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

Nitecore HC35 Review (2700 Lumens, Quad LED, 21700 Battery, Headlamp)

Nitecore has a new large format headlamp on the market, with 4 LED, and a diffused lens. It runs a 21700 battery, and has onboard microUSB for recharging. While designed as a headlamp I am going to come at this one from the angle of a worklight too. Thanks to Nitecore Store for sending this to me to look at and review. I will have a link to them in the description below. 

 

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Packaging and Accessories

Packaging is a large yellow retail hanging box, with photos of the lights and lots of stats throughout. Inside the light and accessories site in a plastic shell.

Accessories include the HC35 with the Nitecore button top 21700 4000mAH battery (NL2140HP), pocket clip, Nitecore branded headband, spare o-rings, micro USB cable, manual, warranty, 18650 adapter. Somewhat strangely no extra USB port cover was included and I actually broke mine during testing. (My fault, not Nitecore’s)

 

Construction

The light is made from anodized aluminum, and machining here is pretty good. Starting at the tail cap, it’s flat, magnetic and labeled accordingly. The tailcap has shallow diamond knurling on it that doesn’t add a ton of texture but enough. 

The body tube features the same knurling and is not reversible. The clip only attaches at the head of the light. 

The light is attached to the headband on one side via a spring steel clip, similar to how a clip on clip works. It’s easy to take on and off and allows for the light to be attached without taking off the pocket clip (Nice) which makes charging easier but it doesn’t take a ton to make the heavy light come loose from an accidental smack or bump. For hiking or house work it’s ok, but I want to see something more secure ideally especially if you were caving/climbing with the light. That said when using this more as a work light rather then a headlamp it’s a handy feature to be able to remove it easily. I used it to change some brakes on a car recently and it was nice to pull off and use as an area flood light. For heavier duty situations a zip tie or even rubber band on the other end of the light would make it more secure.

The head features a fairly large lens, with the 4 LED’s under it. It has a optic sitting on top of the LED with a textured diffuser on top to really even out that beam pattern. Everything is surrounded by a silver aluminum bezel. On top there is a textured rubber button, with a pround silver bezel to help locate it. This does allow the light head stand. This button is a little hard to push if you have on larger gloves. On the back there are 3 deeply milled groves for heat dissipation. Lastly the microUSB port is on the light covered with a gray silicone rubber cover. The head has minimal labeling of just the serial number, model number and various regulatory symbols.

Size and Weight

I measured the length at 128mm, minimum diameter on the body was 26mm, maximum diameter at the head was 30mm. Weight with the battery, came in at 172.3g. The headstrap alone weighs in at 41g. This is fairly heavy. It’s a big headlamp, especially when you put it next it’s 18650 counterparts kind of like the Olight Perun I recently reviewed. 

Comfort when used as a headlamp is ok for a couple of hours. Past that the weight kind of starts to get to you in the forehead. Nitecore could add a bit more padding on the back of the bracket to help with this. I do like that the headbands webbing has ventilation holes. 

Retention

For me this isn’t a light I want to EDC in my front pockets, it’s just too big for that. The pocket clip can mount on either end of the light. When mounted nearest the head about 25mm of the light sticks up, when mounted at the tail, the clip extends past the tail and renders the magnet less useful. The balance point of the light is nearer the head so to keep from having to move the clip each time you mount the light to the strap, it really should go at the tail. 

LED | Beam Shots | Heat

The light is using 4x Cree XP-G3 S3 LED. Tint is pretty cool white. The S3 varient has less green tint, but at lower powers it’s still noticeable. The optics and diffuser here do a very good job of making the 4 leds one uniform floody beam. Perfect for this type of application. I didn’t detect any PWM via eye or my scope. 

Official modes and spacing are listed at 

  • 1 Lumen – Ultra Low
  • 40 Lumens – Low
  • 270 Lumens – Mid
  • 800 Lumens – High
  • 2700 Lumens Turbo, Strobe, Beacon, SOS

 

Runtime

This is really a light designed for longer outputs. Turbo starts decreasing at the 30 second mark and it declines pretty rapidly down to high at 800 lumens. This is disappointing that it’s so short, I would have hoped to get a couple minutes out of turbo output here given the size of the light and relative conservative heat values. From here it mostly maintains this while sagging a little for about 140 minutes, then over the next 20 minutes or so you see 2 large stepdowns and the light runs in low and ultra low for the remainder of time about 475 minutes, till it LVP kicks in at 2.947v. Heat was fairly well controlled, at 1 minute I saw 95F, at 5 minutes 97.8F, and at 10 minutes 101F. 

 

UI

UI here is different different, with fewer shortcuts. It’s a quick press to turn on, and then quick single presses to go up in brightness, and all solid modes are available, ultra low through turbo. Long press to turn off. You have short cuts to low when the light is off, a short press gives you 1 lumen. To directly access turbo from off press the button for more then 1 second. When the light is on there is no way to access turbo directly. 

 

To access the blinking modes double press the button when the light is off, then short presses changes the mode. Long press to exit blinking modes. 

 

Recharging

Charge time from LVP at 2.947V to Full at 4.12V on the included Nitecore 4000mAh 21700 battery was 2 hours and 41 minutes at a maximum of 2.1A via MicroUSB. Charge curve here looked normal, and I have no complaints. It’s nice here that with the included cell adapter the light will also charge an 18650 battery. During charging the blue LED on top will flash, and when charged it goes solid. This LED is also used as a voltage indicator when the light is in use. 

I do wish the light came with an extra port cover (my first time needing one due to my mistake). Also being a new design and a large capacity battery the light would see a benefit from USB-C.

 

Pro’s

  • Blinking modes are not part of the normal operating modes.
  • Very even diffused light but quite cool tint.
  • Direct access to low from off
  • Nice it can run off of 21700, 18650 and 2x CR123 with the included adapters. 
  • No proprietary cables or batteries needed, but it’s still MicroUSB 🙁

 

Con’s

  • Cree XP-G3 emitters isn’t what I would expect to find on something in this price range and I am not a fan of the tint.
  • Turbos 2700 lumen output has a very short duration, only 30 seconds.
  • Long press to turn off keeps tricking my brain. 
  • Wish it had an additional clip to secure the light in the headband for added security
  • Anodizing doesn’t seem to be the most durable, especially around the clip.

 

Conclusion

The Nitecore HC35 is a big bright light. I tend to think of it more as a worklight then a headlamp but it does both jobs fairly well. It’s a bit heavier than I want to use as a headlamp longer term, but what you pay for in weight you get in runtime. With the strong magnet and very floody beam it works good as a work light to stick onto a metal object or tail stand on it’s flat base. 

 

UI here is easy but different from a lot of other lights so I can see people fumbling a little around on this one initially. It’s different having turbo as part of your main mode. I do wish turbo could sustain itself for longer, 30 seconds just isn’t very long. Overall this is an interesting combination of headlamp and worklight. Let me know what you think of the HC35 in the comments. 

 

Full Image Gallery https://imgur.com/a/HWZh9yX

To purchase the Nitecore HC35 Headlamp, visit Nitecore Store at http://bit.ly/2HGp8rP