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.

EDC Flashlight Reviews

Helius Sigma Keychain Flashlight Review

Interested? Get it on Amazon http://amzn.to/2Huklsf

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Klarus XT32 1000M Thrower Review

Today I have a new large thrower style flashlight from Klarus, the new XT32 kit. This is a big flashlight, it produces 1,200 lumens and can throw over 1000M according to Klarus. Thanks to FlashlightZ.com(link is external) for sending this light out to me.

Full Photo Album: https://imgur.com/a/Q6j1h(link is external)
Video Review:

Construction
This light is made from aluminum alloy. It’s nicely machined with no machining marks. All edges have been broken by nice chamfers in most cases. Anodizing is smooth and semi gloss. Starting at the tail cap you have two mechanical buttons. One is a on and off which can be used for momentary and the other is a blad switch. There are recesses vut for both of these buttons creating very little area to allow such a tall light to tail stand. There is a hole for the included lanyard to mount to the tail cap if you wish. The tail cap itself has little grip for turning it, no knurling just some small areas milled out. If it was wet this could be difficult to remove. Inside are double golden colored springs that provide a good amount of resistance.





Looking at the threads on the body they are ACME cut and bare aluminum. It almost looks like there is a secondary inner tube but I learned my lesson not to pull on these. Below that is the removeable cegar grip accessory. Unfortunately this is just a little too loose for my liking and it spins with the tail cap screwed all the way in. It also has a small hole for the included lanyard. Further down the body you have an area that looks like a pocket clip would attach to it if one was included. I suppose you could put a tight fitting lanyard of sometype here or a mount but one isn’t included. Below that is a smooth short bit of the body. I am guessing this is for Klaruses Rifle mount even though the light’s tube diameter is 23.40mm and the rifle mount is for lights with a tube diameter of 25.4mm. Working my way to the front of the light there is a nice crosshatch knurling with some linear milled out ares that add some style and slight additional grip. This knurled area has two large flats, one with the label of the model and the relevant required markings and the other area being blank. This is just slightly off center of the side mount button.

Working my way to the head of the light the diameter increases as does the radicalness of the heatsinks. The side button is surrounded by a gear looking silver ring. The button itself is black and flat with a small indicator LED in the center.This is the battery level indicator. The head itself is large, it has mild crenelations on top. The reflector is under a large piece of anti reflective coated glass. The reflector is smooth and highly polished and the LED is nicely centered inside.

This light lacks a tripod adapter which I really like on larger lights. It’s a secure point to connect a more substantial lanyard and I find attaching it to a tripod or small gorillapod to be useful.

Lengths and Weights
This is a pretty tall light, I measured it’s height at just over 24cm, the head at it’s thickest is 64mm and at it’s narrowest is 23.22mm. Total weight with the included batteries is 358g. The light is rated for IPX8 water and dust resistance.

LED & Runtime
Cree XP-L Hi V3 LED with a maximum of 1200 lumen. It’s in a cool white that in my opinion isn’t too cool. I don’t notice an extreme Cree rainbow but I am not sensitive to this. The beam pattern is typical of a long distance thrower like this. At distances of shorter than 1 foot there is a donut in the beam. At a bit longer distances there is a very bright and intense center with a large but minimal spill and hard edges. At long distances the beam does give off a bit of a blueish tint but you don’t notice that in the intended target. Outputs go from low at 20 lumens, to medium at 100, to high at 400, and turbo at 1200. Since this is a thrower the important number is candella which is 250,000 in Turbo.



 On the Left Olight M3XS-UT, On the Right the Klarus XT32

This light has the Klarus ITS or Intelligent Temperature Protection System, and my output and runtime graphs indicate this. What’s disappointing is the slow decline from 100% output pretty much instantly. Decline is slow and gradual but by 10 minutes it’s at about 95% output which is decent. At that 10 minute mark there is a saw tooth decline for the next 10 minutes as the light increases and decreases in brightness according to temperature finally stabilizing at about 70% output. The 55-110 minute range the active cooling and managing battery voltage is pretty active. I did notice this step down when I was filming my night shots on a cold night where it was about 14F out.

