Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi (XP-G R5) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

selfbuilt

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Warning: pic heavy, as usual. :whistle:

Manufacturer's specifications, condensed from Battery Junction’s website:
  • Machined Titanium Body (Grade 2), polished finish
  • Cree XP-G R5 1B LED
  • OP reflector
  • 3 Output Levels; Reliable Twist Switch with Simple UI: no strobe, sos or memory - predictable operation!
  • Output (emitter spec) / Runtime (L92): 3 Lumens, 24+ hours / 30 Lumens, 4+ hours / 115 Lumens, 1+ hours
  • Power cycle is Low > Medium > High to preserve night vision.
  • Ergonomic design, Extensively knurled for maximum grip
  • Pocket clip can be reversed for bezel up OR down per user preference (user installed)
  • Rounded ends limit 'pocket wear'
  • Can tail-stand
  • Dimensions: Length: 67.6mm / 2.66” - Diameter: 13.7mm / .54” - Weight: 14g / .49oz
  • Includes Keychain & Keyring
  • Packaged in wooden presentation gift box
  • Uses any common AAA battery (Lithium primary, NiMh, Alkaline,)
  • Includes Energizer L92 AAA battery (recommended for optimum performance)
  • MSRP $55
The IlluminaTi is a new light offered exclusively by Battery Junction under their own Titanium Innovations line. As you will see, it is basically an upgraded customized version of the now classic ITP/Maratac 1xAAA.

Illum001.jpg


Although the genesis of the IlluminaTi is the budget-friendly ITP A3 EOS, the Titanium-based IlluminaTi is more of a premium offering in this1xAAA battery class. Included in the presentation-style case with foam insert (similar to the early Fenix cases) is the light with attached keychain ring, pocket clip, spare-orings, Energizer L92 battery, and manual.

Illum004.jpg

Illum005.jpg


First thing to notice about the body design is the titanium construction, in a polished finish. :) It also has more significant texture/ridge detail than the ITP A3 EOS, and comes with a better keychain attachment clip.

Illum010.jpg

Illum012.jpg

(from left to right: L92 energizer lithium AAA, IlluminaTi, Maratac AAA (Nat), VersaTi, LiteFlux LF2XT, Lumapower Avenger GX.

IlluminaTi: Weight 23.5g (with keychain clip), Length 68.8mm x Width 14.0mm (bezel)
ITP EOS A3 Upgraded: Weight: 11.6g (no clip), Length: 69.7, Width: 14.1mm (bezel)
VersaTi: Weight: 23.2g (no clip), Length: 67.1mm, Width: 14.6mm

Overall weight is consistent with its size and titanium construction – noticeably heavier than the standard ITP/Maratac light, but not quite as beefy as the VersaTi (once you take the keychain ring into account).

Illum009.jpg


Fit and finish are excellent on my sample, no flaws in the glossy polished finish. Grip is decent – and better than the standard ITP A3 EOS – but not quite as good as the Maratac or VersaTi (the latter is quite aggressive). Identification labels are sharp and clear against the polished background. Quite stylish, frankly. :kiss:

Screw threads are acceptable for a titanium-based light. Titanium results in a certain amount of “galling” when screwing down (i.e. produces stiffness and grinding sensation). While not as smooth as the anodized aluminium on the standard ITP/Maratac lights, the IlluminaTi was better than average in my experience of titanium-based lights.

Otherwise, the innards of the IlluminaTi look very similar to the ITP/Maratac offerings.

Illum007.jpg


Unlike the ITP A3 EOS – but like the Maratac – the IllumnaTi can tailstand. :caution: I note there is some concern about the long-term stability of the keychain split-ring attachment point in the tail of this light. While it is very thin, there is no sign of “bulging” on mine yet. But I would have preferred something more robust looking (e.g. VersaTi).

Illum016.jpg


Superficially, the business end of the IlluminaTi looks a lot like the ITP/Maratac lights. But the IlluminaTi is distinguished by its Cree XP-G emitter, with a R5 output bin. This should produce significantly greater luminous flux than the Q5 XP-Es used on other lights. Tint bin is specified as 1B, which if true would be a fairly premium “cool white” tint bin for XP-G, using the ANSI C78.377A nomenclature (scroll down for beamshots and a discussion). For those of you not familiar with tint bins, please see my Colour tint comparison and the summary LED tint charts found here.

