Review: NIWALKER Vostro BK-FA01 & BK-FA02 (XM-L2 U2 / MT-G2 P0, 4x 18650...)

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UPz
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NIWALKER Vostro BK-FA01 & BK-FA02
LED: CREE XM-L2 U2 / CREE MT-G2 P0
Battery: 18650 4x / 8x CR123
Modes: 7 (6 Light leves + strobe)
Switch: Magnetic Ring
Price: BK-FA01 $159.95 / BK-FA02 $179.95
Date: August 2013
Links:
Niwalker / RdL / Thread in ForoLinternas

PRESENTATION:
Today we will get out a little from the standard pattern of EDC flashlights to deepen a pair of high-performance flashlights recently launched by Niwalker.
This is the Vostro series, which is focused to reach unprecedented throw thanks to its huge reflectors and the use of latest generation LEDs.
The series consists of two models, BK-FA01, which uses a CREE XM-L2 U2 CW as emitter, and a second model called BK-FA02, which equips a CREE MT-G2 P0 NW, a LED rarely seen in flashlights so far and promising figures close to 2500LM to a single emitter flashlight.
Being both flashlights models virtually identical in external aspects I will not differentiate between the two.

The presentation of these Vostro Back Lights is excellent, coming in a cardboard box in which inside, aside the flashlight we also find a sleeve for transport, textile bag, spare O-ring, instruction manual and warranty card.

The sleeve, open both at the top and the bottom, is designed to carry the flashlight in the belt, being easy and comfortable access, but not preventing damage by dropping.

The bag is a good accessory to prevent scratches or damage to the flashlight when we carry it in a backpack along with other belongings that can scratch with anodizing.

EXTERIOR FINISH:
As I mentioned above, both Niwalkers are virtually identical in their construction so this description applies to both models, BK-BK-FA01 and FA02.

By taking the torch from its box the first thing that caught my attention is its robust and powerful appearance. No need to turn on the flashlight to realize that the long distances are their field.

The exterior finish is really good, both in machining free of any mark or imperfection as in black anodizing, really porous matte and very elegant.

The flashlight has several laser engravings on his body, including the usual hot surface warning to the head, some funny symbols along the magnetic ring to differentiate the different levels, and logo and model, along with their respective serial number on two opposing flat spots of the tube.

The head is in its base topped with six huge cooling fins, which give way to the magnetic ring which will control both the ON/OFF and the desired level simply by turning it to jump between the different modes. The ring is provided with a distinctive machining will facilitate its localization to the touch, without having a visual reference.

The tube, in addition to those already mentioned opposite planes in which we find the logos and serial numbers, is equipped with a diamond knurling well marked but without being too aggressive to the touch, including three flat tracks that add even more grip to whole.

The tail is integrated in the tube, not removable, and features a design that allows us to place the flashlight in tailstand smoothly. Also Niwalker has put three anchor points for straps or accessories on the sides, which will not interfere when the tailstanding light.

The optics of the Vostro is really impressive and very well finished. A huge and immaculate smooth reflector of ~ 90mm deep and 70mm in diameter show us the emitter at the bottom, perfectly centered on both models. The lens is glass with anti-reflective coating treatment.


Inside, we also can see the details of quality not only limited to what we can see at a glance. The threads come perfectly square cut anodized, clean and greased.

The head can be removed easily by accessing the reflector and lens by just removing the bezel. Called my attention pleasantly the type of seal used on the lens, with a gasket sealed in glass on both sides to be literally circling, as if it were a collar, the edge of the lens.

The middle section contains the emitter and electronics. The LED is soldered on a copper oversized star, and covered by a plastic molding as a centering mechanism. On the opposite side we have contacts with the battery holder, being a pivoting contact for the positive in the center, and a flat contact in the pill for negative. This enables the possibility of lockout the flashlight with only slightly unscrew this thread.

The battery holder is built in a 2S2P configuration, so we can use the flashlight with 2 or 4 18650s, or with 4 or 8 CR123. The space is more than enough to accommodate protected batteries as the popular Panasonic NCRs.
For the design of the battery holder it is indifferent the orientation we puty it into the flashlight, so you do not need any protection against reverse polarity.
Finally, the spring that contacts the negative of the battery holder, located at the bottom of the tube, shows his thick section.

USER INTERFACE:
Both Vostro Niwalkers share the same user interface, easy and intuitive thanks to the magnetic ring through which will turn on and off or and select the mode or desired level or mode.

Niwalker endowed six different levels (L1, L2, L3, L4, L5 and L6) and a strobe mode for Vostro selectable by rotation of the magnetic ring located at the base of the head.
This ring has a very good touch and features detents at each position, so that the action is smooth and comfortable. Surprisingly, considering the size and weight of the Vostros, the one-handed operation is easy and comfortable.

