Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: Sunwayman R01A [AAA keychain light]


Sunwayman R01A, showing the Nichia 5mm LED emitterSunwayman is a Chinese flashlight manufacturer who is making a name for themselves as a maker of higher end LED flashlights. Most of their lights range from about $80 to well over $300. They are especially known for their superb fit and finish. They have consistently shown first rate machining and anodizing across their product line.

...so I was quite happy when they released an AAA keychain flashlight in the $15 range. Previously the only way to get an R01A was to get it bundled with the fairly expensive V20C model.

Background: 5mm lights


Before I talk about the R01A, I want to give a quick background on 5mm lights. This light uses the same  Nichia 5mm LED emitter as similar models like the Fexnix E01 and the Nitecore T0. Most people used to seeing my lithium-ion powered pocket rockets are usually disappointed to see these type of lights.

First, the tint is very purple compared to most cool or neutral white LED lights. Second, the output on these emitters is a modest 12 lumens. I have never heard anyone say "oooohhhh" to one of these 5mm lights. But a pretty looking tint or blindingly-high output is not their intended purpose.

Their purpose is as a last ditch light which is virtually indestructible and with a good run time on commonly-available batteries. Most of these lights have been subjected to ridiculous abuse during testing, and their durability are well documented. The Fenix E01, for example, is "potted", i.e. sealed in solid epoxy and is considered to be literally bomb-proof. Also, the Nichia emitter itself is much more rugged than the more powerful Cree emitters that most LED flashlights uses these days.

In an emergency, these lights will work when you need them to, and give you around10 hours on a common AAA battery. It doesn't tail stand well, but as you can see below, I could get it to tail stand on a flat surface even on my keychain.

Sunwayman R01A


This light is not sealed in epoxy like the Fenix E01. I'm hoping not to be run over or blown up, so that's fine with me. But boy, she sure is a looker. The fit and finish are superb as expected. It also has square threads, which is surprising given its $15 price tag. The Nichia emitter has the same purple tint you would expect and it seems to have the same or similar driver circuit as its 5mm brothers.

NOTE: I did see a report that this light does not hold up to extreme daily use and has an issue with the metal contact being too thin and wearing down with extreme use. Not a problem for me since it only gets used once in a while. I know it will work in an emergency.

Conclusion


This one lives on my Suburban keychain full time. I really like the styling and I think it's a great balance between style and function. It's rugged, functional and it looks great.

Picture Gallery


Sunwayman R01A, showing the Nichia 5mm LED emitter

Sunwayman R01A, showing tail

Sunwayman R01A with an NiMH AAA battery

closeup of the Sunwayman R01A head


Sunwayman R01A

Sunwayman R01A on my truck keychain

Sunwayman R01A tail-stands even on a keychain

Sunwayman R01A lit on my keychain




























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