If you were to ask anyone on the street to show you
the flashlight on their keychain (if they have one),
there's a pretty good chance that they would pull out
a very worn Maglite Solitaire. Maglights are just so
popular and have such good coverage throughout this
country that a lot of people have them. Unfortunately
most of those folks don't know what they're missing.
Although they appear to be a decent little keychain
light on the surface, the beam produced is very weak,
anemic and generally fairly useless. The gorgeous anodized
finish takes a beating when carried with keys and within
a week or two starts to look like it's been through
The body of the Solitaire, first out of the package,
is usually a very near perfect Type II anodize finish.
Type II anodize, however, is not known for its durability,
especially when constantly banging against keys, keyrings,
change, etc. The light is still fairly tough and can
take a moderate beating and still work. The body and
head are grooved to improve grip and it can stand on
its tail end.
Inside the head of the light is a tiny little bulb
and an adjustable reflector behind a plastic lens. A
spare bulb is carried in the tailcap but it is so minuscule
you must be careful not to drop it and lose it as it
bounces out of sight.
Switching is accomplished by twisting the head. The
light beam starts out very ringy and full of huge holes
and gaps. By focusing it down you can get a fairly tight
beam which is of limited usefulness due to the small
amount of overall light produced. The wider focus settings
are essentially useless due to the rings and holes produced.
The Solitaire is sealed with O-ring at each end of
the light to give it some degree of water resistance.
Maglite recommends lubricating the O-ring and threads
with petroleum jelly once every 6 months to keep the
light working properly.
A single AAA battery (included) powers the Solitaire
but a runtime is not given on the packaging. I would
hazard to guess a maximum of 2-3 hours of light, but
I'll have to test that when I have the chance. To change
the battery simply unscrew the tailcap, drop out the
old battery and insert a new one, positive first.
completed with Rayovac brand batteries. More information
on runtime plots is available HERE.
Included in the package is a short lanyard which attaches
the Solitaire to your keyring so that you can shine
it at a keyhole and use your keys at the same time.
This is, by the way, about the only range I would recommend
using the Solitaire - keyhole to key distance.
What I Liked: Water resistant,
Easy battery change, Lightweight, Stands up
What I Didn't Like: Dim, Lousy
beam, Poor output in general, Case anodize takes a real
beating in the pocket.
Other Things I Noticed:
Conclusions: A fair keychain light
but nothing to write home about. Starts out looking
great but the finish quickly deteriorates. At least
they're inexpensive so they can be easily replaced.
I'd consider it more of a novelty than a serious lighting