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Thread: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

  1. #1

    Party 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    UPDATE JANUARY 8, 2015: I've added additional comparisons for the Thrunite TN4A and Nitecore EA41 2015.

    Welcome to my 4xAA round-up review for 2014!

    I haven't done one of these in a while, but the goal is to compare the performance of currently available lights in a given class - in this case, 4xAA. For examples of some of my previous round-up reviews, check out my chronological review list at flashlightreviews.ca. Note as always for a round-up review, this is going to be very pic-heavy.

    Let's take a look of the lineup that I have prepared here:


    From left to right: AA Panasonic Eneloop Pro (2550mAh) NiMH; Nitecore EA41, EA4; Fenix E41; Sunwayman D40A, F40A; Eagletac GX25A3; IMALENT SA04; Lumintop SD10; JetBeam SRA40.

    And the extra two additions, compared to some of the other lights up there:

    From left to right: Panasonic Eneloop Pro (2550mAh) NiMH; Thrunite TN4A; Nitecore EA41 2015; Fenix E41; Sunwayman D40A, F40A; Eagletac GX25A3.

    I will start by providing some general overview measures and results for each light, compiled from my various tests. I will then focus on each light individually, providing an overview of build (through my videos) and a personal assessment of pros/cons for each model. For more specific information on each light, I will refer you to the individual full reviews. I will then wrap up with some general comparison comments at the end. This is going to me a long one!

    Here are directly measured dimensions of my samples of the above lights. All are given with no batteries installed. A modern Panasonic Eneloop Pro (2550mAh capacity) weighs about 30.0g, if you want to estimate weight with batteries installed.

    Eagletac GX25A3 3xAA: Weight: 151.4g, Length: 109.2mm (114.2mm with switch tailcap), Width (bezel): 38.6mm
    Fenix E41 4xAA: Weight: 204.1g , Length: 115.9mm, Width (bezel): 44.1mm
    IMALENT SA04 4xAA: Weight: 207.8, Length: 119.5mm, Width (bezel): 43.0mm
    JetBeam SRA40 4xAA: Weight 236.0g, Length: 126.1mm, Width (bezel): 48.5mm
    Lumintop SD10 3xAA: Weight: 117.6g, Length: 120.3mm, Width (bezel): 40.1mm
    Nitecore EA4 4xAA: Weight: 161.6g , Length: 117.9mm, Width (bezel): 40.2mm
    Nitecore EA41 2014 4xAA: Weight: 149.9g , Length: 118.2mm, Width (bezel): 40.1mm
    Nitecore EA41 2015 4xAA: Weight: 147.9g , Length: 118.4mm, Width (bezel): 40.1mm
    Sunwayman D40A 4xAA: Weight: 167.9g, Length: 120.4mm, Width (bezel): 40.0mm
    Sunwayman F40A 4xAA: Weight: 182.0g, Length: 109.3mm, Width (bezel): 42.0mm
    Thrunite TN4A 4xAA: Weight: 217.6g, Length: 112.6mm, Width (bezel): 45.5mm, (tail): 42.0mm

    You can click on the individual review links above to get further specs and details.

    Before we get into the actual testing results for this round-up, a few words about my methods and how the results are reported.

    Videos:

    These are designed to provide a build overview, and show general functioning of the light. For beamshot comparisons, please refer to the standardized white beamshots below.
    For 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.

    As an aside, if you want to get an instant notification for every new review that I post, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. The vids go public at the same time as the reviews here on CPF.

    Output/Runtime Testing and Reporting

    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.

    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).

    Beamshots

    All lights are on Sanyo Eneloop NiMH (4x). 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 (except for IMALENT SA04, which is set to a Daylight white balance to better compare tints). Note the 2014 edition of the Nitecore EA41 is simply labeled "EA41".

    Alright, let's get started with the direct comparisons …

























    Color modes, where available



















    Beam Diffusers

    As you can see above, many of the lights reviewed here are relatively "throwy" (i.e., very good centre-beam reach). And only the Fenix E41 has a relatively wider than typical spillbeam width. As such, you may be interested in adding a diffuser option, to turn these lights into more "floody" beams.

