Acebeam L17 Review (160,801 Candela, 1400 Lumens, Awesome Thrower)

Today I have a new compact tactical thrower from Acebeam. They boast that the L17 which easily fits in your hand will throw out ot 802 meters. It runs off an 18650 and features a Osram LED. Thanks to Acebeam for sending me this new model. Let’s take a detailed look. 

 

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Packaging & Accessories

The light does come in 3 different versions, a white or Green LED version both capable of 800 and 820M of throw respectively, and a Red LED version that’s capable of 460M of throw. T

The standard package is a nice retail box with a line drawing of the light and the LED lumen and distance ratings on the box. On the back side there is a lot of stats and detailed info, good for any retailer looking to sell this. Accessories that are included is the light with the clip and tactical ring installed on the light. It comes with a lanyard, spare button cover and 2 spare orings as well as the standard paperwork and manual. You also get a nylon holster that’s branded Acebeam that has a D ring and belt loop with a button. 

Acebeam offers a couple of additional accessories on their website that will work with the L17 but are not sold in the standard version. First is a 10A rated 18650 battery with microUSB charging and a remote pressure switch for only $10 which is a good price. 

 

Construction

The L17 is made from aluminium and is hard anodized in a flat black. In the tail is the e-switch for the light and it’s truly silent. The cover is a rubber boot that has medium texture that sits just under the bezel. Internally, the tail has a single stiff gold coated spring and then an additional contact to the inner tube of the light. Threads are anodized, square cut and smooth. 

There is a tactical ring on the body which serves as a cigar grip point, the lanyard attachment point and adds reinforcement/lock for the clip on pocket clip. Both the tactical ring and pocket clip are removable should you wish. It’s a nice way to add quite a bit of security to the clip without making it permanent. The body tube itself is plain and features no knurling, I would like to see a little more grip here or closer to the head. 

The head itself is glued to the body. The head has some decorative milling around it and it helps dissipate some heat. The bezel is aluminum and has some modest large crenulations for a tactical light. The lens is glass with a Carclo TIR lens inside designed to enhance the throw. 

Size and Weight

I measured the length at 140mm, minimum diameter of the body tube at 25.5mm, and maximum diameter of the head at 40mm. Weight with an 18650 battery is 196.9g,

 

 

Retention

You have a couple of retention and carry options with the L17. It does come with that nylon holster for belt carry. It’s a basic holster but does the job well. You also have that pocket clip. The clip is 1.4 inches from the top of the light so it’s definitely not deep carry. 

LED & Beamshot

Acebeam doesn’t specify which LED exactly is in the L17 only that it’s an Osram. I asked my contact for clarification and they said it was an Osram KW CSLPM1.TG which is a mouthful but good to know exactly whats in it. It’s a very throwy LED that Acebeam has put a TIR optic on top with a glass lens. It’s different looking than your traditional optic and this is designed for all throw. 

The result is a light that has virtually no spill, it’s all focused on the center in a tight pattern. The combination of the optic and LED choice explain the claimed 160,801 candela rating here at 1400 lumens in Turbo mode. Tint here is cool white but I don’t detect much blue in the beam. In my night shots it stands up pretty well to some of the competitors using different LEDs but this has a tighter more focused beam. I didn’t notice any PWM here.

Specs below are for the White Version I have. The Green version throws slightly further. 

  • Turbo – 1400 Lumens – 160,801 Candela
  • High – 370 Lumens – 42,025 Candela
  • Mid – 150 Lumens – 23,409 Candela
  • Low – 50 Lumens – 11,025 Candela
  • Ultra Low – 15 Lumens – 3,600 Candela

 

Heat & Runtime

I did all my runtime and heat tests with the supplied (optional) Acebeam 3100mAh battery that was sent. It’s a 10A battery so keep that in mind for what you decide to put in this light and choose something with at least htis rating. Total runtime was 4:35:00. In my runtime tests I saw Turbo last for 3:30 before stepping down to right at 50% relative output. This is also where I saw maximum heat at 64C (147F) so this definitely gets hot and that thermal protection kicks in to limit output. The light maintained this 50% output for a total of 1 hour before stepping down again to about 4% relative output. My advice would be if you plan to use this light on Turbo for more then once past step down is to wear gloves. It only takes exposures above 60C for more then 3 seconds to get 1st degree burns.

 

UI

The L17 uses a pretty traditional and simple interface. When Off long press on the rear tail switch for ultra low (15 lumen), single click to turn off. Single press to turn on to low, long press to cycle modes. Double click to go to turbo, and triple click to go to strobe. 

 

I will say mode spacing here isn’t super common. Ultra low is 15 lumens and throws really well for not much light. Next is low at 50 lumens, Mid is 150 lumens, high is 370 lumens. Acebeam says this will go 410 meters. Next is Turbo the full 4500 lumens or 160,801 candella. 

 

Pro’s

  • Nice to see colored LED’s being offered here instead of just a filter. I could see this being popular with a hunter with the green tint option. 
  • Very tight and compact beam with great throw
  • A fairly compact bezel which makes this more accessible.
  • Silent Tail Switch & good vibration resistance.

 

Con’s

  • The light gets incredibly hot during turbo before step down. Wear some gloves or hold the back of the light.
  • Big steps between High and Turbo. 

