UKH

REVIEW: Petzl SWIFT RL - One Headtorch to Rule Them All?

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SWIFT by name, not necessarily by pace, as the author slowly plods his way up Win Hill

The SWIFT RL offers an amazingly heavyweight power output in a light and compact package, says Rob Greenwood, while its Reactive Lighting helps preserve battery life. Is this all the headtorch you need?



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 goose299 22 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Having bought a NAO and not particularly liking it, I’ve returned it and bought a Swift with an extra battery and have spare change. 

Looking forward to it arriving after this review 

if anyone’s reading this and considering a Swift, you can pick it up for around £70 so much less than the RRP

Post edited at 18:46
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Used the Swift a bit last winter in the Alps. Certainly bright, light and compact but battery life was definitely a concern in the cold when using the brightest settings, especially when skiing and hence not looking down as much. Seemed to run out quicker than the Reactik. I always carry a decent spare head torch anyway so wasn’t really an issue but would have been without a spare! Perhaps the NAO is the way to go. Unless someone can recommend a torch which can deal with the cold...

In reply to Misha:

Aren't there any with remote battery packs you just shove inside your clothes anymore? Somewhere I have a BD Polar Star I think it was called like that, but the main beam is halogen then it has some little LEDs for proximity lighting, but I guess its a bit redundant technology these days with a non LED bulb. Nevertheless the battery pack being in your clothing did make it pretty good for Nordic winter conditions.

In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Has anyone tried an IKO? 

In reply to TobyA:

Plenty of caving set ups allow this - usually robust and heavy. 

 GPN 22 Sep 2020
In reply to TobyA:

There’s an extension kit for the Nao for just this purpose: https://m.petzl.com/INT/en/Sport/PERFORMANCE-headlamps/Kit-belt-NAO

 Frank R. 22 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

> As such, it will come as no surprise that the SWIFT, unlike the ACTIK, cannot also take AAA batteries. The reason for this is simple: the current battery pack offers a regulated output, meaning that you get a consistent beam over a prolonged time frame. If you were to add AAA batteries into the mix you would get a significant spike followed by an almost immediate drop in performance.

I am sorry, but that's just not true (or just too much simplified, sorry to nitpick). There is no "regulated output" (apart from thermal runaway protection) in a Li-Ion battery pack compared to 1 AA or 3 AAA (apart from the voltage difference and different voltage curve). The regulator is the circuitry in the headlamp itself. Of course it's much easier (and somewhat more efficient) to design a driver for just one chemistry and voltage range (~3.6V), than a driver(with voltage boost circuitry) that can deal with anything from 1.1V (one cold alkaline AA), 3.6V (one Li-Ion 14500 "AA" or a Li-Ion pack) to ~4.5V (3 fresh Li AAAs). And it's cheaper as well (at least for the manufacturer, not necessarily for the customer).

Many other premium brands offer flashlights and headlamps that can take all four chemistries available in AA form (Alkaline, Lithium non-rechargeables for cold environments, Li-Ion rechargeables like 14500 and Ni-Mh rechargeables) with constant output. The main difference is that Alkaline (and some Ni-Mh) cells can't output high enough currents to sustain the maximum modes with 400 or 900 lumens (or not for long), and the different cell voltages need a more complex electronics with a boost circuit (that's why Petzl mostly used 3 AAAs in their simple headlamps like Tikka, cheaper and much simpler electronics, no boost circuits needed).

Post edited at 21:47
 Frank R. 22 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

The included runtime comparison table is just plain misleading advertising, as is quite usual with most Petzl headlamps.

 "Max Power" figure states 2-30hrs and 900 lumens. There is no way a small plastic headlamp with a small Li-Ion pack could output 900 lumens for 2 hours per ANSI standard! Actually, I'd be surprised if the Swift RL could deliver the advertised maximum output of 900 lumens for more than a few (tens) seconds at maximum, because of physics - it's plastic. 900 lumens is a lot of heat that needs to go somewhere (LED efficiency and lifetime goes way down with high temperature). Even aluminium (a very good heatsink) headlamps with high current capable Li-Ion cells and state of the art LEDs don't have that much runtime as the Swift advertises!

