Warning: pic heavy, as usual!
The T45C is a new side-by-side style 2x18650 flashlight from Sunwayman, featuring a distinctive cut-out design for the reflector/heatsink. It is remarkably compact compared to other lights in this class - let's see how it compares.
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- CREE XM-L2 LED, with a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours;
- Side switch on the top, 8 output modes:
- Turbo: 980 Lumens (Automatically enter High mode after 5 mins continuous use to avoid overheat)
- High: 470 Lumens (3.5hrs.)
- Mid: 220 Lumens (10hrs.)
- Low: 20 Lumens (130hrs.)
- Police Strobe
- Slow Flash
- Super-low Standby Current <50uA
- Constant current circuit, constant output
- Runtime: Turbo: 3.5hr, Lo: 130hr
- Effective range of 278 meters
- Intensity: 19200cd
- Uses 2*18650 (4*CR123A/16340) batteries
- Working voltage: 2.8~8.4V
- High quality metal reflector maintains great throw distance and spread with an ideal beam pattern
- Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, Stainless Steel retaining ring on the top
- Military Specification Type III- hard anodized body
- Waterproof, in accordance with IPX-8 standard (2m)
- Impact resistance: 2m
- Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts
- Dimensions: 41mm (head diameter) x 136mm (length)
- Weight: 220.5g (Excluding battery)
- Accessories: Lanyard, O-ring
- MSRP: ~$83
The T45C comes in a fairly standard Sunwayman hard cardboard box with packing foam. Inside you get a wrist lanyard, extra o-rings, manual and product inserts. There is no belt pouch included.
From left to right: Rayovac CR123A; AW 18650 2200mAh; Sunwayman T45C; Fenix TK35; Rofis TR51; Eagletac SX25L3.
All weights with no batteries installed.
Sunwayman T45C: Weight: 216.6g, Length: 136.0mm, Width (bezel) 40.4mm, Width (widest part): 40.8mm
Rofis TR51: Weight: 242.2g, Length: 146.7mm, Width (bezel) 45.9mm, Width (widest part): 48.1mm
Eagletac M3C4 XM-L: Weight: 348.0g, Length: 164mm, Width: 61mm (bezel)
Fenix TK35: Weight 256.1g, Length 162mm, Width (bezel): 48.6mm, Max Width 52.0mm
Skilhunt DT-20: Weight 280.0g, Length: 152mm Width (bezel): 72.8mm and 36.8mm
Sunwayman M40C: Weight: 258.5g, Length 156mm, Width (bezel) 57.1mm,
Nitecore TM11: Weight: 342.6g (476g with 8xCR123A), Length 135.3mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
The T45C is definitely compact for this class of 2x18650 side-by-side lights.
The design of the T45Cs is certainly distinctive. The most obvious aesthetic touches are the cut-outs showing the reflector/heatsink assembly and the colored circuit/pill housing. Overall appearance reminds me of the old Nitecore Raidfire Spear, from long ago.
But I am also impressed by the solid body construction here (i.e., seems to come from a single bar of aluminum). This has allowed Sunwayman to keep the size and weight down, without the need for connection points. It also means that they don't need to use a battery carrier, like many other 2x18650 side-by-side lights.
Anodizing is a black matte finish on my sample, with no chips or damage – it appears to be high quality, as is common on Sunwayman lights. Labels are generally somewhat faint, but sharp against the background. There is no real knurling to speak of on the light (only the tailcap), but the various body ridge and build elements do help with grip (e.g. the cut-outs around the switch and head). I supposed it could be a bit slippery if wet, as it is not as grippy as some others in this class.
The switch is an electronic switch, located in the head (controls both on/off and mode switching – scroll down for an interface discussion). Switch mechanism feel is typical for the class, and the button cover has a flat rubber/silicone feel.
Tailcap uses a similar mechanism as many of my recent Eagletac lights – with a rotating base and two columns to anchor into the body (to ensure proper battery contact as you screw the tailcap on/off). The rotating column has a somewhat stiffer feel than most of my Eagletacs (which tend to spin more freely). Screw threads are anodized, allowing for physical lockout.
The battery wells are cut wide enough that all my modern high-capacity protected 18650 cells fit inside the light. There are small contact points raised on the head plate, so true flat-top cells will work fine in the light (as well as all button tops, of course). Note that the batteries are in parallel on the T45C, unlike most other lights I've tested. That means you could run the light on a single 18650 in a pinch (or 2xCR123A/RCR).
