It seems that with the LED revolution, flashlights have almost irrevocably shrunk in size to provide for better portability. Does this brave new world have any room left for more traditional large lights?
Meat and Potatoes
OrcaTorch is a company I have only recently discovered in the course of my flashlight travels, though I must say that if they’ve been around for any length of time, I have been missing out. The WR10 that I have had the opportunity to try out for the last few weeks has been almost entirely a joy to use.
Employing the somewhat rare 26650 cell as a power source, the WR10 isn’t exactly a pocket friendly EDC light, but it definitely packs a punch when illumination is needed. Channeling that power out the business end through a Cree XM-L2 LED allows the WR10 to sport 950 lumens of potency for over 2 ½ hours. Because of the larger size, OrcaTorch has been able to include a larger diameter reflector in the WR10 and with it comes a more throw-based beam profile. The smooth reflector does allow a few minor beam artifacts, but they are not intrusive at all during daily use. Interestingly, you are able to use a standard 18650 cell as a backup in an emergency since OrcaTorch has included a top quality anodized aluminum spacer tube with the flashlight kit.
The build quality of the WR10 is fairly impressive. Nearly every part of the light feels very heavy duty. Machined from thick aluminum, and anodized with a durable matte black, the WR10 feels like it could take a beating. The only portion that doesn’t feel quite as solid is the tailcap, and that was designed for another specific purpose, so I’ll let it slide. The remainder however is nothing but quality. The light feels good in your hand, and it looks good to boot. Taking a subtle and utilitarian approach to design, OrcaTorch has made a pretty good looking light, in my opinion.
The tailcap that feels just a little thin and slightly more fragile is the home to what makes the WR10 more than just a big, powerful light. OrcaTorch’s claim to fame here is the wireless inductive charger that is built into its base. Unlike other dock-charged lights I’ve reviewed recently, this method doesn’t leave any exposed contacts that always make me question the safety of the torch in damp environments. This light doesn’t come with a USB powered dock like I’ve seen recently, but I can only imaging how long that would take to charge this massive 4000mAh cell anyway. Instead this comes with its own dedicated wall-wart style charging cable.
One of the most interesting features of the WR10’s charging dock is that the light automatically turns on when the charging power is interrupted. This could be either by removing the light from the dock, or more usefully, if a power outage is detected. When activated, it turns on in the 2-lumen low mode that gives something in the neighborhood of 3 weeks of continuous runtime, so you don’t have to worry about the battery life being automatically depleted by this feature.
I said daily use earlier and that is exactly what this light has been seeing. Every evening, as I walk my 75 pound black lab around my neighborhood, I have been grabbing this light on my way out the door. Now, I live in a fairly densely populated city, so it hasn’t been getting full time use during these walks, but it definitely is kept at the ready to check out strange noises and unusual movements at a moments notice. Beam shape, brightness, and heft all fit almost exactly what I desire in a light for these walks, but the one place where it falls short is user interface. This light has one of my absolute least favorite switching methods of all. I don’t mind the side mounted electronic button. It’s easy to find, but doesn’t seem to accidentally activate like other similar lights. What I mind is the mode structure. The WR10 has 4 modes that are well spaced out and distinctly useful, but in order to switch from off to any one of them and back again, all the rest must be traversed as well. The first press of the light brings out the full power of High, and then subsequent presses cycle through to progressively lower outputs until Off is again reached. Every single foray into lighting requires all of the modes to be cycled through before turning the light back off. With a light of this technological prowess with regards to charging and electronic components, I fully expected something much more advanced than this primitive interface.
Large, powerful, and mostly competent. I have enjoyed the quality of the WR10, as well as the magnificently simple charging method, despite the obstacles in ease of use. I can see this as something that will continue to accompany me in my nightly ritual for some time.
Provided for review by the kind folks at OrcaTorch.