Tag Archives: ArmyTek

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

ArmyTek Prime C1 Pro Magnetic USB Review

I have enjoyed the previous ArmyTek lights I have and they are frequently mentioned here both positively and negatively. The Prime C1 Pro Magnet USB and C2 Pro Magnet USB are new models introduced in October of 2017. They recently became more widely available. Thanks to Armytek for sending this light to me to take a look at.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/7pKAn Lots of images in this one, check it out.
Video Version of this Review:

Construction
The Armytek Prime C1 Pro with Magnetic USB is what I expected from ArmyTek, a well built well made light. 

It’s made of reasonably thick aluminum that’s coated in an almost chalky black finish https://i.imgur.com/z3lDUBL.jpg. Some love it, others hate it. I dislike it seems to scratch easily but these scratches mostly wipe off. Expect somewhere at the clip attachment point. The lens is deeply recessed https://i.imgur.com/hvDw2ni.jpg inside the body of the light and protected with a polished stainless steel front bezel. The body is round with some flat places https://i.imgur.com/cKCEQp8.jpg milled into the head for the button on one side and opposite, it creates a nice finger choil of sorts. It’s more ergonomic in the hand.
 

This light comes into 3 distinct  pieces plus the clip. It shares it’s design with the ArmyTek Prime C2 which uses a larger middle tube https://i.imgur.com/2eTO0QA.jpg in order to fit an 18650 instead of the 18350 in the C1. What this creates is a very short body tube on the C1 and you have to hold in the right place if you want to unscrew it. The threads are long and standard. The tail cap side includes double o’rings which helps to increase water resistance even when it’s in the charging position. More on charging later. I measured length at 90.5mm, Diameter at 24.5mm and weight with battery and clip at 87.8 grams. The tail magnet is strong, it has no trouble holding the light horizontally or upside down vertically securely.

I didn’t do destructive testing on this light because I intend to use it frequently as an EDC. I did take advantage of a few situations though to do some extreme temperature testing though. My area had record low temperatures over the New Years holiday so I left the light outside (Without the battery) as temps approached -10F real temperatures overnight and into the next day https://i.imgur.com/9895Ij6.jpg . I left it outside at below 0F over 24 hours. I then brought it inside to thaw out for a few hours and test all functions. I then plunged it into a Sous Vide bath https://i.imgur.com/CaWJUAT.jpg (Without battery) to cook at 131F for a few hours while I was finishing a 48 hour chuck roast (Which was fantastic https://i.imgur.com/ARwaUdp.jpg). After drying out the light and inserting the battery all was well.

LED + Lens and beam pattern.
This light uses a Cree XP-L in coolish white LED with a deeper TIR Reflector

A warm white version is available. The TIR here is a little different then you see in other lights. It’s set back deeper and further away from the LED. When looking down in you can see the LED easily still. This creates a hot center and some banding on the spill  It’s not the smoothest transition but still works well for EDC like applications https://i.imgur.com/MeE7UqY.jpg.

Runtime starting on Turbo was pretty good https://i.imgur.com/pXBguCf.jpg.

The light was able to maintain 90% of it’s output for 50 minutes and then stepped down dramatically the last 10 minutes. 1 hour of usable light is pretty good on the included 18350 900mah battery. Most likely you would not be using this in the highest mode during normal activities. Parasitic Drain was measured at 7.45mAh

UI and Heat Control
If you don’t use an Armytek light everyday you might find the UI to be a little confusing. However once you study the manual and remember a few of the shortcuts it becomes pretty easy. The interface is the same as the V3 Wizards. The entire 3rd page of the manual covers how this light operates. I am not going to go over everything in this review but will go over the high points. This light is organized into 4 mode groups. The brightness in each sub group is memorized

https://i.imgur.com/pxvv88I.jpg
* Group 1 – 3 Firefly Modes Brightness ranges from 0.4 to 6 lumens
* Group 2 – 3 Main Modes Brightness ranges from 34 to 230 lumens
* Group 3 – 2 Turbo Modes Brightness ranges from 470 to 970 lumens
* Group 4 – 3 Special Modes Brightness ranges from 90 to 970 lumens

From off
One click turns the light onto its previously memorized mode and brightness.
Two clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in main mode.
Three clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in Turbo mode.
Four clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in special modes.
Long pressing the button from off cycles through the available modes Firefly through Turbo 1.

