Review: Manker T01 Prerelease Sample (small updates 20150925))

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JohnnyMac
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Review: Manker T01 Prerelease Sample (small updates 20150925))

 

Manker T01 EDC Preproduction Sample

*Flashlight provided for review courtesy of  Manker

 Take a look at the compact EDC lights below.  Tell me which one is not like the others?  Tell me which one just doesn't belong...

In the line up of CR123A/16340 lights, did you guess the 4th light in from the left?  Did you guess the new Manker AA light that is smaller than many compact CR123A lights?  The light with the wide, deep reflector that can out throw nearly any factory AA light on the market?  The only AA light than can produce an honest 500 OTF lumens while running on a single Eneloop NiMH cell and over 800 lumens on a 4500 Li-Ion cell?

When Manker contacted me and asked if I would like to test and review a preproduction sample of their newest AA EDC light, the T01, I readily accepted their offer.  Man, am I glad I did!  It's not often that I gush over a new light but this little monster from them grabbed my attention in the photos they showed me but once I got it in my hands I couldn't put it down for more than a day (except to sleep and shower).

On an Eneloop LSD NiMH cell it produces every bit of their claimed 500 OTF lumens making it the brightest AA sized light currently on the market (or about to be!).  On a 14500 cell they claimed 800 OTF lumens for my pre-production sample and it lived up to that promise as well.  They have just updated their website and it appears that the production version has upped the output to a claimed 900 lumens.  Once I receive a review sample of the production version I will test and confirm.

Manufacturer Specs:

-CREE XPL-HI LED.    
-Max Lumen Output: 500LM (drive byEneloop Pro NI-MH battery).     
-Max Lumen Output: 900LM (drive by Lithium Battery 14500).      
-Peak beam intensity: 10,000 cd (drive by Eneloop Pro NI-MH battery).    
-Peak beam intensity: 20,000 cd (drive by Lithium Battery 14500).       
-Beam distance: 925ft/ 282m. 
-Size:Length 84mm Head Diameter 29MM Tail Diameter 20mm       
-Machine from aerospace grade solid aluminum bar.       
-HA III MIL-Standard hard anodized,original color.                       
-IPX-8 waterproof standard of up to 2 meters/6.6 feet.       
-Impact resist up to 2 meters/6.6 feet. 

My recorded Specifications and notes:

Color:Natural
Material:Aluminum Alloy
Anodizing:HAIII (Mil Spec)
Emitter:Cree XP-L HI
Number of modes:4 main + 3 hidden blinky
Mode memory:Yes (last mode)
Overall Length:85mm
Head Diameter:29mm
Tail Diameter:20mm
Weight without cell:N/A (can't find my scale)
Power supply:14500 (Li-Ion) /AA (Alkaline/NiMH)
Lens Diameter * Thickness:25.77mm*1.05mm
Reflector Inner Diameter*Depth:24mm * 18.5
Switch type and placement:Electronic/Side
Waterproof:Yes
Tail standing:Yes
Pocket clip:Yes (very deep carry)

First Impressions:

When I first opened the sturdy Manker box and saw the new T01 sample nestled in a form fitting foam insert I was blown away by it's small size and gorgeous looks.  This preproduction sample has the quality look and feel of anything made by Zebralight.  The wonderful machining, the natural, undyed hard anodized exterior, the firm electronic side switch.  What really blew me away was the size of the perfect reflector and how it absolutely fills the head of the T01 and promises to give unrivaled throw in a compact pocket light.

I inserted an Eneloop and I giggled like a school girl when I turned on the T01 for the first time.  Holy crap!  This thing looks brighter than many of my 18650 XM-L2 lights.  The perfect focus of the XP-L HI emitter guaranteed  incredible throw for a pocket EDC light and the smooth, artifact free and ringless spill guaranteed it'd be a wonderful EDC light as well.  It feels amazing in the hand with excellent grip and ergonomics.

Performance:

The Manker T01 makes, AFAIK, more OTF lumens than any other factory flashlight on the market when powered by a 1.5V AA cell.  The output is truly amazing and even when run with an Eneloop AA cell I am more than happy with the level of brightness this tiny light produces.  Throw is great for it's size and brightness and meets or exceeds most EDC 'pants pocket' torches much larger and brighter than the T01.  It's a genuine little power house!

