Friday, June 10, 2011

Egear Pico Zipper Lite VS Streamlight Nano Comparison

Egear Pico Zipper Lite VS Streamlight Nano Comparison


Having reviewed the streamlight nano, I was keen to see how it compared to the egear pico zipper lite.  Both these flashlights are quite similar and I would consider them to be direct competitors to each other.  They both run on 4xLR41 batteries and are comparable in size. 


BUILD AND CONSTRUCTION

The egear pico zipper lite has a slightly wider battery tube than the streamlight nano.  However, in practice, I find this difference in size is barely noticeable.

Size Comparison: Steve Ku 38DD, streamlight nano, egear pico zipper lite, modamag drake

One of the reasons why the pico lite has a wider battery tube is because it also has a 'battery carrier' inside.  This carrier makes it easier to load the batteries into the flashlight, when compared to the streamlight nano.

Battery carrier in the Egear pico zipper lite

I have not come across many complaints of the egear pico zipper lite coming apart, though I wouldn't completely rule it out from happening.  I have noticed in the past, people having well made AAA lights like the fenix LD01 come apart, despite having good threads and o-rings.  Generally for keychain flashlights, I recommend adding a small swivel to minimise the chances accidental twisting.  I haven't had my own streamlight nano come apart, but in general there do seem to be more complaints of the streamlight nano untwisting apart when compared to the egear pico lite.

I do notice in the design of the egear pico zipper lite, the head of the of the flashlight is partially recessed into the battery tube.  There is about 3mm of the head available for turning the light on and off.  This leaves less area exposed to accidental twisting forces.  This maybe one of the reasons why there are less reports of the pico lite untwisting apart.

Only the knurled section of the head is exposed, the rest of it is recessed into the body

 Being so small, both of these keychain/zipper flashlights are harder to operate one handed.  The streamlight nano has a longer head to twist with, but a smaller body which is harder to grip.  The egear zipper lite is the opposite, it has a smaller head but a longer body which is easier to grip.  The egear pico lite has knurling on the head, which does make it easier to twist the head.  Between the two flashlights, I find the pico lite slightly easier to use one-handed, YMMV.

Streamlight nano, Egear pico zipper lite
[the wider longer body makes the pico lite easier to operate one handed, knurling adds grip when twisting the head]
I find there is less 'thread play' in the egear pico lite compared to the streamlight nano.  More pronounced thread play means you need to unscrew the flashlight slightly further, to ensure it is properly off.  If you do not untwist it enough, the light can still turn on if pressure is applied to the head of the flashlight.

The streamlight nano generally comes in black.  There are special blue and pink editions available, but I do not know if these will remain available permanently.  The egear pico zipper lites come in 5 colours:  blue, red, green, black and grey/titanium.

(Picture sourced from the Egear website)

I haven't paid attention to the how quickly the annodisation has worn away on the streamlight nano, as it usually on my wife's keychain.  I have not the the egear pico lite for very long, but I have noticed it has worn quite quickly.  After a month or two of mild usage there is already wear on the knurling and corners of the flashlight.


BEAM, OUTPUT AND RUNTIME


According to the specifications of these light, they are meant to produce a similar amount of output (~10 lumens).  This is in line with what we expect from a 5mm LED.


 I prefer the beam in the egear pico lite when compared to the streamlight nano.  In my sample the pico lite has less noticeable rings and artefacts in the beam.  The pink streamlight nano that I have, has a more pronounce pinky-purple tint.  The pico lite still has a purplish tint, but less so than the streamlight nano.  Keep in mind these are just individual samples, there can sometimes be variation in tint within the same flashlight line.

Beamshot of streamlight nano from ~1m

Beamshot of Egear pico zipper lite from ~1m
 
Streamlight list the runtime of the nano to be 8 hours of 'usable' output.  The egear pico zipper lite claims to have a runtime of 15 hours.  I am surprised about the amount of difference between the runtimes of these two lights.  Considering they both used 5mm LEDs, the same batteries and are direct driven... I would have expected them to be similar.  Unfortunately I do not have any spare LR41 batteries to test out the claimed runtimes (donations welcome), but here a few theories I have come up with to explain the discrepancies:

(a) Different runtime measurement techniques.  Over-estimating or under-estimating of the runtimes.  Perhaps Streamlight list the amount of 'usuable' output; after 8 hours there may still be some very very dim ouput.  Perhaps Egear measure the runtime until the flashlight has absolutely no output?
(b) The pico zipper lite has a resistor, which reduces the current to the LED... resulting in a slightly less bright flashlight, but longer runtimes?
(c) I always thought both these flashlights use the same nichia GS LED, however seeing the difference in beam characteristics, the egear pico lite may use another 5mm LED?  Perhaps this other 5mm LED may be more efficient?  But some how I doubt the efficiency would be twice that of LED in the streamlight nano.

Out of these theories, I suspect (a) to be the most likely scenario.  Manufacturers play all sorts of games to advertise longer runtimes or brighter outputs.  If you have any information on the runtime discrepancies, please leave a comment.





CONCLUSIONS

By now you'll probably figure I prefer the egear pico lite over the streamlight nano.  This is certainly the case.  Lets look at a summary of the pro's:

-easier to load the batteries
-less reports of it coming apart
-less thread play
-slightly easier to operate one handed
-nicer beam and tint (at least in my samples)
-potentially longer run-time (yet to be verified)
-available in more colours (but not pink)




 Given a choice I would prefer to buy the pico lite over the streamlight nano, and you can see why.  Price wise they are pretty comparable, looking at amazon.com they can both be bought for under $10.

Credit where it is due, I believe the streamlight nano has been around for longer.  To me, it seems as if Egear has taken the concept of the streamlight nano, and slightly redesigned it to address some of the original short-comings.

LINKS

Streamlight nano manufacturers website
Egear pico zipper lite website
Pink streamlight nano review



ADDITIONAL PHOTOS





7 comments:

  1. Nice review. I have used both lights and I also prefer the eGear Pico Light. The Streamlight housing untwisted a number of times in my pocket causing the batteries to fall out. The grey version of the Pico light doesn't get as visibly scratched up as the rest of them either. That said, I like the larger Streamlight Microstream and Stylus Pro a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent review. I had not heard of the eGear Pico Light before. I like that it has that battery holder and that it comes in an assortment of colors. I like my streamlight nano and still have it on my keychain, but I might pick up one of these picos for the spouse.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Credit where it is due, I believe the streamlight nano has been around for longer. To me, it seems as if Egear has taken the concept of the streamlight nano, and slightly redesigned it to address some of the original short-comings."

    Love the last part of your review.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How do these two flashlight compare to Photon Freedom in terms of brightness?
    I am looking into buying a cheap keychain flashlight and I just cant decide between one of these three. Any thoughts?
    Anyway, I love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Raul
    The brightness between this and the photon freedom is pretty similar. The photon freedom may be a fraction brighter on new batteries, but in real life, the difference is not that big of a deal. I find that the photon freedom does tend to maintain its brightness for longer since it uses lithium coin cells, as opposed to alkaline coin cells.

    Personally, I feel the photon freedom is a better light. It has a more advanced UI.

    However, if you prefer a 'twisty' light, I would go for the pico-lite as well. The upside of a twisty, is if you untwist it enough, it is very unlikely to turn itself on. The pico lite comes in a nice range of colours.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for such a great, thorough review. Having a good light available is so important. My electricity went out tonight and often we have outages, so I am gearing up. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. @S - those outages are only going to grow as the world starts consuming more energy and resources start to dwindle!

    ReplyDelete