Thrunite T1 (1500 Lumen, 18350 EDC Flashlight)

In my last review I reviewed the Wowtac W1, but today I am taking a look at the Thrunite T1, the W1, bigger and slightly older brother. The T1 has been out now for a few months but this is my first time getting my hands on one. The light uses as larger 18350 battery with more runtime, a larger Cree XHP 50 LED with more output upto 1500 lumens, with tint options, and features ramping UI. Thanks to Thrunite for sending this over to review and look at. 

 

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Packaging & Accessories

Normal brown cardboard Thrunite box here, On one end is the line drawing of the light and it’s name, on the other is the emitter option that is in the light which here is the Neutral White option. The light comes protected in foam, and it’s accessories include the Thrunite branded button top protected 1100mAh 18350 battery, deep carry pocket clip, Thrunite branded lanyard, extra o’rings and USB port cover, MicroUSB cable for recharging and the user manual. 

 

Construction and Description

The T1 is an EDC style flashlight that’s made from black anodized aluminum. It features a flat magnetic base with a pretty strong magnet. The clip attaches at the rear only of the light and is not fixed in place. It’s a dual direction clip, more on that later on in the review. The body has a milled texture that we have seen on other Thrunite lights like the TH10 V2, and TC15 I have reviewed previously. 

Inside there is a large stiff spring, and a solid post in the head. It works with the rather long 18350 that comes with the light, and more standard unprotected sized batteries too without rattle. Threads are fine and square cut.On the head itself it has the eswitch that’s fairly quickly with LED’s underneath to indicate charging status. Opposite the switch is the MicroUSB recharging port and silicon cover. Water resistance here is good and it’s rated at IPX-8 and survives my bucket test easily.

The bezel has a large silver accent. The lens is anti reflective coated. Underneath is a large shallow reflector that swallows up the large Cree XHP-50 LED nicely. Centering is good on the LED within the reflector.

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length of the T1 at 70mm long, 22mm at the narrowest point, and 26mm at the widest point between the button and charging port. Weight with the included battery and clip came in at 71.4g. The light is IPX8 water rated.

The Wowtac W1 visually looks very similar to the Thrunite T1 but the Thrunite is large in pretty much all dimensions just slightly. For those that don’t know Wowtac is Thrunites sister brand. The two light share the same switch, clip, and charging port design. The bezels are the same style but dimensions are slightly different. 

 

The Olight S1R Baton II is frequently compared to the T1 because it’s a popular light of this form factor. It’s smaller in all dimensions since it runs a 16340 battery. It only carries head up, which you certainly have to get used to. It’s much more visible in the pocket because of it’s blue bezel and reflector, vs the T1’s black tail cap in deep carry. Runtimes are better on the larger battery of the T1, as well as turbo is brighter with 2.5 times more runtime before step down and the T1 comes with a tint choice. 

 

Retention

The T1 features a dual direction deep carry pocket clip which means it will clip onto the brim of a hat or batman mask if you want. The light carries with the tail up, deeply in the pocket which I like. I like to put the clip opposite the button on most lights like this because i can find the button easier by feel, but on this it interferes with the USB cover slightly when trying to put it in your pocket. Overall a good but not perfect carry. 

LED & Beamshot

This light is using a Cree XHP 50 LED. Mine is in the neutral white tint, but cool white is also available if you prefer. The beam here is mostly floody from the short orange peal reflector, but has a large bright center to give it some spot. I do notice quite a bit of tint shift. The center is warmer and the spill is cooler with a bit of a blue tinge.

 

Runtime & Heat

For such a small light that produces 1500 lumens on turbo, the runtimes here were pretty impressive. Turbo lasted a solid 2 minutes before it was done stepping down gradually. It ran from 2 to 15 minutes at about 35% relative output, then stepped down slightly to 30% relative output for the bulk of the runtime out to 55 minutes. From here the light started to sag out to about 68 minutes and eventually stop with low voltage protection kicking in at 3.065V.

 

Heat here is manageable given the 1500 lumens turbo mode lasts for 2 minutes. At 1 minute I measured 109F, at 5 minutes 105F and at 10 minutes 103F. 

 

Official lumen ratings were 

  • Turbo 1500 Lumens then 408
  • Infinity High 685 Lumens
  • Infinity Low 15 Lumens
  • Firefly 0.5 Lumens
  • Strobe 550 Lumens

No PWM was observed via eye or oscilloscope. 

 

UI

This light features a ramping UI Thrunite is calling infinite UI. I like it quite a bit. If you long press from off you get firefly which is 0.5 lumen. If you single click to turn on the light will come on in the last ramping mode used. To adjust the ramp you long press and hold once one. Let off the button when you get to your desired brightness level. If you overshoot or undershoot each time you let of the button the direction reverses. Double click to go to turbo and triple click to go to strobe. 

 

Recharging

USB-C recharging would have been nice, to see here but instead we have good old MicroUSB. Since this isn’t a brand new model I won’t fault it too much. The included 18350 battery is a button top protected 18350 that’s on the long side at 39mm but it’s capacity of 1100mAh is the current maximum available which is nice to see no corners were cut. 

 

I clocked the recharging of the battery at taking 2 hours 27 minutes to go from LVP of 3.065v to full at 4.125v. Maximum amperage I saw was 0.52A which is perfectly safe for a battery of this size. 

 

Pro

  • Longer runtime, and turbo output then it’s competitors due to the 18350 battery.
  • Available in NW and CW
  • Less expensive then it’s Olight and Fenix competitors
  • Head down deep carry design.
  • Ramping UI

 

Con

  • Not a particularly attractive light or unique design.
  • Included protected cell is on the long side.
  • Ramping is a little slow for my taste but perfectly useable.

