Friday, October 28, 2016

Review: Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight]

I'm finally getting to the box of flashlights that Lumintop sent me for review. I'm still working on the video, but I figured I'd get the written review done first and then add the video later. This is a review of the Lumintop Prince LED flashlight in brass. Lumintop wanted me to mention their Amazon store.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Product Link


Video Review


This is my first real video review. I'm still learning how to do video editing so hopefully it's not horrible.



Product Description


The Prince is an EDC style flashlight that takes a single 18650 lithium-ion cell, which is supplied with the unit. This is clearly their high end EDC light made from brass and sporting polished carbon fiber. It even comes with a deluxe looking leather sheath with a spare battery slot. The supplied 18650 cell is a re-wrapped Panasonic 3400 mAh. Hot action.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - With Leatherman Wave and Spyderco Native

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - And Friends


Official Specs (From Lumintop)


Model
Prince SS
Prince Brass
Prince Copper
Bulb
Cree XM-L2(U2)
Output / runtime
25 lumens (65 Hours)
170 lumens (11 Hours)
1000 lumens (2.5 Hours)
Max Beam Intensity
7110cd
Max Beam Distance
169 Meters
Modes
3 Modes(Low(Default)-Mid-High)
Size
Length: 4.49" (114mm)
Head Diameter: 0.87" (22mm)
Body Diameter: 0.87"(22mm)
N.W
3.74oz(106g)
3.88oz(110g)
3.99oz(113g)
Working Voltage
3v-8.4v
Battery Type
1 x 18650 /2 x CR123
Water Resistant
IPX-8 (2 meters)
Impact Resistant
1.5 meters
Accessories
2 x O-ring, Holster
EAN/UPC
6933165916043
889709160488

Initial Impressions


When the package came, I was with a bunch of people, and I opened this flashlight first. My brother in law said "wow that's sexy!" and started looking at it. Everything just exceeded my expectations even given that this is an 80 dollar flashlight. The nice looking leather sheath and the high end battery just added to the overall impression that this light is worth the money.

The way I do my reviews is: the better of an initial impression I have of something, the harder I look for something I don't like about it. The high end battery is a little heavy to begin with, and this light is solid brass, so it's probably a little on the heavy side for me personally. But my brother in law carries a flashlight as part of his job and likes the solid feel of it, and within the first couple minutes it was clear that as soon as I did the review, this would be his precious.

A couple of my pet peeves for this type of flashlight are the snap-on type clips, which usually snap off at the worst possible time, and off-center LED emitters. And with the recessed tail switches I look at rattle.

The clip is mounted with screws and looks to be solid brass, the switch has a good feel, the LED is well mounted, the reflector looks flawless, the carbon fiber handle looks flawless and so does the brass overall. None of my pet peeves are present.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - In Box 1

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - In Box 2

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - In Box 3


Build Quality


80 dollars is a lot to spend on a flashlight, and there are probably hundreds of good models you could get for that same money. At this price point, for this luxury style EDC type of light, I expect everything to be pretty close to perfect: materials, machining, finish, circuitry, sheath--everything!

As far as I can tell Lumintop didn't cut any corners with this product. The sheath looks great, and the included battery is the best one money can buy. It would've been nice to see matching brass mounting screws for the beautiful brass clip, but overall I'm really impressed with the build quality.

Fit & Finish


Overall, perfect. I hate to call something perfect when it was given to me for free, but I honestly can't find anything wrong with the fit and finish. The switch has what looks like could either be a scratch or a part of the design.

None of my pet peeves are there. The LED is perfectly centered. The smooth reflector and AR coated lens look perfect. The recessed metal switch has almost no rattle. The clip looks beautiful, has a good feel and looks solidly mounted.

The brass body looks awesome but smudges easily. It's hard to get good photos of it. And the carbon fiber looks absolutely fantastic.

Even at an 80 dollar price point, you're not going to get a high end, hand-stitched leather sheath. And most of the leather sheaths on fixed blade knives in this price range are universally awful, so it's a pleasant surprise to see such a good finish on what's obviously a cheap sheath.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Product View 1

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Product View 2

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Product View 3

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Product View 4

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Product View 5



Sheath


As I said above, the included leather sheath is a pleasant surprise, especially given that it also has a spare battery pocket with its own little snap to hold it in place. The stitching is good and the leather is well treated. The quality is about as good as I've seen on a sheath made in China.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Sheath View 1

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Sheath View 2

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Sheath View 3

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Sheath View 4

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Sheath View 5

Battery


Included with this product is a Lumintop branded, re-wrapped Panasonic 18650 lithium-ion cell with a 3400 mAh capacity. It's the best they make. The only problem with this type of cell is that it's usually too large to fit most flashlights, but this one obviously fits since it's included.

There's an old saying: I believe none of what I hear and only half of what I see. So luckily when it comes to batteries, I have an analyzing charger that can test the real world capacity of a cell. For the longest time manufacturers were using cheap cells and just lying about the capacity, but smart chargers are cheap now, and clearly companies are taking notice for higher end products.

