Review: Sipik SK68 AKA Cree Q5 Adjustable Torch

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jekostas
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Sipik SK68 (AKA Cree Q5 Adjustable Torch)

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★

Sipik SK68

Summary:

 

Battery: 1x AA, 1x14500
Switch: Reverse Clicky
Modes: 1
LED Type: Cree XR-E Q5
Lens: Collimating
Tailstands: Yes
Price Payed: $8.50
From:www.ebay.com
Date Ordered:Nov 12, 10

 

Pros:

  • Excellent output
  • Very good build quality
  • Takes both AA and 14500 batteries
  • Inexpensive
  • Great throw

Cons:

  • Came somewhat dirty
  • Single mode only
  • Little to no flood
  • Some may consider it ugly
  • Very poor battery door

Features / Value: ★★★

 Thought I'd try my hand at a review, so here goes.

Bought this particular light off of eBay for a grand total of $8.50, under the heading "Cree Q5 Adjustable Torch".  It's a single mode, flood-to-throw light with a reverse clicky, and the particular model I got was branded Sipik Sk68, though I've seen it called a number of different things.  The light came with a particularly poor sheath, but a little bit of sewing and some judicious burning helped that out a little.  While I have no way of determining the output bin of the emitter, the LED itself is a Cree XR-E, using the newer EZ900 die. 

Emitter picture

Picture of the emitter

Pill - Emitter side

Aluminium pill showing the emitter - the white plastic ring is a retaining ring for the aluminium reflector

Pill, back side

Pill showing the driver back side - electrical contact is very good

The lens on the flashlight is a collimating-type lens - this gives a very uniform, ring-free beam, but this type of lens also severely limits the flood capability of the flashlight - it is a thrower first and foremost.  It should be noted that since the light tailstands readily you can remove the upper bezel and lens assembly to use the light as a candle.

I am unsure of the level of anodizing, but in ~1 1/2 months of usage, it shows only very faint scratching.

The light is rather obviously modeled after the Nitecore Extreme and while some may find this look rather ugly, the copied design actually serves a very, very useful function when using the light beyond the knurling for grip.  I'll get more in to this in the output section.  The bezel is a three-pronged "assault" type bezel.  It looks kind of stupid, honestly, but the the bezel isn't so aggressive as to affect the light output.

Bezel

Crenellated bezel with collimating lens.

 

I'm going to take off one star here as it's only a single mode and not multi-mode.

 

Build Quality: ★★★☆☆

Build quality is generally very good, with lightly lubricated, very well cut and clean threads, o-rings at all the major junction points, good and even anodizing and a well-centered emitter.  The light as it came was electrically and mechanically sound with no issues surrounding flickering or contact.  However, there are a couple of extremely annoying issues that you need to be aware of with is particular light.

1.  Pocket clip.  The pocket clip is very strong, and holds in the pocket very well.  The downside to the way this particular light was constructed is that the screws that hold the pocket clip on are tapped right through the threads for the rear battery hatch, and as such you cannot remove the clip without affecting the sealing/waterproofing of the light.  This may be an issue for you if for example, you want to carry the light in a watch pocket or a small vest pocket.  The clip also cannot be reversed.

Rear threading

Rear threading showing the clip screws tapped straight through.

2.  Rear tailcap.  This thing is TERRIBLE.  On the original light, the rear tailcap was extremely short, and had no knurling or grip.  The spring tension on the battery spring is very high and the o-rings very tight, making it kind of a chore to screw/unscrew the tailcap to replace the battery.  Fortunately, I was able to replace the hatch from another junk flashlight I had laying around, and it's no longer an issue.  Unfortunately I tossed the original cap and don't have a picture of it.  The light was capable of tailstanding with the original cap.

Other than that the light came a little bit dirty, with fingerprints and dust on the lens which were, thankfully enough, easy to clean off.