    There are a number of diffusers out there from different manufacturers that can fit different size bezel opening. The fairly common ~40mm bezel opening used on many of these 4xAA lights means that the Nitecore NFD40 and Olight M22X diffusers are suitable.




    Here is an example of what they do to the Nitecore EA4. Note for these shots, the light is on Hi (not Turbo), and about 3/4 of a meter back from a white wall (to let the camera capture more of the spill).





    As you can see, the Nitecore NFD40 diffuses the light to a greater extent than the Olight M22X diffuser. You can expect these diffusers to reduce overall output by ~15-20%.

    But another option is a DIY project using an inexpensive Butler Creek Blizzard flip-open scope cover (my thanks to SCEMan for the original suggestion). Shown below is the size 5 model with my own personally-applied diffuser film, next to the Olight M22X diffuser.




    Here is an example of how it looks on the Nitecore EA4.




    The cover hinge is spring-loaded, so it flips up with ease. This allows you to access throw or flood quickly, literally at the flip of a finger (a la Eagletac GX25C2 style). It also stays closed petty well, as long as you fully seat it (by pressing down on the two protruding flanges to close).

    Since these come with a clear plastic lens, so you would have to add your own diffuser film or change the lens. But there are plenty of adhesive-type frosted films to choose from (check out your local hardware stores for privacy films). For that matter, even things like Glad press'n seal or frosted Scotch tape will work (but I find privacy films work better). In addition to diffusion, you could even replace with your own color filter if you like. The possibilities are endless.

    For adding a diffuser film or changing the plastic lens on these flip covers, there is a metal retaining ring holding the plastic lens in place. You just need to get the metal retaining ring unhooked from the first plastic restrainer, and then can easily proceed through all of them in sequence (start from the end that is jagged, as you can slip a fine jeweler's screwdriver or tweezer in there). Once you get it out, the clear plastic lens falls out - which you can cover with your choice of material (or replace), and then reassemble. You could even sandpaper the clear lens, etc.

    One advantage to this method is that there are a wide range of sizes that you can order for these flip covers, to fit various opening diameters. Of particular relevance to the lights compared here, you could consider the following Butler Creek Blizzard models that I have personally tested:

    Size 4 (1.5-1.55 inch, 38.1-40.38mm) - suitable for the Eagletac GX25A3
    Size 5 (1.6-1.69 inch, 40.64-42.92mm) - suitable for the Lumintop SD10, Nitecore EA4, EA41, Sunwayman D40A
    Size 6 (1.7-1.79 inch, 43.18-45.46mm) - suitable for the IMALENT SA04, Sunwayman F40A
    Size 7 (1.8-1.89 inch, 45.72—48.0mm) - suitable for the Thrunite TN4A, and Fenix E41 (with a few layers of tape in-between, to shim the fit)
    Size 8 (1.9-1.99 inch) - suitable for the Jetbeam SRA40

    For other lights not listed here, keep in mind that the lower diameter for the Butler Creek spec size is really what you should focus on. The higher limit involves stretching the cover - which, while feasible, can prevent it from staying closed. If you are unsure about a size for a given light, it is always better to go one size up - you can always wrap a layer of electrical tape about the end of the light (or inside the cover) to enhance the snugness of the fit. This is why I recommend the size 7 for the Fenix E41 (with a shim of some sort) - technically, the size 6 can be forced on, but you will find it hard to keep the lid closed.

    Have fun experimenting!

    Summary Table:



    Output/Runtime Graphs:

    Reviewer's Note: I have begun to switch to using newer Panasonic Eneloop Pro (2550mAh typical capacity) for my NIMH testing. Panasonic acquired Sanyo a little while back, and the new Panasonic-branded Eneloop Pro cells are an updated version of the former Eneloop XX cells (i.e., Panasonic Pros are basically 3rd generation XX cells, with improved charge holding ability). For the time being, most of my runtime data is still using 2000mAh Eneloops, so both types are shown below.

    UPDATE JANUARY 8, 2015: Since many of these graphs are very busy, I've only added results for the Thrunite TN4A and Nitecore EA41-2015 to the Eneloop Pro and L91 runtimes. Please see my full reviews of those lights for more additional comparisons.












