Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pokemon Go Walks

My middle sister has been playing Pokemon Go lately. And when I say "playing" what I really mean is "completely obsessed with." But it's hard to argue with the logic of a huge group of nerds now going outside.

Because the Pokemon seem to congregate in parks, I've been going to different parks with my sister and taking my trusty doggo, Ty with me. Ty is very well behaved around large crowds, and he's tiny and cute, and kind of a chick magnet.











Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Shadowhawk Flashlights: The Scam Exposed -- Part 1

They've been exposed as scammers on national TV, and yet they're still in business. They take in a million dollars a day, yet their payment processors don't know their names. They play every game in the book to trick people into buying their products. They are one of the largest sellers of flashlights in the world, yet they know nothing about flashlights. They hide behind their corporate veil and pretend as if their traffic comes entirely from "clients" and that they have no idea how their marketing is conducted. If anything scammy is going on, they'll play the victim. They drive exotic cars and own boats and display their scammer money on social networking like they are rock stars.

Here’s a picture of Nathan Martinez wearing a $300,000 watch:


I've been working with a source that has helped me shed some light onto the inner workings of their scammer enterprise, and will endeavor to share what I know, since I've been one of the few bloggers actively trying to sound the alarm about the flashlight scammers.

The narrative goes something like this: Nathan James Martinez, infamous for being chased by Dr. Oz through a parking lot, was approached by someone named Miles Sullivan, who had worked at a company called W4 on the first flashlight scam, the G700, which I've talked about here on my blog.  He wanted to form a new business, Shadowhawk Flashlights, sometimes referred to as Shadowhawk Tactical, which I've also talked about.

So, Miles needed Nathan's money and was an affiliate manager and not a marketing guru, so they brought in a marketing expert named Ryan McKinstry. The three of them, together with an IT guy named Simon Keidyk --- The primary technology partner of another con artist named Jesse Willms, built a flashlight marketing behemoth, pushing three dollar flashlights as "secret military technology" and have been making millions of dollars a week since it launched.

In this video from Dr. Oz's website, you can see that Dr. Oz chased Nathan and his business partners through a parking lot and confronted them on more than one occasion. This is the same Nathan Martinez who operated Miracle Garcinia Cambogia, one of the biggest diet scams in history. He's a public owner of Iron Ads, LLC, which owns not only the shadow hawk flashlight domains but lots of other domains used for scams, including lots of scammy weight loss domains and skin cream. You can just google their address on their website and find sites for skin creams, cameras, and all sorts of other similar sites they have operated. Their website brings in millions of visitors a month, and their videos that they post are riddled with negative comments. I have been blogging about flashlights for years because they are something that I am passionate about, and it does not make me happy to see that the posts that get the most attention are the ones not about the latest technology, but the scams being run in 2016.

From the video on his web site, Dr. Oz ponders an expensive boat bought with scam money using his name

Even as I write this, they are receiving tons of traffic every day from Facebook running ads of the brightest flashlight in the world as the focal point. They also are running American Heroes, a charity (!), so that they can help their organic search results. You can see from Nathan's Instagram that he lives the high life: Fast cars, girls, watches, boats. All from tricking people into paying enormous sums for cheap Chinese flashlights such as this one, which can be had straight from China anywhere from three dollars to ten dollars.


A quick search on the corporation wiki shows him to be an officer of Iron Ads, LLC, which is the registered owner of the Shadowhawk flashlight domain, among others. And the physical building address for Iron Ads is the same address as Bella Labs, which is the same company he used for the Dr. Oz Scam.

(From the corporation wiki)

Just so I make sure it's the same guy, here's two of his known associates from the Dr. Oz scam:



A simple google search will show that Nathan is associated with dozens of scammy looking domains, and they are all on a separate document, along with lots of tasty tidbits about the operation.

Now that I've done my homework and am satisfied that Nathan is the primary principal, I'm going to move on to the shady shit that Nathan and his buddies have been up to.

