Thrunite TN12 Pro (18650 EDC Thrower for under $50, 1900 Lumens)

Today I am looking at the Thrunite TN12 Pro, it’s a slim form factor 18650 light, optimized for a throw, and tactical applications, but can serve that EDC roll as well for those that prefer a tail cap switch and turbo shortcut. Thanks to Thrunite for sending this to me to review and show you guys.

 

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Buy the Thrunite TN12 Pro at Amazon https://amzn.to/3HikEpp

 

Packaging & Accessories

The packaging here is standard Thrunite, protective, nice but not over the top. Accessories that come with the light, is the 3400mAh button top protected 18650 battery, lanyard, orings, spare port cover, pocket clip, nylon holster, USB-A to C charging cable, and manual.

 

Design & Construction

The TN12 Pro is made of hard anodized 6061 Aluminium and features a mechanical switch in the rear with a textured button that is a shortcut to turbo. It has protective rings around it which feature a milled-out area for the lanyard. The pocket clip mounts at the rear. The body section has small, deeply milled lines that provide a significant amount of grip but shouldn’t rip things up. The head section is glued to the body. The head is similar to most other Thrunite designs with the same style silver button, with a voltage indicator LED in the middle with an antiroll ring around it. The bezel is not removable but does have rounded crenulations to allow light to leak out if placed face down. Inside the reflector is smooth and deep. The lens is AR coated. Inside the light has a fairly stout spring at the rear as well as the front. It’s a dual wall light to allow for the use of the front and rear buttons. 

A note on the name here, Thrunite has traditionally used the TN naming for lights that didn’t have onboard recharging and used TC for lights that had onboard charging. They through out history when choosing the name here as it’s a TN but does have onboard recharging. Labeling here is minimal just the brand and model number on the front, and directly opposite the required markings and serial numbers. Other brands should take note of how small and minimal this branding is. 

 

Retention

Retention options are several here, first, you have the branded lanyard that can attach at the tail if you wish. You also have the nylon holster the light comes with, it’s one that Thrunite uses with other lights this size, plastic Dring, sewed dring, elastic side, and soft interior. 

The last is the pocket clip which mounts at the rear of the light. It’s a dual direction clip so it can be clipped to a hat if you want. While this isn’t as deep of carry as I typically want on an EDC, you rarely get that on a tactical light, so the 0.85” that sits above the clip is ok. 

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 5.15”, minimum diameter at 0.94”, and maximum diameter at 1”. I measured the weight at 5.07oz with battery and clip. Thrunite rates the TN12 Pro as drop resistant to 1.5 meters and IPX-8 water rated.

The main competitor to the TN12 Pro is probably the Olight Warrior Mini 2. The Thrunite is larger in all dimensions as well as weight which came in 0.82oz heavier, without the magnetic tail cap properties of the Olight, although these are mainly for charging.

 

LED & Beam

The LED being used here is the Luminus SFT40 LED in cool white. I measured it with my Opple Meter at 6000k 65 CRI. It’s a flat top LED in a relatively small package. The resulting beam is a small hotspot and very minimal spill. The throw is this light’s main thing and it does that well out to a claimed 380 meters. Some people have complained about coil whine on high mode, but it’s not something I can personally hear here. There is PWM but it’s very fast. 

 

Output Measurements

Here is a chart for my measurements of outputs using my DIY Lumentube. Everything was pretty close except for Turbo I couldn’t quite get to the claimed 1900 lumens. 

 

Heat & Runtime

I will try to let the graphs do most of the talking in this section and point out a few high points. Turbo runtime was good for about 2 minutes, jumping from near 1800 lumens to 800, in what looks like a thermal regulation with temps reaching 56C. There is one more step down to 400 lumens gradually out to the 7-minute mark which is where Thrunite gets the 7-minute runtime number from.

Turbo and High modes had very similar output curves with the only difference is really where they start at. Medium mode ran out past 6 hours. In all modes, the light runs at the end in low/firefly for several hours. 

 

UI

UI is similar to Thrunite’s standard UI, but with direct access to only Turbo on the tail cap. The light has the normal Eswitch up front and mostly normal UI there. Long press from off to go to firefly, however long pressing again shuts it off instead of going to low. Once in low, you can press and hold to cycle between low, medium and high. To access turbo double press the front switch or just turn on the rear tail switch. To get to strobe triple-click the eswitch. There is memory mode, here when the eswitch is used for low, medium and high only. As a result of the construction here there is no mechanical lockout. 

 

I did notice one UI feature that I think maybe a bug. When in medium mode if you leave the light for a few seconds, hit the button again expecting to bump up to high mode, instead the light bumps down to low. 

 

Recharging

Recharging here is accomplished via USB-C port that is capable of charging via C to C and or PD. Max charge rate I saw was 1.7A without issue in a near-constant current charge mode till the end. The total charge time of the included 3500mAh 18650 from LVP at 2.93v was 2:46:00. Full charge was measured at 4.18v.

The port cover here is worth mentioning. Like many, it’s rubberized silicon that pushes in place. They have a little dovetail to help keep it in place, but I find it kind of hard to push in and keep in place when in use. I found if I push the cover in and then pull it to the front of the light, it’s easier to put it in the dovetail and keep it in place. 

 

Final Thoughts

I have mixed feelings on the TN12 Pro, it’s not radically different from other models, but it’s a pretty great value if you’re looking for a throwy 18650 with onboard USB-C charging, cool white, and instant-on Turbo via the tail cap. 

 

For me, this doesn’t meet my EDC needs, but this isn’t really where the design is focused, as I feel like it’s more on the tactical side of things with EDC being a second thought. I had a hard time putting the port cover in place and keeping it there, it’s like the silicone is just slightly too long.

