Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Thrunite Ti3 [1xAAA EDC Flashlight]

Thrunite had my number a long time ago with features like moonlight modes and mode memory. One of the first things I learned collecting flashlights is that people really don't appreciate having bright lights pointed at their faces. It can be great having a lot of output sometimes, but more often than not, you just don't need a lot of light for looking for your keys on the floor or changing a tire on the side of the road. In fact, in some of those cases you would rather have run time over output. So I always pay attention when new 1xAAA EDC type lights come out. I saw it on Thrunite's Facebook page and I went straight to Amazon to buy one.

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product Link
Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product Link

Product Description


The Ti3 is a 1xAAA "twisty" flashlight which has the latest Cree XP-G2 emitter inside. Unlike previous incarnations (Ti and Ti2) which had two modes with a 2 stage switch, the Ti3 is a run of the mill twisty with a spring in the tail just like you would expect. It also gains an extra mode, making it 3 modes plus a hidden strobe.

Official Specs (From Thrunite)


qq-20140717151656.jpg



Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Shown with MTech MT-20-30 Fixed Blade Knife
Shown with my MTech MT-20-30 mini fixed blade knife

Shown with a Spyderco Dragonfly pocket knife and Casio MDV106 diver's watch

Thrunite Ti, Ti2 and Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlights
Here you can see that the Ti3 is a radical departure from its predecessors

From Left: Thrunite Ti Firefly, Ti, Ti2,  Ti3 and Sanyo Eneloop AAA battery
From Left: Thrunite Ti Firefly, Ti, Ti2,  Ti3 and Sanyo Eneloop AAA battery

All Thrunite, from left: Thrunite T10S, T10T NW, Neutron 1C, original T10, Ti, Ti2 and Ti3
All Thrunite, from left: Thrunite T10T NW, T10S, Neutron 1C, original T10, Ti Firefly, Ti, Ti2 and Ti3

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product View 1

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product View 2Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product View 3


Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product View 4

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Cree XP-G2 LED Emitter Closeup
Closeup of Cree XP-G2 Emitter
Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product View 5
Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product View 6Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product View 9
Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product View 7

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Product View 8



First Impressions


I was expecting an evolution of their Ti serious with the 2 stage twisty switch, but what I got was something that looked more like an Olight I3S than anything from Thrunite's Ti series. I actually liked the 2 stage design, but I was probably the only one. And most of my Ti's had to have the little tab bent to make the light work right. But I certainly understand why they did away with the hassles of that design and went with something more conventional. I've always liked the classic twisty design so this change is fine by me.

This light gave me a great first impression and so far I'm pretty infatuated with it. Enough so to where right off the bat I could see this model was aimed straight at the I3S. It's even constant current in all modes. I really like the knurling. I also really like the reversible clip, though I've already used it to damage the knurling that I like.

Build Quality


I've had mixed feelings about Thrunite's build quality for some time, but that has slowly been changing as I buy more of their products. I still have some minor complaints such as the clip on their new T10 series. But I have no quality gripes with my T3. It's well put together and well machined.

The clip on the T3 is still a little on the thin side, but it thankfully seems to be rigid enough not to bend like the clips on my T10S and T10T. Time will tell, though.

Overall this looks like a well built and machined light. It had to be to compete with the I3S.

Fit and Finish


Overall, excellent. It came with a couple small scratches on the clip, but that's about it for flaws. The knurling is aggressive and cut perfectly, giving it a really good grip. It hits all the other marks: perfectly centered emitter (which is a pet peeve), lettering, threads, o-ring, grease, everything good.

Of course, reversing the clip scratches the light up pretty good, which is kind of a shame.

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Fit and Finish 1Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Fit and Finish 2Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Fit and Finish 3



Modes


The T3 has 4 modes total: Moonlight, Low, High and Strobe. As this is a "twisty" interface, you change modes by twisting to cycle the flashlight on and off. Another reason I like Thrunite lights for EDC is that most of them have a low-medium-high mode order, which this one also has. It's a personal preference.

Cycling through the mode groups twice will activate the hidden strobe mode.

Thrunite Ti3 Animated Modes GIF


Output


The circuitry in this model pushes a regular AAA battery pretty hard, and so the output on high rivals some of my flashlights running a 10440 lithium-ion battery. Which also means the body gets fairly hot. Not hot enough to damage the light, but probably just short of that. I left it unattended a few minutes for my test, but I would avoid doing that in normal use, keeping it in my hand to dissipate some of the heat.


Mode Memory?


This model has some kind of what I can only call short term memory. It retains the last mode you used, but resets after X amount of time, with X being a number I haven't figured out yet. Math is hard. I didn't really like this at first, but it's grown on me a little. I can see why they did it: You can be guaranteed that if you wake up in the middle of the night, the light will come on in moon light mode. But if you are walking around the house looking for what the dog did with your wallet, it will remember the mode you have it on.

