Category Archives: Flashlight Reviews

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

AstroLux MF01 Review

The Astrolux MF01 the newest light from Astrolux and Banggood. Thanks to Bangood for sending this to me to show my subscribers and Reddit. The MF01 is a numbers light. It has 4x 18650 batteries, 18 Nichia 219 LED’s in neutral white, 12,000 Lumens at peak, all in a light slightly larger than a pop can.

Image Album: https://imgur.com/a/vTp72
Youtube Video:

Physical Appearance
This light has a satin black finish with mild hash grips on about 50% of it’s body. https://i.imgur.com/ovhRVGX.jpg It provides some added grip but I would recommend using the included lanyard. I like that they choose OD green for the lanyard color as it goes well with the glow under the button and who doesn’t like OD green. The bezel is a polished stainless steel I believe. https://i.imgur.com/Xi2U6lu.jpg It’s screwed on very tight but should be removable with a strap wrench. This light is IPX-7 rated for moisture.

The head of the light is larger than the body 72mm vs 49.5mm.
Length comes in at a measured 128mm at its longest points.
Weight with batteries is a hefty 726.6 grams.

This light does tailstand well and is stable when doing so. https://i.imgur.com/4Gj4VVY.jpg This light does come into 3 distinct pieces, the head, the battery tube, and tail cap. https://i.imgur.com/vz2yHDn.jpg The battery carrier itself is two tick pieces of brass with circuit boards on each end. https://i.imgur.com/lHYWpOd.jpgThere are 4 metal tubes that are rubber lined that are the structure. https://i.imgur.com/dv3737F.jpg Each is screwed in. More on battery configuration and what works later.

Threads a triangularly cut and close together. https://i.imgur.com/P7N92qX.jpg They were well greased from the factory. You can mechanically lock out the light by unscrewing the rear cap to break the electrical connection. Build quality is on par with other lights in this price range and I can’t find any glaring flaws.

I really like that this light has a tripod adapter both in ? and ¼ dimensions. https://i.imgur.com/AgX7JTV.jpg I think this is a must on one of these coke can style lights. They tend to be so floody and work well but if you are using it to light a large area the tripod mount makes it easy to mount and hold in the position you need. https://i.imgur.com/eJZLXqS.jpg The adapter to convert between sizes is nice too. It mounts pretty flat. https://i.imgur.com/mEiVKgo.jpg

Performance
Heat is a bit of an issue on this light. It’s no surprise that when in turbo and making nearly 12,000 lumens with the Nichia LED option that this light gets quite hot. When the light gets to 60C (140F) degrees it will reduce the output to around 2500 lumens to maintain temperature and prevent damage. During my standard 1 minute turbo test the light got to 109F. https://i.imgur.com/Anx18E6.jpg I didn’t get it to the 60C it states step down occurs at.

The Nichia 219 LED’s produce a whiter neutral white output and only sacrifice a small amount of output in doing so. The human eye can’t tell the difference between the 12000 lumens that this light produces with the XPG3 LED and the 11526 lumens it produces with the 219C LED’s. What a little strange is On low and turbo the XPG3 LED’s produce more lumens but on Medium, Medium1 and high the 219C LED’s produce more lumens. Throw distance is the same.

Nichia 219C
Low – 70 Lumens – 214 hours
Medium – 700 Lumens – 14 hours https://i.imgur.com/P5pAjLw.jpg
Medium1 – 1100 Lumens – 4.7 Hours https://i.imgur.com/rWD3qnF.jpg
High – 6800 Lumens – 4 Hours https://i.imgur.com/5GKFMic.jpg
Turbo – 11,526 Lumens – 3.5 Hours https://i.imgur.com/pRtyWs5.jpg

A little comparison between the Emisar D4 (Nichia), Astrolux MF01 (Nichia), Nitecore TM06s https://i.imgur.com/2l81G3Z.jpg

Batteries play a big part in the performance of this light. Astrolux recommends Samsung 30Q batteries. For my tests I used KeepPower batteries based on LG HG2 and are button tops. These are similar specced batteries but sag a little. This light is designed for use with button top cells cells in a 2S2P configuration. The 2s means two cells in series doubling voltage, and 2p means two cells in parallel adding capacity. Doing this gives you the best of both worlds but means you have to put the cells in the carrier correctly or there could be devastating results. You can run flat top cells in this light if you pry the white plastic rings off of an empty carrier. https://i.imgur.com/dv3737F.jpg They are held in place with a small amount of adhesive. While I don’t recommend this it’s possible.