 

Conclusion

I can recommend the Acebeam L17 if you’re in the market for a fairly compact 18650 powered thrower with basically no spill. I am typically not a big fan of tactical lights but the UI on this light is pretty non-tactical so it works out well. 

 

This isn’t the light to take with you when hiking, or for EDC or for walking the dog to see right in front of you. It would be great for a security guard who was needing to point out a specific spot on a house or inspect something from a distance. It’s also just a lot of fun to impress your friends or significant other, it’s a lot of power and so focused. It’s probably the next best thing to a LEP light.

 

https://www.batteryjunction.com/acebeam-l17.html

Meote FM1 Review (Dazzler or Dud?)

Meote is a new flashlight brand on the market a collaboration between Banggood and one of it’s affiliate marketers. It’s first light is the FM1 and it features quad LED, available in multiple tints, multi color auxiliary LED, an attractive exposed copper and black body and running an 18650 battery. Thanks to Banggood for sending me this light for review. Let’s see if their first light is a dazzler or a dud. 

 

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Packaging and Accessories

The packaging here is pretty nice. It’s a black retail hanging box that looks pretty sharp with a picture of the light on the fron. Inside the light is shipped with foam surrounding the light. Accessories that come with the light a nylon holster that’s branded with Meote’s logo, It clips on to your belt with a clip, and doesn’t have a d-ring. Other accessories include 2 o’rings and a simple manual. The print is very small and I would suggest just going to ToyKeepers website to get a larger copy of the Anduril manual. 

 

 

Construction & Build

There are 2 versions of this light. First is the version I have here with the LH351D LED (Other LED’s are available), coated copper head and Andruil firmware. There is then the aluminum alloy version with anodized accents (Blue and Green), with NarsilM firmware.  The version I have here is available with the black anodizing, blue or sand. 

 

This light is built a little differently than other lights, it takes design elements from the FW3A but puts it’s own larger spin on them. Starting at the tail the mechanical switch has a metal button with the Meote logo etched in. It’s a loud button, probably the loudest I have. Inside it features a dual spring but they are rather weak which causes the light to shut off if bumped moderately when on. Inside the body section there is an inner tube that’s not secured one either end. Threads are square cut, raw and a bit rough. 

Body section has some basic grooves cut into it. The body section doesn’t split where you think it should when lining up with the head, instead it’s just behind the copper part of the light. The head itself has a large outer copper sleeve with fins milled in. They are coated to prevent oxidation. On mine it seems to be missing an oring but there is a place milled for it. Inside there is an anodized aluminum large retaining ring holding the pill in. The bezel is aluminum and crenulated holding in the quad optic. 

 

It’s worth noting here that at least with my flat top, unprotected high drain VT6 battery, it’s very easy to bump the light and have it turn off. A stronger/longer tail sprint would fix this.

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 110mm, minimum diameter on the body at 21.4mm, and maximum diameter on the head at 30mm. I measured the weight with a Sony VTC6 battery at 185.5g. It’s not a light light.

Retention

The light does feature a reasonably deep pocket clip with large cap screws with a 3/32 hex head. Not typical of other flashlights. My clip was originally bent out from the body of the light and didn’t make contact. I was able to bend it back fairly easily as it’s soft steel. It also comes with a nylon case that’s decent. It has a clip on the rear instead of D-Ring.

 

LED & Beamshots

The FM1 is available with a number of LED’s, the one I have here is running Samsung LH351D at 5000k. I think it’s a bit warmer then that in my eyes and when compared with other lights. SST20 at 4000k and XPL-Hi at 6500k are also available. Meote claims the light produces 4980 lumens and that number is probably with the XPL-Hi LED’s but testing on BLF has said otherwise. I don’t have a current method I trust to accurately make a lumen claim myself.

Beam pattern has a decent amount of artifacts that you notice on the edges of the spill. I think it’s the crenulations that are causing most of this. Out of my D4 and FW4A it’s what I would consider the most undesirable beam shape. It’s mostly a floodly light and at a distance you don’t really notice a hot spot. 

There have been several reports of the driver on this light flickering during high output uses. My example doesn’t have that problem at least when I am running a Sony VTC6 battery. It’s worth noting here that at least with my flat top, unprotected high drain VT6 battery, it’s very easy to bump the front or back of the light and have it turn off. A stronger/longer tail sprint would fix this.

 

Heat and Runtime

No big surprises here in the heat and runtime category. It’s a quad LED light without a ton of thermal mass so Turbo output starts stepping down almost immediately and at 30 seconds it’s 3.5 times less light then when it started turbo. It does have active thermal regulation so we saw it step up and down slowly during the total 2 hour and 40 minute run time. Most of this was spent between 25%-40% relative output. FL1 was at 2 hrs and 32 minutes. Maximum heat I saw was 47C at the 12 minute mark. LVP came in at 3.02V.

UI

The Meote FM1 is using the Andril firmware we have gone over before with several other lights I have reviewed like the Lumintop FW3a, FW4a, FireFlies E07 and others so I will be brief. It provides the ability to run in a nice ramping mode, stepped mode, and has tons of extra features. Do seriously check out the diagram and practice with it so you use the light to the full potential if you decide to get one. I would also recommend doing a thermal config if you plan to use the light seriously. 

 

One thing some of the other lights I have reviewed have not had are the RGB auxiliary LED’s that this one does. You can adjust the brightness to low, high, or in a blinking color mode by 7 quick clicks when the main led are off. You can also adjust the color of the LED, with 7 click then hold from off. It can do static colors R, Y, G, C, B, V, W, rainbow which I have it in here, and volts mode which gives you a quick flash of the previous color then fades to the next. 