Overall it’s a good value right now with the coupons that are being offered on Amazon for a complete kit light if this niche is what you’re looking for and I think you will be happy with it. However, this isn’t different enough that I would rush out and buy it if I had a previous version or a light that did something similar. 

Buy the Thrunite TN12 Pro at Amazon https://amzn.to/3HikEpp

Sofirn HS20 Review (2700 Lumens, High CRI, USB-C)

It’s been a little while since I took a look at a new headlamp, well that ends today with the Sofirn HS20, a dual emitter headlamp with onboard USB-C charging and a really simple, yet effective interface. Thanks to Sofirn for sending this to me to look at and tell you about. I have been using it the past few weekends for auto and home maintenance. 

 

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Purchase Links

Amazon Coupon Code to Save 20% “20R4QHLW

Sofirn Direct Coupon Code to save 15% “SDT4CYG2

Coupon Codes are valid until 6/20/22

 

Packaging & Accessories

Typical basic packaging here from Sofrin, just enough to ship the light safely and nothing more. Accessories include the headlamp, the over the 3 strap headband, 3000mAh 18650 button top battery, USB-A to USB-C charging cable, a lanyard, manual,  and a box of extra origins. 

 

Construction & Design

The light is made of aluminum and hard anodized black, the most durable color. The design here uses the proven form factor of keeping the battery low horizontally, and the emitters above it. The light has 2 emitters one for flood and the other for flow, and I will talk more about those in the LED & Beam section. Above the emitters are the buttons to turn each on and adjust modes. Each are independent which makes the UI here easy. Each button has a green LED’s in side as well that server as a voltage indicator too.

When looking at the emitters, the left side cap unscrews to remove the battery, it goes in plus side facing the charging port which is on the right side under a tail cap showing the USB symbol. Markings are minimal with just the name, model number and battery on the front. On the back you have your CE markings and serial number. On lights with the SFT40 LED, the serial number will end in SF.

 

Retention

The headband it basic but very functional. It’s the standard 3-piece which for this light might be overkill as it’s not that heavy but I like the 3 strap designs as it keeps things in place better I think. There is no grip on the inside of the bands as you see sometimes on premium lights. The elastic has Sofirn woven into the elastic. All this attaches to a silicon mount that attaches to the light inboard of the tail caps. 

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 85.53mm, the diameter on the tailcaps at 26mm. Height came in at 47mm, and thickness at 24mm on the tube. Weight with the battery and headband comes in at 6.22oz. The light is IPX68 water and dust rated and has impact resistance to 1M. Here are some comparison photos to other 18650 headlamps. 

 

LED & Beam

The light ships with 2 emitters in 2 different versions. The floody emitter (smaller lens) is a Samsung LH351D in 4750k tint with a CRI of 96 according to my Opple meter. This is the same on both versions. The difference is in the larger Spot emitter. Mine shipped with the Cree XHP 50.2 LED that I measured at 5360k with a CRI of 68. The XHP 50.2 is a bit of an odd choice for a throwy emitter, and as a result Sofirn now sells a version that replaces the XHP with an SFT40 emitter which should increase the throw distances substantially.  When both emitters were on together I measured 5180k and 75CRI. There is some PWM here on all modes, but its minimal.

 

Measured Outputs

I will put up a chart here of my measured outputs vs what Sofirn claims. In general, they are pretty accurate. 

 

Runtime & Heat

With 5 brightness modes, 2 LED’s there are a lot of combinations here, I focused on the higher outputs here to make output graphs with. All of these were tested with the LH351D and XHP50.2 version of the light, and tested on my calibrated (but still homemade) lumen tube and the included 3000mAh Sofirn Battery.

Under Turbo with both emitters on, at the 30 second mark, I measured 2220 lumens, and this declined pretty quickly within 4 minutes it was down to 290 lumens because the heat had climbed to 55C. As the light cools slightly it does step up in brightness to around 500 lumens. Effective runtime here was a little over 2 hours. The light remains on longer then this but only in eco mode. 

I then compared turbo on each emitter independently, and you can see the results of that.

I am currently running a few more runtime tests in High mode and will insert my findings of those here. I don’t expect any surprises. 

 

UI

The User Interface of a headlamp is important, and with the Sofirn HS20 It couldn’t be simpler. The light has 2 emitters, and a dedicated button to operate each. It’s the same UI on both, and neither is codependent on the other. The light has memory mode so when you press either of the buttons it comes on in the mode previously used except for eco or turbo. To change modes you just press and hold to cycle through low, medium, and high. To get into eco just long press from off, and to get to turbo just double click. 

 

Recharging

Recharging here is accomplished via USB-C. It’s under an aluminum screw-on cap on the end of the light. Under the cap, there is a red and green LED’s to give charge status indicators. The light is capable of charging via USB-C PD, and will run when charging but at reduced output. From LVP at 2.798v to Full at 4.165v it took 2:18:00 to fully charge, with the charge rate reaching about 1.5A during the CC charging phase. 

 

Conclusion

Sofrin has another good light on it’s hand here with the HS20. It’s basic UI makes it really functional, and easy to use while at the same time being really effective. With my Cree XHP50.2 version here there isn’t a ton of difference between flood and throw, but that should be greatly improved with Sofirn choosing to swap it out for a SFT40 LED. It’s the version I would recommend you pick up because of that reason. 

The tints are pretty neutral, and I like that it has the flood beam be high CRI, and pretty neural despite a small amount of green tint, which is common for the LH351D LED’s. 

