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Thread: Sunwayman T20C XM-L Review (Pics, Beamshots, Runtimes)

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  1. #1

    Default Sunwayman T20C XM-L Review (Pics, Outdoor & Indoor Beamshots, Runtimes)

    Sunwayman burst onto CPF MP just under a year ago and has been bringing enthusiasts a continuous stream of exciting and innovative illumination tools.

    The T20C is one of their latest products and I had the pleasure of bringing a finalized production sample provided by Sunwayman that utilizes a XM-L LED with me on my camping trip to put it through its paces for this review.

    • CREE XM-L T6LED, with a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours
    • Three levels of constant output and one strobe mode (below is the output and runtime of using one single 2600mAH 18650 battery)
      Three levels of constant output:438 Lumens (2.5hrs) → 70 Lumens (35hrs) → 10 Lumens (200hrs)
      Strobe mode:438 Lumens
    • Patented new tactical switch system, only by pressing the tail cap switch for both momentary-on and mode-switching
    • Constant current circuit, constant output
    • Effective range of 180 meters
    • Compatible with both 2*CR123A(16340)batteries and one single 18650 battery
    • Working voltage:2.5~10V
    • High quality reflector maintains great throw distance and spread with an ideal beam pattern
    • Dimension:133 mm (length) * 32mm (head diameter)*25.4mm (body diameter)
    • Weight:120g (battery excluded)
    • Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy
    • Military Specification Type III hard anodized body
    • Waterproof, in accordance with IPX-8 standard
    • Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts
    • Tactical forward click switch with momentary on


    The packaging the light comes in is par for the industry. There is an outer cardboard box w/clear plastic to display the light and the light itself comes in an inner plastic shell. Included w/the light:

    -Warranty Card
    - Mini-product pamphlet
    - User manual
    - 2 spare O-rings
    - 1 spare rubber tailcap cover
    - Lanyard

    (if you haven't already, I'd recommend reading Selfbuilt's review of an early engineering sample)

    While the most obvious is the use of an XM-L T6 LED over XP-G R5 there are a few other updates as well. For starters, the reflector has been changed (although it looks to me like the same medium orange-peel reflector that was shown in Selfbuilt's review):

    There is now a cover over the positive battery spring which gives it a more refined finish and hides a different driver:

    There were some minor design details changes as well; Sunwayman's web address is now displayed prominently on the battery tube; the company logo, name and model have been moved to the head near the bezel while the serial number has been moved to the tailcap:

    There are now four flat surfaces spaced evenly around the battery tube with an oblong fluted channel in each and the flat surface has been extended to the first "ring" right behind the head:

    Last but not least, I noted that the tailcap internals is now aluminum vs. what looked to be brass on the engineering sample:

    The T20C bears a resemblance to the rest of Sunwayman's lineup but in my opinion the styling cues take after those first featured on the M40A of which they share the same circular motifs and oblong fluted channels on the flat surfaces of the battery tube:

    There is a non-removable semi-crenulated bezel, that allows one to easily see if the light is on when standing it on its head:

    Although not mentioned on the product page or User Manual, the lens features AR coating (albeit I'm not sure if it's double-sided or just the outside):

    My sample had very sharp engravings that was an improvement compared to those on my V10A:

    The anodizing is top-notch on my sample with all parts perfectly matched as can be seen in this photo in which I intentionally used flash (as this usually highlights shading differences) and paired it off against a well regarded brand:

    Under normal lighting the finish is black but (and I don't know if it comes through in this picture for you) when observed under bright direct afternoon sun, the finish looks to be dark charcoal with a hint of brown in it:

    The light has a very nice textured finish that to me is just perfect. It's not so aggressive as to be abrasive like on certain lights and provides a decent grip especially with the tactical ring removed:

    Speaking of the tactical ring, I have suggested to the mfg that they make a ring to cover the threads when the tactical ring is removed (they said they will consider it):

    Note the nice square threads.

