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.

Wowtac A4 V2 Review (617 Meter Throw, 1895 Lumens, 26650 Battery)

Today I have a review of the Wowtac A4 V2 flashlight that’s utilizing a Cree XHP35 HI LED an included 26650 battery to produce a handheld thrower flashlight with nearly 1900 lumens. Thanks to Wowtac for sending this to me to review. 

 

WowTac is having a sale for Father’s day on all of their products. 20% off all lights via the WowTac Amazon store, and 30% off the A4 V2 with my discount code in the description only on June 15 through the 20th. So make sure you check that out to get a gift for a dad in your life or to treat yourself. 

 

Get 20% off for all WOWTAC flashlights using the code “2LiquidRetro” at https://amzn.to/3eaPX5W

Get 30% off for the A4 V2 Neutral White using the code “3LiquidRetro” at https://amzn.to/2UHRV6f

Get 30% off for the A4 V2 Cool White using the code “3LiquidRetro” at https://amzn.to/3hoFmXk

The sale runs from June 15 to June 20, 2020

 

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Packaging

Packaging is a brown rigid box with a deep lid that fits all the way to the base. Similar to other Wowtac and Thrunite lights. The outside is minimal with just the light name and line drawing and then emitter option on the side. Inside the light is protected with foam. Accessories include the 5000mAh Thrunite branded button top 26650 battery, basic lanyard, spare orings, and  spare button cover. 

Construction

The light is made from aluminum and anodized black. I have no complaints with the machining. The tail is non magnetic, flat and allows for tail standing. The light comes into 3 pieces, the tail, body tube and head. The tail and body tube has square knurled that are reasonably shallow, they do a good job at adding grip without being too aggressive. 

The tail cap has 2 large beefy springs inside, not what you typically see but it does a fantastic job of making the battery not bounce or rattle. The body tube is non reversible (anodized on the head end, raw on the tail end). The head itself is fairly standard, the steps up the the lens are closer to 90 degrees then angular and gradual. The front bezel is smooth and I was able to twist it off by hand. The glass is anti reflective coated. The reflector is smooth and deep, with the LED having some space around it at the bottom. 

 

Size & Weight 

I measured overall length at 125mm, minimum diameter on the tube at 32mm and maximum diameter on the head at 48mm. Weight with the included battery is 235g

 

Competition

A couple of competitors came to mind with the A4 V2, the Thrunite Catapult V6 and the Astrolux FT03. The Astrolux is closest in terms of price, but it’s head is significantly larger. I wouldn’t think about trying to carry the FT03 on my belt with a holster but with the A4 V2 that’s not an issue. The Thrunite Catapult V6 is similar, but has a slightly larger head. 

 

Retention

There isn’t much to say here on retention. There is a small hole in the tail cap for a lanyard that is included with the light. For lights like this a holster can be a nice option but one isn’t included.

 

LED & Beam 

The LED in use on the Wowtac A4 V2 is the Cree XHP35 HI. A cool and neutral white model are both available, and in my example I have the Neutral white. Tint is on the warmer side of Neutral which I enjoy I would say between 4500k and 5000k. The beam with this LED and the smooth fairly deep reflector is a thrower. You get a small tight hot center and a large dim spill. At lower powers the spill is not very visible. 

Wowtac’s claimed ratings

Turbo – 1895 Lumens

High – 1058 Lumens 

Medium – 208 Lumens

Low – 28 Lumens

Firefly – 0.5 Lumens

Strobe – 1200 Lumens

 

Heat & Runtime

I ran an uncooled heat and runtime test with this light and agree with Wowtac’s claims. Turbo has stepped down at the 3 minute mark to the 50% relative output mark where it ran till the 24 minute mark. Here is ran at about 42% relative output for the bulk of the time about another 108 minutes before stepping down and low voltage protection kicking in on the light at 2.985V. The light gets warm around the mid section where the LED is and other electronics. Maximum heat I saw during Turbo was 57C (134F).

 

UI

The UI here is standard Wowtac/Thrunite. It’s simple with just the features you need and nothing more. It’s a simple electronic switch under a slightly raised dome button. Underneath is a 2 LED (Red & Blue) to indicate charge status. It comes on blue briefly when the light is turned on. 

 

Long press from off to get moonlight mode. A single press turns the light on in it’s lowest mode. When on if you long press it will advance up in modes. You have a low, medium and high. Double press to shortcut to turbo, and once in tubo double press again to go to strobe. 

