Ultrafire WF606A  £12.00

9/10

You can buy better lights, but you won't find a better bargain

Weight 148g   Contact  www.dealextreme.com

by Dave Atkinson   November 7, 2008  

Ultrafire WF606A torch

The Ultrafire WF606A is a very good torch, for a very low price and it's got the power to shake up the world of cycle lighting. 

If you're a commuter that has to face unlit roads, or you just like a bit of night riding, chances are you've either invested in (or lusted after) one of the many rechargeable systems on the market. Most will cost you at least £80, and you can spend up to a grand if you're really keen. 

But two things have been happening in the last few years, mostly out in China and Taiwan. First, standard rechargeable cells have been getting better. Much better. A quick search through the e-shops today throws up 3000mAh cells for as little as about £2 each, and the same stores are basically giving away 2600mAh cells that two years ago would have cost you a tenner for four.

Second, bike lighting has made a wholesale move to LEDs as the light source. Gone are the days of the flashing green, bar mounted front 'light'. Luxeon emitters were the first to really have the power to mix it with the Halogens and Halides of this world, and the next generation are even better. LEDs have everything going for them: they're very efficient, they run fairly cool, and they're cheap to mass produce. 

Top end rechargeable systems are dropping in price, but now you can bypass all that bike-specific stuff and just buy in a torch from the East and strap it to your bars. The Ultrafire WF606A is just such a torch. It's powered by a Cree emitter that pushes out about 100 lumens, and runs on 2 AA batteries that'll give about 2 hours of full beam. And it costs about £12 - a quarter of the price of even the cheapest comparably bright rechargeable system.

The beam is very focused (it's designed to be a torch, after all) so it works best as a helmet light. You can buy mounts online but we found a simple Velcro strap did the job just fine. The beam is plenty to see by, enough light to keep up a fair lick even on the darkest lanes, and when it's helmet mounted it's even better for being exactly where you need it. It's solidly constructed for its 148g all-in weight, with a waterproof switch, alloy body, glass lens and O-ring seals in all the threads. For the money, it's an unbelievable bargain.

Okay, it's not all good news. The circuitry doesn't handle loss of power very well, and there's a lot of flickering when the batteries start to die. And it isn't visible from the side, so, to be safe, you'll want a bar mounted light too. But these are minor quibbles. The word that's writ large in my mind whenever I think of the Ultrafire is Value. 

10 user comments

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to paraphrase mr norman cook... seriously though, they're proper ace these little torches. two on your helmet and you can pretty much do anything

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [302 posts]
7th November 2008 - 10:32

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Is there more than one beam setting or is it just on or off?

Spinning on a wheel

Hammy's picture

posted by Hammy [97 posts]
7th November 2008 - 14:37

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There are some with different beam settings though, including the (more expensive) Fenix range which have high/low beam and a flashing mode to boot. Want high beam? buy two! Big Grin Big Grin

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7268 posts]
7th November 2008 - 16:20

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So, does "on" on the Ultrafire equte to high or low beam on the Fenix, and is there much difference in run times between the two beam strengths on the Fenix?

Spinning on a wheel

Hammy's picture

posted by Hammy [97 posts]
7th November 2008 - 16:55

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Hammy wrote:
So, does "on" on the Ultrafire equte to high or low beam on the Fenix,

 

High beam. They're pretty much comparable, the Fenix is maybe a bit brighter but there certainly isn't twenty quid's worth of extra brightness... Smile Smile

Hammy wrote:
is there much difference in run times between the two beam strengths on the Fenix?
Yeah, it's half power, double the run time. But since you can just take as many batteries as you need (you're unlikely to need more than 4 spares) it's not much of an issue.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7268 posts]
7th November 2008 - 17:02

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The rapidly-becoming-legendary Tesco 3w torch is even cheaper and kicks out enough plenty of light for commuting, even on unlit paths. Currently about £9.99... Surprise

Chuffy's picture

posted by Chuffy [183 posts]
8th November 2008 - 16:36

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Perhaps it'll be the new benchmark... Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7268 posts]
8th November 2008 - 17:42

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If this is coming from the states, which it looks like, and as they have free postage - it might be worth keeping the orders small so that you can't get picked up for import duty on arrival to the UK. I think its anything under £18 is exempt. just keeps it great value.

H

posted by harvey [1 posts]
9th November 2008 - 10:32

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They actually come from Hong Kong, but I think your point still holds, no matter where they're coming from, so long as it's outside mainland UK. I buy a lot of stuff from 7dayshop.com which is in the Channel Islands, and it's true for them.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7268 posts]
10th November 2008 - 13:15

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of these:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.12325

And they arived today, certainly very very bright. Looking forward to testing them on the bike. Have two 'lock blocks', one for the bike and another for my helmet. Need to get some rechargeable batteries next though.

I paid about £20 for each. They were clearly marked as 'gifts' and I incurred no import duty. Only time I've had to pay that was when I bought some Flow bindings from the states, and then it still worked out about 25% cheaper than buying them from a shop here.

The Man In Black.

posted by gandberg [215 posts]
10th November 2008 - 20:34

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