    The rubber boot which features their logo (as with all of their lights) extends past the end of the tailcap rendering it non-tail standable:

    However, I've discoverd that tail-standing can be achieved by carefully balancing the light on the tactical ring on a level, flat surface. Not perfect but will suffice in a pinch (I made a suggestion that the ring be revised to accomodate stable tail-standing):

    Removing the tailcap reveals some nice square threads that are anodized. While there was some lube, I applied some nano-oil and it has enhanced what was already a silky smooth feel:

    An AW2600 sits just about flush with the end of the tailcap and once tightened I could not induce any rattles.

    The light utilizes a new patented "silent" switch that functions similarly to a foward-clickie w/the major exception being that there is no physical "click". It's much more subtle and not unlike the feeling of Surefire's momentary push-on tailcaps with the excpetion that only the rubber switch moves when depressed and not the entire tailcap.

    The switch is completely mechanical w/no electronics inside and the three modes and hidden strobe are all controlled by the electronics in the head. The switch works in conjunction with a piston within the battery tube that is depressed along with the switch. To illustrate this point, here is a pic of the metal prongs on the inside of the switch in normal and depressed state and the corresponding simulated normal and depressed states of the piston:

    Given the head is glued and cannot be easily taken apart, I can only speculate that the piston makes contact with the electronics in the head in order to switch the light on and off as well as triggering mode changes when depressed and held.

    The switch/piston mechanism is fairly sensitive and requires but a very light push to activate momentary mode. This can lead to accidental activation and while the tailcap can be unscrewed to prevent this, it needs to be unscrewed about 3/4 to a full turn before I was able to stop activating the light at all (even if briefly).

    When batteries are first loaded, I notice a very brief flash indicating to me that the circuit is loaded and goes into a "standby" state of sorts. I measured a parasitic drain of .508mA which helped reinforce my belief. Theoretically, on a fully charged AW2600 (and leaving the battery's self-discharge out of the equation), it would take approx. 7 months to drain the battery completely in this state (2600/.508 = 5118 hrs = 213 days).

    The light is rated to IPX-8 for dust/water ingress down to 2M. While I didn't submerge it to that depth, it was submerged briefly during the photo shoot and I didn't note any ingress of water after the session:

    The finished survived unscathed despite getting smacked lightly against the rocks by the waves in the submersion photo shoot (which lasted roughly 5 minutes or so). However, upon inspecting the tailcap recently (trip was over Memorial Day weekend), I noticed what appeared to be rust spots near the grooves on the tailcap:

    I didn't notice this on the bezel so I'm specualting that the rust is caused by one of two things:
    1) the surface of the SS was compromised during installation and thus allowing rust to build up
    2) the rust is actually caused by metallic residue from whatever tool was used to screw the tailcap on

    Of course this is all speculation on my part and given I'm no metallurgist, I'll bring this to the mfg's attention and post back their thoughts/investigation.

    The T20C is a relatively compact light for a 1x18650/2x16340 form factor. As can be seen in this pic, it's not much larger than a SF G2Z, itself one of the more compact 2 cell lights on the market:

    From L to R: Fenix TK21 | SF U2 | Olight M20 | SF E2DL | SF Z2 | SF G2Z | SF L4 | SWM T20C

    The light fits nicely in my hand and also slots in nicely in the left pouch of my Maxpedition Fatboy:

    The light feels very solidly constructed and the overall fit and finish is excellent. If Surefire is the gauge by which most would tout as offering the highest quality and fit/finish (and leaving the warranty out of the pic), Sunwayman should have every confidence about pitting this against any of their lights. Attention was paid to detail as evidenced by the fact of an added battery cover over the engineering sample.

