Review: SMALL SUN ZY-A33 Q5 3 mode 18650 flashlight

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Budgeteer
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Review: SMALL SUN ZY-A33 Q5 3 mode 18650 flashlight

 

SMALL SUN ZY-A33


http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/5787/dscn2302x.jpg

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★

 

Summary:

Battery: 18650 fits protected also
Switch: Tail reverse clicky
Modes: 3 Hi-Med-Strobe, no memory
LED Type: Q5 or Q4?
Lens: Glass
Tailstands: No
Price Payed: /
From:Manafont
Date Ordered:

mid March 2011

 

 

Pros:

  • Square body (somehow exotic)
  • Very tough construction
  • Visually prefect
  • Not driven hard with respect to the mass of the flashlight
  • Nice uniform beam
  • Emitter color temperature a bit warmer then expected from a ordinary Q5

Cons:

  • Plastic lens!
  • Switch is very sensible and works like a "touch screen"
  • Front bezel would be nicer in SS than brass.
  • Tailcap aestethical design could be more in line with the square body
  • No mode memory to speak of


Features / Value: ★★★★

It is a very compact Q4-Q5 XR-E based flashlight. Fetures the standard triple array of high-medium-strobe but without memory which is advertised as. Manufacturer specifications at it's finest :/. Protected 18650 fit so does the XTAR 18700 2400mAh. A rather tight fit but the tailcap screws throughly easily. There is still room for 1-1.5mm longer batteries. Driven conservatively at 870mA at high.This may not appeal to some but it was probably tought for less heat and longer runtimes.


http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/4285/dscn2306.jpg

 

Design / Build Quality: ★★★☆☆

This one deserves a few words on aesthetics. The flashlight would be absolutely fantastic if the manufacturer would not skimp in 2 things. Front bezel in SS instead of brass. Plastic lens! Why the heck did they want to save 1/2 cent on this is beyond me. Apart of those 2 design flaws the flashlight is nicely built. The tailcap design woul be nicer if it were hexagonal. The round shape does not aesthetically fit so nicely in a otherwise gently squared body. Still it does look nice. Looks way better than what can be seen form pictures. The tailcap switch is in my opinion overy sensible. A micro touch to the button does change mode. Feels like using a touch screen phone. However even by slapping it had the mode does not change involuntarly. By relaxing a bit the pressure put by the retention ring of the switch in the tailcap the sensitivity becomes more manageable. Driver is press fit into the pill so changing it might be tricky. The emitter star had a dab of thermal paste below and relied on reflector pressure to pill for proper heatsinking. Althrough it works i cleaned the paste end put some fujik thermal glue and used the reflector pressure to hold it down till the glue bonded with the surface. Tailcap threads are nothing special on this one. Anodizing is even and flawless and machining is also very good. No visual imperfections anywhere.

So 3 star rating here. Would be 4.5 if the bezel were made of ss,  lens made of glass and mode memory actually worked.

http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/7489/dscn2310z.jpg  http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/8923/dscn2314y.jpg


Battery Life: ★★★★

By drawing only 870mA at high this will be a long distance runner. Easily going for 3.5h on a decent battery.

 

Curent draw on XTAR 18700 2400mAh at 4.17V:

  • HIGH: 870mA
  • MEDIUM: 210mA
  • STROBE: /

Curent draw on XTAR 18700 2400mAh at 4.04V:

  • HIGH: 730mA
  • MEDIUM: 180mA
  • STROBE: /


Light Output: ★★★★

Light output is related to current draw. It's conservatively driven but that does not prevent it to be decently bright. The beam is very nice. Features a OP reflector which is preferred for XR-E emitters if not a purely thrower flashlight. To appreciate the beam look at the photo below.


http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/6544/dscn2318i.jpg

Beamshot on ceiling in 100% dark. Flashlight 150cm from ceiling. Camera 120cm away.


