Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
The C20C is the latest member of the new C-series lights from Sunwayman - this time in a 2xCR123A/1x18650 form factor. Very compact, it shares a lot of similarities (and a few differences) from the C10R. Let's go through them …
Note: as always, these are only what the manufacturer/dealers report. To see my actual testing results, scroll down the review.
- CREE XM-L U2 LED
- Soft-contact Side Switch:
- One Turbo mode, three modes constant output, hidden Strobe and SOS (below are output and runtime details by using one 2600mAh 18650 battery)
- Turbo Mode: 450 Lumens (for safety’s sake, after 5 minutes’ turbo mode, the light will go to High mode automatically to avoid over-heat)
- Three constant output modes: 280Lumens (3hrs) – 95Lumens (10hrs) - 15Lumens (50hrs)
- Strobe: 450Lumens
- Constant current circuit, constant output
- Effective range of 139 meters
- Uses two 3V CR123A batteries or one single 18650 battery
- Working voltage: 4~8.4V
- High quality OP metal reflector maintains great throw distance and spread with an ideal beam pattern
- Dimensions: 105mm (length) x 25mm (head diameter) x 24mm (tail diameter)
- Weight: 57g（battery excluded）
- Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, stainless steel retaining ring on the head
- Military Specification Type III- hard anodized body
- Waterproof, in accordance with IPX-8 standard
- Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts
- Tail stand capable- can be used as a candle
- Accessories: Clip, lanyard, holster, O-ring
- MSRP: ~$69
Unlike my C10R, the C20C came in full final retail packaging. As expected, packaging included a belt holster, lanyard strap, extra o-rings, manual, warranty card and product insert.
In keeping with the current Sunwayman labeling convention, the C20C has a model "name" as well as number – in this case, they are calling the light the "Tomahawk".
From left to right: AW Protected 18650, Sunwayman C20C, Zebralight SC600, Nitecore EC2, Eagletac D25LC2, Lumintop ED20, Foursevens Quark 123-2.
All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:
Sunwayman C20C: Weight 57.6g, Length: 104.8mm. Width (bezel): 25.6mm, Width (head at widest part): 28.6mm
Eagletac D25LC2: Weight: 50.0g, Length: 116.3mm, Width (bezel): 22.5mm
4Sevens Quark Q123-2 X (Regular tailcap): Weight: 44.6g, Length: 112.7mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
Jetbeam PC20: Weight: 60.0g, Length: 127.5mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm
Lumintop ED20: Weight 84.4g, Length 121.6mm, Width (bezel) 25.2mm
Nitecore EC2: Weight: 60.9g, Length: 101.7mm, Width (bezel): 25.5mm, Width (widest):26.7mm
Spark SL6: Weight 77.8g, Length: 125.5mm, Width (bezel) 30.9mm
Thrunite TN12: Weight: 64.0g, Length: 126.9mm, Width (bezel): 24.1mm
Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm
The C20C is definitely very petite for the class. Overall build of the C20C is very similar to the C10R – in fact, from the "neck up" (i.e. the heads), they look identical. The C20C is also not that much larger overall really, as you can see in the comparison pic below.
Here are some detailed pics:
As with all Sunwayman lights, you get the dark gray natural finish anodizing on the C20C. Sunwayman has always had one of the best quality finishes. As always, all labels are fairly small and bright white against the dark background.
Like the C10R, and recent M11R/V11R, Sunwayman has knurling of reasonable aggressiveness on the C20C. With other build elements (ridges, raised areas, etc), I would say overall grip is good.
The body tube is wide enough to take protected 18650 cells, as well as 2xCR123A. I didn't experience any issues with longer cells.
Like the C10R, the C20C is controlled by Sunwayman's new "Smart Switch" - an electronic switch in the head (under a rubber button cover). Switch feel is good for this type of switch, with a definite "click" upon activation. Scroll down for a discussion of the UI.
There is a red LED on the other side of the head from the switch, which serves as a low voltage indicator for the battery. See the UI section below for a discussion.
A clip-on style pocket clip is included with the C20C. While nothing special, it holds onto the light reasonably well for this sort of clip. Note that no clip was included with the C10R.
The light only opens at the tailcap, and screw threads are a thick square-cut and fully anodized for lock-out. I am glad to see Sunwayman restore anodizing after leaving it off the C10R. Screw thread design and number is otherwise similar to the C10R (which differs from the earlier 1xCR123A/RCR lights.
