Key Smart’s Nano Torch—one very bright, pixel

Useful for your travel kit

Jon Peddie


We chase pixels here at Mt. Tiburon Testing Labs, so when Key Smart’s rep asked if I’d like to look at the company’s new flashlight, I thought, why? But then I thought. What is a flashlight but a projector without an LCD? And yes, I was intrigued.

If you ever wanted a small but powerful light, you should check this one out. It’s 4.5-inch long, and a little surprisingly heavy. Not heavy heavy, only 3.25 ounces but solid, it feels reassuringly solid. That’s because made from machined aluminum, which makes it a bit heavier than a typical plastic torch. It also makes it much more durable; it can take some knocking around and drops. It’s probably watertight too, although the company doesn’t advertise that.

The Nano Torch is designed to last, and it has some damn nice features. In terms of lasting, it uses a CREE LED that’s rated for 50,000 hours—you’ll never have to change that lamp. If you used it for 8 hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, the lamp would as 25 years.

Since we never read the manual or instructions, it took a few tries to turn it on. You must press the power button and hold it down—and there’s a good reason for that. The button has five functions in addition to power on/off. After the lamp is on, pressing the button again raises the brightness; a second and third press raises the intensity two more levels.

  • Low—100 lumens and 7-hour runtime
  • Medium—250 lumens and 2.5-hour runtime
  • High—600 lumens and 1-hour runtime

And a fourth press will make the lamp flash SOS, while the fifth press makes it a strobe light. In the strobe and SOS mode, the light is at max brightness (600 lumens) And, when you turn it off, the Nano Torch Twist remembers the last brightness setting and comes back on in that mode. I don’t recommend turning it off while in strobe mode.

One of the coolest features is that it has a Li-ion rechargeable battery. The company says the Li-ion will give you 6× the current an AA carbon battery can provide, which translates directly into brightness. All that is good, but the best part is the battery comes with a built-in charger and a micro-USB socket and features a battery indicator light that turns green when fully charged.

And, it has a swivel head and a strong magnetic tail cap and pocket clip for hands-free use. 


The company says on the highest setting, the Nano Torch Twist reach is about 110 m.

The Key Smart Nano Torch Twist sells for $60 and comes in clear aluminum or black.

This is torch you’d want in your toolbox, your car, your go-bag, and beside your bed. It would also make a damn fine gift.