The light can tailstand.
The light uses the recent Cree XM-L2 emitter, in cool white tint. Emitter was well centered at the base of a fairly deep smooth reflector. The reflector dimensions remind me of a lot of the 4xAA lights I've reviewed recently (e.g., Sunwayman D40A). Indeed, the reflector seems even deeper than the D40A. Coupled with the smooth finish here, I would thus expect reasonably good throw for the T45C.
Scroll down for beamshots.
Turn the light on by a click of the side switch (i.e., quick press and release).
Advance modes when On by pressing-and-holding the side switch. Mode sequence is Turbo > Hi > Med > Lo, in repeating sequence. Turn off the light with a click of the switch.
Light has mode memory, and returns to the last setting after turning off/on.
To access the "hidden" blinky modes, you have two options. From On, double-click the switch to enter Strobe. When in Strobe, double-click again for SOS. Single click turns off the light. From Off, press-and-hold the switch to access "Police Strobe". Press-and-hold again to advance to the Beacon mode.
Note that there is no memory for the blinky modes (i.e., the light reverts back to its previously memorized constant output modes on re-activation).
In addition to the physical lock-out, there is an electronic "soft" lockout of the switch. Do a quick click and press-hold of the switch until the beam flickers and turns off. The light is now locked out and won't turn on - perform the same operation to unlock the light.
For more information on the overall build and user interface, please see my video overview:
Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p or lower. 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 all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.
There is no evidence of pulse width modulation (PWM) the Med/Hi/Turbo modes – the light seems to be current controlled.
There is a strong signal spike detectable on the lowest level in my setup, around 2.7 kHz, with a secondary pattern at longer time scales:
It is hard to know what to make of this – I suspect this signal is a circuit noise, but I can't easily distinguish PWM from noise at such low outputs. The reason for that is PWM pulse widths would be exceedingly short at such a low level, which could look like a simple spike. Either way, 2.7 kHz is high enough that you won't see it visually (except when shining on a fast fan, for example). Not a problem in actual use, the light should appear flicker-free.
Strobe is a fairly typical 12Hz in my testing.
"Police Strobe" (including blow-up):
"Police Strobe" is basically three rapid strobe pulses (at 12 Hz freq), repeated every ~1.75 secs or so. I presume this is intended as some sort of signaling strobe, to make people aware of your presence.
The T45C has a relatively quick SOS mode.
Slow flash is basically a very slow strobe, where the light is on for ~1.2 secs, off for ~1.2 secs.
Due to the electronic control switch, the T45C will always be drawing a current when the tailcap is fully connected. I have measured this current on my sample as 97 uA. Given the 1s2p arrangement, that means that 2x3100mAh cells would last for about 7.3 years before being completely depleted.
In any case, if you are concerned about this minimal current (or worried about accidental activation), you can store the light without the tailcap fully screwed on.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on AW protected 18650 2200mAh batteries. 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. This means that you can draw no conclusion about relative tint differences below.
Due to the relatively deep reflector, the T45C has a "throwier" beam than most 2x18650 side-by-side light. It also has a narrower spillbeam than typical for the class.
In terms of beam pattern, the relatively tight hotspot and broad corona of the T45C is very similar to the Fenix TK35 – it is just that the T45C has a narrower overall spillbeam width.
To show you that better, let's take a look at outdoor shots. These are done in the style of my earlier 100-yard round-up review. Please see that thread for a discussion of the topography (i.e. the road dips in the distance, to better show you the corona in the mid-ground).
First thing to notice – there really isn't much a throw or output difference between my XM-L2-equipped T45C and my first generation Fenix TK35 (XM-L T6). Aside from the narrow spillbeam width on the T45C, the beams look pretty much the same (scroll down to my output tables for a direct comparison).
This suggests to me that newer TK35s (with higher output bins) may have a slight output edge over the T45C.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 5, 2013: In case you were wondering, here is how the T45C compares to the Sunwayman D40A (4xAA, Cool White version). As you will see, there really isn't much of a beam pattern difference between these lights - as you would expect, based on their physical characteristics and my output/throw measures.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. 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).
