Looks like the first CREE (that I have heard of, at least) has popped up on the American big box retailer market. For the uninitiated, the CREE LED is much brighter than the standard high-powered LED (Luxeon) you see in a retailer’s flashlight section, while retaining the same or better battery life. The Luxeons would generally have an output of around 50-60 lumens (measure of brightness) while this light does 150 lumens. Newer CREE LEDs are more in the range of 220 lumens, and still climbing.
Enough with the super nerdy stuff and on to the slightly nerdy stuff. The light is at Lowes and is a 2C Task Force (their house brand) flashlight with a CREE in it. It is the same shape as their old 2C Luxeon, which was the same as the Harbor Freight 2C Luxeon, both generally well liked flashlights. For those of you who are afraid of sending Paypal funds to random websites in China for your CREE fix, this is a good option.
The light comes with an optic instead of a reflector, and has some pretty fantastic throw. I picked one up in Indiana on Black Friday while visiting family, and pulled it out as soon as it got dark. My dad lives in the middle of corn fields, so I had plenty of room to test the throw. I easily lit up tree lines that were around 100 yards out. The moon was a little too bright, and the night was a little too cold for me to do any real tests, but it looks like a winner, especially at the $30 price point.
The body is aluminum, with a rubber grip around the middle. There is a octagonal (I think) ring around the bezel that keeps it from rolling off a surface. The clicky is on the endcap, and makes a nice, solid click when pushed. I did not test the waterproofness, but it seems solidly built.
Candlepowerforums.com has been discussing this light for a couple of months now, but it has generally been hard to find at Lowes as they are clearing the old Luxeon stock before introducing this one to the shelves. Look for packaging marked with “X-Lamp” verbiage to find the CREE version.
It is a little large and heavy for my tastes when backpacking, but it would make a great “what the hell just crashed in my backyard?” light or something to light up the critters in the woods when car camping.