The included cell tested at 3285 mAh which is well within the specs for a genuine Panasonic cell.
Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Battery 1

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Battery 2
Notice above that it has the Panasonic part number

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Battery 3


Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Battery Capacity Test


Bezel / Head


The Prince features a solid brass head with a smooth aluminum reflector and an anti-reflective glass lens. The smooth reflector is an odd choice for this style of light, but it's still well done.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Bezel View 1

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Bezel View 2


LED 


This model uses the Cree XM-L2 LED emitter just like most of the lights in this size and price range. I wish they offered a warmer Nichia LED as an option, but the XM-L2 is still a fine choice, and gives about the highest output a flashlight this size can realistically put out.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - LED View


Beam


Smooth reflectors are normally used on lights with a a lot of "throw" to get a tighter hot spot and make the light carry farther. EDC type flashlights on the other hand normally use a textured "orange peel" type of reflector.

What does this all mean? It means that this light has a very interesting beam pattern for this style of EDC flashlight. It's "floody" like a light with a reflector this small will have to be, but it has more throw than most lights in this class. Not really better or worse--just different.

The tint is definitely neutral-ish even though it's not listed specifically as a NW or WW version.

User Interface


There's three modes which are controlled with the tail switch. You click the switch to turn it on, and half-click the switch to change modes. Most new users to this type of interface tend to click the light on and off completely to change modes, which also works.

The mode order is Low-->Medium-->High and the modes are well spaced. There are no hidden "disco" type modes like strobe, beacon, etc., which is fine by me.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Modes Animation


Circuitry


Another one of my pet peeves with flashlights is when products  use PWM to cut corners with the circuitry and/or tinker with the tint instead of using hand picked LEDs.

Using the cell phone camera method, the circuitry looks silky smooth, with no trace of flickering, efficiency-stealing PWM. I only use constant current type of circuits for survival bags. This is an EDC style flashlight, but in an emergency this type of circuitry is ideal, where you can choose to have a lot of light for a little while or a little light for a long while.

Tail Switch


The Prince uses a recessed mechanical tail switch of the "reverse clicky" variety, which is a common choice for this style of light. The switch has a superb feel with only a little bit of chatter. One of the things I don't like about some recessed switches is that they have such a short throw, and it's awkward changing modes.

But the throw on this switch is a little longer than most, which contributes to the good feel.

Another problem with metal, recessed mechanical switches is that they only work really well if you press on them in the exact center of the switch. And here finally I find something I don't like about this flashlight: if you press toward the very outside of the switch, it's possible to make the switch get stuck!

It's not a deal breaker, but what I would like to see is more lights of this class use electronic switches in the tail. This switch is pretty good though for the type of switch it is. If you press in the center of the switch, it has a really good feel.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Tail Switch


Deep Carry Pocket Clip


There have only been a few companies like EagleTac and Nitecore which really focus on making the kind of clips that you can carry and use every day reliably. Lately more companies have been paying attention to the enthusiasts and making products where the pocket clip isn't flimsy or just an afterthought.

My sample has a brass body and the clip seems to be made of brass too. The steel screws make it look a little cheap, but I have to look really closely at it to see that the screws look out of place.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Clip View 1


Functionally this looks to be a well designed and implemented deep carry clip. It does seem maybe a little thin, but it has the "goldilocks just right" feel to it, where it's not too stiff or too loose. Time will tell though...

Usability


This flashlight is maybe a little on the heavy side for me, but it's well designed and well built. I personally would carry it in my pocket because I like the clip, but the sheath would be a good choice as well, which is I believe is how my brother in law plans to carry it. The extra battery pocket on the sheath is a nice touch. Someone who carries and uses a light of this type every day could easily need to carry a spare.

Day to day, this light pretty much blends together with other lights in its price range when it comes to functionality. Good quality single cell 18650 flashlights with a good switch and good circuitry are pretty common.

Where this light really stands out is the materials and finish. My brother in law is borrowing an Olight with similar features and performance as the Prince. But with the solid brass construction and the carbon fiber handles, it's as stylish as it is functional.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - In Hand 1

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - In Hand 2

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - In Hand 3


Weights & Measures


At 5.5 ounces with included battery, it's very heavy! It's also very solid.

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - On Scale

Lumintop Prince (Brass) [1x18650 EDC Flashlight] - Next To Ruler


Conclusions


Solid brass and steel flashlights are usually a little heavy for me personally, but I would make an exception for this one if it wasn't already promised to a family member. A really good deep carry clip makes a heavy object feel much lighter in the right pair of jeans or pants, and this one has a really good clip.

Overall this flashlight is superbly designed and executed, and in my opinion worth the money even given its steep price. My only real criticism is the squeaky metal tail switch, but that's actually common even on high end lights with this type of switch. Again, I wish they'd just use an electronic two-stage "camera" switch that some lights are using.

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