The PS03 is clearly meant to be Lumintop's answer to the Olight SR Mini. Both are compact 3xXM-L2 "floody" style lights with a generally cylindrical body and single electronic switch for on/off.
But that's really where the comparison ends. The beam profile is actually quite distinct (and fairly unique) on the PS03, due to the use of a triple optic. The PS03 is also a 4x18650 light, with some significant user interface differences from the SR Mini.
Let's put it through its paces, and 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).
- LED: 3x XM-L2 U2 LED that emits 2800 lumens max output
- Light output / runtime: Turbo : 2,800 lumens / 3 hrs - Hi: 1,500 lumens / 3 hrs – Med: 800 lumens / 5.5 hrs - Lo: 100 lumens / 40 hrs
- Max beam distance: 256 meters
- Side switch cycles through four brightness levels, activates strobe by double click
- A highly diffused acrylic lens emits a smooth floodlight
- Side switch in the head for fast and convenient operation
- All aluminum “unibody” construction design
- Flat end allows the flashlight to tail stand for applications like emergency household lighting or camping
- Purpose design for searching, rescue or outdoor activity
- Powered by 4*18650 lithium-ion battery
- Integrated camera type thread mounting point for user to use the PS03 on standard tripods as an exterior light or for fixed illumination
- High efficiency circuit to maintains constant brightness
- Waterproof: IPX-8
- Dimensions: 5.0 inches (127mm) x 2.17 inches (55mm)
- Weight 299g (without batteries)
- MSRP: ~$140
Retail packaging is the standard hard cardboard box from Lumintop, with specs and details printed on the outside. Included with the light are spare O-rings, good quality lanyard, and manual. There is no supplied holster.
From left to right: Keeppower Protected 18650 3100mAh; Lumintop PS03; Olight SR Mini; Fenix LD60; Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 shipping, Lumintop SD10.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed (unless indicated), and without the handle:
Lumintop PS03: Weight: 313.8g (~502g with 4x18650), Length: 127.82mm, Weight (bezel): 54.8mm
Eagletac SX25L3: Weight: 315.9g (~457g with 3x18650), Length: 150.2mm, Weight (bezel): 47.0mm
Fenix LD60: Weight: 334.6g (~476g with 3x18650), Length: 154.9mm, Width (bezel): 63.1mm
Foursevens MMU-X3: Weight: 172.0g (264.2g with 26650), Length: 135.8mm, Width (bezel): 46.0mm
Nitecore TM11: Weight: 342.6g (476g with 8xCR123A), Length 135.3mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15: Weight: 333.7g (without handle), 355.9g (with handle), (539g with 4x18650 and handle), Length: 114.6mm, Weight (bezel): 63.7mm
Olight SR Mini: Weight: 285.5g (~427g with 3x18650), Length: 126.9mm, Width (bezel): 48.1mm
REV Captor: Weight: 498.3g (~640g with 3x18650), Length: 182mm, Width (bezel): 68.0mm
Build is quite compact for a 4x18650 light - thanks in part to the relatively shallow head. There are three small optics, one over each of the emitters. This differs from the traditional reflector setup (I'll discuss this further below). Surprisingly for a light so small, there is a separate battery carrier inside the handle (as opposed to cut-out wells).
Anodizing is matte black finish. Rather than typical knurling, there are bands with a raised thatch-pattern that help with grip. Grip is ok, but I think further ridge detail on the body would help. There is a removable lanyard attachment point in the head – without it in place, the light will roll easily. This lanyard attachment point uses a standard tripod attachment screw size, allowing you to mount the light on a tripod (conveniently located at the opposite end from the switch).
Body labels are minimal, with most of the info is on the tail cap. Lettering is bright white and clear against the black background.
The light opens at the tailcap only. Tail threads are square-cut, and anodized for lock out. :thumbsup: Tailcap is flat, and allows tailstanding.
The PS03 uses a battery carrier for its 4x 18650 cells. Carrier has metal end plates, and seems of good quality. All my protected cells fit and worked fine inside the light, including flat-top cells.
There is a slightly raised rubber boot cover for the electronic switch, with a similarly raised stainless steel switch ring. Switch traverse is about typical, and there is a click when contact is made (although it is a bit "soft" feeling). Scroll down for an interface discussion.
The three XM-L2 emitters appear to be in very shallow TIR optics. This should make a fairly distinctive beam pattern, as optics of this type often produce a large "spotbeam" like effect. I haven't seen 3 optics together like this before – scroll down for beamshots and a discussion.
Turn the light Off/On by a press-and-hold of the electronic switch for at least ~0.5 secs.
From On, change output modes by clicking the switch (i.e., rapid press and release). The light will cycle between constant output modes in the following order: Lo > Med > Hi > Turbo, in repeating order. Light has mode memory, and will retain the last constant output used when turning Off and On.
To access Strobe, double-click when On. Single-click to exit to the previously memorized constant output level. There is no memory for strobe.
For more information on the overall build and user interface, please see my video overview:
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.
As an aside, if you want to get an instant notification for every new review that I post here on CPF, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel (the vids go public at the same time). Just mouse over my logo watermark on the top right-hand corner of the video for the subscribe feature to open up. You may need to tap or click, depending on the platform you are using to watch. :wave:
There is no sign of flicker or PWM that I can see, at any output level – I believe the light is current-controlled.
The strobe mode was a fairly typical 11.9 Hz fast strobe.
That I could hear an audible "clicking" sound when the strobe was activated, matching the strobe frequency. I suspect this is some sort of induction whine that comes on during the strobe pulses. I've come across it previously (although not often on strobe modes).