In my night shots the light performed as I thought it would. Very similar to my Olight M3XS-UT but with a beam I found to be more pleasing.

UI This light has two main modes. #1 being Tactical and #2 being Hunting. In tactical you have access to one touch strobe and one touch turbo, one touch Low, SOS and mode memory as well as lockout. In Hunting mode you have on etouch turbo, one touch low, no access to strobe on the tail switch, SOS, memory and lockout. The diagram does the job of explaining all the different modes and how to get to them. I won’t lie both are a bit complex. For me I liked hunting mode best because it had access to both turbo by using the round push button and low by using the bladed switch. You could bump up in modes with the blade switch if you held it down and then short clicked it. There is also the front switch which allows you to cycle through modes or double click for strobe.

Electronic lockout is available but only for the sie switch. You press and hold for 5 seconds to lock and to unlock you press any switch quickly 3 times. The LED located in the side switch is a power indicator for the first 5 seconds of power on and goes from Green to orange, to red and to flashing red. This only works when using 18650 batteries.

Charger & Batteries
Included in the kit are 2 Klarus 2600mah batteries that are button top protected cells. These appear to be the same that was in my ST10 I reviewed a few weeks ago. I have no complaints other then I wish the capacity would be larger. This light has a working voltage of 5V to 12.8V so CR123A will work but 4× 18350 will not work.

I charged the included Klarus branded 2600mah batteries with the included Klarus charger. The terminal voltage after a full charge was 4.14V on both cells and this is well within spec. Charging speed is listed at 0.5A or 1A. I tested with 2 18650’s that needed a full charge and was only able to get about 0.85A out of it during charging. This charger also acts as a powerbank with charger 18650’s. You can have an 18650 (or smaller batteries like a 14500) in either bay or together to act as the powerbank. The manual really doesn’t tell about the charger, it would be nice if it included it’s own manual. According to the outside it’s capable of 1A discharge and I got pretty close to that during testing.




Packaging and Accessories
This light comes in a nice and compact box given its size. It’s a magnetic closure heavy duty cardboard and unfolds nicely but off balance. Inside is the light protected in foam. The batteries were preinstalled but did have a plastic separator that needed removal prior to use. It also included extra orings, and a Klarus branded charger that doubles as a powerbank.To see how those preform see above. It also included a small lanyard which is a bit disappointing. What I don’t like is the thin plastic reinforced connection that is the part that actually attaches to the light. For a light of this size and weight I was wishing for something more substantial. If it had a place for a tripod mount this would be an easy fix but instead I think I will have to create something with paracord and a slipping knot. It includes a short belt adapter that fits the head. This works but I think would be a bit awkward to actually use for a longer amount of time like during a hike.





Klarus sells some additional accessories listed on their website such as a tape switch and rifle mount, and colored filters to fit over the front of the light to complete the hunting package.

Comparisons
The Klarus XT32 is very comparable to the Olight M3XS-UT I reviewed several months ago. Both throw over 1000 meters with nice tight beams. The biggest difference between them is the LED being used and the controls. The Olight M3XS-UT uses a dedomed Cree XP-L that really creates a green cast to the light that is personally undesirable. The Klarus XT32 uses a Cree XP-L HI V3 LED that although it’s a bit too cool for my taste in tint it’s still better than the green cast of the Olight. I also like the tail switches and two different modes on the Klarus and the tail switch is better for tactical or hunting use. The front switch work fine for everyday use and I prefer the Olight shortcuts.
On the Left Olight M3XS-UT, On the Right the Klarus XT32


Pro’s

  • Seems to throw as well as my other 1000m thrower but with a better tint.
  • No ugly tint shifts or oddities in the beam pattern.
  • I like the two button tail cap button configuration and that Hunting mode removes strobe from the tail.
  • I like how you can lock the front button while still having access to the rear.
  • Well built and durable. The dual springs should let it hold up if mounted on a rifle.
  • It’s nice the built in kit contains a charger that has extra power bank features from both cells but it doesn’t have a wall outlet. It requires a MicroUSB input.