Battery Life: ★★★☆☆

Battery life is fairly mediocre with both AA and 14500 batteries.  Since the light takes both, I'll split up life and current draw into two categories.

NiMH:

Rayovac "Hybrid" LSD NiMH 2100mAh NiMH

Tailcap Current Draw: 1.98A

Battery Life to Off: Approx. 1 hour, 12 minutes

 

Eneloop LSD NiMH 2000mAh NiMH

Tailcap Current Draw: 2.01A

Battery Life to Off: Approx. 1 hour, 2 minutes

 

Draw and battery life was very similar on two different sets LSD NiMH batteries.  I should note that the Rayovac batteries have a slightly high mAh rating, with a similar nominal voltage (1.225V).  Once the output hits 50%, the light tends to die very, very quickly.  The last 10-12 minutes of each of the above showed the typical rapid decline in output.

Lithium-Ion

"Trustfire" Grey Protected 14500, measured capacity 725mAh

Tailcap Current Draw: .97A

Battery Life to Off: Approx. 46 minutes

 

Battery life in this case was measured to absolute off - in this case the battery tripped the protection circuit after 46 minutes, which was a complete shutoff with no output decline.

Light Output: ★★★★★

Okay, the strength of this light is the output - if you want a pocket-size dedicated thrower, this is the ticket, especially when fed decent lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.  While I don't have the equipment necessary to measure actual output, a number of members at CPF measured the absolute output of the light at ~80 lumens with AA NiMHs, and close to 160 lumens using a quality 14500 battery.  Very, very nice from a single-AA cell sized light that cost less than $10.  With the collimating lens installed, at full throw this light can put out a noticeable spot at ~150 metres or so, even with ambient lighting.

There are of course other points in terms of light output, and they're all good as well.

Beam quality is very nice - collimating lenses tend to produce very even, very uniform flood profiles, though with small spots and very well defined edges - this is certainly the case with this light.  The output is very nice and even at full spot.  At full zoom the beam tends to be a bit ringy, but this is hardly noticeable.

Full flood beam

Beam at full flood

Beam at full zoom

Beam at full zoom.

As to the tint, I'm not sure if I lucked out, but the tint on my particular model is a very nice neutral white with a slight tendency towards warm, even when fed a 14500.  There are no traces of purple, blue or green to be found.

After about 8 minutes of continuous usage, the light will get noticeable warm, however it never really turns in to a hand-burner - I think that the copied Nitecore design is actually helping out here - there are a number of molded aluminium "fins" in the body where the pill screws in to the battery tube, and they provide a significantly greater surface area and thus greater heatsinking capability.

Summary: ★★★★★

To be honest, I though a lot about this light was fairly mediocre - decent build quality (with a few caveats), good price, decent feature set, okay battery life.  However, my opinion of this light and it's capabilities as a dedicated thrower changed drastically once I got my hands on and fed the light a reasonable quality lithium-ion battery.  For the price (and the light tends to go on sale for $8.50-9.50 on eBay regularly) it's a heckuva deal, and a great mini searchlight when it's all put together.

KDLST
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Thanks for the good

Thanks for the good review!

OT: i'm noticing that a lot of flashlights get a high review score lately... last i was browsing though some reviews and
it seemed harder to find a bad review then a good one (in terms of stars of course!)

Im beginning to think that maybe the newer flashlights are of a new standard than the old ones? because when 90% of all flashlights get an 5 star rating..

Maybe it's therefore better to increase our standards a little to.. because to be honest i would like to see some more difference in points given than 5 star 5 star 5 star 4 star 5 star ...
This way it's becoming hard for persons like me to see the difference between two 5 star flashlights...

Of course it could just be me and that i need to stop nagging and shut the f*ck up Laughing out loud

 

Sleep tight fellow babies!

brted
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Another nice review!

Regarding rating . . .

