As with most novelty torches, this pleasant little gadget from Uni-com has more appeal in the quirkiness and the fun element rather than being marketed as a powerful torch. There are many different visual styles, but the majority of them operate on a battery free 'dynamo' style of power, charged up by physically pumping energy into it via a 'winder' on the side. It's great for kids as a present, and is a nice thing to have around should you need a little light from time to time.
It's a small thing, quite stocky but only about 4 inches or so long. It's a very convenient size to hold, with the round body of the ladybird design making for comfortable handling. Some of the novelty torches are quite clunky. The ladybird design is quite good aesthetically, too. I do like the animal based torches, as I think they're very appealing to kids, and I suppose this is the main area that the market is looking for in terms of customers. I know ours is certainly for our son, and he loves using it.
He's seven now, and I think the novelty factor is just about still there. As he gets older, he's more likely to pick up a proper fully functional battery powered torch that emits a strong light, and I think the power of the light is probably where this ladybird novelty torch (and others like it) fall down. There are two small LEDs on the top of the ladybird where the eyes would be, emitting low powered soft light. The power is emitted by pressing a retractable wind up button on the side, which takes a few minutes to get the power up before giving you a short time of torch light. It's quite a fun way to bring up the power, and I suppose the whole point of it is a novelty and fun way of providing a little light.
This is an ideal thing to take with you if you're going camping with the kids and want to give them a torch without worrying that they'll burn all the batteries by playing around in the dark tent. Similarly, it's also fun to use in a darkened room to see what shapes you can make from the torch. Our son often does things like that around bed time. I can't say the charging of it is a relaxing thing all the time before sleep, but it's a soothing light and quite a nice and cost effective way of exploring the concept of torchlight and the effect a light can have on the shadows for kids who are learning about things like that.
Costwise it's quite good. If you think about it, after the initial purchase cost (which tends to be around the £5 mark or thereabouts, often less in pound shops, etc) there is no other cost involved. No batteries needed means that's it for cost, and it's durable, too. I like how sturdy it feels and the quirky design of it is effective and aesthetically pleasing. Another enjoyable novelty torch. Recommended.
My dad uses a wind up torch for when he goes fishing and my 11 year old sister is fascinated by it, she has wanted her own wind up torch for ages but I could see my mums point when she said my sister doesn't use torches so it wasn't worth paying £20.00 for one that she wouldn't hardly use once the novelty had wore off.
I treated her to this one though because it was only a fiver in Argos and I knew she'd love the ladybird design. It comes in one of those mad packets that you've got to kind of hack through to get into it, nightmare but once it was open I was dead impressed with the design and feel of the torch.
To hold it feels a bit like you've got one of them tiny laptop mouses in your hand, when my dad tried to use it the other day to look under the sofa and it done his head in because he couldn't get a proper grip of the torch with his massive plate sized hands!
The torch is made of plastic but it's a very smooth plastic and that gives it a bit of a rubbery feel even though the torch is solid and very sturdy. I know it's definately sturdy because my sister has dropped it shedloads of times and there are no cracks or dents in the casing at all..... even though one of them drops wasn't accidental and it hit the floor harder than my sister had expected!
To wind the torch up you just flick the winder out, it's a thin stalk that you use to wind it up and you don't have to stress when you see it because it's easier to use the winder than it looks. I reckon people with very big hands might have problems because of how close the winder is to the body of the ladybird but this torch is made for smaller people so you can't moan if you're too big to use it!
The light you get comes out of the ladybirds eyes and it's soooooo cute! They are LED bulbs and the brightness depends on how long you wind the torch up for, to be honest there isn't a lot of difference in the brightness even if you wind for an hour so if I'm using the torch I just wind it as I need it. I reckon a 5 minute wind gives you about 20 mins of light out of the torch and you can wind it while the light is on too instead of having to turn it off to wind it up like my dads torch.
Recommended..... don't expect super bright even though it's LED bulbs, but this is a wicked torch for any kids or even some adults who like ladybirds!