 

Conclusion

The Thrunite T1 is a light I would recommend to anyone wanting more runtime or more light out of this small form factor EDC style light, without breaking the bank. It’s slightly larger then the competition but you get a solid bump in runtime and output for that, while still being affordable and giving you a choice in tints.

 

I enjoy the ramping UI here but I wish it was slightly faster. I really don’t have much bad to say about the light. It’s one I can pretty easily recommend and it’s affordable. 

 

Pickup the Thrunite T1 at Amazon https://amzn.to/2RMAAYx

Save 15% by using code 15T10430 until 4/30/2020

View the Full Image Gallery At https://imgur.com/a/IZzm8dx

Wowtac W1 Review ($26, 562 Lumen, 16340, EDC Budget Flashlight)

Wowtac has released a new small form factor EDC style light with the W1. It features a 16340 battery, onboard micro USB charging, deep carry pocket clip and tail magnet all for a very affordable price. Thanks to WowTac for sending this to me to review. 

 

YouTube version of this Review: 

https://youtu.be/4RcYz26y-GQ

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Packaging & Accessories

Packaging for the W1 is much like other Wowtac models, with a brown cardboard box with minimal information. The box does suggest there may be a neutral tint version of this light eventually but it also might just be production flexibility. The included accessories is a Wowtac branded 650mAh 16340 battery, deep carry pocket clip, extra o’ring and recharging port cover, and microUSB cable as well as the manual. 

 

Construction

Construction of the W1 is pretty standard. The tail is magnetic and flat so the light tail stands well. It’s threaded for a lanyard (not included), and the 2 way deep carry pocket clip that snaps in place but can rotate. The body of the light is heavily diamond knurled. It feels nice in the hand for a small light. 

Inside the threads are square cut and anodized, the spring is relatively long in the tail cap. Inside the head there is a solid post instead of a spring. The diameter of the head is a 3.2mm larger in diameter then the body and 6 sided. It features an electronic button that requires a solid click with LED’s underneath to indicate charge status. On the back is the micro USB port and silicone cover that stays out of the way when in use. 

 

The front bezel is a bit thick and silver colored, it’s nearly flat with the glass lens with AR coatings. The optic underneath is wide and shallow with a light orange peel. The LED is nicely centered but seems small for the reflector.

Sizes, Weight, & Competition

I measured the Wowtac W1 at 68mm in length, 20mm in diameter at the body, and 24mm on the head. Weight with the battery and clip was 56.3g. The light is rated for IPX8 for 1.5 meters, so it will easily survive the bucket test here.

Comparing to Wowtac W1 to other similar lights, the two that are most similar are the Olight S1 mini Baton and Thrunite T1. The W1 look a lot like the T1 in design, with the body being knurled instead of milled and being overall smaller due to the different battery sizes in use. The Olight S1 Mini Baton uses the same sized battery as the W1 and is smaller overall. I will compare the beams between the two in my night shots. I do like that the W1 is head down for carry vs Olight’s head up design. 

Retention

The pocket clip is a push on style dual direction clip. It mounts only at the tail. It’s designed primarily for head down carry and does a nice job of being deep carry. However since the size of the head is larger I found myself needing to pull the pocket clip out a little to attach it to my jeans pocket easily.  Overall good but it takes an extra step to clip on to the pocket. 

LED & Beams Shots

The W1 features a Cree XP-G2 in cool white, while neutral white is mentioned on the package they are not available for purchase at the time of this review. The beam here is a little different. It has a small hot center, that throws decently well for a light this small. Then it has a wide, fairly weak spill. On lights this size I do generally enjoy a TIR style optic for EDC use because it does a good job of a blend of beam characteristics. There is Cree rainbow with this light in the beam with the center being warmer with some green tint and the outer spill being cooler.

There is some PWM in this light, its fairly minor and not noticeable to me by eye or by camera but I can see it via the scope. 

Wowtac lists the output specs of the W1 as the following.

  • Firefly 0.5 Lumens
  • Low 12 Lumens
  • Medium 60 Lumens
  • High 197 Lumens 
  • Turbo 562 Lumens with step down to 215 lumens after 1 min.

Heat and Runtime

Heat is well controlled on this light, after 1 minute I measured temperatures at 87F, at 5 minutes 95F, and at 10 minutes 98F. 

 

Runtime 

No big surprises were found in the runtime of this light. Turbo stepdown is large and occurs after 1 minute. From there the output fell as the battery depleted, We got another major step down at the 70 minute mark where the light faded into it’s lowest output of around 0.5 lumens till low voltage protection kicked in (2.88V) at 170 total minutes. Of this total runtime I would say about 70 minutes of that is useable light, not too bad for a 650mah 16340 sized battery. 

UI

The UI here is the same as many other Wowtac and Thrunite lights which is a good thing. When the light is off firefly mode can be accessed by long pressing on the power button. From off a single quick tap will turn the light on in the last mode it was in (not turbo or firefly). To change modes when the light is on long pressing will cycle through the modes in an increasing order, Low, Medium, High. To get to turbo, double click on the button from any mode. Triple click from any mode to get strobe. 

 

Recharging

Recharging the light is accomplished via the built in microUSB port on the head of the light. When charging the main button turns red, and then blue when charged. Charging from LVP at 2.88V to full at 4.142V took 1 hour and 50 minutes and the maximum charging speed I saw was 0.48A which is safe for this size of battery. 

