On my review table today is the new WowtTac A4 thrower. It uses a Cree XHP 35 HI LED and a deep reflector to achieve a claimed 820 meter throw. The A4 follows the older established design of a thrower by using 2× 18650 batteries in series. Thanks to WowTac for sending this to me to take a look at.
Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/avSYy2t
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The Wowtac packaging is a compact, long box that folds up from the front flap to reveal the light sitting in a foam protection. Underneath is the only accessories the light comes with (2 orings) and the manual.The box on the outside is pretty plain with not many details but it does make mention of an A5 model that currently is unannounced and I wonder what this might be to fit in this box.. . . .
The light is made from aluminum and anodized in a semi gloss black finish that’s even and without flaw. The tailcap is mostly flat with a slight recess with nice deep diamond knurling on the edges. It does have a small lanyard loop. Threads are square cut. The spring in the tail cap is rather short, and doesn’t have much travel.
The body tube is one long piece of aluminium that is symmetrical on both ends and it’s completely round. Knurling is deep and a diamond pattern. It feels nice in the hand, grip wise. I do miss it not having any flat areas though that help locate it’s orientation in the hand and help find the front power/mode button.
If the head of the Wowtac A4 looks similar, that’s because it is. The Thrunite Catapult V6 is identical in design with the only difference being that the Catapult V6 is that it has micro USB recharging opposite the main button and the threaded area where the tube connects is made to accommodate the different power sources. This makes sense, because Wowtac receives technical assistance from Thrunite on their designs. Think of Wowtac as the value brand for Thrunite. In this end this is good for both companies as it helps increase volume of manufacturer and lowers costs for both. The reflector is deep and smooth, the bezel is silver aluminium and looks like it should unscrew with the proper tool. The button itself is silver and metal, in the middle is a LED indicator that shows blue when the light is on. When the battery power is less then 20% it turns red, and when less then 10% the red will begin to flash.
I measured the length of the A4 at 202mm, maximum diameter at 58mm, minimum diameter at 25.3mm and weight with batteries at 321.5g. The light is IPX8 water rated.
This light uses a Cree XHP35 HI LED in cool white. It sits in front of a deep smooth reflector with anti reflective coated glass. The LED is nicely centered. It’s tint while cool white is fairly neutral.
The beam pattern is a small very focused hot spot in the center, with a large but dim spill. The spill has a hard cut off on the edges. It’s pretty identical to the Catapult V6. Heat isn’t too much of a concern, it’s big head does a good job of dissipating heat during operation.
UI & Modes
The UI of this light is simple and straightforward. From Off Long press to receive “reading” mode of 0.5 lumens. When on in any mode, long press to move up in brightness. Starting at Low of 22 lumens, Medium of 180 lumens, high of 950 lumens. From any mode the light is on you can double click to go to turbo at 2000 lumens. The light has Strobe which you can get to from tubo by double clicking again.
I performed my runtime tests with 2x Thrunite 3400mAh Protected button top 18650 batteries. Total runtime was just shy of 140 minutes in my runtime test. Turbo runtime was consistent with the 1.5 minutes that WowTac claims. The light stepped down 9 times over 22 minutes until it stabilized and ran for the remaining 120 minutes before an abrupt shut off. Step Downs were not the smoothest and most were drastic.
This light does not ship with batteries, which is a first from WowTac. It needs 2x protected button top 18650 cells as specified by the manual. Flat tops without buttons or protection are too short to make contact. There while there is a spring in the tail cap there isn’t a ton of give to it. Magnets will work as a spacer if needed. For my test I used 2x Thrunite 3400mAh protected button top cells. Working voltage is 5.5-8.4v, so CR123A and 18350 cells are not an option for this light.
2018 seems to be the year of the thrower, and I have had several this year to review. I have not been disappointed in any of them. The Thrunite Catapult V6 has a super similar head as the Wowtac A4, and they use the same LED, however they give different throw distances. The WowTac has a claimed 820m, while the Thrunite claims 750m. My assumption is that the WowTac is driving the LED a bit harder due ot the higher voltages.
- High Value for a large 2× 18650 thrower
- Offers a firefly 0.5 lumen mode that throws well due to the reflector geometry
- It should be pretty simple to change the emitter on this one if you wish
- Minimal and tasteful branding on the light
- No batteries included, this is the first model from WowTac to have that.
- Only offered in Cool white at the moment.
2018 Seems to be a popular year for throwers and I am enjoying it so far. The WowTac A4 offers everything you would want in a budget oriented handheld thrower, in a narrow but longer package. I think it’s a nice option for people who have lots of 18650 batteries and a charger already or don’t need USB charging.
Personally I am finding that I enjoy using the 1× 26650 battery format throwers a little better than the 2× 18650 category of throwers just because they are easier to carry in a bag and fit in my hand. That said the 2X 18650 form factor is well proven and works well. The Wowtac A4 is an affordable option, with a great beam profile for long distance throwing.