
The 1W Luxeon Star used is of high-dome type, and hence produces a more focused beam (by LED standards).
When the collimator is used the focused beam shows a slight dark patch at a corner of the central spot. On close inspection this is due to the slightly off-centered squarish beam. It seems this is typical of high-dome Luxeons. You won’t notice this imperfection in everyday use, so take this minus as nothing significant.
Unlike many others' bezels, the Luxeon Star is not totally sealed behind the bezel, instead the bezel can be removed to reveal the LED, and yes you guessed it - it works as a ‘candle light’! And it is so versatile that if you find the bulb too glaring you can simply screw back the bezel and remove the collimator for a non-glaring ‘candle light’. In my opinion the Luxeon Star works far better than incandescent in this mode due to the evenly diffused and eye-pleasing beam.
Like standard LEDs, Luxeon Stars are susceptible to color variations. On a general note I can say that despite being more value-priced than other upmarket brands, the quality of the Luxeon Star on their Micras and Minis are as good and as white.
As for the lens, from the feel it is not Lexan and hence most definitely a Pyrex.
There is no pushbutton for momentary-on mode. The tailcap is fairly easy to turn with the sculptured design and the threading feels very smooth.
Unfortunately this brings to a design fault. Due to the perfectly rounded design of the bezel if the bezel is screwed in tightly for waterproofing purpose it is very difficult to turn even when your hands are dry and near impossible with wet/oily hands. A slight letdown when it is purposefully designed to serve as a 'candle light'.
Light output is typical of a good quality Luxeon Star. The light is near white and the beam exhibits a slight doughnut-like shape. The beam is about 20 Lumens when using the collimator and reduces to a perfectly diffused beam when removed. This diffused beam is especially good for general lighting and reading.
The specifications listed a conservative 1 hr normal output and 3hrs diminishing light. This is certainly a very humble statement compared to the hordes of manufacturers out there. Kudos to the company for not exaggerating running time to impress unsuspecting comsumers. I have clocked slightly over 2 hrs of use and still no sign of diminishing.
Luxeon Stars are known to generate fair amount of heat and sufficient cooling is required to keep it working for ages and also to make better use of the precious battery power. The Micra does not have any cooling fins but with testing I have to say that it may not need them after all. The Luxeon Star itself is encased by a brass ring and the heat sinking is well coupled to the body.
Durability is a relative term. Although not specified in the manual but a look at it shows that it’s most certainly powder-coated.
There are O-rings between every interconnection. There's no mention whether it is waterproof (so better assume it isn't) but I can safely confirmed that it works well in streams and waterfalls, with certain waterproofing quality. I certainly feel very comfortable to bring it along on my treks and kayaking.
Despite being a new company it certainly does not skimp on the quality at the expense of pricing. At an estimated price of S$125 I cannot think of any better light to even come close to its price/performance ratio or to justify paying twice for a light that still only performs just as well.
Pros: Waterproof, tough, long battery life, lightweight.
Cons: Rounded Bezel
Verdict: Highly Recommended.