In the 1990s for me there was only one EDC (Every Day Carry) flashlight, and that was the Mini Maglite AA. Its small size, aluminum construction, adjustable spot to flood light beam, ruggedness, water resistance, candle mode, and spare bulb in tail made this so versatile for me. From in my toolkit for work, to camping and bushwalking, to just around the house, it really was a useful flashlight. Jump forward to the current day, and the advancement in LEDs has resulted in brighter and longer running flashlights in much smaller packages. In some ways, to me, the Shifter 1.0 from 12vSpotlight is the modern-day equivalent of my Mini Mag. Read on after the break for my review.
The Shifter 1.0 is packaged in your standard hanging blister pack. Now I must admit I’m not a big fan of the blister pack, especially when you need to open it A quick slice with my Leatherman Squirt PS4 down the plastic fixed this one. Note that there is also a Shifter 2.0 that takes 2 X AAA and as such is brighter and has a longer run-time. For the rest of this article I’ll just refer to the Shifter 1.0 reviewed as the Shifter
Here’s a quick size comparison between my Mini Mag AA and the Shifter. You can see that the Shifter is substantially smaller and lighter, measuring approximately 10 X 1.5 cm (4 X .6 in) and weighing at a measly 35 g (1.2 oz).
The Shifter is powered by a single AAA battery, and one is included in the pack with an insulator to stop it being turned on during shipping. The battery is inserted by removing the tailcap, which has an o-ring around the thread to allow for water resistance (IPX4). The pen clip is removable, which is good as there are times when you don’t want or require it. Run time is indicated as 3 hours. The flashlight is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and if you don’t like basic black then the Shifter is available in a number of different colours. Spotlight offers a lifetime guarantee.
Spot to Flood
The front twists to allow you to change the beam from spot to flood, and the packaging indicates that it has a 6 to 1 flood ratio. There’s knurling on the body and the head for grip, and it’s easy to twist the head for variable beam even one handed. It’s easy to turn, though not sloppy enough to be turned by accident. The Shifter uses a proprietary reflector lens system (RLS™). The ANSI FL 1 ratings supplied by 12VSpotlight on the packaging claims a Lumen Rating of 80 and a Range of 60 M. Much is the pity I don’t have the equipment needed to test the accuracy of the indicated ratings.
There’s a multi-function switch assembly on the back. A press turns the flashlight on, and then a quick double-click changes between high, low and strobe mode. At first I did find the mode changing a bit finicky at times, but after while it get’s easier. It’s worth noting that there’s no actual instructions either on the packaging or the web site as to how the different modes work. Luckily I’ve played with other multi-mode lights before.
There’s no memory function to remember the mode it was in the last time you turned it off, so it always turns itself back on into high mode. There’s a small hard tether point on the cap for a wrist strap or split-ring. The button protrudes pass the back of the tailcap, so you can’t tail stand this torch.
(Click on for larger images)
High Beam Spot vs Low Beam Spot
High and Low beam spot comparison looking down my hallway, probably about 6 metres (18 feet). Nice tight and concentrated beam. Colour is nice and white, no colour tinges to it.
High Beam Flood vs Low Beam Flood
High and Low beam flood comparison looking down my hallway. Good even light across the beam.
The potted plant on the deck is probably about 10+ metres (30 feet) away from the flashlight, and you can see that the high spot nicely lights it up. At this sort of distance, while the flood works, it wasn’t possible for me to get a good photo.
The Shifter 1.0 is a great little torch. It’s small and lightweight and can easily be thrown in your gadget bag or pocket for those times when you need that extra little bit of light. The spot to beam function works well and can easily be changed depending on what situation you find yourself in. Coupled with the high and low mode, this is a very versatile flashlight.
Because of the wide variety of flashlights these days in regards to size, power and price you don’t have to find and carry just a single EDC light for all purposes these days, but the Shifter 1.0 has found a permanent place as my gadget bag EDC.