If there are no defects in the build quality and no glaring deficiencies (plastic lens instead of glass, no o-rings), you pretty much have to give it 5 stars I think. I guess you could say if it has HA III anodizing and an AR coated lens and is okay to dunk for 5 minutes, that would be 5 stars and work your way down from there.

Light output is a sliding scale. I might give 5 stars to an XR-E light even though it isn't nearly as bright as a XP-G or XM-L. If the beam quality is good and the LED is driven pretty decently, I'll give it 5 stars. Regulation should probably be included and budget lights usually have lousy regulation with steadily declining output, but you have to have a light meter to measure that and a lot of reviewers don't have one (including me).

Features and value usually works to the advantage of budget lights because they give you most of the features of more expensive lights for a lot less money.

I usually don't give good runtime scores because most lights that have good output don't have good runtime. But I don't let that impact the overall score because it is kind of expected. This is one area where you could strictly define a standard, like say 1 star for less than 15 minutes, 2 for up to 30 minutes, 3 for 1 hour, 4 for 90 minutes, 5 for over 2 hours. Or something like that.

Plus there is always some excitement over a new light, so I might give it a good score at first glance, then maybe a harsher score as I realize it has some shortcoming, and then a more realistic score after a few days and thinking it over about how it compares with other lights. I'll change the score a couple of times as I finalize a review.

Tas62
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Good Review

I agree about the tailcap and unfortunate clip attachment (maybe worth -1 star?).

Zoomed wallshots with mine show a perfect projection of the emitter including the yellow surface colouring.

In the field it's really impressive as shown here.

Sipik SK68

The shed is at ~42m.

sb56637
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Very nice first review

Very nice first review jekostas, thanks! Hope it's just the first of many. Great shots too. Frontpage'd and Sticky'd. Quick tip: If you set the horizontal size of the pics to "50%" or "80%" and leave the vertical size blank, they'll scale automatically for smaller screens.

Looks like a great light for the price. I personally can't get over the aesthetics, though. Wink The zooming mechanism is push-pull, correct? Not rotating threads?

As for the 5-star reviews recently... Hmmm.... Interesting point. I would say the quality of Chinese lights is generally going up. But additionally, at least in my case, for lack of time I have only been reviewing lights that I really like. I have several that I need to review that are mediocre (4 nice little ultra-cheap 1xAAA generic lights, would probably average out to 3-stars), the infamous Eastward J09 (probably 4-stars), a junky zoom light which was my first and last purchase from Neverbuying.com (probably 2 or 3 stars overall) and the Sipik SK58 zoom light, which probably would get 4 or 5 stars. So lots more reviews coming up, not all roses either. Smile

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jekostas
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Thanks for the comments all.

Thanks for the comments all.  I guess the thing that really pushed my final rating was simply the absolute output you can get from the light for the price paid.  There are some detractions (especially in the build quality), but I think they're fairly trivial - none of them truly negatively affect the functioning or usage of the light.

 

Oh and yes - push/pull zoom.

Nautic
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Formidable little light

Thanks for a very nice review. I bought mine basicly because it was cheap,

looked nice, had clip and a good brightness. After receiving it I learned how 

good it was. Throws at least 250 meters and lots of flood if you need that.

Have become one of my favorite EDC´s as its so versatile. Tailcap should

have had some knurling.

But if you get it: remember to clean the push/pull and lube it

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Nice review you convinced me

Nice review you convinced me (bought one @DX there wasn't a cheaper one on Ebay)

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I bought a ton of these on

I bought a ton of these on dx. Q3 or not those were all great. Kept the most warmer of all coldies i got and eventually gifted it a few days ago.

Everyone was amazed at those. Often a L2 with XP-G R5 shown right after the sipik did not look even remotely interesting to others.

Well... zoomies are fun but after a while you eventually not like them that much. This one is still a kepper in my book and eventually i get myself one along with a 14500 but there were reports the driver is crappy and often burns the driver to a degree that AA's cannot be used again. It's cheaper nowadays on DX at 9,9usd. Used to buy them at 10.40usd. LT is just being silly with over 12usd...

