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Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > MAXXEON Pocket Floodlight > Test Report by Andrea Murland

Maxxeon WorkStar 220 Pocket Floodlight
Test Series by Andrea Murland

Initial Report - May 24, 2011
Field Report - August 16, 2011
Long Term Report - October 10, 2011

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 25
Location: Elkford & Rossland, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 125 lb (57 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.


Initial Report – May 24, 2011

Product Information

Manufacturer: Maxxeon
Manufacturer's URL: www.maxxeon.com
Year of Manufacture: 2011
MSRP: US $29.97
Listed Weight: 1 oz (28 g)
Measured Weight: 0.9 oz (26 g) without batteries, 1.6 oz (45 g) with batteries
Listed Size: 6 in (15 cm) long, 0.56 in (1.4 cm) head diameter
Measured Size: 6.4 in (16.3 cm) long, 0.56 in (1.4 cm) head diameter
Battery Type: 3 x AAAA

Maxxeon WorkStar 220

Description & Initial Impressions

The Maxxeon WorkStar 220 Pocket Floodlight is an LED penlight. The light arrived in a blister pack that contained the WorkStar as well as three AAAA batteries. Attached to the penlight was a pen clip which is removable.

The packaging tells me that the WorkStar 220 emits a cool white light at 120 lumens, that it has an Orange Peel reflector, that the light is a Floodlight Beam, that it’s constructed from anodized aluminum, and that it’s water resistant (thanks to O-rings and a rubber cap on the switch). The website adds information about the Orange Peel reflector, which is intended to create a beam with no rings, shadows, or hot spots, and a 1:1 distance to diameter ratio, which means that 1 ft from an object the beam is 1 ft wide. The website also adds that the burn time is 2 hours to half brightness and 4 hours of useable light, with intermittent use. There’s one line that catches my attention: the “WorkStar 220 LED Pocket Floodlight is designed for technicians for daily use in a demanding shop, manufacturing or maintenance environments.” Despite such a statement, I am going to refrain from taking it to work at a coal processing plant, at least until the end of the test!

Once I removed the WorkStar 220 from the packaging, I found the orientation of the batteries printed on the packaging under where the light had been. There are no markings on the light to indicate which way the batteries go in. Speaking of batteries, I guess I’m going to have to find out where in my rural area I can buy AAAA batteries. I have to admit I had no idea such things even existed until this test.

The batteries are inserted by unscrewing the head or tail piece of the WorkStar 220 and sliding the batteries in. The O-rings in the threaded joints are clearly visible when it’s taken apart. The light turns on by pressing the switch on the end of the light until it clicks, and turned off the same way. It can also be turned on momentarily by pressing the switch only half way.

WorkStar Details

Trying It Out

The batteries were easy to install. The light is very simple to operate.
In my living room, the light produced is white, with a round beam. The beam is brightest in the center, dimming towards the edges, but doesn’t appear to have any distinct rings. The 1:1 distance to diameter ratio seems to be about right, based on my eyeball estimates.

Summary

The WorkStar 220 Pocket Floodlight appears to be a small, bright penlight that will be useful in outdoor pursuits over the next several months. I look forward to hauling it around with me on my outdoor adventures!

Field Report – August 16, 2011

Field Conditions

I have used the Maxxeon WorkStar Pocket Floodlight on three camping trips since June, as well as around the house and while geocaching. On the overnight trips the temperatures were between 10 C and 30 C (50 F and 86 F). I’ve often been storing the light in my car though, where it gets much hotter than that during the day! I haven’t used the WorkStar in the rain yet.

Observations

The Maxxeon WorkStar 220 puts out quite a bit of light for a small little light! The light is white and easy to see in, and I have found the light be adequate for doing tasks around camp, as well as around home during a couple of power outages. Below is a picture of my tent in camp under the light of the WorkStar.

Tent under the light of the WorkStar 220


The WorkStar 220 fits nicely in my pack without catching on anything, and has spent quite a lot of time in the door pocket in my car for emergency night geocaching trips. It’s been great to have a small, compact, bright light always convenient.