The ring has 8 positions, in the following order: Strobo-Off-L1-L2-L3-L4-L5-L6. This leaves a very intuitive and not at all annoying way to select modes without having to go through the strobe involuntarily, because from the off position by turning the ring to the left we have the strobe and to the right the 6 different levels, sorted from lowest to highest output. By having clear detents in each of the positions is very easy to find the desired level simply by touch.
Now let’s take a look at the distribution of the intensities in the two Vostro:

Quote:
(All measurements are taken using the procedure ANSI NEMA FL1 getting the peak value between 30 and 120 seconds after turn on. More details here.)

As you can see, Niwalker has done a great job with their specifications, being very accurate and honest. Low modes are really low and the distribution of intensities is well spread over on both lights.

By the nature of the magnetic ring the flashlights uses an electronic switch for off, it would be rather a sort of standby. With the flashlight off we have a small parasitic current, around 500uA (0.5mA) in both models, we can stop it by just slightly unscrewing his head to break the circuit.

PERFORMANCE:
BK-FA1:

The performance version of the XM-L2 is spectacular. Not only pushes the XM-L2 up to the +1100LM output for ANSI-NEMA figure, but maintains the output in a flat regulated manner without any step-down during the life of the batteries. The runtime as suffers for this linearity at the output range is required supercharge LED along the entire running time. One detail I liked is that, upon arriving at the final minutes of battery life, the flashlight steps down to a lower level, not turning off suddenly even having used protected batteries for measurements.

BK-FA2:

The MT-G2 version is not far behind …
We can see at a glance that this version has a radically opposed regulation to we have seen in the BK-FA1, being a kind of curve that reminds us of a Direct Drive. The interesting thing about this release is the insane amount of LM that the MT-G2 is capable of spitting, and thanks to the kind of regulation to beat the XM-L2 in both the runtime and output . Again I see with satisfaction as the behavior in last minutes is the same as the version XM-L2, staying in lower mode without actually turning off.

Here you can see a direct comparison chart between the two models:

BEAM PROFILE:
Although both Vostro are powerful flashlights, Niwalker clearly focused each of the two models for a specific use. The BK-FA1 with the XM-L2 is the one that achieves greater throw range and the BK-FA2 with oversized MT-G2 achieves greater flood, but still a decent throw through a combination of brute force and huge smooth reflector.

The tint is also radically different, with the XM-L2 being cold white, green or bluish hues free, showing good consistency between the hotspot and spill. For its part, the MT-G2 has a neutral white tint, pulling warm very very nice.

There remain some outdoor shots, which for lack of time will have to wait.

PERSONAL CONCLUSION:
The same design for two different models, thanks to the two different power LEDs are able to cover two uses, one dedicated to getting the greatest throw range possible and the other to provide a good balance with a nice and pleasant tint.

The construction and finish left me pleasantly surprised with quality anodized, pristine optical, magnetic rings with great touch …

The size and weight are considerable, but after seeing how well they behave in the performance test, I have to tip my hat to this design since it not only has the necessary mass to absorb and dissipate the heat generated by the LEDs, but also exceed any expectation that one may have.
Not surprisingly, even with the high temperatures we are experiencing these days in Spain both flashlights have passed, with note, the continuous performance test showing two radically different but amazing results.
The BK-FA1-L2 with XM-L2 offers over 1200LM for more than an hour and a half with a flat linear regulation with a throw absolutely bestial around 150.000LX@1m, while the BK-FA2 gives us a way more gradual, in the projection and in its regulation balanced along the continuous use, thus achieving a greater runtime for this new MT-G2 believed that even with the gigantic emitting surface is provided with which hardly exceed its scope , and thanks to use a reflector of this size is around 70.000LX@1m. Furthermore the neutral tint is really good.
In short, two flashlights to keep in mind when looking for future acquisitions into the high-performance range capable to deal with the highest throw or the single-emitter super-output.

I like:

  • Quality finish/built.
  • User Interface.
  • Presentation.

I do not like:

  • Something heavy.
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UPz
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Please, disculpe my poor

Please, disculpe my poor english Tired

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jmpaul320
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thank you for the review! i

thank you for the review! i like the xml2 version myself… needs the old vinh 6.5a treatment Smile

that mtg2 output/runtime curve is not for me personally (i dont like tapered outputs)

thanks for all the time you put into this Smile

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Thank you for reading,

Thank you for reading, jmpaul320! Beer

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UPz
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I forgot this extra picture I

I forgot this extra picture I used in ForoLinternas as spoiler while I was at review work:
Big smile

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watkins
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UPz wrote:Please, disculpe my

UPz wrote:
Please, disculpe my poor english :tired:

Poor English, it was far from poor. A very well written review with some interesting information on the two models, neither is for me but good to know.

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UPz
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Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your kindness, watkins. Beer

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Excelente review,

Excelente review, felicitaciones.

Do you have a stock TN31 that you could compare dimensions side by side and also outdoor beamshots?