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Thanks for the good review,

Thanks for the good review, jekostas!

I bought this light in grey at DX a while ago and like it very much. I use it often as an edc when going to work and not needing a specific light. The zoom makes it versatile and carrying one 14500 and one NiMH makes it "2 modes".

Just two comments about the light:

1. Even with the clip on it's not water resistent due to the slide zoom function. Using it in rain has caused no problems for me yet but I would not want it to get really wet.

2. Regarding your pictures I believe there is no heat sinking paste between the emitter base and the pill. At least in my light there was nothing there and I think it's a good idea to add some heat sinking paste before any extended use particularly with 14500s.

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Tas62 wrote: I agree about

Tas62 wrote:

I agree about the tailcap and unfortunate clip attachment (maybe worth -1 star?).

Zoomed wallshots with mine show a perfect projection of the emitter including the yellow surface colouring.

In the field it's really impressive as shown here.

Sipik SK68

The shed is at ~42m.

With AA or 14500? Looks very powerfull for a such small flashlight Surprised

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jekostas
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This isn't perfectly

This isn't perfectly comparable because of the vastly different beam size, but on the right is the Sipik Sk68 on 14500 at full flood, on the left is my 4Sevens Quark Mini AA2 at high, which has an OTF rating of 180 lumens.

Comparison shot

I think the Sipik is pretty respectable in comparison

Tas62
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SashiX wrote: With AA or

SashiX wrote:

With AA or 14500? Looks very powerfull for a such small flashlight Surprised

With 14500......yes it's an impressive little performer.

sixty545
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jekostas wrote: As to the

jekostas wrote:

As to the tint, I'm not sure if I lucked out, but the tint on my particular model is a very nice neutral white with a slight tendency towards warm, even when fed a 14500.  There are no traces of purple, blue or green to be found.

I fully agree to your fine review of this handy light only I also like the flood and find it sufficient. As you possibly know I have equipment to measure the tint, and I found mine to be 6970 K, bin 1A (lying on the neutral curve) in the center (it tends to be warmer towards the periphery).

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Very interesting review and

Very interesting review and pictures. Thanks!

 

I actually did stick this one on my DX wishlist but never even gave it much of a second look. I'd definitely take one or two for $8.50 - guess I'll be keeping an eye on eBay. Wink

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nice review

 Great review ..caused me to go out and  buy the nitecore extreme

Thanks alot Tongue out

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firemcd
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Very nice, detail-rich review!

This my first post, as the FNG here. There will be 3 requests at the end of this post. I am a firefighter/fire investigator rank of Sergeant. My lights are actually used to save lives and protect property. This forum is AWESOME for FLITE GEEKS like me; several of my like-afflicted friends will find out about this place when I tell them about it.

I recieved 2 of these from Meritline.com for 9.99 each with free shipping. Meritline said upfront that shipping was from Singapore and could take up to 2 weeks. It took an agonizing 23 days from the day I recieved notification it had shipped. I rolled the dice and asked customer service for free shipping on my next order or a partial credit-meh, maybe i'll get something, maybe not.

The SiPiK impressed me first with a REAL GLASS lens. I am not as put off by the tail cap as others. The light throw is mindblowing for one AA battery. I get my regular duracells for free as i use them on the firescene so that will save the Department money versus 3 AAA's at whack. I buy my own rechargeable Oneloops and Duracells for my personal lights. I did notice about a 10% boost in light going from a regular new Duracell to a fully charged Oneloop. Both of these will became work lights immediately. I will not be using them in heavy rain but will risk a light drizzle. It amazes me that in total darkness, pulling the focus all the way out to spot shows the exact square outline of the Cree at 100 feet. Over the next few weeks I will be demonstrating it to other firefighters and police. Most police officers are addicted to their "Stinger" line of lights-I want to see how it works up against one with a 2450mh fully recharged Duracell in my SiPik.

