Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Review: Coast G19 Inspection Beam Penlight

Twas looking at relatively cheap and compact LED flashlights that took AA or AAA batteries. Found a couple from Coast and the G19 was one of them.

x1 - Coast G19 Inspection Beam Penlight

Paid: CA$ ~22.00
Coast G19 Inspection Beam Penlight - Package

The Coast G19 LED flashlight came in blister packaging -- clear plastic, heat sealed edges -- similar to the Maglites I've purchased in the past. I hate these with a passion but I've been dealing with them quite a bit recently so I managed to open the G19's package without shedding blood. There was a minor jab though.

I bought the Coast G19 online and was aware that a battery was supposedly included in the package. Not seeing a separate battery compartment in the clear plastic packaging upon delivery, it was obvious that the battery was already installed into the flashlight -- the "Try me" label was a dead giveaway too. This was concerning because I've dealt with my fair share of of battery leaks in the past, and leaving batteries installed for long periods of time isn't the best idea. Maglites that I've purchased have, in comparison, usually come with the battery sitting outside the flashlight. However, it was likely that the company thought it was more important to allow potential customers to try out the light -- the "Try me" thing -- than minimize the risk of a leak.

I did not notice a manual or detailed documentation inside the package of the flashlight. It wasn't necessary for me though. Anyway, the Coast G19 LED flashlight was removed from the package and it worked right off the bat.
Coast G19 Inspection Beam Penlight - Light beam from ~5' away.
Design / Construction
It felt solid with an attractive exterior pattern and paint scheme. No major issues were noticed in the short time that I used it before writing this review. The battery compartment was easy to screw off, a click button on the tail-cap was easy to operate, and a pre-attached clip helped to limit the amount of rolling when the light was put down. I didn't see a way to adjust the lens or light beam.

How was it?
What got my attention the most was the beam and how it appeared to be fixed. I've been using Maglites most of my life so turning the head has usually resulted in a more concentrated or wider light beam. This was different, but not actually bad. It was very impressive how even and concentrated the beam was. There did not appear to be an obvious gradient that was concentrated in the center and got darker away from it. Some side by side tests were done using a Maglite LED Solitaire, a Coast G10 LED flashlight, and a Coast G19. Check them out in the video section above.

My impression was that the G19 was slightly brighter and slightly more blue in color temperature than the Maglite Solitaire LED that I had. However, different battery types at different charge levels, and lamps with different levels of wear were used, so it wasn't scientific. No information about the lumen rating was found by yours truly for the G19 on the package or the company's website -- page said 54 lumens though.

The size of the Coast G19 felt pretty good in my relatively small hands. While the Maglite Solitaire is one of my favorite lights, I have to admit that it is on the small side. Something a bit bigger was appreciated. If my scale was remotely accurate then the Maglite LED Solitaire I had was about 12 grams while the Coast G19 was 30 grams -- both without the batteries inserted. The weight difference was obvious but the G19 was still light enough that it didn't bug me.
Coast G10, Coast G19, and Maglite Solitaire LED - Light beams from ~5' away
Having a rear click button was an excellent design decision. Despite being very compact, the Solitaire has generally required two hands to operate due to the use of a "screw to turn on" activation switch. A rear mounted clicking switch on the G19 allowed for single-handed operation. There have been many occasions where I wanted to turn my Solitaire off for a moment but left it on because my other hand was busy or it seemed too much trouble to turn the head.

It was noted on the package that the Coast G19 I bought had a rated battery life of 2.5 hours. My review of the Maglite Solitaire LED (link above) noted that the flashlight likely had a rated run-time of 1.75 hours. One's obviously better than the other, but I'm happy if it's over 1.5 hours for a single AAA battery. No independent testing was done to see how accurate these ratings were.

And finally, price. The Coast G19 was purchased for about CA$ 22. Maglite Solitaire LEDs could be found on at the time of writing for roughly the same price. That's pretty competitive.

I liked the Coast G19 LED Inspection Beam Penlight. The general design and look, light quality, price, and run-time were all more than satisfactory for me. If I did have to choose, I think I would still go with the Maglite Solitaire LED due to familiarity. Country of origin may also be an issue for some -- look it up?

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