Category Archives: Flashlight Reviews

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Nitecore EC22 Review (Infinitely variable brightness 0.5 – 1000 Lumens)

The Nitecore EC22 is a single emitter small diameter 18650 light with a rotary switch instead of a more traditional button. This allows Nitecore to make a light that instead of having preset modes make it infinitely variable and ramp via the smooth rotary on the front of the light. Thanks to Nitecorestore.com for sending this to me to take a look at.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/XRkJ8Gg(link is external)
The YouTube Version of this Review

Packaging
The packaging is Nitecore’s standard Black and Yellow retail hanging box, with pictures of the light, and details on the back. Inside the box is a plastic tray with the light itself, holster, lanyard and extra origin. The holster here is a more basic model and it almost looks like it was designed for a shorter light. The EC22 fits but ther just isn’t much room for the velcro to latch. It does have a D ring and velcro belt loop.




Construction
This light is made from nicely milled aluminium and hard anodized black. It’s pretty narrow for an 18650 light. There is some fairly smooth knurling on the tail cap and body tube. The tail cap has a large recessed flat that would have fit a magnet or tail switch if Nitecore chose to do so. However in the EC22 it was just left blank with a large lanyard hold for easy of mounting.


The clip is “Titanium plated stainless steel” I believe this is most likely a TiN based PVD coating used to increase scratch resistance. The clip can attach at the rear of the light for tip down carry or closer to the middle for use on a hat as a headlamp. I wish the retention was a bit tighter out of the box but you can tighten the clip up by bending it if you wish.

Closer to the front there is a 6 sided hex anti roll ring. At the front there is the rotary switch in machined aluminum. It could use a bit more grip in my opinion as it’s a bit stiff. Threads are square cut and nicely greased with an oring on each side of the body tube.


Maybe I am a little OCD but for me on lights with a milled flat on the body tube with writing it should line up with the button. Unfortunately my example of the EC22 suffers a bit in this regard because to have it line up with the button it won’t make contact. It requires just a touch more rotation to make contact and this makes the flats off axis.

Size/Weight/Water Rating
The EC22 is thinnest at 25.5mm and thickest at 26mm. Overall length is 128.7mm. Weight with a Nitecore IMR 3100mah battery is 126.8G. Water rating is IPX8.

Switch and UI
The UI of this light is very simple due to the linear rotary switch near the front. There is a strong detent on the switch and when you turn it on or off it makes a click that you can hear and feel. The rotary switch rotates clockwise, in my right hand this feels pretty natural to use your thumb and push back. Either way it’s a smooth operation but has decent resistance. I do wish it had a bit more aggressive grip on it due to its resistance. It can be turned on with one finger but is easier with two. I don’t see this light coming on accidentally in your pocket or bag. The light starts in the lowest output it can do which is below a lumen and the further you advance the rotary switch the brighter it gets, do the reverse to turn it off. From off to full is 270 degrees of rotation.

There is no extra modes on this light, shortcuts, or memory mode. This makes it really easy to use.

LED + Runtimes + Temps This light uses a Cree XP-L HD V6 LED in cool white. It’s pretty standard cool white, not too cool and not warm. I don’t notice any significant cree rainbow in this emitter. The reflector is smooth and the lens is anti reflective coated. This light will work with button top batteries and flat tops. It’s nice to see Nitecore evolve into using both types on several recent lights.

Beam Shot
The beam does have some artifacts at the 5-6ft range. I think the bezel causes some distortion as well as the LED Die itself as its kind of square distortions. The reflector itself doesn’t get that close to the LED itself which could be part of it. At further distances it’s not as noticeable.

Parasitic Drain I measured at 1.5uA

Runtime
I did my runtime testing with a Nitecore branded IMR 3100mah button top protected battery. As you can see from the graph the light does have active thermal controls. You can see this as the light ramps down from turbo it dips down, cools off and then for a short time increases in brightness before settling in to about 55% of relative output for a solid 80 minutes. The next 25 minutes the light decreases significantly in output smoothly as the battery runs out. Total runtime of usable light with this 3100mah battery is just at 160 lumens which is quite good. Longer runtimes can be expected for lower outputs as well. Heat was not an issue.

Pro

  • Really easy to use interface once you know which direction the rotary switch operates.
  • Large lanyard hole and tail standing design.
  • Can use flat tops and button top batteries.

Con

  • Body tube flats don’t line up with the button on my example.
  • Pocket clip should have better retention and I would prefer deeper carry.

Conclusion
Nitecore isn’t afraid to try new things with their flashlight designs. For me a rotary switch like this is new and I like it. It’s a little stiff but I expect this to loosen up a bit. I really like the infinitely variable light output this has and I think a rotary switch like this is a decent way to do this. It makes its operation very logical. I think if Nitecore wanted to make a “Tactical” model they could add an electronic switch to the tail cap to add some shortcuts but this would complicate the UI. If you have not tried a light with ramping output it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite features when done right. The output beam isn’t as smooth as I would like to see but I don’t think a non flashaholic would notice this. For me it’s not a deal breaker for what is otherwise a nice flashlight. Thanks again to Nitecorestore.com for sending this to me to evaluate.

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

FiTorch ER16 Review (1000 Lumens XP-L2, 16340,18350,USB Recharging)

FiTorch is a newer brand to me and this is the first light I have looked at from them. It’s designed for EDC use, has onboard charging via micro USB, magnetic tail cap, and a deep carry pocket clip.Thanks to Banggood for sending this to me to take a look at.

