Everyone loves LED flashlights. Both the Coast HP7 and HP7R are powerful rugged flashlights. Our questions include whether they offer equally impressive value to consumers.
The Coast HP7 flashlight has 530 lumens, while the rechargeable Coast HP7R offers 300 lumens. Both models use Cree-style LEDs and feature beautiful, consistent ergonomics. We'd love to review this new flashlight to see if its array of features and functions are as impressive as we've heard.
Before we get into actually using the lights, we want to talk a little bit about the physical device itself. Retail box includes a light case and a nylon case with adjustable hook and loop/snap belt loops. Both the Coast HP7 and HP7R LED Torches are over 5-1/2 inches long with a 1-7/16 inch diameter hood. This is the perfect size for the flashlight you want to take with you. It also fits very well in the hand.
The casing is made of aluminum and is a wonderful bronze color that oscillates between blue and gray depending on the angle you look at it. It's a nice, solid case with just the right amount of texture on the center handle.
Coast HP7 and HP7R Batteries
Open the back end of each flashlight and you'll find a gasket that protects the battery compartment from water intrusion. The four-compartment battery base in the Coast HP7 holds four AAA batteries (included). Coast makes the sled extremely durable. Since the AAA batteries snap tightly into the gold-plated spring-loaded battery compartment, there's no chance of bad connections. The entire sled makes positive contacts through 3 dedicated pins on the front and back. They even housed the on/off button inside the rubber case. It won't be damaged by rain or bad weather.
The Coast HP7R uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This gives it an astounding 7-hour runtime in High. It charges through the micro-USB port on the bottom of the flashlight, or you can remove the battery and charge it directly.
Coast HP7 and HP7R lenses
The lens adopts advanced optical technology. Turn off the flashlight and look into the lens of the HP7 or HP7R so you can see them. Look inward as you pull the focus mechanism out and in, and you can see what the lens does on the Cree-style LEDs.
Using a Flashlight – Field Test
Coast uses what's called a "fast cycle" switch. This is actually pretty cool. In actual use, tap to recall the current mode (high or low beam). Then, tap it again to change to the next mode. When you're in the mode you want, click the switch all the way (usually with your thumb. This locks the mode. This way, you can select full output or partial output, and use the function as a "momentary" mode when you don't When you need to turn on the lights.
It's a cool system, and you can get the same mode-switching effect with a quick "tap" of the switch. In high mode, Coast claims the HP7 will run for up to 3-1/2 hours. In low mode, you can use the light for almost a full day (20 hours). This isn't a flashlight designed for "one-off" casual use — it's an important tool.
Focusing and Optics
Back to the focusing optics – we really like the way the lens barrier is pulled in and out with our fingertips. We also love the extremely wide beam angle, which illuminates nearly everything in our line of sight. To demonstrate the wide angle, we place the flashlight on a chair about 2 feet from the wall. The resulting intense beam is almost 4 feet wide. This is a 90 degree beam angle and produces a perfectly uniform spot with no hot spots.
Push out the optics by sliding the aluminum bezel and you'll get a beam angle of approximately 45 degrees. In that mode, you get a super bright focused hotspot. This hotspot is great for really honing in on your aim while giving you a wide expanse of ambient light. This allows you to see everything in context. Even better, you can turn the bezel clockwise to lock the mode. This ensures that focus does not change during use.
We took this lamp out of the neighborhood to use it on a barely moonless night late last month. It's easy to focus on what we're looking at. The wide beam also makes it easy to simply flood an area with an incredible amount of light. It seems further than a football field. Shore claims over 600 feet. The tight beam keeps us pointed So far, we've really used the HP7 as a virtual "sky laser pointer," tracing constellations in the night sky.
We really like this flashlight. Its build quality is far above most we've seen on the market. It definitely has more attention to detail than those cheap one-offs you start to see everywhere. Those cheap flashlights won't let you drop them or get them wet. Coast also offers a lifetime warranty—at least against defects in materials and workmanship.
Apparently, Coast is after those who take their flashlights seriously. With that in mind, you should compare these flashlights to other good models with similar outputs. When we did this, the coast showed above-average value. It's a great product — despite a lot of competition. If you want a high-quality, easy-to-use, and feature-rich LED flashlight, this is it.
Get the Coast HP7 flashlight for about $40. The rechargeable Coast HP7R costs roughly double—expect to pay around $81.