1xAA Round-up Review - Part IV - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, & more!

Hitthespot

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Just updated the review with some summary comments at the very end. :)

These take the form of Frequently Asked Questions, since there are a number that generally come up. For example, which light is brightest overall, throws the furthest, most efficient, most floody, most likely to set your hair on fire, etc. (ok, maybe not that last one :nana:).

Cheers!

Nice addition Eric. I've finally had a chance to give the review a little more than a once over, shows some interesting quirks if you read between the lines.

While the Tiablo is listed as one of the best throwers it is not listed as one of the brightest. In fact by looking at your light test tables, the Tiablo is 38% dimmer than the Eagletac in the ceiling bounce test and 25% dimmer in the lightbox max test on a 14500. While a 38% difference may only be visualized as 20 percent less bright, I consider that a major difference in brightness for the same emitter. It shows the importance the reflector plays in the throw / spill of a light regardless of overall Lumens. AND what the heck are those railroad ties on the head of the Tiablo? lol :poke:

Also you list the NDI as being one of the brightest on (Regular) batteries. It is also an interesting quirk in my opinion that this light scored much lower in overall brightness than some of the other offerings on a 14500. The NDI is without a doubt one of my favorite lights, and while I commend Nitecore for offering great performance on regular batteries, I can't help but want more/higher performance (brightness) on a 14500. :mecry:

Give me a chance to digest more as I read through your review again. :)

BTW: I really wanted to know which light was built the best. lol :poke:

Cheers A,

Bill
 
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selfbuilt

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The NDI is without a doubt one of my favorite lights, and while I commend Nitecore for offering great performance on regular batteries, I can't help but want more/higher performance (brightness) on a 14500. :mecry:
Thanks Bill ... at the time of the NDI's release, there was some discussion around just that. Nitecore confirmed that it was an explicit design decision they made, since they were concerned about the effect of heat on emitter longevity if maximally driven on 14500 (given the relatively small mass of a 1xAA light). Of course, my NDI samples are all from the early production runs - I don't know for sure if they've maintained that philosophy more recently.

As for the Tiablo, I think a good general way to look at it is that lights tend to fall into one three tiers when it comes to max output - and not necessarily the same tier class for each battery type. This 3-tier max structure is especially noticeable on the 14500 tests (although there are exceptions, of course). If we consider tier 1 to the highest regulated max output and tier 3 to be lowest regulated max output, then the following pattern emerges:

  • The Eagletac P10A is a tier 1 light on both NiMH and 14500 (although not regulated on 14500)
  • The NDI is a tier 1 light on NiMH and a tier 2 light on 14500
  • The Tiablo TL-1 is a tier 2 light on both NiMH and 14500 (although initial output is in the tier 1 range on NIMH, it rapidly drops to tier 2 regulated status).
  • Fenix is a tier 2 light on NiMH and a tier 1 light on 14500
  • and so on ...
Clearly, each manufacturer has chosen their set of "sweet spots" for different battery types.
 

divine

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On the very last runtime chart, there is a Gray line across the bottom that runs straight past the 10 hour mark. I can't tell which light it is from the legend. The D10's have Gray lines next to them, but one says not tested and the other says 3 hours and something til 50%. :duh2:

Maybe I'm just reading it wrong.
 

selfbuilt

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On the very last runtime chart, there is a Gray line across the bottom that runs straight past the 10 hour mark.
Sorry divine - that should only have been a dot on the Y-axis for the NDI on its lowest setting (since I haven't tested it). I'll fix it next time I'm in front of my main computer. :)
 

Thujone

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This is the first I have seen of the decreasing brightness 'feature' on the icons. Not sure what I think of using a driver to emulate the worst part of direct driving a light. Thoughts?
 

Creecher

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I'm a bit of a CR123 fan, as my first new light in years is a Nitecore Extreme, but I have to say, you certainly put the hours in Selfbuilt. I think it may have been your reviews that convinced me about the Nitecore, come to that. Thanks, have a beer or something!
 

selfbuilt

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This is the first I have seen of the decreasing brightness 'feature' on the icons. Not sure what I think of using a driver to emulate the worst part of direct driving a light. Thoughts?
There is a discussion in my Rogue review thread, as well as some of the other Rogue threads. I think most CPFers share your concern, although it is unclear how general flashlight users would perceive it.

Thanks, have a beer or something!
Thanks, I could use one. :)

Cheers! :buddies:
 

Superorb

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WOW, great roundup here :) Nice work.

I just got my ConneXion X2 yesterday, and I've noticed some weird behavior. When changing modes, it appears to flash and then move onto the next lower mode. It looks weird, and I expected it to change modes without this weird flash between modes.
I've also noticed the output on my copy to look strange, it's hard to describe.
I also replaced the rear cap with a GITD one from DX that protrudes more than stock. It's MUCH easier to use like this.