 

Recharging

The A4 V2 has onboard charging via MicroUSB. The port is slightly offset from the directly behind the button, not typical but not bad either. The silicone cover doesn’t get in the way. Total charge time for the included 5000mAh battery was 2 hours and 53 minutes. Charging started quickly, at 1.8A and generally increased up until the 2 hour and 18 minute mark before slowing down as it ended. Maximum charge rate I saw was right at 2A. The battery measured 4.155V when charging stopped. There is a LED inside the switch that’s red when charging and blue when charged.

Conclusion

The Wowtac A4 V2 is a nice budget thrower, available in both neutral and cool white, so everyone can be happy. It’s less expensive then other similarly sized lights running a 26650 battery with performance that’s just as good. It doesn’t come with as many accessories but for the price I am ok with that. 

 

Don’t forget about the father’s day sale here either, as this would make a great gift. It’s an all inclusive package with the battery and onboard USB charging. It’s available from Amazon so it will arrive fast and has a great return policy. If your dad or someone else in your life hasn’t had a modern LED flashlight powered by lithium batteries they will be amazed at how much and how far the light goes in such a small package. Gone are the days that you need a flashlight the size of a baseball bat, here are the days a ton of power fits comfortably in your hand and only weighs 8.29oz.

 

This is a nice budget light with no budget features. I can recommend it. 

 

Get 20% off for all WOWTAC flashlights using the code “2LiquidRetro” at https://amzn.to/3eaPX5W

Get 30% off for the A4 V2 Neutral White using the code “3LiquidRetro” at https://amzn.to/2UHRV6f

Get 30% off for the A4 V2 Cool White using the code “3LiquidRetro” at https://amzn.to/3hoFmXk

The sale runs from June 15 to June 20, 2020

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

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

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

 

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Packaging & Accessories

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

 

Construction

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

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

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

 

Size & Weight

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

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

LED & Beam Pattern

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

 

Heat & RunTime

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

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

 

Listed output modes are:

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

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

 

UI

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

 

PWM

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

 

Recharging

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

Pro’s

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

 

Con’s

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

 

Conclusion

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

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

 

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

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

Astrolux MF01 Mini (5500 Lumens, 7x SST20 LED, USB-C Recharging (Kind of))

Astrolux has gotten into the multiple LED flood and secondary LED’s with the MF01 Mini I have before me here. It’s available in 5 body colors, 3 material choices, and 3 LED tints with a high CRI option I have here. Thanks to Banggood for sending this to me and providing my viewers a discount. Make sure you check the description below if you are interested in this 5500 lumen light.

 

YouTube Version of this Review:

Get the Astrolux MF01 Mini at Banggood for $45.99 with Coupon code BGMF01Mini at http://bit.ly/340Nczj 

 

Packaging & Accessories

Packaging is consistent with other recent Astrolux lights. A white box with minimal info on the outside other then the lights name and a silver line drawing of the light. Inside things are packed nicely with foam for protection. Accessories on this one include the light itself, A basic lanyard, and 2 adapter tubes for 21700 and 18650 batteries. No charging cable is included here which is disappointing considering this light requires USB-A to USB-C. 

 

Construction

My MF01 Mini is made from Aluminium and has clear anodizing. They offer a variety of colors including black, olive green, a tan/gold, and gray. They also offer a special edition in Brass, copper and an aluminum copper combo. Machining is average, a few tool marks can be found on flat surfaces, they are smooth to touch and nothing wrong for a light in this price category.

The light tail stands well with the flat base, and the lanyard hole is at the base. Inside it has large stiff dual springs, this allows it to accept 26650, 21700, and 18650 batteries with the included adapters. Rattling was a small problem with the 18650’s but not an issue with the larger cells. The body tube has a crosshatch knurling patterning put on.

The head grows in diameter some, it has 4 gills milled in on either side for cooling. The switch is domed and sits prowd. It’s a silicone button and has texture on top. It has LED’s underneath to indicate charge status like other Astrolux lights. Opposite the button is the USB-C charge port. It’s covered by a silicon port cover and includes an area for the tab to sit. It’s out of the way no issues. The bezel on my light is aluminium however a stainless steel one is available for extra durability. There is a glass lens on top of the 7 LED optic. Underneath the optic you have the daughter board with the secondary LED’s. The light is IPX7 water rated, and I had no issues running it under a stream of water. 

Size & Weight Comparison

This is primarily a 26650 light, but other similar sized batteries can be run. I measured length at 112mm, Minimum diameter on the body at 33mm, and maximum diameter on the head at 44mm. Weight with a 21700 battery installed was 254.6g.

