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Thread: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic _UPz's Avatar
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    Exclamation [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)


    ULTRATAC A5
    LED: CREE XP-G2 S4 CW
    Battery: 1x AAA / 1× 10440
    Modes: 3 (M, L, H)
    Switch: Reverse, at tailcap
    Date: June 2017


    INTRODUCTION
    Ultratac has recently launched a new AAA model: this is the Ultratac A5, a compact flashlight but designed for use beyond the typical keychain duty.



    The flashlight comes in a plastic box, similar to the one found in the Lumintop Tool / Worm range, only a little more spacious.



    Inside you will find the flashlight accompanied by an AAA alkaline, a small silicone diffuser, a pair of spare o-rings, a brass ring, small split ring and user manual with warranty card. The presentation is excellent.


    EXTERNAL FINISH
    As I mentioned the Ultratac A5 is a flashlight that has an unconventional design, since although it uses a common battery for super-compact / keychain flashlights, this new Ultratac seems to be designed more for a shirt-pocket duty, since its noticeably longer thanks to its mechanical switch located in the tail.



    Its dimensions define it as a kind of compact penlinght, ideal for carrying it in the pocket of a shirt.



    At just 16g, the Ultratac A5 is a relatively light flashlight. With an AAA NiMH we go to almost 27g.



    The entire body is made of anodized aluminum with a super nice matt finish. The tone of the color is uniform throughout the different parts that make up the flashlight. The machining is quite original, with a square area in the center of the tube where it has been used to engrave the logos on the opposite faces.



    The A5 can be disassembled into three main parts. On the one hand the head, on the other the body containing the mechanical switch and finally the tail plug, which in practice does not allow us to change the battery from there since it has no access to the battery housing.



    The tailcap contains the pushbutton that acts on the switch itself on the body of the flashlight. It is made of steel and has a very good feel.



    Thanks to its flat base, it allows to place the light in candle mode, extremely useful if it is used combined with the included mini diffuser.



    The threads have a standard triangular cut, and come clean and slightly greased. The battery housing is generous, suitable even for protected 10440 batteries.



    The pocket clip is removable. The brass ring is to be placed as a bezel, supplementing the space the clip itself leaves when being removed.



    The cool white tinted CREE XP-G2 S4 emitter is correctly centered behind a small textured reflector. The lens is made of glass with anti-reflective treatment.


    USER INTERFACE

    With the features of its mechanical construction you will have already intuited what kind of user interface this new Ultratac A5 has: Three modes selectable from its mechanical type reverse switch …




    • Switching on and off: Using the switch located on the tail of the flashlight, you can turn the A5 on and off. Since it is a mechanical reverse type switch it is necessary to press completely (until the click) and release so that the flashlight switches on or off.
    • Changing modes: With the flashlight on, simply press the switch slightly, without clicking – just to interrupt the circuit for an instant and release – to change the mode. The order of modes is Medium-Low-High.
    • Memory: The Ultratac A5 has no memory mode and, passed five seconds since its last use, it will reset and always switch back to Medium mode as default.
    • Blocking: The flashlight can be locked mechanically with a slight unscrewing of the thread of its head. The A5 has no parasitic consumption as it uses a mechanical switch, and is not particularly prone to being turned on accidentally, but I guess it is always okay to block it.




    ( All measurements are taken following the ANSI NEMA FL1 procedure, taking as value the highest reading between the second 30 and 120 after activation )

    Although this Ultratac A5 is already a final / production version, it does not yet have final product specifications. After my own measurements I’ve found a well-balanced mode distribution for the type of interface it haves (no memory-default on the Medium mode). The low mode, with its 2.5lm is very usable. A medium mode with 14 lumen is fine for a default mode, and the almost 100 lumen of its high mode now offers that plus for spot situations where more light is required.


    PERFORMANCE


    Something in which Ultratac has worked very hard in the design phase of the circuit of this A5 is to obtain a much higher efficiency than usual. I know that the team of engineers of the brand has worked hard and well to reach this circuit that offers a TOP efficiency of the range. Almost 50 minutes of fully regulated output with over 90 real lumen all that time with a mundane AAA Eneloop of 750mAh.