My daughter received this torch for her 3rd birthday back in January. She loves all things ladybird so this was an ideal present from a very well meaning relative. It was also great timing because she had just started to develop an awareness of the difference between dark and light - she is beginning to notice that night times are dark and sometimes scary - so a novelty torch such as this was a perfect bedtime companion for her.
The torch itself is one of those 'wind-up' ones that require no batteries, just a bit of elbow grease before use. It is very lightweight and quite small, probably about the size of a toddler's hand (sorry I cannot measure at this moment in time because it is tucked up under my daughter's pillow), so it is perfect for children. It has a lovely feel to it, the red parts are soft to touch, sort of rubbery I suppose.
The two LED lights at the front are set into the black part of the ladybird's head and thus look like two eyes, a nice feature, especially for children. The lights are activated using an on/off switch on the side of the torch, and usually you will have to wind it up to get them going. The winding handle is located on the side of the torch and is easily accessed by me and my 3 year old. It's really easy to wind up, and you only have to wind it a few times before the lights become quite bright.
I think this torch is great and my daughter certainly enjoys it, she fully understands that she needs to wind it up and is perfectly capable of using the torch completely unaided, so I am really happy with it. The lights shine really quite brightly in a dark room, and you get a good few minutes with them before winding is required again. She sometimes uses it to look at books while she is in bed in the dark once I have left the room, or sometimes just likes to have it on while she lays in bed.
I like the fact that it requires no battery power whatsoever, all you need is the little handle to wind it up every now and then.
I'm not sure how well the ladybird would fare in an environment where you need the constant use of a torch, but I think this is a great novelty item that works really well. I'm not sure if it's completely intended for children, but it does have a definate novelty value which appeals to children. Thinking about it, it would be handy for women to stash in their handbags just for emergencies...
I have seen these on sale in various Garden Centres, but it is also available on Amazon for £3.76.
It's always handy to have a torch around the place, whether to be ready for those power cuts that always seem to come at the most awkward of times, to get a good look into a dark corner or behind furniture, or (especially in the winter) simply to light your way when walking. However, many - perhaps most - torches may be functional, even elegant, but are not exactly fun. This wind-up torch from Uni-Com aims to do something about that.
It's designed in the shape of a ladybird - and, while I'm on the subject, isn't it nice to see a made-in-China product properly localised to the UK rather than using the American word "ladybug"? - and it presents a cheerful appearance to the extent that you could almost call it cute. There's a small strap attached to the bottom end of the torch which could be used to attach it to a bag or to act as a wrist strap for a child (though it's too small for an adult's wrist).
The torch is smaller than many of the promotional pictures would imply: about 7 cm long, 5 cm across its body and 2.5 cm thick. It felt a little small in my hand, but not uncomfortably so; older children and smaller-handed women might well find it ideal. The on/off switch is placed perfectly to be flicked with your thumb without having to perform any contortions, and the plastic body itself has a smooth, almost yielding feel.
This torch is powered exclusively by the energy built up from winding; there is no battery backup or solar option. The winder is tucked snugly into the right-hand side of the ladybird's body and flicks out to reveal a small handle. This looks rather flimsy but seems to be able to cope well with normal use. There doesn't seem to be any limit to the amount of winding possible: every so often the winder may click slightly alarmingly, but there appear to be no ill effects from this.
The most appealing feature of the torch is the fact that light is given off by means of two LEDs installed in the ladybird's eyes. This makes for a charming effect when it is switched on, and it will be a stony-hearted user indeed who fails to raise at least a faint smile at the sight. It doesn't seem to take a huge amount of winding to produce enough light to last several minutes, although it must be said that that light is not enormously bright, thus ruling this torch out of contention for some tasks.
Despite that caveat, I still liked this torch a lot - and its cheapness (£4.98 inc p&p at Amazon) doesn't harm that positive impression either. Being completely honest, it's more of a fun gadget than a general-purpose light source, but it would be unfair to dismiss it as purely a child's toy; the lack of need for any batteries combined with its smallness means it's easy to carry around in a pocket for use whenever you might need it. So long as you don't expect dazzling brightness, I recommend it.