Audio Reviews Review Reviews

Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless Headphone Review

I did a review video a few months ago on the Anker SoundBud Sport and since then they have been my most used wireless headphones. I really like them and have been using them when I mow, around the house cleaning, and more. Today’s review is on the new Anker Soundbuds Curve. Thanks for Anker for sending these

Check them out at Amazon http://amzn.to/2wxH2VM

The Soundbuds Curve take what’s great from the Soundbud Sports and changes how they stay in the ear with a hoop that goes behind the ear. This helps them stay in place when being active like our running.

 

Sound is just a little bit better then the Soundbuds sport in my opinion. The bass is fuller and more robust definitely. I think this is due to the slightly larger size and how they fit into the ear.  I didn’t have any trouble with bluetooth range while I had my phone in my shorts pocket while wearing the headphones. Pairing was easy too by just holding the center button on the remote. The remote has volume up and down as well as the ability to skip tracks.

 

These headphones have CVC Noise Cancellation technology, an important thing to note about this is it’s for phone calls only. These are not a replacement for your Bose noise cancelling headphones for use on mass transit. It only works for phone calls, not music playback.

 

I have found them comfortable to wear for hours at a time  during normal uses. However the larger size does have a drawback. While traveling sometimes like to rest my head against the wall of the plane, my hand, etc. These stick out of your ear a bit more making that not as comfortable. During normal uses though they are very comfortable. There are 3 different ear wing sizes and 3 tips so make sure you get the right size for you. For the best sound quality you want the tightest fit.

 

Battery life is claimed at 12.5 hours at I assume a 50% volume. I found this to be pretty accurate. It is more runtime then the Anker Soundbud Sports, and I would expect that due to the larger size there is more space for a battery. These charge pretty quickly, a 10 minute charge will give you about 30 minutes of run time. Charging is easy over microUSB on the remote.

 

No IPX Water rating is given but instead Anker says they are water resistant and nano coated. In my experience with the Soundbuds Sport, sweat and light mist will be fine but take them off before a major rain storm or taking a shower.

 

What’s in the Box?

In the box you have a round zipper case which contains the headphones themselves and a with a small carabiner to clip onto your bag, . Other accessories include a short flat microUSB cable for charging and a total of 3 different ear wings, and 3 tip sizes. Oddly enough for me these fit well in my ear the first time and I didn’t have to adjust anything. You also get a small clip

 

Summary

For the price, especially when they go on sale, I can definitely recommend the Anker Soundbuds Curve because they sound good, have great battery life for their size and are comfortable to use. Check them at Amazon while they are on sale for a limited time http://amzn.to/2wxH2VM

Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Anker HS2 Runners Headlamp Review

2017 has seems to have been the year of the headlamp. Today I have the Olight HS2 which is a bit of a break from the usual design of using a right angle light found in many headlamps. Thanks to Olight for sending me the HS2 so that I could take a look and review it.

Full Photo Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/URvhR

Youtube Review:

For more details and purchase check out the links below.
http://bit.ly/HS2eBayUS
https://www.olightstore.com/led-flashlights/headlamps/headlamp-olight-hs2

The HS2 is primarily designed to be used for runners. Olight’s CEO is an avid runner and wanted something small and lightweight but with runtime to use for early morning or late evening runs. While it should work good for that it also will work for other headlight tasks decently well. However it’s lack of a very low (Moon light mode) does limit very up close work or hiking where you want to preserve your night vision.

 

Physical appearance

The HS2 takes a different approach to their other headlamps by using 2 drivers and two different optics to give you both flood and a bit of throw at the same time. Each emitter can be used independently or together and I will go over UI in a bit. The small emitter up front is removable from the strap but not the plastic holder. This detached piece allows you to power the light via microUSB if you want. When on the headband it’s attached via a coiled wire to the head strap. The battery pack is a small rectangle that when worn goes on the back of your head. The switch is a large blue button on the left hand side of the headstrap. The connector between the two pieces was very stiff to plug in the first time. You really need to force it until there is no gap. If you purchase an HS2 and it’s not working make sure you check this out.

 

The head of the light is removeable from the band. It looks like the nut would allow you to do this but instead it disassembles the light itself. To get it off, you can slip it off the strap itself but not off it’s holder. Similarly the battery is sewn into the strap making removal or replacement not possible. The biggest problem I see with this is if I wear this out running and get it all sweaty I would like to wash the headband. With this setup and the IPX4 water rating you can’t just throw it in a machine. You can rinse it in the sink but that’s about it. IPX4 means it’s water resistant to splashes and light rain and normal dirt. That’s a little disappointing because it limits washing, but from a practical use for runners it should be ok. Weight is right at 4 ounces ready to run. Overall build quality is good and what I have come to expect from Olight.  

 

Since this was designed as a runner’s light to be worn on the head, I think at a minimum it would have been nice to include a piece of reflective tape on the battery pack, and if you took it a step further maybe 1 LED on the battery pack itself to act as a “tail light” for other runners, bikers, cars while out running.