The Fireflies E07 is a similar light also with 7 emitters and secondary LED. It’s smaller in diameter and lighter then the MF01 Mini, but the MF01 Mini does a better job of dissipating heat. That said the Mini can run 3 different battery types which is handy. 

 

LED | Beam | Runtime

The MF01 Mini is using 7X SST20 LED’s. My example is using the 4000k tint, but 5000k and 6500k are also available. With the 4000k tint, the CRI is 95, less so on the cooler tints. The SST20’s have a bit of a reputation for having a bit of a green tint, especially at lower powers and that’s pretty apparent here. Andril firmware is great but it also means the LED’s can be driven very low and this is where the green comes out. At higher powers the tint is pleasing to me, it’s no Nichia 219 but not bad either. The beam is floody, with ever so slight hot spot in the center. For a floody light it throws decently well. 

The light also has secondary LED’s in 3 colors, under the optic. Green on the outside, blue in the middle, and purple/pink in the center. These LED’s are on all the time the light has electrical contact.They are somewhat adjustable if you take the bezel and optic off there are 3 pots where you can adjust the brightness of each up to a point. There is a current limit so it’s better if 2 of the 3 are bright.

Runtime

I did my long duration runtime test with a Keeppower 5200mAh 26650 battery since that’s really what this light was originally designed for. It does fit 18650 batteries and 21700 with the included adapters. Total runtime here with this battery was just shy of 400 minutes. 99% of this time was at about 15% relative output.  Turbo output is good for under a minute on this light and it continues ramping down fairly quickly.

Heat on this light surprised me, I expected it to get quite hot based on other lights I have that are similar hot rods but that isn’t the case in my example and it’s a bit of a problem. So heat at 1 minute was 81F, at 5 minutes was 83F, and at 10 minutes 82F. The problem with this the light will start stepping down pretty quick. After I calibrate the light this should improve and allow the light to stay brighter for longer with the byproduct being heat. Low voltage protection kicked in at 3V. 

 

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. 

 

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.

 

Recharging

This light has an onboard USB-C port for recharging, however it doesn’t support USB-C to USB-C cables, meaning you have to use a USB-A to C cable for recharging. For me this kind of defeats the purpose of having USB-C. Charging was reasonably fast, I charged my 5200mAh Keeppower 26650 battery in 3 hours and 30 minutes at a max rate of 1.85A. The battery stopped charging at 4.19V.

 

Pro’s

  • 5 colors, 3 tint’s available in Aluminum, Copper, Brass options are also available
  • High CRI (95)  available with the 4000k tint option
  • Versatile battery options with this light (21700, 26650, 18650 all work and the light includes spacer tubes

 

Con’s

  • Only support for USB-A to USB-C Charging. Doesn’t work for C to C.
  • With great power and lumens comes heat! 
  • The SST20 LED’s in my example have a pretty green tint at lower outputs

 

Conclusion

Good competition for the Fireflies E07, Pretty good value at around the $60 mark normally or about $46 with my coupon in the description at the time of this video release. I enjoy secondaries on lights like this. They use minimal power and make them different from the competition. Overall a pretty good value light, hopefully Astrolux and other flashlight manufacturers will soon allow their USB-C lights to use C-C cables! Make sure if you decided to pick this one up, to take advantage of the color options here both in body color and tint. Let’s support one less black flashlight! 

 

Get the Astrolux MF01 Mini at Banggood for $45.99 with Coupon code BGMF01Mini at http://bit.ly/340Nczj 

Full image gallery can be found at https://imgur.com/a/AGU2g8L

Banggood is also having some other #BGBlackFriday sales you may be interested in below.

 

From Nov 27th – 30th

Black Friday:  http://bit.ly/2OnCmwJ

Saving Tips:  http://bit.ly/37cNPYB

Carve up $1,000,000 Bonus:  http://bit.ly/2rT3aNz 

Home Garden Outdoor:  http://bit.ly/32TftGE

 

Groupbuy link: 

XANES® 1282 XHP70: http://bit.ly/35czCZM

Amount: Need 20 persons

Groupbuy price: $14

 

XANES 1102 L2 5Modes: http://bit.ly/3415AYQ

Amount: Need 2 persons 

Groupbuy price: $6.99

 

Fireflies E07 Review (7 LED + Secondary LEDs, 21700, up to 6900 lumens)

Fireflies is a newer flashlight brand to the market that’s bring multiple emitter option lights with secondary LED’s to the market. Today I am looking at the E07 a 7x LED light with secondary emitter running Toykeepers Anduril UI. Thanks to Banggood for sending this to me to take a look at and review. Make sure you see the bottom of the post for the discount that’s been provided on this light.

