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

Woods Walker

The Wood is cut, The Bacon is cooked, Now it’s tim
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Nice reviews! Thinking about getting a new light but not sure of the direction yet. Maybe it's time for a 4xAA?
 

idleprocess

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decamped
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.
 

selfbuilt

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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.
 

ChrisGarrett

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Feb 2, 2012
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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
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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This was a great idea for a review. Comparing these lights in one review makes a lot of sense, and I need another light to justify my collection of Eneloops. It convinced me to order the Sunwayman D40A. Thanks selfbuilt!
 

selfbuilt

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My pleasure. :)

Still need to add the EA41 2015 and Thrunite TN4A to the comparisons here ... should get to it by the end of the end of the week.
 

selfbuilt

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Ok, Thrunite TN4A and Nitecore EA41 2015 edition have just been added to the full review. :sweat:

I think this wraps up the 2014 round-up comparison nicely.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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A 2xAA roundup would be great to see. Though, perhaps there's too much choice in that area for it to not appear overwhelming.

BTW, I think it would be great to see Selfbuilt's ratings for each light (perhaps on a scale of 1 to 10). I know there's probably reasons why he's hesitant to give recommendations, but it would still be nice to see.
 

selfbuilt

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Wow, what for a great comparsion! Very helpful! Thanks for that!
Thanks, and :welcome:

A 2xAA roundup would be great to see. Though, perhaps there's too much choice in that area for it to not appear overwhelming.
Yes, there is not a lot in the 2xAA form factor any more - most have moved to the 4xAA class (for the greater output and runtime, I suspect).

BTW, I think it would be great to see Selfbuilt's ratings for each light (perhaps on a scale of 1 to 10). I know there's probably reasons why he's hesitant to give recommendations, but it would still be nice to see.
Yes, I get that a lot. ;) I agree those can be quite helpful when trying to narrow down choices - but there are many pitfalls, and lots of reasons why I don't do it. To put it simply, I prefer to keep qualitative assessments (which are subjective) as separate from quantitative scores (which I reserve for objective measures).

But one thing I do to help people narrow down choices is maintain an up-to-date set of extensive recommendations, broken down by battery type and style/interface. You'll find these under the Recommendations tab of my flashlightreviews.ca website: http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/recommend.html
 

bright star

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Excellent Selfbuilt ! Always a very informative and intuitive review . As for me I'm still waiting for the new parts for my LD 41. Fenix themselves got a hold of me on this forum and promise to ship out new parts as now my light is stuck on high and I can go no lower. :eek:
 

snigelkott

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Jan 17, 2015
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Thanks selfbuilt, this round-up (and your other reviews) helped me so much when i was looking for my first high-end flashlight!
I my D40A today and can't wait until it gets dark!
 
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