UI
The UI of this light is pretty simple and well explained in the manual with a diagram. From Off clicking the button once enters normal mode in low. Clicking again increases each mode spacing (5 in total) all the way to turbo. If you double click you have a shortcut to turbo. Triple click when off or on gets you to the special modes which include Tactical strobe, SOS, and location beacon. When the light is on just long press to shut it off. This light does have memory modes. When the light is off you can Long Press the button to go into lockout and the breathing LED will stop. Long press again to deactivate it.

Low Voltage protection is shown with the glowing LED under the main button. Astrolux calls it a breathing light as it fades in and out slowly. Green is above 6.8V, Red is 6.1V, red flashing is below 6.1V and at 5.8V the light turns off.

Table Top + Rest of Outdoor https://youtu.be/X5YeLTnUrWU?t=7m42s

Airport Security
I brought the Astrolux MF01 with me on a recent business trip and I can comment that the TSA will take an interest in this light if it’s in your carry on luggage. I watched the guy running the Xray machine stop, inspect my bag, turn his head to the side and frown and immediately pull my bag out for manual inspection. The nice TSA agent grabbed my bag and knew immediately I had a flashlight and we actually started talking about it as she was pretty interested. She was really impressed that it was capable of 12,000 lumens and mentioned it was a lot more then her MagLite. Once things were inspected and a sample was put into the mass spectrometer, I was cleared for my flight. On the way home I took the light out of the bag and put in in a bin like it was a laptop and it passed through without issue.

Packaging and extras
The package is a nice heavy white box with a line drawing of the light. Nowhere on it mentions the brand or the model. Inside the light is held in place with white foam. https://i.imgur.com/UAN9SEE.jpg It’s easiest to take the first layer of foam out to get to the light. The light comes with 2 extra orings, a tripod mount adapter, and a lanyard. The directions are pretty good explaining the modes, parameters, and low voltage protection.

Pro’s
* Great output with a more neutral white color and HIGH CRI.
* Lanyard + tripod options
* Fits in the hand pretty well

Con’s
* No Direct access to low modes.
* Mode spacing could be improved.
* My batteries are a little looser then I would like but this hasn’t cause issues. Be careful about cells that are too long as they can deform a spring.
* No included belt pouch

Summary
What surprised me about this light it’s more than just a flood like many in this format. This actually throws a decent amount given how short the optics are. The optics in front of each of the LED’s really make a difference in the beam pattern. Given the cost of this light I think it’s a good value. Many high output lights are pretty expensive and this is one of the lowest cost per lumens out there right now. In the lower modes the runtimes are impressive. I would like to see a mode lower than 70, and something between 1100 and 6800. I could see someone using this for light hiking or out in very rural areas. If you are looking for a really high output light thats in between a flood and a throw, check this one out.

Astrolux MF01 is available from Bangood at: https://goo.gl/Lvx5oT
Use the coupon code: e04bc8 to get the MF01 for $85.95 updated price
Samsung 30Q Batteries https://goo.gl/7cr1QT

Flashlight Reviews

Olight PL-Mini Review

Olight adds to it’s growing family of weapon mountable lights with the new Olight PL-Mini.  Thanks to Olight for sending this to me to try out. Weapon lights are one of my favorite things to test as it gives me an excuse to head to the range for some target practice and testing. The PL-Mini is designed to be very small, and rechargeable. This breaks tradition from most weapon lights that use lithium primary cells like CR123s or CR2032s.


Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/MhnJR
Video Review:

 

Build Quality
This light has a machined aluminum housing, with a built in non replaceable battery. The light housing is mostly pinned together. It has a tool free quick release with a spring loaded side. https://i.imgur.com/3TG5pq2.jpg https://i.imgur.com/glNkKvA.jpg My side was slightly stuck but it freed up easily and has not been a problem. The comes preinstalled with the Glock sized rail piece, but a 1913 rail piece is included in the packaging along with an allen key to change if that’s what you need. I really like the quick release system that’s tooless.

The toggles/buttons are made of plastic with some texture on top. https://i.imgur.com/xNG7Nrh.jpg They have a small amount of rubber between the switch surface and the surface of the light that squishes when depressed. It’s not a mechanical feeling switch like on some of the Surefire weapon lights. The buttons only are able to be pressed down, not from the side or not towards the muzzle. I do like that at least on my G19 here they are much closer to the trigger guard making it not much of a reach to turn on or off. https://i.imgur.com/NkVE9PQ.jpg I shot about 200 rounds with this light attached and had no problems with the light turning off or malfunctioning. Water resistance is rated at IPC6. I had no problems out in the rain with the light.