Request #1 - Does anyone here know of a way we could find out how to get them in bulk, direct from the Maufacturers of SiPik?

Request #2 - Barring request #1, what is the best deal for up to 10 at a time from sites like this;

http://www.everbuying.com/SIPIK-SK68-Cree-Q3-3W-80-Lumens-AA-Zooming-LED-p-26325.html

Request #3 - Am I just going Gaga over this one particular light, and ignorant to better lights in this price range? (I am very partial to COMMON battery sizes like AA, AAA, C because these are provided for us) I saw this one listed as having 900 lumens-is this true? http://www.everbuying.com/UltraFire-WF-501B-MC-E-BIN-M-5-Mode-800-Lumen-LED-Flashlight-1-18650-p-28552.html

Thank you for the read, and any thoughts you have. I am thick skinned, so being direct is just fine. SARGE  Laughing

 

 

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Hi SARGE   Here is the

Hi SARGE

 

Here is the Maufacturer's Website

Contact them directly, hope this helps

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firemcd wrote: Request #1 -

firemcd wrote:

Request #1 - Does anyone here know of a way we could find out how to get them in bulk, direct from the Maufacturers of SiPik?

 

It's worth taking a look at Alibaba.com. 

http://www.alibaba.com/trade/search?SearchText=Sipik+SK68&Country=&Index...

The manufacturer has a minimum order of 3000 pieces though. I suspect they might well sell you a smaller quantity though. 

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/332220840/Adjustable_led_Flashlight_Hi...

 

It might be worth asking them.

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jekostas
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Hi Sarge, and welcome to the

Hi Sarge, and welcome to the site.

Most websites will provide discounts for purchasing in bulk, as well as bulk rate shipping options.  Dealextreme does carry the Sipik, as well as number of other places.  I would be very careful in dealing with Everbuying, as their customer service practices are somewhat shady.

As for ignoring other lights... well, there's a reviews section at the top of every battery specific forum, you're quite welcome to go through them.  However, if you already have a light you like and you know is reliable there's definitely value in that.

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On DX 10 are 86.64usd

On DX 10 are 86.64usd including shipping.

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Aloha and welcome to BLF

Aloha and welcome to BLF firemcd!

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Any truth to the 900 lumens
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It will be more like 500 or

It will be more like 500 or 600 lumens if it is driven well. Less than that if not. Don measured a similar light and figured 580 lumens at On, sagging down to 488 after 2 minutes. I wouldn't get an MC-E or P7 light now that XM-L LED's are available. Some of the MC-E and P7 lights have a donut hole of darkness.

Here's my review of a MC-E: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/417

Welcome to BLF!

jekostas
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firemcd wrote: Any truth to

firemcd wrote:

Any truth to the 900 lumens claim on this one; http://www.everbuying.com/UltraFire-WF-501B-MC-E-BIN-M-5-Mode-800-Lumen-LED-Flashlight-1-18650-p-28552.html  ????????

Generally those numbers are listed as theoretical, not actual.  That said, you can get lights with the newer XM-L emitters that would get close to that output for a similar price.

This would probably get a lot closer to that mark: http://www.solarforce-sales.com/product_detail.php?t=LF&s=41&id=167

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dexfeel wrote: It's my first

dexfeel wrote:

It's my first time here too,I bought LED pocket lamp from 

Sorry, neither of the links work for me.

Anybody else want me to de-link the other links to Neverbuying.com so we don't get more spam from that filthy company?

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Kill The links!!! LOL

Kill The links!!! LOL

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You're hooked

firemcd wrote:

Any truth to the 900 lumens claim on this one; http://www.everbuying.com/UltraFire-WF-501B-MC-E-BIN-M-5-Mode-800-Lumen-LED-Flashlight-1-18650-p-28552.html  ????????

