Stephen Jay Gould, a famous evolutionary biologist from Harvard, postulated that Darwin's model of evolution, while generally correct, missed the fact that sometimes evolutionary changes happened suddenly. His theory is called punctuated equilibrium. His idea is something like this: perhaps instead of a slow transition from monkey to ape to man, there were a few generations of large and quick change spread out between millennia of relatively slow change.
Innovation happens much the same way. Only a few years before the Wright Brothers flew scientists in France claimed that it would be thousands of years before powered flight was possible. Before Dick Fosbury, most elite high jumpers took the bar as simply a very high hurdle. After him and his famous Flop, records fell at a staggering rate. Sometimes innovative changes happen all at once and reshape the landscape.
The Peak Solutions Eiger is that kind of change for flashlights.
With the release of the Oveready Edition of the Eiger, you can now throw out more than 200 lumens with a CRI of 93, all in a light that can take a common battery. Of course this peak performance requires the Li-Ion equivalent of the AAA battery, the 10440, but when you drop one of these bombs inside, watch out. The flashlight cognescenti over on CPF have known about the allure of the Eiger for a while and it has been slow to spread, in part because of Peak's notoriously bad website and customer relations. But this is a niche that drives the market and this fascination with the Eiger spawned a series of upgrades and aftermarket parts. There is a momentary on switch for the tiny Eiger and a Prometheus pocket clip for the little light platform. Thus when fully upgraded you get what is probably the best EDC light for under $100 on the planet. It is so good, it might just be the best EDC light for under $200. Here is the list of features:
1. 1x AAA size compatible with all battery types
2. Infinite variable brightness via a QTC pill
3. Max output of roughly 200 lumens
4. Min output of roughly .5 lumens
5. CRI of 93
6. Long runtimes on low
7. Long runtimes on medium with NiHM batteries
8. 10-15 minutes on high with Li-Ion batteries
9. Durable, attractive pocket clip
10. Multiple, swappable tailcaps--one for momentary on (it too has infinite variable brightness) and one for keychain carry
11. Body compatible with other Eiger heads for future upgrades and different beam profiles
12. Heads compatible with other Eiger bodies for a wide variety of sizes and battery types
(As a cool bonus, the Preon 1 clip fits the light as well, but not as tightly as the Prometheus clip.)
That is an incredible list of features, performance, and flexibility. The Eiger, in my opinion, is approaching EDC flashlight perfection and is so amazingly versatile and well-equipped that it has redefined what we should expect out of our lights. I don't normally review a light with add-ons and aftermarket editions, but they are readily available and so good that its silly to buy this light without them. Fully equipped, this light could be your chief illumination tool for years.
Here is the Peak Eiger product page. There are many options on this light allowing for many combinations. There are brass, stainless steel, and aluminum versions. There was also a small, non-QTC run in Titanium. There are four tailcap options: 1) a flat end; 2) a lug end that allows for keychain attachment but is not removeable; 3) a keychain end that is removeable; and 4) a momentary on switch (there are two versions of this, a long stroke version and a short stroke version, the difference is to accommodate the redesign of the QTC pill). If you want to run a clip you should get one of the last two tailcaps. You can also specify the emitter and the beam profile. There is the Eiger X edition that has a higher output and a throw head and the Ultra X with an even HIGHER output and throw head. The Ultra X requires Li-Ion batteries and cannot use anything else. Finally there was the Oveready Edition that allows for a Hi CRI emitter and the tuxedo contrast of a stainless steel head and black aluminum body. Since the Oveready edition, Peak also offers a Hi CRI version without the tuxedo look. Here is the Oveready Eiger page. Here is the Prometheus clip page. Here is a written review of the regular Eiger with the 10180 body tube. Here is a video of the regular Eiger with the momentary on switch. Here is my Eiger, loaded up:
The complexity of this design, coupled with all of the features and flexibility of the Eiger, makes this a watershed moment for flashlights. We now have a light that can easily hit 200 lumens that can take virtually any battery chemistry and does all of this is a tiny package. I like the contrasting colors of the head and body. The head is faceted to aid in grip and the body is covered in knurling. The body it is significantly longer than most 1xAAA lights and this is a good thing. It gives you plenty of room to hold the light even when twisting it.
The ratios here are a little weird, noting of course that the total lumens output number is going to be doubly wonky, first because of the QTC and second because of the wide range of batteries. I will use the outputs from the Li-Ion battery for these calculations. The lumens:weight is outstanding, at 166.67 (200 lumens:1.20 ounces, or 166.67 lumens per ounce). The new 320 lumen G2X Pro from Surefire scores 72 lumens per ounce (320 lumens:4.4 ounces). This might be the Al Mar Hawk Ultralight of the flashlight world and another sign that this is a watershed, game changing light. The total lumens output is 2000 (200 lumens x 10 minutes). The G2X Pro is 38,400 a significant improvement, but you know going in that this is not your all night barn burner. Here is a size comparison shot with the Zippo:
Fit and Finish: 2
Peak makes super solid super simple shapes. No weird angles or bizarre materials. But in this simplicity they achieve a sort of machinist Zen. There is nothing to slight here at all. The emitter is centered. The head is nicely cut:
The knurling is just grippy enough, but not shreddy. The threads are smooth, which is especially important with the QTC pill. Everything is finished very nicely. This is not decorative or aesthetically complex, like a Gunner Grip Spy 007, but it is still well made.
One my pet peeves with smaller lights is the lack of grip. Sometimes it feels like you are trying to turn on a button or grip a needle. There is, as I have referenced before, a magic ratio and a lot of these small lights don't have it. The Preon 0 for all of its simplicity and solid features is just a bit too small for my liking. Many 1xAAA lights have this problem. But the added length the Eiger has is just right. It is significantly longer than most 1xAAA but that extra length and weight makes it awesome in the hand. The knurling as mentioned before is quite good.
