Sunday, March 08, 2009

Altus Lumen Multi-use LED Light

Flashlights are fine when you've got a free hand and headlamps are good when you're walking around in the dark, but neither is much help if you want to play a game on the guesthouse bed or work collectively on something. This Altus Lumen PAD-L LED light is a great solution and is small enough to carry on any trip.

The design of the PAD-L is all about flexibility to put the light where you need it. There's a fold-out metal stand and an attached stand that will swivel around to either side. So you can direct the light in multiple directions. There's also flexibility in the intensity of the light itself too, with a low setting for say, brushing your teeth while camping, to high for finding the contact lens you dropped on the floor. The brightest setting uses up power about 30 times faster, but you probably won't need it very often anyway: it feels like your blasting out the brightness of a cop car's search light.

It comes with a nice carrying case and a cable manager contraption (with no cable) to help you hang the thing from a branch. For now anyway this appears to be a direct orders only situation though. You order from their site and then wait for it to arrive from Hong Kong. When there's retail distribution in place, I'll post a note here later. The PAD-L LED light is $40 plus you have to register on their site to order.

My main beef with this product is that the company's sustainability efforts are worthy of some kind of award---but for greenwashing. Their site is full of nice-sounding slogans such as "Protect and Enjoy the Environment" and "Preventing pollution is more effective than cleaning up the mess after it has already been made." That's true, so why does your product use FOUR disposable AAA batteries and use them up in an hour on the high setting? They say that "PAD-L is the world first sustainable portable LED light," but considering I've seen plenty of shake lights that use LEDs and no batteries, plus others that are solar powered, this is just plain wrong. It turns out the "sustainability" claim is just because 75% of the materials are recyclable when the thing dies on you. Nice, but not all that noble.

Putting the truthiness spinning aside though, this is a powerful light in a small package, good for multiple situations when you need to have your hands free.


Wanderluster said...

Ironic indeed. I got all excited reading about this cool light as I was imagining playing cribbage on an overnight train in India. And then got bummed when I read about the difficulty in acquiring one (I thought EVERYTHING was available on Amazon ;-) and then read about the batteries. Oh my. Thanks for the review none-the-less!

Anonymous said...

Cool light. Too bad they forgot to hire a marketing person. The eco-claims on that website are hilarious.