    While it is true that there are more or less current flashlights that offer much more spectacular outputs, compared to the efficiency of this Ultratac A5 there is only one possible rival …



    … and that rival is the acclaimed Maratac AAA REV3 (copper version). You can see that both flashlights have almost exactly the same output and type of regulation, although the Maratac seems to maintain the regulation a couple of minutes more in front of the Ultratac, although once lost the so precious regulation the fall in the Maratac is sharper than in the A5. I would leave him in a technical tie …


    BEAM PROFILE

    As expected, with an optics so similar to the K18, the projection of the Ultratac A5 is identical to the one in its digital switch equipped sister flashlight.




    We have a large hotspot that is softly blurred with the spill creating an overflowing character projection.



    The tint is exactly the same as we saw on the K18 v2017, cold white without a clear dominant. Great tint for such a high bin CREE LED emitter me thinks.




    The beam profile of the A5 is clean, balanced and versatile, ideal for everyday close range use at or as a backup flashlight.


    PERSONAL CONCLUSION
    In recent times we are seeing how many brands are incorporating switches to their AAA models. When you think of a AAA with rear switch the most popular example is perhaps the Lumintop Tool AAA … And it is a certainly attractive model but its poor performance, and especially its low efficiency makes it little useful compared to other alternatives. The A5 is a flashlight that, from a short penlight point of view, is a great alternative for those who need a small but yet comfortable to use flashlight that fits in the shirt pocket as if it were a short pen.



    Lumintop Tool Ti · Ultratac K18 v2017 · Lumintop Tool Cu · Ultratac A5

    Negatives: Aesthetically I think the design of the A5 isn’t attractive. It can be extremely long if we are accustomed to compact flashlights or to keychain lights, although this becomes a positive thing if we look at it from the ergonomics point of view.

    Positive aspects
    : Ultratac could, as other manufacturers do, have used the same driver already designed for the K18, adapting only the switch response … instead of that, they have designed a completely new driver chasing the highest efficiency levels of the range … and I think they have succeeded. And I also think they have improved it, since they have done so without PWM, and compatible with 10440 batteries. I hope that in the future the experience gained in the development of this model will be applied in future models and updates, and that Ultratac delight us with these performance levels also in their other models.

  2. #2

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    UPz,
    is there any evidence of stabilised output with Li-ion 10440?

  3. #3

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Very nice job on the review. I've been looking for a nice 10440 light, this one might be on the short list.

  4. #4

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Quote Originally Posted by _UPz
    compared to the efficiency of this Ultratac A5 there is only one possible rival …
    Quote Originally Posted by _UPz


    … and that rival is the acclaimed Maratac AAA REV3 (copper version).
    Very useful info!
    I also hope the efficient Ultratac A5 driver appears in a Tool.

    one other light I found recently that is more efficient than the Tool is my Copper Maratac Rev4 AAA w Nichia.. similar runtime to the Ultratac, and also regulated nicely
    Last edited by jon_slider; 06-11-2017 at 03:25 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Can you ask a stainless steel or titanium version?

    Maybe titanium would be better?

    Thanks for the great informative review.

    Any charts for 10440 performance on Med level?

  6. #6

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Thanks for the review. I agree that it look's a little too long, but the performance looks good. I could justify the length in a titanium version.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Quote Originally Posted by nsk1979 View Post
    UPz,
    is there any evidence of stabilised output with Li-ion 10440?
    I plan testing sphere runtime with 10440 in the new ultratacs (A5 & K18 v2017) tomorrow. Stay tuned for testing results!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Quote Originally Posted by Keitho View Post
    Very nice job on the review. I've been looking for a nice 10440 light, this one might be on the short list.
    Thank you!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    Very useful info!
    I also hope the efficient Ultratac A5 driver appears in a Tool.

    one other light I found recently that is more efficient than the Tool is my Copper Maratac Rev4 AAA w Nichia.. similar runtime to the Ultratac, and also regulated nicely
    Hola jon!

    I really wish I could put my hands on those new Maratac for testings! Pity it's so expensive for us Europeans.
    Thanks for your reply!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post
    Can you ask a stainless steel or titanium version?

    Maybe titanium would be better?

    Thanks for the great informative review.