Note that my sample IlluminaTi has a perfectly centered emitter. Titanium Innovations supposedly uses a mechanism to insure this during assembly. The budget ITP A3/Maratac lights could be variable in their centering (although this didn't usually affect the beam too badly).

The texturing of the orange peel reflector is fairly high, and looks identical to the ITP/Maractac lights. Should provide an identical looking beam pattern.

And now for the requisite white wall wanting hunting ;) … all lights are on Max with OP reflector on a Sanyo Eneloop AAA, about 0.5 meters from a white wall.

Illum-Beam25.jpg

Illum-Beam100.jpg
Illum-Beam1600.jpg


As you can see, the beam profile is pretty comparable to the ITP offerings – but a bit brighter, as expected. But tint is warmer than I expected for a reported premium 1B ANSI cool white tint bin - closer to a 2B, I would think. To put that in terms of the old “cool white” Cree bin code, a 2B would be part of the better subset of WG tint bins. The newer Cree XP- emitters tend to go by the more detailed ANSI C78.377A bin naming structure (you can see the Cree binning and labelling document here). :shrug:

User Interface

Basically the same as the ITP/Maratac lights, with one exception – mode sequence is now Lo > Med > Hi instead of the more common Med > Lo > Hi.

Operation is controlled by twisting the head tight against the body to activate the light, loosen to turn off. Do a rapid twist off-on and the light advances to its next mode sequence. Wait a few seconds before re-activating the light after turning off, and it returns to default Lo (i.e. no memory mode).

This cycle continues indefinitely - keep doing off-on twists to run through all the sequences in order again. There is no strobe or SOS mode to worry about. :kiss:

FYI, the original ITP/Maratac lights could be a bit sensitive to the switching speed – if you twisted off-on too rapidly, they sometimes wouldn’t advance the mode sequence. Either they’ve fixed that timing bug for the IlluminaTi, or the titanium threads are slowing me down, because I was not able to elicit the same on this light,

Illum-PWM.gif


Like its predecessors, the IlluminaTi also uses pulse-width-modulation (PWM) for its Lo/Med modes. However, the PWM frequency has been increased from a common 200 Hz on the earlier lights to 990 Hz (Lo) and 885 Hz (Med) on my IlluminaTi. :thumbsup:

Although an improvement, these revised frequencies are still detectable by eye.

Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. 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 the extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

1AAA-Summary.gif


As expected, the Max overall output of the R5-equipped IlluminaTi is higher than its Q5-equipped predecessors, with similar throw. One area to note is that is the Min output level is also increased.

Note that I do not intend to do 10440 Li-ion runtimes in the IlluminaTi, since not officially supported. As always, I discourage use of this battery source in all lights that lack a protection cut-off circuit. And based on the ridiculously bright Max output on 10440 shown above, I strenuously recommend that you do NOT attempt to run this light on Hi on 10440.

The heat alone could potentially be sufficient to trigger a thermal runaway that would destroy the emitter. More importantly, my experience with other direct-drive lights on 10440 leads me to expect you would be vastly exceeding the safe discharge rate of the battery, risking damage to the cells. Trust me, not something you want to do with rechargeable Li-ions!

Output/Runtime Comparison:

1AAA-HiL92.gif


1AAA-HiEne.gif

1AAA-MedEne.gif


1AAA-HiAlka.gif

1AAA-MedAlka.gif

1AAA-LoAlka.gif


The output of the IlluminaTi is typically noticeably higher than the earlier ITP A3/Maratac lights at all levels, although the magnitude varies a bit depending on battery.

There also seems to be a bit less runtime than the earlier lights, again depending on battery. This is likely due to the Vf of the emitter, and so is hard to generalize without additional samples of XP-Gs to compare.

Performance is certainly quite good across the board, on all batteries. Like the manufacturer, I also recommend Energizer L92 lithiums, or good quality NiMH rechargeables.

Potential Issues

Due to the titanium construction, stiffness of screw threads is increased (i.e. galling). Also anodization is not possible, so you are left with native titanium (polished to a high gloss in this case).

PWM is still visible, but improved over earlier generations (freq now in the 900-1000 Hz range).

Despite the reported premium 1B tint bin, mine seems a little on the warm yellow-green edge of cool white (i.e. more like a "good" WG - maybe a 2B tint bin?).

