Wowtac A6 Review (1460 Lumens, Super Small & affordable 18650 EDC Flashlight)

Wowtac has a new ultracompact 18560 EDC light on the market with the A6. The light is running an SST-40 emitter in either cool or neutral white (Maybe?), it comes with an 18650 battery and is microUSB rechargeable all for a very affordable price. Thanks to WowTac for sending this to me to review.

 

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Packaging & Accessories

Packaging here is a basic Wowtac brown cardboard box, that’s shared with the A6 and A7 models. It notates what model and emitter are inside. Accessories included with the light are a WowTac branded button top 2600mAh 18650 battery, a microUSB cable, 2 extra orings, pocket clip, and a spare port cover. The manual is in English, German, Japanese and Chinese and in case you don’t know WowTac is supported by Thrunite and covered by a 2 year warranty.

 

Construction

As expected the light is made from aluminum and anodized black. Machining here is good. The tail cap is recessed slightly and allows for good tail standing and has an attachment point. Inside is a single spring and no magnet. 

The body tube and tail cap both feature some pretty aggressive knurling. While I like this in my hand, it will most definitely wear a spot in your pocket. The body tube is not reversible meaning the pocket clip is only mountable on the rear of the light. I would prefer a little deeper carry clip but this one is good and does an adequate job.

The head of the light features a semi translucent button with blue and red LED’s underneath. The blue LED comes on for the first few seconds when the light is in use and then when recharging the light will go red to indicate charging, blue to indicate charged. On the sides there is a little bit of milling for heat dissipation and style. On the rear there is a small silicone cover for the MicroUSB recharging port.

 

Size & Weight

I measured the overall length of the Wowtac A6 at 97mm, diameter at the head at 24mm, and diameter at the tail at 23mm. Weight with the included battery and clip was 96.1g. The water rating is IPX-8 rated which is good for this type of onboard charging port. 

This is a small light for an 18650 side eswitch. It’s the shortest side switch 18650 light I have that has onboard USB charging. The Emmisar D4 and BLF FW3A are both shorter but by very small amounts. The Olight S2R Baton II is just a little longer and slightly slimmer. It’s roughly the same lenght as a Reylight Lan or Pineapple but thicker due to the 18650 vs 14500 battery.

LED & Beam Pattern

This light is using a SST-40 LED and in my example is cool white. A neutral white version is listed on WowTac’s website and in the literature but the neutral white doesn’t seem to have ever been available in the past few months. Maybe it’s delayed significantly. The reflector here is unusually large and short, with a nice orange peel. The result is a beam profile with a decently large hot spot and a good amount of spill. I do notice some tint shift across the beam from the hot spot to spill unfortunately. Overall a very useful beam for EDC and general tasks in my opinion. Sorry for the beamshot tint here, it’s more blue and green then it should be, not sure what went on photography wise, ill have it sorted for my next review.

 

Heat & RunTime

For my runtime tests, I used the included Wowtac branded 2600mAh battery. This is an adequate battery for the price, but you can replace it with any quality 3500mAh if you want more runtime. Turbo on the Wowtac A6 will run for 1:30 before stepping down significantly. It went from 100% relative output to roughly 28%. 1460 lumens to 400 according to the manufacture. The light then ran slowly declining to about 20% relative output for 170 minutes. The last 100 minutes or so were a slow fade and then it ran in low then firefly for a total runtime of 260 minutes. 

Heat was well controlled during my runtime tests, and the hottest I saw the light get was 93F within the first minute. 

 

Listed output modes are:

  • Firefly – 0.5 lumens
  • Low – 12 lumens
  • Medium – 80 lumens
  • High – 400 lumens
  • Turbo – 1460 lumens
  • Strobe – 350 lumens

Mode spacing is ok, other then turbo sticks out here quite a bit. I would be prefer high be a bit brighter and medium and be stepped up a little to compensate. 

 

UI

The UI utilizes a single e-switch up on the head of the light. The button is small and would be hard to use with gloves. UI here is simple and shares from other Wowtac & Thrunite lights. From off, long press to go to firefly mode. A short click from off will get you in to normal mode with memory. The light starts in low and if you hold while on it will progress from low to medium and then to high. Double click to go to turbo. Double click from turbo to go to strobe. 

 

PWM

My scope does detect some PWM on this light in Low, Medium, and High, but my eyes don’t see it with my eye. 

 

Recharging

The A6 has onboard recharging via microUSB. It’s disappointing that it’s not using USB-C as other lights in this price class like the Wurkkos FC11 uses USB-C. Anyways I charged the A6 from LVP at 2.757V to Full at 4.13V in 3 hours 14 minutes at a max of 1A. Constant speed out to just about the 2 hour mark before decreasing as the battery fills up. I tested the included battery capacity in my Xtar VC4s at 2389mAh out of the rated 2600mAh. 