    Any charts for 10440 performance on Med level?
    Hi kerils,

    Aha, yes sir. I can ask. You can ask too.
    Thanks for stopping by and for the reply. As I stated earlier, I plan testing with 10440 tomorrow. Stay tuned!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    From this post (this post got triple-posted when publishing): http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...=1#post5104745

    Quote Originally Posted by KITROBASKIN
    Excellent review for an excellent flashlight. It is a delight to see such a good clip. How firm is the spring pressure?

    Having personally had an aluminum Lumintop Tool click on accidentally, the protected tail switch is most welcome and tail standing a bonus.

    Knowing that this torch is efficient will convince many members here on CPF that this is a light to be considered, along with 10440 battery capability.

    It looks like the color temperature of the emitter is fairly decent, but a 5000K Nichia 219b would make the sale with me...

    Thanks again for the review.
    Thank you for reading and stopping by for commenting!

    The clip tension is great for such small diametter light. The fact that it is mounted onto the tailcap instead clipped adds a great safety feature towards clips such the one found in the Tool.
    Yeah, I'll for sure prefer a 219 powered model... Maybe the manufacturer read us and take notes for future releases!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dubois View Post
    Thanks for the review. I agree that it look's a little too long, but the performance looks good. I could justify the length in a titanium version.
    Hey Dubois!

    Long time no see you... Hope everything's fine. As far as I remember, Ultratac told me that they planned Titanium version for the first K18, but I think it never came out as it did with the brass and stainless steel. Let's wait and see if Ultratac is planning new materials for this model!

    Thanks for your comment!

  13. #13

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Very nice regulation on high.

    I wonder what runtimes are on medium and low.
    This would be a very nice EDC, or backup with a L92 cell.
    Runtime with the L92 would be even more interesting.
    "Tint is within the eye of the beholder." - WoodsWalker

  14. #14

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Thanks for the review. Well done UltraTac! Make a 1AA light with this driver, offer other emitters, especially in NW and high CRI, and it will sell like hotcakes! Hope they extend their effort in efficient driver design to 18650 clas lights in the future.
    Stop feeding exaggerated specs, careless designs, bad quality, insufficient QA and QC, and bad customer service. Curb your unbridled enthusiasm.

  15. #15

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Who carries these lights in the states?
    Stop feeding exaggerated specs, careless designs, bad quality, insufficient QA and QC, and bad customer service. Curb your unbridled enthusiasm.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)



    I've tested both the A5 and the k18 v2017 with 10440 battery. The cell used is a 330mAh (tested capacity in mc3000 device) li-ion battery from fasttech, which I have removed the protection board and rewrapped.

    None of the two lights shows any signs of regulation on any modes.
    K18 v2017 performs somewhat better, but the low voltage warning (nice feature btw) in the higher mode kicks in early (at ~3V) and stepdowns the light to low with the blinky signal every few seconds. Med mode on the K18 looks better, not fully flat regulated but looking good and useful imho.
    A5 has no low batt warning feature so it tortures the 10440 down to 1.xV (you can see how the driver thinks the depelled liion battery is a fresh nimh-alkaline aaa and try to go flat hh) and thus extracts much higher efficiency than the K18 v2017. A5 Med mode has great performance with unregulated output fading slowly from ~170lm at the first seconds.

  17. #17

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Thanks for the tests, very helpful information.

    Would you say that "10440 performance of A5 is better than of K18-2017"?

    It's a matter of interpretation and evaluation.

    I would say so😎

  18. #18
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    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post
    Thanks for the tests, very helpful information.

    Would you say that "10440 performance of A5 is better than of K18-2017"?

    It's a matter of interpretation and evaluation.

    I would say so
    Hi kreisl,

    Glad the test infos are usefull for you.
    Yes, imho A5 performs much better with 10440 than k18 v2017. It extracts more lm·h with same battery and also has higher initial output for med mode (and marginally for high mode too)
    K18 v2017 has a very nice feature with the low volt warning, but it would be much more useful if the output was regulated lower or wasn't that high so the cell doesn't get die in less than 10 mins.

    Best regards,
    UPz

  19. #19

    Default Re: [Review] UltraTac A5 (XP-G2 S4, 1x AAA / 1x 10440)

    Quote Originally Posted by _UPz View Post
    Yes, imho
    1 word yes no that's all I wanted to hear
    Got it now thanks UPz
    ~ bitterness about poor quality remains long after sweetness of low price is forgotten ~

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