Conclusion

The Wowtac W1 is another good budget light from Wowtac, especially if you’re interested in a new small EDC light. At the price point of around $25 for a complete kit, the W1 is a good value and pretty easy to recommend to people. I do wish they had a neutral white option, that and USB-C would set this light apart from the competition.

 

The beam pattern here isn’t my favorite with it being almost more of a thrower then a small area flood that is typically useful in EDC, at lower outputs the spill isn’t that useful. The light carries in the pocket pretty well, and also clips onto a hat easily for a quick access headlamp if needed. I wish the clip was slightly longer so it rested on the body and made getting it into the pocket just a little easier. All this said this is a high value light for the price and a nice inexpensive place to start if you want to start EDCing a flashlight in your pants pockets on a daily basis. 

 

Pickup the Wowtac W1 on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2UUwlMq

View the full Image gallery at https://imgur.com/a/JsOmc88

 

Wowtac is also looking for 100 volunteers to try the W1 flashlight on Facebook @wowtacflashlights and share their feelings and help WOWTAC improve. (follow us on Facebook and join our group, contact to get a free W1) There are also weekly flashlight GAW on WOWTAC Facebook page.

Xtar MC4S Review (USB-C Inexpensive 4 bay simple battery charger)

Xtar has updated version of the MC4 charger out with the new MC4s. It’s a basic 4 bay charger, utilizing USB-C for input power for charging various lithium ion and nickel metal hydride batteries. Thanks to Xtar for sending this out to take a look at. 

 

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Physically

The package it comes in is small retail style box with specs and battery sizes it supports listed on it. In the box is the charger itself, a simple manual, and a USB-A (Blue  to USB-C cable. 

 

The MC4S is a simple black flame retardant black plastic charger. It features 4 bays with spring loaded clips and a pad for the positive contact. This allows it to expand to fit most battery sizes. 10440-21700 (Non protected). For Ni-Mh and Ni-CD batteries it can do AAAA through C sized batteries. The outside 2 bays are designed for the larger diameter batteries like 26650’s and C sized cells. 

The MC4s features 4 LED’s on the front, one for each bay that tells you what’s going on. When you plug the charger in at first get a self check and each bay will show green for standby. They go when charging, and then turn green when charged. 

The back features a small vent for heat control, a large sticker showing input/Output power, as well as what all cells it supports. 

I measured the charger at 100mm x 97mm by 26mm. Empty weight is 95.2g.

 

Charging

This is a simple charger, and there isn’t anything to do or options to set. The LED status on each bay tells you what you need to know if the battery is charging (red) or if it’s charged (Green). I tested 4 LG HG2 batteries that started at 2.95V and put them into all 4 bays, and started charging. Terminal voltage was 4.125V and it did this is in 6.8 hours with the maximum charge rate combined at 1.8A or roughly 0.45A per bay. For smaller batteries like 10440 which this charger officially supports this may be a bit high of charge rate but for larger cells it’s just fine. It’s worth noting that slots 1 & 4 have faster charging rates of 1A each, if used by themselves, while inner 2 & 3 have slower rates at 0.5A if used by themselves.

I also tested some AA eneloop batteries across all 4 bays, starting at 1.12V and charging to completion at 1.46V. Charge rate here started off slow but gained in speed. This wan’t a constant current charge and seemed a little spiky on my equipment but ok overall. 

Lastly this charge will charge via USB-C to C cable and charger. I used my Aukey BA-B4 I recently reviewed and had no complaints. I have seen some people suggest this doesn’t have real PD triggering but it doesn’t really need it with these power level draws. 

 

Pro’s

  • Inexpensive with current prices being around $12
  • Basic, safe, get’s the job done.
  • USB-C to C support

 

Con’s

  • A bit agressive for the smaller sized cells it technically supports such as 10440, AAAA, etc. 
  • Not going to win any speed races for your larger cells.

 

Conclusion

What you see is what you get here, this is a dead simple battery charger that does what it says in a simple yet effective manner. If your new to the flashlight hobby and want a simple charger to get you going that will support the most common sizes of batteries you will see in most lights, for a low price, the MC4s does the job. 

 

This isn’t going to be the most appropriate charge for everyone but it’s a good place to get started for many. It’s nice to see USB-C here as the primary power input but in this case it’s all about the cable and connector of convenience if your life revolves around USB-C. It’s not taking advantage of the larger amount of power that could be delivered to speed charging times.

 

Overall the MC4s is a good basic, safe, and affordable charger. I can recommend it for your basic charging needs. 

 

Full Image Gallery https://imgur.com/a/toH1zXv

Pickup the Xtar MC4S 4 bay charger on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2RfdpFY 

Anker Soundcore Flare 2 Review (20W, USB-C & A Water Test!)

Anker has a new portable Bluetooth speaker out with the Soundcore Flare 2. This is a reasonably large speaker that features 360 degrees of sound, 20W of power, Sound reactive LED light rings, USB-C, it’s waterproof and linkable to up to 100 other Flare 2 Speakers. Thanks to Anker for sending this to me to look at, I have been enjoying it during these long stay at home times. For the best version of this review check out the video version for the water test, sound test, and light demonstration.

 

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Packaging

Anker always does a great job with it’s packaging and the Flare 2 is no different. The outer sleeve is where all the pictures and information are, and it has the hanger tag so maybe we will see these in retail too. Inside is a blue box where the speaker is nicely nestled along with the manual, happy/not happy card and a standard Anker USB-A to USB-C Cable that’s about 3ft long. 