Full Image Gallery https://imgur.com/a/vswz9

YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging
Packaging is a black orange retail style box complete with a hanger. On the rear you get lots of details such as lumens, runtime, battery, and other ratings. Inside you get the light itself in a plastic try along with the accessories including the deep carry clip, lanyard, branded belt holster, and one oring. The holster is made of black nylon, is branded with a sewn in flag. It’s belt loop is fixed, and it doesn’t have an oring. It’s sides are elastic so it fits the light well. You will need to be careful with button placement so you don’t accidently turn it on.




Construction
This light is made from aluminum that’s hard anodized black. Machine is above average quality and inline with the price of the light. The tail cap has circular groves running around it as knurling with 4 pockets milled in to provide extra grip This light unscrews in the middle which is a little different from many. There isn’t any knurling on the body tube but it has enough cuts to provide grip. Threads were nicely greased and fairly fine. For a light of this size it has quite a few threads.


The front end of the light a hexagonal area milled out that contains the button and USB charging port opposite the button. This are is milled out to act as a heat sync The button itself is flat and metal, it’s a floating style button. I do recommend using lockout with this light if your going to carry it in a front pocket. Around it is a small clear bezel with multicolor LED’s under that acts status indicator for power level and onboard battery charging. Further forward is a smoothly milled area where the emitter and lens are.

The bezel is not removable as a front piece itself, itls a larger component and it’s lightly crenulated. The lens itself is anti reflective coated glass. The reflector smooth and fairly deep, and the emitter is nicely centered.


This light is rated for a 16340 battery but there is quite a bit of extra room in the tube when your using a 16340 so I decided to try a flat top 18350 that I had on hand. I had to add a magnet in the center of my flattop to make the light work again because of the physical reverse polarity protection built in but it will work and there is still a bit of extra space left in the tube. With the 16340 battery installed I didn’t have rattle because of the pretty strong spring in the tail.

The light has a strong magnet that very easily holds the light’s weight on a metal surface both horizontally and vertically. No weak magnets here, it’s the way it should be. It’s strong enough that it holds the battery in place too even though there is a spring in between.

93.3mm in length, 27.7mm at it’s thickest (Button) and 23.7mm at it’s thinnest.
Weight with my KeepPower 16340 is 91.3g
Water Rating is IPX8

For a 16340 EDC light it’s a little bigger than I expected. For a front pocket EDC the more lights I test the more I have determined diameter is one of the most important factors and the ER16’s is just a little bigger then I would like. If you have an Emisar D4, it’s pretty similar to that in diameter and length. Lengthwise the ER16 pretty decent. This being said it carried nicely in a couple pairs of jeans. I really liked the clip on the ER16. It’s sturdy and deep carry to where there is almost none of the light showing above your pocket, exactly like I like.

LED + Runtimes + Temps
The ER16 uses a Cree XP-L2 LED in cool white, defined hot center. Output on turbo is 1000 lumens. Medium is 340 lumens, medium is 100 lumens and low is 3 Lumens. I would like to see high be a bit higher and low be a bit lower under ideal circumstances. The beam has a definite hot spot with a decent amount of spill. The light throws better than I expected too. Easily out too 100 yard which is pretty good for this size of light.

Runtime
For my runtimes I used a Keeppower 800mah 16340 battery and an Aspire 1100mah 18350 for comparison. Turbo lasts for about 5 minutes on the 16340 decreasing as voltage drops. It’s more stable on the 18350. The light does step down as you can see from the graph. It’s making usable light out to about 90 minutes. With a 18350 medium lasts a bit longer but the biggest difference with is how much longer low runs for. It makes usesable light out to about 150 minutes before entering low mode at 3 lumens. If you can use an 18350 instead of a 16340 do it, because there is almost no penalty in doing so.

UI
The UI of this light goes as follows Turbo > High > Mid > Low > Turbo. It’s unfortunate it starts in turbo. I think this limits it’s practical EDC use because many times you don’t want to start off at 1000 lumens. There is memory but it’s pretty short in how long it remembers. You can double click to get to strobe and single click to exit that mode.

Lockout is accomplished when the light is off pressing and holding the switch and the indicator will briefly flash red letting you know its locked. Doing the same thing will unlock it and low mode will come on in the main beam.

Voltage check is well done on this light. From off triple click the button 3 times in a row. First you get green flashes showing the first number of the voltage so 3 would be 3 volts then you get red flashes showing the next digit. So 3 green 1 red would be 3.1V.

Charge Graph
This light has onboard USB charging via a micro USB port on the body. As I mentioned earlier the unfortunate thing is that this microUSB port is buried deep requiring a longer then average cable to recharge. For me this kind of defeats the purpose of MicroUSB recharging if I can’t use a standard cable. The light can charge at 1A but it didn’t hold there for to terribly long only about the first 30 minutes before it started slowing as the battery (800mah Keeppower 16340) reached capacity. Terminating voltage was 4.1V. Total charge time was 1 hour and 9 minutes.

Pro
*Quick charging for a 16340
*Fits 18350’s by surprise, nice for extra capacity
*Sturdy deep carry clip and a strong magnet
*Throws well for an EDC light

Con
*Extra deep micro USB connector means most standard cables won’t work for recharging.
*Wish the UI would start on low instead of Turbo.

Conclusion
The FiTorch ER16 has some pretty stiff competition in this size and use case. For me the ArmyTek Prime C1 probably wins out due to it’s slightly thinner profile and button that is less prone to accidental activation. However the ER16 throws further and has a smoother beam profile over the Prime C1 Pro. My recommendation for FiTorch is that they make the UI start on low, and not recess the microUSB connector quite so far so that you could use a standard cable to charge it. If you don’t mind these things the ER16 is a nice light that charges pretty quick and has a strong magnet. It will work well in an EDC application for you.