Welcome to BLF...

The new xml lights will be your best bet for total output larger lumen lights . They are the most efficent longest run time and highest output ...the only downside is they take a battery(3.7 volt  18650 lithium ion ) that you don't get for free . since the power / lumens are that high .. they need to be fed some power to produce ..efficient .? absolutely , but nothing comes free except your duracells >> you can thank P&G for those ..I'm assuming you're running the duraloops(Sanyo manufactured cells for duracell) or durabird (cheaper rayovac version )nickel metal hydride rechargables ? < either one is a great deal ..especially if they are free ..Smile

These flood to throw lights with even a plasic lens and a cheap build are pretty impressive and people just can't stop playing with them . thus huge bang for the buck spent . There is a lot of conversation here and all over about flashlights .. the truth is the technology of lights is so good these days that even cheap lights have huge output so the need to spend big money on lights is pretty  silly .You can justify you purcahse with the cost of saving lives etc .. but that's just talk ..carry an extra AAA light  on your keychain that has more lumens than a mag light 4 D cell flashlight and  when a support beam falls on you  and crushes your 15$ xml and fire is gonna kill you unless you have a light  and you think "Damn why didn't i spend 150$ on a flashlight "..you can say " hey wait a minute " and whip out 80 lumens off your key chain light and save the day .Everyone will always be impressed with a ferrari .. but 90 million chevy 350's  kick butt day in and day out .

BLF is a smart place to be ..people here may be at their worst cheap...that doesn't mean they want cheap or poorly made products .. just means they aren't willing to pay a lot .As with all technology toys .. yesterdays impressive is todays joke . like a computer paying too much for the latest greatest is one sure way to making a mistake that costs you.A small search of reviews and discussions on Blf will lead you to a satisfactory flashlight purchase and probably keep you from making a few mistakes along the way .

I'm giggling that you have made the same mistake as so many others have on this forum ...You picked up a flood to throw flashlight Tongue out ... It's like a young boy and his P****...he can't seem to stop playing with it .CoolCoolThe possibility of going blind ,the first thought  of# bigger means better .More lumens must mean better ,<<(very common newbie thinking ), &# spending more means you'll get more .#

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Match
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Well said, Boaz Boaz

Well said, Boaz

Boaz wrote:

I'm giggling that you have made the same mistake as so many others have on this forum ...You picked up a flood to throw flashlight Tongue out ... It's like a young boy and his P****...he can't seem to stop playing with it .CoolCoolThe possibility of going blind ,the first thought  of# bigger means better .More lumens must mean better ,<<(very common newbie thinking ), &# spending more means you'll get more .#

Hey!  I resemble that remark!  Is it bad that I have a Edi-T flood to throw on order just to mod/play with? (already have the IMR16340's charged and waiting!)

danceswithferrets
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Location: Manchester, Eng
My first "proper" torch has

My first "proper" torch has arrived - YAY. This is the Sipik sk68 clone off ebay, says "CREE" on one side, other than that it is identical to the pics in this thread. The build quality is very good, threads are clean, smooth, no slop. Lens is free from defects, clip seems very sturdy, button is very orange lol. So no aparent change in quality from the original review. Bear in mind I have no other torch to compare this with, just my engineering experiance, and I would be very pleased with myself if I turned out something of this quality on my lathe (cnc has a lot to answer for).

Seems pretty bright with an energizer nimh that was charged about a week ago (when I ordered the torch), much, much brighter than my old double AA maglight (wonder where that is now?). What the heck is this going to be like with the 14500's ???

I notice the slidey zoom thing is sliding on a metal (steel, rust ?) "C" clip, may swap for a rubber O-ring for stiffer action and waterproofing.

So thanks for all your recomendations and reviews that steered me towards buying this torch for the amazing price of £6.89. Less than a service station sandwich (almost).

Hayley
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Thanks for the good sharing!

Thanks for the good sharing!

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