Reactive lighting sounds really good (and is - if it works well - nobody should be blinded by their own headlamp while looking at a map), the manufacturers just need to convey the runtimes realistically without misleading customers.

Post edited at 22:26
 artif 22 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Had too many failed petzl headlamps to consider one again.

Lupine are my current choice, great lights with excellent support

 galpinos 23 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

> By holding the button down you can switch between Standard and Reactive Lighting, although I doubt you'll be doing this much due to the fact that there are very few drawbacks to RL (in fact, there's a whole lot of positives)

Having done some dusk/night bouldering with the Reactik+ the reactive lighting is a real pain if you are trying to turn a small overlap as you can't see you feet as the headtorch is quite close to the rock and your feet are quite a way away. This is the only time I've found it a pain though.

The 300 lumens of my Reactik+ seems pretty bright, 900 lumens will be a lighthouse beam!

In reply to Frank R.:

> I am sorry, but that's just not true (or just too much simplified, sorry to nitpick). 

I'd favour the view that I oversimplified, so no need to apologise for nitpicking - when you write a review it's there to be nitpicked! That said, for 99% of the people reading it they simply don't need - or want - that level of detail, hence the generalisation.

When it comes to the various pros and cons of the different batteries out there, I - like many - prefer a rechargeable battery pack because of its ease and simplicity. Burning through a whole bunch of disposable batteries seems like a waste, and a hassle, so it's good to see the back of them. The fact brands can then streamline their product to match the product is an added benefit in my eyes.

In reply to Frank R.:

> The included runtime comparison table is just plain misleading advertising, as is quite usual with most Petzl headlamps.

I went into a lot of detail about the difficulty of measuring burn time of Reactive Lighting within the text, which I summarised by saying "were there to be a downside to [Reactive Lighting] it is that it makes testing the actual burn time pretty much impossible, because it completely depends on where you're looking", which I'd argue is a pretty strongly worded caveat.

As for why I included the table in light of this, I did so to provide a general overview of the SWIFT vs. two other popular (and likely familiar) Petzl products, which may or may not make things more relatable. As you say, it's very hard to compare them like-for-like, as some (such as the ACTIK) feature standard lighting, whereas the SWIFT and the NAO+ feature reactive lighting; however, other factors such as price and weight are also of interest. Given that this information doesn't seem to appear side by side elsewhere on the internet I thought it would be useful to do so here.

>  "Max Power" figure states 2-30hrs and 900 lumens. There is no way a small plastic headlamp with a small Li-Ion pack could output 900 lumens for 2 hours per ANSI standard! Actually, I'd be surprised if the Swift RL could deliver the advertised maximum output of 900 lumens for more than a few (tens) seconds at maximum, because of physics - it's plastic. 900 lumens is a lot of heat that needs to go somewhere (LED efficiency and lifetime goes way down with high temperature). Even aluminium (a very good heatsink) headlamps with high current capable Li-Ion cells and state of the art LEDs don't have that much runtime as the Swift advertises!

According to the Petzl website the SWIFT RL's light output is 900 lumens (ANSI-FL1 STANDARD). If this is wrong, it's been independently certified as being wrong, as is far beyond the remit of this review to question that. This is - after all - a review, not a laboratory test. Qualitative, not quantitate.

In reply to TobyA:

I wonder if Swift can be used with a battery pack plugged in? If so, then it’s a cheap (albeit perhaps flimsy) alternative to extend the battery life. 
 

Also, has anyone run out of battery on a long night? 
 

I have actik core which I’m happy with and been eyeing at Swift RL for months now. My main concern is that it doesn’t accept AAA batteries and spare battery costs £30+. I have a set of Eneloop AAA batteries I can use for many things, one of them being taking as spares for Actik Core. I kind of want to boycott Swift RL just because of that - it’s not environmentally friendly and feels a bit greedy. 