All OTF (Out The Front) lumen measurements were taken on my Integration Sphere which has been calibrated against many proven ANSI tested flashlights and other lights with known output levels.  Testing done at ANSI standard of 30 seconds of on time.  All Lux and Throw measurements are taken at either 3m or 9m distance then converted back to 1m distance for greater accuracy. Both Lux and throw measured at 30 seconds.  Throw distance is measured to distance at which light level is 0.25 lumens.

Cell(s) used:  Eneloop AA/TF 14500 Li-Ion
Testing voltage of cell(s): 1.49V (AA) / 4.18V (14500)

Manker T01JMR Measured
Output AA
JMR Measured
Output 14500
Manufacturer's Claimed Output (AA/14500)
Low2.481.24N/A
Medium53.3119.3N/A
High194.8406.9N/A
Turbo @ 0s503.6899N/A
Turbo @ 30s (ANSI)500.7825.4500/800
Lux 1m @ 30s15,533.921,420N/A
Throw distance to 0.25 candela (ANSI)249.27292.7N/A

Here is an run time graph provided by Manker.  It jives with what I've seen so far in my testing.  One of my contacts assured me that the T01 is not current controlled but that is uses PWM/PFM to control output.  Based on the run time graph you could have fooled me.  Looks like current control but I am waiting for a response to my questions from Manker just to make sure.  Anyway, here it is:

There is a very smooth, gradual step-down in output when in Turbo mode that goes into effect around the 90 second mark and stops at the 120 second mark.  On an AA cell output drops to 264 lumens and stops.  On a 14500 cell the output drops to 473 lumens and levels off.  It is still technically in Turbo mode at this point so to return to full turbo you have to click back through the modes to Turbo.

At maximum output on an AA cell the draw on the cell is pretty hard so the timed output does help reduce the stress on the cell.  When running a 14500 it does keep the light from getting too hot.  The T01 warms up fast but doesn't get so hot you can't hold it.  If you kept renewing Turbo mode for max output every time the light stepped down it might get pretty hot but I think that as long as it is held in the hand it wouldn't get too extreme.

User Interface

The Manker T01 utilizes a simple and effective UI with 4 main modes and 3 hidden blinky modes plus last mode memory.

Turning On and OFF:

  • From Off: Long press (0.5 second) to turn On
  • From On: Long press (0.5 second) to turn Off
  • The T01 will turn On in the last mode used when turned Off.

Changing modes:

  • Main Modes: When On a simple quick click of the switch will cycle to the next output level in rotation from Lowest to Highest.
  • Hidden Blinky Modes:  From any mode a quick double-click will engage the hidden menu.
    • Cycle through the blinky modes with a single-click just like the main modes.  Hidden modes are Strobe, SOS, and Beacon.
    • Exit hidden modes and return to last main mode used with a quick double-click.
UPDATE:  I've just been provided with a flow chart created by Manker to show the UI used in the T01.  While the description above shows the UI on my pre-production sample, the final version of this light will have several more features, including programmable output and battery indicator.  Here is the chart describing how it will all work:
 

Detailed and Up-Close View:


^  IMO the T01 is beautiful from just about every possible angle! I have a thing for large headed flashlights and this T01 is a 10/10 in my book.

^ A really nice thumb shaped recess holds the rubber switch boot in just the right ergonomic position.

^ Fantastic knurling is machined into the rear half of the Manker T01 exactly where it is needed when held in the hand for a good, non-slip grip.  The head and battery tube are CNC machined from a single block of aluminum alloy.

^ The attractive tail cap is flat for perfect tail standing.  The deep carry pocket clip sits flush with the tail of the light making it practically disappear in the front pocket of your jeans.  The clip is removable and is springy but strong and allows for easy one-handed clipping inside my jeans pocket.

^ A nice, fat GITD O-ring sits between the lip of the aluminum bezel and lens for a perfect watertight seal.  Square threads are smooth and thread easily without looseness.

^ Smooth, square threading and another O-ring to seal the bezel threads grace the front of the head itself.  Everything seals tightly and fits perfectly.

^ The remarkably smooth and well shaped reflector sits directly on the MCPCB centering itself exactly over the Cree XP-L HI emitter for perfect focus.

^ Finning on the head of the T01 help it shed heat from the emitter and driver.

^ The silicon rubber switch boot is embossed with the Manker logo.  It is thick and provides a good, durable and tactile feel to the pleasantly stiff electronic switch.  The switch button is easy to locate compared to many other small lights that have electronic side switches.

