Today I have Jetbeams’ first attempt at a pistol light, the Jet-T2. Thanks to Jetbeam for sending this one to me early to check out. An excuse to go to the range to test a light is always a good one.
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Packaging on this light is a clear hanging retail box with the light prominently displayed in the middle. Some limited information is on the back. Accessories are pretty limited as well, you get the included Jetbeam branded 700mAh USB rechargeable 16340 battery, and a MicroUSB cable to charge the battery directly, and some paperwork such as the manual, warranty card, etc.
The light is made from anodized aluminum and is generally rectangular in shape but it has been lightened where possible. The sides have a deep milled area in the sides, and the bottom the corners are well rounded. Starting at the head it features a double anti reflective coated lens, with a smooth fairly deep reflector. The head has small scallops for style and grip. The head is removable for battery recharging and replacement. There are springs at each end of the light. Inside there is a dual wall construction so unfortunately a battery larger then a 16340 like an 18350 won’t fit in this light.
On the bottom of the light there is the electronic switched used to lock out the light. It’s large but out of the way and pretty flat. On the back of the light there is a plastic and rubber molded piece that has the switches. It’s almost a different shade of black then the aluminum and not a great match at least on my example. There are switches on either the left or the right side. They only work under the molded rubber bar which took some getting used to and isn’t my favorite design.
The mount features a insert with 4 slots to allow the universal rail section fit your firearm. The key I had no trouble fitting in a Glock rail or standard 1913 rail. For my Glocks (19 being the smallest) it fit best for me in the furthers forward position. This unfortunately isn’t enough travel for my S&W Shield but I didn’t really expect it to fit here either. The screw used to tighten it down on your firearm is silver in color unfortunately, I really wish it was black instead to blend in better. It has a large straight slot to allow you to tighten it down with a coin. I miss the Olight Quick detach system that I have gotten used to on their weapon lights here.
Size/Weight & Competition
Length is about 65 mm, Width is 29mm, Height is 36mm. Weight with battery came in at 92.8g, and it’s IPX7 rated.
While similar to the original Olight PL Valkyrie I in layout, I compared the light to the Olight PL Pro because size wise it’s somewhat close. The Jetbeam T2 probably compares best to some of the smaller Streamlight’s like the TLR-7 but I don’t have one here to compare it to. Anyways it’s a medium sized weapon light, larger then the Olight PL-Mini but operates more like a full size light in a medium packaged size.
It fit’s fine on my Glock 19 and 22, but even with the adjustable mount it doesn’t fit on my S&W Shield with the rail attachment.
LED | Beamshots | Runtime
The LED being used here is the Cree XPL-HI in cool white. The reflector is decently deep and smooth so for what it is it has a good amount of throw. It’s rated for 120 meters and I found this to be pretty accurate. Beam profile is a fairly hot center and a good amount of lighter spill, a good profile for a pistol light in my opinion.
Runtimes on this light were a little disappointing, at least for high. In high mode it’s good for 520 lumens, and runtime is about 3-4 minutes before it steps down over the next 7 minutes to about 70% relative output. This decline is slow so you don’t notice the sudden dip. The next 10 minutes is pretty stable. The light then flashes a bit to let you know power is lower, and then steps up a decent amount before running till LVP kicks in on the battery. The battery didn’t want to give me a voltage at the LVP cut off point till I charged it a bit.
Low mode is good for 160 lumens, and runtime is about 105 minutes. This is an odd graph as well, because the light actually increases slightly in output over the first 50 minutes, before stepping back down and then slowly increasing till LVP kicks in. Output till the end gets a bit unstable.
The light has buttons on the left and right, These are button pads that look longer then they really are, you have to get right up under the bar to make them function. A quick press of either button gives you a constant on mode, a longer press give you a momentary mode, Jetbeam calls this tactical mode. To access strobe, double click other buttons.
The light has 2 modes, a high and low, 520 or 120 lumens respectively. To switch between them, just long press both side buttons together and the light will come on and adjust it’s output. This setting is memorized. In my experience I had better luck if I pressed and held one button and then the other quickly vs at the same time. Having the light on makes it easier.
The light also has an on/off switch on the bottom that is it’s lock mechanism. To set the lock, long press on the bottom button, and the light will slow flash 3 times. To unlock long press on the bottom button and the light will slow flash 2 times.
Recharging is accomplished on the included Jetbeam 700mAh 16340 battery via the USB port on the side of the battery. This is the same battery we saw on the Jetbeam RRT-01 Review I did earlier in the year (Great light if you have not seen it). It has 2 LED indicators on top, red when charging, green when charged. Charging speed was very conservative at 0.4A meaning charging a low battery to full (4.17V) took 2 hours, 5 minutes.
The Jetbeam T2 is Jetbeams first Pistol light that I can find and it’s pretty good for a first go at it. For me the output should be a bit more smooth and regulated, with more emphasis on the high output without step down. The buttons on the sides should have a larger area to enable them to be used more easily. I don’t find the switch on the bottom that useful for lockout because of the UI that takes too long. I would much rather have a simple mechanical lockout via a ¼ turn of the bezel because it’s simpler and faster.
That said I like the shapes here, and so far this has proven to work pretty well. Even though the mount isn’t a tool less design it works well and should adapt to most full size and sub compact model pistols. The XP-L high is a good emitter choice here and the results are alight that throws pretty well which is important for a pistol light. Overall it’s a good first design with room for improvement in the future.