 

Performance

This light uses a Cree XP-G2 LED in cool white. One LED is behind a lens to focus the beam and the other is behind a frosted piece of plastic to diffuse it. The result is one floody light and one more spot. I didn’t notice any abnormal tint shift in the output of the cool white but would like it more if they offered a neutral white version. All modes have PWM but it’s not something that I noticed.

 

Olights runtimes have been proven to be accurately published and the HS2 is no different.

  • Mixed Beam High – 400lm – 2hr 12 min
  • Mixed Beam Low – 100lm – 9hr
  • Throw Beam High – 200lm – 4hr 30 min
  • Throw Beam Low – 50lm – 18hr
  • Flood Beam High – 200lm – 4 hr 30 min
  • Flood Beam Low 0 50lm – 18hr

 

There is no step down due to temperature or time and I really like this. In my testing the head of the light got up to 117F after 10 minutes of run time. That is HOT but it doesn’t touch your skin so I think this is acceptable. This light normally runs at the LiPo backs nominal voltage of 3.7V but if you choose to run if off a USB battery bank it will also run on 5V. This gives you a bit more performance because of the increased voltage. The UI and operation remains the same no matter what power source you use.

 

UI

The UI of this light is pretty easy. For startup, between modes, and at shutdown there is a nice fade in/out ramp. The light has two brightness modes on each LED and on both combined. You can run it on Flood, or Spot, or Both at the same time. To switch between them, just double click after the light is already on. Triple click to activate an SOS mode (Both LED’s at the same time). This light does not have a memory mode and always starts in high with both LED’s burning. I ended up running both LED’s at the same time during most of my testing. I think for most running applications people will use both as it lets you see what’s around you and directly in front the best. To turn off just long press and the light will gradually power down.

 

The lack of a mode lower than 50 lumens limit’s this lights use for some traditional headlamp activities as 50 lumens is more then you need in many cases at short range or while trying to preserve night vision.

 

Charging

Charging of the onboard 2000mah lithium polymer cell, is accomplished via micro USB on the battery pack itself. Using the included cable plug it into your favorite USB power source. The 4 small blue LED’s will come on to let you know it’s charging. When all 4 are lit and solid you know it’s ready to go. These also serve as a battery indicator just press the button to get an idea of the available charge. This setup allows you to run longer if by hooking up to a larger mobile powerbank via a wire if you would like. This light will work while charging too.

 

This light does have a low power indicator, while using it. When the battery reaches 10% those LED indicators will begin to blink. You will also get an audible tone for 10 minutes. If on high combined and you switch a lower mode you will get more runtime. To stop this just press the blue button. Since the battery is mounted on the back of your head hopefully you will be able to hear the beeping even with headphones in. I do wish they had a visual indicator at maybe 20% (Fast short strobe) that gave you a little extra time to get home before things went dark.

 

Packaging

Packaging is typical Olight. It’s high quality printed cardboard. Inside you got a micro USB cable to charge that’s olight branded but not proprietary. On the outside of the box you have the typical relevant information to learn about the light in a retail setting. I really like that Olight included a zippered carrying case to keep everything together. I wish more headlights on the market did this.

 

Pro

  • Nice light profile (Flood + Throw) with smooth ramping up and down.
  • Great runtimes on low and good on high, No stepdowns in output due to temp or time.
  • Really easy to use UI and charging system
  • Comfortable and balanced head band & light weight operation
  • Can run from a USB Powerbank at 5V to increase runtime and performance.
  • No assembly of the headband itself is required

 

Cons

  • I would like an additional low lumen mode which would make the light more versatile.
  • I wish the light started in Low mode not high.
  • The light and battery should come off the strap to allow you to wash the headband or improve the IPX rating.
  • Currently no high CRI or NW options

 

Summary

I was at my local runners shoe store over the weekend and they were selling headlamps for runners for nearly $40 that ran on AAA batteries. The Olight HS2 is clearly better than those for a price that matches its performance. This is a specialized headlamp for runners and it makes some design compromises that would make it a little better for hiking or camping uses like lack of a moon light mode. It’s arriving on the market at a good time as the days are getting shorter and the runners are still out in force. I think this would make a decent hiking or camping headlamp too given it’s nice mix of flood and throw though still. I have enjoyed using it around the house and in my yard because of it’s light weight and split beam characteristics and can recommend it, especially if you are a runner

For more details and purchase check out the links below.
http://bit.ly/HS2eBayUS
https://www.olightstore.com/led-flashlights/headlamps/headlamp-olight-hs2

Review Reviews

Eufy Genie Review

Today I have a brand new product from Eufy, the Eufy Genie. This Genie is like the Amazon Echo Dot which I also have. A special thanks to Eufy for sending me the Genie to feature on my channel and compare it to my Echo Dot. My feeling is that this is going to be a little  longer review but I will try and keep it short.

For a limited time you can get the Eufy Genie under $30 on Amazon by using this link http://amzn.to/2wk2wXP

The Eufy Genie is black glossy plastic around the edges with flat black plastic on top. It’s round in shape and it’s profile tapers in. On top there is a small LED ring of multiple RGB LED’s that light up when in use and give a status indicator.

