|The Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 attached to "the Stefano."|
After trying two book lights (one of which was a dismal failure and the other so-so) for the purpose of sketching in dark or dimly-lit auditoriums, I finally found a third one that I think will meet most of my needs: the Mighty Bright XtraFlex2. The light has two levels of brightness. I tested it out at home in a dark room, and I was afraid even the lower level might be too bright (and therefore annoying to others) in a dark auditorium. I put a piece of white tape over the two LED bulbs, and that brought the illumination down to the right level.
I was hoping the Seattle Choral Company concert that I attended Saturday night would be a prime opportunity to test it, but St. Mark’s Cathedral was relatively well-lit during the performance. Still, I took advantage of having the light with me to fully illuminate my sketchbook, and it did make sketching easier. Unlike the Mighty Bright Ultrathin Book Light that I reviewed previously, the XtraFlex2 casts a wide, even light that illuminates my whole sketchbook spread, not just a 2-inch circle. The tension clip attaches firmly to the Stefano’s leather cover. The XtraFlex2’s gooseneck flexes in all directions and stays in whatever position you put it in (much better than the Ultrathin, which is like a flip phone).
My only complaint about the XtraFlex2 is that, while being lightweight, it’s a bit bulkier than I would like. (That was one benefit of the Ultrathin, which took up no more space than a thin flip phone.) But then, ever since I started sketching, I haven’t been able to carry a little evening bag to concerts – I bring my full-on Rickshaw Bagworks bag, just like I do everywhere else – so maybe bulkiness isn’t much of an issue. By folding the gooseneck in half, the XtraFlex2 fits acceptably, but it’s not something I’d keep in the bag all the time as I could with the Ultrathin.
I think it’s a keeper (until I find something better).