Light Type: LED
Light Class: General Use
The Indium, available from AngusNoble.com, is a neat little rechargeable, six 5mm white Security Quality LED torch built into a colorful anodized aluminum body. It has no moving parts and uses a pair of gold colored touch sensitive contacts on the face of the torch as a switch. The contacts detect the electrical conductivity of your skin (called the Galvanic Effect) when you brush a finger across them both at the same time. This allows the light to turn on, change modes, and turn off, just like a normal switch.
The aluminum body is in two parts and screws together around the middle. Inside is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which charges with either a UK-compatible AC adapter or, for international customers, a USB computer port cable. Since USB ports provide the same electricity the world around, this is an elegant solution to provide a simple means to charge the battery no matter where the customer resides. Of course, you then need a computer with a USB port to charge the unit.
The Indium comes packaged in a cylindrical cardboard tube wrapped in ample quantities of black tissue paper for protection. A lanyard also comes with the Indium as well as instructions on how to tie it around the middle of the torch.
Since the Indium is basically a hockey-puck shape, the normal rules of engagement for testing a torch don’t exactly apply. No bezel, no tailcap, etc. The LEDs sit recessed in the face of the unit, so are protected. The body itself is fairly sturdy, being made of aluminum and should withstand a fair beating. It is not sealed with o-rings or other types of gaskets, so it should be protected from exposure to the elements.
Output can be adjusted by sequentially touching the two contacts on the top of the unit. First mode is “high”, second is “low”, and third is “blink”. The dimming for low mode is accomplished with a PWM (pulse width modulation) circuit which causes the LEDs to blink very rapidly to produce the illusion of dimming to our eyes. Moving the Indium rapidly allows you to see the flicker. The blink mode is very rapid – probably 5-6 blinks per second.
The switching mechanism is very unique as mentioned before. No moving parts to wear out. Just tap the two touch sensitive contacts at the same time [tap] and on comes the light. Hmmm…no light. Let’s try that again. Just tap the two touch sensitive contacts at the same time [tap, tap] and on comes the light…. and on [tap] comes the light [tap, tap]…. and on comes [tap, tap, tap, tap, tap]….Well, we had a few issues with the switching mechanism. Right now it’s wintertime in our part of the country and the humidity has been below 30%. Everything dries out. Since the pins have to send a tiny current through your skin to detect a touch, and since dry skin does not conduct electricity, I can tap it all I want and it doesn’t turn on. The instructions state to give your finger a quick lick to moisten it and the switching system will work. I tried that and yes it does work, but since I had just been handling another torch which was covered with silicone grease my Indium was now on, and my tongue was well lubricated… Ick!
As I’m sure you have figured out by now, I found the switching mechanism to be unreliable at best. Many times, in fact most times, when I did get it to work it would skip the full-on mode and go directly to low or blink which was rather irritating. In a pinch you can touch it with something conductive like a paperclip or a coin to activate it. Wearing gloves? Forget it, unless you want to touch it directly to your tongue.
What I Liked: Bright, 3 modes of operation, rechargeable, nice beam
What I Didn’t Like: Not water resistant, Switch good in theory but poor in application.
Other Things I Noticed:
Conclusions: Colorful, clever, and very unusual, but not a serious tool. The switch needs further work, at least as it is being produced at the time of this review. It’s really too bad, the Indium takes advantage of some very clever innovation, but is held back by the reliability of the switch. 2 Stars – Fair.