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Cell phones as your primary flashlight?

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by KAMM, Sep 11, 2012.

    • In Omnia Paratus

    KAMM Loaded Pockets

    Opinions. :) I don't personally think its a good choice. Certainty for emergencies! If your primary light happens to be out of batts and you have no more backup batts in your bag. I mean a flashlight is a click or twist where as cell phone app is unlocking cell phone, finding the app, then turning the light on. I feel it's more convenient to throw a flashlight in your bag or pocket then the fumble round with a cell phone.

    I don't mean to offend anyone who find the cell phone flashlight is a great idea. This is just my opinion and I would love yours.

    Thanks guys and gals!
    DBR and nuphoria like this.

    Ollie243 Loaded Pockets

    I totally agree. A flashlight ( for me ) is a few seconds to find and use, my iPhone app is so slow, it is advertised to turn on as soon as the app is loaded however it takes a good few seconds to come on. Most of the time it's not worth bothering.

    In a pinch yes it would do, but its not so bright and it is slow an no doubt EATS battery.

    You will never see me without a flashlight on my keys. Thru night Ti all the way!!
    KAMM likes this.

    Racer Loaded Pockets

    An EDC flashlight for me is just as likely to get dropped in a bucket of some liquid or accidentally bounce down the driveway. In an emergency anything is fair game, but day to day, I want the right tool for the right job. I think part of the EDC philosophy for me is guessing what that right tool is.
    defuse kit and KAMM like this.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    billybogota Loaded Pockets

    Agree--multiuse equipment is always a plus. It's not like if my flashlight's batteries are dead, I won't use my phone light on some odd purist principle or anything.


    Blerv Loaded Pockets

    For sake of convenience it’s great for most folks. For an emergency I’m not sure if you want to deplete your phone battery for light, especially as I only assume it takes a ton of juice to power the flash constantly.

    A single AA (or even AAA) light can provide just as much light with a replaceable power source. Not to mention even in a post apocalyptic, rat hunting, dystopia common cells should be pretty easy to find. Better yet, disposable lithium AA/AAA’s from Energizer have like a 15 year shelf life and can survive low temps.

    nuphoria Loaded Pockets

    I see it as a backup, but hardly ever get caught without at least one light on me!
    ChrisJ and Kripto like this.

    indigo_wolf AKA Breezy

    An "app" is not the quite the same thing as a flashlight.

    My GF has a Samsung B2100 which has a separate LED light, not an app. There is a dedicated button for it, that has a lag (it has to be held for 2-3 seconds to turn it on or off). Because of the delay, I believe it can be used regardless of the phone being locked. It's surprisingly bright and sporadic use (like you would use a Photon) has little impact on talk time.

    Light can be seen @ 2:03 in this video

    For myself, I generally EDC enough lights and spare batteries, where short of getting buried in a cave or collapsed building, it's not really an issue. The amount of times I actually use a dedicated light would brick most phones in short order....insomnia is a terrible thing to waste.


    Koala3 Loaded Pockets

    I used to use my phone as a light pretty often :( mostly with my Blackberry, but the battery on the Curve would go for days. For the past two years or so I carried a flashlight and knife, then found this place... we all know the story from that point on.
    Racer and KAMM like this.

    Halligan Loaded Pockets

    Only as a back up. Carrying a single AA LED light has been one of the most useful changes I have ever made, never dreamed I would use it as much as I have.

    reppans Loaded Pockets

    One of the most important functions of my EDC flashlight (s) is being a source to cannibalize batteries from... to charge my cellphone, for example.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    amacman Loaded Pockets

    I use it a my light to get in to bed and get my iPhone docked when my wife is already in bed asleep. Other than that, forget it.
    Syclone1436, ac7ss and KAMM like this.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    ac7ss Loaded Pockets

    I only use my phone as a light between hanging up my pants and getting into bed late at night. The screen light is enough. (Much like amacman.)
    billybag likes this.

    Syclone Loaded Pockets

    Comes in handy if you want to be "low key." Not for a primary though. Would be a backup for a backup thats for a backup...:p
    Last edited by Syclone1436, Sep 11, 2012
    sungame likes this.

    generationlost Loaded Pockets

    Smartphones eat up battery power very quickly. Most only last 1-2 days on a full charge with regular use, so it's not a very reliable source of light.

    IMO, a phone can never replace a dedicated light, mostly because phones run out of power quickly and can easily break; not to mention that I may need the phone to make a call as well. I could see it as a viable secondary or tertiary source of light though, if you don't feel like carrying multiple flashlights.

    I'm trying to convince my friend that he should carry a flashlight because he has a way of frequently being out late at night; often being far away from home and running low on battery for his iphone. Hell, just a few days ago he had to walk about 60 miles on the side of an interstate highway because he didn't have enough money to get a bus ticket (complicated story). He ended up walking for 10 hours until 3 a.m.

    I'll probably get him a Microstream as a gift even though he says he doesn't need it :nah_disagree:. On second thought, teaching him to be more rational and prepared should be my priority.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    amacman Loaded Pockets

    I was using the screen as the light source one my iPhone 3, but it kinda sucked because the screen would always go to sleep at juts the wrong time. Now that I'm on a 4, I use a flashlight app at bedtime. I know I will tonight. The wife is already in bed and I'm out here conversing with you yahoos.
    KAMM likes this.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    ac7ss Loaded Pockets

    Dang, it's only 8:30. Early to bed I suppose. :)

    defuse kit Loaded Pockets

    The same people who use a cell phone as a "primary flashlight" are the same ones that are at less than 10% battery near the end of the day. IF you find your phone and IF you manage to fumble the light on, pray you don't have to use it for too long. I was in a below ground floor of a building during the day when the lights went out. I kinda doubt they would have found their phones in their purses (which weren't on their persons) if I didn't have MY light illuminating the entire room. That was day time :/
    Last edited by defuse kit, Sep 11, 2012
    Syclone1436 and KAMM like this.

    shmook Loaded Pockets

    I will use my screen as a light at night to plug the charger in, to save turning the light on and disturbing my fiancée, and have used the flash app a few times in the past to light up a room at work etc, but am usually dripping in torches, so rarely need a phone for that.

    Talking about battery life, I used a sonim core phone for a while, and that has a dedicated torch button, like the Samsung mentioned above. The Battery life on that phone was measured in weeks, not hours, so I never worried about using that as a torch! That phone was crazy tough. We had a game of rugby with it once, where the phone was the ball...

    sungame Loaded Pockets

    Amen to that. As someone else stated here, in a real emergency, you use whatever you can. However, I strive to never be in a situation where my cell phone would be my only light source. Here's why:

    • On most phones, turning on the light (be it screen, flash or whatever) requires quite a few steps, and can be quite fiddly. Smart phones with touch screens are rather hard to operate with gloved, wet or cold fingers.
    • If you actually manage to turn on the light, it is normally pretty weak.
    • Using a smart phone as a flash light will, in most cases, drain the battery pretty quickly.
    • If you drop it, either on a hard surface or in some sort of liquid, a phone is much less rugged than a real flash light.

    There are, of course, exceptions to some, if not all these points. I, too, once owned -and used - one of these little Samsungs with a LED and dedicated flash light button. However, in general, I prefer to carry at least one real light at all times, and have the phone as a backup at most. Or a backup to the backup (to the backup).
    KAMM likes this.

    ace19636 Loaded Pockets

    My phone battery dies fast enough as is, It would never work for me Because with my luck my phone would be dead or close to it. If you look at my edc and bag I have 4 flashlights (2 on my person and 2 in the bag) I will use before my phone but I would if I have to.