PWM


I could find no trace of PWM on any mode using the cell phone camera method of detection. It's always gratifying to see an efficient circuit that doesn't really sacrifice tint. Constant current design is a requirement for me personally for all the survival kits I make, including my own 72 hour emergency "bug out" bag.

Beam


The textured "orange peel" reflector coupled with the larger-die Cree XP-G2 LED gives the T3 a smooth, floody beam which is well suited to an EDC type flashlight such as this one. Sometimes I miss the smaller-die XP-G for seeing my dogs across a large back yard, but for the most part flood is much better than throw for every day use.

10440?


This light can indeed utilize a 3.7 volt 10440 lithium-ion battery. The moonlight works normally, and the high and strobe are absolute beasts. The medium is almost as high as the high mode, though. Not really a complaint, but it's nice when manufacturers give a nod to enthusiasts and account for these li-ion batteries in their designs.

Run Time Tests

All tests performed with a Sanyo Eneloop AAA NiMH low self discharge cell.

Notes:


ModeStatedTested
Moonlight115 hours-
Low6 hours, 20 minutes11 hours, 5 minutes
High1/2 hour1 hour, 20 minutes

  • Gets pretty hot on high, even with an Eneloop in it.
  • Started dimming noticeably on high after 30 minutes

Tint


The tint on my sample is cool white, with no trace of the green-ish or blue-ish tinge sometimes seen with constant current designs.

Thrunite Ti3 Tint Comparison
Tint Comparison From Left: Fenix E01, Thrunite Ti Firefly, Ti2, Ti3, Olight I3S


Clip


This model has a reversible clip. It uses a snap-on type clip which is a little on the thin side but the clip design is well done and the clip seems sturdy enough. I guess with the last couple lights, I'm lucky to have a clip that's acceptable. Like most flashlight manufacturers, they aren't exactly setting the bar very high.

One thing I do not like about this design is that reversing the clip back and forth really scratches up the body and the edge of the knurling. They should have left a little slack at the end of the knurling to at least prevent that.

But all things considered, it's a good design. The reversible clip is great for using it in a pinch as a headlamp by clipping onto a ball cap.


Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Clip 1

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Clip 2Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Clip 3


Tail


The T3's tail is flat, with a lanyard attachment point angled in such a way that it doesn't interfere with the flashlight's tail standing. Which means this model will tail stand, letting you bounce light off the ceiling and use it as a makeshift lamp. I do this a lot with my flashlights.

There's also an attachment point for a keychain or lanyard.

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Closeup of Tail



Comparison to Olight I3S


  • Slightly better build quality
  • Aggressive knurling
  • Better twist feel
  • L-M-H mode order
  •  Better tint
  •  Better output on high
  •  Doesn’t have that weird stuck-on-medium problem my I3S sometimes gets and which Olight never saw fit to comment on

Usability


This was one of those times where I received a new flashlight and then took it on a long road trip, and this trip turned out to be a pretty good test of the T3's abilities. The twist action has a great feel to it, and the beam is nice and floody for EDC use. I actually prefer these type of lights to be less floody, but the die size on LED emitters keeps getting larger and larger, so I guess it's inevitable.

The deep carry clip appears sturdy and carries well. The clip holds snug, and the unit is compact, so at one point I had it clipped to the change pocket on my bluejeans and thought I lost it.

The modes are well spaced, or should I say the low mode is set correctly. I wish most of these companies would just add another medium mode, but getting the low mode right is the next best thing. The output on high is fantastic. The XP-G2 does well in a 1xAAA form factor: you get efficiency and output.

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Held in Hand


Conclusions


It seems pretty clear that they built this light to compete with the Olight I3S, and I think that for the most party they built a better product. It has everything I like about the I3S but the build quality is a little better, it doesn't have the stuck-on-medium quirk that my particular I3S has, and it has my preferred mode order.

Opening up the package I thought I was getting a slightly upgraded Ti model, but I got something even better: a much improved I3S. My next ranking is definitely going to show this in the #1 spot unless something better comes out before I write it.

Gallery


Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Packaging 1

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Packaging 2

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Packaging 3

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Packaging 4

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Packaging 5

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Next To Ruler

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: On Scale

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Caliper Measurement 1

Thrunite Ti3 1xAAA EDC Flashlight: Caliper Measurement 2




5 comments:

  1. I wonder if you've encountered an issue with this light that I have. On a freshly charged Eneloop, it will sometimes not turn on unless I unscrew it completely and screw it back together. The issue seems to get better as the battery gets used.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, but I've seen similar issues with other lights. It almost sounds like yours is defective.

      Delete
  2. Hi, I'm going to buy this flashlight, but I found 2 models on the website thrunite:

    - ThruNite Ti3 EDC Cree XP-L AAA Torch 130 Lumens
    - ThruNite Ti3 XP-G2 120 Lumen Flashlight

    any main differences between the 2? which one choose?

    ReplyDelete