A Review of the Glo-Toob FX
Sunday, November 7, 2004
Like most guys, I tend to be a bit of a gadget and tool freak...in my case, I have a special affinity for lights of various types.
I was looking around at thinkgeek.com when I ran across an interesting device called the Glo-Toob: an LED, high-intensity light source that comes in two versions - the regular Glo-Toob, and the Glo-Toob FX which features 7 different operating modes. It isn't designed to light up an entire room but is intended more as a marker or beacon for various outdoor activities such as camping or SCUBA diving; they even make an infrared version designed for use by military and law enforcement.
Of course I had to buy one...or in my case two: red and blue.
The Glo-Toob packaging seems, at first glance, to be a standard blister pack and as I went to ask the cat if I could borrow his laser, I silently cursed the Space Devils under my breath...imagine my surprise when I found that the package could be opened without the use of tools; kudos to Glo-Toob for this bold, yet retro, step in packaging concepts!
The Glo-Toob itself isn't that big - it's less than 3 inches/7 centimetres in length as seen here when it's put next to a standard Leatherman Tool for scale.
The on/off switch is integrated into the end cap (removed in this picture) and is activated by turning it; the switch and end cap are sealed with O-rings to make the unit watertight (Glo-Toob claims it's waterproof to 11,500 feet/3,500 metres). It comes with a size 23A, 12V alkaline battery that will supposedly last between 30-80 hours depending on the mode selected.
The FX model offers 7 different operating modes, as shown in the instructions that come with it:
To change the modes you first leave the unit on for 4 seconds, then turn it off, then turn it on again; this will start it cycling through the various modes which you choose by turning it off and on until you get the mode you want - leave it on in that mode for 5 seconds and it "locks in" that mode for the next time you turn it on; to reset you repeat the process. It's a little hard to get the hang of it the first time you change modes but it's fairly easy to pick up. I set the red unit to "beacon strobe" mode and attached it to my vest while I was doing a fireworks show on Halloween and my crew said it was quite easy to spot me in the dark. I'm including links to two movies - "throb" mode and "SOS" mode - so you can see for yourself what it looks like in action.
Overall I'm very pleased with the Glo-Toob FX. Will it light up a room? No (although I suppose it's possible the white Glo-Toob might give you enough light to read by), but that isn't what it's designed for so I can't fault it for that; it's a well-designed unit with enough features to make this geek happy.