Physical Descriptions

The speaker itself is an attractive design. It’s a cylinder shape that tapers out at the bottom a bit. The middle has a cloth mesh fabric covering it that’s black but with little flecks of gray woven in. At the top and bottom are 2 RGB LED light rings that are super smooth when they color change and are very evenly diffused. On the bottom there is a rubber pad to keep the speaker firmly in place, and at the top, it’s concave a bit. There is a power button, volume up and down, a button to change the LED modes, and then a multifunction button in the center that I use for play and pause. On the rear of the speaker there is a bluetooth pairing button, a bass up button and the cover for the USB-C port used for charging the speaker.

Physically the speaker is larger then a standard US pop can, at 3.4” at it’s widest, 2.9” at it’s narrowest, and 6.3” tall. I measured the weight at 1.33lbs. The speaker is IPX7 water rated, meaning it won’t be harmed by splashes or rain. It can even withstand complete submersion to shallow depths. I did test this and can agree but sound quality does suffer till the speaker dries out a bit. As a bonus the speaker does float.

It features a 5,200mAh batter inside which is good for 12 hours of playback time and in my testing I got at least this if not more. From empty to full the speaker took 3.5 hours to charge, and is capable of charging via USB-C to C and or with a USB-C PD charger which is great to see. 

 

The App & Lights

You wouldn’t think that a bluetooth speaker needs an app, but to get the most out of the Flare 2 you really do want to download the Soundcore app, available both on iOS and Android. The app can be used to change any of the defaults for the 5 preset equalizers, including making your own via the custom setting, turn the bass boost, on or off, as well as changing all the lights. You can also use it to adjust the volume, turn the speaker off, pair it to other Flare 2’s and even do firmware updates. I demonstrate this is the YouTube version of this review so make sure you check that out. 

 

There are 5 different light modes that are all sound reactive when the speaker is playing sound, within each you can further define the colors you want to use to better suit your mood or content. Imagine watching your favorite sporting event on your tablet and making your teams colors come through the speaker, Or having a party where you connect multiple Flare 2 speakers together to create a light show. 

 

Depending on what I was using the speaker for I found the LED’s to be a little distracting and annoying. For a party or out by the pool I think they make a lot of sense and there are a number of options in the app to change the colors and patterns for your liking. However when I was at home during quarantine and using the speaker for more volume of podcasts or watching netflix and YouTube while cooking it was a little distracting and I mostly turned them off. 

 

Sound

So how is the sound quality of the Flare 2? First it truly is 360 degree, I used this a lot in my kitchen while listing to YouTube and Netflix while cooking and one of the things i hate about other bluetooth speakers I have is when I would move around to maybe go get something in the pantry I would miss dialog because I was off axis of the speakers. The Flare 2 totally solves this. The same principle applies to music too. Here is a little demo I did walking around my dining room table trying to capture that there are no dead spots.

 

I did notice a small amount of delay when watching YouTube and Netflix with this speaker on my iPad, more so then my Android phone, not a major deal but definitely something to mention. Hopefully future firmware updates continue to improve this. 

 

Using the soundcore app to get the right sound for you is important I feel like as well. I enjoyed the default setting with the Bass Up feature turned on and thought it was great. I used the voice mode a bit for some podcasts, it turns up higher frequencies and minimizes bass. There is custom too where you can create your own.

 

I also listened to it out on my deck and it gets plenty loud enough here but I did notice on especially bass heavy music at high volumes the bass was tuned out a bit and it made more of a splat instead of being clean. That said this is a small speaker and I don’t expect subwoofer level performance. Here is a clip I took of it outside as well.

 

Pro’s

  • Great sound quality at reasonable volumes for its size.
  • True 360 degree sound 
  • Impressive water resistance (IPX7) and battery life (12 hr)
  • Great integration and customization with the Soundcore app

 

Con’s

  • Doesn’t always seem to remember the last LED setting you used like Off.
  • No 3.5mm jack which I am ok with.
  • Bass does fade and get muddy at higher volumes.
  • I did notice a little delay on some youtube/netflix content but it was small.

 

Conclusion

Overall the sound quality here exceeded my expectations for the size of the Flare 2. I wish I could have tried the feature allowing you to link up to 100 speakers as I think that could really be impressive surround sound and light show capabilities. For me the lights are not a feature I was needing in a bluetooth speaker but given this is designed for parties, out at the pool etc I could see it being a feature people would like.

 

I was impressed with the Soundcore App’s integration with the Flare 2, it’s a must have for any Flare 2 owner to dial in the sound profile and light patterns that you want, and to get those important firmware updates over time.Overall I am impressed with the Flare 2 and look forward to using it for many more years.

 

Pickup the Anker Soundcore Flare 2 on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3dIUsoL 

View the full image gallery: https://imgur.com/a/khqzDR9

Xtar PB2C Review (18650 Battery Charger & Powerbank)

Xtar has an update for the original PB2 18650 charger and powerbank. As the name implices (PB2C) the new model adds USB-C but only for charging. The XTar PB2 lineup is a little confusing in naming. The Larger PBS can fit larger 21700 batteries, charge and discharge via USB-C and has a screen. The new PB2S is smaller in size, can only take 18650 batteries, and doesn’t have a screen. Thanks to Xtar for sending this to me to take a look at and review.

 

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Packaging & Accessories

The Xtar PB2C packaging is very simple, it’s a clear plastic shell with a cardboard back with most of the information on the rear of the package. There is a simple multi language manual included in the package. Inside you get the PB2C itself and a USB-A(3) to USB-C cable.