Preliminary Observations

I think most people will find the IlluminaTi a measurable improvement over the original ITP A3 EOS in pretty much every way. :)

The titanium construction means that this light is somewhat heavier and certainly more substantial that its aluminum predecessors. As a result, it should be a lot more durable (the thin-walled construction of the A3/Maratac meant that accidental crushing was possible). Of course, titanium also brings with it a few limitations – most notably lack of anodizing and increased thread stickiness/galling. Up to you if it that’s an acceptable trade-off.

Definite body improvements over the A3 are increased gripability and tailstanding (although the Maractac and VersaTi have still more aggressive knurling) and an improved keychain ring. Mode sequence now runs Lo > Med > Hi, which I personally prefer. Note that makers frequently change these things, and the alternate Med > Lo > Hi could become available – check around for current options and status.

The higher output R5 XP-G bin definitely translates into greater output – highest I’ve seen in a 1xAAA light to date. :thumbsup: Runtimes on Eneloop seem a little lower on my sample, but that could just be due to Vf variability – I will need to test further XP-G lights to see if that’s a trend or not. Same goes for tint – hard to say from one sample. ;) Note that the Lo mode is definitely not quite as dim as the ealier ITP/Maratac lights (although still quite low, relatively speaking).

Presentation-wise, it comes in a nice package with a good collection of extras. In keeping with their budget status, the A3 offerings are a little skimpy (to put it kindly), and the Maratac comes simply in a sealed bag! Nice touch to include an Energizer L92 lithium, as this is my preferred energy source for these little 1xAAA lights. Most people I know in the "real world" still don’t use NiMH rechargeables, so I invariably include a L92 with any 1xAAA light I give away to family and friends. :)

I’m glad to see the ITP/Maratac line updated in this Titanium offering. I haven’t tested the A3 Titanium, but I imagine its performance is identical to the original A3. The IlluminaTi definitely has some across-the-board upgrades. I also much prefer this control mechanism over some of the more cumbersome alternatives – the IlluminaTi switching worked reliably in my testing (even better than the original A3/Maratac in fact).

All in all, a nice upgrade to the ITP/Maratac 1xAAA lights, especially for fans of titanium. :)
 
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Henk_Lu

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Great and complete review, as usual! :thumbsup:

I'll cut it short : The IlluminaTi is currently the best 1xAAA light that I know of! :cool:
 

madmook

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Great review!

I bought one of the IlluminaTi's with Q5 emitter and M-L-H sequence, and love it. If they ever made a cheaper aluminum version I'd probably buy several more, but MattK has said that's a very slim chance now.

I was guessing it would be the same as the upgraded iTP A3, but the IlluminaTi is superior in every way: the tint is a beautiful creamy almost neutral white (on my unit, at least), the hotspot-to-spill smoothness is better and the medium mode is slightly brighter overall.
 

DM51

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Another great review - many thanks!

The Maratac 1AAA caused a sensation here and sold in huge numbers. This upgrade looks superb and includes enhanced performance all round, as well as the extremely smart (and durable) Ti construction and finish. At $55, this will take a lot of beating, and my guess is it should sell extremely well.

Moving this to the Reviews section.
 

easilyled

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Another great review - many thanks!

The Maratac 1AAA caused a sensation here and sold in huge numbers. This upgrade looks superb and includes enhanced performance all round, as well as the extremely smart (and durable) Ti construction and finish. At $55, this will take a lot of beating, and my guess is it should sell extremely well.

Moving this to the Reviews section.

I bought 6.

5 were given as gifts for the holiday season and of course I had to keep 1 for myself. :)
 

Haz

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Thanks for the review selfbuilt, This is a great light indeed and I agree with the comments you have made. Overall, I believe the IlluminaTi is the best AAA light available at present, it's the refinement Maratac and the ITP EOS.

One thing also about this light is the led is very well centred. It has a device similar to the ones on the Quarks, that makes it difficult to off centre the led during the manufacturing process. As a result, the led is perfectly centred on the light. Some people like myself don't like off centred led, so that's what makes the IlluminaTi more refined.
 

selfbuilt

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I'll cut it short : The IlluminaTi is currently the best 1xAAA light that I know of! :cool:
This upgrade looks superb and includes enhanced performance all round, as well as the extremely smart (and durable) Ti construction and finish. At $55, this will take a lot of beating, and my guess is it should sell extremely well.
Yes, it is definitely a very attractive light - especially at that price. I try to stay from judgements of "best" though ;) (the LiteFlux LF2XT is still one of my personal favourites, due to its incredible circuit versatility). But this is a great general purpose light, with an attractive build and good interface.