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    Ok, that was a lot of data.

    Let's run through each of the lights in a little more specific detail. Again, please refer to the actual full review of each light for more information on the various points highlighted below.

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    Eagletac GX25A3








    Pros
    • Relatively high max output
    • Excellent output/runtime efficiency (current-controlled)
    • Extremely compact
    • Supports use of 3.7V 14500 Li-ions as well as all standard cells (alkaline, NiMH, L91 lithium)
    • Physical lock-out at tailcap
    • Optional tailswitch cap available
    • More "hidden" blinking modes available than most lights in this class
    • Available in a Neutral white tint option

    Cons
    • Head twists required for mode changing (and so need to keep all contact surfaces clean)
    • Mode spacing may not be ideal, and output levels separated into two groups (requiring mode switching)
    • Rolls easily

    Neutral/Potential Concerns
    • Standby drain (but miniscule for the class, and easily broken with a physical lockout)
    • Relatively throwy beam
    • Main light flashes once the cells fall out of regulation (only an issue on alkalines)
    • Uses 3 AA batteries instead of 4 (so lower runtimes than other lights in this class)

    GX25A3 Full Review

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    Fenix E41








    Pros
    • Very high Turbo/Burst output (but momentary only)
    • Excellent output/runtime efficiency (current-controlled)
    • Wider spillbeam than typical for this class

    Cons
    • Single button for both on/off and mode changing
    • Turbo only available as a momentary Burst mode
    • No true Lo mode
    • No blinking modes
    • Standby drain
    • No electronic or physical lock-out
    • Rolls easily

    Neutral/Potential Concerns
    • Fewer modes than most lights in this class


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    IMALENT SA04






    Pros
    • Dual Cool white and Warm white tint emitters, with a control allowing you to adjust relative contribution (i.e., can set your own personal tint balance dynamically)
    • Wide range of white output levels (i.e., nearly continuously-variable)
    • Red, green, and blue 5mm color emitters
    • Electronic lock-out (but only for the touch-screen, not switch)

    Cons
    • Somewhat complex interface, with multiple electronic switch buttons and touch-screen controls
    • Tint artifacts in the spillbeam, due to reflector design
    • Standby drain
    • No physical lock-out

    Neutral/Potential Concerns
    • Touch (pressure) screen interface not as sensitive as modern capacitive screens
    • While current-controlled, overall efficiency is not quite as high as many of the defined-level competition
    • Regulation pattern is not fully flat-stabilized
    • Newer Panasonic Eneloop Pro cells may be too wide to fit inside the light

    SA04 Full Review

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    JetBeam SRA40








    Pros
    • Intuitive two-button interface
    • Built-in dedicated NiMH battery charger
    • Battery voltage read-out feature
    • Tactical strobe available from off
    • Very good output/runtime efficiency (current-controlled)

    Cons
    • No real low mode available
    • Standby drain present (but relatively miniscule)
    • No electronic lock-out, so would need to physically lock-out light by several turns of the tailcap
    • Light activates as the tailcap is being attached (need to click-off at the switch afterwards).

    Neutral/Potential Concerns
    • Mode sequence is from Hi to Lo
    • Double step-downs from Hi
    • Very throwy beam
    • AA battery charger relatively slow, and requires AC power (i.e., no USB interface)
    • Larger and heavier than other lights in this class

    SRA40 Full Review

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    Lumintop SD10








    Pros
    • Supports a wide range of battery types, including AA with supplied carrier, D-cell and 26650/32650 Li-ion
    • Physical lock-out
    • Neutral white tint option available

    Cons
    • Uses visible pulse-width-modulation (PWM) on the Lo/Med modes
    • Single button for both on/off and mode changing
    • Max mode not as high as most of the competition, with a more significant step-down
    • Overall output/runtime efficiency is lower than the current-controlled competition
    • Uses a cheap looking plastic battery carrier for 3xAA
    • Standby drain (but fairly miniscule)
    • Rolls easily

