Clearwater "Andie" 800 Lumen LED Flashlight Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
The Clearwater Andie 800 lumen LED flashlight is another stunner.
It's so powerful, it makes the original Andie LED flashlight seem weak -- and that's saying something!
The original Clearwater "Andie" LED flashlight (review) was a hit when it was first released in 2009.
We're big flashlight fans here at webBikeWorld and the Andie was such a revelation, it was named a 2009 webBikeWorld Product of the Year.
By "normal" household standards, the original Andie was expensive. I mean, after all -- who's going to pay 100 bucks for a flashlight?
But for dedicated flashlight freaks, cost is irrelevant. It's POWER we're after! And the original Andie had it in spades.
The Andie is and was definitely a "keeper". It serves many duties around here -- in the photo studio as an accent light, in the garage and around the house. And in all this time, the battery has only been recharged twice!
The Clearwater Lights folks are always cooking up new ideas though, so along comes the latest and greatest version of the Clearwater Andie LED flashlight -- now with an 800-lumen powerhouse LED.
The details are not yet available for the updated Andie flashlight, but Clearwater said it has a new LED with a claimed 800 lumens output at full power. By the way, besides the original Clearwater "Andie" LED flashlight (review), Clearwater Lights also makes the ultra-powerful "Krista" LED driving lights (review) and the "Glenda" LED visibility lights (review).
800 lumens has become somewhat of a standard for super-high-output, hand-held LED flashlights. Take a look through some of the LED flashlight retail sites and 800 lumens seems to be a popular choice.
This is a lot of light, and noticeably brighter than the original Andie, which had a claimed 700 lumen output. I can point both flashlights at a wall in daylight and the 800 lumen version is very noticeably brighter and more powerful, as you can see also in the photos and videos below.
In fact, the 800 lumen version in its reduced power mode (it has a three-way switch: on full, on reduced and off) is as bright as the Andie at full power. Full power may actually be overkill for working in close quarters on a motorcycle, so the half power definitely is more useful on the revised Andie; I rarely use the original Andie on anything but full power.
800 lumens is so bright, it can sometimes overwhelm a small workspace (although after using the 800 lumen version, my wife says "You can never have too much light"). You absolutely, positively do not want to be looking at the business end of the Andie when it's switched on. Handle it with care!
The newer version also features a deeper, polished reflector that produces a more focused beam when the flashlight is on full power. The original has a "frosted" type reflector, which tempers the output into a smoother pattern. The reflector heads are not interchangeable between the old and new versions because the LED electronics are different. The 800 lumen version is more of a powerful spotlight.
One of the nice things about the Clearwater design is that it uses the same small form factor of the original Andie. Some of the 800 lumen LED flashlights that are available today have a larger reflector or body size, which can be a bit cumbersome. The Andie shape is perfect for hand-holding and for storing in the toolbox.
The Andie comes with a pair of rechargeable Li-Ion batteries (the flashlight uses only one battery and there's one for a spare), so you don't have to worry about buying four or more AA batteries to power your light.
The Andie kit comes with a wall charger that can charge both batteries simultaneously and it also comes with a car charger.
The batteries are the 18650 type, which I believe is rated at 3.7V and 2600 mAh and claimed to have about 500 recharging cycles. The single battery powers the Andie for about 1.5 hours at full and 3.0 hours at reduced power. With the 800 lumen version, the output is so great that the flashlight body does start to get warm after a few minutes, so you probably do not want to run it continuously until the battery drains.
The Clearwater 800 lumen LED flashlight uses the same solid construction as the original, with only the slight difference noted above in the screw-on flashlight head. You'd have to look pretty close to notice the difference; I didn't realize there was a difference until I removed both heads to see if I could swap them out.
The flashlight body is CNC-machined from an aluminum tube and coated with PVD or some type of anodized coating. It's slightly heavier than the original Andie at 207 grams (vs. 194 grams) and (6-7/8 oz.) and it's slightly shorter at 156 mm (vs. 159 mm for the original). The head diameter is the same for both at 42 mm.
The body feels well balanced in the hand and it has a machine-knurled grip surface in the center. The "rings" at the front of the flashlight act as a heat sink; in fact, the entire aluminum flashlight body is a heat sink for the powerful LED.
The 800 lumen version has the same rubberized on/off switch at the rear. Press once to turn the flashlight on and press lightly again to put it into reduced power mode. It will stay in whatever mode you have left it for the next time it's switched on.
The reduced power mode of the 800 lumen version is about equal to the full power mode of the original Andie. Click on the full power and it's like kicking in the afterburner, leaving the original Andie in the dust.
It's always difficult to illustrate the power of a flashlight in photographs and doubly so for video. We compared the 800 lumen flashlight to the original Andie (both at full power) and also to another shop workhorse, the Milwaukee 12V worklight, which uses the Milwaukee M12 rechargeable power pack and only has a single on/off mode.
The Milwaukee flashlight was briefly described in our review of the Milwaukee heated jacket (review). It has a better than average output and it's probably better than the average household flashlight (does anyone still use an incandescent flashlight?). Its specialty is delivering a wide beam of light with its rotating head.
The M12 power pack is a bit disappointing however, because it doesn't seem to hold power very long. Also, the Milwaukee 12V worklight is kind of porky, so it doesn't fit easily in the toolbox.
The three small photos above illustrate the Milwaukee flashlight on the left, the original Andie in the center and the 800 lumen Andie flashlight on the right, both at full power. The camera was 10 feet away and the Nikon D70 was set on manual exposure at ISO640, f9.0 at 1/25 second for each photo, so the light output comparison is valid.
Here are a pair of photos comparing the original Andie with the 800 lumen version, again both at full power. Both were taken outdoors at night, again using the D70 on manual, this time at ISO1000 at f5.6 and a 1.3 second exposure:
You can see that the 800 lumen version has a more focused and more powerful beam than the original Andie.
We also compared the Milwaukee 12V worklight, the original Andie and the Andie 800 lumen LED flashlights in the following video.
It was very difficult to get quality video because the output of these lights varies by about 6 stops from the Milwaukee to the 800 lumen Andie. This makes it nearly impossible to come up with a valid setting for comparison, but I think you'll get the idea.
The Clearwater Andie 800 lumen LED flashlight is as nicely constructed as the original, but it now puts out even more power...and that's really saying something, because the original was amazing. It keeps the same list price as the original Andie and the reduced power setting is even more useful, so what's not to like?
The price is still $99.00, which may seem like a lot of money to pay for a flashlight, but that's nearly half the list price of many "name brand" 800 lumen LED flashlights. And with the Clearwater Andie LED, you get a spare battery, the wall outlet charger and the car charger in the kit, all packed in a nice foam-lined box.
Once you use this flashlight, everything else seems wimpy in comparison, no doubt about it. It's also very well made, so it should last a lifetime.
More wBW Flashlight Reviews
|wBW Review: Clearwater Andie 800 Lumen LED Flashlight|
|Manufacturer: Clearwater Lights||List Price: $99.00|
|Colors: Black||Made In: Unknown|
|Review Date: May 2012|
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From "T.G." (May 2012): "The photos of the flashlight outside convinced me to get one for one reason. This flashlight and some duct-tape will get you home at night if your headlight goes out. That is a major safety upgrade! Thanks!"