Monday, April 17, 2017

Beam n Read reading and general travel light - Reprise for those who don't know about the around-the-neck light. Updated 4/17/17, 11:00 pm for current models + the new BnR USB Power Kit.

BEAM N READ 3-Led light, made by ASF Lightware Solutions.

As regular readers will remember, my personal favorite in reading lights (I've bought too many different types) has been the Beam N Read "LED 3 Hands Free Travel Reading Light; for Kindle, Power Outages & More" that I first wrote about in early October 2010.  I'm still using the 3-led light version nightly, as it does well enough so that I almost never need the 6-led light one.  I definitely use it when walking outside at night.

  I'm including much of what I wrote at the time.

Note updating information: The company saw my blog article and wrote to add updated information on both lights.  The 6-LED-light link to the older model still works and, if used, the newer model is sent, along with their BNR CL1M magnifier kit which contains one lens, but the new 6-LED model ordered direct at the revised link is sent along with the two filters and delivered using PRIME shipping.

  As before, I'm including a couple of photos below to show light coverage on my older non-lit Kindle with its Amazon cover, with built-in light (no longer available) vs. using what became my favorite light for the various Kindles I have.

This portable light is worn around the neck and has an adjustable strap.  The 3-LED light model is now said to last about 100 hours (based on the ANSI/NEMA FL-1 Standard: continuous runtime on high to 10% of initial brightness), and I do use it nightly for weeks before needing to change batteries.
   Normal intermittent use (I can't imagine anyone running a light like this for 2 to 4 days straight) will result in actual runtime over 120 hours shining 3 LEDs, they've found.

  The 3-LED model no longer comes with batteries but ships with two blue-light blocking filters (orange and red, softening the light, helpful for partners at night too).  The company added the orange filter because many use the light to read or stitch late in the evening.  Removing the batteries eliminated the occasional problem of battery leakage in the box and helped keep a lower retail price despite increases in manufacturing cost.

  (See the new USB Power Kit at the end of this blog report.)

 Because it's very lightweight and flexible with a patented flip-up design, reflector, and the adjustable strap, I usually have it on when I'm home.  Going downstairs at night or to a less well-lit room, or when I just can't see something well enough, I can just turn this on briefly, which is done by flipping up the hood/reflector. I also use it to read fine print.

For reading a book or an e-book reader, you can also reverse its positioning if you prefer (as I do) to hold the book higher than on your lap, and then flip the reflector down instead, so that the light angles up.  But if someone is sitting across from you, that may not be very comfortable for that person, as the Led lamps would be directed at their eyes too.

 I do love that it's always available when I need extra light.  No, I'm not associated with the company that makes them.  I was just tired of clipping on a light and adjusting it, as much as I love the ease of external lights like the Mighty Bright Xtraflex 2 which has the little foam pad where the clip-on meets the top of the Kindle's bezel.  The Beam N Read is pretty good at keeping the light from reaching the other person for night reading in bed.  There are times that I would like a somewhat brighter light, and when I do (not when reading a Kindle), I've used:

  The 6-LED version (Updated 4/17/17, evening, to link to newer version)
  Their newest 6-LED version is VERY bright and probably overkill for reading a Kindle 6" reader, though I've sometimes used it for situations where the light is just dim.  I tried one for other uses, and for my Kindle DX in Landscape mode.  The batteries for this last, they say, about 50 hours, vs the 100 to 120 hours of the 3-LED model.  This 6-LED model never came with batteries included although it has a magnifier for short-session, detailed craft work.  I personally found the magnifer texture quite hard to see through and it's not a feature I'd use.

  I DO use both Beam N Read units for piano music though, depending on how well the room is lit.

  I had bought a head lamp for a trip I took in October 2011, since we needed to go into some unlit places (Egyptian tombs!), but I don't at all like wearing something around my head just to read so I wondered if there was anything like this.  Amazon doesn't make this easy to find, but I've found it extremely useful for any e-reader. And when out at night I'm often asked what that is that I'm wearing. Having slipped in the rain recently on a rain-filled metal cover I stepped onto, I'm even more apt to use this when I'm out and the lighting is bad.

Here are photos of the effect of two reading lights on my Kindles.

Lit by the now-discontinued Amazon cover with built-in light, the upper right hand corner of my Kindle 3 (UK: K3) ("Kindle Keyboard") is brighter than the lower-left area, of course, and the light isn't as bright as I like but it's useful if you're out and need a light for reading.  That special cover light needed no batteries, as it ran off the Kindle's own battery, and it did shut off automatically if the Kindle went into sleep mode after about 10 minutes.

The second picture is of the same Kindle lit by the Beam N Read 3-LED light -- the lighting on my Kindle 3, in this case (no flash was used, as you can tell from a click of the image that leads to the EXIF camera data included with the larger image at PBase) is very even and brighter overall than from the one built into the Amazon cover, but one would seldom wear the Beam N Read when out, probably, though I've definitely done it :-).

Again, I hope this helps some who are looking for good lights to use with the Kindle.  I did the various photos, as choice of a light has been one of the most asked questions on the Kindle forums.

Here are reviews and user feedback cited as well as a page on "Uses" of this unique light, at the company's website, collected from several types of communities, including gadget and e-reader blog sites.  At the Amazon product page, the light, though not promoted by Amazon as a Kindle light, has customer reviews with a high average rating.

I do use this light daily, as I don't have to worry anymore about which light fits which Kindle model and because I use it for other purposes as well, as mentioned.
  Remember that I like to reverse the way it's worn when I'm reading in sitting position as I prefer to hold the Kindle higher than some do.

UPDATE for new product offered by the company:
Beam N Read USB Power Kit
This power kit allows plugging into USB for external power.  From the company: "The kit includes a 6 foot Beam n Read-to-USB cable plus a 6 foot USB Extension cable enabling one to plug in up to 12 feet away from the power source.  The cables can be plugged into the included USB/AC adapter or into a USB hub, USB car adapter, the USB port on a computer, the USB socket on your airline seat, and other devices" - USB adapter/chargers, etc.

So, Beam n Read is a portable, personal light that delivers extra long battery runtime and, now, the ability to use external power via USB.  As the company points out, most lights can’t plug in; some can be plugged in for recharging but have relatively short runtimes; a few can be plugged in for external power but those also have relatively short battery runtimes.  And while most older models of other brand lights can’t use USB, older model Beam n Read lights CAN use the USB Power Kit.  I'm going to try one out.

  While I receive many offers of products for review, I don't do actual reviews, writing only about products I've bought and really enjoy.  In this case, I've bought some for friends, and friends have bought them as well.  It's just an unusual, generally very-useful product.

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. Any idea if Amazon is planning to update its B&W Kindles this year?

    1. Gordon, sorry for the huge delay -- I've not been active on this blog, although I'm planning to change that.
      I do keep up with gadget news, on the whole, but have not heard a hint re Amazon plans to update the b&w Kindles this year. On the other hand, I didn't expect the May updates for the Fires either.


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