Gracias y saludos!

blueb8llz
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thanks for this review. i was

thanks for this review. i was waiting to see one for these lights.

Bruce Wayne
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Better alternative for Xstar and Nitecore torches

Got to know the better alternative for Xstar and Nitecore stuff. I was about to buy dozen of these led torches for my cycling crew. But my mind has turned up for Niwalker. After comparing specs and price, wll end up my search to get the most reasonable.

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review

Beautiful pictures, thanks for all!!

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Nice review. I have both of

Nice review. I have both of these lights and agree they are the shiznit. My only complaint is the spacing of the modes is kind of fail.

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That's amazing that it goes

That's amazing that it goes from 2 lumens all the way to 2400 lumens. Thanks for the review!

EDCPlus
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Really nice review! I’m a

Really nice review! I’m a fan of these lights, especially the BK-FA02 because of the floody NW MT-G2 emitter which makes a beautiful usable beam.

oRAirwolf wrote:
Nice review. I have both of these lights and agree they are the shiznit. My only complaint is the spacing of the modes is kind of fail.

Yep I’d prefer a bit more spacing. Like on the BK-FA02 2400 lumens then 1900 lumens. It’s very close and difficult to notice. I’d rather remove the 1900 lumen mode and add a 400-500 lumen mode.

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Thanks upZ for another

Thanks upZ for another fantastic review. If I’m good do you think Santa will bring me these lights for xmas?

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I’m sure he will if you

I’m sure he will if you paypal $340 to EDC+ Smile

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Thanks a lot for the review!

Thanks a lot for the review! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

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That review ranks up with

That review ranks up with selfbuilt. And trust me that is a huge compliment. The only other thing I would like to see is some outdoor beamshots.

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UPz,excellent review and an

UPz,excellent review and an honest opinion of these 2 great lights.I have had interest in these since they came out and I can imagine how a modded BK-fa01 would be an unbeatable thrower.That reflector is massive at 90mmX70mm,larger than the TN-31 which is great for throw.

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This is a great review UPz!

This is a great review UPz! Beer

It seems that the BK-FA01 will out throw a stock TN31 or a stock K40. I just can’t wait to see one of these modified vinh style. Crazy

Thanx for sharing all these info. Big smile

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DARCANGEL wrote:UPz,excellent

DARCANGEL wrote:

UPz,excellent review and an honest opinion of these 2 great lights.I have had interest in these since they came out and I can imagine how a modded BK-fa01 would be an unbeatable thrower.That reflector is massive at 90mmX70mm,larger than the TN-31 which is great for throw.


The reflector’s diameter is 70mm, which is about the same with TN31 i think.

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Thanks for the very nice

Thanks for the very nice review. I really like it that you always include output and runtime graphs Smile

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Really nice review of two

Really nice review of two interesting lights – thanks UPz. The MT-G2 one is of more interest to me because of the flood (well, OK, OK, because the emitter is new). Big smile

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Thanks for the review UPz

Thanks for the review UPz Big smile

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Yep,you are right,I should

Yep,you are right,I should have said it is deeper than TN-31.The TN-31 is around 64mm deep and the vostro is 90mm.I would love to have both of them,they seem to be built very well.It's just a matter of time before someone gets their hands on one and mods itWink

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Thanks for the review UPz,

Thanks for the review UPz, glad to know there are other alternatives.

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Niwalker is another company

Niwalker is another company that has joined the MAP list of shame.  I'll never buy from them.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24847

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leaftye wrote:Niwalker is

leaftye wrote:

Niwalker is another company that has joined the MAP list of shame.  I'll never buy from them.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24847

+1

They will never see a penny from me.

It's not even really a question of MAP.

MAP is just the excuse they are using.

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Reflector

Reflector Dimensions:

Interior -> TN31: 65.7mm, BK-FA01: 67.3mm

Outer depth -> TN31: 65.5mm, BK-Fa01: 75.2mm

 

My light meter/light box measurements, stock lights:

TN31 XM-L2: 1,275 lumens @30 secs, 158 kcd measured at 4.3 meters

BK-FA01 XM-L2: 1,173 lumens @30 secs, 153 kcd measured at 5 meters

#'s are close

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Is it possible the MTG2

very nice review!

Is it possible the MTG2 version was thermally regulating, and would produce a flatter output graph with cooling?

I’d be very intersted in that light if it were regulated as well as the xml2 version.

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dthrckt wrote:very nice

dthrckt wrote:
very nice review!

Is it possible the MTG2 version was thermally regulating, and would produce a flatter output graph with cooling?

I’d be very intersted in that light if it were regulated as well as the xml2 version.

I believe it was intentional to not have flat regulation, otherwise overheating would be a very big issue. Also this way, there is no visible step down. And if you only use the light for a few minutes at a time then shut it off and back on again, allow battery voltage to rebound it would basically be at full output the whole time.

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