Purchase the T2 on Jetbeam’s Website https://www.jetbeamworld.com/en/product/Jetbeam-JET-T2-Compact-LED-Tactical-Pistol-Light-CREE-XP-L-HI-520-Lumens-Includes-1-x-3.7V-700mAh-RCR123A-80.html or from Battery Junction https://www.batteryjunction.com/jetbeam-jet-t2.html
Today I have a review of the Thrunite TT10, a tactical light using the Cree XHP 70.2, a 21700 battery, and with onboard MicroUSB charging. Thanks to Thrunite for sending this to me to take a look at. Let’s dive in.
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Packaging & Accessories
Packaging is typical of Thrunite, it’s a brown cardboard box, elegant printing of the model name of the light, a wire outline, and then on the sides the emitter tint. Inside the box the light is protected in die cut white foam, and housed in a plastic bag. Accessories include the Thrunite branded protected flattop 21700 5000mAh battery, a microUSB charging cable, manual, holster, extra button covers, and lanyard. The holster is like other Thrunites, decent quality Nylon with a plastic Dring.
The light is made from aluminum and anodized in a smooth semi gloss black. Starting at the rear, you have the tail which has ample room for the lanyard on each side. In the center you have 2 buttons, a larger mechanical switch that gives you direct access to turbo, and then a smaller square e-switch to give you direct access to strobe. Rear threads are raw, anodized and ACME cut. The light features a dual wall design to make the combination of switch, and tail switches work with the onboard microUSB charging and the inner double springs stout.
The body has a rectangular frag pattern milled into it. All of the edges are nicely rounded and as a result, there isn’t a ton of grip on this light. For a tactical light that’s a little disappointing.
The head has an anti roll ring where the front E switch lives and the MicroUSB charging port, both opposites of each other. The switch is very much like we have seen from other Thrunite models, with a silver metal button surrounded by a silver bezel. It’s low mounted and the button has a LED in the center used for charging indication. Further up the light has minimal heatsinking. The bezel on the TT10 is aluminum and has aggressive and sharp crenulations. While I understand this for a tactical light it would be nice to include a bezel that the user could swap in that’s less aggressive. The bezel is easily removed. Underneath is a anti reflective coated glass lense and a fairly deep orange peel reflector.
Size and Weight | Competition
I measured the overall length of the Thrunite TT10 at 138mm, diameter at it’s maximum at the head is 33mm and minimum on the body at 27mm. Weight with the battery installed 190g.
The Olight Warrior X is similar dimensions to the TT10 but the Olight is running the smaller 18650 battery, different emitter, and a optic designed more for throw. The closest direct competitor I have is probably the Klarus XT21X as its running the same LED, Battery size, and has a similar tactical role. The Klarus has more throw due to the longer smooth reflector vs the smooth more shallow reflector in the Thrunite TT10.
LED | Beamshots | Runtime | Heat | Output
This light is using a cool white Cree XHP 70.2 (70B) LED. A neutral white version is offered as well unfortunately I have the cool white version here. That said this cool white has some green too it when I compare it to my Klarus XT21X and looks more natural then cool. The beam pattern has a large hot center that gradually fades into spill. The light doesn’t have a hard cutoff on the edges and the edges get a bit blue/purple tint.
Thrunite lists the official specs as:
- Turbo 3700 lumens stepping down to 1100 lumens
- High at 1750 lumens stepping down to 1100 lumens
- Medium at 300 lumens
- Low at 28 lumens
- Firefly at ½ lumen.
I will note that other reviewers have not been able to replicate these output numbers, with actual results being 20-30% less then stated on the higher modes. This isn’t common for Thrunite as they typically tend to have results pretty close to what reviewers see. I am in the process of building my own testing rig for output and hopefully I will have something done later this year. Mode spacing could be a little better, it’s a huge jump from 300 lumens in medium to 1715/1100 in high. Once high steps down it’s a little better but I feel like there should be an additional mode in between medium and high.
Overall runtime of the light was just shy of 120 minutes. Turbo is a timed step down after 2 minutes and takes about 30 second to complete going from 3700 lumens to 1100, it’s a gradual and smooth step down at least to my eye. After the light reaches the 1100 lumen mark (about 50% of relative output) it operates here pretty consistently for 115 minutes before low voltage protection kicks in and shuts off the light. I measured LVP at 3.095v.
Heat during my runtimes were about as expected, the light gets warm but not too hot to touch.
- 1 Minute 94F
- 5 Minutes 107F
- 10 Minutes 111F
For a light with 3 switches it really mainly operates with the front e-switch and the 2 rear switches are direct access to tubro and strobe. The front switch is fairly straightforward and the manual does a good job of explaining it. From off, long pressing on the front switch gives you moonlight mode, single press again to turn off. A single press from off starts the light out in the previous used mode (low by default), to increase in brightness long press. You only have access to low, medium, and high. To get to turbo double click, or triple click to strobe. The light also has electronic lockout.
The UI on the tail switch has direct access to turbo mode with the large round mechanical button. It also has direct access to strobe with the smaller rectangle button.
There is no complete mechanical lockout on the light, if you unscrew the tail slightly this just disables the tail switches but not the e-switch upfront. Since the light starts on low hopefully that won’t result any melted holsters or bags.
What would have been nice is to see Thrunite offer a non tactical mode for this light as well, similar to what Klarus did with the XT21X. I think this makes a light designed for a tactical role have a wider appeal to more people.
This light does have onboard microUSB charging. The small LED in the front E-Switch serves as a charging indicator, going red when charging and blue when charged. The silicone flap is pretty well secured when closed and sits flush and stays out of the way. Charging speed started and stayed right at 1.96A for the duration of the charge pretty much. That’s nice to see on such a large battery. Overall charging time from LVP to full is right at 2 hours. A full cell measured 4.18v.
