Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review: LOFTEK 15W LED Work Light And USB Power Pack

LOFTEK makes some interesting products. The outdoor light they sent me is still attached the the roof of my brother's brewery. They use to to show a red light when the bar is closed and a green light when it's open. They recently sent me this one for review, which looks very similar to the one my brother is using ... but it's also a USB power pack.This is the review for the LOFTEK 15W LED Work Light & USB Power Pack.




Product Description


This is touted by LOFTEK as a portable LED work light, which is charged from any standard USB port. It's also a power pack, so it can charge other devices with its claimed 6600 mAh capacity. It features two output modes from the larger white LED, but it also has two smaller LEDs in blue and red, to give a special mode, which I call the "cop mode" where it flashes red and blue.

Official Specs (From Amazon)


  • Two in One: Portable, cordless floodlight which doubles as a battery-charging power bank. Two light modes—white floodlight and flashing red/blue SOS mode.
  • Portable Power: 15 watt, equal to 60-Watt Incandescent in an ultra-compact body; 6,600mAh battery capacity with 5V/2A charging for mobile devices.
  • Designed by LOFTEK: Durable aluminum and steel housing with adjustable stand/handle. Energy-efficient and IP65 dust/waterproof rating.
  • What You Get: LOFTEK Pioneer LED Cordless Floodlight, USB charging cable, user guide, warranty card.
  • LOFTEK’s Guarantee: All products include a 12-month, unlimited warranty against manufacturing defects when purchased from LOFTEK

Initial Impressions





Taking this thing out of the box, I couldn't decide what to make of it at first. It's heavy! But it's solid, and it seems to be built just like the one mounted to my brother's bar, which has lived outside in the elements for a year. It almost looked like something that I would pack in my electronics bag from looking at it online. From actually holding it in my hands, this is something more suited for a job site or a glove box.

Good output! But only two modes on the main LED. I was surprised at the red-and-blue flashing cop mode. Good output on this mode, too, but not really useful to people who aren't in law enforcement.

I like the solid build. It has the same metal body and metal handle of the other work light. I like the attached belt clip--nice touch! The unit seems a bit heavy to carry on a belt, but the clip looks sturdy, so I guess that's an option.

The first unit I got for review had a faulty charging circuit. It happens.

Build Quality


Overall, good. The body is solid aluminum and the handle is rolled steel. This thing is built like a tank, but I do have one gripe: The lens is made of plastic which is fine, but it's a little thinner than I'd like to see for something this rugged. I get the impression that I could throw this unit up in the air and it would laugh, but I'd be worried about cracking the lens. This is definitely an area for improvement.

The LEDs are low end, but the even the well-made low end ones have a similar lifespan to the good ones. It's still hard though not to picture what this product would be with a high impact lens and high end LEDs in it. So I guess it's more of a wish than a real gripe.

Fit & Finish


Overall, good. My only real gripe is that the metal handle always seems loose. The handle screws are kinda cheap looking, and the texturing on them isn't precise enough to make it easy to tighten the handle with my fingers. They should've just put plastic knobs on the hardware like the other light I have.

Everything else is right where it should be finish-wise, and in some cases above average. The baked enamel paint job is well done, and it's the same finish that's survived a year of being rained on on the other light. The rubber USB port covers fit well, and the switch panel is well done. The electronic switches have a good feel to them.

No scratches on the lens or body, tool marks, nicks, or anything else I scrutinize. The gaps in the case, switch panels and rubber seal are all uniform.

Modes / Operation


There's a small switch panel on top of the unit with two ruggedized, electronic switches. Holding one switch down turns on the main LED, and holding the other switch down puts the unit into "cop mode" where it flashes red and blue. Pressing the main switch will put the main LED into low, and then off. Pressing the other switch will turn the cop mode off.

The main LED has two brightness modes, high and low. I did some run time tests and they were pretty close to the official specs, which also means the built-in batter pack is also close to spec.

Charging / Power Pack


This model has a built in USB power pack. Like other power packs it charges itself with a micro USB port and other devices with a full size USB port. I didn't test the capacity scientifically like I sometimes do, but by my rough calculations it's pretty close to it's advertised capacity of 6600 mAh.

USB power packs are so common, it's not even funny. I have custom built 13200 mAh packs, super slim power packs that use li-po cells, lipstick shaped ones--I have them all.

So, power packs don't usually do much for me. But if you said "give me the power pack out of your collection you think would be most likely to survive being hit with a hammer" then I'd offer up this one. Either way, it's a nice feature to put on anything that has a large power reservoir, and a power pack this rugged is uncommon.

The photo below would show you the measured charge rate if I hadn't gotten the photos mixed up. The one below is from the defective unit, but the test is the same. So, I don't have the exact measurement but I tested it and it looked good, even if I don't remember it. The defective unit took 3 days to charge, and the replacement is within their stated specs.




Usability


As a work light, this is a rugged and functional unit. I wish the main LED had more modes. A low mode with the big battery pack in this thing would be able to go for days. The 2 output modes it does have are well suited for a work light. The run time is pretty good, too. If you need to run a work light for 8 hours a day, then you probably want a plug-in light. But for small, several-hour jobs, I like this model as a work light. Just be careful of the lens!

With a few small changes this model could go from being a good work light that's passable for emergencies to a superb emergency tool. This one will probably live in the glove box of my truck, and in an emergency I'm not going to put it into cop mode, which would probably get me arrested ... or worse. It would be a thousand times more useful to use yellow LEDs to flash the universal signal for caution, and a separate mode to flash just the red LED, for the universal signal of extreme caution.

If you're a cop, then the cop mode could actually be useful. The output is pretty good for this use, and the first thing the average person who see is this is going to think is "cop," which is what you probably want. But as a non-LEO, I'm a little worried that people could mis-use this feature. I think that LOFTEK should have it just as an option for first responders. The average person would get more use out of plain yellow and/or plain red flashing modes.

As a USB power pack to charge your devices, it's neat to have something that can charge my cell phone or tablet that is this rugged. I get the impression that if I ran this thing over with my truck, yeah, it would probably smash the plastic lens, but it probably still charge my phone.

As a USB power pack to carry around in your backpack or purse, it's probably too heavy. But I already have lots of those anyway. There's lots of good powerpacks out there with built in lighting, too, so I think this model is better suited to a being a work light that also has a power pack than something you'd carry around to charge your devices day-to-day.


Conclusions


This is an interesting device, with some fantastic but also with some odd design choices. For what it is and what it does, I like it. This one is going to live in my truck's glove box with the caveat that in case I need to use it to change a tire on the side of the road, I hope I don't press the "cop" button on accident and confuse anyone. But other than that, it's a rugged source of light and power, and that earns it a spot in my glove box. I also carry a high end headlamp, but this would be my first choice on the side of the road or doing a job in the dark.

It's really hard not to think about what a good emergency tool this would be with a few changes. LOFTEK has the rugged body almost down, and the switch panel is above average. Make the lens thicker and from high impact plastic, and make the special modes more useful, and this would go from being a good product to a superb product.

As a portable work light, I think this is a good value product for what it costs. It's heavy, but it's a tank.


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