 

Pro’s

  • Use of the Samsung LH351D LED’s is nice
  • Exposed copper even though it’s coated
  • Auxiliary LED’s

 

Con’s

  • Internal Build quality 
  • Beam Pattern
  • Easy to bump and have the light turn off
  • Clip is easily bent

 

Conclusion

On paper I wanted to like ths light, It’s a little bigger than I typically want to EDC in the summer but I just liked the look of the exposed copper, it had a pretty good deep carry clip, high CRI LH351D led’s that are warmer, and aux LED’s are always fun too. So this had the potential to be a good light, but when I got my hands on it turned out to be a light I just didn’t enjoy very much. 

 

I have a hard time recommending this light. There are better options like the Lumintop FWXA series and Emmisar D4V2 for lights that do similar things. These don’t have the issues like this FM1 has, like a bump shuts the light off, the interior build quality, a flickering power issue some people on BLF have reported, a clip that’s not touching the body, and an undesirable beam shape. 

 

To me it feels more like a prototype than a finished product. A lot of these issues should have been caught during the development process and worked out before bringing it to market. Instead we are left with a light that just isn’t as good as it should have been.

 

Banggood is offering 20% off the Meote FM1 using https://ban.ggood.vip/Ugny and coupon code BGCP1PC

See Banggood’s other July Flashlight sales https://bit.ly/3jGzsSl

Wowtac H01 Review (Headlamp, $16, 16340, USB Rechargeable)

Wowtac has a new headlamp on the market with the H01 and it’s been getting some positive buzz in the flashlight community for it’s low price and high value. It’s running a Cree XP-G2 LED, a 16340 battery, and has onboard recharging. Thanks to Wowtac for sending it to me to take a look at. Wowtac has provided a discount using my code below for the month of July, so if you like this one be sure to check that out and save a few dollars.

Wowtac has provided a discount code to get 20% off the H01 for the month of July by using code 20LiquidRetr at https://amzn.to/3iKFu3Q bringing the final price down to $15.99.

 

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Packaging & Accessories

Wowtac’s package is a small cardboard box with everything packed in tight. Good luck getting it to fit like it arrived ever again. The outside has just the brand, model number and emitter. In this case it’s a cool white. Included in the package is the light itself, a Wowtac wrapped standard 16340 battery, a basic Wowtac head strap, microUSB cable for recharging, 2 extra orings and a spare usb cover, and the manual.

 

Construction

The light is made from aluminum and machining is pretty good for the price, my only small complaint is the milled heat syncs in the rear of the head still have slightly sharp edges. The tail allows for it to tail stand but there is no magnet. There is nuzzling in the body section that’s pretty standard. Threads between the head and body tube are anodized, short and square cut. There is only a spring in the tail of the light with the head having a small brass post. 

The head has the microUSB charging port directly to the left of the emitter when looking at it head on. The port cover sits flat but the little pull tab does stick out more then I would like. On top the semi transparent silicon covers the button and sits slightly domed and smooth. There are LED underneath that are used to indicate the battery charge level and during recharging. The lens is a deeply recessed TIR style optic held on with a exterior retaining ring. 

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 67mm, diameter of the body at 21mm, maximum diameter of the head at 22mm. Weight with the battery was a light 47.7g. The light is IPX8 rated.

 

Comparisons to other 16340 sized headlamps.

Retention

 

No clip is included with the H01 which is a little disappointing but I can see why they did this given the price point and it would have been a tail down carry most likely given how the body profile is cut. The headstrap itself has a silicone mount with 2 loops and the light will mount in either direction. The straps are black with Wowtac woven into them. There is no silicone grip strips on the inside of the around the head design. I found the headband comfortable with how small and light this light is.

 

LED & Beamshot

The H01 is running a Cree XHP G2 LED in cool white. No specific tint is given. This does the job pretty well without any undesired tint issues like the XHP-G3 LED has so I appreciate Wowtac making this selection. My beam pattern here has a centered hot center from the TIR with a good amount of spill. There is a big of a square pattern to the spill of the beam, it’s especially noticeable at shorter ranges. There is some PWM in the middle modes, but it’s not anything I notice or my eye does. 

 

Specs

  • Turbo – 614 Lumens
  • High – 198 Lumens
  • Medium – 62 Lumens
  • Low – 16 Lumens
  • Firefly – 0.5 Lumen
  • SOS – 176 Lumens

 

For my nightshots see the video version of this review.

 

Runtime & Heat

For my runtimes I ran the light with the included 650mAh 16340 battery. Turbo in my tests lasted for 70 seconds, a little shorter then what Wowtac quotes, from there it continues running in the 35% relative output while slowly falling over the next 80 minutes following the decline of the batteries voltage. It’s a regulated driver but the regulation isn’t’ the best. The FL1 standard comes in at 1 hour and 27 minutes of total runtime but the light continues making light out to 2 hours and 13 minutes. The last 30 minutes of runtime the light does flash on and off every  few minutes, it’s impossible to still notice if you’re using the light at the time. When the light completely shut off I measured the voltage at 2.895V. Maximum heat I saw was 42C.

I did try to run this light with a CR123A battery as it physically fit’s in the light but the driver isn’t designed for the lower voltage range and you end up getting the low power warning which is the light flashing on and off in kind of a beacon mode.