Pro’s

  • Great Value & a complete kit
  • Choice of emitters maybe
  • Small size

 

Con’s

  • Missed opportunity to add a magnet to the tail cap.
  • Neutral white is listed as an option but has never actually been available for purchase yet.
  • LVP kicked in and shut off the light at a fairly low 2.757V.
  • Huge drop in output between Turbo and High 1460 lumens vs 400 lumens

 

Conclusion

My conclusion is that the Wowtac A6 is a good, low price, high value 18650 based EDC style light. Due to it’s small size and pretty decent pocket clip it rides well in the pocket. The interface is intuitive and makes sense. The beam pattern makes sense here for EDC, it’s flody with a hotspot, I just wish it had less tint shift and that high was a little brighter, but this can hold its own. 

I can recommend this light but wish the Neutral white would come available soon. Hopefully we will see it sometime soon after Lunar New Year. 

 

Purchase the Wowtac A6 EDC Flashlight on Amazon at https://amzn.to/38Rzz7J

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

Lumintop EDC18 Review (2800 Lumens, Triple LED, Side Switch) & 11.11 Sales

The Lumintop EDC18 is Lumintop’s newest EDC style light. It borrows very heavily from the FW3A that was designed by the BudgetLightForums but built by Lumintop. It features the same light engine, similar optic and similar ideas. Lumintop however has refined some of the qwerks of the FW3A to gear it a little more two a consumer oriented EDC market. Thanks to Banggood for sending this too me to look at and review.

A quick word that if your watching this video shortly after it’s made live, Banggood is having huge 11.11 day sales on tons of things in their store including flashlights and other goodies. I will have links in the description below to where you can find the sales and the Lumintop EDC18. 

 

Pickup the Lumintop EDC18 at Bangood for $39.90 at http://bit.ly/2MXLwjR with coupon BG18

 

Banggood 11.11 Flashlight Sales (Limited Time) http://bit.ly/32tSnpO and Main Venue Sales: http://bit.ly/36jJylo 

 

YouTube Version of this Review: 

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

 

Packaging

Packaging of the Lumintop EDC18 is the brown cardboard box that the FW3A had too. The outside slipcovers are different with corresponding photos of the light and the emitter on the outside. Not much detail on the outside, which makes sense. Inside ithe light is protected in form fitting white foam. The EDC18 came with a few more nice extras. It includes a lanyard, a deep carry pocket clip, magnetic tail cap, and glow in the dark silicone diffuser. 

 

Construction

The EDC18 is made from aluminium that’s anodized in a smooth eggshell black finish. Machining was good with no problems but mine did have a slight anodizing flaw on the heatsink that you can see under good lighting and then inside where the tube makes contact with the head it looks like some masking failed during anodizing. I will fix this after my review with a little sandpaper, neither are deal breakers and easy fixes. 

Starting at the tail cap, it’s flat and contains a strong magnet that can easily hold the light of the weight up in a horizontal and vertical position. There is a small hole in the back for a lanyard. Knurling on the tail cap and body are very shallow and no aggressive. I have found this type of knurling on other Lumintops to pick up and hold dirt easily. 

The clip is deep carry which is nice, it fits quite tightly but does rotate around the light. It does have a small shelf on it which I tend to not like but I have not found it to be a problem here. It’s reversible to either end of the light and at least on mine retention is good in the pocket but it’s not flush against the body when mounted at the rear of the light. I will make note that a deep carry clip is also available for the FW3A now too on NealsGadgets and I need to pick one up.

The head is where the largest differences are. Lumintop decided to give the EDC18 a little more mass in the head which is good for heat dissipation without much additional size. It’s got some milling to dissipate heat and add style. The only UI button is also found in the head. It’s a silicone button with a clear rabbit (Lumintop’s logo) and a green LED underneath, so when it’s got a battery installed it’s a glowing rabbit which is kind of cool. The switch underneath is an electronic switch and takes a decent amount of force to press. I didn’t have trouble with it in my pocket. 

The front of the head features a recessed lens with a polished aluminum flush bezel. Underneath is the bare carillo style optic. No glass lens is sitting on top like on the FW3A making this EDC “lens” more susceptible to scratching. This also isn’t a genuine Carillo optic, but instead a Chinese domestically made version. Performance wise they are very similar, it does look like mine has a slight flaw in it though. 

