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.

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. 

 

YouTube Version of this Review: 

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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

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