 

UI

UI here is pretty standard from WowTac and Thrunite. Long press from off to get to the firefly mode. From off a quick press gets you low, and holding the button down then starts the light progressing up it’s 3 available modes. The light does have memory mode in the normal L-M-H modes. Double press takes you to Turbo, and Triple press gets you to the only blinking mode SOS. 

 

Recharging

Recharging the light is accomplished via the onboard MicroUSB port on the side of the light. The LED’s under the switch turn red when charging and blue when charged. While it would have been great to see USB-C here, but this light was built with a low target price so MicroUSB it is. I measured the total recharging time to take 1hr and 33 minutes, maximum charge rate was 0.52A, so just below 1C. I measured the charged battery at 4.15V.

Pro

  • High value, small and lightweight
  • Standard 16340 Battery
  • Neutral white may be available in the future.

 

Con

  • Unlike many other headlamps it’s not designed for pocket EDC use, there isn’t a pocket clip or tail magnet. This does help save cost.
  • Driver isn’t designed to use a CR123A battery and gives a low voltage warning if one is used. 
  • A bit of a square pattern to the spill of the beam

 

Conclusion

If you have watched my reviews before, you know I am a headlight proponent. I use a headlamp often around my house and car when cleaning, doing home repair projects, and just other stuff, because it allows me to have both hands free. The Wowtac H01 offers a good, low cost, basic headlamp that gets the job done. It has enough runtime on the lower modes for moderate sized tasks and is a great value for getting a complete package here with the battery included, and fast shipping from the US. If you want longer runtimes of light with a larger battery it’s going to be better suited.

 

My con’s list isn’t that big of a deal given the cost here and the focused headlamp only use. It’s been a while since I have seen a light with this square of beam pattern, it’s not my favorite for sure but something a non flashaholic won’t notice probably. I can recommend the H01 if you’re looking for a small low cost, rechargeable headlamp with decent runtimes, it’s certainly a much better option then genetic headlamp options from brands you have never heard from that’s available on Amazon.

 

Wowtac has provided a discount code to get 20% off the H01 for the month of July by using code 20LiquidRetr at https://amzn.to/3iKFu3Q brining the final price down to $15.99.

Frelux Synergy 2 in depth review (LH351D, 14500, Made in the USA)

Today I have a special light on my review table, the Frelux Synergy 2. If you are a long time subscriber you may remember that in October of 2018 I reviewed the original Frexlux Synergy 1 side-by-side flashlight. The Synergy 2 is the larger big brother and brings lots of new improvements and upgrades to the side-by-side format, and is almost entirely made in the USA. Let’s settle in for a longer review and look at the Synergy 2.

 

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Packaging

Packaging for the Synergy 2 is a custom made cardboard box. It’s basic, but neatly done with just the Frelux logo and slogan on the top. The inside flap has a quote and a US flag to remind you the light is made in the US. Inside, the light is protected by a laser cut black foam protector. Accessories are a Frelux sticker and little quick start manual with a link/QR code to download the full manual. 

 

Construction and Machining

The Synergy 2 is made from US sourced 6061 aluminum. It is offered in a large variety of anodizing colors with Black, OD Green (what I have here), and a blue being the core colors at the time of review. The clip is made of grade 5 titanium and is also available in  raw, gold, and blue colors. 

It’s a side-by-side battery design, with the batteries in a parallel circuit. At the front of the light you have two brass contacts that have physical reverse polarity protection provided by a circuit board surrounding these contacts. The result is a light that’s a little picky on 14500 batteries if you decide to run those. Button tops are required, and watch the diameter of your cells too. Frelux has a list of tested batteries that are known to work with the Synergy 2, and it’s probably best you stick to those. VapCell’s 1100mAh models seem to be the best option (14.09mm). My 800mAh Keeppowers (14.41mm) were a bit too large in diameter.

The Internal Construction is a neat design; you have a brass threaded rod spanning the length of the light that threads into the head section, goes through the middle and tail section, and then the tail nut tightens everything in place and provides compression on the o-rings on each section to provide water resistance. The switch up front is an electronic switch, but it’s a very satisfying feeling too; it’s solid and crisp. The switch also has a mechanical lock feature which I recommend using during carry. Just rotate it clockwise and the button physically can’t press the e-switch. There isn’t any visual sign it’s locked, which is a little disappointing, but it’s an effective solution and keeps the UI simple. The Synergy 2 doesn’t carry a formal water rating, but Ben has tested it in a 8ft column of water overnight without a problem, so it should be ok in most situations. 

The tail brings the light all together; externally it has a nice USA engraved on one side of the black button and the battery orientation diagram on the other. The tail nut is a cool piece it’s what holds the entire light together and holds the clip on the light (along with the dovetail) during battery changes via an o-ring, which is a nice improvement over the Synergy 1. Internally there is a circuit board with three springs-two for the batteries and one for the brass center rod.

 

Machining 

One of the reasons why I enjoy this light is all the machining content that is shared on the Frelux Instagram page. I am a want-to-be machinist. I enjoy watching several YouTubers make stuff, and just want a machine to play with. Ben of Frelux produces these lights in his home shop with a Brother CNC machine. Make sure you check out the video version of this review for some of this machining footage.