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/dwHNB7Y

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YouTube Version of this Review: 

Packaging

The light comes packaged in a black cardboard box with fireflies logo embossed on it. There is a sticker on the side with the lights specs handwritten in. Inside the light is protected in foam. Extras include 2 spare orings, a wrist lanyard with clip that connects at the head, a pocket clip that connects at the tail only, a nice adapter to allow you to run an 18650 battery, and a nice manual that’s not micro sized. The manual is really nice for a newer brand, it mostly goes over the UI and has the diagram many of us are familiar with, but also a kind of quick start guide on the back for specific tasks. 

Construction

Fireflies offers 4 body colors available and of those Banggood is currently carrying 3 of them. A Matte black, desert yellow which  is a more yellow tan, and a gun gray, which is what I have here. Branding on the light is minimal with only a heat warning, model number and manufacture on the light body. On the tail cap there is a bit of minimal required marks and a serial number. The tail cap is flat and allows the light to tail stand nicely. It has a few flats to allow you to unscrew it more easily. Inside you have a low resistance spring mounted to the circuit board. Threads were dry and rather shallow but square cut. 

The pocket clip only attaches at the rear and is kind of short. Overall diameter of this light isn’t too bad, it’s front pocketable as an EDC but on the bigger side for that. Retention with the clip is good but I do wish it carried a bit deeper. The body tube has square nub milling on it, kind of like a small frag design. I like this, it’s grippe but not aggressive. Threads on the head side of the body tube are anodized, very fine, ACME cut, and also dry. 

 

The head itself is pretty small, and grows in diameter to accommodate the 7 emitters + secondary LED’s inside. Inside the spring in the head is short, and fairly heavy gauge wire. It has a blob of solder that’s been filed down to I presume help improve contact. On the outside there is heatsinking. The electronic button on the side has 4 LED’s underneath that can indicate a few things depending on the mode. The color of these LED’s is the same as the secondary on your light. 

The circuit boards in the head of this light is a bit non traditional for a flashlight, The white emitters and secondary emitters are actually on separate circuit boards that are stacked on top of each other with wires hand soldered on to connect the two boards. There are 3 pots that allow you adjust the intensity of the secondary. I was unable to find a screwdriver to fit mine to a point I was comfortable adjusting them though. The front bezel is a polished stainless steel. It’s easy to unscrew the front bezel as it’s not glued on. Underneath is the glass lens and optic. Overall build quality is pretty good for this price range of light. 

Size/Weight/Comparisons

I measured the length at 114mm, maximum diameter at the head at 37mm, and minimum diameter on the center body section at 25mm. Weight with the Sofrin 21700 battery is 187.6g. 

I compared the light to the Emmisar D4, because it’s pretty common multi emitter light, even though it uses a 18650 and the E07 uses a 21700. The D4 is shorter, obviously, and the head is smaller, but the body tube is pretty similar. Both are high performance affordable lights with great UI’s by Toykeeper and in mine both are using the Nichia LEDs. 

 

LED | Beamshots | Heat | Runtime

My light is using 7x Nichia 219B R9080 LEDs for it’s primary emitter. This is one of my favorites not only because it has 98 CRI but also because it produces a good amount of red meaning colors are more realistic. The downside is this Nichia LED’s isn’t the most efficient around and produces the least amount of lumens (3500) then the SST20 (4500 Lumens) or XPL-HI LED (6900 Lumens) that the light are also available with. This is really nice that you have 6 emitter and tint options with this light in addition to it’s 4 body colors. That also said the Nichia 219B are the most sensitive to being over driven with the FET in this light, so choice of battery is important. 

 

On my light the secondary emitters are purple, other colors fireflies sells are red and blue. The secondaries do shut off when low voltage protection kicks in at 2.935V, but the LED’s on the switch do not. For this reason if you are not going to use the light for a long time, it would be best to mechanically lock it out with a slight twist of the tail cap or remove the battery. 

