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Thread: Tiablo E2A (1xAA/14500, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEO, BEAMSHOTS and more!

  1. #1

    Arrow Tiablo E2A (1xAA/14500, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEO, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.




    This is a review of the 1xAA member of the Tiablo "Exquisite" EDC series, the E2A. I previously reviewed the 1xAAA E3A when it first came out.

    Manufacturer's Specifications:
    • LED: CREE XP-G R5
    • Circuit: High efficiency constant current circuit, and constant brightness.
    • Working Voltage: 0.8V - 4.2V
    • 14500 battery Max Output: High/Strobe 240 Lumens for 30 Minutes
    • AA battery Max Output: High/Strobe 110 Lumen for 45 Minutes
    • 14500 battery Low Output: 50 Lumens for 3 Hours
    • AA battery Low Output: 35 Lumen for 2 Hours
    • Switch: Tactical switch and head twist
    • Reflector: SMO Reflector
    • Waterproof: IPX-8, beyond 5m depth
    • Size: Length 102mm, Diameter 21.5mm
    • Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass with AR coating
    • Body: Hard Anodized Type III Aerospace Grade
    • Clip: Stainless Steel
    • Aluminum Alloy T7075
    • Colour: Black with stainless steel head
    • Weight: 44 Grams
    • Instructions: Press the tail cap button to turn on.
    • Mode A (head tight): Non-programmable maximum brightness
    • Mode B (head loose): Programmable three mode option, twist the bezel 1/8 counter-clockwise, for factory default Strobe. Press the tail cap button gently to change modes, Strobe> High> Low. Click the tail cap button to turn off and memorize the mode.
    • One year warranty from Tiablo
    • MSRP: ~$60



    Packaging is similar across the Tiablo line. Inside the traditional cardboard case you will find a plastic insert holding the light, stainless steel clip (attached by two screws), manual, warranty card, and extra o-rings.



    From left to right: Duracell alkaline; Tiablo E2A; Crelant 7G1; Sunwayman V10A; Thrunite Neutron 1A; Zebralight SC51; Fenix LD10-R4; 4Sevens QAA.

    All dimensions are given with no battery installed:

    Tiablo E2A: Weight: 45.7g, Length: 101.2mm, Width (bezel): 19.9mm
    Lumintop Silver Fox: Weight: 98.1g, Length: 94.2mm, Width (bezel): 21.7mm, Width (grip-ring): 25.8mm
    Sunwayman V10A: Weight: 58.1g, Length 100.6mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
    Thrunite Neutron 1A: Weight: 60.4g, Length: 105.6mm, Width (bezel): 22.0mm
    Xeno E03:: Weight: 48.1g, Length 96.7mm, Width (bezel): 21.5mm

    Overall dimensions are in keeping with the 1xAA class, although the E2A is narrower than most lights by a good two millimeters or more.






    Sorry for all the dust particles above.

    Overall build is decent, with a fluted/ridged body tube that has knurling of good aggressiveness. There are also some flutes on the head, to help with grip (i.e. can loosen/tighten the head one-handed, if you keep the threads clean). Grip is definitely better than average, especially with the clip attached (but would be fine even without it). Anodizing is a matte black finish, with no nicks or damage on my sample. Labels are bright white against the black background.

    The clip – while securely fashioned - seems pretty soft for stainless steel, and may bend easily.

    Light has a flat stainless steel bezel ring.

    The light can tailstand (although there was a bit of wobble on my sample). Light seems to have a stainless steel base around the boot cover. There are lanyard attached points along the tail ring. Switch is a traditional reverse clicky, and easy to access with any finger or thumb.

    The is a slightly raised positive contact disc in the head, so flat-top cells should work fine.

    Screw threads are not anodized, so no lock out is possible. Light uses a two-stage mode structure, with the head tightened or loosened giving access to different modes (see below).

    I found the thread action a little rough on my sample, but this can be improved with proper lubing.

    User Interface

    Basic use is straightforward: press and release the tail reverse clicky to turn on.

    With the head tight against the body, this gives you Hi output.

    Loosen the head a 1/8 of a turn access the other modes. Mode changing is controlled by flashing the tail button or clicking off-on rapidly. Mode sequence is Strobe > Hi > Lo, in repeating sequence.

    The light has mode memory, and remembers the last setting you left it in (if you leave it off for a couple of seconds).

    For a more detailed examination of the builds and user interfaces, please see my video overview:



    Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p or 720p options. You can also run full-screen.

    PWM/Strobe

    Consistent with the manufacturer's specs, I was not able to detect any sign of PWM on the E2A. There was some high frequency noise detectable on the Lo mode, as shown below:





    The third oscilloscope trace shows a high ~10 kHz frequency between spikes. Whatever this circuit noise is, it is not detectable in actual use.



    There was some low frequency noise noticeable on the Hi mode (shown above), but this again was not detectable in actual use.