    About the only things I can point out that could be improved upon are:
    1. The switch doesn't always engage smoothly, on certain occasions it would almost feel as if the prongs were perhaps catching on the battery tube along the way to engaging with the piston (I'll need to play around with this a bit more to isolate what I think is the true cause as this might not be it given I can't really see what's going on)
    2. There are some minor imperfections in the finish on the edges of the bezel (and this would really be being nitpicky):

      And that's really about it.
    Momentary on is engaged by lightly depressing the switch and constant on is "latched" by depressing the switch completly until it stops and then letting go within 2 seconds. If the switch is held fully depressed for longer than 2 seconds, it defaults back to momentary mode and will shut off when you let go of the switch.

    Mode changes are accomplished with the light on and then by holding down the switch to cycle through L, M, H (always sequentially in that order). So let's say you are in M, when you cycle through the modes, it will always go to the next mode in sequence so will go to H and then L. If in H, then it'll cycle to L and then M, etc. This is unlike Zebralight's UI where it will always cycle from L regardless of which mode one is currently in.

    The light has memory and will retain the last mode set even through battery changes.

    Strobe can easily be accessed with the light on or off and in any mode by quickly depressing the switch twice. However, another press of the switch will always shut off the light regardless of if it was on or off when strobe was activated. This may be bother some if they wish for the light to stay on after deactivating the strobe.

    The tint while cool is a bit more neutral and a shade on the green side (compare the T20C shot w/the Olight M21 SST-50 down below). This is par as compared to the other 3 XM-L lights currently in my collection.

    The green is really only evident when intently looking for it or white wall hunting (especially on the low level). I took the following shots in the afternoon sun on High mode to give you an idea of the tint in which case the green does show up (but as can be seen in the outdoor shot further below, you don't really notice it in actual use):

    This pic gives you just a sample of the gear I brought with me on my camping trip (I unfortunately didn't get to test every single one but did manage to get to most of them):

    But of all the equipment that I forgot to bring with me, it would be the tripod... I had to make do with a folding beach chair that was very flimsy and flinched every time the wind blew. The weather wasn't the greatest with a moderate to heavy mist but luckily I had the foresight to take two shots of each light for this comapro. As time allows, I'll take additional shots in the future.

    To the best of my recollection, distance to small tree in the center that I used as my focal point is roughly 20 ft and to the trees in the background is roughly 80 feet (I might update this as I map out the exact location where I took these). EDIT: The bush immediately to the right of the photo is roughly 5ft away while the one on the left is roughly 10ft away.

    EDIT: We ended up in the camp grounds just off of Fort Getty Rd. in Jamestown, RI. If the scale is accurate, according to Google Maps, the tree is actually about 35 ft away:

    (image courtesy of Google maps)
    But the trees in the background are indeed roughly 80 ft. away.

    All shots taken on highest setting for each light. I used a Canon S3 IS in M mode (1" | f2.7) and picked the appropriate WB for each to provide as accurate a color rendtion compared to what my eyes saw.

    Sunwayman T20C

    Sunwayman V10A (on RCR14500)

    Olight M20 w/UF XM-L drop-in (SM)

    Olight M21 SST-50 OP

    DBS V2 w/UF XM-L SM

    SF E2DL

    SF Z2 w/Neofab D1000 drop-in

    ZL SC30

    4 Sevens Mini Ti (XP-G)

    Lumapower VX Ultra w/TurboForce & XR-E R2 pill

    A moderately thick mist had set in by the time I took this pic thus the haziness.

    Petzl Pixa3 Headlamp (Spot mode only)

    In this shot, the headlamp's spot beam is aimed at the base of the tree.

    Icon Link (on Eneloop)




    For details of the shots and comparo vs. many other lights, check here.