I really like how when the Genie is not active the lights shut off. It seems like my Dot likes to come awake all the time. I didn’t like it in my bedroom for this reason. However the Genie so far is great in my bedroom as it doesn’t produce extra light when not actively being used.

The speaker is downward firing and is even from all angles. There is a Micro USB power input in the rear and a ?” audio connector for audio out. Both the power supply and audio cable are included in the packaging.

Setup is slightly more complicated with the Eufy Genie then the Amazon Dot. After powering on I launched the Eufy Home app. You have to create a login, and it’s not shared with the Eufy website. I do wish they added SSO signin options which would make signing in with your Google or Facebook account. Once logged in the app guides you through joining the wifi network the Genie creates, once joined you pick your real wifi network, input your password. You can stop there but you shouldn’t you want to signin to your amazon account to allow the Genie to get access to Alexa services and skills. Once logged into Amazon basic setup is done and you can start asking your Genie to do stuff like ask it the weather.

 

Sound Quality & Voice Responsiveness

The speaker is much louder on the Genie then on my Dot. Anker seems to be doing some EQ processing on it on to prevent distortion when loud which is good but has the side effect of removing the lower tones. When listening to Local radio, podcasts, etc. It leaves something to be desired when listening to the latest top 40 hits.

The synthesized voice is good, it’s a little different then the Dot but sounds similar. I found voice responsiveness to be equally as good as my Echo Dot.

Pros

  • Price point is lower. This makes it great for a second device or someone just wanting to try the technology.
  • Louder & better quality speaker (Although less low end) then the Amazon Echo Dot for a lower price
  • Has most of Amazon Echo Dot’s feature set built in including all the skills.
  • Will control Eufy other smart home devices like the upcoming robovac or lightbulbs.

This is a brand new product and Eufy is making firmware upgrades to address some of these issues. As of August 2017 here are a few of the limitations.

  • The Genie can’t be used to voice command Spotify or Pandora (This is expected to be fixed soon)
  • The Genie can’t use the call Echo feature yet but this is expected to be fixed soon.
  • The Genie can’t do voice ordering from Amazon at the moment
  • There isn’t a bluetooth radio but there is an aux cable to attach a larger speaker system if you wanted to. I don’t’ think this is as big of deal given the improved sound quality.
  • As of right now you can’t rename the command key phrase
  • Setup is slightly longer due to having to set it up in the Eufy app and the Amazon Echo app.

 

Value Proposition and Summary

As of late August 2017 the Eufy Genie has a few limitations when compared to the Amazon Echo Dot. Most of these will be fixed with software updates soon according to Eufy within 2 weeks. Once the firmware is updated and many of these fixes are in place,  I feel like the two devices will compare closely enough that I can with confidence recommend the Eufy Genie. I like that the speaker is louder than the Dot. In my bedroom it’s easily loud enough to read me the news, stream a local radio station in the morning while getting ready, or listen to a podcast. It won’t be my main music device in my bedroom due to lack of low end tones but it’s great for something that’s easy and voice controlled. I like how the Genie builds on an already established platform and nearly all the Amazon Echo skills are available and compatible. Best of all is the price. At normal prices you can save about $10-15 over a Dot and get a louder speaker.

EDC Flashlight Reviews

Blitzwolf BW-ET1 Review

This light was provided by Bangood for testing and review. They have provided a Coupon code for anyone interested in purchasing that brings it to $25.95 when you use the coupon code 8980bc at Banggood https://goo.gl/iaWk7P

Small Photo Gallery: http://imgur.com/a/oCojV
Video Version of this review:

The Blitzwolf BW-ET1 is a small pocket carry flashlight  that was sent to me by Banggood for testing. It’s main feature is it’s ability to ramp brightness instead of defined modes. Blitzworlf is a brand probably better known for their electronics chargers and cables. To me it looks like they took a lot of inspiration from Anker in the packaging and brand philosophies.

The EBW-ET1 is one of two flashlights that I can see Blitzwolf is currently making. Construction is average quality. There isn’t anything bad to report nor is there anything extraordinary. Anodizing seems standard, with a light gloss to it, there is a lot going on in the design of this small light. This light does come into quite a few more pieces then I expected, 6 to be exact excluding Orings.  This has the potential to be a place for increased water ingress even though it’s rated for IPX-8. You are able to unscrew the tail cap and remove the neodymium magnet if you don’t want it.

It can run on AA batteries or 14500 lithium cells which is how I am running it for increased performance. If you use AA then you can use 2 of them with the optional extension tube, it can’t use two lithium batteries though.