 

Overall a good affordable headlamp that should suit a variety of tasks well. I do wish it had a lower eco mode since 5 lumens is as low as it goes and that’s only in flood mode. My preference would be more around 1 lumen. I think everyone needs a headlamp as you know if you have seen other headlamp reviews I have done. This would be an excellent pickup in my opinion. 

 

Sofirn has generously provided a discount if you choose to pick up this light, I will have that info in the description along with links to where you can pick it up on Sofirn’s website and on Amazon.  

 

Purchase Links

Amazon Coupon Code to Save 20% “20R4QHLW

Sofirn Direct Coupon Code to save 15% “SDT4CYG2

Coupon Codes are valid until 6/20/22

Wuben G2 Review (500 Lumen, P9 LED, Flat Keychain Light)

Wuben has a new flat keychain style light out with the G2. It’s a little different with the LED being on the flat side, with a wide large reflector, USB-C rechargeable, and can crank out up to 500 lumens in turbo.

 

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Pickup the Wuben G2 at https://www.wubenlight.com/products/wuben-g2-mini-flashlight

Use code “LRG220” to save 20%

 

Packaging  & Accessories

The packaging is a nice clear box, with the product labels being stickers on the top and bottom. Inside the box includes the light, USB-A to C charging cable, a gray plastic clip, and manual. 

 

Construction & Design

The G2 is flat light, with the reflector on the flat side. Its body is made from aluminum and is available in 3 colors currently, black, Blue, and Green which I have here. The ends are both plastics. At the bottom end there is a plastic keychain ring that twists on and off, it can be a little tricky to put back on. Under this is a magnet that is strong enough to hold the light vertically on a painted metal surface without an issue. 

In the middle is the P9 LED and TIR optic. On the sides there is the connection point for the pocket clip which I will talk about more in a minute. 

 

At the top is the USB-C charging port. It has a silicone flap covering it. It’s not a very tight fit. The light doesn’t have a dust or water rating as a result. This is an area for improvement in future versions. Next to the charging port is the switch. It sits nearly flush and I had no issues with accidentally activating it.

 

Retention & Size

Size here is 2.3” x 1” x 0.36” thick without the clip. Weight is 1 ounce without clip. There is no water or dust rating officially for the light. With that flap I think it would probably struggle to meet the standard specs.

Retention options include a plastic clip that clips on the rear of the light in some indentions. This isn’t necessarily a light or clip designed for front pants pocket EDC but more to strap on to a bag, hat, etc. The clip is stiff. It also has a split ring attachment that twists off to reveal a magnet underneath too. 

 

UI

The UI on the G2 requires a Long press to turn on when the light is off. This really mitigates accidental activations in my experience. The light has a memory mode to the last previously used setting. To adjust between the 4 modes when turned on, just press the button. The double press goes to turbo.

 

LED & Beam

The LED being used here is an OSRAM P9 LED. My Opple meter measured 6050k at 68 CRI as well as some PWM on high. The beam is mostly flood with a small hot center thanks to the TRI style optic. A good beam profile for up-close work for a light this size. 

 

Outputs, runtimes, temps

Official outputs on Turbo were 500 lumens, and I measured 437 lumens initially, with a fast decline in under a minute to around 190. High is rated at 200 lumens, I measured 190. Medium is rated at 65 lumens I measured 61 at 30 seconds. Max heat I saw on the body of the light was 36C near the end of the runtime. Total runtime starting in Turbo was 40 minutes as well as in High mode. Medium lasted out to 2 hours of runtime which is longer than quoted. 

 

Recharging

Internally the light contains a 280mAh lithium polymer battery. When I tested the capacity I got slightly more than this at about 314mAh. The total charge time here via USB-C was 1 hour. The light is USB-C PD compatible but you don’t get any benefits of the charging speed here with such a small battery. There is a small LED near the button that goes red when charging, and blue when charged. 

 

Final Thoughts

At less than $20 with my discount coupon, the G2 is a decent keychain light. I like the small thin nature, it’s smaller and thinner than most car key fobs and produces a good amount of light for its size. It’s smaller than some of the Nitecore lights I have like the TIP which is similar but larger than some of the Royvon lights. 

I don’t like that the silicone port covering the USB-C port is more of a flap. It’s not really a seal, and the light carries no water rating as a result. I did pour some water on it in the sink and it was ok, but it definitely won’t survive a full submersion. Hopefully, they can come up with a better cover in the future. 

 

It has a really broad floody beam but with a super small center hots spot, thanks to its TIR optic. It works for the close-range tasks it’s designed for pretty well. The cool white LED isn’t my favorite but it works. Overall a decent keychain light for the money.

 

Pickup the Wuben G2 at https://www.wubenlight.com/products/wuben-g2-mini-flashlight

Use code “LRG220” to save 20% 

BLF/Sofirn LT1 A2 Review (Update on the popular BLF Lantern)

BLF/Sofirn LT1 A2 Review (Update on the popular BLF Lantern)

Rather than a full review this week, I wanted to update everyone on the differences between the current BLF/Sofirn LT1 A2 and the original I have here in black. You really should go back and read or watch my original review for all of the various in’s and outs. Thanks to Sofirn for sending this to me. If I have any coupons or things I will post them in the description along with the links to my social media. 

 

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So what’s changed? 

In short, Sofirn has made a few changes to the driver board to update a few shortcomings of the original LT1 and bring it into 2022. 

The biggest change here is the UI. The light still is Anduril firmware, but this time it’s Anduril 2. I am not going to go into extensive detail about all the changes to this UI, that’s been well covered by others since it came out, but it’s generally a little easier to use as Andruil 2 ships in the simple mode which is all your basic functions, brightness, ramping vs stepped, tint shift etc. You do have to enable Advanced mode (10 click/hold) to get into the special modes that allow you to use candle mode and lightning mode. It works really well on the lantern if you haven’t tried it. 