I bought one of the IlluminaTi's with Q5 emitter and M-L-H sequence, and love it. If they ever made a cheaper aluminum version I'd probably buy several more, but MattK has said that's a very slim chance now.
Yes, it would be interesting to have the option, but I imagine that would eat into existing A3/Maratac sales. Hard to have too many variants of the same basic premise in a crowded marketplace. :shrug:

One thing also about this light is the led is very well centred. It has a device similar to the ones on the Quarks, that makes it difficult to off centre the led during the manufacturing process. As a result, the led is perfectly centred on the light. Some people like myself don't like off centred led, so that's what makes the IlluminaTi more refined.
Good point - the original ITP/Maratac lights were not necessarily perfectly centered. However, given the small XP-E/XP-G die cast and shallow reflector setup, this wasn't generally too big a problem in most cases (i.e. centering issues are typically much worse for XR-Es and deep reflectors). Still, it is good to hear the IlluminaTi has made a commitment to centering. :)
 

Buckley

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Sincere thanks for yet another gold-standard review, Selfbuilt.

I just received my Eos A3 earlier this week and it has become my primary keychain light. I like pretty much everything about it except the M-L-H sequence. (I would much prefer L-M-H, as you do.) The levels are well spaced, beam quality is excellent, head movement is buttery smooth, and I can detect the PWM only if I look hard for it. Nonetheless, another couple readings of this review may generate another ding in my credit card.

Cheers.
 

coyote

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Great Review! thnx.

the IlluminaTi should be the best mini AAA light ever and i would have kept mine (and bought more) if the threads weren't so gritty that i couldn't operate it one-handed.

i tried cleaning them with solvents, twisting them clean (for an hour), lubing them with different greases... all to no avail.

if Ti galling is that big of a problem, why does the Ti Sapphire and Ti LF2XT have such incredibly smooth threads, just like oiled glass?

MattK: fix that one teeny tiny problem and you could rule the world (well, at least my world!)

or has that already been done? ("...head movement is buttery smooth...") 'cause if that's so, i need another one asap.
 
Last edited:

vali

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I had (have actually, but getting better) the same problem with my Ti Quark. I just cleaned the threads and use it without lube. The first times you will hate the feeling and it will be grippy but, even being titanium, the metal will wear a bit with every twist. Sooner or later the threads will be smoother and applying lube again will solve the issue.
 

coyote

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I had (have actually, but getting better) the same problem with my Ti Quark. I just cleaned the threads and use it without lube. The first times you will hate the feeling and it will be grippy but, even being titanium, the metal will wear a bit with every twist. Sooner or later the threads will be smoother and applying lube again will solve the issue.

thnx vali but i did just that for three days running. did it till my fingers hurt, probably a couple hours total. made no difference at all.

having read every thread and review i could find about the IlluminaTi, my guess is the majority of owners found this to be a problem to some degree. a few, like Buckley, lucked out getting a smooth one. knowing that it's possible to get smooth titanium threads, that's the one improvement that the manufacturer should do. i am hopeful this happens. :twothumbs
 

Haz

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My one is actually quite smooth, I can twist the head with one hand easily. Just a tad more resistance compared to a typical aluminium light
 

coyote

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My one is actually quite smooth, I can twist the head with one hand easily. Just a tad more resistance compared to a typical aluminium light

just so you know i'm not whining about a non-problem: i couldn't twist mine one handed even the smallest amount. it was like sand in the threads that couldn't be cleaned out. maybe i just got a particularly poor example. but again, if it wasn't for that one point, it would rate as one of the finest flashlights i've ever owned.
 

Haz

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That's fine, I understand you are not whining. I guess there are variance between each lights. It definately be good to have one that can be twisted with one hand.
 

jag-engr

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How thick is the tail on these lights?

Is it thick enough to have a trit slot milled into the base like on the VersaTi AAA?

