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'Holy Smoke Batman!' A geeky torch review...LED Lenser MH10 & MT14

Updated: Feb 22

I got these 2 beauties through the post earlier in the year and was immediately struck by the high quality of the packaging, the boxes open slickly with information being provided at each stage and compartmentalised for each part of the product. It was almost a shame to open the boxes as I got a real feeling of the care that had gone into the design of the packaging and I hadn’t even see the torches yet! I first came across Led Lenser about 8/9 years ago and have used a number of their head and hand torches during this time, I have to admit to being a fan of their products, so I was keen to see their latest developments.

LED Lensor

The Led Lenser MH10 head torch comes with a rechargeable battery, a USB cable, a set of colour filters, a pouch and a simple set of picture instructions to follow. The normal zoom function is complemented by a high, med and low power setting, which allows you to set up the torch to come on in your preferred power mode. An additional red light at the back allows you to be seen from behind. There is also a rucksack mode to prevent your torch being turned on and discharging, now I found this feature a little fiddly. Previous LED models I’ve used have needed you to depress the on / off button for about 5-7 seconds, the MH10 needs 16 secs and the button is very sensitive! With a bit of perseverance and time I got it, but definitely tricky in gloves. The battery housing also has a small green / red led light identifying battery life and as usual the beam flickers when it has a low charge. I guess the main questions that really matter when you’re in the market for a new torch are how bright is it and how long does the battery last? Led Lenser claim it to be the lightest head torch of it’s brightness levels!

It took several hours to fully charge the battery via the USB cable, which seemed quite lengthy, however the usage time from that 1 charge was very impressive. I also tried charging it off my extra power pack with the USB cable, I can see the value of this facility on a longer trip. I found the low power setting ideal for close work like map reading / rucksack faff and even walking on cloudless nights. The medium power mode became my default setting, superb for fine detail on the map and looking ahead to plan where to walk, especially with the zoom feature. The high power setting was just an explosion of light! It sat comfortably with an easy adjustable head band providing good support, I found it to be balanced so my neck didn’t ache after a while and the headband can be washed too.

I’ve used this on all of my ML training and assessment courses this summer and went with LED’s facts and figures on battery life, I deliberately didn’t charge the battery between a couple of assessment courses, a little nervously I might add! I figured that a number of nights wandering around the mountains switching between different power modes would be a good little test specifically for battery life. Most folk had a battery change (or 2) somewhere on each course and yet over 4 nights I didn’t observe any noticeable decrease in the beam’s intensity or distance, I’m sure it would have done another course easily, but I gave in to charging it back up. As to the brightness of it, well it definitely showed me the way and the rest of the team! On a low power setting LED suggest you’ll get an impressive 100 hours of use, which will get you off the mountain!

LED Lensor lightpainting

The MT 14 hand torch is part of their M series, ‘affordable and powerful and packing some serious power’, this hand held torch is exactly that. It is supplied with a rechargeable battery, USB cable and a belt type pouch.

Being a classic bloke, I broke it out of the box, didn’t bother reading anything, charged it up, lobbed it in my rucksack and pulled it out one night whilst looking for some daft contour feature. ‘Holy Smoke Batman’ is the polite version of what I actually said, it put every other torch that night into the stone age, it truly packed some punch, I didn’t just find my contour, but a whole mountain range! Yes it’s a little heavier, but 253g of searchlight standard beam is worth carrying. A normal zoom function, 3 power settings and clever battery life indicator on the on / off switch are standard. I never even got close to using the torch in low power mode for 192 hours, that’s a lot of nights camping out in the hills on 1 charge!

North Wales is a good testing ground for being weather resistant and although neither are claimed to be waterproof, it has comfortably dealt with some pretty atrocious weather, whilst completely exposed to the rain over a number of hours.

The geek in me understands the technical specs on lumen numbers and beam distance, but the true test is wandering around the mountains on a cold, wet night for hours and actually what the torch allows you to see and how long the battery lasts for, numbers count for nothing if it doesn’t perform. It’s hard to quantify how good the beam and battery life on both torches have been in this written review, you really do need to use them!

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