Tech leap 2021-banner year or was it?

bykfixer

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Not one to keep up with all the new advances, I was just curious if 2021 was another seemingly slow year for advancements in flashlights.

One thing I have noticed is it seems king 18650 is being de-throned by the 21700 fuel cell. It also seems neutral tints are the norm for a large segment of the LED market. But has the lumen war raged on this year? How about those soda can lights? Did they catch on more this year? Has anybody hit the 1000 lumen mark with a AA sized battery yet, even if only 12 seconds?

Thoughts?
 

tech25

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One observation. While 21700 might provide amazing runtimes, it seems it’s too big for edc and is more of a jacket pocket light.

I’m not sure it replaced 18650 as an edc sized light. Maybe for a duty/utility belt but not as something most people will carry.
 

parang

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I agree, the size of the two battery formats makes a difference.

I became aware of LEPs this year - I think that's a definite advancement and a potential "one and done" tool with a built-in or external diffuser.
 

bykfixer

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I can see having a light that uses a 21700 being ok since I often carry a 2C sized light. But it'll be one that stays nearby like in the door of my truck or that sort of thing like a 2C sized light does now.

One thing I expected to see more of was flat numbers with proprietary batteries like the SureFire stilleto or side kick.

I've yet to learn much about LEP but it does sound intriguing. Perhaps there will come a day when the LEP section will have the majority of the traffic and LED competes with incan for the 2nd place in postings kinda like the era when the LED lights began to get all of the attention and incan section faded away.
 
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Bravo30

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18650 for edc until they cram a 21700 into one for these. For me, 21700 only replaces my dual 18650 “camp lights” or “jacket lights” like mentioned earlier as well as the larger throw kings.
 

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Hooked on Fenix

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Those that think 21700 is too big or bulky to carry, need to take a look at the Nitecore E4K. It’s smaller than most of my 18650 lights (and 4400 lumens). For 1AA light over 1000 lumens, get an Acebeam H40 headlight. 1 14500 lithium ion (4 amp rated) gets up to a minute at 1050 lumens (drops down to 350) I use a 1100 mAh Orbtronic cell (not rated for 4 amps) for runtime but it does at least start at full output (dims during the one minute on turbo). Neutral or warm white has become an option for many lights but not as many as I would like. I’m starting to see 18650 lights become more mainstream in stores (not just with built in batteries: Energizer has an 18650 anglehead headlight), and lights that take 3aaa having a usb rechargeable lithium ion battery option as well (Coast, Bushnell). These lights seem to be a way to get normal people to accept lI-ion rechargeable while still giving the option of using primary disposable batteries (they usually come with both). With how many alkalines I’ve had that ruined devices or leaked in packaging several years before the expiration date, I’m kind of surprised they weren’t fixed or completely eliminated years ago. Having lights selling with both options is a good first step to ween people off alkaleeks.
 

3_gun

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3 of my 21700 lights are as big or smaller than my 18650 lights, my smallest 21700 is the same length and an "overwhelming" 5mm wider at the head. Out put? 4000L v 1100L, winner 21700. Run time? 7hrs v 4hrs at approx 400L. Winner 21700. My default EDC is an Acebeam E70. I don't always carry it depending on what I'm doing & where I'm going but as a fully grown man who doesn't wear skinny jeans or a suit, it fits my pocket just fine. Of course I EDC a full size CZ75b & Leatherman Surge too, so saving an once or two isn't a concern of mine
 

bykfixer

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I can see that.

I can also see Streamlight doing a 21700 version of the ProTac HL-X but probably not before developing their own batteries (or labeling somebody else's with their logo).
 

fuyume

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My personal feeling is that the extremely minimal size difference between 18650 and 21700 is more than made up for by the greatly superior capacity of the 21700. I can’t imagine anyone thinking a 21700 flashlight is too big compared to an 18650 flashlight, but there are plenty of use cases where both of them would be too big. And at this point, I can’t see why anyone would buy an 18650 unit, unless they are an institutional purchaser with a large installed base.

21700 is going to be the new standard for a long time. There’s really very little need to carry anything larger, and the economies of scale involved in manufacturing them for the automotive and emergency power industries means they are going to be the most common cells made.

I have no desire to EDC anything larger than a single AA or CR123A light, because I don’t have a daily need for a larger flashlight, and when I do have a need for something bigger, I can just grab that and bring it along, too.
 

woodsmith

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I haven't been following flashlights at all the last few years so was surprised and a bit disappointed that right after I bought a Wizard C2 Pro Nichia to discover the Wizard C2 Pro Max. When they release a Pro Max Nichia I'll be really upset. I don't think I'll ever carry an 18650 all the time like I do with AAA, but when I do bring a larger one I've discovered that my favorite size is 16650/17650. I guess I'm picky but even the little bump up to 18650 feels too big. (But I also still have a little flip phone because I think smartphones are too big, so...).

I also think, but could be wrong, that certain brands (at least) will stick with 18650 for most models because the lions share of their customers will probably be very slow to move on from 2x CR123. Sure you could make a larger light compatible but that's starting to become a lot of wasted space.

Having been inattentive for a while, it does seem like neutral tints and especially high CRI are becoming much easier to find, but maybe that's been a few years of slow growth? But I just got three new 92+ CRI from three different brands, three different emitters even, without really even trying. I'm happy to see that. Looking forward to the day when for most applications, CRI approaching 100 in any tint will be the norm and we won't even have to talk about it. Funny how this new technology called LED had a serious downside that launched an obsession for many people and in that one respect we're still trying to catch up with incan. Now I have to go read about this other new thing called LEP that I've never heard of...
 

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