Heat is a big thing on this light. It’s a small compact size and can output a ton of light. The fact that I have the Nichia emitters on my example here doesn’t help the heat issue. On turbo the light heats up very quickly, in under 2 minutes I was seeing temps of 61C (142F) on the head opposite the button. This kind of proves to be a problem as you need some resistance to click the button and turn it off or down. Thermals do spread out on the light relatively well, the body tube tail cap remain cool enough to handle when in turbo. For me this is too hot to hold comfortably. Lucky you can configure thermals on this light in the UI, so I might be turning it down a bit. 

 

Ruintime

Runtime on the Fireflies E07 is 100% temperature dependent. Turbo by itself is good for less then a minute before step down due to heat. Your actual runtimes do vary up and down between roughly 25% and 50% as you can see on my graph for just over 100 minutes. At this point the light goes into it’s lowest mode due to the battery voltage for the remaining 150 minutes. Low voltage protection kicks in 2.935V.

 

Batteries

I am using some Sofirn 21700 batteries that Banggood sent out with this light. Being a FET powered light you want usually high drain, but in this application a medium drain cell is good especially for these Nichia LED’s as they are a little more sensitive to being over driven. The Sofirns fit that nicely, they are listed at 4000mAh and I measured them at a capacity of 3868mAh and 3861mAh respectively on my Xtar VC4s.

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 a vailable 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. 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. One of the neat thing the UI has is sunset mode, which allows the light to run in and slowly fade out over I believe a 30 minute time period then shut off. Overall just about anything you want to do is in this UI and it’s’ a great choice for a light. 

Pro

  • Big lumen flood light with great emitters.
  • Always on secondary that can be toggled off via UI. The secondary is adjustable internally. 
  • 3 body color and 6 emitter options available (from Banggood), so something for almost everyone without mods.
  • 21700 battery – Provides a bit more runtime, and a nice size for the head.
  • Early QC issues seem to have been fixed on this light.

 

Con

  • Early models had some QC problems, I have run mine quite a bit and have not had issues with it so far.
  • Heat – 7 Nichia emitters make a lot of collective heat

 

Conclusion

The Fireflies E07 packs a ton of features for well under $100. So many emitter options, as well as body options allows you to really find the perfect combination for you. While I love the 98 CRI Nichia 219B emitter in my light you might choose one of  the others that offers more lumens. The biggest downside to this light is probably the heat, but you expect that in a small form factor light that has 7 main emitters. I do like that they went with a 21700 battery here over an 18650 for a bit more runtime without going with a larger 26650. Overall it’s a high value light that I recommend for the flashaholic. 

 

Banggood has provided a coupon to allow you to get the Fireflies E07 at a better then list price. I will have the details for that in the comments below. Make sure to give that link a click and check it out.

 

As always I think you for watching this video. If you are not subscribed to my channel I would appreciate you do so, make sure you like and share this video with anyone who you might think would be interested in it. See you on the next gear review video! 

 

Discounts

Fireflies E07 7x Nichia/XPL/SST20 Flashlight: Save 15% with code: BGFFBD at http://bit.ly/2JlGoUX  

2X Sofirn 21700 Batteries: $11.39 with code BGREC at http://bit.ly/2FYtuKk 

Astrolux FT03 (Best value large thrower of 2019, Coupon Available)

Astrolux has a new lare thrower the FT03. It features a large deep reflector and a SST-40 LED to to give it throw. It’s mated to a 26650 battery tube (but it can accept 21700’s and 18650’s (With an adapter too) and features USB-C fast recharging. Thanks to Banggood for sending this too me. They do have a pretty aggressive coupon available for this if your interested.

 

Pickup the Astrolux FT03 SST40-W at http://bit.ly/31CYUzb and use Coupon Code: BGAFT03 to get the light for $29.99 USA ONLY

 

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

YouTube Version of this Review: 

Join my channels Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LiquidretroReviews/

 

Packaging

The light came in a white sturdy cardboard box with minimal info on the outside. The light was packaged in foam on the inside. The included accessories were minimal, with a lanyard, spare orings, manual, and an adapter to fit 18650 batteries. No charging cable comes with this light.

 

Construction

The light is made from aluminium and has smooth anodizing, in a fairly mat finish. Starting at the tail cap the light does tail stand very well, thanks to the notch cut in it’s side to allow the lanyard to go through. It has an octadecagon milled in for grip. On the inside it has dual springs inside the simple tail PCB.

The body tube is directional (Threads and anodizing are different on each) with 12 panels of knurling. It has to flats milled on each side and a grid pattern milled in too. It’s a nice feel in the hand without tearing up your skin or clothing.