What’s somewhat unique here is how he has setup the 4th Axis on his machine along with the four sided pallet design, to maximize his machining times and get the most work done per cycle. With the pallet design it’s almost like a 5th axis machine. He designed a tool that mounts in the mill to allow the mill to rotate the parts in the fixture and continue machining without human interaction. The Synergy 2 took all of this into account during the design process. It allows him to maximize his time while the CNC is running to get the next pallet of parts ready and do other finishing and assembly tasks. The end result is a light that was designed with production and keeping the overall final product affordable in mind. All tumbling and anodizing is done in house for tighter tolerances on quality. Even the soldering of sub components, finish assembly, packaging, and shipping are done at the Frelux headquarters. 

 

Size and Weight

I measured the overall length at 95mm, width at 41.6mm, and thickness at 21mm not including the clip. Weight with Vapcell 14500 batteries is 6oz or 170g. This makes for a decently heavy light for its size and material. This design inherently has more material left after machining than a typical cylinder light. More aluminum could be removed through more complex machining internally, but it would greatly add to the complexity and overall cost. As far as competition there really are not many other side by side AA lights on the market to compare it to, so can we say class leading? 

Retention

The retention of this light is interesting. I have to first start with the size and how that impacts its pocket carry. I enjoy carrying a 14500 sized light, especially in warmer months as I wear more shorts. Since cargo shorts are no longer fashionable or accepted in my house, the result is less pocket space and an EDC to suit. With jeans it’s a bit of a different story. I find that despite the added width of the side by side format, there is still room for the light in my left front pocket and my phone deeper down in the jeans pocket. It’s too big for the coin pocket that you typically find on the right front side of many jeans. This is where the Synergy 1 was just about the perfect size.

That said one of the Synergy 2’s new features is it’s tension adjustable pocket clip. This is a neat design, the clip is retained in a dovetail in the tail section and then the tail nut that holds the tail section on to the light controls the clip’s ability to slide closer or further away from the body, thus setting the tension. It can be very tight or fairly loose, so it’s adjustable to a variety of different pocket materials. That said the very end of the clip isn’t flared out much so it can sometimes be a little hard to get started onto a pocket. Frelux does include a small adhesive vinyl sticker to place where the clip makes contact with the body to help prevent excessive wear on the anodizing. It’s a nice touch but I wish more then one was included in the package.

 

Grip in the hand is still fairly comfortable. If I choke up a bit I can still get all 5 fingers on the light. It’s a kind of modified pistol grip, if your thumb is on the light jimping on the top, the jimping on the bottom ends up fitting well with my middle finger. I do wish the jimping was slightly deeper and a little more aggressive. 

LED & Beamshots

The Synergy 2 is using a Samsung LH351D LED at 5000k and 90 CRI. This is a great emitter in my opinion and is quickly becoming one of my favorites that’s in current production. It’s a nice combination of tint, output, and high CRI. It’s surrounded by a smooth fairly deep reflector, with an anti reflective coated glass lens on top. There is just a hint of tint shift in the very center of the beam. I only noticed this when shining it at full power onto a white surface, it’s not noticeable during real world use. The resulting beam does have a pronounced hot center and ring at the edges before you get into the spill. Practically this isn’t a bad thing and the deeper reflector helps the light throw better than I initially expected. That said, I would prefer to see an orange peel reflector to smooth that transition out a little further.

This light is using a driver that Frelux had designed specifically for this light and it’s circuit boards are produced and populated in the USA. It has a ramping UI that I will speak more about here in a minute. The light is capable of running on the three most common chemistries of AA sized batteries. Standard Alkaline batteries, Ni-MH producing a maximum of 250 lumens, and Lithium Ion 14500’s producing a maximum of 700 lumens. The driver features memory, Low Voltage Protection(LVP), and temperature protection as well. No PWM was noticed with either battery type. 

 

Heat and Runtime

I ran three runtimes a few times with this light to see the differences. I focused on rechargeable batteries since that’s what most people will run this light with most of the time.

For my test with 14500’s (Lithium Ion) I used 2x VapCell 14500’s. Mine happened to be flat tops which won’t run in this light, but thankfully some small 1mm magnets worked to get around this until my button tops arrive. I got three minutes of the highest output before this light stepped down due to thermals. As you can see the heat continued to increase here but everything was pretty tame, peaking at 33.4C (which is basically body temperature). It’s a safe temp, almost too safe, as I would prefer a bit longer runtime for a little more heat. From there the light ran at 42% relative output for 2 hours and 13 minutes, before stepping down to about 18% relative output and running for another 10 minutes before shutting off. LVP was measured at 3V for each cell.

Next for my runtimes I tried with some older Eneloops (4000mAh Total). Simply put the output here is extremely stable for the entire runtime, and the light ran until 2 hours and 20 minutes of output. The last test I did was with some Amazon Basics High Capacity Ni-Mh batteries. These are said to be rebranded Eneloop Pros but at about ½ the cost. Mine averaged 2475mAh each after testing the cells independently. Overall runtime here was 3 hours and 4 minutes. The extra roughly 800mAh buys you about 45 minutes of extra very stable runtime. Heat on either Ni-Mh was basically ambient temps.

While the light does run on the three different chemistries of batteries, it’s my opinion that the best option is really lithium ion 14500s as these give the most output and still a good amount of runtime for an EDC style light of this size. Alkalines should be the battery of last resort due to their lower output and potential for leaking; it would be a shame to damage the light from preventable corrosion. Since the batteries are in parallel the light will run with only one battery if you wanted. Same outputs, but just less runtime. It can be a weight savings measure or if there was only one cell left in the package in an urgent situation.