Emitter
This light uses a Cree XPL-V6 LED that is listed as having a 5000k warm white output. In my testing it’s not as warm as my Nichia 219b in my Reylight Pineapple. https://youtu.be/pt9YqSoZ1aw?t=6m20s The light does have a hot center spot with a lot of flood. No beam distance is given. The lowest mode is listed as 2.5 lumens with a 14500 and 600LM with a 14500. If battery voltage falls below 3.4v turbo is not possible with a lithium battery. It doesn’t have a low voltage protection for lithium cells, so a protected battery is recommended. Maximum temperature achieved during my one minute test was 90F.

Controls 
With the stepless controls you press the only button and hold, stopping at the brightness you want. Once you let off the button if you press again you’re going down in output. The light will blink once, to let you know you’re at 1% brightness, twice to give indication you’re at 50%, and strobe 3 times to show your at maximum brightness. There are shortcuts to jump to 100% brightness by double clicking the mode button. If you triple click you will get SOS/Strobe mode. Long pressing in this mode allows you switch between patterns. Double click to exit this mode. The light also has memory that can only be reset by removing the light. No button lockout is mentioned so it’s best if you use physical tail switch for that. https://youtu.be/pt9YqSoZ1aw?t=4m25s

Packaging
In the box you get the flashlight itself with single battery tube, hand strap, soft light baton, manual and warranty card. For the normal price I think you really should get the extra body tube and definitely a pocket clip. The box itself folds out nicely and is foam lined. The manual has taken a lot of influence in it’s design. Its simple, straightforward and easy to use.

Mine didn’t come with a pocket clip which means as an EDC it’s not going to work with my system very well. Some of the marketing photos show a pocket clip. It’s a small narrow light so if it had a pocket clip it should work decently well. I checked with Banggood to see if mine was just missing a clip and they said no. is a size comparison with other 14500 lights I have like the Reylight Pineapple and Olight S1A.

If you can catch this light on sale at a good price then It’s a decent option for a neutral white stepless light that will run on AA or 14500 cells. At normal price it’s more on the expensive side of things. Mine didn’t come with a pocket clip which means as an EDC it’s not going to work with my system very well. For a light marked as a EDC, the lack of a pocket clip is a killer. Moving past that this light has pretty solid performance for it’s size and I like it’s in a neutral white by default.

Pro’s
-LED Tint is nice at 5000k
-I like that it comes with a soft light baton, I wish more lights came with this as standard
-Stepless driver is nice and easy to use

Con’s
-No Pocket clip included. It’s very needed on a light this size
-The extended battery tube should be included
-No low voltage protection with lithium batteries. Use of a protected battery is strongly recommended

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Nitecore SRT9 Revew

The Nitecore SRT9 is the latest light in the Smart Ring series of lights from Nitecore. It offers 8 different modes of light, including Red, Blue, Green, and UV led’s in addition to the main cool white Cree XHP50 LED. The [Nitecore SRT9]-https://goo.gl/qSmr7B was provided by https://bestlight.io Use code LIQUID and save 10% off your orders at https://bestlight.io/ including the Nitecore SRT9

Video Review https://youtu.be/BAJyr8pWEQg

Image Gallery Fullhttp://imgur.com/a/7F7gO

This entire light feels super solid, like it’s built like a tank. The walls where the cells are is pretty thick machined aluminum. The exterior design feels rugged and with all the cutouts it holds well in the hand. The body design isn’t too aggressive to tear up a hand or pocket. The head is more aggressive. I like how the labeling is minimal on this light too. The anodizing is good and even. It has a bit of a gloss to it.

This isn’t a small or lightweight flashlight. The side by side battery design I really like. It help keeps the light from getting too long and fits nicely in my hand. That said with batteries it’s pretty heavy at 11.4oz.

The head has some nice cooling fins on it as well as a warning to warn that it gets hot. The very front is steel bezel and finished with a silver paint/anodizing. The lense is recessed a bit for protection. The reflector itself has a light orange peel and then but outs for the 4 colored LED’s. I will go over beam pattern a bit later.

The tail cap is also very solid feeling. The latching mechanism takes some getting used to. https://youtu.be/BAJyr8pWEQg?t=2m21s You have to push both buttons/pins in at the same time to get the tail out while pulling. Even with practice it takes me a little bit. I find pushing them back in produces a very satisfying click and is easier. Don’t worry about this coming off accidentally, I just don’t see that happening. The bad is that there are no polarity markings on the tail cap, exterior, or interior of the flashlight. You can put batteries in backwards in this light. While there is reverse polarity protection it would be good if Nitecore would have put markings or keyed the tail cap in a way so it only goes in one direction.

This light is listed as having a beam distance of 246M, impact resistant to 1.5M, IPX8 water resistant.

This light uses a Cree XHP50 LED. It’s a quad package and pretty large die size.

It’s only available in a cool white tint for this light. Nitecore lists its range in this light as 0.1 lumens to 2150 lumens. In my testing and comparison to other lights 0.1 lumens isn’t accurate, I would put it more at 4-5 lumens. The UV LED is listed as having a 365nm light output. It’s not the brightest UV available. I am used to my Convoy S2+ UV being so strong. I think the best use for the UV is to check documents and money and also spot scorpions in your general vicinity while hiking. Red is listed at 13 lumens, green at 19, and blue at 3 lumens. When I tested the UV LED on money I got some interesting results.

