Hands-on: Duracell's new Daylite LED flashlights

The venerable battery maker introduces a trio of LED flashlights.

Duracell Daylite flashlight
The AA version of the Duracell Daylite produces a uniform beam of bright light. CNET

Duracell today introduced a new line of flashlights with superbright LED bulbs. Dubbed "Daylite," the series is comprised of three models: two 80 lumens models (one AA and a more squat AAA model) that will retail for $25 each, and a twice-as-bright $35 model powered by lithium CR123 batteries. (Yes, each model includes Duracell batteries.) The rear end of all three models sports a battery cap reminiscent of Duracell batteries' trademark coppertop design.

Duracell provided CNET with an early sample of the AA model, which I've been using off and on for the past few weeks. All in all, it seems to have the makings of a top-notch electric torch. Duracell suggests that the unit's "TrueBeam" design reflects and focuses nearly 100 percent of the LED's light output; while I can't claim to verify that, it's hands-down the brightest flashlight I've ever used. Meanwhile, the company's claim that the beam is free of the sort of dark spots that afflict incandescent bulbs is dead on: whether you set the focus wide or narrow, you get a uniformly solid spot of light. The Daylite is also reasonably well-built: it feels solid in your hand, and it survived several tosses to the floor (a thin office carpet over a concrete base), with no apparent ill effects.

How's it compare to flashlight top-dog MagLite? Unfortunately, I didn't have that company's equivalent LED model on hand for a head-to-head shootout. But MagLite's built a solid reputation over the years, and its AA model costs only about $20. The made-in-China Daylites look to be excellent flashlights, but we'd like to see Duracell offer them at prices more competitive to the US-made MagLites.

How about you? Are you looking to upgrade to a premium superbright LED flashlight like the Duracell Daylite, or are you perfectly happy with whatever cheap and serviceable model you can pick up at the drugstore? Share your thoughts below.

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