Thursday, November 17, 2011

BoaMag Review

I'm getting older. While it's nice to think I'm getting good things, like a don't-sweat-the-small-stuff attitude or more and better stash, I'm also getting negatives like worse eyesight. I had Lasik surgery about 6 years ago that gave me a wonderful result but I am still more comfortable with a good light and a good magnifier. I love my MagEyes but wanted something with lighting that would also be useful while traveling.

So when I saw this, I thought it might be pretty good. It's the BoaMag, a "Power LED lighted Flexible Neck Magnifier/Flashlight, item SM-22" from Carson Optical. It has a 2.5x magnifier with a 5x spot and is powered either by the included AC adapter or 3 AAA batteries. Now I've seen what appeared to be clever stitching tools only to find the item sadly lacking. So I ordered this little gem from Amazon (they have free shipping and a great return policy) and gave it a test run.

First off, it's doesn't weigh much. My kitchen scale says it's 11.5 ounces without the batteries so it's nice and light for a carry-on bag. It measures 31 inches from tip to tip. The bulk of the flexible neck is firmly flexible except the 2 inches at each end. The light is easily adjusted to the correct side for right- or left-handed stitchers. I played with the magnifier a bit. The focal point is about 3 inches below the lens. The lens itself is plastic and appears to be clear without any obvious optical ripples. No lens cover was included so I'll have to cut down a new sock to fit over the lens to protect it. Then I plugged it in. The switches at each end are slides so they shouldn't go on accidentally like the little press-button lights do and then drain your battery so you're stuck in a dark place with no light. (Grrrr...) The lens side has 3 LED lights and is pretty bright. The other end is a flashlight with 3 LED lights too, so together they focus pretty good light on your work without lighting up the whole room. I was especially happy about the adapter because I've had to buy that "not included" and they're pretty expensive! I haven't tried it with batteries yet (batteries upstairs, broken ankle me downstairs) but the LED's shouldn't drain the batteries too quickly. I stitched with it for about 2 hours and found it quite comfortable without sagging out of shape. The neck can also curl into a free-standing position so that it can work as a lighted stand magnifier.

Pros: Lightweight, easily adjustable, good lighting.
Cons: No included lens protection.

Overall I like this little magnifier lamp. It will be handy for traveling and stitch-ins. Amazon, you may keep my money.

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