Con’s

  • No tripod adapter Sad
  • I wish the tactical ring on end of the light had a tighter fit so it wouldn’t rattle or spin.
  • Slower charger when charging 2 batteries at a time.
  • I wish it had larger capacity batteries. 2600mah in 2018 for a higher end models doesn’t cut it in my opinion.
  • Klarus again rated it’s lights using larger 3500mah batteries then what it shipped the light with smaller 2600mah cells.

I like this thrower, as mentioned the tint is a nice change over what I had on my Olight. Performance and throw works very similar to the Olight and I have no doubt it will reach that 1000m claim. I like the dual tail buttons and how they are used in the Hunting UI. I wish it was drilled and tapped to take advantage of a tripod adapter. Since hunting is one of the main uses for this light I would prefer they would have included the tape switch over the charger. That said the included charger although a little slower then speced works well and the dual USB powerbank feature is nice. If you are looking for a new hunting light to really cover long distances and the weight is ok with you this is definitely a light you should look at and consider. I will have a link in the description box below on where you can pick up this light on Flashlightz.com

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Zolo Mojo (Google Powered Smart Speaker by Anker)

Pickup the Zolo Mojo now here https://zoloaudio.com/pages/mojo

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Olight M2T Warrior (1200 Lumens, 18650,18350,XHP35 HD CW)

The Olight M2T is a brand new tactical model introduced in late January 2018 at Shotshow 2018. It shares many things with it’s more expensive brother the Olight M2R. I reviewed it a few months ago and if you have not watched or read that review I recommend doing so. Thanks to Olight for sending the M2T to me to look at.

Full Image Gallery for this review: https://imgur.com/a/LaFOs
Video version of this review:

The Olight M2T shares a lot in common with the M2R. During this review I am going to compare the two alot. The easiest way for me to summarize this is to use some car analogies. Hypothetically let’s say the following. The M2T and M2R are the same model at their heart. The M2R is the fully loaded model, it has all the optional features, extras, and costs the most. The M2T is a mid range trim level model. Its performance is very similar but it has a few differences to reduce costs, such as the removal of the recharging system, and different tail switch, only one choice in emitter, etc. This is going to be a longer review, so grab your popcorn and let’s get at it.

Construction
Olight has excellent fit and finish for production lights in my opinion and this one is no different. Apart from the new tail cap on the M2T, the light is very similar in aesthetics and build quality to the M2R. The anodizing is a smooth high quality gloss black Starting at the top you have a signature blue Olight bezel with some mild crenelation in it. Below that you have the aluminum head and body. There are tier drop cuts in the head for heat dissipation and design. It has a nice hex edges to help it keep from rolling away on a flat surface. It’s a slightly different style then the M2R has, with fewer cuts. It does still have a completely milled flat edge opposite the button to serve as a locator. On the front side you have an electronic switch surrounded by a nice blue bezel with an LED in the center that is used for Low battery notification, lockout notification. Below that you have large square cut grip panels on the body of the light giving added grip and something a little different from traditional knurling. You can attach the two way clip at either end of this main body tube for head up or down carry.

 M2T on Left



At the tail end you have a new version of the switch that’s in the M2R. On the M2T this tail switch loses its recharging and magnetic features as well as its ability to tail stand. It’s replaced with a proud black rubber boot that has a dot pattern on it for texture. It still has the half press for momentary turbo and full press for lock and is silent. To full lock it does take some definite pressure. This switch operates and programs the same as the M2R. More on that in a minute. The tail cap of the M2T will fit on the body of the M2R and operate normally but not the other way around. Labeling is kept to a minimum, with branding near the head is always done so it can be read from left to light not as you rotate the light. The branding is at 2 and 10 positions when looking head on. The CE mark is opposite the button.

