November 26, 2011, 8:49 AM — In our 12th year of presenting our Cool Yule Tools holiday gift guide, we've done our best to try to categorize the gift ideas into different groups - portable entertainment, travel gear, etc. While many of these ideas could, in theory, be placed there, sometimes we just feel that the device/gift idea should just be placed in "miscellaneous." So that's what we did with some of these. Enjoy!
Products reviewed in this category:
Solo 15L Flashlight, by GoalZero
Link dual-output LED flashlight, by ICON
Acme Writing Tools, by Acme Studios
U*Control, Silver Bullet RC Helicopter
HELO TC Touch-Controlled Helicopter, by Griffin
AppSpeed Gyro Controlled RC Monster Truck, by Dexim
Boogie Board paperless writing tablet, by Brookstone (available at Staples.com)
Dulce Gusto Circolo KRUPS coffee machine, By Nescafe
My First Bacon, by ThinkGeek
When the GoalZero Solo Flashlight first came in for testing, I thought it would be a cool product for people who love camping. I tested it in nice weather and starting writing my review. Then we got an October snowstorm in the Northeast and half of my coworkers were without power for days - my opinion of this solar-powered flashlight changed. It's perfect when you have no power! And yes, it would still be great for camping.
Just put this flashlight in the sun (it works in mild shade as well) for 8 hours and it will give you about 2 hours of light. It puts out 15 lumens from its five LEDs. If you're like me and that means nothing to you, it means that it's really bright for a flashlight. It's decently small, much smaller than a regular flashlight that requires D batteries, that's for certain. I first tested it by putting it outside in my back yard, but after that I started storing it on a window sill. It still charges on there. One last specification that GoalZero would probably like you to know about but doesn't mean much to me is its aluminum body, "for added strength."
I'm a fan of this little flashlight. Especially because it's so low in price, considering you'll never pay for a single battery for it. So if you like camping and would prefer not to tinkle in the dark, or if you live in a part of the country that can't seem to keep the electricity on for more than a few months, or if you simply want to illuminate the dark corners of a creepy basement without looking for good batteries, you should check this out.
Cool Yule rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Jennifer Finn