I recently wrote about the Laulima Malihini Slim I picked up and how amazing it is. The Ion Slim is from another line utilizing the same internals with a different body design. I picked this up in tumbled Aluminum, and it might be the best all-around light I have used.
I’ll tell you why.
Power, Size, Materials, Emitter
If you read my Malihini Slim review, this is effectively the same light with a different body. This is a 14500-powered light, and you can choose H17fx or ‘Convoy Dual Driver.’ For this light, I selected the Convoy Dual Driver. This means that this light can be powered by a 14500, and a NiMH’ AA’ battery. That’s a huge bonus. There’s a power tradeoff with the AA, but it’s still a highly usable light.
The emitter is a Nichia 519a SM453, an excellent all-around emitter (though Laulima needs more CCT offerings). The light is activated with a proper, forward, clicky tail switch.
I have a tumbled Aluminum model, which looks quite excellent in a not-flashy-somewhat-used style. I’m a big fan. As with all Laulima lights, the machining is top-notch — some of the best I have seen in a flashlight.
In Use & Carry
I had been rotating this light into my carry, but it wasn’t gaining much traction at first, but when I left for a 12-day vacation, it was the only light I took. That’s both a testament to how good I believed the light to be and the Dual Driver’s power versatility. This allowed me to carry a 14500 backup and an AA — while still being able to snag more power if needed on the fly, as AAs are common and easy to buy.
What I didn’t expect was how fucking good this light is. Whether I was staring at the body of the light in my hand while waiting for the next event — admiring the retro-SciFi styling vibes, the light gives off. Or I was marveling at how lightweight it rides in my pocket. Or how it is the perfect size in hand when guiding people up a dark winding path to the VRBO.
I ended that 12-day trip with one thought about the Ion Slim: this might be the only light someone needs with this exact setup. I would have no qualms if this were the only light I could use. If I took it hiking or needed to carry it 24/7, I am confident I’d be content and perhaps even happy.
The Ion Slim feels great in hand: offering excellent grip from the body design. The switch is easy to nail with your thumb every time, and the UI is simple and to the point. The 519a has a nice flood, with the power to throw enough that you won’t be left for wanting. And, of course, the CRI is top-notch.
All of these small factors make this a near-perfect light. I’m not pulling punches, though, because the one flaw with this is that the low is not very low when running a 14500 battery. It should be much lower, and while it isn’t bad at the current lowest, you will not find me reaching for this when I need to go ninja looking for something I dropped in a dark room with my spouse fast asleep. If you swap over to a AA, it will drop the output a bit, which is a neat trick, if a little cumbersome to do with any frequency level.
That’s my only complaint with this light. I had to force myself to grab another light when I got back because this light was that good.
Left to right: FourSevens Preon P1, Laulima Hoku Clicky, Laulima Ion Slim, HDS Rotary.
To recap, here’s why I keep saying this is near perfect:
- Thin, short enough, and lightweight to carry in the pocket.
- Excellent and highly useable pocket clip.
- Two different battery types can be run in the light, giving increased versatility to the power supply.
- Tons of programming options and settings.
- Excellent emitter choice.
- The best possible tail switch design.
- Ideal ergonomics for activating the light without looking and holding the light securely in many different positions.
- Industry-leading machining.
- Fantastic-looking design and aesthetics.
And the one downside: the low output isn’t low enough for me.
Yeah, so I really like this light. I suspect it might become an instant EDC classic in the community, and I also suspect it will be at/near the top of my carry for the remainder of the year.
Well fucking done, Laulima.