Just a couple of weeks ago, we looked at the Lantern, a handheld flashlight-lantern designed to bring serious versatility to your lighting arsenal. The Touch 1K from Salt Lake City startup SeTaTec is a very similar handheld, albeit with a few more smarts.
A few years back, the headlamp-lantern was all the rage, but it looks like the handheld flashlight-lantern has officially replaced it as the trendy multifunctional light of the minute. And why not? While there are some activities that require the hands-free light of a headlamp, we think the flashlight makes a better base for a lantern since there's no headband to mess around with and an ergonomic handle for carrying.
With its attachable light diffuser, 1,067 lumens, 3,400-mAh lithium-ion battery and built-in USB port for charging gadgets, the Touch 1K looks much like the Lantern, which features a light diffuser of its own, a 1,000-lumen output, a 4,000-mAh battery and a USB port for charging gadgets. The Touch 1K does have one feature that really sets it apart and gives it its name, though: the built-in touch panel.
The glove-friendly LCD touchscreen allows for smooth, seamless brightness adjustment, much like a sliding light switch in your home. It also displays battery life and controls selection of other modes, leaving the physical button for simple on/off duties. SeTaTec says the flashlight will run for about two hours on full blast, but since the touchscreen allows for a sliding brightness scale instead of precise levels, it doesn't list other runtimes.
We have mixed feelings about the touchscreen. It does appear to offer smooth operation, but it also adds an extra layer of potential failure to an otherwise simple, reliable device that some people depend on in emergencies. And a regular flashlight button is pretty easy and effective, so we're wondering if this is a case of adding tech for the sake of adding tech. We'll let potential buyers decide.
The Touch 1K's design is a little less "design house" and a little more outdoorsy than the Lantern. Its diffuser is more basic and square, and there's no bike light kit (though SeTaTec does have bike, helmet and other mounts in mind as a stretch goal).
The rugged design has a self-defense ring surrounding the lens, grip ridges on the handle and a military-grade aluminum chassis. It also features a burlier IPX8 water rating, versus the IPX6 of the Lantern. Sizing is quite comparable, with the Touch 1K coming in at 6.3 oz (179 g) with battery, the Lantern at 6.6 oz (187 g).
SeTaTec is hosting an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for pursuing production. It is offering the Touch 1K for early bird pledge levels of $85+, quite comparable to Lantern pricing.