This light is rated IPX8 for moisture and dust and rated for 1.5M drops. I measured it’s length is 130mm it’s with at its narrowest point is 24.5mm and 27mm at its widest point. Weight was measured with an 18650 battery at 146.2G.

Inside this light uses a dual tube design which allows for the use of the two electronic buttons and the non proprietary battery. Do not remove this inner tube, it’s held in with an O ring and is hard to impossible to put back in place. Threads on the tail are a nice stout square cut.

LED & Runtimes
The Olight M2T uses a Cree XHP35 HD LED in cool white, this is the only LED and tint offered at this time. While I prefer a neutral white this isn’t so cold in tint that I dislike it. I did notice a little tint shift in the outer edges, but I think that blue bezel of the light also might be a factor in that. Depending on your power source maximum output (depending on your mode) is 1200 lumens compared with the 1500 lumens on the M2R. My M2R is neutral white so it doesn’t reach that full 1500 lumens and to me the two lights look the same brightness and the biggest difference is the tint. The beam is pretty even in shape. It has a smaller hot center and the spill is bright. At a distance it’s more like a flood then thrower, however for it’s narrow size it goes a good distance. It’s a very useful beam I find out to 100 yards.


Runtimes
I ran my tests with an Olight HDC battery that had a 3500mah capacity and a maximum continuous discharge of 10A. The M2T only ships with 2 CR123A batteries in a spacer tube instead of the high drain non proprietary Olight 18650 battery that was in the M2R. This is disappointing to me as to receive the best performance and longest runtimes, an 18650 is required. The light is also compatible with Flat top batteries, I had no issues with a Sony VTC6. Runtimes were good and what Olight is advertising. The light still has a timed Tubro mode which is 3 minutes. It then runs on high for 127 minutes before stepping down and running on moonlight mode. The graph tells the story. This light will also run safely on 2× 18350 batteries. I confirmed this with Olight that 8.4V is safe for the driver and that the batteries physically fit. I was unable to get a full working voltage for the driver though.


UI
Like the M2R the M2T has a rear button that provides momentary and full lock operation as well as a button up front for the full range of modes with shortcuts. One of the complaints I had about the M2R was that in normal mode you were limited to Turbo1 and not the brightest turbo which was only available in Tactical mode. The M2T fixes that by only having one turbo mode which is how it should be. The rear momentary switch was also slightly reprogrammed for an improvement. Now you have momentary on with a soft press, release and it will turn off. A firm press on this button will lock the light on in turbo for 3 minutes before it timed step down kicks in. You also have access to momentary strobe if you press in and keep holding the light goes into strobe at it’s new 13 cycles per second rate. The button up front has a total of 5 modes from Moon to Turbo with shortcuts to Moon (From off Press and hold) to Turbo (Fast double click), or Strobe (Triple click from off). Press and hold to advance in modes and there is memory. Pretty standard for recent lights from Olight. It’s an interface I like. Lockout is available but personally I just unscrew the tail cap ever so slightly to achieve the same thing. I thought the mode spacing is pretty good on this light.

As a Tactical and EDC
This is designed with tactical use in mind and it certainly could be used for that but I think it makes a good EDC option too. The proud tail button is easy to turn on if it gets any pressure. Given that the light comes on in Turbo when this happens I don’t recommend taking any chances, and I use mechanical lockout with just a quarter turn of the tail cap. It also offers an electronic lockout if you want to use that. The new clip is the same that is on the M2R and I like this dual clip. It can go on either end of the light and can be used either way. It allows for ultra deep head down carry which is what I like. For tactical use the strobe mode has been adjusted to 13hz and is now more easily accessed if you want it but not accidentally by holding the tail button down in the locked position for about 1.5 seconds. You can also get to it by triple clicking the front button. The bezel isn’t aggressive which is the way I would prefer it personally as it makes a better EDC and is less threatening in most situations.

