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When it comes to EDC gear, there’s always a compromise between size and functionality. While it might be advantageous to have an 18-inch machete in the jungle or a hefty woodsman’s ax in the forest, these large tools would certainly be cumbersome in urban environments. That’s why most of us carry small folding knives — they provide enough of an edge for daily tasks, without excessive weight and bulk in your pocket.
The same philosophy applies to EDC flashlights — you probably don’t need a 1,000-lumen light for most daily tasks. Something small and light with just enough output is often a more practical option.
Streamlight’s original MicroStream is a slim and compact flashlight that fits into the palm of the hand. It also has a removable pocket clip that can attach to the brim of a hat for hands-free use. However, the standard MicroStream offers only a single brightness mode (45 lumens) and runs on traditional AAA alkaline batteries. For 2018, Streamlight has released an updated version of this popular design, called the MicroStream USB.
As you should be able to guess by its name, the MicroStream USB is rechargeable via a micro-USB port that’s hidden under a sliding metal bezel. The bezel is sealed by O-rings, making the light IPX4 water-resistant. A 350 mAh lithium-ion battery can be fully charged in 4 hours from a wall outlet or portable power bank, and can be recharged up to 300 times. The tail cap switch includes charging indicator LEDs — red for charging, green for fully-charged.
The MicroStream USB’s output has been substantially increased to 250 lumens. This light also now offers a low-output 50-lumen mode — ironically, that’s still brighter than the original MicroStream. The light’s runtime is 1.5 hours on high and 3.5 hours on low. Aside from these changes, the light looks and feels about the same as the old MicroStream. It weighs just 1.2 ounces and measures 3.87 inches long.
We got our hands on the MicroStream USB at SHOT Show, and felt that its size would lend itself well to most urban EDC loadouts. We appreciate the USB-rechargeable design, since topping off your light at work or in the car is much more convenient than stashing supplies of consumable batteries in all your packs. MSRP for the MicroStream USB is $50, which means you’ll probably see street prices of about $35. For more information, go to Streamlight.com.