^ The Manker name and model are laser etched neatly and deeply into one of the three flats machined into the battery tube.

^ Threading on the rear of the light for the tail cap are clean, square, and well machined.  A thick O-ring seals the tail section from water ingress.  The tail cap threads on easily with no cross threading.

^ A look inside the battery tube at the rear of the driver shows a heavy brass contact plate corrosion free electrical conduction.

^ Another quick look at the tail cap with it's flat base and heavy knurling.

^ Inside the tail cap we can see something I've not seen done before in a light - dual cathode springs on the cathode PCB.  The main spring is super thick for optimum electrical conduction.  A second, thinner spring rides just inside it for increased flow of electricity.  Think of it as having a factory spring mod. Both appear to be gold plated.

^ Both springs are nicely soldered to the rear of the switch PCB.  You can also see the well machined square threads inside the tail cap.

Comparison Photos:

In the beginning of the thread I showed you the T01 along side several CR123A/16340/18350 lights.  Let's take a look at it along side other AA lights this time.

^ Remarkably, considering the size and depth of its reflector, the T01 is only a hair over 4mm longer than the ZL SC51!

^ Pretty how much extra flashlight can be squeezed into nearly the same miniscule length.  Wink

^ Along side the BLF K6 prototype.  Here is some great news...Manker will be redesigning the K6 to use the same reflector and emitter setup as the awesome new T01!

Beam Profile and Examples

While taking my photos outside in full daylight I also took a couple shots at the wall to give an idea how bright and focused this bugger is.

With the T01 a couple feet from the wall in daylight.  Look at how tight and focused that beam is!!

^ With the brightness and contrast turned down in the upper pic you can see just how tight and defined the focus is with the XP-L HI hot spot.

Trying to find a light with similar output and reflector size for some comparison whitewall shots, I settled on the Convoy M2.  The M2 is an 18650 powered compact light with 100 more lumens than the T01 and a reflector that is actually quite a bit bigger and deeper than that in the T01.

The T01 actually kills it even though it is a smaller light.  Who says good things can't come in a small package?    Just don't take stock in the blue tint of these two ceiling shots.  It's all in the camera settings and IRL it is a nice creamy white with no green or blue tint to it.

Reducing the exposure in my cell phone camera lets the photo show the actual difference in the two hotspots.  Pretty impressive performance, IMO.

^ While at a friend's home the other night I decided to take a couple beam shots with my phone while we were enjoying the camp fire.  The above pic is aimed at a tree in the yard a couple houses over.  You can see the nice tight beam.

^ This next one is aimed at our friend's garage.  You can see her son shielding his eyes from the tiny photon canon.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent build quality!  Every bit the equal to a Zebralight and this is only a preproduction sample.
  • Probably the brightest 1.5V light on the market.  An honest 500 OTF lumens!  A few other manufacturers are claiming to have 400-450 lumens from an AA light but theirs is emitter lumens, not OTF lumens.  Simply incredible!
  • Large head with a beautiful reflector and XP-L HI emitter.
  • Excellent thermal properties.  Warms quickly but sheds the heat well.
  • Ultraclear AR coated lens.
  • Real HAIII anodizing.
  • Perfect threading throughout the light.
  • Excellent deep carry pocket clip.
  • Great switch feel and little chance of accidental turn on.
  • Good mode spacing.
  • Hidden flashy modes.
  • Super designed tail springs for minimum electrical resistance.
  • Great color anodizing.
  • Wonderful etching.
  • Super comfortable in the hand.
  • Excellent throw and brightness.

Cons

  • No lanyard attachment point.
  • Lowest mode could be a true moon low at around 0.5 lumens, IMO.  The Lowest mode is tolerable for navigating the bedroom but only because the reflector keeps the beam tight for very little intrusive spill.

Concluding Opinion

I don't gush over lights too often, especially these days.  In the beginning of my flashlight hobby and reviewing I was wowed a lot more easily.  These days I've reviewed so many great lights with ever increasing output levels that I've become quite jaded.  Many lights today can be admittedly great but just lack that wow factor and excitement level I used to get.  The Manker T01 wowed me instantly and the "WOW" factor increased the more I explored and used it.  It's been in my pocket and, more often than not, in my hands ever since it arrived.  It is easily my most favorite light ever and if it only had a lower "true" moon low it would be the perfect light.

