My review sample that will serve as the basis for this review is from a pass-around organized by Ozythemandias (Simon Benedict) and the maker himself, Benjamin. This particular unit utilizes a Cree XP-G3 LED and has the clear body plus clip. My personal sample, that I have now owned for over a year, is the clear model as well and sports a Nichia 210C.
Here are the official specifications for this light, as well as the website. The base light is $99 and works up from there. There are sooo many options with this light. You have your choice of body color, center section color, clip finish, LED, and now bronze retention nut. If I did the math right, there’s 1440 possible combinations at the time of publication.
From what I’ve read on the website, Benjamin’s original intention in making the Synergy1 was to create a light that would replace his old Streamlight Microstream that broke down. While I won’t pretend to know a lot about Benjamin himself, I will say that his first entry in the flashlight world is one mean light that lays a smackdown on the poor, OG Streamlight Microstream.
The Synergy1 arrived in very professional packaging similar to an Altoids mint can, but with a nicer finish and Benjamin’s logo. There are even finger notches in the foam for easy removal. I like the attention to detail and the added touch of the sticker too.
Execution & Design
The form factor of this light is what makes it so unique; it takes 2xAAA side-by-side. This allows for a more compact body that fits perfectly into a pocket. If you have experience with other 2xAAA lights then you probably know how difficult pocket carry can be. I could never pocket carry my Preon P2 because it poked me whenever I would walk.
Not only is the Synergy1 easy to pocket carry, but it’s also easy to use. The way one grips the light is very intuitive and allows for easy articulation. If I could draw a parallel, it probably holds in the hand similar to how one holds a Cool Fall Spy (perhaps the zenith of flashlights). Of course, I don’t own a Spy – and probably never will – unfortunately, so I can only speculate.
Going back on the aforementioned attention to detail: This statement applies not only to the packaging, but the flashlight itself. The fit and finish on this flashlight is superb and definitely on par with most customs. I am thoroughly impressed by the meticulous craftsmanship that went into this light, especially considering that this is Benjamin’s first production light. When you consider the cost – roughly $115 for a light with clip – the Synergy1 is a downright bargain. There are many *certain* flashlight makers out there that would sell this level of quality for double. Just look at that quality:
I like the integration of the screw-on nut at the end. Not only does it allow for customization, but it allows you to seamlessly switch the side of the clip. Once you unscrew the nut, the back part of the flashlight can also be pulled away, thus exposing the battery compartment.
The Synergy1 has a lot of good things going for it. I can’t attest enough to the level of quality and the insane bargain of a price. But if the flashlight falls short in one thing, it’s unquestionably the UI.
While UI preferences are certainly subjective, I think others have voiced similar concerns. The reverse clicky is fine – absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s crisp and works well. But the progression of modes – Medium – Low – High – is absolutely detestable. I suspect that the driver used in the Synergy1 is the same as is used in Lumintop’s Tool flashlight line. The rational behind the mode order is that in general everyday use, most tasks would require the Medium output first.
The first issue with this is that the mode spacing is quite awkward as a result. But as I progressed through the modes with the reverse clicky, I realized that the difference in outputs between the modes is horrendous too. I can barely differentiate Medium from Low. The Low NEEDS to be lower. I don’t know where Benjamin sources the driver, but it definitely needs a re-work. Benjamin has said himself that he is working on his own, custom driver, so time will tell if the UI is better in future runs.
The above has since been rectified with a new driver that goes Low-Medium-High. That being said, there are some thing that I’d like to see in the future.
For example, I would also like to see more output and the ability to run 10440 li-ion for a “turbo” mode of sorts. While 10440 support might not be a possibility in the future, output definitely could use a bump. While the 140ish lumens the Synergy1 puts out is useful for like 95% of tasks, it never hurts to have extra output for when you need it. Keep in mind that lumen outputs will be even lower for the Nichia 219c. I see a lot of room for growth in this aspect, but also a lot of potential.
In essence, the Synergy1 is a beautiful flashlight that exudes quality. Benjamin should be damn proud, especially considering this is his first entry to the flashlight world. The innovation of the Synergy1 and the original design are admirable, considering that every new custom-esque flashlight tends to run some combination of triple emitters and the latest driver. The UI/driver itself of the Synergy1 may be horrid (now acceptable with the updated driver), but a fix for it seems to already be in the works. I look forward to seeing what Benjamin can bring to the table in the future.
The driver, and thus UI, have since been revised on this flashlight to a much more ideal Low-Medium-High. There now exist fancier iterations of the base model, but no doubt the base model is where the best value is at.