From On One click turns the light off
Two clicks turns from firefly to main or main to firefly or special/turbo modes to main mode.
Three clicks goes to turbo mode
Four clicks goes to special modes

2 Philosophies of use – General and Tactical. General is a normal flashlight, click the button and the light stays on. In Tactical it turns the button into momentary, so the light is only on when the button is pressed. To switch between them you unscrew the tail cap by ¼ turn and then press and hold the button, while screwing in the tail cap.

Battery Level Indicator – Uses the LED under the button to flash a series of colors every 5 seconds. Green is between 75-100%, Yellow is below 75%, Double yellow, is below 25%, and double red every second is below 10%. The light doesn’t do this in Firefly mode and you can turn this feature off by a series of button presses and cap rotations.

High Temperature indicators – When the light reaches 60C brightness decreases in small steps to cool down.Once cool it will step back up to deliver the most light possible. Timed step down is not used in this light. As temps increase you get a series of LED color indicators on the button. Warning is 3 orange flashes, at critical temps you get 3 flashes in one second.

The light also has what ArmyTek calls Digital Light Stabilization and Safe Soft Start System. This is part of the protections built into the light to increase runtime and decrease brightness as the light becomes too warm or voltage drops. It does this gradually and it’s hardly noticeable to the eye most of the time.

Charging system/battery
Having onboard charging of lithium flashlights isn’t anything new. Lot’s of manufactures do this in a variety of ways. You have seen me talk about Olight’s magnetic charging in past reviews. More recently the concern about live contacts and the dangers of potentially shorting the battery have become more vocal. The ArmyTek system was designed from the beginning to alleviate these concerns and it’s one of the best systems out there for this. Let me explain how it works. https://i.imgur.com/0Jq2ayU.jpg

The Charging cable itself is white, and uses USB on the input end. On the other end is a magnetic connection with several LED’s inside. The tail cap has a large recessed center pin and a smaller outside ring. To charge the light you need to slightly unscrew the tailcap. Due to how it’s anodized when it’s tight it breaks the circuit. Unscrew it a little and the circuit is complete and the charging begins. The LED’s are solid red while charging, Red and blinking if there is a problem (Forget to unscrew the tailcap slightly?) and solid green when charged. They also use a diode in the tail cap to prevent short circuiting via the exposed tail caps should you forget to screw in the cap after charging. The other big benefit is that you can charge any normal battery that fits. No proprietary batteries! The downsides to this system is that it’s a little slow to charge by modern standards. I measured it at 0.7A when the battery was at about 20% capacity and charging. If the battery is discharged a good amount this means charging via the built in charging may take a couple hours to charge. You must lay this light down or stand it on its head when charging.

As an EDC
This makes a good EDC option. For me in an EDC, Length and diameter are important as well as the clip. The length here is just right with the included 18350 cell. Diameter is just on the line of too big, I like to carry it in a front pants pocket and it works here fine with normal jeans. I don’t think it would be a great option for dress slacks. The clip is almost really good. It’s deep carry which I like but it has a shelf without a ramp https://i.imgur.com/G4mrW47.jpg. I find my pocket getting stuck on this ledge and it requiring two hands sometimes to move it to the bottom.

Packaging
This was packaged in a Retail box, https://i.imgur.com/c3w9zMN.jpg similar to other ArmyTek lights I have seen. It’s in a cardboard box with hanger, inside a plastic shell with outlines for all the accessories. Accessories include the Armytek branded battery, Clip, nylon holster, extra orings, and magnetic charger. https://i.imgur.com/75vLkOO.jpgThe manual is nicely written and printed in color.