 

PCB

The Driver PCB has been changed in the A2 version. The original featured pogo pins that were easily accessed by just removing the head of the light, these were useful for firmware updates, etc. However, on A2 this has been eliminated, and now to do similar things you have to unscrew the screws holding it in and use a SOIC clip to make changes. I would show you this but I found my screws to be extremely tight and began to round out one of the screws so I just stopped. 

Another change is that all 14 of the 7135 chips are enabled by default. On the previous version, you could easily bridge connections on these to customize the LT1 for maximum brightness (all chips enabled) or maximum efficiency with only 6 enabled. LED’s remain the same Samsung LH351D LED in 2700k and 5000k to give you maximum flexibility. Enabling all of the 7135 chips, is worth about 200 lumens difference according to Sofirn. 

I did do a runtime test to compare the two, and the original lantern does hold out longer, likely due to the slightly lower output, It ran on its the lowest output forever, vs the A2 version did eventually shut off sooner. I didn’t measure lumens here since the lantern doesn’t fit or is really suited for my lumen tube. 

 

The V2 ran using 100% warm output to 6:26:00, the V1 ran in the same settings out to 9:40:00. As you can see from the graph the V1 ran a lot longer but this long time was really at 1% or less of relative output. The difference more at 100% was 90 minutes different with the V1 running longer but as I mentioned at a somewhat higher output. So the name of the game would be to run the V2 at less than 100% output to match the V1’s runtime. 

 

Powerbank Function

A heavily requested feature that’s welcome to see in the A2 version is that the lantern can act as a powerbank. With up to 4 x 18650 batteries inside, there is considerable power here to tap in an emergency situation. I used my discharge equipment and got out about 7301mWh discharge. It could 

Charging seems to be faster here too. I charged it from where it shut off to full in 6:40:00 vs the original took 10:15:00 so a nice increase but still safe. 

Another small change I noticed was that the LED button went from a moderate to low power orange on the original to bright green on the A2 version. It’s a bit too bright in my opinion but luckily you can turn this down in the firmware in advanced mode. 

 

Accessories

While the light doesn’t ship really with any accessories I did want to mention this because I have put a few on mine that I plan to replicate here on my A2 version. First is the carrying case, it’s really a case for a JBL Bluetooth speaker but it fits perfectly on the LT1 and allows extra space for a charging cable and charger if you wish. The link to this case will be below. Sofirn now sells a similar version of their own too.

I have also bought a magnet that threads into the ¼ 20 threads. It’s rubber-coated and strong. It has the ability to hold up the light when placed on a slick surface horizontally. It’s a great addition in my opinion. 

 

Lastly, I have 3D printed a shade, now this isn’t the best quality it was when I was really new to 3D printing and still learning. I should redo it now that I know a bit more. It’s nice if you’re going to be using it for a long time to keep the light out of your eyes, the bad thing is it’s not compact.

 

Final Thoughts

While not an essential upgrade, the changes made on the PCB with the addition of the powerbank feature, and Anduril 2 make for a light that’s easier to use for newer users and a great addition to the survival and camping aspects of the light with the powerbank feature. 

The question of if it’s worth picking up another is hard to say, It’s still a heavy lantenr with a somewhat high center of gravity. I think you should have more than 1 if you are in an area prone to nasty weather or lose power frequently. If you can solder you can also pick up a PCB from Sofrin direct to upgrade your original LT1 too which can be a nice option too for some people. Overall a nice addition to the family.

If you haven’t seen my reviews of the original LT1 I would recommend you check that out after this video. I also reviewed the LT1S recently which is the short version, it’s a great lantern, and in the coming weeks, I will review the LT1 Mini so make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss that one. 

 

Sales and Links

Black with $10 off Coupon on the page, Use code (107RGP70) for another 10% off https://amzn.to/3wBm76s

Green, Desert Tan, Orange https://amzn.to/3NtTHRv

Sofirn Direct (Save 15% with code OM2ELDVF) https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/sofirn-blf-lt1-anduril-2-rechargeable-lantern-super-long-working-time-with-power-bank-function-ship-from-usa?scm=spz.search&ssp=spz

Sofirn Direct (Save 15% with code OM2ELDVF) https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/sofirn-blf-lt1-rechargeable-lantern-with-power-bank-function-adjustable-color-temperature-long-working-time?scm=spz.search&ssp=spz

 

A2 Circuit Board https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/sofirn-lt1-driver-new-version?scm=spz.search&ssp=spz

 

XANAD Case https://amzn.to/2KABHqb

Sofirn Carrying Case https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/carry-case-for-blf-lt1-or-jbl-flip-4?scm=spz.search&ssp=spz

 

Link to the Magnet I have https://www.ebay.com/itm/373022347244

I think this one will also work https://amzn.to/3Gge9mC

 

Oremake Kiritsuke 8″ Chefs Knife Review (A kitchen knife by Olight)

What if I told you a flashlight maker, who has some pocket knives is getting into kitchen knives now too? That’s right Olight who’s best known for making Flashlights has a new spinoff brand Oremake which has released a few kitchen knives recently. This is the 8” Kiritsuke model, with a high carbon “Damascus” steel and G10 handles. Thanks to them for sending it to me to take a look at and review. 