In reply to PPP:

> I wonder if Swift can be used with a battery pack plugged in? If so, then it’s a cheap (albeit perhaps flimsy) alternative to extend the battery life. 

I'm not sure if you could, but even if it was possible I don't think it would be practical.

> Also, has anyone run out of battery on a long night? 

I haven't, despite going on a lot of long runs with it over the winter. At the time I was training for the Bob Graham, so frequently out for long runs late at night. 

> I have actik core which I’m happy with and been eyeing at Swift RL for months now. My main concern is that it doesn’t accept AAA batteries and spare battery costs £30+. I have a set of Eneloop AAA batteries I can use for many things, one of them being taking as spares for Actik Core. I kind of want to boycott Swift RL just because of that - it’s not environmentally friendly and feels a bit greedy. 

I must admit I was annoyed at this too, but were the CORE to have been used I think it would have limited the SWIFT's battery life so low that it would have become useless. It's simply too powerful for such a small battery pack.

In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Thanks Rob. 
 

For winter I prefer a spare headtorch over spare batteries. Even my hill running first aid kit has a Petzl E+lite rather than batteries. It’s even lighter and luckily never had to use it. 

It’s just annoying not having a chance to simply take some cheap batteries, buy some in the shop if needed or reuse what’s already available for emergencies. I would rather live with a 50 lumen light than nothing at all! 

In reply to PPP:. 

> For winter I prefer a spare headtorch over spare batteries. Even my hill running first aid kit has a Petzl E+lite rather than batteries. It’s even lighter and luckily never had to use it. 

Totally, throughout winter I would take my old ACTIK CORE as a back-up. Whilst it's been a fair few years since I last had an technical issue/fault with a headtorch, when I did it was due to the wiring - hence batteries wouldn't have solved the issue. 

> It’s just annoying not having a chance to simply take some cheap batteries, buy some in the shop if needed or reuse what’s already available for emergencies. I would rather live with a 50 lumen light than nothing at all! 

This isn't necessarily the same, but I recently bought a couple of replacement batteries for my Canon 5D MkII. The Canon ones cost a lot, and the cheap knock-offs aren't worth bothering with, but Duracell have just started making them (and a few other specialist size batteries) and they seem to be just as good as Canon - only at a fraction of the price. Not sure whether they'd ever delve into the headtorch battery market, but a bit of competition would likely invigorate the market.

In reply to Dan Arkle:

I've had one for the past month or so, but due to the fact the nights are only just beginning to draw in most of my use has been at the more recreational end of the spectrum (i.e. family holidays). Now that it's getting darker by the day it's something of an inevitability that it'll be getting used a whole lot more technical use, as it's only so long before I'm benighted!

As a very quick overview, it's certainly different...

The most immediate and noticeable difference is how it feels. Rather than wrap around your head like most elasticated headtorches, it feels more like it's sitting on top of your head - like a tiara. This has the benefit of a) making you feel fabulous and b) feeling a lot lighter, despite not actually being that much lighter. This is likely a perception thing, because the IKO is actually 4g heavier than the ACTIK CORE, but is definitely noticeable. Due to its position you'd have thought it would feel quite insecure, but I certainly haven't found this to be the case. Running will likely be the ultimate test of this though, so watch this space...

When it comes to commenting on the beam and burn-time, give me a few weeks and I'll form a more robust opinion.

 artif 23 Sep 2020
In reply to PPP:

> For winter I prefer a spare headtorch over spare batteries. Even my hill running first aid kit has a Petzl E+lite rather than batteries. It’s even lighter and luckily never had to use it. 

Petzl are the reason for a needing a spare. Not a bad sales pitch though, why sell one good quality light, when you can convince everyone they need two.

 James Malloch 23 Sep 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> I haven't, despite going on a lot of long runs with it over the winter. At the time I was training for the Bob Graham, so frequently out for long runs late at night. 