Being a presumably Q4 emitter i found nothing that would distinguish it from a Q5. The color temperature is cold but usually other Q5 i had were slightly colder. The beam reminds me of the Trustfire TR-801 but i like this one way better.

 

Summary: ★★★★

It's a fancy yet elegant flashlight. It's strenght relies in the tough body, good runtime and compactness all together with a very nice beam. Feels nice in hand and since i don't like knurlings much i appreciate that it came without. Present however on tailcap switch assembly for easy unscrewing. What can i say? I would really love the light would came with a shiny stainless steel bezel and with glass lens.

Polished brass however looks nice but i have yet to start polishing it. Also will look for a glass replacement for it since i really dislike plastic lenses if not in zoomies.

I wonder why square designs are still quite rare. I like this one but i have to go shopping for a glass lens and a black/green/blue tailcap cover as orange is not in my favorite colors.

I would like to thank Manafont for sending me this particular flashligh for review purposes. I hope you have enjoyed the review as much as i did playing with the flashlight.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:22
Budgeteer
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A warning to reviewers. Do not copy paste the template to libre office writer and paste from there back on BLF. It makes a mess!

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

moviles2
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ty for the review

good host for some crazy mods but appears to have very bad tailcap switch icon

 

someone know other budget square body flashlight 1x18650? icon

Budgeteer
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moviles2 wrote:

ty for the review

good host for some crazy mods but appears to have very bad tailcap switch icon

 

someone know other budget square body flashlight 1x18650? icon

The switch aint bad but do not expect it would cope with above 1.5A if crazy mods would be applied to it.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

sb56637
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Thanks Budgeteer, another great review! Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

I personally think that the brass bezel looks kind of sophisticated. I definitely don't like the sound of the sensitive switch, and they should have made it tailstandable.

About the missing mode memory specs: SmallSun is probably the worst offender of totally random features with totally random specifications. Not a favorite brand of mine.

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

Budgeteer
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Actually you can tweak the sensitivity a bit by untightening the taiclap switch retention mechansim. I relaxed it a bit and it's almost like a normal reverse on a P60.

The plastic lens was the real nonsense the rest is quite fine. Without trying i would never believe how nice does feel handling a square flashlight.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

Budgeteer
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Be-Seen Triker wrote:

No o-rings on the lens?

None.

You could use a spacer/washer on the switch retaining ring to give it a bit of space.

If that bothered i would have done that. It is doable easily.

What is the diameter of the lens?

Exactly 20mm

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

Match
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Nice review as always, Budgeteer.  So you're saying that you're a fan of square flashlights?  I haven't tried one yet.  It would be nice if they would have made the tailcap flush with the body.  The round clicky sticking out the back detracts from good looks a bit....other than that it looks sharp.  Speaking of sharp, are the front and rear edges look like they could use a bit more rounding off, or isn't it a problem?

fishinfool
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Great review Budgeteer!  

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

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Match wrote:

Nice review as always, Budgeteer.  So you're saying that you're a fan of square flashlights?  I haven't tried one yet.  It would be nice if they would have made the tailcap flush with the body.  The round clicky sticking out the back detracts from good looks a bit....other than that it looks sharp.  Speaking of sharp, are the front and rear edges look like they could use a bit more rounding off, or isn't it a problem?

Actually i was a bit intrigued abot the square design. After unpacking the package i was greeted with a very likeable form factor. If the tailcap were square it would be awesome but i suspect it would require machining and theading tolerances way above the budget price. It looks sharp but it is not. The edges are just a tiny bit rounded not razor sharp. Being driven conservatively it might just scream for a warm q5 emitter. It would probably work jus by swapping the emitter and leave the driver as is. I really like it and if the tailcap was hexagonal or square with glass lenses possibly also Hi-med-low it may just be a perfect square flashlight. Nothing a fellow DIY'er can't fix. I probably will in future if i find a way to remove the fujik thermal glue without killing the now glued star in the process.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

Budgeteer
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This flashlight has another good use. It's exremely pratical to test 20mm TIR optics. Smile

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.