 

Construction

The Xtar PB2C is made from hard plastic with some texture. The body and color of mine happens to be a sky blue with black accents. It’s a great look in my opinion and feels well built. The lid is held on with magnets at the center that are reasonably strong. There are nail nicks to make removal easier. On the inside you have the input and output specs as well as the units model and serial numbers.  

Inside the cells are held in place with pretty robust springs on one end and tabs on the other. This allows all 18650’s from flat top unprotected cells to protected button tops to fit. There is a ribbon to make removal easier which is a nice. Polarity and charging rates are molded into the base too. 

The only indicators that’s available are a series of 4 small white LED at the top, that are used for charge/discharge status, on/off status, and any errors (All blinking). Four lights building one by one means it’s charging, if all 4 lights are on charging is done. 

 

Size and Weight

The PB2C is smaller then it’s larger more advanced PB2S brother because it only fits 18650 batteries and doesn’t have a display. I measured the length at 109mm, width at 50mm and depth at 24mm. Weight with 2 18650 batteries came in at 150g.

As a Powerbank

As a Powerbank the Xtar PB2C is a little disappointing because it only works via the USB-A slot. The USB-C connector is an input only. Then I remember the price here, about $12 and given that it comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable, I will give it a pass. As much as I love USB-C it’s still not as universal especially world wide as the Western World thinks it is. USB-A is the most compatible with the largest market yet.

 

I tested the PB2C with some 2600mAh Xtar batteries and was able to easily discharge at 2.25A for 1 hour 34 minutes. The voltage did sag some when running this hard, and wasn’t quite as stable as you see from most of my Anker and Aukey power banks but it was fine with an average voltage of 4.89V.. Capacity came in at a measured 3115mAh, which seems a little low but is roughly 80% efficiency assuming the labels on the batteries are correct. Higher capacity batteries will yield more capacity to recharge your devices. LVP on the cells kicked in at 3.23V and 3.40V. The powerbank function can be used while the charger is charging batteries, with it primarily powering the device off the USB input rather then discharging the batteries.

 

As a Charger

As a charger the Xtar PB2C combines all the features from Xtar that are proven and well respected such as zero volt activation, reverse polarity protection, safe charging rates, over discharge protection, etc. If one battery is inserted, into the 2 slot charger, charging speed will be 1A, if 2 batteries are installed it will be upto 2A. If the batteries inserted have different power levels, the lower voltage cell will charge first till they are equal and then it will charge both batteries. 

 

In my testing I charged 2 2600mAh cells to full in 3 hours and 7 minutes mostly at 1.9A of speed. Terminal voltage on both cells was 4.17V which is good. I had no trouble fitting protected, unprotected, and all manner of button top cells on the charger. Your luck may vary with custom cells from brands like Olight. 

 

Pro’s

  • Very Affordable
  • Can take protected or unprotected 18650’s
  • Blue and Orange Color Options

 

Con’s

  • USB-C is only used for charging here, it would be better if it was bidirectional.

 

Conclusion

This is a nice little battery charger and powerbank combination if all you need to charge are 18650 sized batteries. It has most cases for those covered. It’s a nice update to see USB-C included but I wish it was in and out instead of just used for input power only. That said the included USB-A to C cable does help with this, and for the price I can’t fault it much. Overall this is a good basic charger and powerbank combo from Xtar at a very affordable price. 

 

Full Image Gallery https://imgur.com/a/2ovOuC0

Find more on the Xtar PB2C at http://www.xtar.cc/product/XTAR-PB2C-Charger-131.html

AliExpress Global – http://bit.ly/2IUcV3l 

Nitecore Tiki & Tiki LE Review (Keychain light with auxiliary LED’s)

Today I am taking a look at the Nitecore Tiki and Tiki LE keychain lights. These are small, multicolor lights with built USB recharging and a sealed battery. Thanks for Nitecore Store for sending these two keychain lights out for me to take a look at. Links to them will be in the description.

 

YouTube Version of this Review: https://youtu.be/5_gcMlMnMSk 

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Packaging

Packaging on these are simple retail hangers with a try it feature on the clear see through bubble. The Tiki features a primary white LED, and then a high CRI white emitter and UV led as a an auxiliary. The LE version swaps the UV and High CRI aux emitters for red and blue. On the back the package goes through the simple models. The only included accessory is the keychain attachment point. 

Construction

Both lights are made from polycarbonate plastic. The Tiki is made from a simi translucent plastic allowing you to see the internals pretty well. This also diffuses the side auxiliary LED’s. Up front there is a stainless steel bezel, the light is using a TIR style optic and a small glass lens. The hoop at the back is fairly thick and may not fit every key chain naively without the included small chain. The LE version is a black plastic thats semi transparent on the side LED’s. The front bezel is black colored here. On both the button is in a logical place on the barrel and takes a fairly firm press to actuate. The USB recharging port on the back is nicely flush fit with the body too. 

 

Size & Weight

Overall length is 54mm on both lights, and the diameter as measured is 15mm at the head. This puts these lights a bit smaller then your average AAA keychain light and just a little longer then the Olight i1R and Lumintop Glow I recently reviewed. The light is IPX66 rated.

This review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning how close these look to the RoyVon A5 both in looks and operation. The USB ports are a little different but that’s about it. I asked Nitecore about this and they declined to comment on if there was any collaboration or licensing here.

LED & Beam & PWM

The primary LED being used on both lights is the Osram P8 LED in cool white. The beam pattern out the TIR optic is pretty decent for what this is but it does have very small artifacts. For a light like this it’s not something I am going to fault it on too much. 

