i think maglites are a design classic. i'd put them in a similar category to sigg water bottles (that i did a post on here). they are just very simple, very functional, and therefore very useful. i thought, like sigg, that they were a swiss design, but they are actually american. and the newer 'mag LED' designs are the most efficient. apparantly, a new set of batteries will last literally days if you leave it on!
the LED versions do cost a bit more, but the saving on batteries alone surely makes it worth it. i don't think i'd have much use for the larger model (below), but the above model (the 3w LED torch) is compact but powerful, and costs about £20. not bad!
and the solitaire (below) costs only a fiver!
link to mag