Streamlight has always been a popular choice for buyers looking for affordable flashlights without compromising on performance.
Launched in 1973. Streamlight has steadily climbed up the ranks to become one of the top players in the tactical flashlight market. Since the brand focuses on real-world experiences to develop its products, they are a great choice for professionals, outdoor enthusiasts, and survivalists.
Another plus of Streamlight is its excellent customer service. The brand provides in-depth training to all personnel to ensure the best service to the customers.
Without much ado, let’s admit that we love using the Streamlight Microstream as an EDC flashlight.
This compact EDC light has been around for years and still remains a popular choice. If you look at the specs and performance, you’ll not find it stellar by any means. But once you start using it, you’ll find that this little light is a compact powerhouse that offers excellent value.
Let’s dig a little deeper and find out more about it in this Streamlight Microstream review.
To start with, we list the dimensions and main features of the Streamlight Microstream.
- A length of 3.87 inches
- A diameter of 0.61 inches
- Weighs 1.20 ounces
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Cell Pack
- Maximum of 250 Lumens
- Max intensity of 1150 Candela
- IPX4 water-resistant
- Available in coyote, red, blue, and black colors
Output and Runtime
The Streamlight Microstream USB runs on a proprietary lithium-ion battery that provides a run time of 1.5 hours on high mode and 3.5 hours on low mode. In theory, the 10440 battery cell isn’t a power-packed performer, but the battery life is respectable and it’s not easy to drain it with regular use.
The charging time is around four hours, which isn’t the fastest. In the high mode, the battery drains fast and you will find the intensity dropping after an hour. So, make sure to fully charge the lithium battery whenever you get the chance. Note, the USB version of the Microstream is not compatible with an AA or AAA battery.
The peak brightness of 250 lumens is good enough for walking dark trails or in enclosed spaces. At low mode, the output is limited to 50 lumens which is good for indoor use. The beam distance is 68 meters for the high beam and 31 meters for the low beam.
Streamlight uses a single C4 LED and even though 68 meters sounds long enough, this flashlight is best for close-quarter or indoor use. In reality, the effective beam distance is around 40 to 45 meters. Beyond that, it’s not the best option for identifying threats lurking in the dark.
As expected at this price point, you get a shallow reflector that doesn’t ensure a good throw. The flashlight lacks a focusing mechanism, so you can’t focus the beam on an object. Keep in mind, it has no red light or strobe mode. Still, considering the price tag, we think that the overall performance is acceptable.
The high beam is bright enough for most users but if you compare it to the competition, the Streamlight is not the best. There are other USB rechargeable lights on Amazon that deliver more than 1000 lumens.
However, being brighter doesn’t always translate to being a reliable performer. Unlike many other everyday carry flashlights, the Microstream is a workhorse that will deliver steady performance for years without fail.
Streamlight offers a lifetime warranty on the flashlight. However, the warranty on rechargeable batteries and electronics is limited to 2 years. A big plus of Streamlight as a brand is the solid reputation it has built over the years in terms of customer service. In short, you can depend on them to honor the warranty.
It’s difficult to complete a Streamlight Microstream review without mentioning the fact that this is a budget flashlight. To start with, the minimalist packaging and design of the Microstream highlight the cost-cutting measures. The design is utilitarian, to say the least.
But once you do a basic cost/benefit analysis, you will find that it works in favor of the Streamlight.
In essence, the most impressive feature of the Microstream is its form factor. Anyone using larger flashlights will need some time to get used to the pocket-sized Microstream. Those with larger hands will find this Streamlight EDC flashlight simply disappearing in their palms. But once you get used to it, the small size isn’t an issue.
And not many daily carry flashlights weigh less than the Microstream. At just over 1 ounce, it’s ideal for ultralight survivalists or backpackers. Admittedly, the power-to-weight ratio is nothing short of outstanding.
The only downside of the small and slim size is this Microstream flashlight is easy to lose. And if you are planning to use a flashlight as a self-defense tool as well, this is not the model to pick.
That means it has the perfect size for carrying inside any pocket or even a pocket organizer. If you want to keep it away from coins or a pocket knife, use the removable pocket clip to attach it to the pocket. Compared to larger pen lights, it’s easier to carry while being clipped to the pocket.
Beyond that, you can also clip it to the rim of a hat or a baseball cap as a makeshift headlamp. The clip itself is made from high-grade steel and holds its shape well.
Coming to the construction, the outer body is made from aircraft-grade aluminum with a Type II Military Spec anodized finish. Since it has an IPX4 rating, it can easily withstand rain showers. There are o-rings at vulnerable points to prevent water ingress. Additionally, it has 1-meter impact resistance and an unbreakable polycarbonate lens.
Truth is, there’s nothing exceptional in terms of durability. But if you’re someone who handles flashlights roughly, this Streamlight pocket flashlight will easily take the beating. Surely it will collect a few nicks and scratches with rough use. But that doesn’t affect the performance in any way. Overall, you can depend on this light in off-grid settings.
However, if you are heading towards locations that are wet or have extreme temperatures, we suggest you choose a product specifically designed for that.
For charging, you need to slide the metal collar and expose the micro-USB port. It also has a small indicator light to indicate the charging status. Even though the metal collar is not screwed in or threaded, the seals do a good job of keeping the water out.
Ease of Use
The Microstream is super simple to operate through the push button tail cap switch. I prefer tail switches as they are easier to find in the dark, than switches on the barrel. But considering the small size of the Microstream, that doesn’t make any practical difference.
However, the switch allows you to hold the pocket flashlight higher. This provides better beam coverage and a wider range of movement. The switch is also easy to use with gloved hands.
The other advantage is, the switch is likely to get accidentally pressed while being carried in the pocket. In addition, there’s also a lanyard for extra security, though not many users are likely to use it.
There is one aspect where I have to agree with a few other Streamlight Microstream reviews. The flashlight comes with dual modes and switching between the two isn’t the easiest of tasks. The tail switch needs to be pushed twice to shift to the low mode which can be tricky. Anyone with fat fingers might find this double tapping to be confusing.
That said, once you get used to it, turning the flashlight on in low mode is super simple. Also, the outer surface of the flashlight gives a nice tactile feel. Even if your hands are wet, the flashlight isn’t hard to grip.
One more thing worth pointing out is the short length of the supplied micro-USB charger cord. It’s simply too short for an easy connection with a charging port. Hopefully, you will have other USB cords lying around that you can use.
That brings us to the end of this Streamlight Microstream review. Time to sum up the pros and cons.
- A compact and lightweight EDC flashlight
- Reliable performance
- Durable construction
- Affordable price tag and excellent value
- Limited beam throw
- Not easy to switch between the low and high modes
This USB-rechargeable model is an upgrade to the original Microstream Streamlight that runs on AA batteries. While it doesn’t have high-end features and output like the more advanced rechargeable flashlights from Olight and Fenix, its advantage is in terms of functionality and affordability.
Quite simply, the Streamlight isn’t for anyone looking for the best EDC flashlight. But if you are looking for a handy and reliable work light or a flashlight for emergency use, the Streamlight is a no-brainer.
It’s good for everyday use and tough enough to carry in any off-grid adventure. Due to its small size, it can be easily stored in a glove box or tackle box for emergencies and is also a great choice as a backup light.
The best aspect of the Streamlight EDC flashlight is the fact that it’s cost-effective. That allows you to buy multiple units for different purposes if needed. And coming from a longstanding company it’s a product that you can totally depend on.