Just wondering.
 

selfbuilt

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Re: Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi ( XP-G R5 ) Review : RUNTIMES , BEAMSHOTS and more !
Written by roberts0909 on 12-18-2010 01:21 AM GMT

I bought three, and would buymore if it were a bit less expensive.

Great light, awesome output for AAA. My only gripe is the thread stickiness that selfbuilt mentions. (I'll swap with you, Haz!)


Re: Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi ( XP-G R5 ) Review : RUNTIMES , BEAMSHOTS and more !
Written by Plays18 on 12-19-2010 07:50 AM GMT

...just ordered mine last night. Looks like a fine purchase.

The review doesn't mention (or I missed it) if this light is waterproof, dunkable, or not-at-all.

Can someone shed some light on that for me? (pun intended)

Thanks and regards,

-Geo


Re: Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi ( XP-G R5 ) Review : RUNTIMES , BEAMSHOTS and more !
Written by selfbuilt on 12-20-2010 09:52 AM GMT

Plays18 said:
The review doesn't mention (or I missed it) if this light is waterproof, dunkable, or not-at-all.
I don't comment on it since I don't directly test it. I would presume all of these lights are "dunkable", based on the fact they have an o-ring. Beyond that, it's hard to know the degree of waterproofness. I don't comment on it since I don't directly test it. I would presume all of these lights are "dunkable", based on the fact they have an o-ring. Beyond that, it's hard to know the degree of waterproofness.



Re: Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi ( XP-G R5 ) Review : RUNTIMES , BEAMSHOTS and more !
Written by Plays18 on 12-24-2010 06:38 AM GMT

selfbuilt said:
I don't comment on it since I don't directly test it. I would presume all of these lights are "dunkable", based on the fact they have an o-ring. Beyond that, it's hard to know the degree of waterproofness.
Fair enough. Fair enough.

Thanks for your work doing the review!

All the best,

-Geo
Re: Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi ( XP-G R5 ) Review : RUNTIMES , BEAMSHOTS and more !
Written by Plays18 on 01-03-2011 06:46 AM GMT

Hello -

I received mine between Christmas and New Year.

Wonderful, little light. Everything I expected. Low is quite useful if it is really dark, medium is like a standard flashlight from the old days, and it's INCREDIBLY bright on high setting. Impressive.

I found the threads to be just a bit "scratchy" and spent some time twisting and retwisting them. The key is: you have to "pull" while twisting, because the spring places those sides of the thread cuts together. When I took the battery out, this relieved the spring pressure and the threads were very smooth to turn. However, once the battery is inserted, the spring presses the thread lands against each other.

So, "pull and twist" for a while, then clean the threads, re-grease, and "pull and twist" some more. One final clean/grease, and the light is easy to use with one hand.

I hope this helps...I love this little light!

Regards,

-Geo

Re: Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi ( XP-G R5 ) Review : RUNTIMES , BEAMSHOTS and more !
Written by FireHawk007 on 01-07-2011 03:14 PM GMT

That's a pretyy-looking little light. Just ordered 2 (1 for my wife & 1 for myself). Thanks for the greatreview.

Re: Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi ( XP-G R5 ) Review : RUNTIMES , BEAMSHOTS and more !
Written by sgee on 02-02-2011 07:41 PM GMT

This is a fantastic light with excellent support.
I use mine daily and when I had a problem with an out of warranty flashlight; (And offered to pay to have it repaired!), Battery Junction arranged for RMA replacement and sent new upgraded model (115 lumens), and even included an Energizer lithium cell. (and a small key chain light). Threads on new model are much better, and I like wider throw too.
I have tried quite a few flashlights looking for the perfect "always carry" light; and for me this is it. Small/Light/Bright and with good run times.
Flashlight has good knurling and and a very pleasing high quality design and finish.
Worth every penny. (Even with fairly high shipping costs to Canada!)
 

selfbuilt

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The thread discussions for the last few months have been fully restored from the search engine cache data (thank you tandem!).

Please carry on! :)
 

Lancerlot

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Has anyone had difficulty adding the clip? I tried putting it on & it appears it requires quite some force. In the process I have already scratched it up.
 

BigTzzy

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I just ordered one of these from Battery Junction. The site indicates they are out of stock. I certainly hope they will be back in stock soon. I bought this for myself for my birthday and really hope to get it soon.

I really liked this write up. It was very informative.

Thank you.

 

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