Their Facebook videos are about as misleading as you can get for a product advertisement. First off, their main video is titled something like "world's brightest flashlight" and all through the video, it does show what at the time probably was the world's brightest flashlight, except that they are not showing their product. All they did was steal someone else's video, steal someone else's song, and put the two together for a video that has absolutely no relevance to their "product", which again, is a $3 Chinese flashlight marked up the wazoo. Last time I checked, a company isn't allowed to steal lots of intellectual property, claim it as their own, and make millions of dollars doing it.

But then again, Nathan has done that before. I wonder if Empire of the Sun knows that their Old Flavours song has been played tens of millions of times to sell used tons of cheap crap. I am not a lawyer, but I would think that both the maker of the video and the song would have a pretty good case since they are being used for financial gain by Shadowhawk. We will see if Facebook lets their videos and the dozens of Shadow Hawk pages remain up or if these guys come up with another business model to prey on consumers with.

What’s it going to take for these guys to have any consequences for their actions? There’s regulatory bodies like the FTC that are supposed to make sure these scams aren’t supposed to happen. With any luck, some or all of these guys will do jail time. The Dr. Oz video recommends contacting the FTC and your local attorney general's office, and I think that's good advice.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Vague Legal Threats

Blogging isn't something people do for the money. At least I hope not. Most bloggers quit  when they realize they are basically just talking to themselves. Others quit when they realize that almost nobody makes a living at it, even with lots of readers. I think out of the few people who don't give up at that point, getting their first legal threat makes them think twice. It takes a certain stubbornness to keep going, year after year.

So I think the bloggers that are around for any length of time aren't in it for the money and blog because they are passionate about their subject matter, as I am about flashlights, pocket knives, multi-tools and really anything EDC or outdoorsy. I like what I like and don't like what I don't like and I'm less than shy about it.

Being passionate about flashlights, among other things, of course I would take exception to ads like the T2000 flashlight, which I most definitely think of as a scam. Identical products with different names all using the same product and nearly identical websites with nearly identical ridiculous claims and copied/pasted sock puppet reviews from the same few Twitter accounts, with only the product name changed.

I've always suspected that since these sites are so remarkably similar, that it's the same person/people behind all of these products, and it looks like maybe I'll get to find out, since I started receiving anonymous legal threats in the comment section of the article I mentioned above.

I may be a "dull" hobbyist blogger, but I always say what's on my mind and I'm honest to a fault, and it's all done publicly in blog format. So I don't really see any reason why I should just suddenly lay down because some anonymous person on the Internet makes vague legal threats against me. This isn't my first rodeo.

You had me at anonymous threats <3




Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hugsby XP-2 2xAAA LED Flashlight On Sale

The Hugsby XP-2 is a decent 2xAAA flashlight. I've given away a few as gifts and everyone seems to like theirs. They are a good deal at $8-$9 which I usually pay for them, but $4.89 is even better, so I wanted to do a quick post about it. As always, I receive a small commission from my Amazon links and the prices on everything from China changes all the time.



Notice it says "Coicoinn" but one of the photos clearly shows that it's a Hugsby.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2016 LED Flashlight Buying Guide -- AAA Battery Models

Introduction


With all the flashlight scams out there, and with so many hundreds of models of flashlights using dozens of different battery types, it's very difficult for the non-enthusiast to wade through it all and choose the right flashlight.

There are so many good flashlights out there, a decent buying guide would be huge. Different people have different needs, so what I am going to do is break these buying guides down by battery chemistry. Your grandma probably isn't going to be using high-powered and potentially dangerous lithium-ion cells, and a police officer or fireman probably isn't going to carry a 1xAAA flashlight as a duty light. Different people have different needs.

And as usual, if you find my work useful, then clicking on the products below give me a small commision and allow me continue my efforts.

AAA Batteries


All of the lights in this post can use either rechargeable NiMH or disposable alkaline cells. Most people who know anything about batteries recommend "low self discharge" rechargeable cells like the Eneloop, which can be recharged about 1,000 times and can hold roughly 80% of its charge for 5 years.

Not only are alkalines a waste of money and bad for the environment, if exposed to swings in temperature while inside your device, they will leak acid, usually destroying whatever unfortunate device you put them in. That's why some people call them "alkaleaks".