Packaging & Accessories
Packaging on the M2T is now a bit smaller and less intensive to the M2R. I suspect this is to reduce overall costs and also make it easier to open. It is still very high quality but is now a white box with a pull through design. Inside the light sits in a nice tray, underneath it is a read before first use card, manual, lanyard, and holster . The holster design is different on the M2T. It’s less premium holster then the M2R. Gone is the latching clip, and extra padding, and metal grommet drain holes. Instead a heavy duty weaved nylon, with a velcro flap is the main holster. It still has a plastic D Ring and nylon belt loop. This is a more standard quality holster you see from other brands.







Conclusion
The Olight M2T is a still nice but lower cost version of the M2R. While it doesn’t have all the features of the M2R like magnetic recharging, it does have a few improvements in my opinion like only one Turbo mode, the melding of Tactical mode into normal operation. The new tail switch in the M2T is good, it’s a bit too easy to activate in the pocket so lockout is necessary. I do wish Olight would have shipped the light with an 18650 battery even though it doesn’t come with built in recharging. I guess that’s against what they do with their R series but it’s how the light gets the best performance in both output and runtimes I think it’s sub-optimal shipping it with CR123 batteries instead.

So which one do you pick? If you want Neutral white, recharging or a magnetic tail cap the M2R is the clear choice. If those are not important features or you want to save a little money the M2T is a good choice then. I do recommend running the M2T with a higher drain 18650 battery so make sure you have one of those too. I think the M2T will make a good choice of rifle light as well. I plan to test this when I get a mount that works for the light. Until then I think this might be the light that goes in my go/Tornado bag along with a few spare 18650 batteries. Let me know how you would use you your M2T. You can pick up the M2T on OlightStore.com.

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Folomov EDC C4 (18650, 1200 Lumens, USB rechargeable/Powerbank feature)

Folomov is a newer flashlight and charging company that has put out many products in 2017. This is the first of their products I have had. It’s the EDC-C4 and it’s more than just a flashlight. Thank to Folomov for sending this to me to take a look at.

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

Construction
This light is made from a black anodized aluminum. The anodizing is smooth and has gloss to it. The tail cap is flat, and non magnetic. It will tails stand without a problem. Knerling on this light is a square pattern that’s medium grip. The clip is tail only and is removable but not reversible.The head is just ever so slightly larger. You have the main button which has an LED under for charging status. Opposite that is the cover for the micro USB charging port. I am a little worried about this rubber cover as it’s only attached at once place and easily stressed. This light is only rated for IPX-6 meaning it’s rated for rain, or high pressure stream but not full submersion.

The lens is slightly recessed and fairly thick glass. It does not look to have anti reflective coated glass. The reflector is smooth and the LED is nicely centered in the middle.

I measured length at 100mm, width at the narrowest is 22.5mm and at it’s widest is 25.5mm.

Issues
I had a few cosmetic issues with the Folomov C4 I received. First the rubber over the main button had one corner that was not all the way into the body of the light. I was able to mostly squish it back into place. Folomov gave me some pictures to show how it’s assembled in case I wanted to do that.



The other issue I have is the flat parts of the body tube don’t line up with the button or charging port on the light. I can rotate it manually but doing so disables the light. I think this is just my example because I have looked at other reviews and photos out there and it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

LED, Runtime, and Reflector
This light uses a Cree XP-L V6 LED in cool white. It has a fairly large dome on it. It has a pronounced hot center and minimal spill. I didn’t notice any tint casts or major artifacts in the beam. Runtime did decrease significantly after about 3 seconds. I believe there is a timer for turbo. After that the light ran on High for another 105 minutes roughly slowly decreasing in output. At that point it was a full decline to zero relative output. The light does have low voltage protection on the battery that will shut off the light to stop damaging the battery. I measured the battery at 3.20V when LVP kicked in. According to the manual, the ratings and runtimes given were with a higher capacity 3400mah battery but that’s not what ships with the light (2600mah). This is a bit deceitful on Folomov’s part.



