My current favorite LED flashlight is the LED Lenser P7. I love it because it’s so bright and easy to use. But it’s also pretty big and bulky and as such, would not be something that I would carry around with me in my gear bag. I recently received a baby version of this flashlight from the fine folks at Lights and Knives.com. The LED Lenser P3 (8403) from Coast is a dead ringer for the P7, but in a much smaller form factor. Let’s give it a whirl.
Light type: Nichia LED
Bulb: High-intensity .33-watt 13.6 lumens Gallium LED
Lens: Plastic composite material
Reflector: Speed Focus
Beam type: Spot
Case type: Aluminum
Powered by: 1 AAA Alkaline battery included
Water resistant?: Yes
Size: 3.9 x .77 in
Weight (with batteries): 2 oz
LED Lenser P3 Flashlight
1 AAA battery
As I mentioned above, the LED Lenser P3, looks like a miniature of the P7.
It has the same style casing and speed focus feature.
The P3 is the perfect size for a pocket or gear bag. It has a Black aluminum case, with a gnurled grip. It comes with a nylon hand strap and a metal shirt clip.
The head of the flashlight can be retracted and extended about .25 of an inch, to change the light from a regular beam to a spotlight beam. You can actually move the head back and forth with your thumb and index fingers while you’re holding the barrel with the rest of your fingers.
The tail cap unscrews to give access to the battery chamber. The cap has a rubber O ring to help with water resistance. This flashlight advertises the fact that it will give up to 20 hours of light on one AAA battery.
Installed at the end of the tail cap is the spring loaded power button. Because the barrel of this flashlight is pretty narrow, the power button in turn is quite small. It takes a little effort to fully press it in to toggle power. You can activate the light by halfway pressing and holding the power button. When you release pressure on the button, the light will turn off.
The head of the flashlight has a dome shaped lens that can be extended and retracted to go from a regular beam of light to a spotlight beam. This is the speed focus feature. The P3 uses a Gallium LED that provides 13.6 lumens. That’s a far cry from the 167 lumens that the P7 provides. But let’s go ahead and see how much light this little guy can give us.
Here is a picture of my office with no lights on, at night, with the door closed. You can only make out the glowing LEDs from some of my electronics and the screensaver on my iMac. I’m standing in the corner of the room focusing on the opposite corner approximately 16 feet away.
Now let’s power on the P3 and see what it can do…
Here we see the regular beam of light when the head of the flashlight is fully retracted. You will notice that there is a Bluish halo at the outer edge of the beam.
Extending the head of the flashlight, puts P3 in spotlight mode where that Blue halo is very noticeable. This is not a defect with my camera and the snapshot, that Blue beam is really there when you’re using this light in spotlight mode. It’s kind of weird to see it and it does cause some distraction.
I’m not really sure what I would use the spotlight mode for because the width of the beam is so narrow. I also think that with the regular beam, the center of the beam is brighter than the spotlight beam…
According to the specs, the P3 has a 0-141 foot light range, which makes it no where near as powerful as the P7. But that really doesn’t surprise me since the P3 is significantly smaller and is powered by one AAA battery. I wouldn’t pick the LED Lenser P3 as a flashlight to take with me on a camping trip, or for tasks that require illumination of a large area. As it is, the P3 makes a decent pocket flashlight for small tasks like seeing the back of your computer, TV, etc.
Good bright beam for short distances and small areas
Comes with a clip, handstrap and a belt case
Power button is stiff
Blue edges around light beam can be distracting