In general the AAA battery is not that great of a power source, but it's extremely compact, and modern flashlights using it are very efficient.

1xAAA Form Factor





Flashlights using 1 AAA alkaline or rechargeable battery have come a long way in the last couple years, and are fairly incredible compared to the 1xAAA Maglight Solitaire I had in the 1980s.

Products in this space usually put out anywhere from about 30 to 120 lumens. Many people focus purely on output and miss the big picture. Most of the lights that I recommend have multiple modes where you can have high output for a short period of time or low output for a long period of time.

Having the ability to walk 12 hours in the dark using a flashlight the size of your thumb has definite survival implications. Some people prefer a single mode, high output light, so I'm trying to hit a wider cross section of different models.

The Lumintop Tool is the current high end. This model gives a good balance of features and a good selection of models, from the budget aluminum model to the titanium alloy one with the warm tinted Nichia LED.



Fenix is a well established and respected brand known for quality and reliability. Some people think they are over-priced. The LD02 uses TIR optics like the really high end lights and has the high-medium-low mode order that most people seem to prefer.



Thrunite has always been one of my favorite brands, because they usually put in my beloved moonlight mode, which is great for checking on sleeping children or using the bathroom late at night without waking other people up. And like Lumintop, models like this Ti5 cater to enthusiasts by offering models with a warmer, more pleasing tint, rather than the harsh cold blue tints of most LED flashlights.



Just a simple flashlight with one mode and a simple, "momentary on" tail switch. It's not the highest output or most technologically advanced, but it has a really good reputation for being tough and reliable.



2xAAA Form Factor





Modern LED flashlights using 2 AAA batteries can give you output that's in the ballpark of high-powered lithium-ion driven flashlights, while still using common cells you can find anywhere. Lights in this form factor generally start where the 1xAAA models left off and can go above 200 lumens.

But keep in mind that as incredible as they are, these two-celled AAA flashlights still must obey the laws of physics, and a tiny, high powered flashlight can't dissipate heat very well. So you won't find many products in this space that really push what two cells can do, but that's OK too, because these lights give you much better run time.

With good output, mode spacing and beautiful warmish tint, the Thrunite Ti4 is what I currently carry most of the time. It even has a superb pocket clip.



I've given a bunch of these Hugsby XP-2 models away as gifts and everyone loves them. They feature one mode with a simple tail switch, decent clip and very reasonably priced.



Another good performer and well regarded is the Thorfire PF04. Good price, features, modes, mode spacing, build quality--it's all there.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Review: Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses For Oakley GasCan Sunglasses

It's funny, when I got my Oakley GasCan sunglasses for Christmas about 6 years ago, I never imagined I would end up with a big box of lenses for the same pair of frames. The stock lenses had lasted only about a year, and so these GasCans sat in a drawer, until I started reviewing replacement lenses.

So, what started out as a random choice of frames to try review lenses for, turned out to be what I think is a good platform for testing lenses. I wear my GasCans every day the sun is out, so it's easier to tell the difference between lenses and compare things like quality and performance.

When Walleva offered to send me a a review sample of their Mr. Shield lenses, I was still wearing the purple lenses from my previous review of their products and I've been pretty happy with them.

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- On Model


Product Description


These are the brow polarized Mr. Shield replacement lenses for my trusty Oakley GasCan sunglasses. The polarization and UV protection are important but pretty common. What sticks out to me about these lenses are the hydrophobic protection, and the taper correction, which I've never heard of.

Official Specs (From Walleva)

We proudly introduce our highest quality sunglasses lenses -- Mr. Shield lenses
  • Polarized: remove glare and create high contrast and high clarity vision
  • UV protection: remove 100% of UVA, UVB and UVC
  • Polycarbonate base: meet Z87.1, the impact resistant standard for ballistic eyewear
  • Taper corrected: provide 100% undistorted vision through compensating the curved shape by variable thickness
  • Anti sea water: remain good condition after soaking into sea water for 24 hours
  • Anti chlorine water (swimming pool water): remain good condition after soaking into swimming water for 24 hours 
  • Walleva repel: repel dirt and water, and resist scratches with a hardened oleophobic and hydrophobic layer
The lenses come with some free accessories:
  • A micro-fiber cleaning cloth
  • A lenses bag and a lenses box
  • A pair of T6 screws(some models only)
  • A screw driver(some models only)
  • Walleva Eyewear Cleaning Kit (Mr.Shield Only)

Unboxing


My review lenses came in a nice little box, with a lens cleaner pen. These were packaged much fancier than the last batch of Walleva lenses I reviewed.