You can pickup the ER16 on Banggood if you have any questions please let me know below.

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Thrunite C2 (Battery Charger & Power Bank in one) Review

Have any questions? Leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer!

Thrunite C2 3400mah on Amazon https://amzn.to/2qkDg0T

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Klarus Titanium H1A Headlamp Review

Today I have a new headlamp the Klarus Titanium H1A. This is Klarus’s first headlamp, and as you can see this is is a multi emitter headlamp, with multiple buttons. It’s a dual fuel headlamp running on the included LIthium 14500 cell or alkaline/rechargeable AA batteries. Thanks to FlashlightZ(link is external) for sending this to me to further look at.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/GQwEL(link is external)
The YouTube Version of this Review:

Construction
The front and side shell of the headlamp itself is made from Titanium. It has a brushed finish and seems to have a clear coat applied over top. On each side there are little rubber notches that are glued on/molded on that give it a little extra grip. On top the buttons are silver plastic and are different sizes that correspond to the different LED’s.




The light pivots at the bottom and has 5 points of defined stops and a full 90 degrees. This is the easiest way to open the battery door and replace a cell. It clips on here at top. You can remove it from the strap which I like but I question if the all plastic pivot and mechanism can stand up to doing this repeatedly.

Inside the screws and springs are gold in color. The battery compartment thanks to the spring can accommodate longer 14500’s but you do need a button top battery.

Klarus markets the titanium in the outside of this light as being super durable, and very heat dissipation. While titanium is a strong and durable material it’s not the best for heat dissipation. Titanium has a relatively low thermal conductivity rating. For example Titanium has a rating of 19 watts per Meter C, Aluminum is 205-250 w/M C, and Copper is 386w/M C. In this the higher number is better means the material has better thermal conductivity and in this application that means it dissipates heat more efficiently. The benefit titanium has is that it’s very high strength for its very light weight which is why I suspect it was chosen here instead of it’s thermal properties. Klarus should just stress it’s high strength and lightweight instead of thermal properties.

The head strap band is one of the nicest I have seen on a headlamp. It’s very elastic, and two tone. The outside is a gray with the Klarus name weaved into the fabric. On the Inside the band is bright orange which might aid in finding it in the dark or in low light. There is also a thin strip of silicone embedded into this inside of the strap. This helps you keep it on your head, and would help it stay put on a clean hard hart or similar helmet.

Weight with strap and battery comes in at 96.6 Grams. Water rating is IPX6 rated. This means it will be just fine for rain and dust but not full submersion.

LED + Runtimes
This light takes a little different approach to others I have looked at recently by having 3 different LED’s. The main brightest emitter is a Cree XP-L V6 LED in cool white with a maximum of 550 lumens. It has 3 modes, High at 550 lumens, Medium at 100 lumens, and low at 30 Lumens. This emitter is almost all flood and even under the lens. The second white emitter is in the middle of the light, and is a Cree XP-E2 R2 LED with a warmer 4000k tone. It’s output is 50 Lumens on medium and 10 on low. This LED also has a Strobe feature at 50 lumens Lastly there is a Cree XP-E2 P2 Red LED that has one mode at 10 lumens and strobe at 10 lumens in red. I wish red had a lower lumen mode as it’s decently bright. On an alkaline or rechargeable AA battery the lumen outputs are the same except for Turbo which is 186 lumens instead of 550. You can run the main emitter and one of the smaller emitters at the same which is a little different.

Main emitter

Secondary emitter

Both

Red

Runtimes are timer based it seems. The light doesn’t get beyond slightly warm when in use for long periods of time. This is disappointing on turbo since it only lasts for about 3-4 minutes You can bump up again but it requires a manual trigger. Runtimes in the middle mode with the main emitter on the included Klarus branded 750 mAh was much longer at about 55 minutes before it dropped off significantly with runtimes ending at the 80 minute mark. The light does have low voltage protection and working voltage is 0.9V to 4.2V.

On a standard Enloop battery the output isn’t as much in Turbo and it’s shorter too at only about 2 minutes. But that middle output 100 lumens ran for nearly 115 minutes before a sharp decline over the next 20 minutes.

UI
On the main LED, the light starts off in high mode in a nice slow fade in, with another press it goes to low, and press again it goes to medium. I would prefer it start out in low, then go to medium and then to High mode. One could argue that if you want low mode you could use the secondary white LED instead of the main one for less output but I think it would be simpler UI wise if they all started in low and left it to the user to bump up in light as needed.

On the secondary LED’s the UI is similar. From off if you press and hold the secondary button you get the lower white output on the secondary warmer LED. Press again to get high output. To get red long press from the light being on to activate red medium mode, and to turn off press and hold.

The light also has a strobing red feature double click the secondary button from off to get into strobe and double click to exit. Lastly there is lockout and to lock/unlock press and hold both buttons for 3 seconds.

Charging
The included Klarus branded 14500 battery is a button top, it’s rated for 750mah, the protection cell on my charger didn’t care for this battery and I was unable to run a capacity test. The built in Micro USB charging on the 14500 is pretty slow. In my testing it was 0.34A for pretty much the entire length of charge. This results in pretty long charge times via USB, in my test it took 3 hours go go from full to empty. For a 750mah 14500 battery this is slow. When charging via USB you get a red LED at the top of the cell that goes blue/white when full. You can always throw it in a charger and charge at 1A faster. I wouldn’t recommend charging faster then 1A though.

