The Goal Zero Torch LED flashlight may not live up to the standard Goal Zeros is typically known for. Although it collects energy efficiently, this dynamo / solar powered flashlight just does not seem to break new ground. Read on.
Weight: 11 oz
Features: 22 LED lights, 4 top and 18 on the side for 20 lumens of output. The Torch charges by a built-in solar panel, AC and DC plugs (included) and hand crank.
Like other Goal Zero products the Torch has a solid construction, though it is still plastic and may leave those used to aluminum or rubberized metal flashlights desiring. The upside is that the product is extremely lightweight for its size and function. I find that trade off acceptable.
The Torch charges by AC and DC adapters that are included and by either a solar panel on the side which takes 9-10 hours for a full charge or dynamo crank system.
Our dynamo crank provided 5 minutes of usable light for 1 minute of turning. Like other small hand crank dynamos it is difficult to use for long periods of time.
Our solar panel had to be unfolded or swept-out from the unit before it became active. I do not know if it was designed this way or a flaw with our device. It does not swivel in any direction making it very difficult to position effectively to gather sunlight. You see, the bottom of the torch has a semicircular hanging loop on it such that it cannot stand on end so it appears the device must lay down and the solar panel face the horizon to gather sunlight. After 4 hours of charging it provided 3 hours of usable light. Not bad.
Is it waterproof or water resistant? Apparently not.
I dropped mine three times from just below waste height onto concrete. Why? Because every flashlight gets dropped. A tiny chip of plastic came off the top, clear LED cover but it functions fine afterwards.
PROS: Our dynamo didn’t quite live up to manufacturer claims but it still provided 5 minutes of strong, usable light for 1 minute of cranking which is good in my opinion. It has multiple, effective charging options. At 11 oz, the weight is nice.
CONS: 20 lumens is plenty adequate around the campsite and for household use but more demanding users may seek higher lumen output. The inability to effectively angle the solar panel towards sunlight is an opportunity for improvement. I also note that many dynamo / solar powered devices this size sometimes include other features, such as a radio. The Torch is not advertised as being weather or waterproof – typical for dynamo flashlights but something many users look for.
OVERALL: Interesting technology, efficient charging and lightweight construction may be overshadowed by questionable implementation and a lack of features. At the right price, however, it could still be a buy.