Pro’s
* Nice size in the pocket and hand.
* Deeply recessed lens.
* Safe magnetic charging although not fast.
* No Proprietary batteries needed for the recharging system.
* Well controlled thermal management

Con’s
* Clip needs a slight redesign to remove the inner ledge.
* ArmyTek UI has a lot of modes and can be a little confusing, but at the same time it’s not bad if you use it often or have other ArmyTek lights.

Conclusion
This is designed as an EDC light and it works well for that task. 18350 batteries are more energy dense then 16340’s with not much of a size penalty. That said the head on this is a little longer than it needs to be. I assume the electronics and button are the largest portion. While this has pretty good light output and longevity I would want an 18650 if I went hiking or camping for more output and runtime. If you have any other ArmyTek lights you will feel at home witth the Prime C1 Pro. I would love to see a high CRI more neutral tint option from ArmyTek in the future. I think an EDC and Headlamp would make great places to introduce such options.

Take a look at this on ArmyTek’s Website.

Flashlight Reviews

ArmyTek Wizard Pro V3 Review

Use the coupon code RED for 10% future orders on ArmyTek.com

This is my first ArmyTek light and after having it a few weeks and using it frequently, I don’t think it will be my only one for too long. Flashlight enthusiasts on the internet, especially on reddit are quick to recommend the ArmyTek Wizard line of right angled lights and headlamps for a variety of uses. I am glad that ArmyTek sent me one for review so I could experience why it’s one of the most recommended brands out there. I can clearly see why. During this review I will be comparing the ArmyTek Wizard Pro V3 with my recently reviewed Olight H2R. Both are headlamps of very similar size, using the same LED and similar battery sizes. Comment down below and let me know what you think of this light.

Complete Photo Gallery – http://imgur.com/a/nEa3p

Headlamps are useful not only as a headlamp, but in this case as an EDC, when repairing cars and around the house hold. Not only will it tail stand but it will stand on it’s head or on either of the sides. A light like this is useful for strapping onto your chest, or straps on a backpack or tent.

Design & Coating

Size wise this is almost identical in length to the Olight H2R, and it’s very similar in diameter too. With the more square head it’s slightly larger in the pocket. Weight wise without batteries they are 2.85oz for the Wizard and the Olight H2R is 2.22oz. Here is a picture where I lined up several similarly sized lights so you could see the size.

 

When I first got the light I was worried that the button on the side of the light would be a problem due to how it sticks out of the light. However it’s a firm press and has not been an issue other than the one time I was laying directly on it. The button is translucent and has a multicolored LED underneath that it uses to display information such as heat, mode, etc.

 

This light is coated in a mat black finish that is slightly grippy. It’s a finish I have not seen on any other flashlights. The one bad thing about this coating is that it does show scratches and abrasions worse than normal anodized aluminum. I keep my phone and light in the same pocket usually, and have noticed it seems like I have more wear on the coating then normal, some paint seems to wear off my phone case and transfer to the body of the light. Most of these rub off with a little water.

 

The design of this light has a few aggressively shaped areas that I find attract more dust and pocket lint than normal. Up near the head there are several sharped cooling fins, and between these they attract a good amount of dust and lint. Then at the bottom the transition between the body and  tail cap also collects a good amount of dust/dirt around the first oring, the good news is it doesn’t get beyond this point. I think that’s the purpose of this dual oring is to provide water and dust resistance even when the tail cap isn’t 100% screwed on like if charging or in manual lockout.

 

This light is a little aggressive on the labeling in my opinion. I prefer a flashlight with minimal labeling and this one doesn’t get my stamp of approval in that regard. It has labeling on top, on the side, and around the tail. It’s larger white letter on the black body do stand out.

 

Performance

This light uses a Cree XHP50 and combined with its diffused TIR style glass lens it’s primarily a flood. This one is the white variant and it’s fairly neutral but not warm. ArmyTek lists it as having a 70 degree hot spot and a 120 degree spill. Range of brightness is anywhere from 0.15 lumens on firefly 1 to 1800 Lumens on Turbo. Run times range from 40 Days on Firefly 1 to 1 hour on Turbo 2 (if proper cooling is supplied).