The driver has one odd quirk that you should be aware of if you run the light until low voltage protection kicks in. If it takes longer than 30 seconds to change the batteries there is a good chance the light won’t turn back on with fresh cells. The solution is to just leave the tail piece off for 2 minutes to reset the driver. The technical reason for this is there are two sets of code for each voltage range the driver operates on. This could have been eliminated but it would have increased the driver’s parasitic drain, which no one wants. 

 

UI

The Synergy 2 is using its own UI system, but don’t let that be a worry. It’s simple and familiar. It’s a simple ramping UI. From off, a long press of the button will give you a shortcut to the lowest mode of output. From here a long press again will start the light ramping up in brightness which takes about 2 seconds to reach the top output. Unlike other flashlights there is no flash to let you know you’re at the top or bottom of the range, but this isn’t an issue as the light just stops and doesn’t cycle over. While ramping you can stop anywhere and press the button again to reverse your direction of the ramp. Double press from on or off to jump to maximum output. There are no blinking modes on the Synergy 2, and I don’t miss them personally. 

 

Pros

  • Great emitter choice, nice tint and high CRI
  • Multi Chemistry battery support (Alkaline/NiMH & Liion)
  • Impeccable Fit and Finish
  • Made in the USA!
  • Lots of color options but they are not always all available or published.

 

Cons

  • No moonlight mode, lowest mode of operation is approximately 2 lumens with Ni-MH batteries and 5 lumens with 14500s.
  • The light is a little picky about the length and diameter of 14500s
  • The side-by-side format takes up a decent amount of pocket real estate. 

 

Conclusion

The Frelux Synergy 2 is a unique light in the flashlight market. It’s a custom light in the sense that it’s made by one man in his garage in the USA, to exacting standards. Everything about it but the LED and eSwitch are custom designed for this light and made in the USA. Ben machines the light himself, anodizes them inhouse in a variety of colors, solders the USA made circuit boards, and does final assembly and testing himself (and sometimes with the help of the kids). The result is a light that has very tight quality control and superb attention to detail. 

 

It has creative design features too, like you can mix and match body pieces with other Synergy 2’s to create your own color and button combinations. The door is open to different materials for the body sections and buttons too, if he chooses to make this not only a custom light but a highly customizable one too. 

 

The adjustable tension clip is a smart design that I find works pretty well, and being deep carry I find it’s retention is good tool. It stays in place too during battery changes, which is an upgrade over the Synergy 1. This isn’t all the clip does though; it can also be used to tighten the brass nut that keeps the center section mounted to the head too. 

The Synergy 2 does all this at a price that’s less than your typical custom light that’s made in the USA. It’s a light I have thoroughly enjoyed watching develop on the Frelux Instagram  account, and mine will definitely be in my EDC rotation. I imagine I will carry it more when I am wearing jeans vs shorts due to its width, but that’s largely a personal preference with how I carry a knife and smartphone too.

These are truly custom made lights at this point, with Frelux taking preorders and then producing lights in batches and finishing them to your color specifications. So if you are interested in one, be prepared for a potential wait. Wait times so far have been fairly reasonable in my experience, with Frelux being careful about how many preorders they take. So if you want one, make sure to join the Frelux Facebook page and follow them on Instagram too so you know when preorders open.

Overall this is a fun light and one you should definitely check out if you want to get something unique, custom designed, and made in the USA.

Frelux Synergy 2 Order Page:  https://frelux.com/
Synergy 2 Manual:  https://frelux.com/pages/s2
Frelux Instagram Page:  https://www.instagram.com/frelux/
Frelux Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/265291334054570/

Kizer Noble Knife Review (Ki4550, S35VN, Titanium, Sebastian Irawan)

Today I have a new knife from Kizer on my review table; the Kizer Noble. It was announced at Shotshow 2020 and is a flipper style knife with a 3.5” blade, 3.25” effective cutting edge, titanium scales, urban style EDC knife and it comes in at just 3 ounces. This is a prototype version that Kizer asked if I would be interested in taking a look at and I jumped at the chance. The expected launch date is sometime in July of 2020 but that may be delayed due to the pandemic situation. That said, like all of my other reviews, I will remain impartial and give my true opinions on it, good, not so good, and ugly. 

Knives are something I have been wanting to get into on this channel, so if you too want to see some more knife reviews, give this video a Like or leave a comment and smash that bell icon to be notified of the next review. 

 

YouTube version of this Review: 

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The Basics

In case you don’t know who Kizer is, they are a Chinese knife brand making high quality yet affordable knives. They are known for using genuine blade steels and other materials and high quality workmanship at affordable prices. They are one of the origins of high end Chinese knife manufacturing. Kizer is creating new designs and partnering with respected custom knife designers in the knife community too.

 

The designer of this knife is Indonesian Sebastian Irawan, and if you follow him on social media like I do, this knife is very much in his style.  He has worked with Kizer in the past with a few other designs like the Raja, and Kobold for this year. The speed holes not only achieve a reduction in overall weight, but you can tell they are part of the design element and overall aesthetic .

 

The Noble is a flipper design, and it has a very small tab with some jimping at the top of the tab. Despite it’s small size the blade flips well with a light switch style motion. The small tab also helps comfort in the pocket too. I like how Kizer has chosen to label the steel at the very bottom of the tab too keeping the blade cleaner of markings.