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Unboxing 1

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Unboxing 2

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Unboxing 3

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Unboxing 4

First Impressions


I live in the northwest where it's not always sunny, so I had these lenses sitting around for a couple weeks before we had a really sunny day, and I thought "oh yeah, maybe I should install those lenses."

So I installed the lenses and started wearing them every day. They are nice and dark, and I like that. In fact, they seem darker in person than they look on Walleva's web site. They are so dark brown that they almost look black, and I like that too.

Out of the box they reminded me of the dark Revant HC3 lenses, which at the time was their top of the line. In fact, they seem a little clearer than all my Revants and even my stock, Italian-made Ray-Bans. The Ray-Bans have ridiculous clarity but a green tinge to the lenses, which kind of turned me off out of the box.

It's hard not to draw the conclusion that their taper-correction isn't just marketing hype--that it actually works. And you would have to be legally blind not to see that the Chinese are making huge strides in mass-produced optics.

I was a teenager growing up on the beach in southern California during the 1980s, and the cheap Chinese sunglasses at the time could actually damage your eyes by dilating them and increasing the damage the UV light did to your eyes. If you worked out in the sun like I did, you probably wore USA made sunglasses if you didn't want permanent eye damage.

Overall then, I'd say my first impressions were very favorable: They're nice and dark and super duper clear.

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Logo Closeup

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Bag Closeup


Build Quality


These seem to be well made lenses, with no glitches in the coating or aberrations that I could detect with my eyeballs. I do not like logos on the outside of my lenses, but all the high end ones have it. At least I have to strain my eyes almost to the point of pain to see the logo in the top-left part of my vision.

Not doing any formal scientific testing, the best guess I can make about quality comes from comparing these lenses to all the other lenses I have, and putting the sunglasses on my face and going out into the world.

Fit & Finish


Overall, perfect. I don't like giving perfect scores in any category to anything I review, but I just can't find anything wrong with these lenses.

A couple pair of my higher end Revant lenses are really close to this pair in clarity, but this pair leads the pack in fit and finish. The stock USA-made lenses my GasCans came with were awful, but at least they fit perfectly. So, thank you, Walleva, for showing it can be done even though your factory pumps out lenses for hundreds of different frames.

I've looked and looked and even after wearing them every day for a month and dropping them on the ground at least once a day, they look perfect. I don't like etched logos, but the etching at least looks crisp on the left lens.

Another thing I look for is aberrations with the lens coating thickness, color or clarity, and my eyeballs can't detect any issues. It's easier to see problems with mirrored lenses versus these matted ones, but I did scrutinize them pretty well.

Lens Cleaner Pen



I did not try the pen, as I normally just clean my lenses with whatever is lying around: A towel, tissue, my shirt, whatever. But it looks interesting, though, and at some point I might try it.

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Lens Cleaner Pen 1

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Lens Cleaner Pen 2


Usability


Even as a computer engineer in the business for two decades, I prefer to focus on the nuts and bolts like usability rather than the specs, much of which are just marketing hype. I've always prided myself on making technology accessible to people and trying to look at it from a user's perspective.

Because of this philosophy, and because I'm a clumsy, oafish brute, I think I'm uniquely qualified to review sunglasses. When I'm away from home, my shades are always with me, either in my pocket or clipped to my shirt or on top of my head.

In my pocket, my sunglasses always rub up against stuff that sensitive optics should never touch like keys, flashlights, tools and such. When they are hooked to my shirt or on my head, they constantly fall off, sometimes landing on asphalt or concrete.

