Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: BlackShadow Eva [AAA Flashlight]

BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight


As a collector of AAA flashlights, I'm always looking for something new. The BlackShadow Eva caught my eye because it's a simple design coupled with higher end fit and finish, which is something I'm not used to seeing. So, I bought one from llumination Supply. They are currently offering 25% off on all BlackShadow flashlights, and with their reasonable shipping rates, I got the Eva for only $17 shipped!

Product Description

Price: $20 online

The Eva is a single mode, twisty AAA flashlight. BlackShadow seems to be going for the simple and elegant vibe with this one. Single mode lights like this one are nice because it's not possible to be confused when operating it. Twist to get light, twist the other way to turn the light off. It's stupid simple.

BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight In Packaging Official Specs (From BlackShadow)


Dimensions: 14.5mm(HD)×70.5mm(L)×12mm(TD)
Weight: 35g(Without battery)
Color: Black
Emitter: 1×CREE XP-G R5 LED
Battery: 1/ AAA
Circuit: Digital CC circuit
Mode: High, one brightness mode
Dimming: Screwing the head to turn on or off
Lumens: 80lums
Runtime: 1h30min
Material: Aluminum alloy, Hard-III type surface finish
Lens: Impact-resistant optical lens
Reflector: Metal reflector
Head & Tail: Stainless steel head, keychain hole
Waterproof: IPX-7, unable to support dive use.
Accessories: Spare key chain, Spare O-ring, User manual and Warranty card.

Overall Design


BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Packaging Open
The Eva has a fairly elegant design. First off, it appears that this is just another pretty looking light with a slippery bezel which makes the light a pain to get enough grip on twist on/off. But the stainless steel ring is just part of the head. Right below it is a band of nice, grippy knurling. So, the light is easy to operate one you figure out that the knurling is part of the head. The stainless steel looks good but doesn't get in the way of operation. You get form and function.

The rest of the body of the light has several ridges on it for anti-roll purposes. It's only marginally effective to stop rolling, so I'm guessing it's as much for looks. The ridges also serve as a sort of counter-grip to twist the head.

The design claims that the light is capable of tail standing, but that's a stretch. It's only possible on a perfectly flat surface if you are very patient, which I am not.

BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Closeup Of Emitter
It has a smooth reflector with some sort of texturing

Emitter


The Eva uses a Cree XP-G R5 emitter, which is well suited to the AAA form factor of flashlights.
The R5s tend to have a cool white tint, which this sample has. The emitter uses a centering ring, which is normally found on larger, higher end lights. 

BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Beam Shot Beam


The Eva has some interesting optics. The beam on mine looks a little lopsided even though the emitter is well centered.

The beam on the Eva has a fairly tight hotspot for this class of AAA light. Not as tight as the throwy Thrunite Ti or the Streamlight Microstream, but a little more throw than I would expect for this type of EDC light. 

Run Time Test

2 hours, 1 minute.

I did my own test running on a 2nd generation Eneloop straight off the charger. The light started to dim noticeably almost at the 1 hour mark exactly and hit sub-lumen output at about 1:20. At 1:50 I could barely see any light, and it finally konked out at 2:01. It's nice to see companies finally giving conservative run time estimates. And it's nice to see lights that will go "vampire" and squeeze out every little bit of juice from a battery.

The run time seems pretty typical of lights in this class running on high. I hope they make an XP-G2 version, which would kick up the run time even more.

Fit And Finish


BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Closeup of Threads
The Eva looked beautiful in the photos and it's just as nice in person. This thing looks like it belongs in a tuxedo pocket or something. There's no discernible flaws in the anodizing, scratches or tool marks. The lettering on my sample is crisp and the LED appears to be intentionally well centered as part of the reflector design.

The threads look good. They are typical triangular, anodized and lubricated like they should be. There does however appear to be a little bit of dirt on the threads from looking at the pictures.

Usability


The usability of this light really surprised me. I had forgotten how useful a single mode light could be for EDC. And with the solid grip twisting it on and off, this light has held its own day to day. The Eva also has an EDC friendly beam. It's a good combination between flood and throw, with a tighter hotspot than most of my other AAA flashlights.

Conclusions


This light has turned out to be a gem, and will probably be destined for keychain duty and definitely for when I'm wearing with a suit or need to dress up like an adult. I'm sure in the end I'll go back to a multi-mode light like the Olight I3S for EDC, but this is a really useful light, and the single mode would probably be better for most people.  I intend to give some of these away as gifts.

BlackShadow hasn't been around very long, but just weighing this light on its own merits, I think it's a winner. I normally prefer multi-mode lights, but I wouldn't change a thing about this one. 

Gallery

BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Closeup of Stainless Steel Bezel
The fit and finish on mine is fantastic



BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Another Closeup of Stainless Steel Bezel
BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Closeup Of Tail
I couldn't get it to tail stand. Clearly it's designed for keychain use
BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Alternate View

BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Shown With Eneloop AAA Battery
BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Another Beam Shot


BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Closeup Of Reflector
Here you can see that the textured reflector is not perfectly uniform, giving the Eva an interesting beam pattern
BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - On Scale
Shown with a Tenergy Ni-MH AAA battery
BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Another Closeup Of ReflectorBlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Another Closeup Of EmitterBlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - Another Closeup Of Reflector With Light Turned OffBlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight - View Of Inside Of Pill


From Left: BlackShadow Eva, Olight I3S, Solarforce X3, Thrunite Ti2, L3 Illuminations L10 (Nichia), L10 (XP-G2)
From Left: BlackShadow Eva, Olight I3S, Solarforce X3, Thrunite Ti2, L3 Illuminations L10 (Nichia), L10 (XP-G2)
BlackShadow Eva AAA Flashlight, Shown With Spyderco Native, Leatherman Squirt PS4, Maxpedition CMC Wallet, ZTE Engage Android Phone
EDC Friends: Shown With Spyderco Native, Leatherman Squirt PS4, Maxpedition CMC Wallet, ZTE Engage Android Phone

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