- Side switch has a “locator” function that blinks every 4 seconds or so to help you locate it in the dark. This is pretty dim which I prefer.
- Both Cool White and Neutral White LED’s are offered. Cudos to THrunite for continuing to offer both.
- The UI is easy despite there being 3 switches on the light. Not much different than if you already own other Thrunite lights.
- Still rocking MicroUSB instead of USB-C for recharging. While the full 2A speed is nice to see it’s time for USB-C to be the standard on new lights in this price category in 2019.
- Not much grip on the body of the light.
- No non tactical UI modes.
The Thrunite TT10 is designed as a tactical light and that shows throughout with emphasis on short duration of high output. I like it’s small size and fit in the hand but wish that it’s grip was a bit more aggressive, especially if you were going to use it with gloves. It’s nice to see a brand offer a tactical light in Neutral white as well. The UI here is not well optimized for the additional buttons and it makes lockout kind of awkward. I really wish Thrunite would have offered a way to switch the light to a non tactical mode so it’s more dual purpose. I find Thrunites name of this light to be a bit confusing as it’s too close to other TT models but is a different function. While Thrunite typically offers a high value I feel like the price of this light is a bit high when compared to it’s peers at current pricing. With a coupon this becomes a better value though.
Pickup the ThruNite TT10 on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2NKwcI9 Make sure to click the box to save $20
Today I have a review of the Sofirn SP40 budget headlamp. Sofirn continues to bring out affordable products and take feedback seriously. I have had this one for a while and have been using it for various things around the house. Thanks to them for sending this to me to take a look at review on the channel. Let’s take a closer look at it.
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Packaging & Accessories
Sofirn’s packaging is very basic and I am ok with this as more money is going to the product and accessories then the packaging. Inside the basic brown cardboard box the light is protected with some foam and bubble wrap. Included accessories are the headlamp itself with the Sofirn branded 3000mAh 18650 battery preinstalled, pocket clip, 18350 tube, headband, and spare orings.
The light is made from anodized aluminium. Machine and finish are good for the price range here. The tail is flat, and non magnetic. The light comes into 3 pieces with the other spare body tube being the 4th. There is standard diamond knurling on the tail cap as well as the body. It’s a little more on the aggressive side and I expect it will pick up dirt over time.
The headband is a 3 piece design, and while functional, the straps do feel a bit more lightweight and thinner then other headbands I have from Olight, Armytek, and Klarus. That said this light is a lot less expensive. The headband has 2 silicone loops in front to slip the light into. On the 18650 tube there are 2 areas milled in without knurling where these rest. For the 18350 tube you kind of just have to make it work, and for me the loops ended up sitting on the knurls. There is also a press on friction fit pocket clip thats included on the light. With the 18650 tube it can be oriented either direction. With a head up carry a lot of the light sticks up from you pocket so a head down would be the only way for me. On the 18350 tube the clip really only fits on in one direction to remain on the light. This isn’t my favorite EDC because of how it carries but I am glad they at least include it. One last thing to note is that you should remove the clip prior to putting on the head strap.
The head is fairly flat but with rounded corners on the emitter side. The rear is rounded and there is minimal milling for heat and weight dissipation on the sides. The USB charging port is opposite and below the emitter but still on the head. ON top is the button for controlling the light, as well as being a charger status indicator. Red is charging, green is charged. It’s a clicky e switch covered with a translucent silicone cover.
Size/Weight and Comparisons
I measured Length at 107mm, Body Width at 22mm and maximum head width at 27mm.
Weight with the included battery is 105.4g, with the headband and battery it’s 141g.
The Sofirn SP40 looks like other headlamps we have seen for the most part. Today I am going to do some quick comparisons with the Armytek Elf C2 I have here because it’s one of my favorites, is similar sized, and has USB recharging onboard. Length wise the Elf C2 is a bit longer but it’s tail is magnetic. It’s head is also a little wider, probably due to the button being on the side instead of the top. The clip is a lot better for EDC in my opinion and is heads up, vs the SP40 would be best as a tail down carry. Both fit in their respective headbands in a similar way.
The SP40 is using a XP-L LED in cool white but not super cool tint. I would guess something like 6000k. While I wish it was a neutral white this is ok for the price. The beam is pretty standard, with no major artifacts. ItThe reflector has orange peel and the lens is clear anti reflective coated. Since it doesn’t have a diffuser or TIR optic it does have a hot spot in the center and isn’t super even. The light does have PWM and I don’t notice it on any of the modes.
Heat here isn’t too bad. During my runtime tests I measured the light at several intervals and found the following temps. 1 minute was 93F, 5 minutes was 115F, and 10 minutes was 111F.
Official output is listed at the following
Low – 5 lumens
Medium – 90 lumens
High – 450 lumens
Turbo – 1200 lumens
The UI is pretty simple, and straight down to business. From off and you turn it on and the light starts on low, if you long press while the light is on it will move up to the next brightest mode. If you hold it down the light will cycle between low, medium, and high. The light won’t go into turbo without a double click while on. The light does have memory for all modes except turbo. Lastly there are no blinking modes.
The light does have onboard micro USB charging on the head. From an empty cell at 2.76V where LVP kicks in, I charged the light to full in 4.8 hours at an average of 0.9A. This is an acceptable charge rate, and should be safe for any 18650 that’s installed inside, but you won’t be winning any charging races here. For an 18650 it’s safe but probably a little higher then I want to charge mine at typically. I have no complaints with the included 3000mAh Sofirn branded 18650 battery.