 

The YouTube version of this review: 

 

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Check out more on the Oremake Kiritsuke 8″ Chefs knife at

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3wtvXWT

Oknife.com: https://www.oknife.com/products/oremake-8-inch-kiritsuke-chef-knife-t-co69-damascus-steel-blade

 

Packaging & Accessories

The packaging here is nice and very similar to Olight’s flashlight. It’s a white box with a descriptive sleeve of the model you have with details. Accessories are limited but they include a plastic blade protector with “felt” on the inside, a manual, and a microfiber cloth.

The only accessory the knife comes with is a plastic sleeve that’s lined with a felt-like material. It’s made for this blade, has a cut-out to fit the handle geometry, and is a nice add-on if you don’t have a knife block or a transporting knife. 

 

Size & Weight

The weight of the Oremake Kiritsuke came in at 8.87oz, compared with my 8” Victorinox fibrox that’s 6.36oz. The blade stock at the top near the heal is 0.0755” and at the edge on the heal at 0.0320”. The tip comes in at the edge at 0.0260” 

I measured the cutting edge at 7.98”, the overall length at about 12.81”. The height of the blade is 1.965” at the heel. Fairly similar to my Victorinox Fibrox western-style kitchen knife that’s been my workhorse for years. 

 

Design

Olight’s pocket knife line has recently been rebranded “Oknife” and past models have been from known designers in the industry, and manufactured by Kizer, a well-known pocket knife manufacturer. Kizer is a division of larger company Tuobituo, and one of their specialties is making kitchen cutlery. While I don’t know for sure, I strongly suspect the Oremake series is manufactured by these guys, it would only make sense with an established relationship and a company that knows what they are doing.

The design here is reminiscent of a Japanese Kiritsuke (Kir it suu k) knife. The Kiritsuke is a cross between the Guyto and Yanagi traditionally used to slice fish and reserved for the executive chef due to it being a status symbol and difficulty of use traditionally. It’s a good shape to be a general-purpose knife for most generalized tasks.

Here on the Oremake version, it’s a fairly traditional blade shape, but it has a little notch out of the front for style reasons I assume, and to be different. I can’t say I have found a functional use for it. The handle is fairly fat, fairly smooth, contoured, and made from G10 with brass inserts that are clear coated. It won’t absorb water and should wear well. It’s a full tang construction as well.

 

Grip

I use the traditional pinch grip and it’s ok here. On my hand, the swelling of the handle doesn’t fit the best when you pinch grip, and it’s more comfortable if I move my hand to reward some. It’s more of an ergonomic western handle than I would expect to see on a knife in the Japanese style. The handle tapers back which seems to encourage putting your fingers a tad lower, not what I am used to but it works. The G10 here is smooth and doesn’t add any texture. It’s glossy and looks to be coated in something to seal it. This is kind of unnecessary since G10 doesn’t absorb water on its own usually as it’s mostly resin. The brass accent pieces are purely esthetic, I would probably choose to go without it if I could. The balance point is right where the rivet in the handle is, so the balance here is good. 

 

Steel

The steel here is officially called T-CO69. They are claiming it’s a new type of Japanese Damascus steel, with a forged structure of 69 layers on the outside, and higher carbon content than AUS-10 or VG-10 and has been hardened to a 60 HRC which is fairly hard for a kitchen knife. With the hardness being as high as it is, it’s best to not try to chop very hard things like bone, ice, etc with this knife at risk of chipping the edge. 

I asked them for the chemical composition of the steel and they said it was proprietary. This isn’t common practice in the knife industry with new steels, so this is frustrating. Producing a new type of proprietary steel is extremely expensive so I doubt that’s what has been done here, instead, it’s something more well-known like an AUS-10 or something with a similar composition for example. What I can tell you is that it’s been pretty stainless for me, I deliberately washed the knife and let it air dry overnight to see if I would have any rust and I found none the next morning. 

It does appear to be a real folded steel Damascus with a light etch. You can see as well as feel the layers here. The layer lines are not etched on by laser or sandblasting as you see on some Chinese-style knives. So my guess would be a Japanese steel core with a layered/folded stainless steel exterior. 

 

Grind

The grind here is asymmetrical 9 degrees on one side, 13 degrees on the other. This makes for an excellent slicer with such a high angle making the blade come to a very fine edge,  but it being so high of angle means it’s less tough and may need to be sharpened more often. That asymmetrical grind will also be more challenging for the average owner to sharpen properly unless using a traditional whetstone. Heck, even I am not 100% sure how I will do it on my guided knife sharpening system. 

 

Performance

Out of the box, the knife was extremely sharp, easily passing the paper test. Even now after 2 weeks of use by my wife and I. it’s still doing well. I am liking the upward sweep in the blade here, it’s good for up and down chopping as well as a push cut. Not the best knife for rocking cuts but it’s ok. The fine tip on the blade is nice for detail work like mincing garlic etc. 

The higher angle here is worth noting, it makes for a great slicer but shouldn’t be used for very hard things, things where you will encounter bone, frozen veggies, etc. You more likely to chip and damage the blade by doing so. 

 

Final Thoughts

The average home cook usually has a set of pretty inexpensive knives that get the job done but are not anything fancy. In recent years there has been a trend of Chinese-made Chef knives from brands like Dalstrong that have come in with highly marketed knives of decent quality but somewhat higher prices for what you’re getting. They sit somewhere in the middle price and quality-wise between high-end actual Japanese or European brands. A high-end professional chef wouldn’t normally be seen with one, but for the home cook, it’s likely better than they currently have. This is the area that the Oremake Kirituke has been placed and at least from my experience with a “Zelite” and a cheap “Dalstrong” this Oremake Kirituke is far superior. 

I would really like to see OreMake/Olight be more transparent here with the steel that is being used and information regarding the construction. A custom blend of steel made just for Olight/Oremake here is very unlikely, and prefer they just tell us what it actually is. 

