Maybe its because I live off the beaten tech path, but the Bushnell Rubicon Lighting T500R Rechargeable Flashlight strikes me as really cool, not to mention useful. Yes, it’s a one trick pony, but it’s a patented super practical one!
Ever had this happen? Your flashlight is great at reaching out and lighting something at a distance but point it at something close and you’re blinded by the light’s reflection. You end up partially coving the lens with your hand to get the up close reflected light down to a manageable level. On some tactical lights you can tap the tail cap repeatedly to find the right light output level, while on others you can rack the flashlight head back and forth to find a suitable lighting level. All those ways work, but the T500R is a 500 Lumen rechargeable flashlight that auto dims when pointed at something close! Gimmick, probably. That’s exactly what I thought at first, but then I used it!
If you look closely at the lens of the T500R Rechargeable Flashlight you’ll see a sensor looking back at you. Default is full power, but when the senor determines there’s too much light coming back into it, it dims the output to an acceptable level. Brilliant idea! If it operated a bit faster, you wouldn’t even notice the dimming feature, you’d simply notice that you magically have the right amount of light all the time.
Since there are occasions when you’d rather have the full 500 lumens of light blasting away up close, Bushnell added an on/off switch for this feature. The Cree LED produces a smooth white light. Rather than depending on a reflector to shape the beam pattern, the light is concentrated into a bright center area through the use of advanced optics. Indeed, we’ve all known Bushnell as an optics company forever… I find this collimated beam technology quite effective, maximizing the T500R output, brightest at the center and smoothly falling off covering approximately 170 degrees.
Unlike most tactical flashlights that use a one inch body tube, the Bushnell Rubicon Lighting T500R Rechargeable Flashlight is 1.5 inches in diameter. Honestly, it feels big if I’m comparing, but it is 500 lumens. At 7.6 ounces it weighs about as much as a large onion but will only make you cry if you stare at the 500 lumen Cree LED.
The Bushnell T500R is drop rated at one meter, is most of seven inches long, splash proof for five minutes, runs for an hour and a half and is indeed rechargeable. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series on Bushnell rechargeable flashlights, I’ve been using rechargeable tactical lights for years and like them. I’ll qualify that by saying my lights are generally well in excess of $100. Recharging the Bushnell’s comes by means of a micro USB port. The flashlights come with the appropriate USB cable but no charging cube/adapter. I guess Bushnell assumes we all have plenty of charging adapters for USB ports lying around, but I wish they’d included another one.
The price for the Bushnell Rubicon Lighting T500R Rechargeable Flashlight online is between $67 and $90 at the time of this writing. If you’re in the market for a one size fits all rechargeable flashlight, like the headlamp reviewed in part one I’d say this is a winner. Were it not for the patented dimming feature I’d find it overpriced, but the auto dimming feature really is great – so much better in actual use than what my description here can communicate. In part three I’ll take a look at the T500R’s littler sibling.