This describes how I assess lights in reviews.
I score each light on a number of different categories, which are weighted based on the type of light to provide an overall
These will be fairly consistent through most lights, although some lights will by their nature have much more extensive content in some sections than other lights.
- Introduction and official specs
- First impressions
- Physical design and build quality
- User Interface
- Driver and emitters
- Power and charging
- Final thoughts and score
Review Scoring Categories
Each light will be scored on each of these categories. Each category is scored according to expectations for the overall category of the light, including its price point and competitors.
- Looks: How visually appealing the light is.
- Quality: The physical quality of the light. This incorporates the physical design in terms of materials, machining, perceived durability, and the manufacturer's warranty and reputation for customer service.
- User Interface: How well designed and easy to use the user interface is, as well as the depth ofd configuration options it provides. This is somewhat situational - a light that's aimed at the enthusiast market will be marked down for not having a configurable user interface with advanced options, while a basic light more suitable for general use may be fine with the same UI.
- Performance: How well the light performs, compared to similarly sized and priced lights with a similar target market. Note that this is not necessarily overall performance. For example, 2000lm is a lot for a small EDC for a nonenthusiast, but underwhelming in a tactical or enthusiast-oriented light.
- Absolute performance: The maximum performance possible from the light, with no consideration for sustained performance.
- Sustained performance: How well the light holds a high output level, as well as runtimes.
- Moddability: How easy it is to modify the light - if it is designed in a way that makes it easy or difficult, as well as the scope of potential modding that could be done. If the light has normally updatable firmware (e.g. anduril), this score will also reflect whether updating is possible - not including flashing pads or using an obsolete MCU will lower the score, as will things like the manufacturer not releasing any hwdefs and source code of any modifications for open source firmware.
- Practicality: How practical the light is. This does not necessarily mean "as an EDC" - an Acebeam X75 is practical compared to its direct competitors (Imalent SR32/MS18, Haikelite HK08), but I don't EDC one ;). This incorporates the battery, any charging system, runtime, carryability, etc. Lights can be penalised here for things such as proprietary or built-in non-replaceable batteries, or for having a magnet wihout an available non-magnetic option.
- Value: Value for money, including frequency and level of discount of any sales.
- Fun: Why a lot of us buy so many lights ;)
In addition, each light will get an overall score based on a weighted average of these categories, reflecting how important I feel the category is to the type of light - for example, most people buying tactical lights primarily care about build quality, UI, and performance, while for an enthusiast-oriented light, the top criteria would generally be performance, UI, looks, and moddability, or for a light that falls within neither category, it may receive a higher weighting for practicality and value.
Categories are not absolute, as many lights do not fit neatly into them (is a [Weltool W4 Pro Tac] a tactical or high performance light? ("yes."). In general, the categories I will first try and fit a light into are roughly as follows with example weightings:
A light that doesn't distinguish itself enough into any particular niche to end up in another category. May often, but not necessarily always, be value-oriented lights.
Examples: Convoy S2+
The kind of light that most people reading this site will probably be familiar with. One that is designed to cater primarily to the enthusiast market.
Examples: Emisar D4, Wurkkos TS11
Lights for doing tactical stuff, or feeling like you are.
Examples: Acebeam L35, Fenix PD36R Pro, Manker Striker
High end custom
A light that's as much a piece of art as a light.
Lights with a focus on efficiency and durability. While it's a bad idea to only bring one light somewhere you might rely on it, if you were really going to, make it one of these.
Examples: Zebralight, Skilhunt
Big throwers, flooders, and LEPs. Where a lot of power, a lot of throw, or both, is the goal.
Examples: Acebeam X75, Imalent SR32, Lumintop GT94X
Keychain and penlights
It's not the size, it's how you use it.
Examples: Emisar KC1, Lumintop Frog, Reylight Pineapple Mini, Emisar D2>> Home