For quite some time I’ve been looking for some kind of lantern to take with me backpacking. I’ve been eyeing the Freeplay Indigo for some time, but the cost for such a small amount of features has prevented me from going out and buying it. While visiting my sisters, me and her walked into her local Walmart, and while walking around I came across this Life Light. I was at first impressed, then skeptical because of the $20 price. When I arrived home, I did a little research about the product and then went out and picked it up. Couldn’t wait to get home and play around with it. Messed with all the features and they all work quite well. The light is really bright, radio works pretty good (the small knob and ok quality at picking up weak signals are my only complaints there). The spot light was ok but nothing crazy and the siren is loud, but not the 120DB they mention. Don’t bother with the compass though, mine was a good 40-50 degrees off. I just make a mental note if I ever find myself ever having to use it. Build quality on the outside is pretty good, and it feels very solid. The dynamo actually feels pretty good. I then couldn’t help myself, had to open the thing up and look around and tinker. The first thing I noticed was it’s tiny 3.6v 120ma 1/3AAA stack. You would think that with such a small battery it wouldn’t last to long, but I was getting over 30 minutes with the light on high, and it played music from my iPod for what seemed to be forever. This thing also charged that little battery to 4.2v quite quick. I tested the dynamo and it’s output was almost a watt, impressive. The speaker isn’t exactly what they mention it to be, but it does the job pretty good for it’s 1.5 inch size and .5w peak rating. If I up the amplifier in the future I’ll be sure to replace it for something better. The build quality on the inside isn’t to bad, I’ve seen better, but I’ve seen much worse on even more expensive things. The phone charger feature does work, but with a twist. Because of the socket design, it cuts all power from the batteries when you plug in the phone charger plug. I tried to modify this by connecting the batteries after the switch so they would aid in charging the phone, but the initial voltage just wasn’t there, so I ended up putting it back to stock. The catch to charging my phone at least was to plug it in, and initially start spinning up the dynamo at a faster rate until it begins charging, then you could slow it down quite a bit. Your phone might be different though. The battery compartment in the bottom that allows you to install 3 AAA’s was one thing I really liked. Because of the small size of the internal battery, I wanted to up the total capacity of the unit by installing rechargeable AAA’s (they make 1000ma rechargeable AAA’s these days). Unfortunately because of the design of the unit, the dynamo wouldn’t charge them with the dynamo. After a simple modification of moving the positive lead from the battery compartment to the opposite side of the diode I was able to charge my rechargeable AAA’s with the dynamo. Make a note that doing this means you can no longer spin up the dynamo with alkaline batteries installed. They could leak or worse. Since I plan to only run rechargeable in this thing, this isn’t a problem for me. I tested the time on the light again on high and just gave up, took to long. And if it were to ever run low, I could recharge them again now. Overall I really like this thing. Fun little gadget I could goof around with and modify into my perfect unit. I’ve put some time on the dynamo (must have a combined time of 45-60 minutes of total winding) and it lightly squeaks, but that’s all. Oiled the knob at the end of the handle and problem solved. None the less, it’s a great product and I’d recommend it!
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