What’s in the Box
Packaging is small and compact. The box is nice and designed for retail. Inside is a black and red zippered case, that contains the headlamp, strap, and battery. The battery was preinstalled and mostly precharged. The manual had no major translation issues and is available online from Klarus as well.


Packaging error?


Conclusion
I ended up liking this headlamp more than I thought I would at the beginning. The 3 different emitters are a nice way to give this headlamp alot of ability to cover a variety of situations. For me I this is going to go in my Go/Tornado bag because of it’s dual fuel capability. I generally prefer 18650 headlamps and have a 18650 based flashlight in the bag too, but from reading about peoples experiences after disasters the general consensus there are usually lots of AA batteries available. This headlamp gives me the ability to utilize those if I needed to and give me a headlamp which I find really useful. The case keep everything in one place and all together.

While I personally love Titanium and a large part of my EDC is all titanium, It’s really not necessary in this headlamp from a functional standpoint. It does give it more cool and style points though. FlashlightZ has told me an aluminum version is coming out later this year which should be a little less expensive. I think it would be cool if Klarus did some anodizing on the titanium version to make it a little more special and help justify the increase in price.

To find out more on the light visit Flashlightz.com

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Olight H16 Wave, Hands Free Operation

The Olight H16 wave headlight, looks and shares many components with the HS2 that was released last year. The HS2 was a light designed for running, and the H16 Wave is designed more for every day normal use and features a no touch on/off ability. Thanks to Olight for sending this to me to review, let’s take a further look at the H16 Wave.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/hc07d(link is external)
YouTube Version of this Review:

Construction
The construction of the H16 is pretty similar to the HS2 but with a few changes. It appears the battery packs being used are the same in terms of design and capacity. They are encased in black plastic, have the 4 LED battery indicators and charge via microUSB with a silicone cover for the USB port. The straps are stretchy black elastic material with Olight printed on them and silver reflective aarrows. The cable the runs from the battery to the headlamp is one piece which differs from the HS2 where it was two pieces with a connection in the middle. It has a coil that’s allows the cable to stretch to adjust for different size heads.


The Head of the light is made mostly of plastic except for a metal heatsync behind the LED’s. I believe it’s anodized aluminum and it has cooling fins. The front side is plastic and houses the two LED,s and the lenses. Below it is the single blue button covered with a silicon cover. The wave feature I believe is either side of this. The blue button does illuminate when the wave feature is turned on.The light is removable from the strap but the battery is not. There is a bit of foam on the back of the light housing that combined with the strap is plenty of padding. Overall I find this to be adjustable and comfortable as a headlamp to use for several hours due to it’s low weight and padding.



Size/Weight
Weight including strap and battery is 120 grams. Size of the headlamp portion is nearly square at 40mm by 39mm and 25mm in maximum thickness.

LED/Runtime
The H16 Wave uses two Cree XP-G3 LED’s in cool white and places two different optics in front of them. The LED’s work together and you can’t use one at a time like you could on the HS2. For the optics you have a traditional TIR style optic for a beam that throws a bit and has a large hotspot. Mine does exhibit some oddities that I can pick out on a white surface. The other optic is checkered diffuser which creates a flood beam.

TIR Optic Beam Shot

Flood Reflector Beam Shot

Together (How it operates)

Runtimes on this light were good on the included 2000mAh battery pack. It was able to run starting out in High mode at 500 lumens for the 5 timed minutes and stepping down as the timer kicked in down to 350 lumens for another 130 minutes, and then down to medium at 100 lumens for about 15 minutes and then it went low at 5 Lumens for the remaining time. Total run time in my test was right at 140 minutes which is good in my opinion.

The light does have 4 small LED on the battery pack that when battery check button is pressed alert you to the charge status. It also has an audible beeper that will beep when the battery hits 10% and it will continue beeping for 10 minutes. You can stop the beeping by pressing the battery check button.

Charging
Charging the non removable battery is accomplished via microUSB. The light charges at a maximum of 1A and takes quite a while. From empty to 100% in my test it took just under 3 hours. The light will run while it’s charging but not on Turbo.

UI/Wave
The UI on the H16 Wave is simple, like most Olights. From off click the switch and you get High, click again and you get medium, click again and you get low. Starting in high is unfortunate, and I wish it started in low instead.

The wave feature allows you to turn the light on and off via a wave of your hand in front of the light. You need to be reasonably close to the light for this to work. Closer then 2 inches. The wave feature only turns the light on or off, and doesn’t change the mode. I would love to see a mode of the light where you could configure Wave to change modes instead of just on or off. To enable the wave feature when the light is on you long press on the single button and the light will very briefly flicker. You do the same to turn it off. The wave feature will reset to a default of off if it isn’t used within 1 hour.

Packaging
The packaging is similar to Olight’s other 2018 products. It came in a white retail box that was narrow and long. The sides have a few bits of information and the back has most of it. Inside the light is housed in plastic tray with a clear lid. Included in this was the headlamp itself already attached to the strap, the manual, and a nice long microUSB cable.





MSRP at the time of review is $59.99 with a 2 year warranty.

Conclusion
If you have read my previous headlamp reviews, or watched my videos you know I like headlamps and think everyone should have one. The H16 is a slight rethink on the HS2 and I think it makes it better for general users. The wave feature works better than I expected it to and I can see some situations where your hands might be dirty and you want to turn on the headlamp. This would require thinking ahead though and having it already in that mode. Instead of using the wave for on and off I think it might be more useful as a way to go from one mode to another. Like other Olight headlamps I have reviewed this one is built well and I don’t expect problems. I would have preferred a neutral white or warm white option but Olight seems to prefer cool white on most all their products instead. This would be a good headlamp to add to a hiking pack, to use around the house or for all you home mechanics as I showed earlier. Pick it up on Amazon or Olight Store.