I am not that sensitive to PWM myself but I can see it on the lowest mode, my oscilloscope sees it in the higher modes as well. It’s fairly bad on the scope in at least the lights i have tested this year. 

Not much data on the auxiliary LED’s is given. The UV LED is said to be 500mw and at 365nm. In practice this is really weak, you can use it to help point out the security features on a card or dollar bill but that’s about it, things need to be very close range. The high CRI LED is warm tint and decently bright. No data is given on the red or blue LED options on the LE version.

 

Runtime 

Runtimes on the main LED are identical on this light. The highest mode is good for 300 lumens for about 1 minute before stepping down and running at about 40% output where it runs till the 30 minute mark and where it then steps down and runs for another 20 minutes or so before LVP kicks in. This is pretty respectable for a light of this size. It’s not something you will hike with but more then enough to find something you dropped on the ground, get the mail, or find your key hole.

UI

UI is fairly straight forward here and the same on each light. A slow double press turns the light on in Low mode, with single presses going up in output (4 total modes). Long press to turn off. When off a long press turns it on in maximum output in momentary mode. 

 

To get to the auxiliary modes triple click from off, single click changes modes. The Tiki has the UV on by default, single click again and it goes to high CRI which is warmer and much brighter. Single click again and it goes to high cri blinking. The Tiki LE default is the Red LED, click again and it goes blue, then again and you red/blue cycling option.

 

Recharging

From 100% depleted the light took 1 hour and 15 minutes to fully charge. It does have a little red/blue LED in the body to tell you when it’s done. Charging is quite slow at 0.14A at the maximum but that’s what you want for the health of such a small battery. I am ok with this. 

 

Pro’s

  • The UV/High CRI side lights on the Tiki make for a more useful overall light.
  • Good form factor but not an original design.

 

Con’s

  • Significant PWM in lower modes
  • Seems to be a copy of other lights on the market in this segment
  • UV is limited in what it can do due to the low power and wave length used here.

 

Conclusion

The keychain market has gotten hotter here in the last year or so, and there are lots of good options on the market. I am not that sensitive to PWM personally but can see it on these lights in the lower modes easily. For me that makes it hard to recommend them when there are other lights that don’t have that problem. That said I like the form factor and they produce a good amount of light on the highest output mode. Other then the UV mode I can’t find a ton of practical use for the side LED’s here especially the LE’s Red and blue outputs. That said these make fun zipper pulls and that’s where the are going on a couple of my jackets.

 

Purchase the Nitecore Tiki https://bit.ly/2J9A7uJ 

Purchase the Nitecore Tiki LE https://bit.ly/2xgVuYe 

Full Image Gallery https://imgur.com/a/18lCemW

Aukey 65W Omnia Chargers (GaN, 2x USB-C, USB-A)

Aukey has released a new line of chargers called the Omnia. Today we are going to take a look at 2 of these models as well as some high quality USB-C and Lightning cables they now offer as well. Thanks to Aukey for sending these to me to take a look at and review. 

 

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Packaging and Accessories

A quick few words on the packaging that everything comes in. The chargers come in cardboard boxes with simple line drawings of each charger on them, and the color that each is, with minimal other information. Inside the charges come with a simple manual, warranty card and that’s it. No cables are included with either.

The two cables come in more retail looking boxes, printed in full color and more descriptive information on each. The USB-C to Lightning cable came wrapped around a reel. Which helped it keep it’s length in check. The USB-C cables came wrapped in their own bags. Each included a warranty card as well. 

 

Charger Construction & Performance

Both chargers I am looking at today are part of their new Omnia Power charging lineup. Omnia power is a term for all the latest charging technology rolled into a one chip solution. In the 2 charges I am looking at today that’s GaN (Gallium Nitride) technology, allowing more power to be smaller and lighter weight, USB-C PD technology for Power Delivery support meaning it can increase and decrease power as the device needs it, Dynamic Detect technology to ensure the power is distributed efficiently between the different ports. 

 

Let’s start by looking at the PA-B4 which is the charger I have been using most since it’s dual USB-C ports. These are quite small in size for being capable of delivering 65W. Here it is compared with the Anker charger I reviewed a few weeks back that didn’t have GaN technology, and only provided 30W or so. Here it is compared with a dollar bill and standard household key. It also has folding prongs which is nice to keep it compact when not in use.

On the front of this charger there is a small white LED that lets you know when it’s in use, it’s not too bright which is good. The top port has a little computer next to it to let you know this is the highest power port that’s available. This can deliver the full 65W if your devices support it. When both ports are in use the top port delivers up to 45w and the bottom port delivers 12W. My laptop requires a max of 45W so for me this was a good fit, in the photo you can see here it did 43W and I plugged in my ipad at the top and it was charging at 8W speed since it was over half full. For me this makes a great travel charger since I can charge my laptop at full speed and charge my phone or ipad all with one compact charger. 

 

 

Specs the BA-B4 supports for output are 

Port 1 65W via PD 3.0

  • 20V @ 3.25A
  • 15V @ 3A
  • 12V @ 3A
  • 9V @ 3A
  • 5V @ 3A

 

Port 2 18W via PD 3.0

  • 12V @ 1.5A
  • 9V @ 3A
  • 5V @ 2.4A

 

The PA-B3 is the same size as the PA-B4 and features 1 USB-C port with all the same specs, capable of 65W. The big difference is instead of a second USB-C port this charger has a USB-A port. Unfortunately the USB-A port doesn’t support any of the Qualcomm quick charge standards and it’s just a standard 5V 2.4A port. When both are in use the top port reduces from 65W to 45W.

