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LED Lenser F1 Review

What can we say? We like flashlights, and that goes double for shiny new LED ones. There are a lot of those on the market now, ranging from pretty awful to outstanding, and we’ve played with quite a few. Recently we got the chance to play with some from LED Lenser, including their little F1.

The F1 is definitely what you’d call compact. It runs on a single CR123 lithium ion battery and it’s only 88mm long. It also weights only 69 grams, so it’s the sort of thing you can carry round in your pocket all day. That’s pretty important with a flashlight; big D cell Maglites are fantastic, but they’re so bulky and heavy that when you suddenly need it you realise it’s at home, on a shelf in the shed. There’s no danger of that with the F1.

The F1 has a very neat aluminium casing, hard anodised black. The body is in three parts. The battery tube is a cylinder, pretty much like you’d expect, and both ends can be removed. The lamp unit goes on one end and at the other is the tail cap with a nice clicky rubber switch. One feature we really liked about the tail cap is that it has a hexagonal ring cast into it. At first it looks a bit strange – even slightly ugly – but it’s really very clever, because it means you can put the F1 down on a flat surface and it isn’t going to roll off. It’s not likely to break even if it does, but in general we think it’s better if things stay where you put them. Obviously LED Lenser agree, so good for them.

The F1 also comes with a sprung steel belt clip, with a black finish that matches the body. Because both ends can be removed you can fit this either end of the body depending on how you prefer to carry it. This is another nice little detail.

So how does it perform when you click that little red switch? Very well in fact! Despite its small size the F1 puts out 400 lumens of bright white light. The beam reaches out nearly 100 metres and the battery should be good for up to 2 hours of use. The F1 also includes LED Lenser’s Smart Light technology. That’s basically an onboard processor, which includes temperature sensors to shut the LED down if it’s running hot (which, with the aluminium case, it shouldn’t be.) It also lets you switch between three light modes. There’s the standard high power one and a low power mode that should extend battery life. You can also use it as a strobe, which LED Lenser say can be used to dazzle an attacker as well as for signalling.

This certainly isn’t the cheapest pocket flashlight you’ll find, but it’s a very nice one that gives amazing performance for its size. We also like its futuristic looks. If you want a powerful and reliable compact light with some nicely thought out features we’d seriously recommend this one.