That it gives such amazing performance when powered by a 1.5v cell is truly incredible.  It is the perfect light for the flashaholic who prefers NiMH cells over Li-Ion cells.  It's also the perfect gift a flashaholic could give to a family member so they can experience a quality, high performance flashlight without worrying about them caring for Li-Ion cells.  Right now Manker hasn't announced the retail price on the T01 but as long as the price of the light is $60 or less I'd be very happy. 

Manker has hit it out of the ball park for an instant home run!  With a true Moon low I would consider it the perfect EDC light instead of merely the best EDC light I've had yet.  Hopefully it's not too late for them to get the lowest output on NiMH cells down to a sub-lumen level.  But lack of a true Moon low aside, it's "Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!!".  The Manker T01 gets an enthusiastic "Mac Approved" rating!

Edited by: JohnnyMac on 09/25/2015 - 11:52
saypat
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Terrific review! Awesome light. Me want!

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Can you make a runtime graph?

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great review!

i want one! Big Smile

 

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Great review man. Any testing on the runtimes? Does it have a stepdown? Can it maintain the 500 lumens off an AA without excessive heat? Many questions I know Silly

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MountainKing wrote:
Great review man. Any testing on the runtimes? Does it have a stepdown? Can it maintain the 500 lumens off an AA without excessive heat? Many questions I know :P
OMG!  You know there is always something I forget to include when I'm up this late putting a review together. Silly  

Let me add that info to the OP but yes, it does have a step down at the 90 second mark.  Between 90 seconds to 120 seconds it has a smooth, gradual step down and stops 264 lumens on an AA cell.  On a 14500 it stops at 473 lumens.

I haven't done any runtime tests because I just don't have the time right now to monitor it properly.  Sorry Sad

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Excellent review Mac.
Not for me as the head is too big for an EDC, but as this is an AA thrower, quiet understandable.

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Excellent review. A very impressive AA 14500 torch.

 

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Very very nice. I'll have ten drivers please, better throw a light in as well. Smile

 

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Great review- very tempted. I have a Manker Timeback which is beautifully built- if this is as well built I want one.

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JM,

Any hints as to price? It’s a great design w/ the side clicky.

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Can't wait for you to mod it Wink 

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Can they add a magnet to the tail?

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Gurthang wrote:
JM,

Any hints as to price? It’s a great design w/ the side clicky.

Someone posted an eBay link in another thread.
The price is $69.50, which is Zebralight territory

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This looks like a shot across Zebralight’s and Nitecore’s bow. Very nice looking light!

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Your enthusiasm says a lot about this light. I am eagerly awaiting the production/retail pricing of this light. A true moon mode would be nice…

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At this price and if I was in the market for a 1XAA light with that kind of funds in my hands, considering reputation, size, modes and stuffs like that, I would have to say it really is a no brainer to choose the ZL S5/H5?. We don’t even know about the regulation, runtimes at present.

edit: I forgot to add the PWM vs current controlled for the ZL. No thanks.

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Me want!
Neutral tint+lower moonlight mode+MSRP 40$ and Im in!

I wonder how efficient is it regarding runtime?…

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Almost forgot – very well done for review!

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Nice review JM! Actually pretty amaz'n they are getting 500/800 lumens from an XPL HI. With just an XPL, the lumens would be even higher. The tint looks pretty cool white from the pics, not sure. is that how you see it?

I'm not a fan of the double-click UI on these, unless it's done perfectly. I always seem to stumble into double-click when I want just fast single clicks. How do you find this one?

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Tom E wrote:

Nice review JM! Actually pretty amaz'n they are getting 500/800 lumens from an XPL HI. With just an XPL, the lumens would be even higher. The tint looks pretty cool white from the pics, not sure. is that how you see it?

I'm not a fan of the double-click UI on these, unless it's done perfectly. I always seem to stumble into double-click when I want just fast single clicks. How do you find this one?

Thanks, Tom.  Output looks nothing like the ceiling shots I posted. Its the camera making ten appear bluish. In person it is a very creamy white with no hint of green or blue tint at all.  I would guess it to be a step cooler than 3C and right on the border of being considered cool or neutral.