 

 

Specs the PA-B3 supports for output are 

Port 1 65W via PD 3.0

  • 20V @ 3.25A
  • 15V @ 3A
  • 12V @ 3A
  • 9V @ 3A
  • 5V @ 3A

Port 2 

  • 5V @ 2.4A

 

Cable Construction and Performance

A few quick words about Aukey’s braided cables. I have enjoyed my time with them and have no complaints about them. Both come with velcro organization loops to help keep everything organized and helps keep things looking nice during travel and use. I have found the right angle USB-C cables really nice to use when I am using my phone and charging it at the same time, I think it’s less stress than a traditional cable. It fit fine over my case but if you have a larger case it may not have the clearance for you. Quality wise it’s very comparable to my Anker cables and I like the red color.

 

The USB-C to lightning cable is great too as it allows me to charge faster then the standard cable and charger that came with my ipad. The 6.6ft length is great here, if you don’t have a longer cable your really missing out, as the stock is pretty limiting. When combined with the Omnia chargers both my devices were able to charge as fast as they are capable of with these cables. No complaints. 

Pro’s

  •  Compact size, and delivered the performance it stated.
  • LED’s are not super bright, great for charging at night.
  • 45W is just enough to charge my Dell laptop and phone at the same time.

 

  • Great build quality on the cables, on par with other braided cables I have from Anker. 
  • Right angle cables are pretty useful especially when holding a phone while charging.

 

Con’s

  • Little bit of weird behavior when charging high watt devices and plugging in a low wattage device on the PA-B3, it sometimes wanted to stop charging on the first and and I had to replug it to get it going again.
  • I wish Aukey offered a longer right angle USB-C cable.

 

Conclusion

Aukey’s latest Omnia chargers are the real deal. They combine the technology you should be looking for with high wattage chargers, with GaN, USB-C PD, and have the dynamic delivery technology to make sure you can charge each of your devices as fast as the charger and device will allow. 

 

I can recommend these chargers if your looking for multiple port, high wattage chargers. If you don’t have one yet, you really should pick up one. They are smaller, faster, and just as safe as what your device came with. If you travel a lot it’s a must have, and for most people they will enjoy the added speed of recharging in every day use too. Make sure to check them out in links below. 

 

Pick up any of the chargers or cables with the links below.

PA-B3 (USB-C & USB-A Version) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0841V6LR5 

PA-B4 (Dual USB-C) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0841VBW8H 

USB-C to Lightning https://amzn.to/2PZ5fRs  (Make sure to save $4 by clicking the coupon)

Right angle USB-C Cables https://amzn.to/2PZ5fRs  (Make sure to save $2 by clicking the coupon)

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

YLP Unicorn 1.0 Review (Samsung LHD351D, 90 CRI, 18650 EDC Light)

YLP is a Russian Flashlight manufacturer (Lights are made in China) that is new to the US market. Their name when translated roughly means bright ray. They have been known by enthusiasts for a few years but it’s been more difficult to buy their lights, having to use google translated versions of their website. Recently they have launched a US English version of the website and got in touch with me to take a look at some of their lights. The YLP Unicorn 1.0 has been on my radar since last year so I selected that to take a further look at and review myself. Thanks to them for sending this out and providing a discount that’s in the description along with links to follow me on various social media platforms. This will probably be a little bit longer of a review so settle back and enjoy. 

 

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Packaging & Accessories

Packaging on the Unicorn 1.0 is a nice magnetic closure box full of printing, showing the light on the front, a lot of the highlights on the sides and more details on the back. It’s nicely designed without looking excessive. Inside the light is protected with some custom cut black foam. Accessories include a pocket clip preinstalled, a basic lanyard, and 2 extra o’rings. The manual that came with the light is in borth Russian and English. It’s pretty thorough but an advanced manual is available online as well and I will have a link to it in my description. One other thing to add, my light shipped in a box covered with cool Russian stamps on it too, definitely cool looking and not what I am used to. 

 

Construction

The light is made from aluminum and hard anodized in a gray/brown almost tan color. It’s a really nice color and nice to see something other then black. Machining here is good, with no complaints. Branding is extremely minimal with just the Unicorn 1.0 name and Unicorn logo on the rear of the tail cap, it doesn’t even say YLP on it anywhere! 

The tailcap itself is flat, and magnetic. The internal magnet is held in place with the tail spring so if you want to remove it, it’s easy to do so. You have a place for the lanyard to go on the side of the tail cap if you choose. Threads internally are beefy and square cut.

The knurling on the tail and body tube is aggressive, it feels good in my hands but you may see some accelerated wear of your pants under the pocket clip. It’s pyramid shaped with the tip left on. There is a Y shape milled out of the knurling to add some style to the light, you can see some tool paths in this but I think that’s done on purpose. The tube itself is not removable as it seems to be glued to the head. 

 

The head itself has shallow heatsyncs around about ¾ of the range. The button sits in a slightly raised block on the head but is then recessed inside this. The button itself has a clear silicone cover over it. Underheat there are red and green LED’s used for indicating battery voltage and as a locator beacon. The button itself is on the small side and may be a little hard to actuate with larger gloves on. The front of the light has a smooth bezel with the TIR optic in place. There isn’t glass over the optic so you may see some scratches over time. 