UI
The UI on this light starts at the lowest mode which is 10 lumens, and goes to medium, at 75 lumens, high at 200 lumens then turbo at 1200 lumens. If you keep pressing the mode button it then starts going down in reverse, so 1200, 200, 75, and 10. Mode spacing could be improved as there is quite a bit of difference between 200 and 1200 lumens. This light also has a Strobe, SOS and Beacon function. You can get to them by double clicking. To change within strobe double click again and to exit click once. This light have lockout mode by a fast triple click to lock or unlock.

USB Charging (Demonstrated in the video review)
I spent a decent amount of time testing this light as a powerbank by charing various phones. Using the included cable you use the Micro USB side to plug into the light and then the female full size USB-A connector to plug your own cable in and charge your phone or device. I was able to charge an old Note 4 from 20 to 94% on the included cell. This I thought was decently efficient on the 2600mah included cell. When I measured this with my USB power meter speed of charging a phone was 1.2A and total watt hours was 6.48WH. When the light shut down charging the battery was measured at 3.13V. The flashlight got decently warm during this time too reaching 96F on a non contact thermometer. When charging your phone this can act as a flashlight just in a reduced manner.


To charge the light itself you can use a standard microUSB cable or use the included cable and plug the male end of the USB-A into your power source. The switch blinks red until full where it’s green. This is a slower way of charging. This light can use and charge standard 18650 batteries, flat tops, and button tops without issues.

As an EDC Flashlight
Lengthwise this is really short light for being powered by an 18650 and USB rechargeable. Being an 18650 it does have a bit of girth to it but it’s certainly on the smaller side for 18650 lights. THe clip will rotate on the light but it’s minimal. It has a large area at the top to fit jeans in but is missing a ramp so it gets stuck a little. I didn’t have an issue with this light turning on in my pocket due to the longer press needed to turn it on.

Packaging
This came in a full retail packaging. The box is a black and orange combination with important specifications on the rear and sides. Inside is a plastic tray that the light comes in. It includes the light, the included Folomov 18650 battery (2600mah), unique charging cable, lanyard, and some instructions. No holster is included.


Pro’s

  • Small size for being USB rechargeable. Its just slightly longer than the Emmisar D4.
  • Minimal branding on the light
  • Flat top batteries, and button top batteries work for the light and powerbank features.

Con’s

  • Uncommon/Proprietary cable to use it as a power bank. Prone to being lost.
  • UI spacing should be better, and no moonlight
  • I wish the flat body parts lined up with the button and USB port on my example. This seems to be isolated.
  • 2600mah battery is lower capacity for 2018, especially for a light that can act as a powerbank. The ratings and runtimes given were with a higher capacity 3400mah battery but that’s not what ships with the light. This is a bit deceitful on Folomov’s part.

Conclusion
This is a very compact flashlight for using an 18650 and being USB rechargeable. The fact that it can act as a USB powerbank too is a nice added feature although not the most efficient. Use as a powerbank did cause the body to get warm but not dangerously hot. The light will work while charging or while being used as a powerbank but at reduced output which is important. I do wish it came with at least a 3000mah or 3500mah battery since it can be used as a powerbank. I like that you can use flat tops in it as well as button tops for all the features. I hope Folomov improves the build quality issues with the rubber flaps and aligning of the threads and body flats. For the money, output and these features it’s a decent value. This light is available on Amazon.

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews Tech

Astrolux Ti3A Review

I am a fan of Titanium and have it all over in my life, from knives, to flashlights and even eyeglasses. Today I am looking at the Astrolux Ti3A, a titanium bodied , small AAA powered, Nichia 219C flashlight. Thanks to Bangood for sending this light out so I could take a closer look, let’s dive in.