Did you find depth-perception an issue? I asked on another thread and someone said that they type of light emitted makes a big difference (bright vs. warm - or something like that). 

My night runs with the SWIFT RL have found me struggling to see tree roots, ruts in the ground etc. I just take it slower but I'm considering getting a waist light also.

Though I can't remember if I've used RL or normal light on these runs. They were only short so I never worried about battery life. 

Post edited at 10:14
In reply to artif:

That's a little unfair. Over the years I've had a whole host of brands burn out on me, Petzl being one of them (the Myo XP being the best/worst/most frustrating example), Silva and Black Diamond being two others (but I can't remember the models in question). It's not unique to one brand.

Post edited at 10:37
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Petzl are behind the curve in terms of lumen & burn times - and price

Better of checking out Fenix - also has the advance of free cell of and be out longer.

They are also not very robust.

In reply to James Malloch:

> Did you find depth-perception an issue? I asked on another thread and someone said that they type of light emitted makes a big difference (bright vs. warm - or something like that). 

I've seen this reported elsewhere too, and can see what they're getting at, but didn't find it to be an issue personally. I was regularly running on rough terrain too, so if it had been a problem it'd have got pretty irritating pretty quickly. That said, everybody is different...

 galpinos 23 Sep 2020
In reply to EdS:

> Petzl are behind the curve in terms of lumen & burn times - and price

Having had a quick look at the Fenix site, this doesn't look to be the case. Could you point out a cheaper Fenix model that'll pump out 900lm for 2hrs and 300lm for 5hrs for less money*?

*Swift RL RRP is £95 but available from £80 in bricks and mortar shops, as well as from £70 from online retailers.

 galpinos 23 Sep 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I'd agree that's unfair on Petzl. They've had a couple of duff models (Myo XP!) but I've never had one fail on me, unlike my BD headlamp.

Currently have a Reactik plus and really like it.

 Johnhi 23 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Given that my actik core 450, also ipx4, has already had one battery wrecked by leaking when out in a storm, I wouldn't touch this with a barge pole.  I'm sure it's absolutely fine if your only out in more benign conditions but if your out in the hills regardless of the weather I doubt it's fit for purpose.

 Dave Todd 23 Sep 2020
In reply to Johnhi:

> ...also ipx4, has already had one battery wrecked by leaking when out in a storm...

IPX4: Is resistant to water splashes from any direction.  It's not a particularly high 'weather proof' indicator.

 Petzl UK 23 Sep 2020
In reply to Frank R.:

Hi Frank.

The runtime comparison table is indeed based on ANSI/PLATO FL1 testing, as are the figures for all of our headlamps. 

 artif 23 Sep 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Is it? "one head torch to rule them all"

 I've had several other brands as well, with varying degrees of failure. But Petzl head torches have failed the most often, even so called waterproof ones that couldn't cope with a bit of rain.

Also, I can live with proprietary batteries, but a 6 hour charge time.

Post edited at 12:11
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Has anyone compared this in details to the NAO+? What is a difference like in terms of beams strength and visibility? I for some reason really struggle to see at night and having a decent flood high power setting really helps me. I've had a BD storm and it really wasn't what I needed. 

 Johnhi 23 Sep 2020
In reply to Dave Todd:

That's sort of what I was getting at, ipx4 just isn't good enough.  Its quite easy to fall into the trap of simply assuming a torch aimed at the outdoor recreation market would be well weather proofed - which is exactly what I did.

In reply to TobyA:

I've got myself 2 Moonlight headtorches as they come with an extendable lead to the battery pack or so you can stash the battery in your jacket or attached to the bike. The actual lamp itself uses a gopro type mount so can be attached easily to a number of different places as well.

Got a 700 and a 3200 (couldn't resist the 3200) Definitely lacking the sex appeal of a Petzl but for light quality and battery life, plus being able to stash the battery in your jacket or attached it to a bike, it wins!

https://moonlightmountaingear.com/products

Post edited at 13:42
 Adam Long 23 Sep 2020
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> Has anyone tried an IKO? 

