Reviewer’s Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
|Battery:||AAA or 10440|
|LED Type:||Cree XP-E|
|Date Ordered:||10 Mar 2012|
- Very nice build quality
- 3 modes
- Better throw than iTP A3
- Has memory (sort of)
- Short runtime on High
- Mode order is H-M-L
- Takes 2-3 seconds for memory to set
- No clip
There is already a very extensive review of this light done by Kreisler. I thought I would do a review comparing the light to the very popular iTP A3 EOS, which has since been updated as the Olight i3 EOS. I really like the A3 and it has lived on my keychain since I got my first one a couple of years ago.
Features / Value: 5 out of 5
The light is pretty simple. It is a 3-mode light that is small enough to go on a keychain easily, but it packs a powerful punch with a Cree XP-E LED (claimed R2 bin). Works great on a NiMH battery, but becomes a mighty might with a 10440, just like the A3. Unlike the A3, it tailstands just fine, even with the split ring attached. The mode order is High, Medium, Low, which is backwards to me, but at least there are no strobes. The memory sets after the light is on for 2-3 seconds, which is too long, but I have other lights like that, so I’m used to it. The reflector is smooth which gives this light a little better focus and throw than the iTP.
The value is quite good. The light is advertised at DinoDirect for $13.69, but I bought it along with an Enlan knife and a couple of cases for 18650’s, putting my order just over $30. This allowed me to use a $5 discount code, so I’m saying the net cost was $11.69, applying part of the discount towards this light. That is a great price for a light of this quality and significantly less than the 3-mode iTP A3 which usually was around $20. The light is also available from a number of other dealers, including Manafont. Lately it has been introduced in gray and a pinkish purple color. According to Kreisler, my sample is a version 2 of the light.
The light comes in a nice tin Altoids type tin, including the keyring attachment and some extra o-rings. There seems to be space in the box for a battery, but I’m okay with the battery being left out.
Design / Build Quality: 5 out of 5
The build quality and design of this light are absolutely first rate. It is competitive with the iTP A3 EOS in just about every aspect and even exceeds it in some ways. While it does not have a clip, it has an anti-roll head that keeps it in place and you can attach a lanyard. The anodizing seems very good, HA III is claimed. The lettering is neat, there is a good o-ring at the head joint that works and even came lightly lubed. The threads are very smooth and tight, and much longer than the iTP, as you can see in the picture below with the E09 on the left and the beat up A3 on the right.
Some people have reported off-center LED’s or malfunctioning lights, so the quality isn’t assured, but the one I got seems pretty much flawless.
Battery Life: 2 out of 5
For battery life I will use my scale where 1 star for 0-15 minutes, 2 stars for 15-30 minutes, 3 for 30-60 minutes, 4 for 60-120 minutes, and 5 for anything over 120 minutes. I can’t log the information, so I measure the current draw, then let the light run, and stop periodically to get a reading on the at-rest battery voltage and latest current draw. On a fully charged Eneloop 800mAh battery, I got 25 minutes, so that is 2 stars. This thing has quite a draw of 1.7A from the tiny Eneloop. At 25 minutes the battery was empty and while I was able to take a current reading, it was dropping very fast. Still, the current draw is very consistent at 1700mA almost the entire time.
|Time (hr:min)||Battery (v)||High (mA)||Med (mA)||Low (mA)|
Because the light got very warm, almost hot with a NiMH, for the lithium ion testing I put the head down in a shallow pan of water for better cooling. 10440’s driven hard (and that’s the only way to drive them, really) don’t last long. Mine may be in poor shape (based on the numbers below, I calculate 140mAh capacity while the label claims 600mAh), getting only 10 minutes of runtime from the light. After the first 5 minutes almost depleted the battery, I checked again at 8 minutes just to make sure I wasn’t going too low. The voltage is measured at rest. Less than 15 minutes of runtime earns this 1 star for lithium ion, though I think I could get at least twice this if the battery was in better shape.
|Time (hr:min)||Battery (V)||High (mA)||Med (mA)||Low (mA)|
Here is a comparison of the two lights. The Tank007 is definitely a little bigger, but still small enough for a keychain. Length is 70.2mm vs. 67.1mm for the iTP (69.4mm if you include the keychain attachment that the iTP has). Weight without battery is 13.1g for the E09 and 10.3 for the A3 without clip.