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Thrunite TC20 Review (XHP70.2 NW, 26650)

Thrunite gets a lot of positive attention with their flashlight models. I previously didn’t have one to review until recently with the TC20. The TC20 is one of the more recent designs from Thrunite(link is external) and I am glad they were able to send it to me for review. This is a 26650 based light, in neutral white capable of producing 3800 lumens and is microUSB rechargeable at 2 amps. Let’s take a closer look at it.

Full Image Gallery for this Review: https://imgur.com/a/BXRHr(link is external)
Youtube Version of this Review:

Construction
The TC20 is made from aluminum that’s been semi gloss black hard anodized. Machining is good with no sharp edges and everything lines up like it should with any printing, and flats on the body. The tail is non magnetic and slightly recessed. There is a small milled out area to attach the included lanyard as well. The tail cap and about ? of the body tube have a diamond knurling pattern that’s more on the aggressive side without being too aggressive to damage pockets. The head is milled from what looks like a solid piece of aluminum. It has 5 flats milled into the ring around the power button which helps control roll.

The button itself has a positive feel to it and makes an audible click. I believe it’s a metal top, with an LED in the center to indicate battery power level and charge status while charging. The reflector is deep and and has a nice orange peel to it. The glass lens is anti reflective coated. The silver colored bezel is removable and is used to contain the lens and reflector. Threads are large and square cut and unanodized. The spring in the tail cap is a double spring design.

!{width:80%}https://i.imgur.com/LgymZtP.jpg!https://i.imgur.com/LgymZtP.jpg(link is external)

Size and Weight
Length of the TC20 was 118.4mm, Maximum diameter was 42mm, minimum diameter was 33.55mm and weight was 238.7 grams. Compared to my Olight R50, it’s length was 132.4mm, it’s maximum diameter was 42mm, the minimum diameter was 33mm and weight was 258.8 grams.

The TC20 is IPX8 water rated which is great for a microUSB rechargeable light. Parasitic Drain was measured at a low 2.0uA.

LED + Runtimes
This light uses Cree XHP70.2 in neutral white as its emitter. I have tested a couple of other lights with the XHP70.2 and found the color rainbow effect where the tint of the beam is to be uneven. It was most noticeable on the eddges of the beam. However on the Thrunite TC20 this was much less noticeable, at distance outside I didn’t notice it at all. The LED is nicely centered in the reflector as well.

Outputs are good for a neutral white XHP70.2. I don’t have a way to independently verify Thrunites claims but in reading other reviews they appear to be accurate. Turbo is rated at 3800 lumens, High at 1800 Lumens, Medium at 320 lumens, low at 38 lumens and firefly at .5 lumens. Interestingly strobe is rated at 2280 lumens. Throw is rated at an impressive 320 meters.

Runtimes were close to what I expected with this light. Turbo starts to decline pretty rapidly which was a little disappointing, but high held for about 7-8 minutes. At that point the light was producing about 55% of its output and it saw one more decline where it held steady at about 40% of it’s output for about 90 minutes. This is still a significant amount of output for an extended period of time. At the tail end it was a pretty fast decline to zero where the low voltage protection kicked in and stopped output. Turbo to flat runtime was about 110 minutes.

One thing that’s interesting is in the manual it says not to use turbo for more then 10 minutes to protect the light, battery and it’s components. The light does get warm to the touch but never so hot that it feels dangerous to hold or like it could be damaging the light.

Beam Pattern
The beam pattern is pretty even, there isn’t a significant hotspot but there is a small less noticeable one. The beam is primarily flood but has a good amount of throw to it as well. In my outdoor shots you will see how well it really lights up a large area that’s approximately 100 yards in length. It’s a really useful beam in my opinion for general use especially when your looking to light up a large area at one time. See the video for more.

Charging
The light has built in USB charging via microUSB opposite the main mode button in the head of the light. To cover the port there is a beefier rubber cover that can be rotated out of the way. It can charge at a rate up go 2A which helps with charging speed greatly with the high capacity 5000mAh Thrunite button top 26650 battery that is included with this light. The light also works in Firefly, Low, and Medium mode. Thrunite includes a high quality USB cable with the light as well which I recommend using. If you see charging take over 2.5 hours make sure you look at your power source is providing a reliable, clean 2+ Amps.

UI
UI on the TC20 is basic and pretty logical. I like how they have chosen to keep strobe out of the main group of 3 modes (Low, Medium, and High). Turbo is accessible from any mode with a double click. Getting to strobe is slightly more difficult than other lights. You have to first be in turbo by double clicking and then double click again to go to strobe. I like this as I rarely have a use for strobe.

Moonlight mode is only accessible when the light is off by pressing the button and holding until it turns on. This light does have memory mode for the main 3 modes and you can return to it by just clicking the button once quickly. There is no software lockout mode.

The light also has a power capacity indicator in the main button. At 100% power it is a steady blue, at 11-20% power it’s red, at between 1 and 10% power remaining it flashes red.

Packaging
Thrunites packaging is a nicely executed and minimalistic. The light comes in a brown sturdy box with a line drawing of the TC20 and minimal info. It was held together with a clear rubber band. Inside is the lightself protected via foam with the battery preinstalled but using a contact protecting plastic disk that needs removed prior to first use. Under the foam is the USB cable, lanyard, holster, spare orings, side switch cap, and manual.