    Neutral/Potential Concerns
    • Mode sequence from Hi to Lo
    • Three output levels only, with significantly lower output on all levels on D-cell batteries
    • No electronic lock-out
    • Lacks flat-stabilized regulation on all levels
    • Uses only 3xAA in AA mode (thus lower capacity compared to 4xAA lights)

    SD10 Full Review

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    Nitecore EA4 2014








    Pros
    • Very good output/runtime efficiency (current-controlled)
    • Battery state read-out feature
    • Electronic lock-out
    • Available in a Neutral white tint option

    Cons
    • No true Low mode available
    • Standby drain, although this can be minimized somewhat by electronically locking out the light
    • Standby locator flash always on by default (resulting in increased standby drain, unless you lock-out)
    • No physical lock-out
    • Rolls easily

    Neutral/Potential Concerns
    • Single button interface for both on/off and mode changing (but with two pressure levels, so can act in some ways like a two-stage switch)
    • Button switch may be hard to find by touch alone
    • Relative grip is less than most lights in this class
    • Max output is a bit lower than most in this class

    EA4 Full Review

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    Nitecore EA41 - 2014 edition and 2015 edition

    Common appearance:




    2014 edition:


    2015: edition




    Pros (both models)
    • Intuitive two-button interface
    • True Low mode
    • Optional standby locator flash (not on by default)
    • Quick shortcuts to Lower, Turbo and Strobe from off
    • Relative battery charge status feature
    • Electronic lock-out
    • Very good output/runtime efficiency (current-controlled)
    • Available in a Neutral white tint option

    Cons (both models)
    • Noticeable standby drain (i.e. will drain batteries in a matter of months). Need to almost fully unscrew the tailcap to block the drain.
    • No physical lock-out
    • Rolls easily

    Neutral/Potential Concerns (both models)
    • Multiple timed step-downs from Turbo mode
    • Relatively throwy beam
    • Relative grip is less than most lights in this class
    • Max output is a bit lower than most in this class

    EA41 2014 Edition Full Review and 2015 Edition Full Review.

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    Sunwayman D40A








    Pros
    • Intuitive two-button interface
    • Low mode available
    • Physical and electronic lock-out available
    • Excellent output/runtime efficiency (current-controlled)
    • Available in a Neutral white tint option

    Cons
    • Uses a battery carrier

    Neutral/Potential Concerns
    • Standby drain is present, but miniscule - far below self-discharge rates of batteries
    • Mode sequence from Turbo to Low
    • Relatively throwy beam
    • Fresh L91 lithium batteries may not function reliably on Hi/Turbo initially

    D40A Full Review

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    Sunwayman F40A








    Pros
    • Intuitive two-button interface
    • Low mode available
    • Blue and red color modes
    • Electronic lock-out
    • Excellent output/runtime efficiency (current-controlled)
    • Extremely compact size
    • Includes diffuser cone

    Cons
    • Lacks a traditional "Low" white output level (i.e., Low level closer to many Med modes, although Moonlight is also available, as are color modes)
    • Standby drain
    • No physical lock-out
    • Rolls easily

    Neutral/Potential Concerns
    • Mode sequence from Turbo to Low
    • Fresh L91 lithium batteries may not function reliably on Hi/Turbo initially

    F40A Full Review

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    Thrunite TN4A








    Pros
    • Extremely high Turbo mode, with no timed step-down (thermal controlled?)
    • Outstanding output/runtime efficiency (current-controlled)
    • Wider spillbeam than typical for this class, but with excellent throw
    • True Low and Moonlight modes
    • Physical lock-out

    Cons
    • Single button for both on/off and mode changing
    • Uses a battery carrier (very tight for high capacity NiMH cells)
    • Variation in tint across beam (i.e., green-yellow in corona)
    • Rolls easily, with no lanyard attachment point

    Neutral/Potential Concerns
    • Standby drain (but tiny, far below self-discharge rate of batteries)
    • Need to double-click for Turbo, again for Strobe

    TN4A Full Review

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    General Comments

    I generally try to avoid "recommending" lights in my reviews. I prefer to let them stand as relatively objective comparative assessments of a given light's performance. For explicit recommendations, I tend to leave that to the Recommendations page on my flashlightreviews.ca website, where I provide general suggestions of quality lights broken down by battery type. I also don't include a Pros/Cons section in individual reviews - this is extremely subjective, and one persons "pro" can easily be another's "con" (and vice versa).