So, I'm in an abusive relationship with everything I EDC, sunglasses included.

Day to day these are awesome lenses for driving and just hanging out at barbecues and such. As the clarity of replacement lenses get better, it's almost like looking through a VR simulator because part of your brain is telling you that reality is not supposed to look this crisp. It takes a while to get used to lenses like these.

Another unexpected consequence of polarized lenses getting better and better: it's almost impossible to see the text on a phone or tablet in sunlight. It used to just be a problem with high end lenses looking at low end LCD screens, but now the high end lenses make it impossible to quickly glance at a text while you're driving. But you probably shouldn't be doing that anyway.

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Testing 1

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Testing 2

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Testing 3
Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Testing 4

Walleva Mr. Shield Lenses -- Testing 5



Conclusions


Being really busy with life and taking longer than I intended for a review is actually good from a testing standpoint. Someone sends me a text wanting to meet for lunch, I grab my sunglasses and go.

Today when I sat down to put my thoughts into words from a month of wearing these, it dawned on me that they had fallen off my head and bounced behind my computer, the phone had rang, and I had forgotten them on the floor. So, I just now picked them up.

As always, time will be the best judge of the quality of these lenses, but so far so good. The purple ones from my last review have held up well, and these Mr. Shield seem to be a step up in quality. My little sister likes these better than the purple ones, for what it's worth. I do believe they are a good value at their purchase price, even if they are a little pricey.





Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review: Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flashlight

Most of the people I know in the flashlight community are obsessed with output. They build custom drivers and custom heat sinks all to put out a blinding amount of light and turn night into day. Manufacturers are starting to make super-high-output lights in the never ending quest for more lumens.

But most of the time people like me need a flashlight, it's not to light up a whole street, but fore more mundane tasks like looking into a closet or dark cupboard. I don't need something the size of a soda can to find my dropped keys on the ground next to my car.

So it often seems like I'm the only blogger pushing compact formats like 1xAAA and 2xAAA for flashlights. Single AAA LED flashlights have come a long way in the last few years, and I've purchased and evaluated almost all of them.

My love of compact EDC (every day carry) style flashlights is well documented, so when Lumintop offered to provide a titanium version of their Lumintop Tool flashlight which I previously reviewed, I was happy to accept. This new Tool Ti version is their higher end version, made of titanium alloy with a recessed tail switch. They have half a dozen versions of the Tool and it's easy to find on sites like Amazon. Like a few other larger flashlight manufacturers, they have their own Amazon Storefront.

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Product Link
Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Product Link

Product Description


The Lumintop Tool Ti is a 1xAAA LED flashlight with a titanium alloy body, recessed "reverse clicky" tail switch and a Cree XP-G2 cool white tinted LED emitter. It features a snap-on pocket clip which I believe is steel. It even has a glow-in-the-dark o-ring inside the head, next to the textured reflector and the AR coated lens.

A Whole Bunch of AAA FlashlightsLumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Shown With Aluminum Tool


Official Specs (From Lumintop)


Bulb
Cree XP-G2 R5 LED
Nichia 219BTLED
Output / runtime
5 lumens (36 Hours)                         
32 lumens (4 Hours)
110 lumens (30 Minutes)                        
3 lumens (36 Hours)                         
18 lumens (4 Hours)                       
80 lumens (30 Minutes)                    
Max Beam Intensity
553cd
304cd
Max Beam Distance
47 Meters
34 Meters
Modes
3 Modes(Low-Mid(Default)-High)
Size
Length: 2.91" (74mm)
Head Diameter: 0.56" (14.4mm)
Body Diameter: 0.56"(14.4mm)
N.W
0.78oz(22g)
Working Voltage
0.9v-1.5v
Battery Type
1 X AAA (10440 Not Supported)
Water Resistant
IPX-8 (2 meters)
Impact Resistant
1.5 meters
Accessories
O-ring, Keychain, Reversible clip
EAN/UPC Code
6933165916029
889709160280

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - In Box 1

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - In Box 2


Initial Impressions


Lately I've been really busy, so this review sample sat in a box on my desk for a few days. But I knew I would probably like it, so I wasn't disappointed when I finally unboxed it.
Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - In Box 3

At first I thought it was a "twisty" where you twist the head to power it on and off, because it is so much shorter than my other clicky lxAAA lights. It has a very short throw, recessed tail switch, which is completely flush with the tail. Nicey nice.