As Rob says, comfortable and feels very light. Lots of power and simple control. The big BUT is I can't get it on my helmet and nothing in the instructions suggests I should be able to.

 rogerwebb 23 Sep 2020
In reply to McKEuan:

Any idea how well they deal with water, as in driving rain and general Scottish winter wetness? 

In reply to rogerwebb:

Well tbh!

They've got a IP67 rating so fully sealed against dust and protected for up to 30 minutes from full immersion in up to 1 metre of water!

The main housing with the lamp is fully sealed and the connections between cable and battery have a screw fitting with rubber seals. 

 rogerwebb 23 Sep 2020
In reply to McKEuan:

> Well tbh!

> They've got a IP67 rating so fully sealed against dust and protected for up to 30 minutes from full immersion in up to 1 metre of water!

> The main housing with the lamp is fully sealed and the connections between cable and battery have a screw fitting with rubber seals. 

Thanks

You have made a sale for them. 

They owe you some commission. 

In reply to galpinos:

> Having had a quick look at the Fenix site, this doesn't look to be the case. Could you point out a cheaper Fenix model that'll pump out 900lm for 2hrs and 300lm for 5hrs for less money*?

> *Swift RL RRP is £95 but available from £80 in bricks and mortar shops, as well as from £70 from online retailers.

Fenix HM65R - can be got for less than £75.

Far more robust than Petzl - cave proof. Also takes free cell so a breeze to use for 12 hours plus

There is a reason you don't see many Petzl torches underground these day - and when you do they usually have 3rd part LED inserts in the old shell

Post edited at 15:19
In reply to McKEuan:

They look great (as do their skis!) but they are Norwegian so the prices are unsurprisingly a bit "eeek!"

Never heard of the company before - do you know if they have existed long?

In reply to TobyA:

I'm not sure tbh! just had a browse of the internet and couldn't find that info anywhere! I know they have just got a new distributor in the UK so hopefully you'll see them in shops soon!

In reply to rogerwebb:

Ha! I wish.

Hope you like it as much as I like mine!

 Frank R. 23 Sep 2020
In reply to Petzl UK:

Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it! I am glad that you do now provide figures according to FL1 for all your flashlights. But it can still be confusing to many users (like some posts here show). Even though it's probably now pretty much meaningless to compare high end flashlights vis their run time, since the LED tech is pretty much the same.

I was a bit confused as well, from the review table it seemed the Swift RL gives 900 lumens for 2+ hrs, which would seem impossible (by the battery size). Reading the info more closely, I can see the standard (not adaptive?) mode only provides 550 lumens for 2 hrs, which is more realistic. Sorry for the confusion. 

Then I saw this:

https://www.petzl.com/US/en/DIY-projects/How-is-lighting-performance-measured-with-the-ANSI-PLATO-FL1-protocol-?ProductName=HF40R

"Burn time (hours) - This corresponds to the length of time during which lighting is optimal. It is measured 30 seconds after the lamp is turned on and for as long as the lamp takes to drop to 10 % of maximum light output."

Does the "Standard" lighting (not adaptive) use an output curve or is it constant 550 lumens (with the Reserve mode kicking in at the end)? That would be nice to know and it's not clear from the manual. Thank you!

 Frank R. 23 Sep 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Hey, that's what the forums are for, nitpicking, no?

I can surely understand a simplification - it's a complex matter for a review.

As for batteries, I prefer to have a choice of rechargeables (as there are many rechargeables in AA or AAA format, even with Li chemistry) to a proprietary Li pack, unless it's a really small factor flashlight, where a proprietary custom Li-Poly pack might have some advantages. AAs or AAAs do have many advantages (especially for cold weather, where you can use Li-Fe primary cells like Energizer). Most lithium rechargeables (including proprietary battery packs) can't be charged safely in the cold, so these primary Li cells still have some use (compatible avalanche beacons for example).