At an MSRP of $99 I feel like this is built well but a bit pricy. Catch it on sale and I think it becomes more attractive. It’s certainly a good looking knife with solid ergonomics and seems to hold an edge fairly well so far. 

 

Let me know your thoughts on the Oremake Kiritsuke is and what you’re currently using for your do-all chef knife at home. 

Xtar VC4 Plus Review (VC4SL, USB-C, 3A)

It’s been a long while since I have had something from Xtar on the channel, so I was happy when they reached out to let me know that they had some new chargers and offered to send me the new VC4 Plus. It’s the new upgraded version of the VC4 I reviewed years ago. Xtar fans will rejoice to hear that you now have manual control over charging speed and a few other nice upgrades. One quick note before we get started, this version is known by 2 names, the VC4 Plus, and the VC4SL. The only difference I can find between them is the SL version doesn’t seem to come with the QC3 power adapter. Xtar didn’t give me the reason why it’s known as 2 different names. Let’s take a closer look.

 

The YouTube version of this review: 

 

This charger is known by 2 names the Xtar VC4 Plus and the Xtar VC4SL.
Xtar VC4 Plus: https://amzn.to/38YNwpI
Xtar VC4SL: https://amzn.to/391ACXG

 

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Packaging & Accessories

The packaging is a brown cardboard box with a line drawing of the charger on the outside, the sides give specs and battery sizes and chemistries that are supported. The back of the package gives a few more features.

What’s included is the charger itself, a thin nylon bag a leather texture and drawstring at the top, and Xtar 110/240v AC to QC3 USB adapter capable of 5V @ 3V, 9V @ 2A, 12V & 1.5A, and a USB-A  to C cable to make it all work together.

 

Construction & Design

The VC4 Plus physically shares a lot of the design and construction with other Xtar 4 bay chargers. The ABS plastic is fire resistant should there be a problem. There is venting on the sides and bottom. The differences here are mainly on the screen and in the power input which I will get to in a minute. The charger supports the most common sizes of the most common chemistry of batteries. I won’t go into all of them but put a photo of what Xtar says fits. In my measurements, I measured the minimum size of the bays at 77.7mm and the maximum at 31mm, so sorry 21800’s won’t fit here. I will insert a picture of all of the different battery sizes that can fit and are compatible. Basically, everything between 10440 to 32650 includes protected 21700’s and common NiMH sizes.

 

Power Input

The charger does have a USB-C connector as its power input. It can support a wide range of standards, Officially Xtar rates it as QC3.0 with the 5V, 3A, and 9V, 2A Profiles. QC3 was never a standard that caught on with me or my devices much so I ran it primarily off of USB-C PD which it did excellent under. 

4 Fully discharged 18650 batteries pull about 25 watts via USB-C PD. There is now powerbank function on this charger, not a deal-breaker for me for sure. While the charger can charge at 3A this only applies to one bay at a time, with 2 batteries the maximum is 2A, and with 3 or 4 the max is 1A each. 

 

Screen and UI

The screen is similar to what other Xtar VC chargers use, you have the 4 dials that display the voltage of each bay, that changes with what type of cell you have charging. On the lower right side, you have the charging speed that it’s currently charging at then at the bottom you have the counter of the energy that has gone into the cell during charging.

New on the VC4 Plus is the ability to change the charging rate. After inserting the cell, the charger measures the resistance and decides what it thinks is the best charging speed to use, however you can override this by clicking the current button. Available options are 250mA, 500mA, 1A, 2A, and 3A. This charge rate applies for all of the bays at the same time. 

Pressing the mode button while charging will also display the to Grading mode where the charger tests the capacity of the batteries that are installed by charging, discharging, and charging again, and then Storage mode which puts Li-ion batteries at an optimal voltage for storage, about 3.66v in my experience.

The charger also offers a couple of other useful features like 0V activation, reverse polarity protection, protection from short circuits, overcharge, and overheating. 

I had no issues with overcharging with the charger. Depending on the cell’s internal resistance you might see slightly under 4.2V at final charge.

Conclusion

I like the VC4 Plus, it’s a nice upgrade to bring the old VC4 into 2022 with the USB-C input which works with both USB-C PD and QC3. For me I ran here almost exclusively in USB-C PD because I really don’t have many QC3 chargers, it was a standard that never really caught on for me once USB-C became the norm. 

Xtar finally addressed the issue many people had with it’s chargers that you couldn’t manually overwrite the charge rate, gone are those problems and now it’s selectable from 3A, 2A, 1A, 500mA, and 250mA all of which are great to see. It also retains the other features to restore cells, grade them, measure internal resistance and finally charge them to a storage voltage. 

 

The two things I don’t love here are that all bays are linked together for the charging speed and that it’s not capable of charing each bay at up to 3A at the same time, or 2A on more than 2 bays at a time. This falls short of other charges I have looked at like the Vapcell S4 Plus that can chare all its bays at higher speed rates without an issue. 

 

The end result I think is a very well-rounded charger that’s affordable and without major issues. For many, I think this could be your one and only charger, or a nice upgrade from an older model you might already have and it should be pretty affordable. 

 

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Thrunite Archer Mini Review (400 Lumens, SST20, USB-C, Value)

For today’s review let’s look at the new Thrunite Archer Mini, an AAA-sized light with a tail switch, sealed 10400 lithium ion battery, and integrated charging. Thanks to Thrunite for sending this to me to take a look at with you. 

 

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Packaging & Accessories

Here is the packaging it’s just a thin white box with a pull-out plastic tray. The only accessories that come with the light are the pocket clip, USB-A to C charging cable, and manual. The battery is preinstalled and sealed (nonreplaceable).

