Sunday, June 19, 2016

Review: Streamlight MicroStream 66318 LED Flashlight

Looking for small AAA LED flashlights and found one from Streamlight.
Streamlight MicroStream 66318 Flashlight: Unboxed
x1 - Streamlight MicroStream 66318 LED Flashlight

Paid: CA$ ~35.00
A clam shell style clear plastic package with what looked to be heat sealed edges only in strategic spots. I managed to open the package for the Streamlight MicroStream with my hands -- scissors were used for a tiny spot before going back to hands only. The battery was not inserted into the flashlight which was a nice "surprise" given the two Coast lights I recently purchased that did have them pre-installed. Included with the light was an alkaline Energizer battery, some instructions, and a fairly long lanyard.
Streamlight MicroStream 66318: Turned on
Opening up the MicroStream 66318 did not go smoothly, unfortunately. I tried unscrewing the very end off the flashlight first but found out that it was only a cap over the tail switch. This was not good because the next piece down appeared to be connected to the pen clip. And the pen clip was pressed down onto the painted barrel of the flashlight. I found out that unscrewing the cap to the battery compartment would result in the pen clip scraping against the barrel unless I held the clip up. That's what I ended up doing and it made things more difficult than they should have been. It didn't look like the clip was removable, maybe it was, I didn't try? Regardless, having it arrive not attached would have been nice.

Well, the battery went in and the light turned on. That lead to issue number two involving the tail-cap switch: it was very hard to push down into the locked position (rubber felt very stiff). In contrast, I recently purchased two Coast flashlights with rubber covered tail-caps that were very easy to use. Using both hands to turn on the light became necessary with the Streamlight.

Design / Construction
Aside from the hard to click tail-switch and the pen clip that scraped against the barrel of the flashlight when opening, the lamp appeared to be fairly solid.
Streamlight MicroStream 66318 LED: Light pattern from about 5' away
How was it?
I've only used it for a while fairly lightly so far, but the MicroStream has been okay. Comparing it with my other AAA flashlights, the light out of the Streamlight appeared to be most similar to my Maglite Solitaire LED. However, I believe the MicroStream's beam was fixed unlike the Solitaire's adjustable beam. You can see them side by side in the video above.

Price was a major issue in evaluating the Streamlight 66318 because it was about CA$ 35 when I bought it. It dropped to about CA$ 30 when I wrote this review, and I found that it was significantly cheaper in the United States. However, I paid what I paid and for almost double the price of a Maglite Solitaire LED and a Coast G19, this was not that impressive. Even if they were all the same price, the difficult to use tail-switch and poorly positioned pen clip made for some fairly big flaws. Maybe my tail cap was defective?

Got the Streamlight MicroStream 66318 to try out and add to my collection of small, AAA flashlights and I was somewhat satisfied. The pen clip and the very stiff tail-switch were the main items that bugged me. I liked the light that came out of the lamp and the body looked good. For what I paid, the premium was not worth it over other AAA LEDs like the Maglite Solitaire or Coast G19.

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