Post edited at 22:23
 Frank R. 23 Sep 2020
In reply to galpinos:

> Having had a quick look at the Fenix site, this doesn't look to be the case. Could you point out a cheaper Fenix model that'll pump out 900lm for 2hrs and 300lm for 5hrs for less money*?

The only problem is that the Swift RL doesn't "pump" "900 lm for 2hrs and 300lm for 5hrs for less money" (see my reply to Petzl). Swift RL pumps 550 lm for 2hrs (possibly with a downards curve?) or 200 lm for 5hrs, according to their specs. The technology (LEDs and drivers) is pretty much the same, the main difference are the added quirks (like the adaptive lighting tech, which would be pretty useful for some, less so for others). The runtimes are now pretty much the same with every good brand, the only difference is how they manage the output (i.e. does it diminish according to a curve to maximise battery life or is it nearly constant beforee it steps down to a lower mode - both of which are good for different usage scenarious). You choose...

 Frank R. 23 Sep 2020
In reply to rogerwebb:

Well, if you are asking about water, I took one IP68 headlamp (sorry, no brands here, let's just say it was IP68, metal and well liked by the caving community) down to an active sewer, chest deep in shit... After some chlorine disinfection, it still works and I still use it (because it's successor is actually worse)  

In reply to Frank R.:

And that's why we use them underground. 

 galpinos 24 Sep 2020
In reply to Frank R.:

Cheers Frank, I'm aware of the FL1 standard but had obviously (incorrectly) assumed that the reactive lumens and burn times were to the standard but you seem to be saying it's just the standard/constant lumens and burn times that are to FL1? I guess it would be easier to measure.

I agree it would be nice to see the output curve!

 galpinos 24 Sep 2020
In reply to EdS:

Cheers, I found all the models very confusing!

 fotoVUE 24 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

> The final thing that is absent is a red light mode. Whilst I have had this feature on a great many head torches I cannot think of a single occasion where I have actually used it. Yes, it's good for your night vision, but really - does anyone other than the SAS actually use it? Thoughts on the back of a postcard (or, better still, in the Forums…).

Here we go Rob. The red mode is essential for night photography, astro photographers demand the red mode. That was the first question a friend asked when I got the NAO, which doesn't.

Mick

In reply to fotoVUE:

Funnily enough I had another friend message me saying it was useful in huts, when you want to get up/out early in the morning without waking anyone up, so there's me told on two accounts

 fotoVUE 24 Sep 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> so there's me told on two accounts

telt

In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Useful for doing your Star Trek Borg impression......

 Frank R. 24 Sep 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> Funnily enough I had another friend message me saying it was useful in huts

Yes, in alpine huts with matrazenlager communal sleeping and all lights off for the night a red light mode is quite useful. Much preferred to bumping one's toes in the dark or angry glares from all the other climbers during breakfast  It definitely helps if the red mode is on a separate switch, though - not much use for it when it requires cycling through the highest 1000 lumens mode first (like one unnamed competitor)!

That, astrophotography and robo-cop impersonations are about the only uses I have found for it so far  For general walking outside in the woods the red light is usually too low for me to walk safely, even with dark adapted vision (it doesn't help that the red light shows object contrast very differently).

 Frank R. 24 Sep 2020
In reply to galpinos:

No idea. FL1 copy costs 500$ and the organisation doesn't give out much detailed info.

The reported battery life is the result of structured field testing, done at night. One method was done to give the battery life for the different levels (high and economy) in REACTIVE LIGHTING mode. [source: Petzl FAQ].

If and what output curve (see below) do they use for the Standard more (or perhaps even Reactive mode), again, only they know (with their bluetooth model, you can at least see and edit the curves yourself).