I have been strictly a headlamp user for several years while hiking and camping, but use a flashlight frequently at work, often in addition to a headlamp. Although I’m used to having my hands free in camp to do tasks, thanks to work I’m quite proficient at working with a flashlight in my mouth (which, where I work, is actually pretty gross...). I have become pretty comfortable with the WorkStar in my mouth too. One thing that did take some getting used to and that still occasionally catches me is the aluminum body of the penlight. Aluminum is not very friendly for teeth! I have to make sure that I grip the flashlight with my lips.

The advertised battery life of the WorkStar light seems to be pretty accurate. I have used the light for about 3.5 hours, and after the first 2.5 hours I noticed that the light would dim if it had been on for a while, and also noticed that it would occasionally flash. When that started, I went on a mission to find AAAA batteries, which I discovered were not available in my area at all. I managed to find some on a trip to the “big city” after trying several stores. I finally found them at an office supply store, in their special battery section. Naturally, the batteries came in packages of 2, so I actually purchased 3 packages so that I’d have enough to replace the batteries twice, and because they were so hard to find. I’m not always going to be able to drive 3 hours to go get batteries! However, I am doubting my long-term use of this light using AAAA batteries. Aside from the inconvenience of getting them, a set of 3 AAAA batteries is worth about $15 CAD for me, which will quickly put this light at the bottom of my list of ones to pick for a trip, especially with such a short battery life.

The light looks as good as new, with no scratches or changes in the light pattern.

Summary

The WorkStar 220 has been a great light so far around camp. The light is bright and white, sufficient for doing tasks, and fits nicely in my pack as well as for hauling around in the car. I have some concerns about the battery life and availability of batteries, but overall it’s been good.

Long Term Report – October 10, 2011

Field Conditions

I have continued to use the Maxxeon WorkStar while camping or out in the bush for 5 nights as well as for geocaching on several occasions. I have encountered some rain with it but not to the point of getting the light completely soaked, and temperatures have been down to just above freezing on some mornings.

Observations

The WorkStar 220 continues to be an excellent light for me around camp. A lot of my use in the long-term testing phase was at a recreational property where I used it for navigating between cabins, the outhouses, and for doing tasks in the cabin when the propane lights weren’t lit. It was very convenient to have the light stashed in my pocket and to pull it out when I needed it. Although I generally prefer using a headlamp, it was nice to have a handheld light instead of always taking a headlamp on and off my head.

As I reported in my Field Report, the light from the WorkStar dims considerably when the batteries are running low. I replaced the batteries when the light got so dim that I really couldn’t see anything at all, though there was still the occasional bright flash from the light. That gave me a good reminder of just how bright the light really is when the batteries are fresh; it’s an impressive difference! I love that the dimming light gives lots of notice that the batteries are running down and will need to be replaced.

The light still looks as good as new and doesn’t seem to have suffered any ill effects from being rained on a little bit.

Although I enjoyed my test of the WorkStar and found it to be a great little light, my primary light for camping will remain a headlamp. I think I’m going to take Maxxeon up on their statement that the WorkStar is designed for use in rough work environments and take it to work with me in a coal plant. It certainly puts out a lot more light than my company-issue light! I also hope that I can find a cheaper and more available source of AAAA batteries to continue using this light!

Summary

The Maxxeon WorkStar is a great small, bright penlight. It puts out a bright, white light while being small and compact. Although I enjoyed using it around cabins, I prefer a headlamp for most camping applications and geocaching for hands-free functionality.

Thumbs Up:
Bright, white light
Compact
Easy to use
Durable
Dimming light as batteries die

Thumbs Down:
Short battery life
AAAA batteries hard to obtain

Thanks to Maxxeon and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this pocket light! It will become part of my work kit for the future.



Read more reviews of MAXXEON Inc. gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland

Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > MAXXEON Pocket Floodlight > Test Report by Andrea Murland



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