Energizer PMZH21 – A Review

Disclaimer :

  1. I do not claim to know it all and thus do not wish to be held liable for anything that arises out of this “article”.
  2. I bought this unit myself for personal use (not sponsored nor affiliated).
  3. This “article” is subject to updates (if any are applicable).
  4. For the safety of others and yourself, never shine the light into other’s eyes. Keep it away from children whom may not be able to follow such instructions. The beam can impair or cause irreparable damage to eyesight due to its brightness.

Index

1. Opening

2. About the torchlight

3. Issues

4. Troubleshooting

5. Hypothesis of the cause

6. Customer service

7. Follow up

8. Closing

Opening

*The terms: “flashlight”, “torchlight” and “torch” are used interchangeably and mean the same thing.

A torch which meets the specifications of a good torch, let down by a possible design flaw and customer service.

About the torchlight

The Energizer PMZH21, sports 400 lumens and a range of 115 meters (both on high mode). Powered by 2AA batteries (which are widely available), one does not need to crack their head when it comes to batteries.

It operates on 3 different modes and an additional function:

  1. High mode (brightest);
  2. Low mode (dimmest) and;
  3. Strobe (SOS mode which runs on the high mode)
  4. Long pressing the “on” switch activates a mode called “Digital Focus” which from its default spot light mode transitions into flood light through a diffused lens. (This mean you get a wider, more even output of light)

Additionally, thanks to its “O-rings” it is IPX4 rated – able to withstand splashes from any direction, thus its use in rain should be fine.

Note: This does not mean its waterproof and neither should it be soaked or submerged in any liquid. More on IPX ratings here: http://justelation.com/ipx-ratings-described/

It also meets the ANSI / NEMA FL-1 standard which seeks to standardise flashlight or torchlight testing across the board, in hopes of reducing or preventing manufacturers from simply slapping exaggerated numbers on its specifications and its run time.

More about it here: https://flashlightwiki.com/ANSI-NEMA_FL-1

The color emitted is daylight and has a neutral white temperature which means that it is not super white to the point it glares and gets uncomfortable.

The torch is advertised as “designed to last 20 years” but from my testing, it only took a few days before issues started to creep up, a month plus before one would no longer switch on due to bad contacts and surviving the almost non-existent customer service*.

*Seriously, they do not have a dedicated customer service department.

After some pondering, I think the aircraft grade aluminium body is what’s supposedly designed to last 20 years as it falls short of its bold claim.

Issues

Summary of issues:

  1. Powering off randomly
  2. Flickering
  3. Not powering on or responding to “on” switch

Here is a short video illustrating the issue

Troubleshooting

To troubleshoot the issue I changed a new set of batteries, which were absolutely of no help as the contacts were in my opinion problematic right of out the box. I then checked for leaks or any damage to no avail.

Hypothesis of the cause

Upon closer inspection, the part where the battery head (positive side) meets the terminal was a little slanted. Granted that it was dropped, I gave it the benefit of doubt. Regardless of the drop, it is advertised as being able to take a drop up to 1 meter (100cm) so it should not just go “kaput” like that.

Pictured below: replacement and substitute torch positive contacts, out of the “box”.

Customer service

I contacted support via their online page and submitted the relevant information, waited a few days and nothing happened. I then made a call and got hold of them and was told to send them an email instead as the system may have experienced some technical issue(s).

Speaking to them over the phone was pleasant but writing was a different story, I assume that the feeling was mutual.

To sum things up,

  1. Communication was poor, I did not know that the courier service would first come and collect the defective torch, when they would come, and their initial insistence on having me pack the item.
  2. Deadlines were not meet, I was told that it would be shipped on a Thursday and in reliance of that I waited at the location only to be told that the person in charge only passed the replacement to the receptionist on Friday itself, leaving me literally in the dark and the whole exchange process was to say the least frustrating and stressful. This also resulted in a change of address as I returned to my hometown.
  3. Energizer International support was of no help either, telling me to contact the Malaysian office (which I was already in contact and dissatisfied with).

I even went out and got another one while waiting for it to arrive.

Guess who stood out in the midst of all this chaos? The receptionist cum operator who answered my calls and took the necessary action by getting my address on the spot, over the phone.

A simple matter that took 13 days to sort out.

Follow up

When the replacement finally arrived, my opinion or hypothesis above was further solidified as the positive terminal was once again, slanted. It was the same case for the unit that I got while waiting. All the 3 units that I have come use, suffered the same issues as mentioned above. The only difference being the later 2 units did not die like the first which was collected by them.

Feedback and the above hypothesis was also communicated, subsequently brought to the attention of the manufacturing plant, unfortunately, they have not responded to Energizer Malaysia.

I then contacted Energizer and provided a link of a Youtube to better illustrate the flickering issue and am glad to say that there have been some improvements in the way my complaint was handled and this time, delivered on their promise when it came to shipping its bigger brother out for testing.

Undoubtedly, it has made for a less frustrating experience when their torches are, in my opinion, defective.

Closing

Until and unless the issues above are sorted out, please keep your money or seek an alternative.

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