    But for this round-up review, my goal is a bit different. Here, I'm trying to help guide you to the lights that might best meet your needs, within a given class. So it's worthwhile to consistently compare relative build features, and try to wrap up with a discussion of some of the strengths of various members of this group.

    As you will see from my personal pro/con assessment above, I find a two-switch interface to be a positive development. Single-switches can work fine depending on your specific preferences, but there are often significant design tradeoffs when you have to combine all the functions of a light into one switch. Typically, true dual-switch designs offer a more consistent control mechanism, with a greater number of output modes and general feature set (e.g., ability to jump to min/max/strobe from off, etc.). Going just by this aspect, the Jeatbeam SRA40, Nitecore EA41, Sunwayman D40A and F40A are top picks to consider. That said, the Nitecore EA4 and Eagletac GX25A3 both have additional functions (i.e., the EA41 switch has a two-stage pressure mechanism, and the GX25A3 uses both head twists and a switch for extra versatility).

    Personally, I'm most partial to the user interface of the EA41 - it has a wide range of modes and features, good shortcuts, and an intuitive Min>Max sequence of constant output modes. Either 2014 or 2015 editions will do – the lights are basically identical, except for slightly higher output levels on the 2015 edition (see my full review of that model for details).

    If output/runtime efficiency matters most to you, the Thrunite TN4A and Fenix E41 are excellent performers - but most of the lights here are current-controlled as well, and also show very good efficiency. I haven't done a stand-alone review of the Fenix E41, so I suggest you review the comparison comments in that section above. Note that the E41 lacks a true low mode, so absolute max runtimes will be less than some of the competition.

    The TN4A and E41 both have extremely high max output – although the E41 is only as a momentary mode. The TN4A is particularly impressive for its max output (highest I've seen, constant-on with no timed step-downs). The TN4A is also the efficiency champ at lower levels – and has true Low and Moonlight levels to boot.

    In terms of versatility, the IMALENT SA04 probably has the widest feature set - with the ability to adjust the relative beam tint across the full range from fully warm to fully cool, with everything in-between. It also features nearly continuously-variable white output, and R/G/B color modes to boot. Of course, that also means it has the most complex interface, with multiple switches and a pressure-sensitive touch screen.

    In terms of beam pattern, the JetBeam SRA40 is the clear winner for peak throw. But as a group, these are generally all quite "throwy" (i.e., I find the beam distance of all these models to be more than sufficient for regular tasks). The Fenix E41 and Thrunite TN4A have the widest spillbeams of all the lights. But I recommend you consider removable diffuser options, to turn the lights into true "flooders" - see my diffuser discussion back under the beamshots section, with options to fit each model.

    If size matters, the SRA40 is the largest light, and the Eagletac GX25A3 and Sunwayman F40A are definitely the smallest lights. The F40A also has additional red/blue color modes.

    Aesthetics are always a question of personal taste, and yours may differ from mine. But I have to admit to having a fondness for the styling of the Sunwayman D40A. It has a bit more bling than many of the lights here, with a quality hand feel. And like the Nitecore and Eagletac offerings, you have the option to get it in a Neutral white tint (which I personally prefer).

    Beyond that, each of the lights above has specific things to recommend them (and others that may hold you back). At the end of the day, any of them could probably serve your needs in this class. But please refer to the specific sections above, and the full individual reviews (where available) for more details.

    Hope you found the overview useful!

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    All samples were received directly from the manufacturer for review, except for the Fenix E41 and Nitecore EA41-2014, which were purchased from authorized North American dealers.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 01-21-2015 at 07:14 AM.
    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

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Thanks! These roundup posts are really useful.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* jonwkng's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Wow! Nice round-up review, selfbuilt!

  4. #4

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    WOW what an exhaustive review! This deserves a BIG THANK YOU!
    GOOD TINT!

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Ryp's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Thanks for the review!