- Great included accessories including the 18350 tube and 18650 battery
- Fantastic value for what your getting with the kit, including the battery, USB recharging, etc
- Head Strap is a bit thinner than other brands.
- Current regulation isn’t the best.
- No tint choice available.
For the price, flexibility, and fast shipping if purchased from Amazon, I am not sure if there is a better value 18650 headlamp available for less money that includes USB charging. There are other headlamps I rate as overall better, but their prices are significantly more. The Sofirn SP40 provides a good amount of working light for most jobs in most situations, has onboard charging for convenience, and includes optional extras like the 18350 tube instead of making them an optional extra. This would be a good option for someone looking to grab a bunch of headlamps for work, or to loan out, or give as gifts as it’s a complete kit and easy to use.
Headlamps are something I think everyone should have as they are extremely useful around the house, and anywhere you are working on something where 2 hands are preferred. If none of that applies to you, this still makes a decent right angle EDC in the pocket too.
Get the Sofirn SP40 for $23.19 by using code D3BUSFJM at https://amzn.to/2ZrEY44
Fireflies is a newer flashlight brand to the market that’s bring multiple emitter option lights with secondary LED’s to the market. Today I am looking at the E07 a 7x LED light with secondary emitter running Toykeepers Anduril UI. Thanks to Banggood for sending this to me to take a look at and review. Make sure you see the bottom of the post for the discount that’s been provided on this light.
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The light comes packaged in a black cardboard box with fireflies logo embossed on it. There is a sticker on the side with the lights specs handwritten in. Inside the light is protected in foam. Extras include 2 spare orings, a wrist lanyard with clip that connects at the head, a pocket clip that connects at the tail only, a nice adapter to allow you to run an 18650 battery, and a nice manual that’s not micro sized. The manual is really nice for a newer brand, it mostly goes over the UI and has the diagram many of us are familiar with, but also a kind of quick start guide on the back for specific tasks.
Fireflies offers 4 body colors available and of those Banggood is currently carrying 3 of them. A Matte black, desert yellow which is a more yellow tan, and a gun gray, which is what I have here. Branding on the light is minimal with only a heat warning, model number and manufacture on the light body. On the tail cap there is a bit of minimal required marks and a serial number. The tail cap is flat and allows the light to tail stand nicely. It has a few flats to allow you to unscrew it more easily. Inside you have a low resistance spring mounted to the circuit board. Threads were dry and rather shallow but square cut.
The pocket clip only attaches at the rear and is kind of short. Overall diameter of this light isn’t too bad, it’s front pocketable as an EDC but on the bigger side for that. Retention with the clip is good but I do wish it carried a bit deeper. The body tube has square nub milling on it, kind of like a small frag design. I like this, it’s grippe but not aggressive. Threads on the head side of the body tube are anodized, very fine, ACME cut, and also dry.
The head itself is pretty small, and grows in diameter to accommodate the 7 emitters + secondary LED’s inside. Inside the spring in the head is short, and fairly heavy gauge wire. It has a blob of solder that’s been filed down to I presume help improve contact. On the outside there is heatsinking. The electronic button on the side has 4 LED’s underneath that can indicate a few things depending on the mode. The color of these LED’s is the same as the secondary on your light.
The circuit boards in the head of this light is a bit non traditional for a flashlight, The white emitters and secondary emitters are actually on separate circuit boards that are stacked on top of each other with wires hand soldered on to connect the two boards. There are 3 pots that allow you adjust the intensity of the secondary. I was unable to find a screwdriver to fit mine to a point I was comfortable adjusting them though. The front bezel is a polished stainless steel. It’s easy to unscrew the front bezel as it’s not glued on. Underneath is the glass lens and optic. Overall build quality is pretty good for this price range of light.
I measured the length at 114mm, maximum diameter at the head at 37mm, and minimum diameter on the center body section at 25mm. Weight with the Sofrin 21700 battery is 187.6g.
I compared the light to the Emmisar D4, because it’s pretty common multi emitter light, even though it uses a 18650 and the E07 uses a 21700. The D4 is shorter, obviously, and the head is smaller, but the body tube is pretty similar. Both are high performance affordable lights with great UI’s by Toykeeper and in mine both are using the Nichia LEDs.
LED | Beamshots | Heat | Runtime
My light is using 7x Nichia 219B R9080 LEDs for it’s primary emitter. This is one of my favorites not only because it has 98 CRI but also because it produces a good amount of red meaning colors are more realistic. The downside is this Nichia LED’s isn’t the most efficient around and produces the least amount of lumens (3500) then the SST20 (4500 Lumens) or XPL-HI LED (6900 Lumens) that the light are also available with. This is really nice that you have 6 emitter and tint options with this light in addition to it’s 4 body colors. That also said the Nichia 219B are the most sensitive to being over driven with the FET in this light, so choice of battery is important.
On my light the secondary emitters are purple, other colors fireflies sells are red and blue. The secondaries do shut off when low voltage protection kicks in at 2.935V, but the LED’s on the switch do not. For this reason if you are not going to use the light for a long time, it would be best to mechanically lock it out with a slight twist of the tail cap or remove the battery.
