Keychain style flashlights have been a popular item over the past several years. Today I have the Acebeam UC15 which is advertised as the brightest flashlight of this style currently available. It can produce up to 1000 lumens briefly out of it’s main emitter. This light also has a red and UV emitters as secondary modes too. Thanks to Acebeam for sending this to me to take a look at.
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This is a solidly built light. The body and tail cap are made of a fairly thick walled aluminum. With batteries it’s a little heavier than I expected weighing 52 Grams. Mine here is in silver, but it also comes in a dark blue, black, and pink colors. Size wise it’s large then the Nitecore TIP and has no onboard charging. It seems a bit almost overbuilt for a keychain light but hopefully that means it stands up to hard use. Inside the springs are quite stout and gold plated. That said in the hand it feels better built.
Installing the batteries is easy if you know what your doing and potentially disastrous if you don’t. The manual surprisingly doesn’t tell you how to install the batteries. Since this light includes a hex wrench I initially thought you needed to remove the two rear screws, however this is incorrect. Instead just unscrew the lanyard attachment on the rear of the light and the back cover comes off. Insert two batteries of like chemistry positive end first and then put back on the cover and screw the lanyard loop back on to attach.
This light has a pretty substantial clip. More so than any other light in this size class I have seen. It uses two small hex head screws (wrench included) to attach to the body. This clip is very stiff and sticks out from the body of the light further than most. I think this is intended more to be clipped on to a hat with a bill and it should attach here quite securely. Be Careful not to cross thread the hex screws. They are small and it’s easy to do. A nice trick I always like to do is to rotate the screw backwards until it falls into place then switch directions to tighten it down.
LED, Run-times, and Power Source
This light uses a Cree XP-L2 LED for it’s main white emitter. There was initially some confusion here but it seems that the website and package are all in agreement. This light also has a Cree XPE-R2 LED for the red emitter and a Nichia 267A for the UV emitter. Only the white emitter has a reflector which is quite large, smooth and reasonably deep for a small light as well as a anti reflective coated glass lens. The red and UV emitters are surface mount parts with glass lenses over them. The red emitter is quite strong, enough so I wish it had a low mode. UV is rather low output but that’s common.
This light has 2 power source options, 10440 lithium batteries or AAA alkaline or NiMH rechargeables. It can also run on only one battery. To reach the full 1000 lumen output you do need the lithium batteries. Acebeam lists that turbo mode as lasting for 1 minute 46 seconds so it’s timed, after that it drops to 200 lumens, then 10. On AAA cells the maximum is 250 lumens, 82, and 10. Run-times for the Red and UV modes are similar regardless of the battery at between 1.2 and 1.6 hours.
I ran my own run-times on main emitter in the brightest modes with both battery types. With the 10440 batteries you had the nearly 2 minutes of a falling turbo before a longer than anticipated about 70 minutes of flat output in the 200 lumen range. However after that was over the output stopped completely. With the NiHM batteries (AmazonBasics) I had the a little more 250 lumen of output that was nearly flat, and at the 55 minute mark it took a sharp decline and then dove a bit more before a straight fall to the bottom at the 63 minute mark.
This light uses a single electronic button which has an LED indicator under it. The button takes a firm press and makes an audible click. Memory mode is present on all modes. If you single click the light returns to where you previously was, including strobe. From off if you long press you go to the white driver, in low mode by default. From off you can double click to go straight to turbo and triple click to enter strobe. In any mode if you hold the button it cycles through each mode. When in white, a fast double click will allow you to go up in to higher white modes.
Packaging is very nice, It’s a full retail box with all your important info on the front and back. On the side it does have Nichia listed with a check box so maybe we will see a Nichia offered as a main driver. We can only hope however I don’t think this will be very likely. Inside the light sits in foam, and to the side you have the pocket clip, hex wrench, and below are the instruction. They are decently written but a bit sparse for my taste.
This is more than your average keychain flashlight. I have tested the Nitecore Tip CRI which I liked, and I have tested the Astrolux K1 which had the 3 LED modes like the Acebeam UC15. The UC15 feels better built then these others but at a weight penalty. It uses batteries that are more accessible but I to an enthusiast I don’t know if that’s a benefit as I think many would have access to other lights for more dedicated tasks like a headlamp. That said this is a nice options for an upgraded nicer keychain light or pocket carry. Red mode is quite bright and UV mode can come in handy here and there. If you are looking for a keychain type light that has lots of extra features or a lot of output in such a small package, definitely check out the Acebeam UC15.