Size & Weight

The YLP Unicorn 1.0 is a pretty compact light for what all it offers. I measured it’s overall length at 102.2mm, maximum diameter in the head at 27.20mm, and minimum diameter on the body at 25mm. When compared to the FW3A is about 20mm shorter, and the Wurkkos FC11 is about 14mm longer. The Unicorn 1.0 weighed in  with a Sony VTC6 battery and clip onboard at 113.6g. Compared to the FW3A’s 98.2g, and Wurkkos FC11 at 111.8G. 

Retention

The Unicorn 1.0 features a reversible pocket clip with plenty of room in it’s top loop for thicker pants. It’s not super deep cary but I found it to carry quite well. As I mentioned earlier the knurling here is aggressive and while I like the feel in my hand, you might find it wears out your pants pocket a little faster them most lights, especially under the pocket clip. The magnet in the tail is quite strong and has no trouble holding the light. It’s also fairly easy to remove if you wish. I had no issues with it activating in my pocket during cary thanks to the recessed e-switch on the head of the light. 

 

LED & Beam

The YLP Unicorn 1.0 is using a 4200k Samsung LH351D at a minimum of 90 CRI. This is one of my favorite emitters right now and a fantastic choice for EDC in my opinion. It’s warmer in tint and doesn’t have any of the green that the LH351D in the Wurkkos FC11 had. My LED was nicely centered, and has a TIR style optic. The light doesn’t have a glass lens, which means overtime you might see a few scratches. Not a huge deal with everything else going on here. The beam pattern does have a defined hot center, and the transition to the spill isn’t the smoothest but it’s not bad either. 

One of the side effects of this light not being designed for huge output numbers is heat is well controlled and it’s also configurable in the UI if you want to push it a bit more. 

1 Minute = 90F

5 Minutes = 101F

10 Minutes = 104F.

 

I measured the parasitic drain of the eswitch at 22?A which is pretty minimal. I didn’t measure any PWM with my scope or eye.

 

Runtime and Outputs

Officially the light produces the following in it’s default UI. .

Turbo 850 lumens

High  450 lumens

Medium 170 Lumens

Low 40 Lumens

Moon 3 Lumens

Runtimes here didn’t have any big surprises from the regulated driver. I performed my tests with a 3000mAh Sony VTC6 battery but you don’t need such a high output battery in this application, a NGR18650GA battery would be a perfect comdination here. Turbo was good for just under 4 minutes, and we then saw stepdowns to 65% relative output. This continued to decline to about 50% output at the 30 minute mark or so but then the light started increasing in output as it cooled and the battery was able to keep up. This peaked at 60% relative output before a sharp decline to the lights lowest mode at the 130 minute mark where it continued running till LVP kicked in at 2.859V at 300 minutes. It’s nice to see active thermal controls on this one. 

 

 

UI

 This light has 4 different UI modes. By default it comes in what YLP calls Basic UI where the light has 5 discrete modes and memory mode turned on. It starts off in low and when you hold the button it starts ramping up about every second. When it gets to the top it automatically starts ramping down. Single click to turn off, Double clicking when on gets your to the maximum output. 4 Clicks gets you to battery check mode where the light flashes the batteries voltage. The way the basic UI works with it cycling up and then down instead of resetting takes a little getting used to as it’s different from a lot of lights and requires you to go up through high before going lower if thats what you want. 

 

The other main UI modes are UI1, which is ramping with memory mode turned on. UI2 which is ramping with memory on and the buttons light on, UI 3 is 5 modes, memory off, and starting on medium instead of low. 

The light has other advanced features which are best if you look at the advanced manual on the YLP website as you can adjust the thermal settings, and engineering mode where you can configure each UI mode through a series of clicks. These are complex and for time sake I won’t go over them in this review, but the manual has you covered and the translation is decent. You can find the full advanced manual here. 

 

Pro’s

  • Great overall size and clip
  • Wide acceptance on it’s battery type, flat tops, button tops, protected, unprotected it takes all the 18650 types.
  • Not another black light
  • Great LED and Tint
  • Very flexible user interface the default Basic UI does it for me just fine but ramping is available if you want it.

 

Con’s

  • Knurling is quite aggressive, and if EDCed in a pants pocket this will eat away at it over time.
  • Not the brightest light in this class but more than enough to get the job done with less heat and more usability.
  • Lowest output mode should be 1 lumen or less
  • Minor annoyance with the Basic UI, I would prefer it start back over on low after reaching top output rather then reversing back down through high, mediu, low etc. 

 

Conclusion

This is a light designed with practicality in mind instead of big numbers for a marketing purpose. As a result it can sustain itself on higher outputs without large stepdows. It’s using a high CRI LED with a pleasant tint and very useful beam pattern. For me it ticks all the boxes on what I want as a solid all purpose flashlight. 

I have taken it walking several times over the few weeks I have had it and it’s done great with that. It’s a useful beam pattern and I like the combination of tint and high CRI LED. It has a lot of UI options for you if you want, if not the default UI I enjoy. 

I hope we see YLP continue the Unicorn line of lights, making enhancements and tweaks as it goes along. At this price point it’s a lot of value, coming in significantly less than some of the well known brands that also share animal names. I look forward to seeing other lights from YLP, after reviewing the Unicorn 1.0 the bar was set high, lets see what they can deliver. I recommend the YLP Unicorn 1.0 without reservations.

If you are considering picking up a YLP Unicorn 1.0 make sure to check the description for a link to their English website and use the code in the description to save 15% off the price which helps cover shipping cost. 

 

Purchase the YLP Unicorn 1.0: https://ylplight.com/en/katalog/1/ruchnye-fonari/unicorn-10/

Use code “liquidretr” at checkout to save 15%

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