Heat is a big thing on this light. It’s a small compact size and can output a ton of light. The fact that I have the Nichia emitters on my example here doesn’t help the heat issue. On turbo the light heats up very quickly, in under 2 minutes I was seeing temps of 61C (142F) on the head opposite the button. This kind of proves to be a problem as you need some resistance to click the button and turn it off or down. Thermals do spread out on the light relatively well, the body tube tail cap remain cool enough to handle when in turbo. For me this is too hot to hold comfortably. Lucky you can configure thermals on this light in the UI, so I might be turning it down a bit.
Runtime on the Fireflies E07 is 100% temperature dependent. Turbo by itself is good for less then a minute before step down due to heat. Your actual runtimes do vary up and down between roughly 25% and 50% as you can see on my graph for just over 100 minutes. At this point the light goes into it’s lowest mode due to the battery voltage for the remaining 150 minutes. Low voltage protection kicks in 2.935V.
I am using some Sofirn 21700 batteries that Banggood sent out with this light. Being a FET powered light you want usually high drain, but in this application a medium drain cell is good especially for these Nichia LED’s as they are a little more sensitive to being over driven. The Sofirns fit that nicely, they are listed at 4000mAh and I measured them at a capacity of 3868mAh and 3861mAh respectively on my Xtar VC4s.
This light is using Toykeeper’s Anduril UI. It’s currently one of my favorites available as it has a ton of options and neat little easter eggs that commercial UI’s don’t include. By default the light comes in ramping UI which is where I left it. The ramping is fast and logical. A stepped mode is a vailable that you can configure as well if you prefer. The light has thermal controls, you can configure beacon mode, as well as 5 types of strobe including candle mode, party strobe, and lightning storm. How practical these are could be a point where one could argue, but I like that they are present and it just makes things fun. One of the neat thing the UI has is sunset mode, which allows the light to run in and slowly fade out over I believe a 30 minute time period then shut off. Overall just about anything you want to do is in this UI and it’s’ a great choice for a light.
- Big lumen flood light with great emitters.
- Always on secondary that can be toggled off via UI. The secondary is adjustable internally.
- 3 body color and 6 emitter options available (from Banggood), so something for almost everyone without mods.
- 21700 battery – Provides a bit more runtime, and a nice size for the head.
- Early QC issues seem to have been fixed on this light.
- Early models had some QC problems, I have run mine quite a bit and have not had issues with it so far.
- Heat – 7 Nichia emitters make a lot of collective heat
The Fireflies E07 packs a ton of features for well under $100. So many emitter options, as well as body options allows you to really find the perfect combination for you. While I love the 98 CRI Nichia 219B emitter in my light you might choose one of the others that offers more lumens. The biggest downside to this light is probably the heat, but you expect that in a small form factor light that has 7 main emitters. I do like that they went with a 21700 battery here over an 18650 for a bit more runtime without going with a larger 26650. Overall it’s a high value light that I recommend for the flashaholic.
Banggood has provided a coupon to allow you to get the Fireflies E07 at a better then list price. I will have the details for that in the comments below. Make sure to give that link a click and check it out.
As always I think you for watching this video. If you are not subscribed to my channel I would appreciate you do so, make sure you like and share this video with anyone who you might think would be interested in it. See you on the next gear review video!
Fireflies E07 7x Nichia/XPL/SST20 Flashlight: Save 15% with code: BGFFBD at http://bit.ly/2JlGoUX
2X Sofirn 21700 Batteries: $11.39 with code BGREC at http://bit.ly/2FYtuKk
Reylight has a new more budget entry to their existing line of Triple LED EDC style flashlights, the Reylight Gemini. The Gemini makes a few design and material changes over the Dawn and Krystal models to reduce cost to make this a more affordable light. Full disclosure, Rey at Reylight is a friend and send me this light to evaluate and review. I will do my best to remain impartial and give an honest review.
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Packaging consisted of an unbranded plastic case that clamps on all 3 sides, with an oring in the lid, and with foam inserts to keep everything from moving during transport. The light comes with a pocket clip attached and 3 GITD tail cap boots that are currently shipping, make sure to check my social media and I will post a picture when they arrive.
I do think Reylight should consider including a paper manual with the lights they sell or at least a link on the website to the UI. Even though it’s a pretty common UI (Bistro) a lot of first timers end up asking questions in the Reylight Facebook group that could be answered with the manual.
The Gemini is made from 304 Stainless Steel. This isn’t a super common material used on flashlights. In talking with Rey he liked the solid and cool feel of steel, and how it can take a high polish. The downside is that it does weight a bit more, I will cover that in the size and weight section.
The Gemini uses a forward clicky switch with a textured silicone boot over the button. It’s pretty deeply recessed which allows the light to tail stand without and issue. While there isn’t any place on the tail for a tritium vial like all of the previous Reylights, I really like how this button feels when used, without any slop like you sometimes see on metal buttons. It’s a nice touch to come with 3 additional colors (Green, Orange, Blue) to add some personalization. The only negative I see with this design is it does collect some dust around the boot of the light and wall.
The walls of the Gemini are pretty thick in diameter, I think this is one thing where the light could be made a bit smaller in diameter while still feeling good in the hand and it would reduce weight. The body tube has a large diamond pattern milled in using what looks to be a round nose ball mill. The edges of the diamond are not chamfered over so this provides some grip without being too aggressive.
The head is mostly smooth. There are 4 larger teardrops with circles to give the light some design. You can see some milling marks inside these. The head has a non removable bezel that 4 semi circles cut into it to give a little relief and allow light to escape.The lens in use is a sapphire lens which provides superior scratch resistance and is surprising at this price point. A green glow oring is a nice touch too.