My T45C does not seem to be as heavily-driven as the Sunwayman output specs would indicate. As you saw in the beamshots above, there's really no difference in max output or throw of my T45C compared to my earlier TK35 (XM-L) and Rofis TR51 (XM-L). The low mode is also very consistent with those two lights as well.
Let's see how my output measures compare to the specs:
Aside from the max mode, my output estimates seem somewhat consistent with Sunwayman specs.
As you saw in the Summary tables, initial output on Max is very similar to the XM-L-based Fenix TK35, Eagletac M3C4, Olight SR51, and Rofis TR51. The T45C steps down after 3 mins on Max, and to a lower level than typical among lights with a timed step-down. As a result, it's a bit hard to directly compare the Max mode runtimes.
In terms of comparison of the Med/Hi modes, you can see the T45C has a bit of an efficiency edge over the TK35 or Rofis TR51 for comparable output – presumably reflecting the higher output bin of its XM-L2 emitter.
The overall performance above indicates that the T45C has the regulation and output/runtime efficiency of a good current-controlled circuit.
The cut-outs in the head are mainly for aesthetic appeal. There is a possibility that dirt and debris could accumulate here, so you will want to clean periodically if subjected to heavy outdoor use.
Max output of my sample is slightly lower than expected – closer to a typical XM-L light in this class.
Hand feel and ergonomics are very good on the light, although grip could be enhanced further with some actual body knurling.
Light can roll very easy, unless you attach a wrist lanyard.
There is a reoccurring circuit signal on the lowest mode, but this is at a high enough frequency to not be visually noticeable (2.7 kHz).
The T45C is a good-performing member of the 2x18650 side-by-side family of lights. It is the smallest light I've seen in this class to date, and one of the most aesthetically interesting. It also has a very high quality "hand feel", with excellent attention to detail.
Physically, the T45C's cut-outs remind me a lot of the old Raidfire Spear, or more recent Olight SR95/96-series lights. But what really impresses me is the compact form, built out of a single bar of aluminum. This means that you have none of the contact points (with multiple screws, o-rings, etc.) that are needed to maintain structural integrity and waterproofeness in other 2x18650 side-by-side lights. But thanks to cut-outs here, you are relying on the internal connectors of the reflector/heatsink and circuit/pill casing for water resistance.
Sunwayman has thoughtfully engineered a lot of "wiggle room" inside the battery well cut-outs, and all my large high-capacity protected cells fit and worked fine in the light. This is something I identified as issues on a number of competing lights in this class (either for length, width, or button style restrictions).
The parallel cell arrangement is a bit different – but it means that the T45C can easily support 4xRCR (something most lights in this category can't). And thankfully, there is no battery carrier to worry about here. It also means you can run the light on 1x18650 (or 2xCR123A/RCR).
Also different from many 2x18650 lights is the sole electronic side switch in the head (i.e., no physical tailcap clicky). This provides a simplified interface, but the T45C does have a couple more extra "hidden" strobes than mode lights. Frankly, I prefer this interface over the more complex dual-switch Sunwayman T21CS – although would like to see a Lo > Turbo mode sequence instead here.
As with the other Sunwayman lights I've tested, the regulation pattern and output/runtime efficiency of the current-controlled circuit was excellent. Performance is very similar to my Fenix TK35 and Rofis TR51 lights, with a bump in runtime thanks to the higher output bin used here.
One thing I did find a bit surprising is that max output on my sample is really no higher than my earlier XM-L based Fenix TK35 or Rofis TR51. This may reflect the parallel cell arrangement here (i.e., the T45C circuit functions more like a 1x18650 light in its output levels) – or it could be that my sample is an unusually low performer. Certainly not a problem, as I find the ~800 or so estimated lumens here to be more than plenty in actual use. And the plus side is that you could run the light pretty comfortably on 1x18650, with standard chemistry cells (i.e., wouldn't need to resort to IMR for the max mode).
Beam pattern is very good for a light this size, with nearly identical throw to my TK35 and TR51 – although spillbeam width is a bit narrower on the T45C. On the plus side, beam tint was a fairly premium cool white on my T45C (something I can't say for my old TK35).
What it all comes down to is that there probably isn't much to make you want to "upgrade" to the T45C from one of those existing lights (if they work well for you). But all the build features and updates in the T45C make this a highly competitive choice - it has one of highest quality builds I've seen in the compact 2x18650 space, with a good functional feature set.
T45C provided by Sunwayman for review.