    Strange, your measurements show that the F40A is 0.1mm longer than the EagleTac, yet the picture of them side-by-side shows that the F40A is shorter.
    Last edited by Ryp; 12-01-2014 at 11:35 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Glad you like it all ... figured it was a good idea to get it out now, given all the deals before Xmas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryp View Post
    Strange, your measurements show that the F40A is 0.1mm longer than the EagleTac, yet the picture of them side-by-side shows that the F40A is shorter.
    That's because the measurements refer to the flat tailcap, but I'm showing the optional tailcap with additional mode switch in the pic. Just updated to give you the additional measure with the optional tailcap in place.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Thanks Selfbuilt. Nice review as always.
    I personaly got the GX25A3, because of its small size.
    The Lumintop SD10 seems to be an interesting light. Equiped with a good D cell, it would be unbeatable in terms of runtime.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Ive got the EA41,GX25A3,D40A,SRA40 with the new 2015 1020 lumen EA41 coming in the mail today. GX25A3 is the best EDC light out of my group due to its small size and impressive output. Best all rounder is my D40A. Its built tough, puts 940 lumens OTF, has all the neat modes and looks like something James Bond would use. My EA41 is great function wise but is the least bright of the group. SRA40 has by far the BEST beam out of them all, it throws like crazy and the beam is SO wide with an awesome focused hotspot giving it a more 3D look.

    Boy that Imalent looks like a nightmare to work!! The Lumintop just looks like a battery nightmare! It also just doesnt have the output to "hang" with the rest. Am anxiously looking forward to a review of the new 2015 edition EA41 I am really hoping Nitecore got it in gear and realized that people are indeed noticing when the manufacturers rated output turns out to be a whopping 200 lumens overstated..

  9. #9

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by CelticCross74 View Post
    Best all rounder is my D40A. ... looks like something James Bond would use.


    Am anxiously looking forward to a review of the new 2015 edition EA41 I am really hoping Nitecore got it in gear and realized that people are indeed noticing when the manufacturers rated output turns out to be a whopping 200 lumens overstated..
    Since the EA41 2015 runtime specs haven't changed, and the official Turbo output specs have only increased by 6%, it seems very likely that there is no change to the circuit. In other words, the only output bump you are likely to see is ~6% due to the output bin change. The EA4/EA41 will likely remain at the lower end of true max output.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 12-01-2014 at 02:04 PM.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  10. #10
    kj2's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Thanks for putting this together

  11. #11

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Thanks so much for this. I've been reading through all your AA reviews, so this is perfect.
    I've pretty much narrowed my choice to the Sunwayman D40A or the Nitecore EA41. Is the better runtime of the Nitecore due entirely to being less bright? I wonder if I can live with the Fenix's turbo mode. The runtimes in all the other modes look awesome.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    I dont know man Ive been playing with my new 2015 edition vs all the others in the dark for a good couple hours now and to me the 2015 edition seems much better in terms of output vs the original. Can a 6% change really look like that big of a difference? BTW the 2015 comes with a MUCH nicer sheath. Yes the D40A just looks so darn slick and stylish with that nice wide stainless bezel. I also have the Thrunite TN4A on pre order should have it a few days before Christmas. Really looking forward to it as itll be my first XP-L light...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    very helpful comparison. thanks.

    you listed a Con for the Fexix E41 -- "No Blinking Modes." i thought that would be a plus for you. i have an aversion to those modes as well.

  14. #14

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by mhooper View Post
    I've pretty much narrowed my choice to the Sunwayman D40A or the Nitecore EA41. Is the better runtime of the Nitecore due entirely to being less bright? I wonder if I can live with the Fenix's turbo mode. The runtimes in all the other modes look awesome.
    Based on the graphs, the D40A seems to have a mild efficiency advantage over the EA41. However, as the output is typically lower on the EA41, it runs a bit longer. But the differences are not great.

