LUMINTOP TOOL AAA Cooper (Pre-production sample)
LED: Nichia 219 NW
Battery: 1x AAA
Modes: 3 (Low-Med-High)
Switch: Reverse in the tailcap.
Date: November 2015
Lumintop is about to launch a special version of its popular Tool AAA, a compact AAA flashlight with a rear clicky, but instead of the typical anodized aluminum finish, the surprise lies in the material used for machining the body of the flashlight, which its copper. It is offered in two versions: Cree XP-G2 R5 for Cool White and Nichia 219B version for Neutral / Warm version.
The Lumintop marketing department contacted RdL blog to provide a pre-production sample for testing and analysis in the form of review, as well as using the review comments to collect opinions and feedback on this unit, so if you have any suggestions or comments you want Lumintop to take into consideration, do not hesitate to leave a reply or comment, since Lumintop will be reading this review to collect your feedback.
Being a fully machined copper flashlight, Lumintop has sent the unit in vacuum-packed foil pouch to protect the metal from premature oxidation.
Inside the protective bag we have the flashlight, which comes fully assembled with the clip installed and with the tip isolated from the body by a small piece of felt that will prevent any scratches during transport.
It is also accompanied with a small plastic box, identical to what can be found in the aluminum version, were we have a small bag with two spare o-rings.
Presumably, the presentation of the product once sold will be slightly different.
Here you have the pre-PDF version of the user manual.
Machining is twin to that found in anodized aluminum version.
It is a quite compact AAA flashlight incorporating a mechanical switch in the form of reverse clicky in the tailcap, just like other AA or bigger flashlights have. This makes its length somewhat longer than the average for the twisty family flashlights.
The most striking feature of the flashlight is the material that has been machined: copper. Copper is a metal which changes appearance by external factors, developing over time a patina layer, a layer accumulated on the metal due salts produced by the corrosion process.
Of course, fresh out of the bag, lantern shows no sign of this process and shows excellent uniform polished shine.
Externally the flashlight is dominated by an excellent aggressive knurling, which gives a really excellent grip.
At the base of the head there are two engravings, with brand and logo on one end and the model in the other end.
The optics of the small Tool AAA consists of a Nichia 219A (final production version will have a 219B), perfectly centered in my sample on a small OP reflector. A glass lens with AR treatment and GITD o-ring tops the optical end on a flat bezel.
Inside the head we have direct view of the driver.
The threads are thin and triangular cut, as usual in these small AAA flashlights, and come clean and lightly greased from factory.
The central tube has a small pocket clip preinstalled. The clip can be placed in both directions, but by using the same thread on both ends one can reverse the position of the clip without removing it from its track (just changing tailcap-head), thus avoiding any risk of scratching the flashlight during operation.
The tailcap clicky has a small, reverse type switch. The switch is easily removable by unscrewing through the two slots in the ring that holds the packet from inside. The feel of the switch is good, but maybe a bit stiff or hard when new.
The switch has a silicone coating of black color, that stands quite on the two crenellations of the tailcap, thus precluding the possibility of placing the flashlight in tailstand.
The Lumintop Tool AAA has a very simple user interface, with only three intensities.
- On and off: To turn on or off the flashlight you have to operate the mechanical tailcap switch. This is a reverse type switch, so you must completely push all the way down and release to turn the flashlight on.
- Changing Modes: With the flashlight on, simply partial click on the switch (just enough to turn off the flashlight without actually clicking and release) to change modes, alternating between the three intensities in order: M-> L-> H. We can also switch modes without using the switch, using the twisty action on the head of the flashlight.
- Memory: Lumintop Tool AAA has NO memory function. This means that after turning it off (after 1.5s from off), the light always turns on in the Med mode, regardless of whatever last mode was used.
- Block-out: We may block-out the flashlight by partially unscrewing the head thread, thus preventing inadvertent or accidental activation. Due the switch type used, there isn’t any standby current going on when the flashlight is turned off.
(All measurements are taken following the procedure ANSI NEMA FL1, taking as value the highest reading of between 30 and 120 seconds after activation. More details here.)
The distribution of modes is fairly balanced, with good agreement between measured and specified. Recall that this is a pre-production unit and the values of the final product may be different. Modes seems to be current controlled, without PWM as in the previous Lumintop Tool AAA or Maratac AAAs.
One detail that I would make clear is that, according to the manufacturer, the use of 10440 batteries will damage the flashlight irreversibly.
It was time to take a look for performance details of the new Lumintop Tool AAA, and then compare it with other popular flashlights from the same segment.
We have a strange curve, slightly exceeding the 80LM at activation, and then suffers a light fall to quickly stabilize and start curiously increasing its performance during the first five minutes. After this, we have a kind of stepdown where it acts as if it were a direct drive flashlight.
By comparing the behavior of the Tool AAA Copper version versus the anodized aluminum XP-G2 same Lumintop, we see the pattern is very similar.
Compared to other popular AAA flashlights, the Lumintop Tool AAA Copper not particularly outstanding, even for maximum output nor efficiency. Click here for a version of the higher resolution chart.
The beam profile of this flashlight with Nichia 219 emitter is very similar to what we find in many other AAA flashlights that use a combination of OP reflector and XP-G2, as the Nichia 219 family is very similar to the Cree XP-G2 in size, so there is not much to say here as this is one of the most widespread profiles currently in this segment.
We have a hotspot of medium-large size that blends smoothly and fairly evenly around the perimeter spill light. Thanks to the small size of the reflector the beam along the edges of the illuminated area is not sharp, and instead we have a pretty nice soft gradient.
The strength of this emitter is in its superiority in reproducing illuminated colors with greater fidelity as would sunlight do. This Nichia emitter tint is neutral/warm, something between 3500K and 4000K.
The new copper Lumintop Tool AAA is a really special light, which retains an identical look and functionality to its anodized aluminum base model, but incorporates the charm of being machined in an “exotic” material, such as copper. Some will argue that the tarnishing of copper and corrosion are the inevitable cons but also some will argue that this process has its own charm as it provides a certain “life” to an inanimate object such as a mundane small flashlight. Personally I like to see how the passage of time leaves its stamp on these special flashlights, providing certain hearth and character.
Lumintop Tool AAA Cu · Fenix LD01 ss · Klarus MiX6 Ti · Thrunite Ti Ti · Olight A3T · Maratac AAA Cu · DQG TinyAAA Ti II
Negatives: One of the big negatives that I see in this flashlight is its low efficiency, especially when compared against new generation flashlights such the K18 or the D25AAA Mini. The inability to put in tailstand is another important point, although in anodized aluminum version has been solved by providing an alternative tailcap that turns the flashlight to a twisty one. Some might prefer a different mode order, especially given the absence of memory function. Finally, it is a real pity that the flashlight is not compatible with 10440, because with the excellent mass to dissipate the heat it could have been a real pocket monster.
Positives: I especially like the care that has been taken even in this pre-production unit to protect the light against external factors that could cause premature corrosion before it is delivered to its owner. The fantastic aggressive knurling makes holding this small flashlight in your hand a nice feeling, and also provides excellent grip, which in this segment seems to be something anecdotal. I also see with satisfaction that it will be offered with two choices of emitter, cold white with the classic Cree and neutral/warm using Nichia 219B offering superior CRI than the typical warmer Cree emitters.
*Lumintop Tool AAA Copper pre-production sample provided by manufacturer for test & review.