REVIEW – Spouse: “How many flashlights do we need around here?”
Me: (To the tune of Tina Turner-) “What’s need – got to do, got to do with it?”
The ‘Gosun Solar Charging Flashlight’, ‘Gosun SolarLight Solar Assisted Flashlight’, or ‘Gosun SolarFlash’. Whether you go with the name on the package or the two names used at the Gosun website, a review of this bright, lightweight, rechargeable flashlight is ahead. This light has a lot going for it with some features seen on more expensive lights. Read on to see if the performance equates to a good value for you.
What is it
The Gosun solar flashlight delivers a bright, long lasting main beam, and has an area light incorporated into the handle, along with a red flasher LED set. The light is micro-USB rechargeable and has solar assist charging via the handle mounted solar panel. The effectiveness of solar charging is covered below.
What’s in the box
- One Gosun solar charging flashlight – in hard plastic, shelf hanger-style packaging (Caution – sharp edges – either from your knife or the hard plastic as you wrestle the package open.)
- One 19” USB-A to micro-USB charge cable
- Instruction sheet
- Caveat card (States solar panel is intended to extend battery life, not be the primary charge method.
- No warranty information on or in the package
- Maximum light output claim: 280 lumens from main beam LED
- 10 white and 10 red LEDs in handle for area and flasher light
- Light quality: Bright white (not yellow or blue tint)
- Length: 7”
- Weight: 5.5 oz
- Main lens diameter: 1.125”
- Battery: 1200 mAh, 3.7V lithium-ion, size 18650
- Output port: USB-A
- Input/charging port: Micro-USB
- Tail cap magnet
- Push button cap – prevents accidental ‘on’
- ‘Tactical’ lens bezel
Installation and Setup
Use the supplied cable, or any other with a micro-USB plug, to charge the light. A green LED flashes until the LED shows steady green indicating a full charge.
Design and features
The lens bezel has the familiar ‘defensive’ scalloping which is prevalent on many flashlights. The protrusions are not sharp so while being finger and pocket safe, may be less weapon-worthy.
The magnetic tail cap is relatively strong. Stiff wind should not move the light during outdoor use when held in position by the magnet.
This flashlight is lightweight and does not have the solid ‘heft’ of some of the big name tactical flashlights on the market. Not many of them are 7” rechargeables at this price point either, and there may be an advantage to the lighter weight.
Testing and observations
I charged the light fully and intentionally drained it to near zero light by leaving the light on bright for some hours. Given the newness of the battery and being generally against depleting Li-ion batteries to zero I did not make a point of the discharge time. Such a test might be more meaningful after several charge cycles to better establish the light’s normal run-time.
The flashlight charged from extremely low light output to full battery in about 3 hours. Top-offs should be much faster. My first ‘out of the package charge’ to full took about an hour.
With the battery fully depleted I placed the light with the solar panel directly facing bright sun for 1 hour. Following that charge, the low beam gave useful light for about 15 minutes. At almost zero light capacity, after 8.5 hours of bright direct sunlight, the light gave 25 minutes of low beam light. This proved the solar panel charging is functional but should not be considered a primary feature. Gosun seems to give accurate direction that the light should be charged via USB cable and the solar feature is to provide supplemental power.
In these pics, I’m comparing the Gosun 280 lumen (beam on right) with a Coast G2 355 lumen light (beam left). The Gosun was fully charged and the G32 has fresh AA batteries.
I illuminated my shed siding from 25 feet and about 15 feet. Pardon the glare from the semi-gloss paint. Note the concentric rings from both lights and the illumination of the grass. The center point of the Gosun is extremely bright and some find the outer circle ‘throw’ of light useful for peripheral lighting.
Operation & modes
Main beam bright: 1 button press
Main beam less bright: 2 button presses
Main beam strobe: 3 button presses
Bright area light: 2 second button hold
Less bright area light: 2 second button hold and quick press
Bright red flash: 3 second button hold
Less bright red flash: 3 second button hold and quick press
When in any mode one has to cycle through to get to off, but it’s only 2-3 button pushes to off depending on the mode.
What I like
The Gosun Solar Flashlight produces bright light both through the main lens and via the handle incorporated area light LEDs. The red flashing LEDs would be highly visible when running or walking at night. I do not consider the red flash function adequate for daytime use and it may not be large or bright enough for night-time automotive use. I’d use the white main beam strobe as a day or night car breakdown light. Other cars will see that strobe!
YEA for the thumb button at the front of the light where it’s easy to activate while being carried! I have some very good long flashlights with tail cap buttons. That’s bad ergonomic engineering.
The area light LEDs are well positioned for walking in the dark. They face forward when the thumb is on or near the push button.
What I’d change
A lanyard tie-hole would be a nice addition.
The push button cap works if it stays in position but fully removes and is untethered so will be easy to lose.
I’d skip the ‘tactical’ lens bezel. This one isn’t sharp so may pass through security or it may get stopped as it is. If this feature were omitted this light could be in carry-on bags without concern.
The floppy rubber port cover either needs to be improved or omitted. I ripped it off and it’s gone. Normal use of the light kept flicking it out of the ports it was intended to seal. The green charging LED is partially blocked by the rubber port cover, so the green LED is actually more visible with the port cover gone.
Weather resistance of this light is stated on the package card but it would be wise to assume it is open to the elements by virtue of the poor sealing of the port cover, and the lightweight clear plastic panel over the handle LEDs.
The light has no ‘roll stop’ capability, apart from the fact that the battery sits offset from center in the handle, so it comes to rest on a flat surface with the handle LEDs facing upwards. (Shown in the video). It will roll on a non-level surface. It might come to rest LEDs up, or it may keep on rolling.
Can you charge your phone with this flashlight? I’d rather have my flashlight than my phone at times so it’s a personal call. (pun) The battery in this light is marked ‘1200 mAh’ but triple that capacity can be had from your favorite shopping/shipping site. So with a 3000 mAh or better, 18650 battery in the flashlight, there would be a bit of current to share if you depleted your cellphone.
It would be nice to have a more durable ‘lens’ over the handle LEDs but the light is relatively inexpensive. Given the bright white light from the main beam and the bright area light, rechargeability of this easy to find lithium battery, the magnetic tail cap, and the red warning flasher, it’s hard to imagine this light could cost much less.
I’m calling this solar gadget a pretty good value given features vs. price IF you don’t mind it not having a warranty.
Where to buy: gosun.co
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Gosun.