 

The UI isn't perfect that's for sure and if I wasn't blinded by the amazing performance, looks, and feel of it I would certainly been more picky with the UI. Scrolling through the modes can be done much faster than any "hold and scroll" torches like smaller Olight models. If you get too impatient, then yes, you will accidentally engage blinky modes. Ideally I'd like to see a 1 second press directly to moon low added to the driver and I'd be pretty happy but perfect would be long press to low and double click to turbo.  Once on then hold to scroll.  From off or on maybe triple click for blinky modes. 

 

I could provide more information if my contact in marketing there would answer my emails. Its been 4 days and counting since his last reply. 

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Tom E, can you please explain what is difference between XPL HI and non HI variant?
As I understand, HI is more suitable for high amp drivers and is more efficient at higher
currents, while non HI is brighter at lower currents?

Thanks!

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Sounds like the 2B tint I'm using now in a MaxToch M12. It's the XPL HI V3 2B - seems like no longer available from Richard or Hank. Think Dale really liked this tint as well - right between the neutrals and cool whites. Maybe Manker bought them all up Wink.

I'm very interested in UI's and UI preferences as of late. I'm a fan of quick clicks and holds. Yes - quick access to both moon and turbo hi.

The way mine works:

from OFF:                                          click to moon, hold to hi, longer hold to strobe

From ON while still mode changing:   click to next mode, hold to prev mode, longer hold to strobe

From ON with a mode locked in:        click turns it OFF, hold to prev mode (breaks mode locked in), longer hold to strobe

Also, the OFF state is included in cycling through modes.

The idea is quick easy access to moon, hi, and strobe, and quick mode changing. I'm looking at adding config settings to replace strobe with other features, for those that don't want strobe, or for some lights and usage where strobe doesn't make sense.

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vulpes wrote:
Tom E, can you please explain what is difference between XPL HI and non HI variant? As I understand, HI is more suitable for high amp drivers and is more efficient at higher currents, while non HI is brighter at lower currents? Thanks!

Sorry, CREE makes the standard XP-L with a full dome, and the XP-L HI that has a flat silicone covering. The XP-L HI has better throw but less lumens output, similar to characteristics of de-doming a CREE emitter, like we do with an XM-L2. Our own de-doming though gets better throw but shifts the tint significantly, while the XP-L HI's have the more common tints - neutrals and cool whites.

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Thanks man!

I don’t understand why would they put a throwy emmiter in light this small, I’m sure I’m
not the only one who would expect this to be pocket flooder, not thrower.

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vulpes wrote:
Thanks man! I don't understand why would they put a throwy emmiter in light this small, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would expect this to be pocket flooder, not thrower.
They used a throwy emitter  because it is designed to be a pcket thrower. You would be correct if this light had the usual AA sized reflector but with the oversized head and reflector it would almost be a sin to not use the HI emitter. Wink
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The head and reflector measurements of this T01 are about dead-on with the ZY-T11's I mod. The most powerful one I built was a XM-L2 U4 1C mounted on a MaxToch 26mm MCPCB with a UCL glass lens that did 5.1A tail, 1700 lumens @30 sec, and 24 kcd. Of course the light is bigger all around and probably a lot more amps, but it has my own e-switch UI, as described above Wink. I always liked the reflectors and resulting #'s I got out of these lights modded. The reflector does really well with a UCL or UCLp lens. The problem with the ZY-T11s of course is the poor quality host - anodizing, threads, etc. I like the feel of the ZY-T11 button, but no where near the quality and more intelligent position mounting of the T01's.

I'd love to see how accessible the driver is, and how much space there is - if it can be modded with a full FET+1 driver, either 17 or 15mm. It would be locked into a 14500, but seeing maybe as high as 1400-1500 lumens out of an XP-L HI on a good 14500 cell, and better throw out of a quality light in this size would be something...

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JohnnyMac wrote:

vulpes wrote:
Thanks man! I don’t understand why would they put a throwy emmiter in light this small, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would expect this to be pocket flooder, not thrower.
They used a throwy emitter  because it is designed to be a pcket thrower. You would be correct if this light had the usual AA sized reflector but with the oversized head and reflector it would almost be a sin to not use the HI emitter. Wink

I have to admit after trying out XPL HI in some of my lights, I feel like putting XPL HI in every light. It’s a great emitter for flashlights.

MG
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Manker is on a roll. Good to see new lights. Great review!

ChibiM
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Thanks for the additional runtime graph.. that looks really straight!

How did you measure it?

Sound like they have the right driver... they should sell them separately!

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