As previously mentioned, the C20C looks virtually identical to the C10R. There is one difference on my sample – the reflector doesn't seem to be quite as deeply seated on my C20C. You can see some evidence for this above – notice the reflection of the bond wires in the upper left-hand size of the reflector? This will likely result in a greater number of beam artifacts around the hotspot.
I've opened up the head to take a look inside:
A few other makes and models have been known to suffer from reflector depth issues (e.g. Zebralight SC600). But as a general rule, it is always easier to raise a reflector than lower it. And in this case, there is nothing I can really do to adjust the height – the plastic insert around the LED seems fully seated. I presume this is therefore just natural variability between samples.
The tail cap allows tailstanding, and a cut-out region to allow you to attach a lanyard through a split ring (while maintaining the ability to tailstand). Why I like these sorts of designs, the aluminum seems very thing on the attachment point of the tail (i.e., I worry it may wear through over time).
User interface is similar to C10R, but with an additional constant output mode.
With the tailcap fully-connected, turn the light off/on by the electronic clicky switch. The C20C has two options – click (i.e., quick press and release) for constant on, or press-and-hold for momentary.
As with some of the Spark and Zebralight models that use a similar interface, it may take you a little time to get the timing just right (i.e., too slow on the release, and the light will shut-off, thinking you wanted momentary). But this delayed momentary does give you option to signal with light if you want (i.e., short and long pulses of Morse code).
First time you activate the light, it comes on in Turbo mode. Change output modes by pressing and holding the switch from clicked on. The light will cycle between constant output modes in the following order: Turbo > Hi > Med > Lo, in repeating order. Let go off the switch to select the mode you want.
Light has mode memory, and will retain the last constant output used when turning off and on.
There are "hidden" modes; a strobe and SOS (activated and double-clicking the switch rapidly). On first double-click you get strobe, on second double-click you get SOS. Single click to turn off. Light returns to the memorized constant output when clicked back on.
As this is an electronic switch, a standby current is required (see below for measurements). To reduce the risk of accidental activation, Sunwayman provides a switch lock-out mode. After waiting a minimum of 7 secs with the light off, do a quick click followed immediately by a press-hold. After 1 sec, the light will shut off and cannot be re-activated until the lockout is deactivated. To restore full functioning, double-click the switch followed by a press-hold.
As with all lights with anodized threads, you can also physically lock out the light by a head twist.
There is a secondary red LED on the other side of the head from the switch, which will warn you when a battery is running low. On my C10R, this indicator was set to only work on 1xRCR (by checking for a minimum 3.3V on connection, with a double-flash). The indicator went solid red when the cell reached ~3.05V resting voltage. By that point, output had already dropped to <10% initial output, so it wasn't much of an advanced warning.
On the C20C, the indicator is set to work with only 1x18650. There is no need to check the voltage ahead of time (since that is the lower voltage power source it supports), so there is no flash on connection. The indicator went solid red at ~3.45V resting voltage on my sample. This is a more useful advance indicator of waning battery capacity than the C10R, but is likely already obvious to you by the dropping Hi/Turbo output. Note that it is so low that none of the 2x sources will ever trigger it in practice (i.e. 2xCR123A would be nearly dead, and 2xRCR would have triggered their protection circuits long before then).
For information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my new video overview:
Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.
There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level – I presume the light is current-controlled, as claimed.
Strobe is a standard "tactical" high frequency strobe, measured at 11.6 Hz (similar to the C10R).
As the switch is an electronic one, a standby current drain is always present when a battery is installed.
When I first connect my DMM, I measured an initial current of 1.5mA (on an 18650 cell). However, after a few seconds, the stand-by drain dropped to 10.0uA, and remained there stably. This would translate into nearly 30 years before a 2600mAh battery would be drained. It is definitely negligible, and not a concern.
Sunwayman provides a switch lock-out mode that is activated by a quick click followed by a sustained press (see UI section – same as the C10R or T60CS). But unlike the C10R, you can fully lock-out the C20C by a twist of the tailcap (thanks to the anodized threads).
Time for the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on Max output on an 1x 18650 AW protected cell. Lights are 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.
You can't really see it in the beamshots, but as I expected, the slight depth misalignment of the reflector has resulted in a number of subtle artifacts around the hotspot. Rather than a sharply defined hotspot, you get an overlapping pattern of distortions in the corona. While not severe on my sample, they are noticeable on a white wall.