    Strobe was a fairly typical "tactical" 10 Hz.

    Beamshots:


    Note: the white effect in the above pic is due to reflections of the white centering disc - the reflector is perfectly clear for its whole length.


    Again, the distortions above are just due to external reflections - it is a very shiny reflector!

    The E2A uses a Cool White XP-G emitter (R5 output bin reported). Emitter was well centered on my sample, which a white centering disc visible beneath the reflector. Reflector is fairly deep and smooth finish, which is likely to produce reasonable throw for the XP-G class.

    Which brings me to the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on Hi on 1xAA Sanyo Eneloop or 1x14500 AW protected Li-ion, about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.

    Comparison of 1xEneloop-based lights:













    Comparison of 1x14500-based lights:













    I found the beam pattern of the E2A to be quite good for a 1xAA EDC – very similar to my Sunwayman V10A (although the E2A isn't as bright on standard batteries).

    Testing Method:

    All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

    I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

    Throw/Output Summary Chart:

    My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.





    Overall output on standard batteries is definitely toward the low end of the XP-G R5 class (i.e. about the level of the 4Sevens Mini AA). On 1x14500, the E2A performs at a typical level for this class.

    Note that reported ANSI FL-1 output measures seem quite reasonable, although might be a little overstated for Max output on standard batteries.

    Oh, and in case you are curious, primary 3V 14505 batteries will work fine in the light. Expect ~70% of the output of 3.7V 14500 Li-ion initially (I haven't done full runtimes).

    Output/Runtime Comparison:







    The E2A appears to suffer from relatively low output/runtime efficiency on standard batteries, compared to other lights in the XP-G R5 class.





    On 1x14500, the E2A now performs more in keeping with some other lights in this class (e.g., similar output/runtime profile to the 4Sevens Mini AA).

    Reported ANSI FL-1 runtime specs for the E2A actually seem a bit conservative – runtimes matched or exceeded the reported specs in my testing.

    Potential Issues

    Included clip seems somewhat soft, and may bend easily.

    Screw thread action was a bit rough on my sample, but appropriate lubing helped.

    Lock-out isn't possible, due to the two-stage head design with no tailcap.

    Light uses a reverse-clicky (not a problem per se, but I know many prefer forward clickies).

    Light lacks a true Lo mode (i.e., E2A Lo is intermediate to Lo/Med on most lights).

    Output/runtime efficiency on standard batteries is lower than competing XP-G R5-based lights. Relative performance on 1x14500 is better.

    Preliminary Observations

    Te "exquisite" series of ExA lights from Tiablo all seem to share a common design aesthetic - a solid but relatively slim-lined build. The E2A is certainly narrower than most lights in the 1xAA class, but it remains a structurally stable light with good knurling and grip.

    No major complaints with the body, although I wish the bundled clip was sturdier and the screw threads a little smoother. A holster would also be nice.

    I personally find the beam pattern is pleasing for EDC use, with reasonably good throw and a smooth transition from spot to spill. Light supports both standard batteries and Li-ion power sources.

    User interface is reasonable - the two-stage head twist means you can always have the light come on in Hi (head tight), and set the loosened state to whatever you want (i.e. has mode memory). Personally though, I would prefer they dispense with "tactical" strobe and instead offer Lo, Med and Hi modes in the head-loosened state (with a true Lo mode).

    Circuit performance and output/runtime efficiency is reasonable on 1x14500 (i.e. very close to the 4Sevens Mini AA). However, there is a clear drop-off in relative efficiency on standard batteries, compared to other lights in this XP-G class.

    It seems like I haven't been testing as many lights in the 1xAA class of late, so it's good to see this arrival from Tiablo. The 1xAA/14500 size is still my prefered EDC, due its relative small size and good battery capacity (especially with 1x14500). The E2A is certainly a simple, easy-to-use light, with reasonable performance on 1x14500. But I would prefer to see a wider range of output levels and improved efficiency on standard batteries.

    ----

    E2A was provided by Kit-tronics.com for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 02-06-2012 at 01:40 PM. Reason: typos
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  2. #2
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Edinburgh
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    Default Re: Tiablo E2A (1xAA/14500, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEO, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    It looks a handy little EDC, and not a brand I've come across before. Thanks for taking the time to review it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tiablo E2A (1xAA/14500, XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, VIDEO, BEAMSHOTS and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by dalliance View Post
    It looks a handy little EDC, and not a brand I've come across before. Thanks for taking the time to review it.
    Tiablo used be a more common name around here - they were one of the first to make "thwower" lights in the early XR-E days (along with Lumapower and Dereelight). They have produced a number of different models, but don't seem to have the same presence or dealer distribution network as some of the newer companies. But they are still around, and have a number of lights in different niches. I am currentlty testing their latest XM-L thrower, and will be posting a review soon.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

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