On the US $20 bill both the SRT9 and Convoy S2+ UV lit up the security strip without a problem. However on the $100 bill the SRT9 didn’t show the strip, and the Convoy did. Not sure why, maybe the wavelength isn’t complete?



The Selector ring is how you change modes in this light. First you have an on off click button in the rear of the light which can be used for momentary operation. When on there is a blue LED on the side of the light that illuminates to let you know it’s on. It lights up about every 3 seconds. The reason this is there is because the light can be in on mode but you can have the selector ring in the “off position”. This also serves as a low voltage indicator when the light is on. The main selector ring is near the head of the light in a natural position when holding it in your hand. When in this off position if you move the ring to the right you feel a detent and then it starts ramping up the light. This allows you to dial in the exact amount of light you want or need. It’s a cool system. There is a detent at the top of this mode to let you know it’s reached the highest amount. Beyond this there is a fast strobe. Now if you turn the selector right to the left from the center position you get UV, followed by Red, green, blue, strobing Red/Blue, then White beacon mode. Color modes are not adjustable in brightness.

One thing I wish Nitecore would improve on the SRT9 is add some markings on the selector ring to index it. I plan to add a dot of white paint on the ring and body of the flashlight in the middle of the modes. That way I know if I turn to the left I get the colored modes, and if I turn to the right I have the ramping of the main flashlight.

Beam Patterns of this light are a little different. In white mode I was expecting distortion due to the cut outs for the color LED’s however it doesn’t really have one. https://youtu.be/BAJyr8pWEQg?t=8m39s The center is hot with plenty of spill. Nitecore claims this will go 245m and I could easily get it go 200. The color modes however each have significant distortion. You notice it the least on the UV color but Blue, Green, and red all have a lot of distortion and don’t always shine to the center. Run times vary due to all the different configurations available. On 18650 batteries nitecore quote the color modes as lasting for 48 hours, and white, on ultra low 250hrs, turbo for 1 hour.

This light can run on 4x CR123A or 2x 18650 batteries which is my preference for cost and runtime. I only had luck getting this light to run on button top cells. The unprotected flat tops I tried didn’t work. You can’t use magnets to create button tops for flat tops on this light due to the magnetic interference with selector ring.

This light does have a constantly running processor according to the manual. I measured the drain at 12.2mA. When I put this light through my standard 1 minute on Turbo it got to 90F degreese. When I was using it this weekend I found heat to be pretty well controlled and it didn’t feel too hot to hold especially for it’s output.

Packaging is standard Nitecore black and yellow box. Outside has a very retail look to it. Inside you get a plastic tray with the light, lanyard, holster, manual and an extra tail cap rubber piece. The holster is a nice heavy nylon thats shaped to fit this exact light. On the back it has a pretty heavy duty plastic D ring and a velcro belt strap. The front attaches with velcro. It’s decent quality.

The clip is a bit of an afterthought on this light. It’s nearly in the middle, and mounted so the head is up always. and at least on mine it’s not tight to the body. Given this light’s size I don’t see this as an EDC light. I don’t think I will remove mine because I do see some value in being able to clip it onto a pocket temporarily but I think I will use the lanyard for a more secure hand hold.

Summary
Over the weekend I took the SRT9 with me to a Milky Way photography class I went to. It turns out this isn’t the best light for that because it ended up being a bit too bright in red mode, and moon light was brighter than I was hoping for. However after everyone was done I played with it more and found it great to move between sites, and pack up the car etc. People including myself were impressed at how far it could throw. To me the best feature on this light is the selector ring. It works really well and makes it super intuitive to use. The colors and modes make this a very versatile light. I think it’s my favorite light in July.

Pro’s

  •  I really like the selector ring interface
  • This light feels like it’s built like a tank.
  • White beam pattern is good considering the cuts in the reflector. It throws pretty well.
  • It’s nice to have a light with some color options and a great interface to access them.

Cons

  • No polarity markings in the battery compartment. Read the springs on the bottom. Spring = Negative
  • I wish there was an external visual indicator for the beginning of the ramp.
  • Ultra low doesn’t seem to be the 0.1 lumens advertised.

 

Use code LIQUID and save 10% off your orders at https://bestlight.io/ including the Nitecore SRT9

Uncategorized

Harnds Talisman CK9168 Knife Review

The Harnds Talisman is a chinese designed and made knife that stacks up an impressive value. It’s a larger unassisted flipper running on ball bearings for under $30 most places. Gearbest sent this to me so I could tell you what I think.
 

Image Gallery – http://imgur.com/a/p6BRi
Video Review

Use the coupon code JonMCK9168 to get a sale price of $22.79
at http://www.gearbest.com/pocket-knives-and-folding-knives/pp_593383.html?lkid=11002175

This knife is running on small bearings and flips really smoothly right out of the box. It’s an unassisted flipper, Many budget blades or even higher end knives need some break in time. The Talisman was really smooth right out of the box and centering was great. It did have a bit of excess oil that needed wiped off but that’s not a bad thing. The flipper seems to be at a pretty good angle but not perfect. It has some jimping http://i.imgur.com/5pg0pwU.jpg on the flipper itself to aid in deployment.
 

