Coast HP550 Flashlight
Coast Products (https://coastportland.com) is an outdoor products importer/distributor located in Portland, Oregon (USA). The HP550 flashlight is one of the newest entries from Coast in the full-size, high-intensity flashlight field.
The HP550 is about the size of a typical two D-cell flashlight. With an aluminum case that resists corrosion and a virtually unbreakable LED light source, this well built unit is ideal for use around camp or in an RV. As with the Coast Polysteel 600 that we previously reviewed, the Pure Beam Focusing Optic System's lumen output makes it a leader in the field.
According to Coast: "While using the Ultra View Flood Beam, there is a consistent circle of light up to 11.5 feet in diameter at 6 feet in distance. While on the Bulls-Eye Spot Beam, you can illuminate up to 767 feet downrange with a transition halo around the spot to increase the effective viewing area."
The flood beam is clearly superior to anything we have tested and, due to the handy forward slide focus, you can quickly switch to a spot beam. Even when used with the spot beam, the clear outer flood ring allows you to still see the broader area to the sides. The push button on/off switch at the back of the tailpiece permits you to quickly change from the high lumen output to low lumen output to extend battery life when the light's full brightness is not needed.
The battery pack is nine AA batteries, an odd choice both in number and size, as C or D cells offer much longer life than AA (penlight) batteries. Given a particular chemical composition, as in an alkaline battery, the individual battery's life is simply dependent on how much chemical is inside the case, so fewer but larger batteries are always better than a greater number of smaller batteries. Apparently, the HP550's voltage requirement is responsible for the nine batteries, which total 13.5 volts.
The HP550 uses O-ring construction to meet IPX4 (water resistance) flashlight standards and its lightweight aluminum case and rugged internal design meets ANSI/FL1 (drop) standards. The HP550 is covered by Coast's Limited Lifetime Warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
The ANSI/FL1 drop standard requires that the light withstand repeated one meter drops on hard surfaces and still function. Only one other flashlight we have tested has met both of these standards and it did not put as much light on target as the HP550.
The body of this flashlight is covered in flat-top checkering that provides an attractive and secure gripping surface. A large, raised ring makes sliding the head to adjust the beam width easy. There is a lanyard attachment hole on the tailpiece. The PP550 is a modern, attractive and easy to use light.
As we stated at the beginning, the Coast HP550 flashlight is excellent for use at home, around camp sites, or in vehicles. However, due to its size, weight and the number of batteries required, we cannot recommend it for backpackers or hunters venturing into the field. For those individuals we suggest the Coast Polysteel 600, or other compact flashlight.
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