Review: Manker T01 (1xAA / 14500)

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WalkIntoTheLight
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Review: Manker T01 (1xAA / 14500)

This review is to compare the single AA cell light, the Manker Quinlan T01 flashlight to the similar line of Zebralight flashlights, the Zebralight SC5 and SC52.

Disclaimer: I won this light in a contest, so I only paid for shipping and insurance for it. It was not provided in return for doing a review or anything else. I probably would not have purchased it at full price, simply because it’s a cool-white light and I prefer neutral white. But it does fit into a niche (1xAA pocket thrower) that I was missing.

So, why do we need another review for the Manker T01? Honestly, we don’t. However, most of the reviews I’ve read were based on pre-production versions (supplied to the reviewers), and mine is a proper production light. Also, I specifically want to compare it to the Zebralight flashlights, which is Manker’s obvious competitor for this light. I’m a bit of a Zebralight fanboy, so I do have a bias in favor of them.

I wasn’t really sure if I’d like the Manker T01, primarily due to the cool-white LED, and also because I heard there were some quality issues with the early versions of the light. But, now that I have received the light, I’m fairly happy about it. The cool white, while not my preference, happens to be a very nice tint without any of the sometimes Cree green tint. The pictures may not show this, but my cool-white Zebralight SC52 has a sickly green tint that shows up when white-wall hunting. The Manker T01 has a much more rosey tint in comparison. I like it (for a cool white). Also, I haven’t noticed any quality problems.

Okay, now for some basic stats, based on my measurements. For all tests, I use a freshly-charged regular Eneloop AA battery.

Max output:
Manker T01: 500 lumens
Zebralight SC5w: 500 lumens
Zebralight SC52w: 250 lumens
Zebralight SC52: 250 lumens

Throw estimate:
Manker T01: 13000 lux at 1 meter
Zebralight SC5w: 4500 lux at 1 meter
Zebralight SC52: 2000 lux at 1 meter

So, you can see it throws significantly better than the floody Zebralights. It’s not going to blind pilots or convince people you’re a UFO about to abduct them, but for such a small light on a AA battery, it’s very good.

Min output:
All lights have a moonlight mode around 0.1 lumens, but Zebralights have several to choose from. The Manker has a hidden “engineering mode”, where you can adjust minimum output, supposedly to prevent pre-flash. It’s a nice feature, but not really intended as a programmable mode.

Tint (CCT):
Manker T01: 5800K
Zebralight SC5w: 4000K
Zebralight SC52w: 3800K
Zebralight SC52: 5500K

To put that into comparison with a couple of popular BLF group buy lights, I measure the Astrolux A01 at 3900K, and the BLF-348 at 5200K-5300K. So, the Manker has a cool tint, but it’s a clean tint. And, it’s nowhere as cool/blue as the cheap 1xAA lights which are closer to 7000K. Even for a tint snob like me (Nichia 219 or die!), it’s a decent tint.

Standby current draw:
Manker T01: 7.3uA
Zebralight SC5w: 2.4uA
Zebralight SC52w: 21uA
Zebralight SC52: 20uA

All standy currents are negligible, so there’s no need to lock-out the light by loosening the tailcap.

I won’t go into run-times or all the various mode output levels, those are covered by better and more extensive reviews elsewhere. I will say that the Manker specs match very well to my own measurements. Basically, there are 4 main programmable modes, and some flashies. But really, if you’re using this as a dedicated thrower, you’re probably only going to use it on max output. Because of that, I wish the short-press used mode-memory (which I leave on max), and not the long-press that it does use. Short-press forces the light to come on in low, regardless of the mode-memory. Normally, I like that, but for a dedicated thrower, max makes more sense for the “easy” press. Just my own opinion, though, as others may like it the way it is.

Also, I won’t cover the user-interface, as it is also well covered elsewhere. My personal preference is the Zebralight UI (fanboy nerd alert!). I find the Manker interface a little unintuitive (especially long-click for off). And, the “pro” interface is needlessly complex. The “general” interface is okay, though, and I recommend only to use the pro interface when programming the modes. If the Manker is your EDC light, you’ll get used to it fairly fast, but for me it’s opposite to my other lights.

Here are my likes:

Beam has very bright hot spot, for very long throw. This is unique for such a small 1xAA light, and fits a well-needed niche.

Output is excellent on a AA NiMH battery, equivalent to its floodier competitor, the Zebralight SC5.

Efficiency is very good, almost matching the SC5, and better than the SC52.

You can customize outputs for each of the 4 levels.

Tint (for a cool white) is nice, as I don’t see any green in the beam.

Option to run this on a 14500 cell, for even higher output, is a nice bonus, but I probably won’t use it.

The light tail-stands.