The blade is a modified drop point shape, that’s full flat ground in a satin finish http://i.imgur.com/x3UjKZ0.jpg and made of AUS-8 Steel. I like drop point blades and I find it to be a great slicer both in practical everyday tasks like opening packages and envelopes, and food prep. AUS-8 is an ok steel, slightly better than 8Cr13Mov. Some big knife companies like SOG use it on a lot of knives that cost way more. Out of the box sharpness was good but not hair popping sharp like some of the Ganzo’s I have gotten. This should be a quick touch up though and then it will be great, just don’t expect it to hold an edge without some up keep. The grinds on each side of the blade are nice and even. Lockup http://i.imgur.com/2OaMqLJ.jpg is a little early on this liner lock. I would guess this will wear in and improve as you use the knife.
 

This knife users a custom pivot screw head the presentation side http://i.imgur.com/MmGnBpC.jpg. On the locking side it uses T8 Torx for the pivot and body screw, on the clip screw it’s a T7 Torx. The screws are flat and appear to be well made and I didn’t have any issues with them stripping.
 

The black G10 is contoured and profiled http://i.imgur.com/x3UjKZ0.jpg. It fits in my hand decently but isn’t the most grippy surface. The hump in the middle isn’t quite in the right place for my hand but it’s not too bad either. If you’re used to G10 from Ganzo this is much smoother. When in the hand this isn’t a problem but when pulling it out of my pocket I wish I had a little more grip. The look is attractive and with the G10 layers it almost looks like wood grain a little. There is jimping on the top spine of the blade thats really nice. It’s not too aggressive, or to passive.
 

The clip is thankfully a very deep carry http://i.imgur.com/IfWGlNa.jpg. It’s a loop over design, tip up right side carry only. It is removable but you would have to disassemble the entire knife and you can’t mount it any other way. It’s a little shorter than most and I think this makes it a little harder to grab, or you have to adjust your grip. The clip fits pretty tight on the body of the knife yet at the same time is pretty easy to insert onto a pocket. Overall it’s a great clip!
 

The liners opposite the lock side of the knife are milled and skeletonized to reduce weight. That’s a good thing unfortunately it’s still not the lightest knife at 5.2 Oz Ounces. That said for a knife that has a 3.5” blade and decent blade stock it’s not too bad. At this price range I don’t expect milled liners. This is a simi flow through http://i.imgur.com/0hFUY0Q.jpg design and the backspacer runs about half the length of the knife and has a nice texture milled into it for added grip. The lanyard hole is oblong and on the larger side. This will make attaching paracord easy if you want to do that. All the surfaces have been nicely finished and there are not any sharp spots where there should not be any. This attention to detail is impressive for this price category. The packaging is nothing special but it does include a manual which can be seen here http://i.imgur.com/OslF0BB.jpg
 

On the Gearbest website this knife is as “Girl Pocket Knife” and I can’t figure out why. Nothing about it is specific to one gender or another. It’s a little more gentlemanly but definitely on the larger side of things. Overall this is a pretty solid knife for the price. It carriers better in the pocket then I thought it would due to the contoured edges and deep carry clip. For the price point the steel is what i would expect and it looks like Harnds has good quality control throughout production. The action on this knife is great and I expect it to get better as it breaks in more and if I take it apart and clean out the bearings and lubricate. If you are looking for a 3.5” flipper on bearings for under $30 I would definitely recommend you add this to your list.
 

Use the coupon code JonMCK9168 to get a sale price of $22.79
at http://www.gearbest.com/pocket-knives-and-folding-knives/pp_593383.html?lkid=11002175

EDC Flashlight Reviews

AceBeam EC35 Review

Here is my review of the Acebeam EC35 in Neutral White LED color. Check this light out at Bestlight.IO https://goo.gl/g69jzz

Flashlight Reviews

ArmyTek Wizard Pro V3 Review

Use the coupon code RED for 10% future orders on ArmyTek.com

This is my first ArmyTek light and after having it a few weeks and using it frequently, I don’t think it will be my only one for too long. Flashlight enthusiasts on the internet, especially on reddit are quick to recommend the ArmyTek Wizard line of right angled lights and headlamps for a variety of uses. I am glad that ArmyTek sent me one for review so I could experience why it’s one of the most recommended brands out there. I can clearly see why. During this review I will be comparing the ArmyTek Wizard Pro V3 with my recently reviewed Olight H2R. Both are headlamps of very similar size, using the same LED and similar battery sizes. Comment down below and let me know what you think of this light.

Complete Photo Gallery – http://imgur.com/a/nEa3p

Headlamps are useful not only as a headlamp, but in this case as an EDC, when repairing cars and around the house hold. Not only will it tail stand but it will stand on it’s head or on either of the sides. A light like this is useful for strapping onto your chest, or straps on a backpack or tent.