Size and Weight
This is one of the smallest and lightest weapon lights on the market that I am aware of. It’s a perfect fit on my Glock 19 adding very light weight and no extra length. Weight came in at 2.32oz. I measured the length at 61.3mm, Width at 26.1mm, and height at 27.1mm.

This light uses a Cree XP-L HI LED in cool white. It’s very centered in the light. Lumens is quoted at 400 lumens on high with step down to 60 lumens. That doesn’t sound like a lot but as you will see from my night shots It’s enough in my opinion, especially considering the small weight and size. This is a great self defense or home defense option. It throws more than I expected. The reflector is smooth and the lens is anti reflective coated.

In my testing with the Ceiling Bounce App the gradual step down from 400 lumens to 60 happened after just a few minutes and then slowly over the course of the next 6 minutes the light was down to 60 lumens.  It remained here for a about 45 minutes. At the 62 minute mark it took a rapid decline to zero and shut off due to low voltage protection.

Still beam shot

https://i.imgur.com/nE5jX6j.jpg

Hallway beam shots https://i.imgur.com/eoe6oVq.jpg

Heat really isn’t an issue with this light. I didn’t bother to test this because after 10 minutes of run time it was barely warm to the touch.

Charging
The PL-Mini uses the familiar magnetic charging system Olight uses on other lights but with a twist. This charger is labeled on the bottom as “Special” and the magnet is installed in reverse to other chargers they have on the S30R iii, S2R, etc. I asked Olight what the difference was and they said it’s designed for faster charging, especially for use in the field. From a completely low battery I charged it to full in one hour. The charging numbers are pretty low, but given the size of the battery it’s decently fast. The charging speeds I was was 5.07V at 1.86W with 0.37A. Battery capacity is listed at 260mAh. The light also will turn on during recharging, so thats’ a great way to extend runtime if you needed and it opens up other use cases like using it as a bike light.

I do wish Olight would have explained this in the manual or on the website. I feel like it would have been a smarter choice to make the charger a bit of a different design or anodize the aluminum differently, or a different color cable/USB end so it stood out more from their standard charger.

Is it Safe?
It looks like Olight has taken steps to make the charging port on this light safer the previous magnetic charging designs they use. It will not start a fire with steel wool was placed on the charging contacts. I didn’t measure any live voltage on the charging contacts.

Packaging is typical of other modern Olight lights. https://i.imgur.com/b5o3frT.jpg It has a retail cardboard box, with graphics on the outside and relevant information. Inside is a plastic try containing the light, 1913 rail, alan key, and recharging cable. The directions are brief and complete.

Since this is a new light there isn’t any Holster support yet from established manufacturers. This has been a problem with other Olight weapon lights. I am surprised they don’t establish a relationship with a few manufactures so that holsters are available during launch instead of months later. I feel like this would be a quick way to boost sales of a new light quickly.

I think this will be a popular weapon light from Olight. It provides more than enough light to use in a self defense situation while being in a very small package. I like the ergonomics of the light with the buttons being for left or right handed shooters, and the buttons being closer to the trigger guard. Being rechargeable means it’s less expensive and more convenient to use while on a patrol or during training. It’s simple to operate with only one mode. I think the price is pretty attractive for its offering given others on the market for a rail mounted light.

Pro’s
* Perfect size and weight for a compact pistol like a G19, CZ P10C, etc
* Impressive throw for the size and amount of lumens.
* Decent runtime for most situations, and good recharge time.

Con’s
* No holsters commercially available yet.
* I wish the PL-Mini charger was more distinctive in its look, since it’s not compatible with older Olight rechargeable lights.
* Timed step down. Since this light doesn’t get very hot I wish it would run on high until the battery gave out.
* No Strobe or mode options. Just turn it on.
* Only a 2 year warranty, usually most Olight products have a 5 year warranty.

Olight official store: https://www.olightstore.com/olight-pl-mini
Olight official eBay store: http://bit.ly/PLMINIeBayUS

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

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

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

EDC Flashlight Reviews

Olight H2R Nova Review

Here is my long and full review of the new Olight H2R Headlamp. This light is available in Cool and Neutral white options and uses a Olight Ultra High Drain 18650 battery. This flashlight is USB rechargeable and has a magnetic tail.

You can find this Olight and others available from many fine merchants.
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2r5dzot
Ebay – http://ebay.to/2rCOuAS
OlightStore – https://www.olightstore.com/led-flashlights/headlamps/olight-h2r-nova