    It's true the Fenix E41 is the most efficient of the bunch - but does that really in matter in practice? If it meant recharging your cells every 11 weeks instead of every 12 weeks, would most care? Frankly, I would think features and interface matter the most in this comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by CelticCross74 View Post
    I dont know man Ive been playing with my new 2015 edition vs all the others in the dark for a good couple hours now and to me the 2015 edition seems much better in terms of output vs the original. Can a 6% change really look like that big of a difference?.
    No, you can't really see that (although any two bins could be from 1-14% different in output). But relative focusing can also have a big impact on how bright something seems (same goes for tint). Hard to say if anything is really all that different without testing it under the same conditions.

    UPDATE: OK, you've pique my interest enough. I've just placed an order for the 2015 edition through a US distributor with a cybermonday deal. Will likely take a couple of weeks to get here, but I'll update the relevant reviews with the testing results when it does.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevieo View Post
    you listed a Con for the Fexix E41 -- "No Blinking Modes." i thought that would be a plus for you. i have an aversion to those modes as well.
    Yes, I don't care for them - but they are not a problem if they are "hidden". As such, I figured it could be a potential con that they aren't there at all (since some obviously like them). Of course, a much bigger con would be if they were present and visible in the main sequence.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 12-01-2014 at 08:43 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Thanks for the review. Especially the solid advice about the diffuser option with that scope cover. Unfortunately I cannot seem to find them here in Oz, but that is a great idea.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Alright! Cant wait for the 2015 update! I really wish Nitecore would have put "2015 Edition" anywhere on the light so its easier to tell it apart from the original EA41. Of course all I really have to do is turn them on to tell them apart. Now for the 2015 P12 1000 lumen that should be showing up in the mail tomorrow...

  17. #17

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Been looking at the D40A for a while now bit haven't ordered o e yet. Was curious about the Fenix E41 since I am a Fenix fan, but it isn't quite what I am looking for. I was always kind of hoping you would test the LD41 as well, even though it has been out for a while and is a little different form factor. Probably would hold on Turbo for a while longer since it isn't cranked up to 11 like a lot of these lights. They can hit that peak lumen number but don't last too long at that high of a output. The D40A seems to check all the boxes for me so I will most likely get that one.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    You totally cannot go wrong with the D40A! I am really disappointed Fenix is doing the press and hold for turbo deal. The mode spacing on the D40A is near perfect

  19. #19

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by redtruck View Post
    I was always kind of hoping you would test the LD41 as well, even though it has been out for a while and is a little different form factor. Probably would hold on Turbo for a while longer since it isn't cranked up to 11 like a lot of these lights.
    Sorry, never tested the LD41. However, I did do comparative testing of the LD40 in my review of the Jetbeam PA40
    . You can check out that review for a discussion and overview of the LD40 build (plus the comparison runtime results).

    The D40A is a very nice light.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod911 View Post
    Thanks for the review. Especially the solid advice about the diffuser option with that scope cover. Unfortunately I cannot seem to find them here in Oz, but that is a great idea.
    That's too bad - I was fortunate that there is a Canadian distributor for Butler Creek. It's what allowed me to pick up each size Blizzard scope cover, to confirm the fit for each of the lights reviewed here.

    Definitely recommended for the DIY club ... it's an inexpensive way to add a lot more versatility to the lights.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 12-03-2014 at 04:57 PM.
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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Definitely recommended for the DIY club ... it's an expensive way to add a lot more versatility to the lights.
    I think you meant inexpensive.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* Grijon's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    AWESOME, thank you, selfbuilt!!!

  23. #23

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Swede74 View Post
    I think you meant inexpensive.
    Sorry I did ... always embarrassing to drop the negative ...
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Nice reviews! Thinking about getting a new light but not sure of the direction yet. Maybe it's time for a 4xAA?
    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  25. #25
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    For some reason I was expecting better performance from the seemingly new-ish "fat" 4xAA seems form factor; they're offering capabilities similar to high-performance 1x 18650 lights. Then I ran some basic numbers and realize that the nominal watt-hours of each package is similar (18650 doing 3.7V * 2600mAH for 9.62 W-H; LSD NiMH doing 1.2V * 2000mAH * 4 for 9.6 W-H), with the only advantage of 4xAA being a higher nominal voltage.