 

Construction and Design

This is a simple flashlight in terms of design. It looks like the head or tail might unscrew but they are sealed. The light is smooth with no knurling or grip, to be honest, I don’t miss it here. The eswitch in the tail does stand proud and this can cause some accidental activations in the pocket so you will want to use lockout.

The head of the light unscrews enough to expose the USB-C charging port and LED indicator light. It’s a captured design so it doesn’t screw off entirely. There is a retention ring that can be unscrewed on the front of the light to remove the TIR optic and expose the LED.

 

Retention & Carry

The light features a snap on dual direction pocket clip that fits only in the tail position. It carries in the pocket deeply. I will note that with the raised and exposed button, I had issues with this light coming on in my front pocket unintentionally fairly frequently if the light was not in lockout mode. The good news is lockout is easy to access by just holding the button while the light is on until it shuts off and blinks twice. There is also a lanyard in the package if you wish to use it.

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length of this light at 83mm, diameter at the minimum on the body at 14mm, and maximum diameter on the head at 17.2mm. Weight with the battery and clip came in at 35.9g just 1.26oz. The light is IPX8 water-rated and drop rated to 1.5M. 

 

LED & Beam

The Archer mini is using an SST20 LED with a TIR Optic. I measured the tint at 5594 CCT on my Opple meter and a RA (CRI) of 63. So surprisingly on the cool side of neutral white. However, the LED does have a tint that’s pretty green, especially on lower output modes, a known characteristic of the SST20. The beam is a pleasant chape out of the TIR optic, good for the range of tasks this light will be doing. There is a very minimal amount of PWM here on low, and none on high.

 

Output Table

Heat & Runtime

I did my runtime tests with the internal 320mAh battery. Turbo stayed near the rated number just shy of 3 minutes before stepping down to 150 lumen output for 50 minutes and then stepping down to zero for a full runtime of 1:07:00. Heat during this time peaked at about 31C.

I also did a comparison with high vs low modes. As you would expect low at only 20 lumens lasts a considerable amount of time 8:26:00 and is very consistent. 

 

UI

The UI here is very simple but different from what I have seen on most other lights. It’s a 2 mode light and from off a single quick press turns the light on in low, to get to High, you just double press while on or from off. To step down to low from high you have to shut the light off and start from the beginning. While on if you long-press when turning it off, the light will go to lockout mode without a visual indicator. So for me, this is frustrating, only because it’s not how I expect the light to use. Most people won’t have an issue with this. 

 

Recharging

The Archer Mini has onboard USB-C charging that can be found, after partially unscrewing the captured head of the light. Underneath you will see the charging port, and a small LED opposite it to give charging status when recharging. It stays red when charging, and goes blue when charged. The light charges with no issue via C to C cables as well.

Recharging the sealed 320mAh 10400 battery from when the light shuts off to full took 1:06:00 at a maximum speed of 0.32A, so right at a 1C charging speed. The light will operate while charging.

 

Final Thoughts

It’s good to see something different than just a traditional AAA style light. I like Thrunite has chosen to conceal the USB-C charging port here as it is more secure than a more traditional silicone cover. That said it’s a sealed design so you can’t replace the internal 10400 battery, or use Alkaline/NiMH batteries in a pinch which is nice thing to have for a light this size. 

The LED here is just slightly cool white, but with a pretty strong green tinge. The beam pattern with the TIR is good. I find the user interface here to be a little frustrating, just because it’s different than 99% of the other flashlights I own and test. This has gotten better the more I use it, and it’s an issue most people won’t have. I think it’s pretty well thought out but for me will take more practice. 

It’s pretty affordable for everything it brings, but this isn’t going to be the light I reach for when I want a AAA sized light, just because of the UI and LED tint. That’s not to say this is a bad light, it’s just not something that’s currently going to displace others from my pocket with more traditional UI’.

Acebeam Ryder RX Review (Nichia 219F, Fidget Toy Flashlight, 14500)

In this review I am looking at the Acebeam Ryder RX, a 14500 or AA sized EDC light, with a neutral white, high CRI with a feature you don’t see on many flashlights, a built-in bolt action fidget toy. Now I had a fidget spinner back in the day but used it for about 10 minutes before it founds it’s way to my drawer to collect dust. Acebeam did send this to me to take a look at and for that I am thankful. 

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Silver https://amzn.to/3EvBJdU

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Other Acebeam models on sale

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Packaging & Accessories

The packaging here is a small color print white box, with a slide-out plastic tray holding the light and the accessories. The light comes with lots of accessories, 4 extra O-rings, a wrist strap that’s branded, a short USB-A to C charging cable, a 920mAh Button top Protected Acebeam 14500 battery with onboard USB-C charging, and a user manual. 

Construction and Design

The Ryder RX comes in many different cosmetic finishes (Polished Stainless, Sophisto Grey, Rainbow PVD, Blue) and a growing number of materials (Stainless Steel, Titanium) for the outer shell, with 4041 Stainless steel, with a blue aluminum inner part. A titanium model is also available for a small upcharge. It’s a robust design and I think it will be very durable, thanks in part due to that one piece thick stainless steel outer casing. The design of the body here reminds me of the Acebeam E70 with the inner and outer tube design and the cuts made to show it. 

Let’s talk about the fidget factor here, the pocket clip is attached to the inner blue aluminum tube, An L slot is cut into the outer tube, and there are detent balls installed that give a very positive sensation and nice mechanical click when you actuate the clip side to side or down. It’s fun, but kind of loud, this isn’t something you could do in a meeting or while on a Zoom call. 