Stock clip is the same design that was on the Reylight Dawn but made of a relatively thick stainless steel that’s been nicely tumbled. Retention out of the package was quite good and I don’t think people will have a big issue here with clips getting caught or bent on things. There is plenty of room at the top for various thicknesses of pants. It does like to hold onto your parents a bit more than normal and i think this is because the clip touches the body at a place where it grows in diameter. The screw pattern is also “standard” so other clips on the market such as steel flame will fit if you want to replace the clip or personalize your light further.
Last thing I will mention is that since this light is made of steel my advice would be to put a light coat of oil on it just for preventative measures to prevent rust. If you are a knife guy, most pocket knives are made of stainless steel and depending on the alloy used some can pit and rust even if they are “stainless”. This light is the same, depending on how much you use it, your sweat, and climate it’s possible you could see a little rust. I noticed just a tiny spot on mine, that has basically disappeared after a very light coat of Ballistol.
Size & Weight/Comparisons
When I first heard this light was going to be made of stainless steel, I was worried about the weight. Stainless steel isn’t a lightweight metal but I was surprised that it’s lighter than copper and brass by 12.45% and 8.05% respectively. That said Titanium blows it out of the water with it being 54% lighter. The weight I measured the stainless steel Gemini was 133.9g without the battery.
Size wise this is pretty similar to a lot of triple LED lights on the market that take 18350 batteries. I measured it at 80mm. This is very close to the dawn at 82mm. Maximum diameter at 25mm, minimum at 23.5mm. In the photos below I compare it to the Reylight Dawn in copper, and the Emmisar D4 with the 18350 tube installed.
The LED in use in my Gemini is SST-20 in 4000k in high CRI. Also available is the Cree XPL-HI in 6000k. While I am a big fan of the Nichia 219 B/C that Reylight typically offers, it’s not the most efficient or cost effective LED in the market any longer. The high CRI version of the SST-20 is 95.
Reylight claims 2000 lumens on turbo mode with the SST-20 LED’s and 3000 lumens with the XPL-HI LED’s.
This light does get hot pretty quickly on higher output modes. This is pretty common on triples. This light does thermal cycle pretty fast within about 1.5 minutes on turbo output, and if you keep pushing it it gets too hot to hold. Unfortunately my infrared thermometer doesn’t like the highly reflective steel here so I didn’t get a good reading on an actual number.
The beamshot is fairly even for a triple. Nothing perfect but nothing glaring either. The opic in use here is the same size as a carclo 10507, but a Chinese version.
For my runtimes I did both a standard uncooled test and a cooled test where I had a fan blow across the light. In both I used a Keeppower 1200mAh battery.
For the cooled runtime test the light had a seesaw output as it delt with heat for 25 minutes while still providing the most output it can as the battery declines in voltage.. For me the amount it decreases by is just a little too much too often. My advice would be to use the least amount of light to get your task done with this light rather then maximum output to conserve power and keep the light output as stable as possible. Total useful output time was 45 minutes, but 25 minutes of that saw the highest output and seesaw outputs.
Uncooled runtimes were actually longer due to the light ramping down due to heat and staying lower to manage the heat, thus using less overall power and more runtime.
We saw similar output patterns with the Reylight Dawn in Titanium, but my Reylight Dawn in Copper was better about this because its ability to dissipate heat to the environment is much better. The good news here is since the light is running a modified Bistro the firmware parameters can be modified to change the runtime behavior. It isn’t all that uncommon for Triple LED lights to reduce output in an extreme to manage heat, but most stay lower, requiring the user to bump up when they need more output. Low voltage protection kicked in at 2.904v.
To show this ramping down and up due to heat I shot a 6 minute video of this happening and sped it up https://youtu.be/jTCe-K_ZHOI?t=785
The light uses a modified Bistro firmware, with 23 total modes. Pretty standard with lots of configurable options if you like. Chances are you probably own a light with Bistro already here, so nothing new to learn.
In the default mode you get 5 brightness modes in a pretty linear outputs, starting low and going high. In the default configuration memory mode is turned on.
I will leave some links to where you can see more about the firmware and a helpful diagram if your going to change anything on the light such as thermal controls. Or mode groups
- Pretty affordable
- Good LED choices available in nice tint’s and a high CRI option available.
- NIce build quality for the price
- Sapphire Lens – Superior scratch resistance and a great value at this price.
- Standard Clip screw pattern.
- No tritium slots on this light, that’s something ReyLights have been known for. But it would increase cost of production.
- Bistro in the default settings is pretty temperature sensitive and this light cycles from very bright to dim when it gets hot. This can be improved in the UI by changing the temp threshold.
- Stainless steel conducts heat well so when it’s hot, it’s HOT!
For the price point of around $100 this is a pretty affordable high value light. Stainless steel wouldn’t be my first choice for material for a flashlight but it does work here. It’s a bit heavy but I like the overall design. If you are used to carrying a copper light, stainless steel won’t be much different in wait. I could see future version getting a little thinner maybe, and other materials being used too. I think a brass or bronze here would be neat. I like the diamond pattern on the body, and that it’s aggressive but not too much so far. Retention is very strong on the light. It’s a little disappointing that there are no tritium slots as that’s something Reylight has been known for. If you are looking to dip your toes into the semi custom flashlight market this would be a good place to start at an affordable price point.
Check out the Gemini on Reylights website at http://bit.ly/335LAEd
Xtar has introduced their new 2 bay lithium ion based charger and it’s capable of charging 2 cells at 4.1A each from USB-C! It features selectable charging rates too. Thanks to Xtar from sending me this early unit for a quick look and review along with a few high drain batteries to test with.
