Thrunite Archer 2A V3 terse review

idleprocess

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Gave in to temptation on Prime Day and grabbed one of these in neutral white.

TL;DR: The Thrunite Archer 2A V3 is a general-purpose light suitable for most casual flashlight tasks, but doesn't necessarily exceed at any one thing.

THE GOOD
  • Mode arrangement is logical: low is sublumen with the other 3 modes being reasonably spaced. The strobe setting requires a ~1s press. The driver features mode memory.
  • If the driver users PWM dimming, it's not apparent
  • Beam is reasonably broad while still illuminating at 'across the front yard' distance on high
  • Orange peel reflector smooths out the hotspot
  • Tail switch is a forward clicky, allowing for momentary-on as well as physical disconnection of power
  • The light will run on one cell without complaint (I expect it produces less light on higher modes)
  • Accepts NiMH cells slightly larger in diameter than alkaline AAs
  • Neutral white tint lacks the angry blue typical of inexpensive LED flashlights

THE BAD
  • It is apparent that the design is an extended version of the 1A - the body tube is a near-featureless extension for the second cell while the first cell section closely resembles the 1xAA Archer 1A. The lack of knurling on the back half makes it slippery-er than it should be.
  • The mid-body pocket clip location is kind of useless for head-down carry unless the pocket you're clipping it to is the same depth; it might be more useful clipping around for head-up carry in a deep pocket
  • The light is so long that one must hold the light either at the back end to switch it on/off or closer to the front to switch modes - and I've got pretty large hands

THE UGLY
  • Despite apparent design intent to allow the light to tailstand, the switch boot is a fraction of a mm too long to tailstand reliably

Personal opinion
I'm not sure why the 2xAA formfactor is still around. In theory you can get double the runtime or double the output, but but we're long past the mini-maglite days when the difference between 2xAA and 1xAA was literally ~15 lumens vs ~1 lumen. Does it really matter for casual usage if you get ~17 lumens for 22 hrs vs 51 hrs or ~70 lumens for 5 hrs vs 11 hrs? How many manufacturers are taking advantage of double the power to up the output meaningfully?

I'll deploy the light to one of my bags - work bag or bugout bag - where it will replace an 18650 or 123A light and I can switch to commonly-available AAs.
 
Last edited:

roostre

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May 21, 2011
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Thanks "idleprocess" for your review and thoughts.

I was also tempted to purchase the "ThruNite Archer 2A V3" during Amazon Prime Days, but did not because of the unusual potentially awkward mid-body pocket clip location, which was the deal-breaker for me. The only advantage I can imagine for that clip location would be if the clip could be reverse-orientated and attached to a hat brim allowing the light to be used like a headlamp.

Of all my lights, the one I use most frequently (which is usually clipped into my shirt pocket and readily available) is a reverse clicky tail switch Penlight using 2 x NiMH AAA batteries with three brightness levels (that starts low first with no memory) and has a Neutral-White High-CRI LED.

I'm still looking for an interesting 2 x AA light (for more lumens and runtime, but also desire a sub-lumen moonlight mode) and having both a forward clicky with memory and momentary activation along with a side switch would allow me to compare both size and functionality differences to determine which is more convenient for the way I normally use a light for casual purposes, but it is going to be hard to surpass the slim size and weight advantages of a 2 x AA light (even though I am not a fan of lights with batteries in series).

I do prefer the 2-cell longer-body form factor compared to single-cell AA or AAA lights for in-use handling and when carrying in a shirt pocket. I sometimes fumble around while retrieving lights from various pockets (especially when not using the clip) and even occasionally fumble while using the lights which has caused me to accidentally drop the shorter single cell AA or AAA lights during cumbersome situations.
 

idleprocess

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Another factor in my decision was a recommendation by The Wirecutter. While their methodology is heavily slanted towards the casual consumer and can rule out some good designs based on somewhat arbitrary criteria, they do have a solid history of not recommending junk.

The only advantage I can imagine for that clip location would be if the clip could be reverse-orientated and attached to a hat brim allowing the light to be used like a headlamp.
The clip can be attached at the head for lens-up carry, and surprisingly rotated around at the midsection will clamp against the smooth section of the body - albeit not with neither as much force nor as much friction as the larger-diameter knurled section. I promptly relocated the clip to the head where it has some small chance of being used to actually clip the light somewhere in the future.

I do prefer the 2-cell longer-body form factor compared to single-cell AA or AAA lights for in-use handling and when carrying in a shirt pocket. I sometimes fumble around while retrieving lights from various pockets (especially when not using the clip) and even occasionally fumble while using the lights which has caused me to accidentally drop the shorter single cell AA or AAA lights during cumbersome situations.
Different strokes. And that's OK.

My use case generally involves relatively shallow pockets where 2xAA would be excessive. I'm also hardly a vocational user, so smaller lights requiring a bit more dexterity to use are acceptable and I generally need no more than an hour or two of runtime.
 
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