REAL WORLD REVIEWS – ThorFire TK05

zespectre

zespectre

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 21, 2005
Messages
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Location
Shenandoah Valley
REAL WORLD REVIEWS – ThorFire TK05

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A brief opening note about the "Real World Reviews"
At this point many fellow "flashaholics" have developed very sophisticated and detailed methods for measuring nearly every conceivable technical aspect of the illumination products on the market. The "Real World Reviews" acknowledge the existence of the detailed technical reviews (and I'll link to them below if I can) but will not re-hash all of that tech data. Instead the focus of the "Real World Reviews" is to take that "laboratory" information out into real world conditions to give the reader an idea of how the numbers translate into actual use.
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Technical Review (done by someone else):
Link removed by Greta

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Due to form factor and power source, I consider this light to be a “sibling” to the Thorfire TG06S
Reviewed here:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?443731-REAL-WORLD-REVIEWS-%96-ThorFire-TG06S


Intended Use:
Small Pocket, Every Day Carry (EDC)
Power Source: 1xAA or 1x14500 Li-Ion
Average Cost: $22.00 (USD)

What you get:

· Plain but nicely laid out Packaging
· ThorFire TK05 with pocket clip
· Spare “O” rings
· Documentation

Initial Impression(s):

This light is small and looks somewhat “chunky” even though it really isn’t. It is actually a little shorter than any other similar category lights I have. As has been the case with every Thorfire light I’ve tested so far the machining and anodizing are just beautiful and none of the lights have been cherry picked, they were all ordered via Amazon and I was reimbursed by Thorfire which I consider a good method of avoiding an accusations that they somehow slanted the selection. The attached pocket clip is very nice with no burrs or sharp edges and the raised fins on the tailcap allow you to install a lanyard, but still tailstand the light if you want to do so. Since I tend to prefer a lanyard and am not so fond of pocket clips I was surprised that no wrist lanyard was included.

The spring inside my tailcap was slightly crooked and the first time I tightened things down with a battery inside there was a “twang” and when I opened the light back up and looked the spring had seated further and was now centered properly. I’m not sure exactly what happened but the light has functioned flawlessly so I’m not especially worried about it.

The interface
is a single side “E-Button”. This means no momentary mode but the switch itself has a nice feel and a bit of tactile feedback in use. It is also raised enough that you can find it by feel. I suspect that it might also be a bit susceptible to accidental activation in the pocket, but a simple 1/5 turn of the tailcap provides a mechanical lockout.

In operation the light runs low-to-high and has a memory that is retained even if the tailcap is locked out. Press and hold turns the light off, and when on a fast double click activates a strobe mode. I found the user-interface to be intuitive and straightforward but I would happily trade the strobe mode for a press and long hold “instant turbo” setting.

The beam is wide and bright with a good throw consisting of a fairly large hotspot that transitions into a decently wide spill. The beam color on my sample is white biased towards blue. It’s not bad, but if you are a color aficionado you will definitely notice it.

Output (Per manufacturer):
Mode 1 (13 Lumens/08hr*): suitable for night in-house use or close up map reading.
Mode 2 (100 Lumens/2hr*): suitable for "general" indoor/outdoor flashlight use at moderate distances.
Mode 3 (600 Lumens/35min*): suitable for "general" indoor and outdoor use at medium distances.
Note: For heat control purposes, Mode 3 is time limited to 3 minutes after which it will step down to Mode 2.
*Measurements when running with a 14500 battery. Light has lower output modes when running on an AA alkaline.

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The “Standard evening walk” begins with illuminating 3” circular reflectors and then seeing if I can make out the trees to which they are attached (neutral brown bark). Part Two then takes place over either a 1.5 or a 2.5 mile loop on an unlit and mostly open grassy area with a few trees, and then ends going through a short, steep, uphill/downhill gravel trail surrounded by trees and heavy undergrowth which I call the "confidence course".