Light Output: 4 out of 5
The E09 is on the left and the A3 is on the right. The lights are 50cm from the wall. Powered by NiMH batteries and both lights on high, the exposure is set to 1/100th second to get something like what you see in real life. This picture makes it look like the iTP has a greenish tint, but there really isn’t that much difference. I really like the tint of the E09, not too cool, and maybe leaning a little towards neutral. The smooth reflector makes for a tighter hotspot than the textured reflector of the A3. Newer A3’s and the i3’s have a Cree XP-G LED for an even bigger hotspot than my second generation A3 which has an XP-E.
Now the exposure is stepped down to 1/400th second:
And down to 1/1600th second. The E09 seems to have a brighter tighter hotspot.
Now both lights on Low at 1/100th second. I’ve always like the A3’s Low and the E09 seems to be about the same:
Both on Medium, again roughly equivalent.
Now I’ll put an uprotected 10440 in each of the lights and do the same comparison. Again, they are pretty equal, but I have to give the edge to the E09 (mouse over for a comparison to NiMH for each of these).
Now with the exposure at 1/400th second:
And at 1/1600th second:
Outdoors. There is a lot of pollen in the air right now, but for the most part these pictures seem to have turned out alright. The plant is about 25 feet away and the light is aimed at the fence posts which are about 100 feet away. Obviously you’re not going to get the kind of throw you would with a P60 light, but just being able to see the fence posts is pretty good for a light this size. The exposure is 4 seconds which makes the pictures taken on High seem about equal to what I see, but underexposes what I see on Low. The Low is probably around a lumen or two, like the iTP A3, but even that is enough to show the plant at 25′, though it does not show up in the picture (mouse over to compare with the iTP A3 EOS, also on NiMH):
Now again with NiMH but on Medium (mouseover for A3):
And on High with NiMH, the Tank007 seems brighter:
Now with an unprotected blue Ultrafire li-ion 10440 this thing cranks out some light, but first on Low (mouse over for A3):
Now on Medium with a 10440 (I’m in my backyard taking pictures of flashlight beams at 1:30 in the morning and a car goes by in the background!):
And on High:
And here is the same picture, but this time the mouseover is the E09 on NiMH:
Now, for comparison. Here is a my Sunwayman V10A with a Cree XP-G powered by li-ion (mouse over for the E09 on li-ion):
And my Unquefire UF-2100 with a Cree XM-L with li-ion 18650:
Now here are details of the fence posts so you can compare throw. The first row is the A3 on NiMH and li-ion. Then the E09 on NiMH and li-ion. The last row is the V10A and 2100. I’ll give the edge to the E09 on NiMH, but they are about equal on li-ion.
The E09 has PWM (rapid flashing to simulate a Low). The rate is about the same as the original iTP A3 EOS, which wasn’t great. The second generation A3 increased the speed quite a bit. Below is a 1/20th second exposure. The light flashes 9 times, so that comes out to 180 Hz. My second generation A3 gives a smooth line with this test, so the PWM isn’t noticeable. But even the first generation A3 I have gets 11 flashes instead of 9, so it has a rate of about 220 Hz. The BLF Edition Tank007 E07 has the same PWM rate of 9 pulses in 1/20th second. I do not like PWM, so I’m taking off a star for light output.
Summary: 5 out of 5
Despite some shortcomings, to me this is a great little light, and I would have no problem recommending it instead of the more expensive iTP A3 EOS unless you just really want a clip or absolutely can’t deal with the higher defect rate of the Tank007. Due to the high draw on NiMH batteries, I would recommend only using LSD cells. I think 10440’s can work just like they do with the A3, but do exercise caution.