Comparisons
Compared with my Olight R50 which also has MicroUSB charging, and a 26650 battery the Thrunite TC20 is a shorter more compact design. It’s head is a bit smaller in diameter too. Knurling on the Olight is different, less aggressive. I do like the Thrunites more aggressive feel in the hand. Both fit well in my medium sized hand. The Olight has a beam that has a hotter spot and is designed for a bit more throw. It’s spill is less intense and has a harder cut off. The Thrunite TC20 beam is more even and seems to cover a wider angle. It’s neutral white LED really help bring out the natural color of things which I really prefer. Both are good lights lights, but for me the Thrunite TC20 wins out due to it’s slightly brighter, neutral white LED, and standard battery.


Pro

  • Relatively fast 2A charging on the included non proprietary 5000mah 26650 button top battery.
  • Neutral White Tint – but it does have some Cree Rainbow
  • Simple UI & Good mode spacing with Firefly
  • Nice fit in the hand and more compact than other similar lights.
  • I like that they include an extra side switch cap in the packaging.

Con

  • Cree XHP70.2 has some noticeable color shift across the beam, this has been similar across all of the XHP70.2 lights that I have reviewed, this is less noticeable at a distance.
  • No software lockout mode, but mechanical lockout works.
  • The holster is pretty basic, but functional.

Conclusion
I like this form factor for a light, it’s a good general purpose size for non pocket EDC uses. It would make for a great camping light or day/night hiking due to it’s runtime and good mix of throw and flood. For me it fits in the hand well without being too big or to small. I really like that Thrunite offers neutral white tints on many of their lights. I quite like this size of light, how well it tail stands and how much light it produces for a good amount of time without getting too hot. Thrunite has a presale running right now where you can save 20% off the cost of the TC20 by buying from their store http://www.thrunite.com/thrunite-tc20-3800-lumen-flashlight/(link is external) (Non affiliate).

Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews Tech

IDST C4 Smart Charger Review 3A charge, Color IPS Display

Battery chargers might not seem like the most exciting thing to read a review on but trust me this one is different and has a lot of neat features to geek out on. ISDT is an established brand in the Hobby charger market. They have historically been focused more in the RC market but the C4 I have in front of me today is targeted to more common battery sizes such as AAA, AA, and 18650s. This is my first formal charger review, so let me know in the comments what you would like to see in future charger reviews. Thanks to Banggood for sending this to me to take a look at it, this review has not been influenced by the manufacture or seller.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/QpI7Z
Video Review of the ISDT C4:

Construction
The body of this charger is constructed with a high density gloss white plastic, with the inner carrier where the cells go being a black semi gloss finish. ISDT claims this is a fire resistant plastic, which is nice but one thing I obviously didn’t test. On the rear you have the fan exhaust, power in, USB port for charging a phone or powerbank, and a MicroUSB in for firmware updates. The bottom has slots for cooling air to enter the charger. The front has a nice fairly large color LCD display thats 2.4” IPS display with a wide viewing angle. Itself isn’t touch screen but the touch panel is to the right and contains up and down arrows and a select.




The C4 doesn’t use the standard spring loaded contacts instead the contacts are hard mounted and have a bit of flex to them. Compared with most other battery charges I have (Nitecore, Xtar, etc) it’s a much less flexible in the size of cells that it will accept. I will go as far as saying it’s very picky.

18650 that are any longer then 650mm just will not fit. So most protected batteries are a no go. Unprotected Flat tops, or unprotected button tops seem to fit. Here are a selection of cells I tested fit with.

Sony VTC6 Flat Tops – Fit
LG HG2 Flat Tops – Fit
Samsung 30Q Button Tops – Fit
Sanyo NCR18650B Protected – Too Long
*Nitecore NL1894 *- Too Long
Xtar Protected 10440 – Too Long

I didn’t have any trouble with the KeepPower 14500’s, Eneloop AA, Ikea Ladda AA, Duracell Rechargeable AA. Amazonbasics AAA, and Duracell Rechargeables AAA seem to fit.

Limited Capacity
While this charger takes a decent number of sizes of cells (with some popular exceptions) it doesn’t always take very many of them at one time due to how it’s laid out.

Input power is via an included AC Wall adapter. The one in my package has a 2 prong European design and an adapter was included in the shipping package. Having to use the adapter means it’s not the most secure connection with the wall wart hanging off the plug. The charger itself is capable of a 12V or 24V input from an automotive source too and displays incoming voltage in the top right corner of the screen.



Modes and UI
In all modes when the charger is doing its thing you get lots of metrics on the display. You get the mAh that has been put in or discharged from the cell, The time it’s taken, The current voltage, and requested charge rate, the resistance, and temperature. Each bay has its own temperature probe and I believe they are at the positive end of the termal. So it might take a little time for heat to radiate to the sensor if the battery does get hot. It also plots a graph in real time as battery are going through their cycle. This graph scales in real time as time increases.

The C4 is compatible with a wide variety of battery chemistries including NiMH, NiCd, NiZn, Eneloop, Li-Ion, LiHv, LiFePO4.

The main modes of this charger are …

Charge – This is the default mode and probably what you use the most. It automatically detects the chemistry of the cell and for most the default charge rate is 1A.

Discharge – Does exactly what the name describes, it discharges the cell in the slot at the rate you choose. 1A seems to be the default speed. Depending on the chemistry the charger will discharge down to 0.9V for NiMH, 1.2V for NiZn, 3.1V for Li-Ion, 3.3V for LiHv, 2.9V for LiFePo4, and 0.9V for eneloop.