Target Test
Target 1: 30ft [10yd/09M].......... Illuminated in Mode 1+
Target 2: 60ft [20yd/18M].......... Dimly illuminated in mode 1, well illuminated in Mode 2
Target 3: 120ft [40yd/36M]......... Illuminated in Mode 2+
Target 4: 180ft [60yd/54M]......... Somewhat illuminated in Mode 2, well illuminated in Mode 3
Target 5: 300ft [100yd/91M]........ Illuminated in Mode 3
Target 6: 450ft [150yd/137M]...... Beyond design capabilities
Target 7: 600ft [200yd/182M]...... Beyond design capabilities
Target 8: 750ft [250yd/228M]...... Beyond design capabilities

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The Walk
The night was a moderate 40 degrees F with a light breeze and it was absolutely pitch black! If there was any moon it was hidden behind heavy cloud cover producing one of the darkest walks I’ve done in quite a while.

To my surprise I found that Mode 1 (13 Lumens/08hr) could actually be used with dark-adapted eyes to walk the regular paved areas of the path. I attribute this to a well-controlled beam that produced nice even light with some projection. Of course things were much more comfortable when I switched the light up to Mode 2 (100 Lumens/2hr) which gave a nice even view of the ground throughout the walk, including the “confidence course” area. The shape and evenness of the beam pattern made for a very nice “walking beam”.

The illumination at this level was capable of modest penetration through the shrubs and evergreens in the thickly grown area but as expected, jumping up to Mode 3 (600 Lumens/35min) provided tons of “punch” to see through. I walked the last leg in Mode 3 waiting for the light to hit the 3min mark and step down. When it did so (at 3min 20 sec) I felt around the head and noted that it was warm, but not even remotely hot so I punched the button again taking it right back up the Mode 3 again and finished the walk in that mode since I was nearly home. I applaud ThorFire for taking a conservative approach to thermal control on this light, but I suspect it could easily go 4-5 minutes without overheating.

After the walk I went into my garage and opened the hood of my car and just “looked around” doing the sort of normal checks and work you’d often use an EDC light for. 600 lumens is PLENTY of light to see everything, even oil and grime blackened areas. I also used it to peek into a computer case and also for the “look down the length of the heating duct” test. The light was handy and very functional for all of these tasks.

The lowest setting Mode 1 (13 Lumens/08hr) is a bit on the bright side for night time “bathroom runs” and there is enough spill that my dog woke up to see what I was doing. Still, for a general use EDC this light has a very nice range of light levels.

CONS:
· No lanyard included
· The “twang” of the tailcap spring seating was very disconcerting
· “Turbo” mode could probably be programmed to run a bit longer than 3 minutes
· I would like a “press and hold” instant turbo mode.

PROS:
· Very well executed construction.
· Fairly unique “large diamond” knurling pattern which makes this light distinct.
· Battery capacity is well balanced with the light modes for its intended use, especially with a 14500 cell.
· Easy/intuitive interface with an easy to use lockout methodology.
· Excellent range of light levels for the intended use.
· Excellent value for the price.

Summary:
It’s is obvious that ThorFire wants the TK05 to occupy the same functional niche as well-known 1xAA/14500 based lights like the Jetbeam E10R and Olight S1A Baton but at a lower cost. It is also equally obvious that they put some real thought into where they could legitimately reduce cost without severely degrading the overall quality of the light. I’m certain this was not an easy goal to achieve and Thorfire should be proud of the excellent value they have produced.

Final conclusion:
5 Photons (STRONGLY RECOMMENDED).
 
Last edited:
robo21

robo21

Enlightened
Joined
Jun 16, 2007
Messages
604
Location
Southern California
Again, thank you for another useful and thoughtful review. Sold! On the strength of your recommendation I placed an order - good timing too! I was pleased to find a 30% discount bringing my cost down to $14 and change. Given your recommendation, at that price this light is a bona fide steal!
 

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