    Compared to the 1x 18650 lights I'm familiar with, these 4xAA lights are a bit lacking on modes and features. Electronic switches - with their associated parasitic idle drain - seem to be the default. Wonder if they're targeted at the more budget-minded? Something about the squat form factor seems like it would make a big flush mechanical tailswitch appealing.

    Be nice to see some enterprising manufacturer make these seem like more than a stripped-down 1x 18650 light.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  26. #26

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    For some reason I was expecting better performance from the seemingly new-ish "fat" 4xAA seems form factor; they're offering capabilities similar to high-performance 1x 18650 lights. Then I ran some basic numbers and realize that the nominal watt-hours of each package is similar (18650 doing 3.7V * 2600mAH for 9.62 W-H; LSD NiMH doing 1.2V * 2000mAH * 4 for 9.6 W-H), with the only advantage of 4xAA being a higher nominal voltage.
    Yes, a very apt analysis. Total ability to do work is about the same for these battery categories, but there is the slight added advantage of the higher nominal voltage for 4xAA cells in series. To extend the analogy, even the newer 2550mAh Eneloop Pros are only roughly equivalent to the newer protected 3400mAh 18650s.

    For fans of AA cells, it means you can finally get 18650 performance on standard batteries. But I agree, there is typically not much compelling here for fans of 18650 (who have enjoyed most of the benefits for awhile). That said, the dimensions of these of AA lights may be preferable for some (i.e., short and stubby, rather than long and thin). This means you can get relatively "throwier" beams from the 4xAA lights, without having to have a disproportionately sized head compared to the body.

    But these dimensions may also explain why were aren't seeing tailswitches on these lights - manufacturers may be assuming people wouldn't carry them overhand (i.e., tactical style, with thumb on tail). You can certainly can comfortably enough - but most non-flashaholic general users carry their lights underhand (and thus are used to switches on the head of the light).

    To me, this is really an excellent class for the general user who doesn't know about 18650 cells or Li-ion charging. As such, these lights make excellent choices as gifts for non-flashaholics, introducing them to the typical performance (output, throw and runtime) that we have in the 18650 world have known for awhile - using cells they are familiar and comfortable with.
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  27. #27
    Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    I bought the D40A just under a year ago and I'm happy with it. I have 18650 lights and I wanted a 'medium thrower' that worked on AAs, since I have a lot of Eneloops here, so I looked at the Fenix, the NC EA4, the ET, the JB and decided that the SWM light was priced right at $69 shipped via B.J..

    I had wanted the NC EA4 and tracked them on Ebay for a few months at $48-$55 shipped, but then that thread popped up here about the ballooning switch covers and my mind was made up. The ET and JB lights were a bit more money, so that's why they went away.

    I have carried the D40A CW in my pocket, but it's heavy and frankly, I don't use it outside much at all, but I have a nice light that can run on AAs, which are ubiquitous and that's the charm in these lights.

    Modes on the 40A are fine, with plenty of beacons and strobes and it throws farther than some of my 18650 lights, even the ones with ~36ish mm heads, like my Convoy M1/M2.

    I know some of us like to consolidate down to a few common components, but I'm somewhat the opposite and prefer to cover all of my bases.

    Chris
    Convoy: S2, S2+, M1, M2, Fenix: P1D, PD32, HL30, ET: D25C Ti, SF: 6P, ZL: SC-600, Klarus: P2A, Jetbeam: BA-20, Icon: Rogue 1, L3: L10, Xeno: E03, ShiningBeam: I-Mini, Olight: i3s, SWM: D40A, M11R, V11R, Maglite: 6Ds, MMs, Solitaires, LaCrosse BC-700, Maha C-9000, XTAR VP2, MP1S, XP1, MC1+, WP2 II, NiteCore i4, v2.

  28. #28

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Great summary of reviews SB! Thanks for sharing!
    Last edited by UnderPar; 12-22-2014 at 07:40 PM.

  29. #29

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    I am looking for a 4xaa thrower, so this was a big help!

  30. #30

    Default Re: 4xAA Round-up Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEOS, PROS & CONS, and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by jjwaldman21 View Post
    I am looking for a 4xaa thrower, so this was a big help!
    Glad to hear it. I have a few updates coming over the next few days.

    Oh, and
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
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