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The charger I received was early in the production cycle and didn’t actually come with any of the final retail packaging. The accessories that will be included with the final product are the charger itself, USB-C to C cable, and a USB-A to USB-C cable thats QC3 compliant.
This charger is designed to charge cells 18650 and larger, primarily 18650, 18700, 20700, 21700, and 26650 batteries. To accomplish this Xtar made a few design changes. Instead of the positive end of the batteries facing the power plug, now the positive end faces the screen which is 180 degrees from pretty much all other chargers. Thankfully this is molded into the fire resistant plastic. They also designed the sliders (at the top) so no smaller batteries will fit, 18650’s are the minimum size. This charger should also charge protected 21700’s. Minimum size the charger accepts is 60mm, and maximum is 77mm. The charge now has temperature sensors on each bay in little metal pads that make direct contact with the batteries.
The sides pick up the blue theme with accents and the entire thing is made of soft touch flame retardant plastic. There are vents on the back and bottom of the charger to aid in cooling. Overall it’s made pretty well and feels solid.
As noted before the screen on this charger is on the bottom of it, and while the screen part itself is fairly small. Text is large enough and very clear. The background is a nice deep blue and text is white. The display shows the current voltage of the cell, Percentage of charge, charging speed, and temperature of the cell in centigrade. When you first plug in the charger it will do a test and show the resistance of the cell.
Below the screen you do have two buttons for each charging slot. These control the charging speed of each slot, with your options being 1A, 2A, or 4.1A. If you hold the button for 1.5 seconds the backlight and LED will turn completely off for night charging, although the red and green LED indicators (Charging/Charged) will stay on. The backlight will go to sleep after a few second under normal operation.
Here are some photos of the interior of the charger. My only concern is that the wires to the temperature sensor are very thin and I could see these potentially getting caught in the spring or mechanism.
Rather then read out the input and output specs I will throw a picture in here.
Charging via QC3
When charging via QC3, the charger is not capable of charging 2 batteries at 4.1A each. Instead it will charge 2 batteries at a maximum of 2A each. If you drop down to one cell it will charge at 4.1A. There is no indicator on the screen what your power source is, if it’s QC2 or QC3.
Charging via USB-C!
For maximum performance across both bays, the best thing is to use a power supply that capable of at least 40W (measured at the wall) or more via USB-C PD. I used my Innergie 60C charger for my testing because it’s the only USB-C charger I have that could deliver enough power. I tried my Xtar EU4 with USB-C but when loading up 2 batteries it would shut off when I tried to charge both at 4.1A.
When charging 2x 21700 batteries at 4.1A each at the start the charger was drawing 40W @ 0.74A at the wall. The cells started off at 24C. At 7% charger they had heated up to 30C. At 25% charge they were 45C and this was as hot as the charger reported things as getting, and my infrared thermometer measured similar temps. Total time to charge both 4000mAh 31700 batteries from 3.5V to 4.2 was 1 hour 25 minutes. Terminating voltage was 4.188V
When charging both cells at 2A, I measured a total of 22W of power at the wall, and when charging both at 1A I measured 12W at the wall. These lesser power modes could easily allow you to charge off lesser capable power supplies or using QC3.
- USB-C PD! Finally we have a charger utilizing USB-C and PD. QC3 is also an option with a A to C cable.
- Speed, this is one of the fastest chargers on the market, able to charge at 4.1A on each bay simultaneously. Great for those high capacity 21700’s and 26650’s if you need the speed.
- Selectable Charger Rate, this is something we need from Xtar’s other chargers such as the X and VC series chargers.
- Direct and continuous measurement of the temp of the battery, great for safety when charging at such high rates.
- When using USB-C you must plug the charger in first then insert the batteries.
- Cell orientation is backwards from most other chargers with positive terminal facing the user.
- Unit shuts off when not receiving enough power (USB-C) instead of charging slower or giving a warning. This is kind of frustrating sometimes.
- Larger Lithium batteries only, Unfortunately this isn’t a perfect one stop charger because it doesn’t support Ni-HM cells or smaller Lithium ion like 18350 or 14500.
It’s nice to see a charger finally use USB-C PD and have a battery charger from Xtar that allows you to change the speed of the charge too. The ST2 look a lot like the Xtar Over Slim 4 and has similar specs but with a USB-C input and no USB outputs.
To take advantage of the speed of this charger you really need to use USB-C power supply, and it needs to have a fairly large power output. My Xtar EU4 can put out about 45W on USB-C but that wasn’t enough to charge both cells at 4.1A and the charger shut off, and only my 60W charger was enough.
That said, in most applications I don’t recommend charging your larger batteries at 4.1A each, while it’s safe it does heat them up and causes some unnecessary wear and tear, and shortens they life by a small amount. This would be good for a quick top up if speed was necessary or maybe a boost early on in the charging and then turn down the speed as you go. This fast of charging should only be done on high drain batteries. So at 2A charging this charger needs a much less demanding power supply and this is where QC3 or a more modest USB-C charger comes into play.
This is a good charger for those looking for full USB-C support and outright charging performance in a small package and don’t mind not being able to charge smaller then 18650 lithium batteries or Ni-HM cells.
On on AliExpress from Xtar Directly at bit.ly/2xXy07B
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Xtar has an updated 4 bay charger on the market the VC4s. This is a do it all charger, with the ability to charge a wide variety of battery chemistries and sizes. The VC4s has QC3 input that allows for a maximum of 3A charging speed on one bay and the ability to do capacity testing, resistance testing while charging and also a storage mode. Thanks to Xtar for sending this to me to take a look at.