Design & Coating

Size wise this is almost identical in length to the Olight H2R, and it’s very similar in diameter too. With the more square head it’s slightly larger in the pocket. Weight wise without batteries they are 2.85oz for the Wizard and the Olight H2R is 2.22oz. Here is a picture where I lined up several similarly sized lights so you could see the size.

 

When I first got the light I was worried that the button on the side of the light would be a problem due to how it sticks out of the light. However it’s a firm press and has not been an issue other than the one time I was laying directly on it. The button is translucent and has a multicolored LED underneath that it uses to display information such as heat, mode, etc.

 

This light is coated in a mat black finish that is slightly grippy. It’s a finish I have not seen on any other flashlights. The one bad thing about this coating is that it does show scratches and abrasions worse than normal anodized aluminum. I keep my phone and light in the same pocket usually, and have noticed it seems like I have more wear on the coating then normal, some paint seems to wear off my phone case and transfer to the body of the light. Most of these rub off with a little water.

 

The design of this light has a few aggressively shaped areas that I find attract more dust and pocket lint than normal. Up near the head there are several sharped cooling fins, and between these they attract a good amount of dust and lint. Then at the bottom the transition between the body and  tail cap also collects a good amount of dust/dirt around the first oring, the good news is it doesn’t get beyond this point. I think that’s the purpose of this dual oring is to provide water and dust resistance even when the tail cap isn’t 100% screwed on like if charging or in manual lockout.

 

This light is a little aggressive on the labeling in my opinion. I prefer a flashlight with minimal labeling and this one doesn’t get my stamp of approval in that regard. It has labeling on top, on the side, and around the tail. It’s larger white letter on the black body do stand out.

 

Performance

This light uses a Cree XHP50 and combined with its diffused TIR style glass lens it’s primarily a flood. This one is the white variant and it’s fairly neutral but not warm. ArmyTek lists it as having a 70 degree hot spot and a 120 degree spill. Range of brightness is anywhere from 0.15 lumens on firefly 1 to 1800 Lumens on Turbo. Run times range from 40 Days on Firefly 1 to 1 hour on Turbo 2 (if proper cooling is supplied).

 

Modes

If you are familiar with other recent ArmyTek lights then the interface is the same as those. If you are new to ArmyTek like I was there is a bit of study needed. The entire 3rd page of the manual covers how this light operates. I am not going to go over everything in this review but will go over the high points. This light is organized into 4 mode groups. The brightness in each sub group is memorized

 

  • Group 1 – 3 Firefly Modes
  • Group 2 – 3 Main Modes
  • Group 3 – 2 Turbo Modes
  • Group 4 – 3 Special Modes

 

From off

  • One click turns the light onto its previously memorized mode and brightness.
  • Two clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in main mode.
  • Three clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in Turbo mode.
  • Four clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in special modes.

 

Long pressing the button from off cycles through the available modes Firefly through Turbo 1.

 

From On

  • One click turns the light off
  • Two clicks turns from firefly to main or main to firefly or special/turbo modes to main mode.
  • Three clicks goes to turbo mode
  • Four clicks goes to special modes

 

2 Philosophies of use – General and Tactical. General is a normal flashlight, click the button and the light stays on. In Tactical it turns the button into momentary, so the light is only on when the button is pressed. To switch between them you unscrew the tail cap by ¼ turn and then press and hold the button, while screwing in the tail cap.

 

Battery Level Indicator – Uses the LED under the button to flash a series of colors every 5 seconds. Green is between 75-100%, Yellow is below 75%, Double yellow, is below 25%, and double red every second is below 10%. The light doesn’t do this in Firefly mode and you can turn this feature off by a series of button presses and cap rotations.

 

High Temperature indicators – When the light reaches 60C brightness decreases in small steps to cool down.Once cool it will step back up to deliver the most light possible. Timed step down is not used in this light. As temps increase you get a series of LED color indicators on the button. Warning is 3 orange flashes, at critical temps you get 3 flashes in one second.

 

Beamshots can be found on the video  https://youtu.be/3Kc_LjbqV3c?t=11m31s

Charging system/battery + Parasitic Drain

Having onboard charging of lithium flashlights isn’t anything new. Lot’s of manufactures do this in a variety of ways. You have seen me talk about Olight’s magnetic charging in past reviews. More recently the concern about live contacts and the dangers of potentially shorting the battery have become more vocal. The ArmyTek system was designed from the beginning to alleviate these concerns and it’s one of the best systems out there for this. Let me explain how it works.

