Auto Express Star Blade Review

Auto Express Star Blade Review

Original review (.pdf)

Worklamps in LED light show

Lithium-ion batteries and powerful chip-on-board (COB) LEDs have given a massive boost to inspection lamps, which are brighter and better than ever before. Now NightSearcher has taken the technology a step further with its new Star Blade lamp. Instead of the chunky shapes of its rivals – plus the brand’s own Pro250 – this features a slender, wand-like strip of chip-on-board LEDs. But how does it perform? To find out, we put it up against the Ring MAGflex Twist. We rated the beam, mounts, charging options and durability, plus maker’s and online prices were factored in. The Ring retains its crown because it’s more robust and versatile, but the newcomer can put light where others can’t and will appeal to some users.

Mini Test – NightSearcher Star Blade

That 18cm-long strip of LED’s dominates this lamp, which is much lighter than most rivals. The opaque sheath means the light is easier on the eye when accidentally looked at directly, although it doesn’t affect the 300-lumen output. The beam is a match for the MAGflex, with no perceptible difference in the bright, wide patterns. However, the Star Blade has the advantage because it has a reduced light output at the rear, giving all-round illumination. In the cramped confines of a typical modern engine bay, it provides more light where the MAGflex can’t go. It also lasts longer. As with the Ring it has 12V and mains charging, but there are fewer mounting options; all you get is a hook and single magnet. Also holding it back is the unprotected wand; although the product survived our drop test, we wonder how long it will stand up to the inevitable workshop knocks.

Ring MAGflex Twist

Just pick up our test winner and it feels significantly more robust than the svelte Star Blade. The rubber-clad casing makes it around 120g heavier than its rival here, but it does give more options for getting light where it is needed. There are magnets in the base and back, plus the casing in hinged and twists to direct the beam pretty much wherever it is needed. The strip of COB LEDs is around half the length of the Star Blade’s, but the beams were very similar, delivering a bright white light and a good spread with no dark patches. The Twist couldn’t match its rival’s all-round light, but does have a useful 1W torch in the end. And while the Star Blade lasted longer, three hours is still a useful run time.

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