 

Modes

If you are familiar with other recent ArmyTek lights then the interface is the same as those. If you are new to ArmyTek like I was there is a bit of study needed. The entire 3rd page of the manual covers how this light operates. I am not going to go over everything in this review but will go over the high points. This light is organized into 4 mode groups. The brightness in each sub group is memorized

 

  • Group 1 – 3 Firefly Modes
  • Group 2 – 3 Main Modes
  • Group 3 – 2 Turbo Modes
  • Group 4 – 3 Special Modes

 

From off

  • One click turns the light onto its previously memorized mode and brightness.
  • Two clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in main mode.
  • Three clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in Turbo mode.
  • Four clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in special modes.

 

Long pressing the button from off cycles through the available modes Firefly through Turbo 1.

 

From On

  • One click turns the light off
  • Two clicks turns from firefly to main or main to firefly or special/turbo modes to main mode.
  • Three clicks goes to turbo mode
  • Four clicks goes to special modes

 

2 Philosophies of use – General and Tactical. General is a normal flashlight, click the button and the light stays on. In Tactical it turns the button into momentary, so the light is only on when the button is pressed. To switch between them you unscrew the tail cap by ¼ turn and then press and hold the button, while screwing in the tail cap.

 

Battery Level Indicator – Uses the LED under the button to flash a series of colors every 5 seconds. Green is between 75-100%, Yellow is below 75%, Double yellow, is below 25%, and double red every second is below 10%. The light doesn’t do this in Firefly mode and you can turn this feature off by a series of button presses and cap rotations.

 

High Temperature indicators – When the light reaches 60C brightness decreases in small steps to cool down.Once cool it will step back up to deliver the most light possible. Timed step down is not used in this light. As temps increase you get a series of LED color indicators on the button. Warning is 3 orange flashes, at critical temps you get 3 flashes in one second.

 

Beamshots can be found on the video  https://youtu.be/3Kc_LjbqV3c?t=11m31s

Charging system/battery + Parasitic Drain

Having onboard charging of lithium flashlights isn’t anything new. Lot’s of manufactures do this in a variety of ways. You have seen me talk about Olight’s magnetic charging in past reviews. More recently the concern about live contacts and the dangers of potentially shorting the battery have become more vocal. The ArmyTek system was designed from the beginning to alleviate these concerns and it’s one of the best systems out there for this. Let me explain how it works.

 

The Charging cable itself is white, and uses USB on the input end. On the other end is a magnetic connection with several LED’s inside. The tail cap has a large recessed center pin and a smaller outside ring. To charge the light you need to slightly unscrew the tailcap. Due to how it’s anodized when it’s tight it breaks the circuit. Unscrew it a little and the circuit is complete and the charging begins.  The LED’s are solid red while charging, Red and blinking if there is a problem (Forget to unscrew the tailcap slightly?) and solid green when charged. They also use a diode in the tail cap to prevent short circuiting via the exposed tail caps should you forget to screw in the cap after charging. The other big benefit is that you can charge any normal battery that fits. No proprietary batteries! The downsides to this system is that it’s a little slow to charge by modern standards. I measured it at 0.7A when the battery was at about 40% capacity and charging. If the battery is discharged a good amount this means charging via the built in charging may take several hours (5+). You must lay this light down or stand it on its head when charging. That’s one place where I do like the Olight charging system better.

 

Included was an ArmyTek flat top cell without protection. It’s recommended that you use a battery that can maintain 7A discharge in order for Turbo mode to work. Parasitic drain was measured at 0.05 mA.

 

Thermal Management

The thermal management in this light is active. Using Turbo for instance the light will provide as much light as possible until it gets to 60C and then it will step down the light giving it time to cool, and then it will power up again to deliver maximum possible brightness assuming the battery has enough voltage. So if you are in a situation where you have a fan or wind cooling the light it will run brighter longer. During my standard test, at 1 minute during Turbo the light reached 111F.  I don’t have the equipment to test and graph  the step up and down but I can show you with a glass of ice water.