 

The Charging cable itself is white, and uses USB on the input end. On the other end is a magnetic connection with several LED’s inside. The tail cap has a large recessed center pin and a smaller outside ring. To charge the light you need to slightly unscrew the tailcap. Due to how it’s anodized when it’s tight it breaks the circuit. Unscrew it a little and the circuit is complete and the charging begins.  The LED’s are solid red while charging, Red and blinking if there is a problem (Forget to unscrew the tailcap slightly?) and solid green when charged. They also use a diode in the tail cap to prevent short circuiting via the exposed tail caps should you forget to screw in the cap after charging. The other big benefit is that you can charge any normal battery that fits. No proprietary batteries! The downsides to this system is that it’s a little slow to charge by modern standards. I measured it at 0.7A when the battery was at about 40% capacity and charging. If the battery is discharged a good amount this means charging via the built in charging may take several hours (5+). You must lay this light down or stand it on its head when charging. That’s one place where I do like the Olight charging system better.

 

Included was an ArmyTek flat top cell without protection. It’s recommended that you use a battery that can maintain 7A discharge in order for Turbo mode to work. Parasitic drain was measured at 0.05 mA.

 

Thermal Management

The thermal management in this light is active. Using Turbo for instance the light will provide as much light as possible until it gets to 60C and then it will step down the light giving it time to cool, and then it will power up again to deliver maximum possible brightness assuming the battery has enough voltage. So if you are in a situation where you have a fan or wind cooling the light it will run brighter longer. During my standard test, at 1 minute during Turbo the light reached 111F.  I don’t have the equipment to test and graph  the step up and down but I can show you with a glass of ice water.

 

I don’t often write about the manuals of many flashlights, but in this case I want to say it’s the most complete manual I have seen on a flashlight. It does a good job of explaining its features and has great grammar and spelling. This isn’t a poor translation, I believe it’s written by native english speakers. I think this is a benefit from this flashlight being Designed in Canada and not overseas.  I highly recommend a read through or two of this manual to better understand all of it’s modes and available options.

 

The packaging is a nice white, retail box with a few key details on the outside. Inside is a plastic shell that holds all the goodies. Inside you have the flashlight and an Armytek branded high discharge flat top battery, extra orings, headstrap, handstrap, nylon plastic cradle, and the manual printed in color.

 

As a Headlamp

Some assembly is required with the headstrap. The manual has a section with diagrams that shows how to set it up which is nice because it was a little confusing. I decided to install my headstrap without the over the top piece. I didn’t find it was necessary with the weight of the light when I was using it on home repairs, and an oil change during my testing. It also comes with a handstrap. I didn’t use this during testing but it’s a nice touch. I could see attaching it to the strap of a backpack, or for use when running.  The straps themselves are an elastic cloth that seem pretty sturdy. They are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The plastic cradle is a nylon I would guess as it’s pretty flexible. It has cuts in the top, and both sides to make it easy to remove. My one negative is that when mounted on the strap the mount itself can slide around pretty easily instead of staying in place on the band .

 

As an EDC

I was skeptical at first of carrying a right angle light as an EDC but after the Olight H2R it worked pretty well. The Armytek Wizard V3 is even better due to it’s pretty fantastic clip design and button. The clip might be my current all time favorite of any flashlight I own. It’s deep enough carry, but sticks out enough to easily go on many different types of pockets, or bag straps. It’s rigged yet flexes if needed. My only wish is that it was parkerized black or cerakote instead of a polished tumbled finish. It takes quite a bit of effort to pull the clip on or off the light and it does leave some light scratches on the finish. It seems to rub off though. The clip is not fixed in place so it does rotate if you want it to. The button is proud and protrudes from the light a decent amount. I have had it come on once by accident in my pocket but that was only after I was laying on that side of my body. Due to the smart modes on this light, it didn’t come on in turbo so burning myself or clothes wasn’t a problem. The light does offer lockout if you unscrew the tailcap slightly. I will also add that due to the charging system I covered above there is no worry about shorting the battery while carrying the light in your pocket due to a diode being used and the disabling of the exterior contacts when the cap is screwed on tight. The light also features a pretty strong magnetic base that has no trouble holding the weight of the light to a metallic object securely.

 

Summary

The Armytek Wizard Pro V3 is a fantastic headlamp and EDC in my opinion and testing. It’s peak performance isn’t quite as high as the Olight H2R but it’s advanced mode options, advanced thermal managements, and well thought out safe charging system all for a slightly lower price than the competition make it a very good choice for a fancy headlamp, and an 18650 floody EDC option. The Olight H2R has a more simplistic mode map, but also doesn’t do nearly as many things or has as many modes. Being my first ArmyTek light, I found the modes took some study to fully understand and remember but once I did they made good sense. I think this makes a fantastic choice for a headlamp but can also be used for an EDC, or general purpose light.

 

Pro’s

  • Active thermal management allows the light to be the brightest it can be but keep temps safe. Allows up and down management of lumens.
  • Safest built in charging system, works with any 18650 battery that fits.
  • Very well built with an excellent 10 year warranty
  • Excellent pocket clip for EDC carry

 

Con’s

  • Exterior writing on the light is more than I like to see.
  • The modes are a little complex without first reading the manual. Once you understand they are very logical.
  • Not the fastest built in charging system but probably the safest

Use the coupon code RED for 10% future orders on ArmyTek.com

Up Next is the Acebeam EC35 NW