Looking it over, everything about it is sexy. It looks to be beautifully designed and executed. I'm a strong believer in first impressions, and this light definitely made a good first impression.

However, being a grumpy old man means that I have the innate ability to find fault with anything, and with this product it's the snap-on pocket clip. I just don't like these kind of clips, mainly because I've lost several flashlights where the clip detaches.

Build Quality


This flashlight costs 70 dollars, and that's a huge sum for a 1xAAA flashlight. Capable lights of this format like my Thrunite Ti5 run less than half the price of this version.

Given that the Tool Ti is the upper echelon of single AAA flashlights, it better be well built because the type of person that's going to buy it is going to have very high expectation. And it is very well built.

The materials, machining and circuitry are all first rate. They didn't skimp or cut any corners that I could tell.

Fit and Finish


Perfect overall. Again, being at the top of its price range, it better have an impressive fit and finish, and it does. It's not possible to have a titanium body without the threads being a little gritty, so I won't ding them for it.

It's hard to find any flaw in the finish. The knurling is machined well for it being titanium, and overall the finish just pops. Everything is as it should be: centered LED, lubed o-ring, lens, reflector, tail switch--it's as good as I would expect for the price range.

Extra points for machining of the switch and the tight fit of the pocket clip. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of snap-on clips, but this one is done well at least. Also extra points for the glow-in-the-dark o-ring inside the bezel.

The feel of the tail switch started out a little gritty like so many other lights I've reviewed, but after a few dozen cycles on the switch, it seems fine now. I do have some concerns that it could get dirt inside the switch, but it's holding up well so far.

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Product View 1

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Product View 2

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Product View 3

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Product View 4

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Product View 5

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Product View 6


Batteries


AAA batteries are about as common as you can get, and the Tool Ti will take alkaline or lithium primary non-rechargeable batteries, as well as any type of NiMH or NiCd rechargeable cells. I did not try a 10440 lithium-ion cell because a friend of mine read one of my reviews and fried his Thrunite Ti3 with a 10440 cell, even though it worked for me. So, I've stopped being daring for now.

For the most part I use Eneloop Pro batteries for common AA and AAA rechargeable batteries.

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - With AAA Batteries


LED Emitter


This version of the Lumintop Tool uses a cool white tinted Cree XP-G2 emitter, which is very efficient and a good choice for a flashlight in this single AAA format. It's a medium die LED, which means it's just going to put out a solid wall of light coupled with a small reflector.

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Cree XP-G2 LED Emitter

Tail Switch


The flashlight is turned on and off via a recessed "reverse clicky" tail switch. I thought maybe it was an electronic switch of the type commonly found on cameras, but after using it, I'm pretty sure this is just a very short throw mechanical switch.

Many manufacturers get this type of metallic, recessed switch wrong, to where it only has a good feel if you press it dead-on, but this one doesn't suffer too much from that effect. It does have a better feel if pressed straight in the center, but it also has a decent feel when pressed from any angle, and that's impressive.

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Tail Switch 3Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Tail Switch 1Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Tail Switch 2




User Interface


This model uses a common reverse clicky tail switch to turn the light on and off as well as cycling through the three output modes. A full press will make the switch engage to turn on the light, and a half press will cycle between output modes without engaging the switch all the way to turn it off.

This type of user interface is very intuitive to most people

Modes


There are three modes: low, medium and high, and they are well spaced as far as output goes.

The mode order is:

Medium-->Low-->High

My preferred mode order is normally Low-->Medium-->High but it's not a huge deal to me. There does appear to be mode memory. I really like the 5 lumen mode coupled with the efficient circuitry, which makes this an ideal flashlight for emergencies due to the long run time on low mode.