Store – This mode charges the battery to the optimal voltage for it’s type of chemistry. This is particularly useful for Lithium batteries who are happiest if they are not going to be used for a while to be stored at between 50-80%. I tested it on an 18650 and it stopped charging at 3.70V. Depending on the chemistry of your lithium battery it could be 3.8V or 3.2V. Storage mode will automatically charge or discharge the cell to get it to the optimal voltage. It’s only available for the Lithium based batteries.

Cycle – Will charge and discharge a battery a given number of times at your given speed. This could be useful on older NiHM or NiCad batteries. Default cycle here is 3 times but the charger will allow you to do this up to 99 times.

Analyze – Analyze will charge the cell up to 100% at the rate you choose, then do a full discharge at that rate, and then charge the cell up to full once again. During it’s run it tells you time, cell resistance and capacity in mAh.


Activate – This is used to activate a cell where the voltage has fallen below specs or on protected lithium batteries to reset a protection circuit. It uses a small amount of current to “wake” the battery up prior to charging. Caution should be used if using this mode.

UI(Video is best for this) is pretty clear and easy to understand. To the right of the screen there is a touch panel with an up, down and select button. They are pretty self explanatory, the up and down allow you to scroll and when you are on an option you want to change you touch the gear selector and then use the arrow keys to make a choice and then the selector to confirm. By default the charge goes to charge mode, in auto detection at 1A when you insert a cell. It gives you 3 seconds (Configurable) to make changes before charging begins. If you want to change modes of a slot while in use the only way to do this is to remove and reinsert the cell. It has a audible alarm and a very large flashing error message if you put a cell in reverse polarity.

The C4 also has the ability to charge another device via USB while charging the batteries in the bay. What’s a little strange is that it seems to prioritize this USB and it will limit current to the batteries instead of limiting the current to the USB port, just something to be aware of. ISDT lists it as 2.1A at 5V for USB charging.

I have some Thorfire 14500’s that this charger doesn’t seem to like. I can’t tell if it’s a bad battery or something else. I know they are not a great battery but they are also not terrible either. My other chargers like the Xtar VC4 charge it without a problem. This charger however will stop charging these at around 75% and act like there isn’t anything in the bay. If it was a bad cell I would expect an error message of some type.

My charger analyzer setup that enables me to graph charging curves isn’t friendly with this charger. The charger is too smart for it and the graphs that I have gotten are not accurate to what the charger itself is doing. I have some new parts shipping from overseas so hopefully that helps a bit for future chargers.

Firmware Update Process
This charge has a microUSB port on the rear that’s used for updating it’s firmware. When my unit arrived I checked the ISDT website and found there was a firmware update available. I was able to download the firmware which came with a windows only flashing program. I had to use AC to power up my charger then plugged it into my PC via USB and then started the program. It was recognized and I clicked the Start flash button in the application. The charger rebooted into a bootloader mode, transferred the file and rebooted. I do wish the log notes were more detailed about what changes between each firmware version. I didn’t notice a tone of difference but there are still a few bugs in the firmware it seems.
https://i.imgur.com/oHTm9nm.jpg

One firmware bug I have encountered is sometimes when I have a battery charging already and I go to insert another one the screen almost goes 100% white, It’s like the user interface locks up. I can’t make it happen regularly but it seems to only happen on the 2nd or 3rd battery insert. I also get some odd percentages as it guesses how charged the battery is at first. This seems to stabilize after about 10 minutes. This was new and I only noticed it after the firmware update I did. Hopefully a future firmware update will fix these issues.

In the Box
The box is nicely constructed and rigid with foam in the bottom and lid. The charger itself was housed in a plastic try with the Euro AC power adapter underneath. I like that they included a glass screen protector like you would put on a smartphone for the screen. It’s should keep the screen free from scratches.






Pro’s

  • Ton’s of advanced features and options that are all pretty easy to get to on the IPS display with the side touch interface.
  • It’s fast with a maximum of 25W of charging power and 10W discharge power.
  • Easily Upgradeable Firmware on a PC.
  • Well built plastic construction that’s fire retardant.
  • Super obvious reverse polarity alarm
  • Comes with a plastic screen protector you can apply.

Con’s

  • Limited to what cells can be charged by it’s design. No protected cells as the design doesn’t allow for anything longer then the standard 650mm in length. This also holds true for protected 14500 and 10440’s.
  • Small fan is loud and seems to come on based on the power level your charging at not the ambient temp.
  • Shipped with a European power adapter and requires a plug adapter to work in other countries (Included).
  • No manual listed online yet.

Conclusion
This is an advanced charger that has just about every option one would want, but it would be hard for me to recommend this to the flashlight community as someone’s only charger to do it all, because of inability to accept protected cells (Especially protected 18650). Protected batteries are popular on flashlights because they give an extra layer of safety. However for some reason ISDT choose a design that was less flexible on battery length which really compromises the offering in my opinion. I have had a few querkey issues too, mainly with the UI. These should be fixable in future firmware updates.

There are good things about this charger despite that though. It’s easy to use, with a relatively large, easy to read color display. The UI is easy to navigate. It has a wide variety of modes to handle your basic and advanced battery charging like charging, discharge, storage and activation needs. I like that the more batteries you put in it, it doesn’t slow the others down. It also has the ability to charge fast or slow if you want. The charger gives you a lot of data if if your the type of person who likes that thing, and I am.

For charging AA size NiMH batteries this is really a nice charger. It has the ability to cycle, charge, discharge, and analyze cells at pretty quick rates. It can fit 4X AA sized cells at once but only 2x AAAs at once.