Moving up to the head section we have the e-switch with LED’s under that act as a way to find the light in the dark and as a charge status indicator when charging. It has minimal heat syncing milled in to the sides. Opposite the button is the USB-C charging port with a silicone cover that fits well and flush. It doesn’t get in my way. The bell of the light is smooth as is the top part of the head. The deep bezel piece has large shallow crenelations on it that allows a bit of light to spread when face down.

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 170mm, Maximum diameter in the head at 70mm, minimum diameter in the body at 32mm on the flats. Weight with a 26650 battery was 396.7g.

The FT03 fit’s pretty well in my hand. To me the 26650 tubes feel pretty natural and I like the length and where my fingers and thumb fit. Ergonomics are good.

A bit of comparisons with the Thrunite Catapult V6

LED/Runtime/Beam Profile

The FT03 comes with a clear domed SST-40 LED in Cool or Neutral white. Mine is a NW example. It’s surrounded by a fairly smooth reflector that is deep and helps this light throw. The reflector leaves a decent amount of space around the LED, about ¼”. The lens is glass and double anti reflective coated. It’s using the Texas Star FET driver.

The beam profile is that of a pretty typical thrower. Small hot center where 90+% of the light is focused and then a spill. I don’t see any real undesirable traits. You do notice if there is anything on the lens that’s dirty or causes distortion.

Runtime

Since this is a FET driven light, a high drain cell is recommended for most performance. That means a high drain 18650 like a Sony VTC6 or Samsung 30Q would be good choices, or for a little more runtime a 21700 sized cell. I ended up going with a Sony VTC6 (3000mAh) for my runtime tests. Turbo steps starts stepping down after about a minute, until the 5 minute mark where you see the aggressive output step down to about 30% relative output. It held this for about 140 minutes. At this point it did more pronounced steps down to almost nothing at the 175 min mark. The light at this point is still on but only in moonlight mode, I left it for another 100 minutes and stopped the test, since it was clearly in need of a recharge. With larger capacity cells I would expect the time after the initial step down to be longer.

I didn’t do a lot of formal heat testing with this light but I can tell you that even with the fairly aggressive turbo stepdowns the head section of the light gets warm to touch as does the body. Nothing dangerous but it’s definitely normal.

 

UI

The Astrolux FT03 is using the enthusiast developed NarsilM Firmware V1.3 along with an e-switch which is great. By default it ships in the ramping mode which is what I like, it also has a stepped mode you can switch it in to if you want. It’s highly configurable and can be a little complicated depending on what you wish to do. The good news is there are lots of guides on Youtube and various cheat sheets on BLF forums that I will try to link to as well. A couple shortcuts I find myself using is double clicking to strobe.

NarsilM 1.3 Firmware Guide http://liquidretro.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NarsilM1.3.pdf

 

Recharging

This light does have USB-C for recharging, but it won’t charge batteries that are at 4v or above which is a little strange. So if you need to top up a cell after a brief use you would need to take it out and use a charger. Frustratingly the light also won’t charge from a USB-C to C cable, it requires a USB-A to USB-C cable or a microUSB to USB-C adapter. When recharging the LED’s under the E switch turn red, and then go green when charged. Maximum charge rate I saw was 1.9A so pretty close to the 2A that’s advertised. This means charging speed is pretty quick even on larger 26650 and 21700 batteries. Terminal voltage was 4.149v.

Pro

  • Fantastic value thrower especially with USB-C recharging
  • Fit’s a wide variety of Batteries, 26650, 21700, 18650 (With included adapter).
  • Good LED and I appreciate the tint choices at this price range
  • NarsilM Firmware

 

Con

  • Only will charge via USB-A to USB-C cables, no C-C cables allow for charging.
  • Won’t recharge cells if they are above 4.0V
  • Not a small light, but that’s to be expected with most throwers
  • Aggressive turbo step downs but this can be modified with the firmware.

 

Conclusion

At this price point, especially with the coupon I have here, the Astrolux FT03 is the best value thrower of 2019 that I have tested thus far. It’s using the great NarsilM firmware that’s highly user configurable, it has onboard recharging via USB-C (Even though it’s not capable of C-C charging), and is available in Neutral White or Cool white for whichever you prefer. The short of it I recommend this one if your looking for a larger thrower light. Don’t forget to click that link in the description and check it out over on Banggod.

 

Pickup the Astrolux FT03 SST40-W at http://bit.ly/31CYUzb and use Coupon Code: BGAFT03 to get the light for $29.99 USA ONLY

 

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