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Packaging is a nicely done retail style white box, with full color photos on front and back of the charger. On the sides it shows the types of batteries it supports and on the back is a more technical details. Inside the charger is surrounded by a clear plastic mold. Accessories are limited to the manual and a MicroUSB cable capable of QC3, and a nice silk style bag to put everything in. No AC charger is included here and it’s up to the owner to supply their own (Preferably with QC3).
The Xtar VC4s is a well built charter. It’s solid in the hand with no molding issues, creeks or cracks. On the top side it has only one input, a microUSB connector labeled QC3. On the bottom it has vents for the internal electronics. It also has a placard molded into the plastic with the input, output voltages, along with all the different sizes of cells and chemistries it supports.
The top side features the spring loaded battery holders that expand to fit the different sizes of cells (too numerous to list). These are smooth and glide well, but provide enough tension to keep a cell in place. The most common sizes of batteries will fit this charger up to unprotected 21700 lithium batteries. The outside two slots are designed for batteries with larger diameters then 18mm. The inner two slots will fit a 21700 as long as it’s with a smaller battery next to it.
The screen is 75mm by 32mm and a white and blue LCD on a black background. It’s clear and reasonably bright with a backlight that does dim after a minute or so. Each slot has a dial that shows the battery voltage, charging speed in the 3 to 6 oclock position, and then capacity at the bottom, this changes to full when finished. It’s enough information to get a good idea of what’s going on but not any more.
Below the screen are two buttons that control the charger. On the left between slots 1 and 2 is the DISP button. This changes what the display is showing during the different modes. The choices are Cap (Capacity), Cur (Current), and IR (Resistance). The button on the right between slots 3 and 4 operate the different modes of the charger. Grad (Grading), Store (Storage).
I did take the charger apart and I will put up a few pictures of what I found inside. I didn’t see anything that concerned me, if you see something worth mentioning please make sure to comment about it.
The Xtar VC4s is capable of recharging Li-ion, IMR, INR, ICR, and Ni-MH batteries so this will cover the most common cells found today in your flashlights, vape pens, and other electronics. Let me run through some of the details here on the charging side of things. The charger does have 0 volt activation, and reverse polarity protection to keep things safe. I measured Li-ion Terminal Voltage at 4.161V and Ni-HM Terminal Voltage at 1.422V.
Recharging speed is not manually configurable on this charger with a button but there are some things you can do to influence things. First the charger is capable of charging at up to 3A on one bay, if using a battery that is large enough (and low enough resistance), only having one cell connected at a time, and using a QC3 power source. As you start adding more batteries in the charger, speed slows down as current is shared between charging cells. I did observe 4 Eneloops charging all at 1A each as they were about half full. The charger can charge at 0.5a for smaller cells, 1A, 2A, and 3A. The only thing I dislike is that if charging 1 Ni-MH AA battery, I was able to charge it at an indicated 3A if no other batteries were in the charger at the start of charging. It eventually went to 2A as the cell came up in voltage. This is quicker then I would normally be comfortable charging this type of battery at. A dirty solution to fix this would be to insert another battery into the charger even if it’s fully charged. While QC3 is not required, I would strongly recommend using a charger that supports that so you can take advantage of the speed.
The Xtar VC4s has a nice additional feature of a capacity tester. I did some informal tests and compared it to my ISDT C4 tester which has a similar feature. On ISDT C4 charger with my Samsung 30Q battery, it tested capacity at 2788mAh, so very close. The Xtar VC4s tested the exact same battery at capacity of 2763mAh. I did the same thing with an Eneloop AA that I have had for several years and got 1906mAh on the VC4s, and 2109mAh on the ISDT C4. So a bit of a difference in results here.
In storage mode, the charger will charge or discharge cells accordingly to be at the optimal value for long term storage. This is a nice feature if you have a lot of batteries, or plan to put a cell in a light you intend to put away for a long time. Terminal voltage on a Samsung 30Q for the VC4s was 3.67V and you can do 4 at a time.
It will even do storage on a NiHM cell but there isn’t as much reason to do this as there is on lithium chemistry cells.
It’s an added feature to be able to toggle to view the resistance of a cell during charging. More information to know what’s going on is always nice.
- Nice to see some chargers start to use QC3 for power input.
- I like the additional features here that allow you to charge, do a storage charge, and capacity testing as well as measure the cells resistance.
- Wide range of battery support in size and battery chemistry, and faster then previous versions.
- I would love to see information about the incoming power source on the display, at least the protocol thats being used.
- MicroUSB for the power connection vs USB-C
- Too fast of start charge for my taste if charging 1 AA Ni-MH cell.
- No manual control over charging speed, the charger is pretty conservative so you should be safe.
The Xtar VC4s is a nice affordable upgrade over the VC4. The original VC4 was my main charger for the longest time because it was dead simple, safe, I liked the display and it was reliable. That said as time went on it was a bit slow, especially charging 4 cells at once. The VC4s improves these issues by adding QC3 which allows for more incoming voltage and thus faster charging. By modern standards this still isn’t a fast charger but I typically don’t need to charge batteries fast, and it’s actually better to charge them slower. I like the added features of testing capacity, and measure resistance during the charging cycle. These are things I will use as I test batteries. It’s a little disappointed to see USB-C not make the difference here and really give this a power boost but maybe that will be coming in a future model (hint hint). Overall this is a good charger and one I will be using to keep my cells full. I recommend it, as long as you have a QC3 power source (or purchase one) as well.
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