Output


For such a high tech product, the output levels are fairly conservative. It's brightest setting doesn't push the envelope, and that's fine with me. The upside to tuning down the max output is that the light won't get uncomfortably warm, and it extends the run time.

While I don't have a light sphere to precisely measure the output, I have lots of small flashlights to compare it to, and I believe it's a bit below its stated output of 110 lumens on high mode.

Circuitry


I would expect a high end light to have first rate circuitry and this one does. There is no trace of PWM on my model, making this a good candidate for survival / emergency preparedness applications because of the efficient circuitry.

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - PWM Test
My cell phone camera detects a constant output--very efficient!


Tint


The downside to coupling the efficient XP-G2 emitter with a high efficiency circuit is that the tint is going to suffer, especially on the lower modes. It's not horrible though, and it's obvious they made an attempt to make it more on the neutral side and not that sickly greenish tint some makers have.

There is a version of this Tool Ti with a neutral tinted Nichia LED emitter in it, which probably would've been my first choice. This happens to be the model they sent me. However the Nichia LED would come at a cost of less output, which is already a little on the low side. It's usually a no-brainer to me though, and if you're a "tint snob" like I am, you might as well go all the way if you're going to pay this much.

But overall the tint is acceptable, and while not ideal to me as a tint snob, it's not a deal breaker.

Beam


The beam on my review sample is pure flood, as I would expect from a tiny light, with a tiny reflector and the medium die size XP-G2. This configuration is ideal for every day carry (EDC) tasks. The textured, "orange peel" reflector makes the beam nice and uniform.

The lens has an anti-reflective (AR) coating just like I would expect for the price range.

Pocket Clip


Normally I can't stand these style of clip-on pocket clips.They tend to fall off during heavy use, and you either end up with the flashlight in your pocket and the clip somewhere far away, or you lose both.

However, this clip fits pretty snug, and I would expect it to hold on under even hard use. So far, so good, but I wish they would take the lead of other companies like EagleTac and more recently Thrunite when it comes to pocket clips. I noticed they have a new model out with a proper mounted clip.

The clip on this model is reversible, which is handy to clip the flashlight to your ball cap and use it as a makeshift headlamp. Not my first choice of head lamps, but perfectly fine in a pinch.

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Clip 1


Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Clip 2



Usability


One of the most important things I test for is usability. If it's a shiny work of art, that's great, but for me it's all about the functionality.

The ergonomics on this model are excellent and it's a joy to carry and use every day. The clip is more rigid than I'm used to seeing with snap-on type clips and that's a big deal to me, in a good way. It carries fairly well and gives me a decent amount of confidence that it's not just going to fall off.

Something to point out is that for whatever reason, I sometimes accidentally click the switch when I tuck it into my pocket. My thumb naturally wants to press there, which is great when I intentionally turn it on. Just something to think about. Sometimes I pull it out of my pocket to find that, yep, I turned it on when I put it in my pocket.

Overall this is a very usable light. It's compact, with a high efficiency circuit and a good balance between output and run time. The tail switch has an excellent feel to it, and the other touches like the GITD o-ring in the front just make me like it more.

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - In Hand 1

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - In Hand 2

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - In Hand 3


Weights & Measures


Most of the weight of this type of flashlight is going to be in the battery, so it's not surprising that it doesn't feel much lighter.

It's worth noting how tiny this flashlight is because of the short, recessed tail switch.

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Calipers Measurement 1

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - Calipers Measurement 2

Lumintop Tool Ti AAA Flaslight - On Scale



Conclusions


The original Tool made it into my EDC bag but I liked the Thrunite Ti5 better for every day carry. The Tool Ti now makes it too close to call. The Ti5 is a little brighter with a creamy, warm tint, but everything else about the Tool blows it away. I would guess that the version of the tool with the Nichia LED would make me abandon the Ti5 completely just because I love the recessed switch.

Either way this is a solid product, even at the 70 dollar price point. It's well designed, well built and classy as hell. This is a model which can be appreciated whether you're a "flashaholic" or an executive like your uncle, Bob. They did a good job on the Tool, and I'm happy to see a manufacturer giving some love to the small, pocket-able flashlights.