Rating: 4 / 5
I would give the Proton a 4 out of 5 score primarily because of its high cost ($69). It is an excellent light if you need to do any emergency signaling at night or if you need a high intensity beam for doing any kind of work where you must see what you are working on, e.g., first-aid/medical situations.
The Proton LED flashlight has 6 high output White LED’s and 1 Red LED to make its 7 LED array. It runs on a single ‘AA’ battery and can use Lithium, NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride), and Alkaline, NiCad or standard Carbon batteries. On my Postal scale and without any battery, the Proton weighs 1.1 oz. with its included clips, or 1.7 oz. with its clips and case.
The Proton offers the same lighting sequence as its little brother the Photon Freedom Micro; Slow Flash, Medium Flash, Fast Flash, SOS, and a range from full brightness to dim. In addition, the Proton can enter into a Morse code mode. These modes can be used in both White and Red. The powerful 6 White LED’s on full power can surprisingly brighten the entire single person campsite almost as well as a two-mantle lantern.
The results of my testing below were based on new, fully charged Ni-MH batteries, which did heat up the flashlights black anodized aluminum case with continued full power use. Proton also states that the use of Lithium batteries will provide better performance.
Full Power White:
Stays on with just the 6 White LED’s for 53 minutes, then the single Red LED turns on indicating battery power is running low. After 1 hour, the White LED’s turn off leaving only the Red LED, this remained on for 2 more minutes. So when the Red LED comes on, you have about 10 minutes of light left.
Using the full power of the White LED’s in SOS mode, it continued to flash the SOS for 2 hours and 30 minutes. You can light up your entire campsite flashing an SOS signal for approximately 1 hour before loosing intensity and can continue signaling for another 90 minutes after that.
Full Power Red:
As expected, 1 LED takes less power than 6 LED’s will and the full power Red lasted 6 hours and 10 minutes. This is just about 6 times the length of time full power White lasted. The Red light is great for not adversely affecting your night vision, but it does not provide the intensity of the White light.
One would think that if the White SOS lasted a little more than twice the time of when it was set to constant full power that the Red SOS would also last twice as long as the single Red LED lasted at its full power. However, in my test the Red SOS only ran for 8 hours and 20 minutes. I had thought it would last 12 hours, but this would still allow you to sleep while continuing to send an SOS signal.