Modular, waterproof 1,000-lumen ZeroHour flashlight doubles as portable battery
By C.C. Weiss
August 14, 2014
According to its creators, not only can the ZeroHour XD tactical flashlight blast 1,000 lumens of light into the evening darkness for up to six hours, it can charge an iPhone seven times (though it won't do both on the same charge). The flashlight includes a removable, 10,200-mAh battery pack that doubles as a dual-USB charger and features a modular design that allows the size of the device to be altered depending on the need at hand.
The ZeroHour XD is one of the most versatile flashlights we saw at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market last week, being a portable power back-up and bright torch in one. While a flashlight-charger in itself isn't a novelty, as devices like the Power Bank and Switch 8 show, the XD is a powerful, thoughtful design useful for all kinds of work and recreational purposes.
The battery bank inside the XD's handle packs a 10,200-mAh reserve from three rechargeable 3,400-mAh Panasonic lithium-ion batteries. Zero-Hour chose to use three rechargeables instead of a single battery so they're easier to replace once they've been put through their usable life cycles. That design also makes it easy to pack extras if you'll be off the grid for a while.
The battery powers the flashlight's 1,000-lumen CREE bulb by way of four different modes that offer between six (1,000-lumen full-strength) and 90 (20-lumen low) hours of run time. In-between modes are 400 and 600 lumens, and the light also has strobe and SOS modes. ZeroHour says the device has a 1,378-ft (420-m) throw.
Unscrew the cap at the base of the flashlight's handle and you expose the dual USB charging ports. The XD includes a 1.5 A port for standard charging and a 2.1 A for quicker charging and large devices like the iPad. It can charge and work as a flashlight at the same time and charge two devices at once. A four-LED battery indicator lets you know how much power is left.
Because you may need a charger in situations where you don't need a flashlight, ZeroHour has made the battery bank removable – unscrew it from the light head, cap the top and you have a portable power cylinder. It's a bit bulkier than some portable chargers, but ZeroHour designed it with power capacity and durability in mind.
Making a flashlight with a removable charger got ZeroHour started with multifunction and modularity, and it ran with it from there. You can remove the batteries and innards of the battery bank, creating a watertight cylinder to store things like matches and other small survival gear. The company offers additional body tubes, allowing you to build a long-handled flashlight. ZeroHour also says it's working on other components, such as a lantern-style head.
Beyond its charging and modular features, the XD looks and feels like a solid, well-built flashlight. It has an anodized 6061 aircraft aluminum body and stainless steel bezel and is IPX8-certified, submersible up to 1 m (3.3 ft).
After a successful $100,000 Kickstarter campaign last year, ZeroHour launched its flashlights this past June, giving the outdoor sports industry a look at Outdoor Retailer. The XD is available for $225 with the three batteries, several different end caps, spare O-rings, a USB charging cable, a power adapter and a carry case. ZeroHour also offers the 7,800 mAh XS for $199.