Complete Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/BpoL7
Video Version of this Review:

Construction
As I mentioned this light is made from Titanium alloy from head to tail. Starting at the back, the tail has a hole for a split ring, or a very thin piece of cord. It also has an area milled for a 1.5 x 6mm piece of tritium which is something you need to purchase separately. The cap itself has some small grip panels added for grip and style. The tail is not magnetic, and the spring inside is a lighter duty spring and is golden in color. ! Threads on the body were normal, not square cut. An oring sits at the bottom to improve water resistance.


The body itself has nicely milled squares in place and it’s fairly polished. The machining here is pretty good. Moving up to the head this is a twisty light, there are small grip panels that help but I could use a bit more grip. The front bezel is nicely machined smooth and is removable. The bezel will unscrew if you wish. The front glass is small and anti reflective coated. Underneath is a reflector with orange peel . More on UI and twist operation in the UI section.

Measurements were 65mm for length, widest diameter 15mm, narrowest diameter 12mm . Weight without battery is only 21 grams. A size comparison with similar lights.

I had an early problem with the first Ti3A I received. The head was glued in place with what I believe was excess threadlocker that was applied during install. On a twisty light it’s a problem if it won’t twist. I really tried to break it loose, even heating up the light and using strap wrenches but I couldn’t get it to budget. Banggod quicly replaced the light as there was a known issue on some of the early batch of lights. My second one is working as designed.

LED
This light uses a Nichia 219C LED, in a neutral white (5000k) tint which I enjoy. The LED in my light wasn’t exactly in the center but it didn’t really create artifacts I found to be undesirable. The orange peel reflector smoothed things out with a slightly hot center. Compared with a BLF 348 the Ti3A has more spill and is slightly cooler in tint. BLF 348 on left, Astrolux Ti3A on right.

The output curve on this light is different from anything else I have seen. On high after a bit of time it increases in brightness before decreasing. I tried this two different times with two different Low Discharge NiMH batteries, a Amazonbasics cell, and a Duracell. Both produced graphs that were similar. My runtimes were a little lower than stated and when the cells are low output really drops and fast. In terms of heat this light gets warm to the touch on high but it’s not uncomfortable. With only 85 lumen output it’s not really a concern. 85 Lumens isnt a lot of light, but since this is designed to be a keychain type light I am not expecting a ton. It’s still lower then many other AAA options on high.

UI
UI on this light is straightforward. It starts with first twist on low of 1 lumen, if you twist it off and on again you get medium for 40 lumens, and if you repeat you get high at 85 lumens. If you repeat once more you get strobe on high. The head has about 1 full rotation of range between on and off. The threads in the head are accessible, and not greased much if any. The result is with titanium you can get it to stick a little if you tighten them down too much in either the on or off position. I wish I could get in there and put some dielectric grease on there to improve this.

Packaging is nearly non existent with this light. It comes with a simple plastic case, and no documentation. An extra set of orings were included as well as a split ring.

Pro’s
* Someone is at Banggood and Astrolux is listening and recognizes a lot of us like Nichia LED’s and Neutral white Tint.
* Nice beam pattern
* I like that it has space for tritium in the tail cap.
* This is an affordable price for a titanium light, and I think it’s an attractive combination.

Con’s
* I wish this had a pocket clip, it would make a pretty nice EDC if it did. It still works at the bottom of my pocket but I am more afraid to lose it.
* Threads that are ungreased in the head get sticky if you tighten them too much. I wish I could get in and put some dielectric grease on them to help this.
* I would like to be able to run this on a 10440 battery, but it’s not rated for that.
* Odd Output curve as the light runs and heats up
* Strobe is in the main mode group.

Conclusion
I like titanium, and usually you pay a larger price for use of that material. Here though the light is about $21 at time of filming and that’s pretty affordable for a neutral white, titanium AAA light. I wish it had a pocket clip option as it would make a nice small EDC option. I see this light being attractive for someone who wants to put it on their keychain and wants something small with standard battery sizes. It would also work as a light to throw in the bottom of your pocket if you were not needing a pocket clip. Check this light out on Banggood.