Warning: pic heavy as usual.
It's been awhile since my last 1xAAA-class light review.
Welcome to the Lumintop Tool AAA, a new 1xAAA light from Lumintop that features a tailcap clicky switch. I previously reviewed the twisty-only Lumintop Worm. It's been awhile since my last 1xAAA review … let's see how this new light compares to the competition.
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
Note: as always, these are only what the manufacturer reports. To see my actual testing results, scroll down the review.
- LED: CREE XP-G R5 LED
- 2 Light Modes：1.5lm（60 hours）-70lm（1 hour）
- Max Range: 47m
- Battery: 1*AAA battery
- Operating Voltage: 0.9~1.5V
- Constant current circuit, constant luminance
- Tailcap Lock-out Switch
- Mini size
- Note: Without reverse polarity protection
- Function: The flashlight has 2 light modes. Press the switch to activate the flashlight in “low” mode when it is off, and then turn it off and on again within 3 seconds to activate it in “high” mode. At any brightness level, if you turn it off for more than 3 seconds and then turn it on again, the light mode will reset to “low” mode.
- Material: Aircraft-grade Aluminium alloy
- Surface Treatment Process: Hard anodization
- Waterproof: IPX-8
- Length: 3.16”
- Body Diameter: 0.56”
- Weight: 0.53oz (without battery)
- MSRP: ~$18
Packaging is very similar to the Lumintop Worm. Inside the plastic clamshell case with magnetic closing clasp is the light and extra o-rings. A removable pocket clip is attached to the light. The cardboard sleeve contains printed specs, with the manual on the back.
From left to right: Duracell NiMH AAA; Lumintop Tool AA, Worm (Aluminium); Lumapower Avenger GX; Tiablo E3A; Foursevens Preon 1; ITP i3; Klarus Mi-X6; Thrunite Ti; Titanium Innovations Illuminati (Aluminium); Maratac AAA.
Lumintop Tool AAA: Weight: 15.3g, Length 82.6mm, Width 14.4mm (bezel)
Lumintop Worm Aluminium: Weight: 14.3g, Length 72.0mm (battery installed, off), Width 14.1mm (bezel)
Lumintop Worm Stainless: Weight: 27.3g, Length 72.0mm (battery installed, off), Width 14.1mm (bezel)
Foursevens Preon 1: Weight 15.3g (with keychain clip), Length 75.6mm, Width 14.0mm (bezel)
Foursevens Preon P0: Weight 13.0g (with keychain clip), Length 55.0mm, Width 12.6mm (bezel)
Olight i3: Weight 13.2g, Length: 71.9mm, Width (bezel): 14.0mm
Illuminati Aluminium: Weight 13.9g (with keychain clip), Length 68.8mm, Width 14.0mm (bezel)
Klarus Mi X6: Weight 16.2g, Length 72.9mm (battery installed), Width 12.8mm
Light is a bit taller than some, due to the clicky switch.
The aluminum body is anodized black, in a moderately glossy finish. The light has aggressive knurling over the tailcap, body tube and head. Frankly, this is one of the most grippy 1xAAA lights I've ever handled – right up there with the Maratac 1xAAA and Thrunite Ti.
Labels are fairly clear, but in a soft white (i.e. not as high contrast as some lights).
One interesting tid-bit: you'll note the circuit board in the head is actually labelled "worm". This leads me to suspect they are using the same circuit …
Screw threads are standard triangular cut (fine, as with all 1xAAA lights), and anodized at both ends. This means head/tail lock-out is possible.
Tailstanding is not possible on the Tool AAA, due to the raised clicky switch (reverse clicky, as on most small pocket lights).
The Tool seems to come with the same a lightly textured reflector (OP) as the Worm. The Tool AAA uses a XP-G R5, like the Worm SS model (the aluminum Worm used a XP-E emitter). Centering of the emitter was pretty good on my sample, but I would expect some variability (as there is no centering disc obvious).
User interface is the same the Worm, but with a clicky switch instead of a head twist. In this case, turn on the Tool AAA by clicking (press-release) the tail switch.
Light comes on in Lo output to start. To select Hi, click the switch off-on again within 1 second. This will advance to the next level in the following repeating sequence: Lo > Hi > Lo > Hi, etc.
There is no memory mode, and the light will always come on in Lo after a pause.
Because the head and tailcap threads are anodized, you can also use the light like a twisty. With the tailcap switch in the On position, you change turn the light off by loosening the head or tailcap, and change modes by doing a loosen-tighten twist of the head or tailcap.
For more information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my new video overview:
As always, videos were 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.
As with the Worm, there is no sign of PWM on the Lo mode of the Tool AAA. It thus seems to use current-control for its low mode.
There is no strobe feature.
All lights are on 1xAAA Sanyo Eneloop NiMH, 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. All beamshots taken immediately upon activation.
Note: the "Worm" below is the XP-E-based aluminium version.
The beam is about typical for a XP-G-based 1xAAA light. I find most such lights to have fairly diffused beams, with broad hotspots. The XP-E-based Worm had a slightly more defined hotspot than the XP-G-based lights.
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).
No big surprises here in terms of output or throw on Hi – the Tool AAA is pretty much in keeping with other XP-G based lights.
One difference from the Worm – the Lo mode on the Tool AAA is really Lo now (i.e., the Worm's Lo was really closer to many three-level lights' Med mode).
As with the Worm, the two-level Tool shows excellent regulation and runtime on Hi. In fact, regulation on Hi remains among the best I've seen in this class, including on standard alkalines.
Sorry, I haven't done runtimes on Lo, as I expect these would be quite lengthy given the ~1 lumen level. Note that this is lower than the original Worm model (which was closer to a typical "Med" level on Lo).
Light is two-mode only (i.e., Tool AAA lacks a typical Med mode of three-stage lights).
Knurling is fairly aggressive, and could be rough on clothing in a pocket when on a keychain (note no keychain split ring is included).
The pocket clip is pretty basic, but it does the job (very similar to the original Maratac clip).
The Tool AAA is a nice update to Lumintop 1xAAA line. I was a fan of the Worm for its excellent regulation, good runtimes and ease of use. The Tool AAA carries on in that tradition, and addresses some of the limitations of the Worm (i.e., lack of knurling or pocket clip).
One change is the lower Lo mode on the Tool AAA. In contrast, the original Worm lacked a true Lo mode (i.e., it's low mode was more in keeping with a typical Med level on three-level lights). But given that my Tool AAA sample actually had "worm" labelled on the circuit board in the head, I suspect that the currently shipping Worms use the same revised circuit.
This brings up one of the main differences to most other lights in this category – they are often three-stage (i.e., Lo, Med and Hi). Of course, that means that consideration of those lights often starts with the inevitable discussion of the best mode sequence. Thanks to the simple two-stage mechanism here – with Lo coming on by default – things are much simpler.
Of course, the main difference of the Tool AAA from the Worm is the addition of the clicky switch. There aren't many 1xAAA clicky lights out there, so it's nice to see another option. The switch performed well in my testing (with fairly typical feel for this class). And because of the anodized threads, you can still use this light like a twisty at both the head or tail.
Build and beam pattern are good, no significant issues. One comment here – I was glad that Lumintop ran an early engineering sample by me first. That early version had contact issues with NiMH batteries that I brought to their attention. The shipping version reviewed here worked equally well on all batteries I threw at it.
And just like the Worm, the current-controlled circuit performance is excellent – with very flat regulation on Hi. A nice little bump in output over the earlier Worm samples too.
All-in-all, a very nice option for a tiny, simple, two-stage 1xAAA clicky light.
Lumintop Tool AAA provided by Lumintop for review.