Product Type: Uni-Com gadgets
Newest Review: ... like design is not flimsy, as is usually the case with these novelty looking type torches. The winding up the torch is not over strenous ... more
Rechargeable light-source for those long camping nights....
Uni Com Wind-up Lantern
Member Name: worst_trip
Uni Com Wind-up Lantern
Advantages: Rechargeable, and sturdy-based so quite stable
Disadvantages: LEDs are, if anything, a bit too bright; product may encourage camping....
I bought this LED camping-style lantern when I was in dire straits, looking for an extra birthday present at a moment's notice for my partner. My choice of shops at the time was limited to the local Tesco supermarket, and a small independent hardware store nearby, which is where I found the camping lantern. As he is currently quite keen on LED-powered lights in general, and on rechargeable-type torches in particular, this, being a wind-up / rechargeable item seemed ideal.
This particular Uni-com lantern is based on the shape of an old-fashioned gas pressure-lantern and is of similar dimensions to an old-fashioned glass Coke bottle: so it's wider at the bottom and tapering towards the top, where the light part is. Because of this it has a slightly bottom-heavy appearance - probably due to the size of the rechargeable battery in the base. This has the added advantage of lowering the centre of gravity of the light however - and though it's lightweight to carry, the weight and relative broadness of the lamp's base give is extra stability, so if you were standing it on the ground (eg. in your tent while camping) it would be less likely to topple over.
The bottom section is made of slightly rubberized-feeling plastic - so it's like a non-slip surface and is presumably proofed against being knocked. The top part is a cylinder of transparent plastic, with a flattened 'cap' and a curved wire carrying-handle / handle over the top that can be used to hang it up. Inside the cylinder - which is fixed shut - are an array of LEDs that produce an intensely bright, clear, blue-white light. I can't comment on the power / wattage of the LEDs (as for this type of bulb, I don't think wattage relates well to the brightness of the light produced) but the light from the LEDs is so intense that it's inadvisable to look directly at them, or you end up with after-images of the light burned onto your retinas for some time afterwards.
Recharging is done by means of a turning handle that slots flat into the black base-part of the light when it's not in use. This is very easy to rotate, so easy in fact the (very brief) instructions for use that come with the light tell you not to rotate it too fast - at no more than one revolution per second. One minute of turning the handle gives you 30 minutes of light from the lantern, which is a pretty impressive turnover rate.
As mentioned above, the light is very bright given the small size of the lantern in general. We haven't used this while out camping as yet (as it's winter!) but I would say that the light produced is easily enough to illuminate the inside of a tent well enough that you'd be able to find your way about. The ambient light produced by the lamp might not be enough to read easily by if you were any distance from it, but if, say you had hung it up and were sitting under it or with it over your shoulder, you'd probably get by. Similarly, it's portable enough that if you were using it to find your way in the dark the light should be adequate for that.
The main drawback to this light is that the LEDs are so bright that you can't look directly at them, and because of this, it would useful if the lamp incorporated some sort of diffuser (maybe a slightly frosted-effect plastic on the shade). If you were using one of these a lot, you'd probably want to fashion some kind of make-shift shade for it, the LEDs are so bright.
The other drawback I found personally is that by buying the light at a small hardware shop, I paid more than twice the RRP of it! Mine cost £20 whereas exactly the same model is currently available from eg. amazon.co.uk for less than a tenner. But, as I say, at the time I bought it I was desperate to buy a generic present - anything at all would've done by that stage!
Summary: Product may encourage family camping trips...