The burgeoning Chinese manufacturing industry has been a blessing and a curse to hundreds, even thousands of industries. Their ability to radically shift the supply curve (due to the sheer volume they can produce) has changed the benchmark prices of everything from USB cables to T-Shirts. Of course, that hasn’t been without its headaches.
While many were initially skeptical about the business acumen of these “new players” – we now come to realise that for a communist-ruled country, China really gets capitalism. The key is of course, communicating what you need. There are plenty of items coming out of there that are so cheaply made that they are completely unfit for purpose. Yet the technology they hold enables them to turn out the highest-quality items too, if you’re prepared to pay something much closer to a reasonable price.
TinyDeal.com contacted us in relation to their cycling-specific items, such as the Cree headlight we are testing. The website itself covers many more categories traditional to the “Chinese Manufacturer Outlet” style of business you’ve no doubt seen before. Unlike, say, AliBaba or AliExpress, which only puts you in contact with the manufacturer, TinyDeal actually take responsibility as the seller of the item – even offering warranties of up to 12 months on some items.
In this case, we were testing the waterproof Cree Bicycle Light. It has a rather unflattering name; Aluminium Alloy Waterproof USA CREE XML-T6 Charging 2200 Lumens 4 Modes Flashlight for Cycling Camping QCA-249645. For me, the big question was “Would I get what I expected?”
The first thing I noticed was that the product looked just like it did in the pictures, so I felt that was a good start. To be honest, I hope one day online retailers will begin putting more detail around their pictures, like high definition pictures from every single angle you can imagine, plus the most important part – something for scale. One thing I hate is when you have no context and the item you buy ends up being much bigger or smaller than you expected. In this case, I expected the light and battery case to be in line with other products I’d seen, and it was.
The second thing I checked was whether it had all of the functions advertised. It did: High/Low/Epileptic’s Nightmare/Off. It had one more too, which is that there is a low-battery indicator (the rear button goes from green to red) which I didn’t read about on the website.
Finally I had to assess whether its performance lived up to expectation. Unfortunately, however, I do not have anything to measure luminous flux, so it’s very hard for me to verify its claim of 2200 lumens. What I can say, is that the performance was up there with that of my car’s headlights and I couldn’t imagine needing more.
On the battery side, we finally came up short (but only a little). The website claims battery life of 2.5hrs on high, however I was only able to obtain just under 2 hrs of continuous light. I wonder if the website gave the light time to “cool down” somewhere in the middle of those 2.5hrs. Likewise on Low, I came up just over half an hour short on the website’s estimation.
I could go into more specifics, such as the fact that the light gets EXTREMELY hot (as you would expect) and that I thought the mounting system was well designed; solid, without being so rigid as to cause the light to “bounce”. TinyDeal wanted us to focus on their service so this is more of a general review of TinyDeal than of this light in particular, and I have to admit an all-round positive experience.
This particular light is a few steps up from the absolute cheapest of the cheap, churn ’em and burn ’em type of product that some of us have experienced. I’m particularly encouraged by TinyDeal’s warranties. With the addition of faster shipping options, it would seem to be a pretty reliable place to go for these kinds of products.
Specification and ordering: 2200 Lumen Cree Light from TinyDeal
Edit: correction to Lux / Lumens reference