For me this is my new AA and AAA charger. I will use it with 14500’s and flat top 18560’s that fit. It won’t completely replace my XTar VC4 as a do all charger but it will supplement it. I really like it’s storage mode for batteries that fit and wish protected cells fit too.

My hope for the short term is that ISDT continues to bring out more firmware fixes for the software bugs that I have noticed. It would be awesome if they had a email list you could join to be notified of new firmware. In the long term I hope that ISDT revises their design for the C4 and comes out with a model that can charge a wider selection of cells including protected batteries, and popular shorter batteries such as 18350, 16340, etc. It would also be nice to see a future model be able to charge 4X 18650 or 2× 26650 at a time. Since this model would most likely be physically larger I would prefer a larger, lower RPM fan to make it a quieter charger.

Thanks again to Banggood(link is external) for sending this to me to take a look at. They did provide a coupon (coupon Code “C48100”) that takes 8% off the price if you are interested in picking this up.

Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Acebeam UC15 Review (1000 Lumens)

Keychain style flashlights have been a popular item over the past several years. Today I have the Acebeam UC15 which is advertised as the brightest flashlight of this style currently available. It can produce up to 1000 lumens briefly out of it’s main emitter. This light also has a red and UV emitters as secondary modes too. Thanks to Acebeam for sending this to me to take a look at.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/R7d5C(link is external)
Youtube Version of This Review: (Subscribe today! I am trying to hit 10k subs)

Construction
This is a solidly built light. The body and tail cap are made of a fairly thick walled aluminum. With batteries it’s a little heavier than I expected weighing 52 Grams. Mine here is in silver, but it also comes in a dark blue, black, and pink colors. Size wise it’s large then the Nitecore TIP and has no onboard charging. It seems a bit almost overbuilt for a keychain light but hopefully that means it stands up to hard use. Inside the springs are quite stout and gold plated. That said in the hand it feels better built.



Installing the batteries is easy if you know what your doing and potentially disastrous if you don’t. The manual surprisingly doesn’t tell you how to install the batteries. Since this light includes a hex wrench I initially thought you needed to remove the two rear screws, however this is incorrect. Instead just unscrew the lanyard attachment on the rear of the light and the back cover comes off. Insert two batteries of like chemistry positive end first and then put back on the cover and screw the lanyard loop back on to attach.

This light has a pretty substantial clip. More so than any other light in this size class I have seen. It uses two small hex head screws (wrench included) to attach to the body. This clip is very stiff and sticks out from the body of the light further than most. I think this is intended more to be clipped on to a hat with a bill and it should attach here quite securely. Be Careful not to cross thread the hex screws. They are small and it’s easy to do. A nice trick I always like to do is to rotate the screw backwards until it falls into place then switch directions to tighten it down.

LED, Run-times, and Power Source

This light uses a Cree XP-L2 LED for it’s main white emitter. There was initially some confusion here but it seems that the website and package are all in agreement. This light also has a Cree XPE-R2 LED for the red emitter and a Nichia 267A for the UV emitter. Only the white emitter has a reflector which is quite large, smooth and reasonably deep for a small light as well as a anti reflective coated glass lens. The red and UV emitters are surface mount parts with glass lenses over them. The red emitter is quite strong, enough so I wish it had a low mode. UV is rather low output but that’s common.


This light has 2 power source options, 10440 lithium batteries or AAA alkaline or NiMH rechargeables. It can also run on only one battery. To reach the full 1000 lumen output you do need the lithium batteries. Acebeam lists that turbo mode as lasting for 1 minute 46 seconds so it’s timed, after that it drops to 200 lumens, then 10. On AAA cells the maximum is 250 lumens, 82, and 10. Run-times for the Red and UV modes are similar regardless of the battery at between 1.2 and 1.6 hours.

I ran my own run-times on main emitter in the brightest modes with both battery types. With the 10440 batteries you had the nearly 2 minutes of a falling turbo before a longer than anticipated about 70 minutes of flat output in the 200 lumen range. However after that was over the output stopped completely. With the NiHM batteries (AmazonBasics) I had the a little more 250 lumen of output that was nearly flat, and at the 55 minute mark it took a sharp decline and then dove a bit more before a straight fall to the bottom at the 63 minute mark.

UI
This light uses a single electronic button which has an LED indicator under it. The button takes a firm press and makes an audible click. Memory mode is present on all modes. If you single click the light returns to where you previously was, including strobe. From off if you long press you go to the white driver, in low mode by default. From off you can double click to go straight to turbo and triple click to enter strobe. In any mode if you hold the button it cycles through each mode. When in white, a fast double click will allow you to go up in to higher white modes.

Packaging
Packaging is very nice, It’s a full retail box with all your important info on the front and back. On the side it does have Nichia listed with a check box so maybe we will see a Nichia offered as a main driver. We can only hope however I don’t think this will be very likely. Inside the light sits in foam, and to the side you have the pocket clip, hex wrench, and below are the instruction. They are decently written but a bit sparse for my taste.




Summary
This is more than your average keychain flashlight. I have tested the Nitecore Tip CRI which I liked, and I have tested the Astrolux K1 which had the 3 LED modes like the Acebeam UC15. The UC15 feels better built then these others but at a weight penalty. It uses batteries that are more accessible but I to an enthusiast I don’t know if that’s a benefit as I think many would have access to other lights for more dedicated tasks like a headlamp. That said this is a nice options for an upgraded nicer keychain light or pocket carry. Red mode is quite bright and UV mode can come in handy here and there. If you are looking for a keychain type light that has lots of extra features or a lot of output in such a small package, definitely check out the Acebeam UC15.