Without the Prometheus pocket clip it is a solid pocket companion. With it, I don't think I have any light that is better. Some are as good, but none are better.
Sometimes you stare that these pocket clips and wonder. Why are they so complicated? Why are they so difficult to use? Why are they so snaggy? But here you get Jason's simple excellent design. I awarded the aftermarket clip for the Surefire 6/G2 series of lights the Accessory of the Year a while back and the beauty of that design is carried over here. One warning: follow Jason's installation instructions exactly. The fit is very tight (as it has to be to make the clip work).
If you discard the junky "emitter lumens" ratings from crazy overseas 1xAAA lights, which you should because they are garbage, you won't find an 1xAAA light brighter than the Eiger. The Ultra X version can hit something like 500 lumens for an incredibly short period of time while this light hits 200 lumens for 10-15 minutes AND the light is 93 CRI. Pretty darn good.
The lows are equally special. With the QTC pill you can drop WAY down. It is a bit finicky, more on that below, but you can reliably hit something that, to my eyes, looks to be like .5 to 2 lumens a perfect moonlight low.
If you want long runtimes grab a NiHM battery. If you want a light bomb grab a Li-Ion battery. If you are in a pinch use an alkaline. With so many options you can essentially pick your runtime. On high with the Li-Ion is a paltry 10-15 minutes, but these batteries can charge in under 30 minutes, so it is not an issue. Lots of options means excellent score.
Beam Type: 2
Yo. All flood. Seriously, like Noah and the Ark all flood. This thing can't light up stuff 50 feet away, let alone stuff down the block. But, again, the Eiger platform gives you options. Both the Ultra and the Ultra X have a long throw head. I didn't try it but it has to be better. Even the regular head works fine as this is not supposed to be a throw light. Again, options=good score.
Beam Quality: 2
Mmmmm....only the Hi CRI Haiku, which will be given away next week, has a better combination of beam pattern and tint. Glorious, 93 CRI light is a perfectly round, artifact free beam. There is a nice spill and hotspot. For a light this size and price, you'll be pleased. Try the Nichia 219, its worth the extra few dollars.
Game changing innovation has a cost and here it is. The QTC pill is worth this cost, but you need to be aware of it to make a fully informed decision. The pill can be finicky. On low it can jump up to a higher output every once in a while. A good knock can also bump it up high. Finally with alkalines it takes a lot of pressure to high hit, which means a lot of twisty. This in turn means less precision in dialing in those low lows. With a NiMH the problem is better and with a Li-Ion the problem is all but gone though the finickiness remains.
Its not a killer and once you get use to it is no problem at all, but there is a learning curve here. The reward though is easily worth the work--an infinitely variable brightness light with the best UI on the planet (here are the instructions for using the light: Twist for on, twist more for more light). Dead simple UI with a bit of a learning curve equals a 1. If the QTC was a smooth as that found on the 40DD, this would be a perfect light.
Hands Free: 2
With four tailcaps, an aftermarket clip, a clip borrowed from a Preon 1 or 2, and other options on the way (according to an email Peak sent me), this is another case of options=good score. The Prometheus clip is an excellent anti-roll device and I can pop off the tailcap for candle mode. Excellent overall performance here. Note that the tailcap might need some fidgeting with after removal in order to "reseat" the clip, but once you get the hang of it is not a big deal.
Overall Score: 19 out of 20
For the first time since the Incendio there is a reason to go out and buy a new flashlight. It took me nearly two months of use to figure this out. I have never tested a light like I did the Eiger. But the testing proved to me that this is the next "best EDC light". The selector ring lights are good, but neither is substantially better than the Incendio, a benchmark single cell EDC light under $100. But with the Eiger, the benchmark has changed. If you had $100 to spend on a light I couldn't recommend anything else before this light, provided it was for general EDC use. The stock model is decent, but the Oveready Edition or the Hi CRI stock model is perhaps the best light out there for under $100. This is it--the new benchmark in single cell EDC lights.
Additionally, this light is a good example of why you probably don't need a CR123a light anymore. You can finally get good lumens counts out of a 1xAAA form factor. Its rare to need more than 200 lumens in a typical EDC application and now AA and AAA lights, with a little help from rechargeable batteries, can deliver this performance. This light and a few others like the Zebralight SC52 have persuaded me that CR123a lights, while nice, aren't the best EDC choice anymore. The difference in lumens is still big, but both can now hit highs that are very useful. This ability to produce merely "enough lumens" instead of "insane lumens" is a tradeoff, but one I am willing to make because these lights can run on more readily available alkaline batteries makes up for it.
Make no mistake, this is where lights are headed--flexible platforms with a tremendous array of options and performance improving features. This is the lego light like the Surefire E series taken to the next step. You get head options, tailcap options, output and tint options, battery options. There is virtually nothing the Eiger platform can't do. Tricking this light out like I did makes it a superb, perhaps unmatched EDC light under $200. This like also proves that the US can still make gear, even in the face of very competitive offerings from overseas, that destroy the competition in terms of performance and flexibility while still maintaining a decent price.
The folks at Peak have an awful website and slow customer service, but there is a reason why. They are focusing on making lights that raise the bar for what we expect light to be able to do. My only regret is that Doug from the old Flashlight Reviews never got a chance to score this light and write a review. I still remember that first Surefire LED review and this is just as much a game changer. The Oveready tuxedo look and the Hi CRI emitter are, in my opinion, worth the price premium, but no matter what Eiger you buy, you'll be happy. It can do most anything.
That is 2.3 ounces of pure utility and in EDC gear, that is exactly what you want.