    I used various rechargeable battery combo's to provide an idea of what you can expect with similar batteries that you might own. The relevant battery stats are provided above each runtime graph along with: - Voltage of the battery at the start and end of the test
    - Current draw as taken right before the test (only AW2600 so far)
    - Actual runtime until the battery cut out (first in HR and then in M so read this as 2.2 Hrs OR 132 Min)
    - For testing on High only (in which case a fan was used), temperature: ambient, the head at start and the max it reached

    Axis: X = Time in Min and Y = Relative Output

    The rest of the testing for Low mode will take a while to wrap up but based on the current draw of 32mA, 81.25 hours can theoretically be achieved with an AW2600 (2600/32 = 81.25). Again, this is just based solely on calculations on paper. I'll post actuals when I get them.

    EDIT: I managed to wrap up the testing on low for 2 x AW IMR 16340's. It achieved a runtime of 997min or 16.6hrs. Given this setup represents the lowest capacity of my tests, you can expect the rest of the combos to be better. I also suspect one of the cells is bad (2.25 ending v whereas other was up around 2.97) so may opt to reconduct this in the future.


    Disclosure: T20C provided by Sunwayman for review.
    Last edited by turboBB; 02-17-2012 at 11:19 PM. Reason: Fix pics

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sunwayman T20C XM-L Review (Pics, Beamshots, Runtimes)

    That is one heck of a review, I really like your graphs with the battery data and the runtime graphs are great. Those are some of the best quality outdoor beamshots I've ever seen, I would love to see what you would do at greater distance.

    Oh yes the flashlight the runtimes are impressive but the trade off is some output, quality looks really good. To you does this light stand apart enough from the rest of the usual pack of light's in this class that would make this light a contender?

    I really can't say enough positive things about your review to do it justice but I hope you continue with plenty of other light's in the future. Thanks
    Last edited by jhc37013; 06-17-2011 at 01:27 AM.
    My flashlight collection HERE

  3. #3
    Flashaholic flame2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Re: Sunwayman T20C XM-L Review (Pics, Beamshots, Runtimes)

    Excellent review! Very detail.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Default Re: Sunwayman T20C XM-L Review (Pics, Beamshots, Runtimes)

    Quote Originally Posted by jhc37013 View Post
    That is one heck of a review, I really like your graphs with the battery data and the runtime graphs are great. Those are some of the best quality outdoor beamshots I've ever seen, I would love to see what you would do at greater distance.

    Oh yes the flashlight the runtimes are impressive but the trade off is some output, quality looks really good. To you does this light stand apart enough from the rest of the usual pack of light's in this class that would make this light a contender?

    I really can't say enough positive things about your review to do it justice but I hope you continue with plenty of other light's in the future. Thanks
    well said!

    thanks Tim!

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* tre's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Northern IL USA

    Default Re: Sunwayman T20C XM-L Review (Pics, Beamshots, Runtimes)

    Wow. What a really, really, nice detailed review. Thanks. really nice pictures too.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Sunwayman T20C XM-L Review (Pics, Beamshots, Runtimes)

    Thx for the comments guys! I've added some additional material but have yet more to come.

    @JHC, wow humbled by your reply in particular (THX!). I don't do too many reviews but when I do, I'd like to give it my all but also try to keep things in perspective as to what is relevant to a buyer before they shell out their hard earned dollars on a product. Hopefully I've addressed a bulk of that but again, I still have just a few more areas to address. WRT your question about how it stacks as contender, I'd say it can give a lot of lights in its price range (and or above) a run for the money. I think it's generally accepted (albeit people are free to disagree) that from purely a quality perspective, most would tout Surefire as being some of the finest lights one can buy. As I've mentioned in the additional FIT/FINISH section I just added, Sunwayman can stand tall in that regard. However, I only have three of their lights in my collection so am basing it on a small sample size.

    If there are any specifics about the light that I haven't addressed in my review, please feel free to ask.

    Last edited by turboBB; 06-25-2011 at 11:36 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Sunwayman T20C XM-L Review (Pics, Beamshots, Runtimes)

    OK, various new material and runtime on low using 2 x AW IMR added (if you've already read the review, just look for red text denoting new stuff). Also added a brief Size comparo but will flesh that out later along with the indoor beam shots.


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