A standby current drain is inevitable on this light, due to the electronic switch. As with most battery carriers, the cells are all arranged in series (i.e. 4s1p arrangement).
Standby drain is 90.7uA on my PS03 sample. For standard 3100mAh batteries, that would translate into just under 4 years before the batteries would be drained. This is not much of concern.
To prevent accidental activation, I recommend you physically lock out the light when not in use. Fortunately, you can lock out the light by a simple turn of the tailcap.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on protected 18650 batteries. Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance is to minimize tint differences.
It is always hard to compare high output lights (especially "floody" ones) at this ridiculously close distance. The point is that the PS03 is really a large defined "spotbeam" - but one with a significant amount of peripheral spill. This is different from a traditionally "floody" or "throwy" reflectored light. As you can see above in the fast shutter speed pics, the light doesn't have a typical hotspot and corona. Instead, I would describe this spotbeam as more of as a hotspot within a hotspot, as both are fairly well demarcated in the overall spot.
To help show you what this looks like in practice, here are some indoor shots in my basement. For your reference, the back of the couch is about 7 feet away (~2.3m) from the opening of the light, and the far wall is about 18 feet away (~5.9m). Below I am showing a couple of exposures, to allow you to better compare hotspot and spill.
I hope this gives you an idea of how it compares to a true flood light like the SR Mini. Basically, the PS03 has a reasonably bright spill area, and fairly bright spot. This spot has a sharper demarcation than the SR Mini, with brighter center (i.e., sort of a spot-within-the-spot). Overall this means a fairly floody pattern for the PS03, but one with a bit more center-throw than a typical diffused beam. You also don't get the gradual drop off from spot to spill that you see in a traditionally diffused light.
To put it simply, the PS03 is somewhat intermediate to a full-flood diffused light and a classically throwy reflectored one - but closer to the fully diffused beam. See my direct measures below for more info.
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).
Max output of the PS03 is consistent with the official specs. Peak throw intensity is toward the low side for this class. Basically, it is a bit "throwier" compared to the Olight SR Mini, but still noticeably less than a reflector light in this 3xXM-L2 class. But to better understand what the beam actually looks like, please see the beamshots earlier in this review.
Let's see how the rest of the output levels compare:
As you can see, I get a pretty good concordance between my output measures and the official specs.
As always, my standard runtimes are done under a cooling fan. Previously, I used to use AW 2200mAh protected cells in my 18650 testing (for their excellent consistency and ability to fit and work in any light). After considerable testing, I have switched to a number of brands of protected NCR18650A cells (3100mAh capacity). I have found a range of brands that show good correlations and internal consistency, and that collectively can fit and work in all of my lights. I have now moved to using 3100mAh cells in all my 18650-class reviews. :wave:
Given the large number of comparisons possible, I've broken the Hi/Turbo runtimes over two graphs – first compared to 3x18650 lights, followed by other 4x18650 lights.
As you can see, the PS03 has excellent regulation and overall efficiency for this class, similar to other good current-controlled lights. The PS03 steps-down from Turbo to Hi after 3 mins of continuous runtime, so the overall runtime pattern on Hi and Turbo is not that different above.
Same holds for the Med level – the PS03 is a good performer.
I like how the light steps down to a lower level before the batteries are drained, giving you advance warning that it is time to recharge the cells.
The PS03 is basically a "flood" light, but one with a fairly unique large spot-beam type pattern. See beamshots above for more info.
There is a standby drain when the tailcap is fully connected, but this is negligible in practice. This can be broken (and accidental activation prevented) by simply turning the tailcap a quarter turn.
Lights uses a battery carrier, but it seems to be of good quality, and supports all length and types of cells (including flat-tops).
Light is 18650 only – CR123A/RCR is not supported.
I notice an audible hum/click on the strobe mode of my sample (likely due to inductor whine during the on-phase).
The PS03 is a fairly unique light in my testing. While it seems to be designed to appeal to the same market as the Olight SR Mini, there are some key differences between these lights.
First of these is the beam pattern – the PS03 is the first triple-XM-L2 light I've seen that uses optics for each emitter. These produce a very distinctive "spotbeam" effect, with significant spill. Actually, it's something of a dual spotbeam, with two well defined areas (i.e., a hotspot within a hotspot). This gives a fairly broad flood in the short-to-medium range, while retaining a bit more throw than a typical fully diffused light at medium-to-long ranges. See the beamshot section above for more info.
The UI is also different from the SR Mini, with Turbo included on the main sequence here (and better level spacing across the board, in my opinion). Mode changing is very straightforward on the PS03, and the user interface is more intuitive than the SR mini in my view.
Physically, the PS03 is a solid light, slightly wider light than the SR Mini (to accommodate an extra 18650 battery). This gives it extended runtime over many in this class. Overall efficiency is excellent, and the PS03 shows fully flat stabilization at all levels (with a useful step-down feature before the batteries are completely exhausted). Note that the PS03 is an 18650-only light, however.
Lumintop has thoughtfully built on the Olight SR Mini design, to offer some notable improvements in how the PS03 functions. Ultimately though, it is the business end of the light that matters the most to many people. In that regard, the optic-based head used here produces a generally useful flood/spotbeam. However, this is different from a traditional diffused flood light (like the Olight SR Mini), or a shallow reflector well light (like the Nitecore TM11). I suggest you pay close attention to the beamshots above, to see if this sort of beam matches your needs. :wave:
PS03 provided by Lumintop for review.