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When I first saw the flashlight component of DeWalt’s 12V MAX line, I thought, “Wow, that sure is odd-looking. It’s square. It’s gonna be uncomfortable to hold. And what’s with that gimmicky swivel head?” Then I picked it up. Surprise! It’s actually quite comfortable in your hand. It’s bright, too, and the swivel head makes it easy to direct light where you need it. In short: I’m a fan. It’s one of the most popular flashlights around the TM shop now, and at home as well. So read on for the details about an accessory that most reviewers will toss to the side to get at the drill driver — DeWalt’s new flashlight.

The Light

Like most modern flashlights, the DeWalt incorporates a bright-white LED which, combined with a small reflector, creates a wide dispersion pattern and a pretty intense white spot in the middle. A significant departure from Milwaukee’s carefully-engineered no-bright-spot design, this design decision was intentional: DeWalt says they want to provide you the ability to direct bright light on whatever you’re looking at, or to aim it off to the side to provide more of a dim wash. See the results for yourself:

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If you’re looking for a small, easily-pocketable utility knife, you’ll want a folder. But non-retractable folders are a pretty serious laceration hazard: You’re prone to leaving it lying around with the blade exposed, and you’ve got to deal with an exposed blade every time you fold it shut. That — plus seeing a friend cut the living crap out of himself folding one once — kept me from owning one. DeWalt’s new model, however, both folds and retracts, offering the same tiny stowed form factor without the danger.

I wrote a preview of this knife when I saw its announcement a while back, but this week we got one in the office to play with, and as promised, I thought I’d share the details.

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