 

Stats & Comparison

Some official Stats from Kizer.

  • Overall length came in at 7.875”
  • Blade length is 3.50”
  • Cutting length is 3.25”
  • Blade width is 0.75”
  • Blade thickness is 0.13”
  • Steel is CPM-S35VN
  • Weight is 3.0 oz
  • MSRP is expected around $155 mark
  • Screw sizes on this are T6 and T8 Torx

 

Compared to other knives

The knife is fairly ambidextrous in my left hand. I had no issues flipping it and when closing I was easily able to pull the lock bar back with my thumb to close it. The clip is reverseable to the left side scale. I will add the caveat I am fairly ambidextrous myself so what’s easy for me might not be quite as easy for you.

 

Packaging

Packaging for the Kizer Noble is quite nice. It’s a flat black box and once the inner sleeve is removed you get a bifold flat black box. Inside is a small folder containing all the paperwork (Manual, Warranty, etc.) and a cleaning cloth. The knife is then inside a nylon pouch with a Kizer vinyl patch sewn on. It’s a nice presentation.

 

The Good 

The Noble is made from Grade 5 TC4 Titanium with a smooth, very tumbled finish. All the edges here are nicely chamfered where they should be, no complaints there. Inside the scales have been milled to reduce weight bringing the overall weight down to 3 ounces on my scale. The lockbar has a steel insert and I didn’t find any lock stick.  If you would like to see a takedown and cleaning video, let me know in the comments below. 

The blade is running on ceramic bearings, and the blade itself is made from domestic U.S. Crucible Industries’ CPM S35VN. It’s widely regarded as a fantastic price to performance steel for EDC uses and the stone washed finish helps hide any scratches it picks up during use. I have this steel on other knives and have been happy with its edge retention and relative ease of sharpening. The blade’s grind is a great slicer with its full flat grind style, that transitions to a “mild” Tanto.

Personally, I am not a huge Tanto fan but this one is mild, and I have found it to be quite useful, especially when opening packages where I don’t want to dip a tip too deep into the contents. The blade spine is rounded, so may present a bit of a challenge on your guided angle sharpening systems, but it is uniform so I don’t think it will be too large of an issue. Where the Tanto meets the belly the grind isn’t super uniform side to side but that’s nitpicking.  Overall, it’s a good blade and one that shouldn’t be too hard to sharpen at home if you are comfortable with multi angle blades.

 A few notes about construction here, the screws holding the knife together are all using T6 Torx screws. They do have some blue locktight on them but it’s very weak and they were easy to break free with a quality driver like my Boker Wiha Torx driver set here. The pivot is using a T8 Torx screw.

 Blade centering from the factory is perfect to my eyes. There is no side to side or up and down play, and lockup is a consistent 50% on my flips.

Kizer’s warranty is a limited lifetime warranty against parts and defects. They will usually ship replacement parts to consumers at low or no cost for those that want to do their own repairs. Depending on who you buy from the retailers can also help with repairs if needed. Shipping it back to Kizer in China is an option too but that does add significant time and cost. If you are doing you own knife maintenance, I don’t see a problem with this approach.

 

The Not so Good

Deployment here is quite good, smooth and easy, but like most frame locks it all depends on where your fingers land. This has a narrow width handle that I like when in my pocket, but this also means my fingers sometimes rest on the lock bar, making it harder to deploy. A quick shift of the finger position and all is well. My ZT-0460 has a similar design and problem. Maybe it’s just how I hold a knife. On the Noble at least your fingers have the speed holes to guide your hand for a comfortable deployment. The flipper tab itself is small, but does have jimping, and it stays out of the way; it’s not going to peck at your pocket contents. Overall, it functions well with a light switch style flick. 

Balance point on this knife is about an inch behind the pivot, not ideal but it’s not something I don’t notice to be honest. When I hold the knife in my right hand, I get a bit of a hot spot on my pointer index finger on the bottom of the scales if I really grip tightly, not a huge thing but something to mention. 

 

The Ugly

I like deep carry clips. If a knife or flashlight rides up too high in my pocket, I just don’t end up carrying it as much, and I like to conceal my EDC and I usually find it’s more comfortable too. This brings me to the clip on the Noble. It’s deep carry, and personally I like the design, but at least on this prototype it feels thin and kind of flimsy and it doesn’t make great contact with the scale (*took out “body” because it sounds like “your body” not the knife body) squarely. This hurt pocket retention, it never fell out of my pocket or came close, but it also doesn’t feel quite as secure as I would like. On thinner pants like dress slacks, it could be more of an issue than jeans. The clip is 3D milled clip out of titanium and it feels like it’s just one snag away from snapping.

I spoke to Kizer about this and they are taking it seriously and plan to make some revisions before the knife goes to production. To be fair, I have not had a problem with the clip snagging or anything during daily carry for several weeks. 

 

Conclusion

My use for this knife is an urban EDC and in the office. There isn’t a ton of texture here for rough or tactical use but for me that’s not the market this knife is designed for. For urban EDC it works well. It’s lightweight overall, and the blade is slicy. It’s an excellent package and letter opener, and has stood up to a bit more rigorous use with some cardboard breakdown duty and thick plastic strap cutting with ease. Despite the smaller flipper tab, the knife opens well as long as you don’t have your fingers on the lock bar. (Duh)

Personally, I like the look of it, and I feel like this is one of those designs that is going to be; love it or hate it. The speed holes save weight and the milling around them adds some style. I like that you can see through it as well as the flow-through construction. It’s more second factor cool and that works for me. 