The build quality is good. Switch has a nice feel too.

Here are my dislikes:

It would be nice if they offered this model in neutral white.

User interface is a little different than most lights. Long-click for off is not very intuitive, IMO.

Because of the large head, the pocket clip is very difficult to use. I understand they made it stiffer since the pre-production versions, but they overdid it IMO. I removed this clip, because of this. Note the lanyard attachment is on the clip, so if you remove it, you’ll have to wrap a line around the body or something like that.

It is priced at $64, which is priced right between the Zebralight SC52 and SC5. Obviously, that’s Manker’s target. But Zebralights are expensive lights. IMO, Manker would do better to undercut Zebralight a bit, until they get well-established in the flashlight market. But, I understand why it’s priced at $64.

Now, for some beam shot comparisons. All lights were set to output approximately the same lumens.

The T01 vs SC5w:

The T01 vs SC52w:

The T01 vs SC52:

Length comparison:

Lens comparison:

I’m sure I’ve missed some obvious stuff in this review, so I may come back later and edit it. I’ve only had the light a couple of days, so am still playing with it.

Edited by: WalkIntoTheLight on 07/14/2016 - 11:46
The Miller
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Nice review, thanks!

I really like the new design of Manker.
Very interesting to see the bulge where the switch sits and how the fins go from there is a rougher less smooth implementation of the Zebralights, it looks to me like Manker has taken a close look at Zebralight while designing (and being unfamiliar with Zebralight I would not have known this if it was not for that length comparing pic)

WalkIntoTheLight
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The Miller wrote:
I really like the new design of Manker. Very interesting to see the bulge where the switch sits and how the fins go from there is a rougher less smooth implementation of the Zebralights, it looks to me like Manker has taken a close look at Zebralight while designing (and being unfamiliar with Zebralight I would not have known this if it was not for that length comparing pic)

Yes, it’s pretty obvious that Manker’s design was borrowed heavily from Zebralight. But, it’s a nice design, so I’m glad there’s now some competition to Zebralight. I wish they had copied the user interface! Big Smile But to be fair, the Manker interface isn’t bad on its own, it’s just that it’s different than most of my other lights, so it’s confusing to me.

I think the Manker E11 is the cheaper, floody version of the T01. So, while the T01 is on the pricey side, they do have a much less expensive option for buyers. I’m not sure how the E11 compares to the Zebralights.

quetzalcoatl
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WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
The Miller wrote:
I really like the new design of Manker. Very interesting to see the bulge where the switch sits and how the fins go from there is a rougher less smooth implementation of the Zebralights, it looks to me like Manker has taken a close look at Zebralight while designing (and being unfamiliar with Zebralight I would not have known this if it was not for that length comparing pic)

I think the Manker E11 is the cheaper, floody version of the T01. So, while the T01 is on the pricey side, they do have a much less expensive option for buyers. I’m not sure how the E11 compares to the Zebralights.


Sadly… it has a boring black colour. Flat Stare
arow55
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Mine arrived without any spring in the tailcap. How could it pass quality control?

WalkIntoTheLight
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arow55 wrote:
Mine arrived without any spring in the tailcap. How could it pass quality control?

Yes, that is pretty bad.

Now that I’ve had a chance to use mine for awhile, I’ve noticed some minor quirks. For example, it’s difficult to turn off when the battery is drained. I usually have to unscrew the tailcap to get it to turn off when it’s like this. Works just fine when the battery is good, though. Weird.

Also, the engineering mode seems to affect the brightness of all modes, not just the lowest mode. As well, it jumps from moonlight (0.1 lumens) to several lumens in the very first increment. Okay, this is an undocumented feature, so I shouldn’t really be messing with it anyway I suppose.

I take back my earlier criticism of the pocket clip being useless. While it is still tight, it works much better when I repositioned it to sit on a different part of the body. They should probably position it like that by default, when they put it together.

I think they still need improvements to their quality and quality control process. I get the feeling they are about where Zebralight was when they started out. Zebralight improved a lot over the past couple of years. Hopefully Manker will as well.

The T01 is a fun light, due to its great throw for such a small light, but it would be more fun if the UI was a little more intuitive. I can’t lend this light to any non-flashaholic, because they can’t figure out how to turn it off! Long-press for off just isn’t obvious.

I’d like to see the UI changed to something like this: short-click to turn on to memorized mode, press-and-hold to change modes, and short-click for off.

I see it’s now available in neutral-white, which is a huge improvement by itself. Thumbs Up

arow55
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Told gearbest about missing spring. If they send replacement does it screw in?

WalkIntoTheLight
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arow55 wrote:
Told gearbest about missing spring. If they send replacement does it screw in?

I can’t tell for certain, but mine looks like it’s soldered on.