When in the down position it exposes the flashlight head, allowing you to unscrew the tip of the head to access the battery for recharging, etc. Doing this does hide the button at the top which is how you turn the light on and off though. The front bezel stands proud slightly of the AR coated lens which is in front of the small smooth reflector. 

For me the Fidget factor is fun but almost requires 2 hands at times to really get good use out of it, for my medium-sized hands and to slight the light into the down position. Side to side is easier to actuate, and you can see they even thought ahead and put an area in the tube to relieve the clip, to prevent it from scratching through lots of fidget use. One thing to note is that to actuate the light you want it in the up, and left position, when it’s in the up and right position I find there isn’t quite enough resistance to make pressing the tail button easy.

Retention

The Ryder RX has a stainless steel dual-direction clip, similar to the Acebeam P15, here though it’s optimized for EDC use instead of a weapon mount. The clip stands out from the body here more than most normal flashlights but it ends up working well. Retention on the pants is above average and despite the clip being a little larger than normal I had no issues with it snagging on things like a seat belt during the week+ I exclusively carried it. There is a lanyard hole at the top of the clip where you can attach it if you wish.

Size & Weight

I measured the length of the light in the retracted position as 96mm, and 103.4mm in the extended position. The diameter is 18.6mm excluding the clip. Weight with the included 14500 battery was 82.3g. The light is IP68 water-rated to 2 meters submerged. Here are a few photos with similar-sized 14500 lights, like the Reylight Lan and Pineapples. 

LED & Beam

The Ryder RX is using a Nichia 219F a new LED from Nichia and this is my first time seeing it, Acebeam says this is at 5000k and High CRI. My Opple Light Meter Pro I measured the tint at 4981k and a 96 CRI. The beam doesn’t have any tint shift across the beam, although the medium-sized hot center isn’t perfectly round. I would be interested to see what this light would be like with a TIR optic since I tend to really like those on EDC style lights like this, but the lens here works pretty well. I also think the new Nichia 519a would really shine in a package like this and likely put out a little more output. There is PWM here according to my meter but it’s pretty fast.

Output tested at 30 seconds using a “Calibrated DIY PVC Lumen Tube”.

Acebeam Ryder RX Claimed Lumens As Tested Lumens
14500 High 650 473
14500 Medium 2 280 221
NiMH High 200 135

Heat & Runtime

For my runtime graphs I used my “Calibrated DIY PVC Lumen Tube” and the included 14500 battery the light came with. On high we can see the major step downs at 2 minutes going from around 480 lumens to 350 lumens for about 6 minutes, and then for an additional hour slowly decreasing from about 250 lumens down to zero. The heat peaked at 9 minutes at about 55C. 

I also compared High to Medium modes, we can see medium was very steady for the full 1:22:00 runtime all covering between 220-100 lumens. 

I also did a heat and runtime test with an Ikea LADDA 2450 NiMH battery since this is a dual fuel light, This provided the longest overall runtime of 3:06:00 but also the least amount of light with the bulk of that runtime being around 50 lumens. 

UI

The UI for the Acebeam Ryder RX is simple with no programmable options. The light has 4 modes plus SOS and has memory mode. It has a forward clicky button that means a half-press gets the light to turn on or to change modes before you do a full press to lock the light on. This means you can get it to come on in a momentary mode silently. 

The light will come on in the last mode used as long as it’s not SOS and progresses through the 4 modes in a linear fashion. Getting to SOS it’s a little different. You have to do a full cycle through the 4 main modes twice fairly quickly, and then the light will start blinking. 

Recharging

To recharge the light, you need to remove the battery from the light by putting it in an extended position, unscrewing the head, and sliding the cell out. From here you can put it in an external charger, or use the onboard USB-C port on the battery to recharge. When charging there is a Red LED on the positive end that’s red when charging, and green when charged.

Charging the included 920mAh 14500 battery the light came with took 2:42:00 with a maximum charge rate of 0.45A. A pretty conservative charge rate of ½ C with most of this time being in the constant current phase of charging. When fully charged the battery measured 4.149V, and the cells LVP kicked in at 2.874V. NiMH LVP was 1.082V

You can use another button top 14500 batteries in this light, but Flattops, don’t make contact. It’s also worth noting that the head itself doesn’t have LVP because this light is capable of running lower voltage NiMh or Alkaline batteries too. So worth mentioning so you don’t damage your 14500s by running them to exhaustion, and on that note, the light can’t charge NiMH cells.  

Final Thoughts

The Acebeam Ryder RX really ticks a lot of boxes for me on an EDC light. If you follow me on Instagram and see the pocket dumps I post from time to time, you will know I like the 14500 sized lights for front pocket carry, and the Ryder RX is just in that sweet spot in terms of size and output in my opinion. 

I thought the pocket clip here was going to be too bulky but after carrying it, I have decided it works extremely well, is a nice tight fit on my pants and adaptable to many different thicknesses of materials. That dual-direction clip also means you can use it as a make shift headlamp on a hat if you want too. 

Best of all might be the LED choice here, Neutral white and High CRI! It’s like someone was finally listening to many enthusiasts who were tired of all the cool white and low CRI lights from major manufacturers. 

Overall as an EDC light I really like the Ryder RX. While I won’t use the fidget factor of it often, it’s kind of a neat bonus and has created something different which is nice to see too. Pricing here is at the time of the review seems pretty fair too for the quality your getting here, and to upgrade into the titanium light is only $10 more, so a bargain if you are a Titanium junkie. So on that note, I can recommend the Acebeam Ryder RX as a solid buy in my opinion. 

Pickup the Acebeam Ryder RX on Amazon (10% off coupon on the listing page)

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