A quick note about the modality of the EDC18. The FW3A was a modders dream with no glue and built to change but this made the light a little finicky at times. The EDC18 takes a little different approach, it has retaining rings in the head and tail to keep parts aligned and a single piece body tube to make it more reliable. The bezel does unscrew so that you can swap out the optic, put a glow gasket in, or replace the opic with one with tritium etc. While the light is still moddable it’s less so then the FW3A.

 

Size & Weight

I measured length at 94mm, minimum diameter at the body tube at 25mm, and maximum diameter at the head at 27mm. Weight with included clip and my Sony VTC6 battery is 120.9g.

 

In comparison the FW3A in aluminum with the same battery and it’s clip it weights 98g. The FW3A is just a hair shorter and the head and tail are very similar in diameter. The biggest difference is the taper in the body on the FW3A. In my time carrying the light it makes a difference in how comfortable it is.  

LED/Beamshots/Runtime

My example of the EDC18 is using the Nichia 219C LED’s in about 4000k. For me this is one of my favorite LED’s and tint’s. It’s high CRI,  and just a slightly warm neutral color. That said it’s a “hot” LED and doesn’t produce as many lumens as the other LED’s being offered. The other choices available are SST20, Cree XP-L HI in Neutral White or Cool white. If your looking for all of the 2800 lumens here, go with one of the Cree emitters. For me I will happily trade a little performance for that preferred tint.

The beam here is nice and useful for EDC, it’s a fairly diffused light, not a thrower, and what we would expect from a Carclo style optic. 

Runtime on the EDC18 was very similar to the FW3A which makes since because it’s basically the same emitter engine. I did 2 runtime tests, the first being just showing the first 4 minutes in the highest output mode and as you can see this light heats up super fast and almost immediately starts to reduce it’s output. By about 4 minutes the light is stable and it runs here for well over 200 minutes. I stopped the test so the graph would be readable but let the light run and it was still at this output when I woke up the next morning. LVP kicked in about 2.87v.

 

As with the FW3A this light works best using the ramping firmware to bring it up to the level of light you need and not more, to maximize runtime and minimize heat. Thankfully that’s easy to do with Andril.

 

UI

This light is using Toykeeper’s Anduril UI. It’s currently one of my favorites available as it has a ton of options and neat little easter eggs that commercial UI’s don’t include. By default the light comes in ramping UI which is where I left it. The ramping is fast and logical. A stepped mode is available that you can configure as well if you prefer. 

The light has thermal controls, you can configure beacon mode, as well as 5 types of strobe including candle mode, party strobe, and lightning storm. You access these with 2 taps and a hold, and then two taps to change modes inside this group. Candle and lighting mode are my personal favorite. How practical these are could be a point where one could argue, but I like that they are present and it just makes things fun. Due to how you access these strobe modes I would not call the light a tactical UI or tactical light as you have to remember a series of presses and pauses to get there. 

 

For instance 4 clicks gives you lockout, and another 4 clicks unlocks the light, or you could just unscrew the head a tiny bit. If you activate momentary, the only way to clear it is to unscrew the head to do a full reset. 6 clicks from off gives you muggle mode which limits the lights output and output for a less complicated interface. 

 

Personally I find the UI to be easy to use for what you want to do most often, but a little more complex to get to those modes you don’t use very often. This is a UI where you should take a look at the manual or at least the graphical manual for the UI and spend some time playing with your light to get the most out of it.

 

Pro’s

  • Andril Firmware
  • Great extras’s are included like the deep carry clip, and diffuser
  • Magnetic Tail
  • More Reliable, less fiddly
  • Button top cells work here in addition to flat tops but no protected batteries

 

Con’s

  • Less modifiable then the FW3A, but this means more reliability
  • Larger profile makes it a little less pocket friendly.
  • Knurling is pretty smooth and minimal

 

Conclusion

My conclusion on the Lumintop EDC18 is that this version is a version of the FW3A that’s designed a more for the mainstream consumer. It trades ultimate compactness and modality for a slight increase in size, and a little more reliability. What this means is it’s less likely to have problems out of the box but your not going to be able to modify it like what people are doing with the FW3A. It would still benefit from everyone doing a thermal sensor calibration. 

 

The biggest difference is really if you want a tail or side switch because that’s the biggest difference for me. I honestly like both. I think for EDC I prefer the feel of the FW3A in my pocket because of it’s slightly tapered body (and deep carry once I get my deep carry clip) and slightly smaller size. That said there have been times I miss having a magnet in the tail, especially when at work. So for me it’s really hard to pick just one, I don’t think either are bad choices for a compact hot rod triple light. So I would if you can get the emitter you like in both, go with where you like your switch best, FW3A for tail switch, or the Lumintop EDC18 for a side switch. 

 

Pickup the Lumintop EDC18 at Bangood for $39.90 at http://bit.ly/2MXLwjR with coupon BG18