 

I don’t often write about the manuals of many flashlights, but in this case I want to say it’s the most complete manual I have seen on a flashlight. It does a good job of explaining its features and has great grammar and spelling. This isn’t a poor translation, I believe it’s written by native english speakers. I think this is a benefit from this flashlight being Designed in Canada and not overseas.  I highly recommend a read through or two of this manual to better understand all of it’s modes and available options.

 

The packaging is a nice white, retail box with a few key details on the outside. Inside is a plastic shell that holds all the goodies. Inside you have the flashlight and an Armytek branded high discharge flat top battery, extra orings, headstrap, handstrap, nylon plastic cradle, and the manual printed in color.

 

As a Headlamp

Some assembly is required with the headstrap. The manual has a section with diagrams that shows how to set it up which is nice because it was a little confusing. I decided to install my headstrap without the over the top piece. I didn’t find it was necessary with the weight of the light when I was using it on home repairs, and an oil change during my testing. It also comes with a handstrap. I didn’t use this during testing but it’s a nice touch. I could see attaching it to the strap of a backpack, or for use when running.  The straps themselves are an elastic cloth that seem pretty sturdy. They are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The plastic cradle is a nylon I would guess as it’s pretty flexible. It has cuts in the top, and both sides to make it easy to remove. My one negative is that when mounted on the strap the mount itself can slide around pretty easily instead of staying in place on the band .

 

As an EDC

I was skeptical at first of carrying a right angle light as an EDC but after the Olight H2R it worked pretty well. The Armytek Wizard V3 is even better due to it’s pretty fantastic clip design and button. The clip might be my current all time favorite of any flashlight I own. It’s deep enough carry, but sticks out enough to easily go on many different types of pockets, or bag straps. It’s rigged yet flexes if needed. My only wish is that it was parkerized black or cerakote instead of a polished tumbled finish. It takes quite a bit of effort to pull the clip on or off the light and it does leave some light scratches on the finish. It seems to rub off though. The clip is not fixed in place so it does rotate if you want it to. The button is proud and protrudes from the light a decent amount. I have had it come on once by accident in my pocket but that was only after I was laying on that side of my body. Due to the smart modes on this light, it didn’t come on in turbo so burning myself or clothes wasn’t a problem. The light does offer lockout if you unscrew the tailcap slightly. I will also add that due to the charging system I covered above there is no worry about shorting the battery while carrying the light in your pocket due to a diode being used and the disabling of the exterior contacts when the cap is screwed on tight. The light also features a pretty strong magnetic base that has no trouble holding the weight of the light to a metallic object securely.

 

Summary

The Armytek Wizard Pro V3 is a fantastic headlamp and EDC in my opinion and testing. It’s peak performance isn’t quite as high as the Olight H2R but it’s advanced mode options, advanced thermal managements, and well thought out safe charging system all for a slightly lower price than the competition make it a very good choice for a fancy headlamp, and an 18650 floody EDC option. The Olight H2R has a more simplistic mode map, but also doesn’t do nearly as many things or has as many modes. Being my first ArmyTek light, I found the modes took some study to fully understand and remember but once I did they made good sense. I think this makes a fantastic choice for a headlamp but can also be used for an EDC, or general purpose light.

 

Pro’s

  • Active thermal management allows the light to be the brightest it can be but keep temps safe. Allows up and down management of lumens.
  • Safest built in charging system, works with any 18650 battery that fits.
  • Very well built with an excellent 10 year warranty
  • Excellent pocket clip for EDC carry

 

Con’s

  • Exterior writing on the light is more than I like to see.
  • The modes are a little complex without first reading the manual. Once you understand they are very logical.
  • Not the fastest built in charging system but probably the safest

Use the coupon code RED for 10% future orders on ArmyTek.com

Up Next is the Acebeam EC35 NW