Looking back at my C10R, I see it also has some evidence of this same effect - it is just more noticeable on my C20C. This not much of a problem in real-life use, but it is noticeable by eye on white walls.
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 devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox 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.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).
Sunwayman reports a max output on Turbo of 450 lumens. That seems a lot lower than my sample, which I would estimate as >600 lumens (and pretty close to the Eagletac D25LC2). However, once the Turbo mode steps down to Hi, I get ~450 estimated lumens on the C20C (which is a lot higher than the spec 280 lumens).
Interestingly, my peak intensity and beam distance measures on Turbo are right on with Sunwayman specs (i.e. 139m reported vs 140m actually measured).
Let's see how output varies across batteries, in estimated lumens (estimated as described above, at ANSI FL-1 standard of 30 secs after activation):
As you can see, the C20C is very consistent in output across all battery types.
Interestingly, it is also very similar to several modes of my Eagletac D25LC2 (which was also very consistent on different battery sources). Shown below are the comparable D25LC2 levels, on 1x18650:
Lo1: 28 estimated lumens
Med1: 125 estimated lumens
Hi2: 470 estimated lumens
Turbo: 660 estimated lumens
Output/runtime efficiency is good on my C20C, just as it was for the C10R. The C20C is more heavily driven than I would have expected (based on output specs). Relative mode level spacing appears to be reasonably good, but I would have preferred a lower low.
Note that despite my higher estimated output levels, my actual runtimes are quite consistent with Sunwayman specs (when you take into account the higher capacity battery they used, and the ANSI FL-1 standard time to 10%).
Note the official specs don't make any mention of 2xRCR. However, the voltage range (up to ~8.4V) would suggest it can handle them. And the SWM website does make mention of "16340" (aka RCR) at one point, so I figured it was worth a try.
Switch timings may take a little getting used to. As you can activate a momentary mode by a sustained press, you must be quick on the press-release for it to register as a click (for sustained on). Other electronic switches (e.g., Zebralights and Spark) can similarly take some getting used to initially.
Due to the electronic switch, a small standby current is always required when a battery is installed. However, this drain was measured at an inconsequential level (i.e. several years before it would drain a battery). As always, I recommend you store the light locked-out when not in use (which is possible here thanks to the anodized threads).
The split-ring/lanyard attachment point in the tail looks thin, and my wear through over time. But this is a design style I like, as it maintains tailstanding.
My sample developed some intermittent flickering in the Turbo mode. It would disappear upon switching down to the lower modes, and may or may not re-appear when switching back to Turbo. Removing and re-installing the battery usually resolved it, and I couldn't reliably elicit it. I suspect it is a circuit issue, as there was no sign of it on the other modes.
As the second member of the new C-series from Sunwayman, the 1x18650/2xCR123A C20C shares many of the same characteristics I described in my recent C10R review. But there are few aspects I prefer to the C20C.
The UI is basically the same, except for the addition of an extra "Turbo" mode on the C20C. This interface gives you a range of options, with blinking modes well "hidden". As with all electronic switches that offer both momentary-on and click-on, it may take you a little while to get used to the exact timings. But once you do, it works consistently.
The physical build is also comparable, with similar styling and the trademark attractive natural anodizing finish from Sunwayman. I am very glad to screw thread anodizing has been restored on the C20C (i.e., so that you can lock out the light). The C20C is quite petite for a 1x18650-sized light as well.
Performance-wise, the C20C is very similar to my Eagletac D25LC2 clicky – both for absolute output levels and relative runtime performance (see output measures earlier in this review). This demonstrates a good current-controlled circuit. Although relative spacing is good, I would still like to see a lower Lo mode (i.e., there is certainly no "Moonlight" level here).
The C20C shares the same head design as the C10R, so should have a comparable beam. However, I found my C20C sample to have more irregularities in the corona around the hotspot (likely due to variability in the exact seating of the reflector). This produces some artifacts around the beam's hotspot (although it is really more a problem on white walls than in real life use). Overall beam pattern is still quite good, and very similar to some of the XM-L-based Zebralights (i.e., relatively large hotspot, with a wide and even spillbeam).
While generally similar to the C10R, I personally prefer the extra touches on the C20C (e.g., the anodized screw threads, pocket clip, extra Turbo mode, larger battery capacity, etc.). It is also remarkably compact for a 1x18650 light. Unless you really need the compact size of the C10R, the C20C may be a better option for overall versatility and extended battery capacity.
C20C was supplied by Sunwayman for review.