The Bolder LC40 by Anker is the second generation model of their impressive LC40 flashlight but with a twist, introducing features that were originally limited to it’s bigger siblings the LC90 and LC130 all while keeping roughly the same size and weight but with an improved form factor.
In The Box
Bolder LC40 Torch
Micro USB Charging Cable
The design has been updated to match it's bigger siblings in shape, a welcome improvement, as the torch certainly sits better in the hand compared to the straight design of 1st gen model. Solid construction, its matt black aluminium body sturdy enough to handle the bumps and knocks that the torch will invariably endure over its life. Packing the same 400 lumen CREE LED, IP65 rating (that's dust and water spray, not submerge) and 100m beam range, the Bolder LC40 has also been upgraded to match the 5 light modes of the LC90/130 and includes a built-in 3350mAh rechargeable battery allowing on the go recharge from any 5V/1A source in about 6hrs. A downside to the charging though is that unlike the LC90 and LC130, the charging port is external and only protected by a rubber flap. While for most users this is fine, I found the flap can be easily dislodged which compromises the IP65 protection should all weather outdoor use be your goal.
Light modes cover high, medium, low, strobe and SOS for emergencies, making it handy for casual users and hikers alike. Brightness on all three standard modes is impressive, even on low. Compared to a £3.99 torch picked up at a DIY store a year or so ago that runs on x3 AAA like the first gen LC40, it was left well and truly in the dark. Modes can be easily changed with a half-press of the power button and compared to the older LC40, a long press of the power button will power off the torch, holding the last setting used. Anker lists the torch as being able to run at 6hrs on high and 50hrs at low, the LED lifespan being 50,000hrs. Testing over severals days got better than expected hours in average temperatures of 15-25c, losing full power on the high setting after 7hrs 20mins of constant use. Use in higher or lower temperatures may impact battery times experienced.
Rounding out the redesign is non-detachable belt clip and while this is a nice option over the previous release, the inclusion of a wrist strap would have also been good to prevent drops during use (especially when working at heights).
Adjustable brightness modes, including emergency SOS
Long battery life
Belt Clip inclusion
Rubber flap for micro USB charging can be easily dislodged when base of torch is brushed once or twice by your finger, compromising the IP65 rating. Having the port located inside the torch like the LC90 or perhaps relocated to where the LED is on this model (which is accessible by unscrewing) would be an improvement.
Loss of wrist strap option which was useful to prevent drops when in hand.
The Bolder LC40 improves on LC40 in many ways, giving users essentially the majority of things that were wanted with the first generation model but still has room for improvement regarding the charging port location / flap. Although the LED is not listed as upgraded, the torch was brighter in testing against the older LC40 possibly due to the redesigned reflector allowing for better light distribution. Battery life is just plain crazy, with use by the average user probably not requiring more than the medium setting and a charge once every 2-4 months. If your in the market for a new torch but don't want to break the bank the Bolder LC40 is a sound investment.
At the time of writing the Bolder LC40 is £14.99 on Amazon UK, while the 1st gen LC40 is £8.99. If you already have a set of rechargeable AAA or 18650 batteries and a charger, you could save some money if the extra modes and belt clip are not a necessity. However if not, once you factor in the extra cost for the batteries and charger itself, it makes the Bolder LC40 a no brainer purchase.