Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: Thrunite Ti XP-L Christmas Edition [AAA Flashlight]

I've always been a fan of the Ti series. Thrunite has kept the Ti with the times, and now here's a Titanium version with the Cree XP-L LED inside it. They make a TiS version which looks nearly identical except with the Cree XP-G2 in it, but I couldn't resist having a light with the XP-L in it, so I bought this Christmas Edition model from Amazon.




Product Description


This is a titanium version of their now-classic Ti series. At some point they changed from the snazzy but unreliable two stage switch and basically just copied Olight's I3S, which is fine because I like their implementation better.

This "Christmas Edition" features a titanium alloy body and a Cree XP-L emitter with three modes: moonlight, medium and high. It's a "twisty" where you twist on an off to change modes.







Official Specs (From Amazon)


Cool White
  • Small but powerful one AAA flashlight, max output up to 162 lumens; OP Reflector
  • Equipped with the advanced Cree XP-L V4 LED with a lifespan of 20+years; Titanium alloy(TC4) body
  • Multiple modes available: firefly, low, high and strobe(hidden); Versatile applications
  • Titanium alloy body with polished finish, and OP reflector gives perfect flood.
  • Convenient twist switch for one hand operation.

Fourth Generation?


Thrunite has been making the Ti line for a while now. At some point they switched the design away from the 2-stage signature switch and toward a more traditional design suspiciously similar to the Olight I3S.



Initial Impressions

Next to its cousin, the Thrunite Ti3

They had me at titanium, and they also had me at XP-L, so this was a no-brainer to buy for review, even though I'm in the middle of moving from a McMansion to a little place in the country. Also, I thought I had lost my little Ti3 at the time, which has been through the washer now 4 times because it's so small and I tend to lose it.

It was pretty easy to guess that a large die emitter like the Cree XP-L was going to give me nothing but flood, and it was only available in CW that I could find, so I knew the tint wasn't going to be great. Titanium twisties are also known for being harder to twist because of the type of metal.

Just as I guessed, the tint is greenish, it's all flood and it's hard to twist. But the surprise is the output. This thing is a beast with just a regular Eneloop AAA battery in it. And it's much lighter than I thought it would be.

Build Quality


The build quality on my review sample is a little above average. It's supposed to be a special edition, so that makes sense. It's easy to get the machining wrong on titanium, and they got it right. The threads aren't gritty as I'd normally expect on a Ti alloy light.

The contact surface on the PCB board inside the head looks a little thin. Clicky switches fail because they are mechanical, and twisty interfaces fail because the contact material wears off the surface of the circuit board. So we'll see how it holds up.

Fit and Finish


Overall, good. My pet peeves on this type of light would be a loose fit on the head causing mode skipping, or a non-centered LED, and this unit satisfies me for both. The XP-L is such a large die LED that it would probably be hard not to center it.

The knurling isn't as sharp as I would like it to be. They probably put on the same machine they use to do the aluminum models. Because a titanium twisty is harder to twist one-handed, I would prefer the knurling to be more grippy.

Everything else, optics, o-rings--everything looks good.



User Interface


This is a "twisty" style flashlight where you rapidly twist the light on and off to change modes, and this Ti model has 3 normal modes plus strobe: Sub-lumen or so-called moonlight mode, medium and high. They took a page from EagleTac and if you do a full cycle of the modes twice, you will get the hidden strobe mode.

The flashlight always starts on moonlight and has what I call a "short term memory" like its cousin the Ti3, meaning it does have a memory but only for a very short time before it reverts to starting on moonlight.

Moonlight Mode


This model has a sub-lumen, so-called moonlight mode, which is really just a fancy way of saying that it's barely enough light to see by with dark adjusted eyes. It can be really useful for situations such as using the campground rest room without disturbing anyone, as well as extreme survival where you can get ultra-long run times.

Thrunite even made this mode lower that most other models I've used. This will please many enthusiasts, and leave non-enthusiasts scratching their head.



Mode Spacing


The mode spacing is good if you remember that this is a flashlight meant for enthusiasts, most of which appreciate that the "low" mode is barely enough light to see by with dark-adjusted eyes. Hand it to someone like my mom and they will twist it, not see light and inform you that your flashlight does not work.

Medium mode is a very good compromise between moonlight and OMG wall of light. They are not going to make everyone happy, but personally I like the spacing. Now, having said that, I find myself in a very dark, rural area where moonlight isn't as useful, and I find myself wishing they had a different version with maybe a 3-10 lumen low or something. They've done this in the past, and I think they would sell more units by having different versions.

Tint


Yeah, when you use a large die LED that probably wasn't meant for a flashlight, you're not going to get the greatest tint. They call this a CW (cool white) version, but I couldn't see that they even make a neutral white version. Honestly, I bought this one for the output.

The tint is definitely greenish on medium, and not quite as noticeable on high. The moonlight mode is too low to trigger the color receptors so the tint isn't an issue for that mode.


Output


The output is ridiculous for a flashlight this size. They claim 165 lumens and I believe them. You get a flashlight with the power of the next size up AA cell. Of course, you won't get the same run time at that output due to physics. But having a whole lot of light for a short time can still be nice. It's like having a large light in a pinch.

Beam


The beam on this model is solid flood. With a shallow reflector and huge die LED, it's basically a wall of light putting out pure flood. But the output is so good that it can light up a large area by just brute force.

Note below that moonlight mode is so low, it can't be shown in a comparative shot with the same camera settings, otherwise low would look like high, and high would look overexposed.

low mode
high mode

PWM


I could detect no trace of PWM on any mode using the cell phone camera method. The high frequency variety used on most flashlights doesn't really bother me other than the cost to efficiency, but the low kind of PWM bothers me a lot, so I always check for its presence.


Clip


A snap-on type clip is included as well as a keychain apparatus. I definitely do not like these types of clips. These clips are too loose, and if you put too much pressure on the clip, if you are lucky you will just lose the clip and the flashlight will just go into your pocket, like what happened with my Ti3. If you are unlucky, you will lose both.




Usability


Like all titanium twisties, this model is extremely light, and also a bit of a pain to operate one-handed. But I like it, and it's been my EDC since I unboxed it. The fact that it's so light is a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it's so light, I don't feel it in my pocket. It's a curse for the same reason, and like its cousin the Ti3, this one has been through the wash a handful of times. It does get a little foggy, so I know the seal isn't as good as my Ti3 which doesn't get foggy going through the washer and dryer.

But day to day it's a good light to carry. This one is basically my backup in the rural area I live in. I've lost power and all the sudden I'm standing in the dark holding my wanker ... until I remember this is in my pocket. The pure flood is a good feature for me, and this will light up a wooded area in a pinch.

Conclusions


It's a little harder to turn one-handed because of the titanium construction, but it's so light and powerful that the extra effort turning the head is worth it. I'm also not a big fan of the tint, but the output is amazing for a light this size. That is why this light is in my pocket most times. That is, when it's not being run through the washer.

I installed the clip on mine and I'm hoping that I don't lose the flashlight when the clip falls off.

Gallery









That's one ounce with battery!



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