Unfortunately the FL1 burn time itself is - as a metric for comparison - almost useless, unless they publish output graphs. See this (old but still valid) article, or the following quote from PLATO/FL1 website:

http://www.led-resource.com/ansi-fl1-standard/

Ansi/FL1/Plato Run Time: Tested with fresh batteries from 30 seconds after the light is turned on until the light output reaches 10% of the initial measurement. This is the total time of useable light before most consumers will change batteries. [source: FL1/PLATO]

The very same flashlight could, depending on programming, do 100 lumens for the first minute, switch to 10 lumen afterwards and claim e.g. 10hrs runtime. Or continuously drop output (like the old unregulated Petzls) and claim 7hrs. Or burn at constant 100 lumens and claim 1 hour. Or step down after a while to a lower mode, burn constant for some time, then again to even lower, and claim 6 hrs. Or any mix of that. All in compliance with FL1. All in claimed "high" mode.

For any meaningful runtime comparison, especially across brands, you would need to see the output graphs and decide what is better yourself: continuously dropping output, totally constant in selected mode (but shorter runtime) or perhaps a staircase style step-down? All of them have some pros and cons and usage scenarios.

And to be any meaningful, the graph would have to be labeled in the Y axis to see the used scale (is it log? linear?), which no sane marketing department ever does...

Post edited at 12:54
In reply to Professor_Professorson:

> Has anyone compared this in details to the NAO+? What is a difference like in terms of beams strength and visibility? I for some reason really struggle to see at night and having a decent flood high power setting really helps me. I've had a BD storm and it really wasn't what I needed. 

Sorry for the delayed reply to this.

I used the NAO+ and SWIFT RL a lot last winter, but given that was some time ago wanted to get out and refresh my memory. So, last night I got out laden with both the NAO+, the SWIFT RL and the IKO to see how they compared like-for-like.

Focussing on your central question regarding how it compares to the NAO+, they are realistically quite similar in terms of beam, but the SWIFT (as you'd expect from the ratings) just pips it to the post, perhaps having a slightly better beam. Both have good flood lighting, so your vision around the peripheries shouldn't be a problem. When it comes to the colour of the light, the SWIFT RL actually has a slightly warmer feel to it than the NAO+, which is curious, as the SWIFT RL is far from warm (n.b. this isn't something I'd actually noticed until last night).

When worn, the NAO+ and SWIFT RL have a very different feel, not least because the NAO+ is heavier (185g vs. 100g) and bulkier. That said, the bulk does have its benefits, the first of which is balance. Because of the lamp up front and the battery pack at the back, it feels quite balanced. It's also very stable, not that the SWIFT isn't, but it's more to say that for such a big torch it doesn't suffer from any bounce.

The major benefit of its increased size is its larger battery, and this is potentially - at least from a functionality point of view - its greatest asset. Using the Bob Graham as an example again, in high summer you could realistically keep the NAO+ on full beam throughout, whereas you might have to be a little more conservative with the SWIFT RL.  As per the sentiments shared within the review, I'm torn as to which I'd use as/when I get around to doing my round - it's a tough call...

I'll save talking about the IKO until either someone else asks or I've used it enough to write the review.

Hopefully that goes some way towards answering your question.

 Santiago111 28 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear: it seems that there would be a relative simple upgrade to a Mark 2 version where you could ‘turn’ off the light reaction mode and have a standard mode. That would convince me to buy it. 

In reply to Santiago111:

That’s already an option, but as per the review I actually much preferred the reactive lighting - not least because I didn’t blind myself whilst looking at maps, but also because it offers superior burn times/battery length.

 James Malloch 28 Sep 2020
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

> The SWIFT features a single button which cycles through the various modes: max burn time, standard, max power, and off. By holding the button down you can switch between Standard and Reactive Lighting, although I doubt you'll be doing this much due to the fact that there are very few drawbacks to RL

On this, you seem to be able to cycle through three options when using the RL also. Looking at the box it seems to suggest there's a max burn time, standard & max power under the RL setting. 

Do you know if the lumen values here are the max that come out? I.e. does the Standard mode on RL mean the max output will be 300lm, whilst the max power gives you a max of 900lm on the RL setting?


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