Overall I am a fan of the Kizer Noble, it ticks my boxes for an urban EDC knife, with good materials, good value, and an interesting but functional design. Kizer has said they expect the production version of this knife to ship out to retailers in July of 2020, but production and shipping are difficult right now so that is subject to change. MSRP is expected around the $155 mark according to Kizer. Some of the well-known knife retailers like BladeHQ have it listed already and have an email notification that you can sign up for if you’re interested. If you like what you have seen here, go check it out!

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/X466PZb

Kizer’s official website for the Noble http://www.tizi-outdoor.com/goods/details/1321

See it at BladeHQ https://www.bladehq.com/item–Kizer-Noble-Frame-Lock-Knife–106912

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: 

Join the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LiquidretroReviews/ 

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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

KeySmart Pro With Tile Review

Today I have a EDC gear review of the KeySmart Pro. This is a Key holder and organizer that can fit up to 14 keys. It also features Tile integration and to help you locate your keys with your smartphone and vice versa and a small flashlight. Thanks to KeySmart for sending this to me to take a look at and tell you about. 

 

YouTube Version of this Review:

Purchase the KeySmart Pro on Amazon at the following Links:

White – https://amzn.to/2twSfuf 

Black, Red, Gray, Pink https://amzn.to/2uZb7Cs 

 

Packaging & Accessories

The KeySmart Pro comes in a nice retail box, that really emphasizes the tile functionality here. The back goes into more what the KeySmart is the accessories that are available for it.  

What comes with the standard pro here is the KeySmart Pro itself, a small microUSB cable, and a manual. Optional accessories are available as add on purchases on the KeySmart website such as a Nano Scissors, USB 3 Flash drive both that go inside, a small pocket clip, quick disconnect carabiner or a magconnect. The magconnect looks the most intriguing to me and is something I would add on myself as it would allow me to more easily disconnect my car key from other stuff which is something I frequently do in the summer or on weekends. 

 

Initial Impressions Physical

Build quality physically the KeySmart is made from a white non glossy plastic, the back piece here has some flex with it. The front side is where all the electronics are and it’s thicker. You have a micro USB port in the middle for charging the small built in flashlight and keeping the Tile going. 

Putting your keys on seems easy enough and in concept it is but in practice it was kind of finicky. The box says it will hold up to 14 keys, 7 on each side but I think that would make it quite difficult to put together. What I found helps is to put about 3 keys on each side separated with the included washers between the keys and screw one side together and then do the other. They used a flat head screw which allows you to not need a tool as you can use a coin but honestly I would have preferred a large torx bit or something that doesn’t slip out as easy. One other thing to note is that when apart you have two sides, a screw side and a collar side. The collar side for me too big on some keys, the order you put the keys is important as a result as is the straightness of the keys. If a key is bent it will bind with others. 

 

 

The bottle opener is a must to include in my book, only because it’s the loop that allows you to connect the KeySmart Pro to other stuff. My car key is too big to fit inside here so having a way to connect my KeySmart to other stuff is important and the bottle opener does that.

 

The Flashlight on the KeySmart is fairly low power, you won’t be using this for much other then to illuminate the key hold on a door and for that it works pretty well. You can click one to be on in momentary mode or double click the small button and the light will stay on for 10 seconds. 

 

Tial integration

So if you don’t know Tial is a system thats integrated into a larger and larger number of devices that allows you to in this case find your keys with your smartphone using Bluetooth. You do need to download a free app to your Android or iPhone and once paired (an easy process)  you can launch the app to find your keys via making the KeySmart play a song. You do have to be in range and from my testing that’s about 45 feet. I put them on different sides of the house and it was too far, but you could easily go room to room in your house and do the find sequence. Alternatively you can double press the Tial button on your KeySmart to find your phone even if it’s in silent mode. KeySmart says the battery will last for up to 45 days, a claim I was unable to verify. 

 

Conclusion

Everyone’s keys are a little different, I like the idea of everything being more compact and in one place but for me I miss the ability to separate and downsize easily for certain situations like formal wear or going to the gym where I just need a car and house key. I also end up having a few bulky keys and fobs that don’t really fit the KeySmart Pro without additional rings and disconnects that I don’t always want to have with me. So for me I think I will use this more in the summer when I don’t have a jacket pocket to throw keys in and want something slimmer for my shorts pockets. That said the Tile feature here is really handy and does slim and organize your keys, I think this would be especially useful if your prone to losing your keys or say had many bags or jackets you put your keys in last and needed to locate them. The little light on the end of it works surprisingly well too to find that key hole at night too. The plastic here flexes a little more then I would hope but so far it’s held up. Maybe they could sell an aluminum back plate if you wanted a little more rigidity without much more weight. 

 

So if you are interested in the KeySmart Pro or know someone it would make a perfect gift for I will have a link to where you can pick it up in the description below. Let me know if you think the KeySmart Pro would be a good fit for your EDC.

 

Purchase the KeySmart Pro on Amazon at the following Links:

White – https://amzn.to/2twSfuf 

Black, Red, Gray, Pink https://amzn.to/2uZb7Cs 

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

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