Other than that, the finish is great and it's a tiny light that looks great to EDC.
 

nanotech17

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i know i'm late but i just my hand on the P10A (my friend bought it) and :wow:the built quality is top notch and the beam on alkaline is so bright even brighter on eneloop.I can't believe it that it only powered by 1 AA:D
 

selfbuilt

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i know i'm late but i just my hand on the P10A (my friend bought it) and :wow:the built quality is top notch and the beam on alkaline is so bright even brighter on eneloop.I can't believe it that it only powered by 1 AA:D
It is pretty amazing how bright a single 1xAA light can be now - the P10A is a good example.

FYI, since doing this review, I've noticed that "budget" versions of the Regal EDC have started showing up on the discount deal sites. I'm not sure of the origin of these lights, but at least one sample had improved output over the officially released model (see my Regal EDC review for a discussion). However, that is likely to be quite variable - you never really know what you are going to get on those sites (or where it actually came from). :sigh:
 

funkL

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Thanks for this series of reviews! I appreciate your efforts.

Today's 1xAA flashlights have a great combination of output, portability and cost-effectiveness (with alkaline AA cells available everywhere), and I can see myself only getting AA-powered flashlights in the future. I look forward to the next round-up!
 

enlighten

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I’d love to see you add the Akoray K-106 to this roundup. Scorned by some, lauded by others, it would be great to see how it really compares.
 

selfbuilt

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FYI, the NiteCore EZAA (revised version) and Olight I15 have both been added to the review. :wave:

I realize the runtime graphs are looking a little crowded now, as there are a a bunch of lights included that are no longer available. Rather than continuing to update this thread, I will post a revised "Part V" once the next crop of 1xAA lights are tested. This Part IV will stay up to allow you to compare back to the older lights.

I’d love to see you add the Akoray K-106 to this roundup. Scorned by some, lauded by others, it would be great to see how it really compares.
Yes, I see there is a lot of interest in that light. I have ordered it, and will add it to the next iteration of this review. Will likely be a few weeks though.
 

Rexlion

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Could you go into a bit of detail on how the comparison numbers in the table can best be understood? I mean, could you please define the terms like "lighbox max" so newer folks like me can relate that to practical terms? Maybe it's been discussed before someplace, but I haven't found it. For example, some lights in the table have a lightbox max of 50 but the same lights vary in ceiling bounce max from 3.4 to 4.0 . . . I can't picture exactly what those differences would mean in actual use.

Thanks for humoring me. :)
 

selfbuilt

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Could you go into a bit of detail on how the comparison numbers in the table can best be understood? I mean, could you please define the terms like "lighbox max" so newer folks like me can relate that to practical terms? Maybe it's been discussed before someplace, but I haven't found it. For example, some lights in the table have a lightbox max of 50 but the same lights vary in ceiling bounce max from 3.4 to 4.0 . . . I can't picture exactly what those differences would mean in actual use.
No problem, I realize it's not obvious. I have been meaning to provide more background on my website, but here's the short version.

"Lightbox" Max refers to the relative output reading captured in my lightbox on the light's max setting. My lightbox is based on similar principles as Doug (Quickbeam) developed for his outstanding flashlightreviews.com (lightbox instructions now available here: FR lightbox/overall output). In my case, I have adjusted the design for runtime tests (the opening is at the base of the carton), and have permanently mounted a sensor to reduce variability. Basically, this is a a very simple and easy way to capture the overall output of a light. Note that each lighbox is unique, so the output numbers are completely relative (i.e. why no lux/lumen estimate is given). But you can compare across lights tested in the same box.

"Ceiling Bounce" refers to another simple way to measure output (again on Max, in my case). Stick the flashlight in candle-mode on the floor of a small room with no windows, such as a closet or small bathroom (i.e. light pointing up at the ceiling). Place a lux light-meter on the floor near the light, with its sensor also pointing up. The measurement you get is the result of the diffuse light hitting the sensor after bouncing off the ceiling (and four walls) of the room. Again, every room is different, so you can't compare one person's ceiling bounce numbers to another - but they do give you another simple way to compare outputs across lights for a given room/light meter. Note that I find this method to be more variable (i.e. one day to the next, the readings can change slightly due to precise placement of light and sensor in the room, ambient light slipping under the door, etc.).

I present both results so you can decide for yourself which you prefer to go by. Personally, I tend to trust the lightbox for low output lights like the 1xAA reviewed here (the scale is a lot more sensitive at the low end). It is also far more consistent - if I do another run tomorrow, I know the results typically won't vary by more than 1-2% in output readings (whereas I could easily see up to 10-15% variation in ceiling bounce tests from day to day). Where the ceiling bounce has the most value for me is for really high-powered lights (like the MC-E/P7 lights, or heavy throwers). I know the lightbox tends to underestimate those, since it is too small to really integrate the beams much.

Neither of these is a real solution for a properly calibrated integrating sphere, but I'm just a hobbyist here. ;) Between the two, you should have a pretty good feel for relative outputs.
 
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Rexlion

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Thanks a bunch Selfbuilt, that explanation helps a great deal! That also helps me see why someone else's lightbox numbers seemed so far "off" after seeing yours. They weren't off at all, for their box.
 
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